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Mock Draft 1: 12-Man DRAFT Format - Footballguys

The Footballguys staff, along with four writers in the industry got together and completed a 12-team draft using DRAFT format. 

On July 14th, eight members of the Footballguys Staff, along with four highly regarded writers in the fantasy football community, got together to complete a 12-team, 18 round, Best Ball draft using DRAFT format. Before the draft, each of the participants answered questions regarding strategies, players they coveted and how they plan to attack the draft. Additional questions were asked at the conclusion of the draft based on the decisions they made. To top it off, Footballguys' Justin Howe will provide an evaluation of each team's roster strengths and weaknesses, chronicling the strategies and decisions that were made by each participant.

The goal of this article is to give you a look into the minds of fantasy experts throughout the entire draft process. This includes preparation, decision-making, execution, and follow-up. What was their plan? Did they follow it? Why did they make the decisions they made? Some drafters had similar strategies and players of interest, but how they executed their plan and built their roster, varied from person to person.

We hope you will uncover or discover a strategy that might work for you in your draft(s) this year. Learn what players the experts are targeting and why. At Footballguys, when you win, we win! If we can help give you the tools and know-how to build a winning team, we've done our job.

League Parameters

Best Ball format - Each week, your top scoring players on your roster automatically start and will count toward your season total. The team with the most points at the end of the season wins. Top scores from the starting positions will count for your weekly score.

  • 12 teams
  • 18 roster spots
  • Starting Lineup
    • 1 quarterback
    • 2 running backs
    • 3 wide receivers
    • 1 tight end
    • 1 flex (either a running back, wide receiver, or tight end)

League Scoring

  • Offensive Players Only
    • 4 points - Passing Touchdown
    • 6 points - Rushing/Receiving Touchdown
    • 0.04 points - Passing Yard
    • 0.1 points - Rushing/Receiving Yard
    • 0.5 point - Reception
    • -1 - Interception Thrown
    • -2 - Fumble Lost
    • 2 - Two-Point Conversion

Draft Grid

Draft Slot 1

Matt Bitonti - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

  • Quarterbacks - 3
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers -8
  • Tight Ends - 3

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?
By Round 9 or so. I'm going running back 1.01 and might even double up at 2.12 but won't get to RB3 until later. I like Isaiah Crowell in that role.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?
By Round 10.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?
Maybe not until round 7 at the earliest.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?
Round 6 if there's value on the second tier (I like Evan Ingram this year in the NYG offense plus Barkley) but more likely I'll punt on tight end and look for mid-late round targets.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?
Todd Gurley - the Rams offensive line is strong this season and he's going to be fed. Also considered Ezekiel Elliott in this spot, something about Le'Veon Bell scares me (it could be his age). If Dalvin Cook makes it to 2.12 I'll take a gamble on him returning from injury. If wide receiver 8 or 9 (Mike Evans? Davante Adams?) will also be considered. I want to get Jimmy Garappolo as QB1 probably around rd 5-6 with this crew of sharks.

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.
These guys are good. My strategy is to relax and look for value. But if there's a run, I'm either going to recognize it early or go in a different direction positionally.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)
When Evan Engram goes I'll look for Jimmy Graham or Delanie Walker the next time I pick. Maybe Kyle Rudolph but I wouldn't be thrilled about it. The tight end market drops hard after that point.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 1 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?
Having the first pick takes a ton of pressure off, hopefully, Gurley carries this team to a title.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?
I usually end up stacking up all the byes and losing on the week. It's not ideal and probably a weak spot in past years.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?
I'm usually overly optimistic about rookies. Some of them are really special. If somehow Saquon Barkley makes it to 2.12 it would be unreal, he will be gone probably 10 picks before. But suspended or injured guys I tend to fade.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 3
  • Wide Receivers - 4
  • Tight Ends - 1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers - 6
  • Tight Ends - 2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.01
1
RB
LAR
2.12
24
TE
KCC
3.01
25
RB
CHI
4.12
48
WR
DET
5.01
49
WR
BAL
6.12
72
QB
SEA
7.01
73
WR
CLE
8.12
96
QB
SFO
9.01
97
WR
NYJ
10.12
120
RB
GBP
11.01
121
WR
ARI
12.12
144
TE
JAC
13.01
145
TE
ARI
14.12
168
RB
NYJ
15.01
169
WR
CIN
16.12
192
RB
DAL
17.01
193
RB
PIT
18.12
216
WR
IND

Post-Draft Questions

1. You went in with a plan to take four running backs but ended up taking six at the position. Walk through what changed and why you opted to wait until Round 10 to land your third running back.

Waiting until Round 10 to take RB3 was one part of my pre-draft plan that I stuck to. After taking Todd Gurley at 1.01 and Jordan Howard at 3.01, I felt fine letting it slide for a while. After that point, it was a value situation most of the time. Tavon Austin, for example, could be a PPR beast. He's a running back but could be a wide receiver the way they plan to use him.

2. Your plan was to punt tight end into the mid rounds unless the value was there in round 6. You deviated severely by taking Travis Kelce at the end of Round 2and then took avoided the position until you selected back to back tight ends at the 12/13 turn. Talk through what changed and why you opted for a stud to anchor the position.

Rob Gronkowski had just gone two picks earlier, and I believe Travis Kelce will have a better year. He's more durable. At the turn, I knew one of those picks would be running back, but the wideouts I hoped would make it there, did not. I thought about what Sigmund Bloom would do and pulled the trigger on the stud tight end based on value. The wide receiver I ended up drafting (Golden Tate, Jarvis Landry, and Michael Crabtree) are not idea WR1 types but hopefully high target guys, which will hopefully help in the 0.5 PPR league. The "hyphen" picks at the turn of 12/13 (Austin Sefarian-Jenkins and Ricky Seals-Jones), I believe these players will outperform their draft respective slots and felt it was good value at that point in the draft.

3. You stated you wanted Jimmy Garropolo and pulled the trigger to get him aboard your roster. What kind of fantasy season do you see for him?

I went into the draft looking for Garropolo as my QB1. After I fell into Russell Wilson in Round 6, I didn't expect him to last much longer. In my view, this team has two QB1s. Garropolo will have a high completion rate despite throwing more passes than the average NFL starter. In the broader sense, this league is in a transition period from marketing stars in Tom Brady's peer group (Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers etc) into marketing younger quarterback stars. Jimmy Garropolo is one of only a few people who could be the face of the league for the next decade.

4. You were able to get two of your deep sleepers (John Conner and John Ross). What kind of fantasy season do you see for these players?

I picked 1.01 and took Todd Gurley. But I could have had Le'Veon Bell instead. Looking at the players, I considered Ezekiel Elliot the next best option over Bell. Bell's age, his contract situation, it is just scary. The way the league treats running backs and the way the Steelers pay their players, I can't see how this ends well for Le'Veon Bell. John Conner is the guy who benefits from any kind of Bell holdout or absence.

In Cincinnati OTA in May, John Ross was clocked running a deep post at a peak speed of 23.2 MPH. Had this occurred in a game, it would be the fastest recorded speed from last season. He's not a reliable option but the upside cannot be ignored. In leagues where deep touchdowns are rewarded, Ross could exceed his projected points.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B

Strengths

Bitonti took a great route at quarterback. It's generally not optimal to target them early in best ball, but this is outstanding value for last year's QB1. Even if Aaron Rodgers reclaims that spot, there shouldn't be a three-round difference between him and Russell Wilson. Bitonti didn't bite on the early Rodgers pick; he sat tight and extracted gobs of value at the 6/7 turn. Adding just one more down the road – an upper-tier QB2 in Jimmy Garoppolo – cements his position without any unsightly fat.

Weaknesses

Travis Kelce looked like a bit of an overcompensation; perhaps Bitonti preferred Rob Gronkowski, who came off the board two picks before him. Still, though Kelce faces a somewhat uncertain 2018, this pick can be defended. The real head-scratcher was Michael Crabtree (WR22), going on 31 and stuck in a shaky offense, over a host of similarly-projected guys with better ceilings. Bitonti left the upsides of Marvin Jones Jr, Alshon Jeffery, Brandin Cooks, and others on the board, as well as real RB2 potential in Royce Freeman and Mark Ingram II. As a result, he didn't quite maximize his flex potential.

How He'll Win It All

Todd Gurley retains his top-tier RB1 status, anchoring this roster as planned, while Bitonti's sparse receiving corps produces enough volume to put forth three quality guys each week. This is a solidly-built team, if one lacking in dynamism, and can weather a storm or two.

Draft Slot 2

Ryan Hester - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

  • Quarterbacks - 2-3
  • Running Backs - 4-6
  • Wide Receivers - 6-8
  • Tight Ends - 2-3

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

Round 4/5 Turn

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

Round 6/7 Turn

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

Is "whenever it feels like the last possible moment to select Patrick Mahomes II" a viable response? More generally, I'm a late-round quarterback advocate. Unless a top-10 option falls at least a round-and-a-half, I'll wait and select something like this: QB15, QB20, QB24.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

Similar to quarterbacks, I advocate not spending too much capital here. However, without a waiver wire to be the safety net, I'll make it more of a priority than a typical redraft league, where Round 12-13 sometimes still feels early. I'll start thinking about tight ends around my Round 8/9 turn.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

If I get either the near their ADP (or one round ahead, based on my draft slot), I'll be happy.

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

It's not really advanced, but I want to stick to a positional value plan (late-round quarterback and TE). And I want to be diligent in my positional limits but not at the risk of sacrificing value in premium rounds.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

Not really. I'm a “let the draft come to me” Player. I find that if I'm too rigid, it can lead to rushed/panicked decisions.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 2 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

From the 1.02, there's almost no chance that I get through my third pick with three players from the same position. This may seem obvious, but if picking from the middle of each round, I could select a player who fell well past his ADP without the risk of ending up on the wrong end of a positional run.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

At the positions with multiple starters (RB, WR), I don't consider them as much more than a tiebreaker. If evaluating between two players on different tiers, why let one week decide the other 15? At quarterback and tight end, especially if early picks lead to only drafting two, obviously bye weeks become a much bigger matter to consider.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

If the player is good and in a good situation (i.e. Mark Ingram II or Julian Edelman), I don't let suspensions be a deterrent. The first four weeks are when the rest of the roster is at its healthiest, and there are no bye weeks. Therefore, it's easier to make up the games lost by suspended players (or even by rookies whose volume hasn't ramped up yet) early in the season.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 0
  • Running Backs - 4-5
  • Wide Receivers - 4-5
  • Tight Ends - 0-1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 5-6
  • Wide Receivers - 5-6
  • Tight Ends - 1-2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Due to the late-round quarterback and tight end strategy, I'll be picking at least one from that position group here. Players such as Mitchell Trubisky, Case Keenum, Tyrod Taylor, Vance McDonald, Ricky Seals-Jones, and Ben Watson all stick out as options that could provide multiple usable weeks.
Unexciting pass-catching running backs can provide a buoy in an otherwise down week. That makes players such as Javorius Allen and T.J. Yeldon draftable. Geronimo Allison is the wide receiver that sticks out most. Even as a WR3, he has best ball value by virtue of playing with Aaron Rodgers.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.02
2
RB
ARI
2.11
23
WR
TBB
3.02
26
WR
KCC
4.11
47
WR
PIT
5.02
50
RB
NOS
6.11
71
RB
CHI
7.02
74
WR
LAR
8.11
95
WR
SFO
9.02
98
QB
PHI
10.11
119
RB
NEP
11.02
122
QB
Patrick Mahomes
KCC
12.11
143
RB
BUF
13.02
146
TE
BUF
14.11
167
TE
ATL
15.02
170
TE
WAS
16.11
191
WR
HOU
17.02
194
QB
CLE
18.11
215
WR
DAL

Post-Draft Questions

1. You stayed true to your plan with the small exception of going WR/WR/WR after drafting David Johnson. Walk through the picks of Evans, Tyreek Hill, and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Why did you prefer these players over the running back position when you drafted.

In general, I'm more likely to pick "best player available" than be stuck to a particular position in the early rounds. In the later rounds, the expected value of each pick decreases to a point where differentiation is minimal. Therefore, reaching for someone in Round 11 that has a Round 13 ADP doesn't leave a lot of potential equity on the table. To specifically address Evans, Hill, and Smith-Schuster, I had Hill as a target at 3.02 before the draft. I'm a fan of Kansas City this year, and Hill's skill set aligns well with that of Patrick Mahomes II. I think Hill maintains his 2017 value as a floor, and Sammy Watkins has a nice year. All of that leads to Travis Kelce's piece of the pie becoming smaller and the running backs not doing much in the passing game. 2.11 was a place where I planned to be flexible. When Evans fell, it felt too good to pass up. As for the fourth round, the available running backs were putrid. The next three to go off after my selection of Ingram at 5.02 were Ronald Jones, Royce Freeman, and Jamaal Williams. Are we sure any of them even have a starting job? I value Rex Burkhead (picked at 6.02) above those guys.

2. You waited until round 13 and then selected tight ends in rounds 13,14, 15. Explain why this can work out in a Best-Ball league.

Tight end is so volatile and touchdown-dependent, especially with anything less than full PPR scoring. But to be honest, what really set this stretch in motion was Matt Bitonti picking two of my favorite late-round tight ends consecutive right between my 12.11 and 13.02 picks! Had I been able to get Austin Seferian-Jenkins or Ricky-Seals Jones at 13.02, I would not have reached for Vernon Davis at 15.02. The plan was always one of those guys in the 13th, another decent option in the 14th, and then wait a bit later for a real flier late. Even admitting that Davis was a reach, though, the ceiling is there. Jordan Reed can't be expected to play a full season; Alex Smith loves throwing to tight ends, and we've seen the Smith-Davis rapport in action back in their San Francisco days. Davis will be projected as a TE1 any week Reed isn't playing.

3. You had Tyrod Taylor as a sleeper you wanted late and got him in round 17. What are your expectations?

They aren't incredibly high, to be honest. But he should provide a solid floor early in the year. Carson Wentz probably won't play in Week 1, and Patrick Mahomes II opens at L.A. Chargers, at Pittsburgh. While both of those potential top-six quarterbacks get their proverbial sea legs, I expect Taylor's actual legs to prevent the quarterback spot from sinking my team early.

4. You opted for just five running backs despite taking Mark Ingram II who will miss the first four games of the year. Talk through punting RB2 with a high FP/game player (Ingram) and your use of complimentary players (White and Ivory) to have strong running backs at a fraction of the normal cost.

It's charitable of you to call this group strong, but I'll take it. I wanted more than five at this position, but sometimes things don't work out. The combination of the value of Evans at 2.11 and the aforementioned tight end conundrum left me one fewer rusher than I wanted. That said, I liked the value with Ingram. Sure, he'll miss four games, but the rest of my team should be healthy in the first quarter of the year. And when he comes back, he'll be fresh, still in a contract year, and potentially picking up the slack for a perhaps-overworked Alvin Kamara. Ingram also did well at the goal line last year, and multi-touchdown games certainly have their place in Best Ball. As for the complementary pieces, White is a "5x5" guy. He'll have at least five games with at least five receptions. In Best Ball scoring, sometimes all fantasy GMs can do is hope that certain players have their big weeks when others are lacking. The intent with the Ivory pick was the concern with LeSean McCoy's availability and, if McCoy does play, a handcuff of an older back with plenty of tread on the tires. While Buffalo's offense won't be fertile ground for running back production, if Ivory has the backfield to himself, some RB2 weeks should be there.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: A-

Strengths

Hester certainly had the right idea at quarterback. He stood pat through the first tier but scooped Carson Wentz's top-tier upside in Round 9, two rounds after wildcard DeShaun Watson. He then added two more high ceilings in the double-digit rounds, giving him a healthy chunk of week-to-week quarterback play. Waiting even longer to triple up at tight end helped, too. Those strategies allowed Hester to stockpile flex guys in the middle rounds, and he has tons of worthwhile bodies at running back and wide receiver.

Weaknesses

For all of his depth elsewhere, Hester is in wait-and-see mode at running back, which can be deadly in best ball format. David Johnson could enter the year rusty, or handcuffed by a potentially bad offense, and there aren't many reinforcements here. If Mark Ingram II follows suit – he'll miss the first four games, and has never been a darling of Sean Payton – then Hester will find himself buried here.

How he'll win it all

Hester wins the flex position on a weekly basis, boasting three receivers with fantasy WR1 ceilings and a strong mid-round volume guy in Cooper Kupp. During wide receiver boom seasons (think 2013-15), this type of approach is a golden goose, putting high receiver scoring onto the board each and every week. Hester is set up nicely from that angle but will go only as far as his running backs take him. He looks relatively fragile there.

Draft Slot 3

Bob Harris
Named the first ever Fantasy Football Writer of the Year by the FSWA in 2005, Bob Harris was inducted into the organization's Hall Of Fame in 2013. He began his Fantasy sports career as Editor and Webmaster of the TFL Report in 1993. He added Senior Editor for Fantasy Sports Publications, Inc. to his list of titles in 1997; his work has been prominently displayed in all four FSP Fantasy annuals -- Fantasy Football Pro Forecast, Fantasy FootballDiehards, Fantasy Football CheatSheets and the Fantasy Football DraftBook -- ever since. You will currently find Harris online exclusively at FootballDiehards.com. You can also listen to Harris daily on FootballDiehards on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87).

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

I'll shoot for at least six running backs and seven wide receivers. I'll handle the onesie positions based on risk. If I go with a more conservative approach, I'll go with two each at quarterback and tight end (using the additional pick on a flier at running back or wide receiver). If I'm selecting a high-risk/high-reward player (Carson Wentz coming off the late-season ACL; Jordan Reed or Tyler Eifert at tight end), I'll likely go three deep at that position.

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

By the end of Round 7.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

By the end of Round 7.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

After Round 9 (ideally waiting until the double-digit rounds).

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

Round 2.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

Having the third pick overall means I'll get one of my top three running backs. Selecting a tight end in Round 2 means I'm targeting Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce (with the fallback going much later with riskier, high-reward players).

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

I think the advanced strategies I employ all center on being prepared to adjust to the flow of the draft. This is a tough room. It will require reaches to secure players I'm targeting later in the draft. Part of that is focusing on potential opportunities. The NFL depth charts are something people have a tendency to look past at wide receiver. I try not to do that.

8. Do you have any trigger points (i.e. Players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab Player C the next time I pick)

There comes a point at running back when I will be looking for some overlooked NFL starters at running back. Particularly Marshawn Lynch and Isaiah Crowell. Not sexy picks, but solid at the right price. If I missed out on guys like Alex Collins, Lamar Miller, or others in that range, I'll get very itchy about landing Lynch. If I miss out on Lynch I'll go into a full-blown panic mode to land Crowell.

9. Discuss drafting from the #3 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

I love this spot. Again, landing one of the top three running backs is important to me. And coming around fairly late in Round 2 should give me a reasonable shot at Kelce if I miss out on Gronkowski.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

I only pay attention at the onesie spots.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I'm fine drafting rookie running backs at their current values. That pretty much extends to all of them (even if I don't love the fact Sony Michel is in New England, there's a point I won't ignore him). Injured, injury prone (or extensive injury histories) and suspensions are all created value. I'm all about that.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 0
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers - 4
  • Tight Ends - 1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 5
  • Tight Ends - 2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.03
3
RB
Le'Veon Bell
PIT
2.10
22
TE
NEP
3.03
27
RB
SFO
4.10
46
WR
CLE
5.03
51
WR
PHI
6.10
70
WR
LAR
7.03
75
RB
NYJ
8.10
94
RB
WAS
9.03
99
WR
SFO
10.10
118
QB
LAC
11.03
123
WR
DET
12.10
142
TE
CIN
13.03
147
QB
JAC
14.10
166
WR
OAK
15.03
171
RB
LAC
16.10
190
WR
NYJ
17.03
195
TE
LAR
18.10
214
QB
ARI

Post-Draft Questions

1. This draft went nearly flawlessly to your pre-draft strategy. You had hoped Rob Gronkowski would make it back to you in round two and he did. What kind of season do you expect from him in 2018?

I feel fortunate that Sigmund Bloom wasn't in this draft; it might have been more difficult to land Gronkowski when I did. As for my expectations -- and injury concerns are baked into this (he's missed 26 of 96 games over the last six seasons), they're high. Even with the missed time, he still leads all tight ends in receiving yardage and touchdown receptions since 2014. He also sits second among tight ends in fantasy points, and he has four top-five seasons since 2012. My forecast? More of the same -- perhaps with a faster start thanks to Julian Edelman's four-game suspension.

2. You tagged Isaiah Crowell as a non-sexy value play pre-draft and were able to land him in round 7. How good can he be for the Jets?

First of all, Marshawn Lynch going two picks before I planned to take him was soul crushing. But Crowell is always my fallback in cases like this. Here's why: He's led Cleveland's rushing attack over his four-year career, accumulating 737 carries for 3,118 yards and 21 touchdowns while catching 96 passes for 770 yards and one touchdown. Pretty solid production on a lousy team that often played from behind. In New York, it sounds like Bilal Powell is losing favor with the coaching staff. And while Elijah McGuire is still on board, don't overlook the possibility Crowell can handle a three-down role. According to ESPN's Mike Clay, only 20 backs have seen more targets during over the last four seasons and Powell -- often viewed as a standout pass-catcher -- has seen only 13 more targets than Crowell the past two seasons. Beyond that, Crowell has the frame to withstand a heavier workload than he's had to date, and as Bleacher Report recently suggested, with more carries he could wear down defenses late in games. Whichever quarterback earns the starting nod in New York, the Jets would like nothing better than Crowell providing them with a solid, early-down hammer capable of keeping the offense on schedule.

3. tight end Tyler Eifert in another non-sexy pick with countless upside if healthy. In the 12th round, you felt the risk was worth the reward. How confident are you he can return to the dominant player we witnessed in years past?

It all depends on whether he's on the field. And that's obviously a crapshoot. In fact, Eifert has only been on the field for 39 of a possible 80 games since he entered the league. That includes fewer than three games two of the past four years. When healthy, however, the upside is there. Remember, Eifert missed three games in 2015 but still led tight ends in the league with 13 touchdowns. He missed eight games in 2016, but scored five touchdowns and ranked seventh at the position in fantasy points per game. So, yes. Durability a major concern. But in Round 12, the upside is pretty tempting. I will note that drafting Eifert (and in part because he's paired with Gronk) forced me to land a third tight end. I could have easily gone Tyler Kroft here (he's proven to be very capable when his teammate Eifert isn't available), but I decided to go with a possible upside play in the form of Rams second-year man Gerald Everett.

4. How soon do you expect Rosen to take over the starting job in Arizona?

I think Rosen is ready to start immediately. Remember, he completed 60 percent of his passes at 7.5 yards per attempt with 23 passing touchdowns and just 11 interceptions as an 18-year-old true freshman at UCLA in 2015. He can have a similar immediate impact in Arizona in 2018, mainly because of his footwork and accuracy at the short and intermediate levels make him an ideal candidate to run a West Coast Offense in the NFL. Much depends on Sam Bradford's health. I'll admit, Week 1 seems unlikely. So without putting a timetable on it, I'll just go with my belief that Rosen is the most pro-ready of all this year's rookie quarterbacks.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: A

Strengths

This exceptionally balanced roster is built through its running backs, and they're stout. Le'Veon Bell is a true workhorse that will anchor him most weeks, and Harris has assembled a fine crew to jockey for RB2 duties. It's not all quantity, either: Jerick McKinnon boasts realistic top-10 upside as a semi-workhorse in Kyle Shanahan's offense, while Isaiah Crowell was an utter steal as the RB35 off the board. With gobs of touchdown potential from the late rounds, Harris' draft is a fantastic blend of floor and ceiling.

Weaknesses

One could quibble with Harris' choice of early-round wideouts. Josh Gordon, Alshon Jeffery, and Robert Woods all carry considerable floors, and two of them succumbing to the negatives would cripple his chances. He could have sprinkled in a proven volume guy from that tier – Golden Tate, Michael Crabtree, and Jarvis Landry all hovered near those picks – to mitigate some of their risks. Still, snatching Pierre Garcon in Round 9 goes a long way toward making up those worries over volume.

How he'll win it all

Harris dominates the league's running back totals on the backs of Bell and four others who enter training camp with relatively clear roles. Rob Gronkowski plays in 14 or 15 games, and Harris' upside-driven receivers spend the year trading off the explosive stat lines they're all capable of. The names assembled on this roster, while all come with some demonstrable flaw, are stupefying.

Draft Slot 4

Mike Tagliere

Full-time NFL Writer Mike Tagliere of FantasyPros.com has finished top-six in the FantasyPros accuracy competition twice and co-hosts the FantasyPros podcast throughout the year. Each week during the NFL season, he writes his signature piece titled “The Primer” which covers every player from every game with a fantasy angle for both DFS and season-long league players. FantasyPros offers a bevy of tools for users, from their award-winning, lightning-fast mock draft lobby titled Draft Wizard to their My Playbook services for those in multiple leagues, as well as up-to-date news on all your favorite fantasy players.

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

It really varies from draft to draft in best-ball, where I'll take three quarterbacks and/or tight ends if I don't land one of the Top 6 at the positions. But as an outline to best-ball, I typically plan on walking away with this breakdown:

  • Quarterbacks - 2-3
  • Running Backs - 5-6
  • Wide Receivers - 6-7
  • Tight Ends - 2-3

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

I've typically got my third running back by the fifth round, as they dry up extremely fast after that.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

I've been taking my time with the wide receiver position, as it seems you need to get ahead of the curve at running back, with some decent options still left on the board at wide receiver in the fifth and sixth round. It's not often that I have three wide receivers before the sixth or seventh round.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

Knowing that this is a league with analysts, I might just have Aaron Rodgers on my team. While most devalue the position (rightfully so), Rodgers shouldn't be taken behind guys like Marvin Jones Jr and Jimmy Graham. If all goes as I think it will, I'd expect to have a quarterback at the very latest by the eighth round, but I'll pull the trigger on Rodgers in the fifth if he's there.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

For me, it's Gronkowski or Kelce at the 2/3 turn or I'm waiting until the area of Jordan Reed/Trey Burton. You have to fall in the right spot to get one of the top two guys, so I'll say that I plan on selecting mine in the eighth or ninth round (where Reed and Burton typically go).

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

I have more Sony Michel than I'd like to admit, but that's because his price was way too low for way too long, though it's started to rise as of late. I'll pull the trigger on him in the fourth round if he's there. DeVante Parker is a player who is also on many of my best-ball teams because I believe he's being drafted at his absolute floor, which is why I'm willing to reach a round or two if I have to, and that's usually around the seventh round.

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

I wish I could be more useful here, but I'm a flow drafter. What I mean by that is that I take each draft as it's own unique situation, as you have to pay attention to the trends or you'll be left behind. Any strategy can work if the setting is right, but the setting differs by who you're drafting with. If you're in a standard 12-team league and you want to stream quarterbacks but you know that every owner in your league will draft two quarterbacks, you're going to be stuck picking between Joe Flacco and Sam Bradford most weeks. You have to remain fluid in your ways throughout a draft.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

Yeah, tight end is like that for me (as referenced before). If I don't get Gronk or Kelce, I'm likely not taking a tight end in rounds 3-7 because the value just isn't there. I also have a line at running backs, as I don't want to have someone like Isaiah Crowell as my No. 3 running back (I wouldn't draft him), so I almost always ensure I'm landing a minimum of two top-24 running backs but hopefully three of them.

9. Discuss drafting from the #4 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

This helps to know that I'm getting a running back in the first-round, as one of Gurley, Bell, Zeke, Saquon/DJ will be there for me. When starting in the No. 4 spot, it gives you an advantage because if those in the tail end of the first start panicking about no running backs making it back to them, I might land someone like A.J. Green or Michael Thomas in the second round, which is just great. The part that may be tough is debating whether or not I want to select Gronk or Kelce with the No. 21 pick, or take the chance they make it back in the third round. It all comes down to who is on the board, keeping up with the positional scarcity.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

Many overlook this when they start best-ball because we tell them to ignore bye weeks for season-long leagues, but when selecting your quarterbacks and tight ends, you want to make sure they don't land on the same week, especially if you're only planning on drafting two of them. Missing a quarterback in your lineup for even one week can ruin your chances of winning a best-ball league, so you'll have to take three quarterbacks if your first two fall on the same bye week. I usually draft enough running backs and wide receivers to not have to worry about it at those positions.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I absolutely love rookie running backs, won't hesitate to draft them. As for the other positions, I generally avoid rookies unless they come at a value. Injured and/or suspended players are usually hands-off for me, as they fall behind the curve and leave the door open for someone to come in and steal their job. Returning from an injury doesn't concern me much unless you're a pass-catcher with a foot injury. You stay away from them for at least one year.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers - 3
  • Tight Ends - 1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 5
  • Tight Ends - 2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.04
4
RB
DAL
2.09
21
RB
CIN
3.04
28
WR
SEA
4.09
45
RB
NEP
5.04
52
RB
Ronald Jones
TBB
6.09
69
WR
MIA
7.04
76
WR
WAS
8.09
93
TE
MIN
9.04
100
WR
NYG
10.09
117
QB
PIT
11.04
124
WR
JAC
12.09
141
QB
CHI
13.04
148
WR
ATL
14.09
165
QB
CIN
15.04
172
TE
BAL
16.09
189
WR
GBP
17.04
196
TE
MIA
18.09
213
RB
NYJ

Post-Draft Questions

1. You slammed running backs with four in your first five picks and then abandoned the position until selecting a fifth running back in the last round. Talk through this best-ball strategy and why you like constructing teams in this manner.

As is the case in industry drafts, running backs tend to fly off the board. There were already 12 of them gone by the time it got to my second-round pick, which caused me to reach a bit for Joe Mixon, as there are just 15 running backs as of right now that I feel extremely comfortable within the top three rounds. If I'd passed on him there, he wouldn't have made it back to me. Then I was left to choose between a couple of running backs outside the top-tier and a few boring wide receiver options (Alshon Jeffery, Michael Crabtree), so I chose to snag two more running backs, knowing that I could load the wide receiver position in the mid rounds. By doing this, I could essentially ignore the running back position the remainder of the draft (which I kind of did), because I have four running backs who are getting 15-plus touches per game as long as they're healthy. When you only have one or two guys who are promised that many touches, you need to have six-plus running backs on your best-ball roster.

2. You had tagged wide receiver Geronimo Allison as someone you would like to grab late. What kind of season can he have this year?

As of now, he's a starting wide receiver for Aaron Rodgers. In fact, you can even say that he's going to start in 2WR sets, as Randall Cobb is the primary slot receiver. Allison has played 15 total games with Rodgers under center, and in those games, he's totaled 45 targets, 26 receptions, 381 yards, and two touchdowns. That's some pretty good point-per-target production, and despite them drafting a few wide receivers, he's the only one who has experience in the offense, chemistry with Rodgers, and production to show he's capable. If there's a trend to find with Rodgers and his pass-catchers, it's that it often requires time for him to get on the same page with them, hence the reason to be pessimistic about Jimmy Graham. Knowing James Jones scored 14 touchdowns with Rodgers under center, Allison's ceiling could be a top-20 fantasy wide receiver, though you don't have to spend anywhere close to that.

3. You mentioned both running back Sony Michel and wide receiver Devante Parker as two players that keep ending up on your rosters. Tell us why you think the market is incorrectly assessing the season that is in store for these players.

Sony Michel literally checks all the boxes for me. Three-down running back who I loved coming out of college? Yep, compared him to LeSean McCoy. First-round draft pick? Yep, over the last five years, they've averaged 264.4 touches in their rookie year. Playing on a top-five offense? Yep, they've been top-five every year since 2009, which means a whole lot to running backs in fantasy football. As for DeVante Parker, he's being drafted at his absolute floor right now, but comes with top-12 wide receiver upside. His targets per game have risen every year and now the Dolphins have an extra 223 targets to spare with the departure of Jarvis Landry and Julius Thomas. Don't forget that Parker was a top-12 wide receiver for the first month of the season before suffering a high-ankle sprain. And oddly enough, he's played better with Ryan Tannehill than any other quarterback in his career.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B-

Strengths

Tagliere pounded the table early for running backs, walking away from the first four rounds with an unassailable stud in Ezekiel Elliott and three promising youngsters. Sony Michel and Ronald Jones II are up in the air, of course, but both have pathways to their respective lead roles. Michel, in particular, has a featured back's makeup and could be poised for a similar workload (and touchdown total) to what LeGarrette Blount used to see in New England. All of that value was made possible by a shrewd decision to sit tight at quarterback, still managing to land a top-10 name in Round 10 and a pair of marginal reserves.

Weaknesses

This roster boasts a receiving corps that was valued well during the draft, but collectively doesn't hold much apparent upside; it's built better for a full-PPR format. Tagliere invested heavily in DeVante Parker (WR29 off the board), who has yet to flash the big-play and touchdown chops we saw at Louisville, and his many nagging injuries could take its toll quickly. He extracted strong value later, namely from Marqise Lee (WR50) and Calvin Ridley (WR56), but there's not a lot of dynamism – nor clarity about roles. Tagliere can survive with this group, especially with Doug Baldwin as its core, but he'll need big, well-timed weeks from the bench guys to keep pace.

How he'll win it all

Ezekiel Elliott successfully carries a retooled Dallas offense without much decline in efficiency, and at least two of Joe Mixon, Michel, and Jones establish themselves as RB2-worthy on most weeks. Meanwhile, Tagliere's slot-heavy receiving corps churns out just enough volume to produce a few WR2/3 finishes, keeping pace with the more volatile guys from their ADP ranges.

Draft Slot 5

Pat Fitzmaurice

Pat Fitzmaurice was an editor at Pro Football Weekly from 1997 to 1999 and wrote for ProFootballWeekly.com from 2000 to 2013. He has also written for SI.com, TheFootballGirl.com, and 4for4.com. He has a weekly podcast, Fitz on Fantasy, and his weekly fantasy rankings can be found at TheFootballGirl.com.

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

This is my most likely arrangement

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 7
  • Tight Ends - 3

Though I might sacrifice a running back for a third quarterback if I can get Lamar Jackson.

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

It might take a while. I'll take one at pick 1.05 and try to land another by the 4th or 5th round, but after that, I'm okay with throwing darts at three or four guys beyond the Top 30.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

I expect to have three by the end of the fifth round. End of the sixth round at latest.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

Hard to say, but I'm not a late-round-quarterback zealot, especially not in industry leagues where there are often good quarterbacks available late enough that you're not making too great a sacrifice at other positions. Drew Brees is a target for me this year.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

Most likely not until the 7th round or beyond, and possibly WELL beyond.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

Alvin Kamara is probably going to be my pick at 1.05. Can't pass on the chance to get a top-shelf running back in the top half of Round 1. I'd take Kamara over Antonio, and probably over David Johnson, whose outlook I'm souring on with no Bruce Arians, no Carson Palmer, and a bad offensive line. As mentioned earlier, Brees is a target, and I'd also like to get Lamar Jackson; he'll be starting by mid-October, and I think he could be another Michael Vick. One guy I seem to be significantly higher on than consensus and have been landing in early drafts is Allen Robinson. I think he's going to be a heavy-usage alpha receiver in Chicago. Two other guys I'm targeting: Derrius Guice, whom I believe to have RB1 potential, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, a precocious young talent who might be cheaper than he should be due to Antonio Brown's presence. (What if it's JuJu who's a threat to Brown's expected target load rather than vise versa?)

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

There are two guiding principles I'll follow in the first half of the draft:

  1. There are about 25 premium running backs and 35 premium wide receivers available, and then the talent at those two positions starts to flatten out. I won't let myself get distracted by quarterbacks or tight ends until those 60 players are gone.
  2. Because I think we all tend to misjudge opportunity for running backs, and because wide receiver is a far more predictable position, I intend to get more than my fair share of top wide receiver talent even if it means questionable running back depth. I don't mind throwing late darts at running backs with uncertain usage pictures.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

Just one particular trigger point. When Jordan Howard and Joe Mixon go, it's time to grab Derrius Guice with the next pick.

9. Discuss drafting from the #5 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

I generally like the middle positions because of the shorter wait between picks, so I'm content with pick No. 5. As noted earlier, I think it forces me to go running back in the first round. Positional runs at quarterback and tight end can be hard to manage when you're on one of the ends, and that shouldn't be a concern for me. (Not that quarterback runs should really be a concern for anyone this year as deep as the pool is.)

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

I don't really care if they're spread evenly or concentrated in a few bye-heavy weeks. I don't want my top two QBs and top two TEs to have the same byes, but otherwise, I don't pay much attention to it.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I don't mind drafting those players if I can get a decent discount. When you factor in the replacement-level value of the guys who'll be filling in for the missing players, sometimes the discounts are pretty enticing. I'm a little more willing to draft suspended players than injured players. The timetables for the return of injured players can be a little too rosy. (And obviously, I'll pay close attention to whether Dr. Jene's assessment matches what the coaches are saying about an injured player.) As for rookies, I'm happy to dive in headfirst when a talented first-year guy has an uncertain usage picture -- it's a buying opportunity.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

Most likely this:

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 2
  • Wide Receivers - 5
  • Tight Ends - 1

Possibly one more running back and one less wide receiver or TE.

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

I'm guessing it will be:

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 6
  • Tight Ends - 2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

  • Lamar Jackson tops the list, though I might get an itchy trigger finger and grab him earlier.
  • Jordan Matthews might not be a lock to make New England's final 53, but I'm still a believer.
  • Gerald Everett is a favorite end-of-draft tight end talent -- I think he'll be a TE1 within the next three years.
  • I honestly have no idea what to make of Kalen Ballage as a prospect -- and frankly, my instinct is to be the don't pass line here -- but I'm tempted to throw down some chips on a guy who has such an impressive physical profile and a shot at a meaningful role.
  • And are we absolutely sure that Keelan Cole isn't the best receiver on the Jaguars' roster? If Cole is around late, I might take him as my last WR.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.05
5
RB
NOS
2.08
20
WR
GBP
3.05
29
WR
IND
4.08
44
WR
CHI
5.05
53
RB
DEN
6.08
68
RB
OAK
7.05
77
TE
TEN
8.08
92
WR
GBP
9.05
101
WR
MIA
10.08
116
RB
CIN
11.05
125
QB
IND
12.08
140
WR
FA*
13.05
149
QB
DAL
14.08
164
TE
PIT
15.05
173
RB
MIA
16.08
188
QB
MIA
17.05
197
WR
JAC
18.08
212
RB
MIA

Post-Draft Questions

1. You stated in your pre-draft plan that you are not a late-round quarterback zealot, yet you executed the waiting game expertly by selecting Andrew Luck (11th), Dak Prescott (13th), and Tannehill (16th). Why did you deviate from grabbing a bigger name earlier?

What I meant by that is that I don't feel obligated to adhere to a late-round-quarterback strategy in every draft. There were a couple times when I had quarterbacks teed up in the queue but watched them go a few picks ahead of me. Still, I was pretty pleased that Luck slipped that far. The shoulder concerns compelled me to come out of the draft with three quarterbacks instead of two, but I'm fine with that considering how little draft capital I had to invest in those three.

2. Most teams opted for three tight ends, yet you crafted this team with just two at the spot. Tell us what you expect from the two you selected (Walker and McDonald).

Yeah, that's not ideal, but I didn't think I could afford to take three quarterbacks AND three tight ends. I'm counting on Walker to give me a solid baseline of production at the tight end position -- a steady diet of catches and yardage, and I'll hope for some good luck on the touchdown front. With McDonald, I really don't know what to expect. But I do like him more in best-ball formats than in standard formats because I think he has a decent chance to have a handful of spiked scoring weeks, but I'm sure there are going to be a lot of games where he only sees a couple of targets and the Pittsburgh wide receivers do all the heavy lifting.

3. You tagged Keelan Cole and Kalen Ballage as two guys you would love to get late. You got both to close out the draft. What can we expect from these players in 2018?

The Jaguars have the most inscrutable wide receiver situation in the league, and it's anybody's guess as to how the target distribution is going to work out. But as I mentioned earlier, I don't think it's inconceivable that Cole proves himself to be the best receiver in Jacksonville. His performance last year was pretty convincing. I don't necessarily expect him to have a major role, but I'm hoping for a handful of good best-ball weeks. With Ballage, I'm simply hoping that his unique physical profile carries the day. His college numbers at Arizona State aren't that encouraging, but the combination of size and speed is pretty alluring, and I don't think he's that far away from having a significant role in Miami

4. You locked up the two primary wide receivers on the Packers. Talk through this component of a Best-ball strategy building around the value play of Randall Cobb.

Although I waited on quarterbacks in this draft, the Adams/Cobb strategy allows me to leverage the talents of the best quarterback in the game. Maybe I'm wildly underestimating Geronimo Allison, or maybe one or two of Green Bay's rookies will force their way into the wide receiver rotation. And maybe Jimmy Graham has another big season or two left in him. But barring injury, it's hard to envision a scenario in which Adams and Cobb aren't major contributors to one of the best passing attacks in the league. One or the other should give me a strong stat line most weeks, and I'm hoping for a few weeks where I get strong best-ball numbers from both.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B-

Strengths

Fitzmaurice opted to anchor his roster with an upper-tier back in Alvin Kamara, then devote the next three premium picks to the wide receiver spot. Allen Robinson is a tough sell over a few of the wideouts passed on, but that's nitpicky: there's definitely a path to a WR1 finish for Robinson. And most importantly, Fitzmaurice stuck to his flex-heavy strategy and shares the inside track on running back and wide receiver scoring. By showing great willpower at quarterback and tight end, Fitzmaurice should have little trouble filling a lineup with dynamic talent each week.

Weaknesses

While the quarterback and tight end spots require less attention than the others this year, they still need to be stocked with some degree of dependability. Fitzmaurice's quarterbacking is packed with ADP value, but shaky when strung together exclusively. There's a low floor in play here for all three names; Fitzmaurice could have foregone Kenny Stills or Giovani Bernard in the middle rounds, added a safer QB1 candidate, and walked away with a similar level of overall value. It's also fair to worry about his tight end play. Delanie Walker is slowing, and oft-injured part-timer Vance McDonald is the only reinforcement.

How he'll win it all

Fitzmaurice's flex-dominant strategy pans out, with Robinson clicking immediately in Chicago and the Andrew Luck-T.Y. Hilton connection in full swing. That allows his impressive stable of running backs to fight to fill two lineup slots, rather than three, and Kamara's splashy games make this a high-octane roster.

Draft Slot 6

Ari Ingel - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 7
  • Tight Ends - 3

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

Within the first five or six picks, depending on the flow of the draft.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

Within the first seven to eight picks, depending on the flow of the draft

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

Round 9 or 10.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

Round 7.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

Unless I get Antonio Brown in the first round, I'm usually starting with two running backs, and then grabbing at least four running backs in the first half of the draft. In best ball leagues it is easier to cobble together a decent wide receiver core who you just need to get big weeks from. I usually always draft upside players at each position since to win these leagues, you need to put up a lot of points. No glory in second place.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

If I happen to start with two wide receivers, I'm probably slamming running back four rounds in a row. If I miss out on Delanie Walker in the 7th, I'm also most likely waiting on tight end until the 10th or 11th.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 6 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

The 6-hole is a wait-and-see position. If one of the big five running backs fall to you, you take one, if not, then I'm usually rolling with Antonio Brown, which changes my draft strategy, which is normally to grab two stud running backs in the first two rounds. You also have to be aggressive drafting in the middle draft slot because it is always such a long wait for your next turn. You really have to go out and grab your guys and not wait.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

I barely even look at them beyond making sure my quarterbacks don't have the same bye week.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I stay away from suspended and injured players for the most part. As for rookies, I'm usually not grabbing any rookie receivers or tight ends beyond maybe James Washington in the last rounds. As for running backs, there are a few I will target like Barkley and Guice, but I'm sticking to what I know for the most part.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers - 3
  • Tight Ends - 1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 5
  • Tight Ends - 2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.06
6
RB
NYG
2.07
19
WR
CIN
3.06
30
RB
WAS
4.07
43
WR
MIN
5.06
54
WR
KCC
6.07
67
RB
TEN
7.06
78
WR
DEN
8.07
91
RB
CAR
9.06
102
TE
CHI
10.07
115
TE
SFO
11.06
126
QB
TEN
12.07
139
QB
TBB
13.06
150
RB
BAL
14.07
163
RB
MIN
15.06
174
WR
NOS
16.07
187
WR
TEN
17.06
198
TE
CIN
18.07
211
WR
NYJ

Post-Draft Questions

1. You selected just two quarterbacks despite Jameis Winston slated to serve a three-game suspension to start the year. Is this adequate coverage in this format? What are your expectations for Winston and Mariota this season?

I was able to get Winston at a value due to his suspension, and while he will miss three games, he will be available to me for 13 weeks. In best ball leagues, I'm fine with that and I think Mariota is more than capable to give me usable numbers for three weeks on his own. As for Winston himself, he was second last year in average depth of throw, eighth in air yards, and eighth in red zone throws, all coming on an injured and down year. With weapons galore, Winston is a great best ball grab.

2. Your pre-draft plan had you taking tight end Walker who was sniped literally the pick before your selection. Talk through the adjustment made as that occurred and why the tight ends you rostered (Burton, Kittle, Kroft). What can we expect from these players this season?

I really wanted Walker, but these things happen. So I went to Plan B, which was don't panic and wait for a few picks. I then grabbed tight ends I liked with back to back picks later in the draft. Both Burton and Kittle have tons of upside, showed well in limited action so far and have been talked up by their teams as centerpieces to their offenses. I love the combination of those two. Kroft was an end of the draft grab who could bank me some weeks in the event that Tyler Eifert gets injured again, which is almost certain to happen.

3. Your pre-draft plan hoped Taywan Taylor would be available late and you selected him in the 16th round. Why is he on your deep sleeper list?

New Titans offensive coordinator, Matt LaFleur, worked under Kyle Shanahan on the Falcons from 2015-2016 and then under Sean McVay for the Rams last season. Those are some great mentors. The Titans offense should be up-tempo, with a lot of RPO (Run-Pass-Option) plays and will have Mariota playing out of the shotgun. This offense should be flying. Taylor stands 5-foot-11, 203 pounds with 4.50 forty speed and he reminds me a bit of Emmanuel Sanders. While last season was essentially a redshirt year for the whole offense, Taylor caught 253 passes for 4,234 yards and 41 touchdowns throughout his college career, and as a senior, he caught 98 passes for 1,730 yards and 17 touchdowns alone. That's production. Taylor should take on the Cooper Kupp role in this offense but with much more athleticism.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B

Strengths

Like most drafters who have noticed the lack of early value at quarterback and tight end, Ingel took the flex-heavy route, filling in four spots each at running back and wideout before looking elsewhere. That sent him away from Round 8 with four running backs likely to see heavy 2018 reps and four wide receivers with palpable upside. Ingel has plenty of flexibility in the backfield; Saquon Barkley and Derrius Guice step into lead roles with fresh legs, while Dion Lewis lurks as an RB3 with week-to-week RB1 upside. Adding a pair of intriguing handcuffs in the late rounds cemented a solid group.

Weaknesses

Ingel clearly coveted a few specific guys, and he may have reached a bit for Sammy Watkins (WR24) and Emmanuel Sanders (WR34). There's a lot to like about Watkins' 2018 upside, but there's an equal amount that's scary, from his injury history to his first-time quarterback and offensive coordinator. Sanders could again threaten 65 catches but probably could've been had two rounds later. Still, Ingel had already locked down his WR1 and WR2 slots with quality picks early on. It's more concerning that he'll roster only Marcus Mariota, an oft-injured runner coming off a down year, and the suspended Jameis Winston at quarterback. It's not hopeless, as both carry strong upside, but it's fragile and could lead to a zero-spot or two.

How he'll win it all

Barkley and Guice hit the ground running, and it doesn't even have to be particularly consistent – Ingel has a balanced running back stable that can weather a rookie wall. Winston returns and reaches the heights that his surrounding talent provides for, while his volatile receivers stay healthy and trade off week-leading games throughout the year.

Draft Slot 7

Daniel Simpkins - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 7
  • Wide Receivers - 7
  • Tight Ends - 2

If there is value at TE, I may end up with three at the expense of a late running back or wide receiver.

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

I would like three of my first five selections ideally to be at running back.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

I would like three of my first seven selections to be wide receivers.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

Quarterbacks tend to last a long time in these formats, and I like many of the late ones this year. If there is an elite guy that falls farther than he should, I may splurge and take him.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

I'm either going to take one early or late, but more likely late. George Kittle and David Njoku in the ninth- or tenth-round range appeal to me.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

Dalvin Cook is one I would like to snag in the second round. Joe Mixon in the early third is someone I also have my eyes on. Lots of receivers in the fourth-fifth range I really like, such as Amari Cooper, Allen Robinson, and Juju Smith-Schuster. I'm hoping to steal Royce Freeman in the sixth round.

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

Best Ball is probably the format I play the least in currently and there are some real sharks in this draft. Perhaps not having some of the same biases or conceived notions will work in my favor. I'm hoping to take some of “my guys,” players I feel are going to vastly outperform the projections that we and other experts have for them. Playing it safe is not going to win this league, so risks and taking some guys before their consensus ADP will likely be necessary.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)?

When I see Sony Michel and Ronald Jones go, I know it's time for me to pounce on Freeman. He's one of the linchpin players I really feel is important for me to come away with in the mid-rounds.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 7 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

I'm not a huge fan of being right in the middle of the draft. I like being at either end so that I can pick two players and have a reasonable expectation of who will be available when it's my turn again. That seems harder to predict when you are right in the middle of the order. I will have to make sure I am super cautious about getting my guys, even if it means taking them earlier than ADP dictates.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

I don't want to take zero at a position because I had no available starters that week, but I'm a little less worried about them than a traditional format because of the best ball factor.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I'm more cautious about rookie wideouts and tight ends. I doubt I will end up with them at their price points. Even D.J. Moore, who I like, is pricey. There are a few of the rookie runners I have no hesitation about taking, but there are a few like Ronald Jones that I don't think will hit till next year. I'm ok with taking suspension guys if they come at a discount. Jameis Winston is someone I will grab late if I have the need, he is there, and there's not someone I like better.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

I hope to have my eight starting spots filled and have either two extra wide receivers, two extra running backs, or a mixture of the two.

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

I'll probably have this:

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 6
  • Tight Ends - 1

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

These are players I will look to take in that last round depending on my needs:

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.07
7
WR
PIT
2.06
18
RB
ATL
3.07
31
WR
OAK
4.06
42
RB
HOU
5.07
55
WR
TEN
6.06
66
RB
ATL
7.07
79
RB
DET
8.06
90
QB
NOS
9.07
103
WR
PHI
10.06
114
TE
CLE
11.07
127
WR
CAR
12.06
138
TE
TBB
13.07
151
TE
TBB
14.06
162
QB
BAL
15.07
175
WR
JAC
16.06
186
QB
OAK
17.07
199
WR
BAL
18.06
210
WR
NYJ

Post-Draft Questions

1. Your pre-draft plan after 14 rounds was anticipated at 1 QB, 6 RB, 6 WR, and a TE. You actually selected 2 QBs, 4 RBs, 5 WRs, and 3 TEs. Why did you opt to take three TEs in the 10th,12th, and 13th (Njoku, Howard, Brate). What do you expect from these players?

I looked at the board in those rounds and wasn't in love with any of the options at wide receiver or running back. These three seemed like better value to me. I expect Njoku to build on his numbers from last year and be a red zone threat for the Browns. I know that between the two tight ends in Tampa that they'll put up top end numbers because Jameis Winston heavily targets his tight ends, especially in red zone situations. It's generally frustrating to pick which weeks Brate will go off and which weeks Howard will be the one going nuts. In best ball, I won't have to contend with that problem if I own them both.

2. You mentioned quarterback Lamar Jackson and wide receiver Donte Moncrief as two players you were targeting late in the draft. Why are you bullish on both of these players?

As Sigmund Bloom is fond of saying, Lamar Jackson is going to be a cheat code for fantasy football due to his rushing ability. I often think of how Tim Tebow was a top fantasy option in the year he started, despite not being able to throw the ball effectively. Jackson can throw, which makes him positively scary. I realize that there is some risk that the Ravens do sit Jackson this year and let him learn, but the steady drumbeat that continues to come from Baltimore suggests that the team may move on to Jackson sooner rather than later. I took Brees and Carr in this draft as well, so I should be covered even if Jackson inexplicably doesn't see the field. Moncrief is really interesting. Despite what many think, I do not believe he failed to meet expectations in Indianapolis. During the time he should have been breaking out in years three and four, Andrew Luck was hurt. The fact that the Jaguars paid him big money in free agency suggests they see the same things I do -- a receiver who has the potential to be great if he gets competent quarterback play. I am not a huge fan of Blake Bortles, but he played better last year than I have seen him play up to this point in his career. If he can maintain that, Moncrief has a chance to exceed his late-round stock and do some damage for owners, especially in a best-ball format.

3. You paired teammates twice in this draft (running backs Freeman/Coleman and tight ends Howard/Brate). Explain your thinking on why you believe this is a sound best-ball strategy.

I've already explained my selection of Brate and Howard, so I'll take this time to opine about my selection of Freeman and Coleman. I believe that Coleman has a nice role carved out for himself in Atlanta and makes a decent flex play on any given week. If Freeman were to get hurt, Coleman's role would expand, and I would still have a starter. I was also hoping a few guys like Marshawn Lynch and Isaiah Crowell would fall to me at my next pick because I believe they can be starter types but are generally discounted by the community. As tended to be the case in this draft, guys I were counting on to make it back to me didn't make it back around.

4. You drafted just four running backs total. With no waiver wire or trading possible, can this approach be effective in this format?

This was not my plan, but as I got to each of my picks past round nine, I was not liking the running back landscape. Then I waited too late on some guys thinking I could get them, only to have them taken right out from under me. For example, I was shooting for Peyton Barber in the sixteenth, but Jeff Tefertiller sniped him a few picks before me. I needed to be more aggressive than I was. This was a great lesson learned for me in that you need to be willing to take your guys earlier than consensus. The approach to draft limited runners can be effective, but my margin is admittedly razor thin. If there are any major injuries to any of my runners, I am probably finished. I'm also counting on Kerryon Johnson to come through for me as a rookie, which is a big risk. I worry about Johnson myself from a durability standpoint. However, if he can navigate that, I feel he has the talent to carry the load for Detroit. When I made that pick, I had a lot of anger expressed toward me by a few of the other guys that wanted him, so hopefully, I'm on the right track.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B+

Strengths

Simpkins' balanced approach was straightforward: snatch up the best flex player on the board on every turn. Having Antonio Brown as an anchor piece means a lot – Simpkins was able to surround him with gobs of wide receiver upside without having to worry much about reaching. As a result, the roster is constructed tightly, if a little light at running back.

Weaknesses

Obviously, Simpkins will run into some trouble at tight end. He's only rostering David Njoku and the Buccaneers' top two guys, all of whom make for fine best ball depth – as long as they're not together exclusively. Cameron Brate is an underrated mid-round pick, but he's very hit-or-miss, while Njoku and O.J. Howard were strictly situational players as rookies. Simpkins may be looking at a few week-to-week zeroes here.

How he'll win it all

Lamar Miller holds off a recovering Donta Foreman, while the Falcons offense inches back toward its 2016 greatness and both running backs capitalize. Brown stays healthy and dominant, allowing his up-and-down but gifted receiving corps to merely fill in the gaps. The tight end issue probably isn't enough to damn Simpkins; this roster is plenty deep elsewhere.

Draft Slot 8

Jeff Tefertiller - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

  • Quarterbacks - 3
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 7
  • Tight Ends - 2

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

7th Round

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

6th Round

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

10th-12th Round

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

9th-11th Round or possible later. Could be much later

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

Three strategies I am planning:

  1. If tight end gets thinned out more than expected, I am looking at the Reed/Davis combination and adding a TE3. The Washington tight end starter is a solid fantasy producer
  2. Using the Aaron Jones suspension as a mechanism to take he and Jamaal Williams. The GB starting running back is a viable fantasy starter every week.
  3. Target suspended players at value with depth at the position. The four I am eyeing are Winston, Edelman, Ingram, and A. Jones. The suspensions end before the bye-week crunch.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

Only at quarterback and tight end. If I wait on both positions, I will wait until at least 10 are gone from each position before selecting one.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 8 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

If I had an early pick, I would definitely go running back in the first round. I am now looking at a wide receiver like Beckham or running back like Barkley. Given the 0.5 PPR, leaning Barkley if all goes as expected.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

I try to find players within a position without the same bye week. But, in general, I prefer taking the best players and not sweat byes too much.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I see value in the suspended and injured players. Most see risk but the risk is already included in the price. I am aggressive on those players.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 0
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 4
  • Tight Ends - 0

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 3
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 5
  • Tight Ends - 1

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.08
8
WR
HOU
2.05
17
WR
LAC
3.08
32
WR
MIN
4.05
41
RB
PHI
5.08
56
RB
GBP
6.05
65
RB
GBP
7.08
80
RB
PHI
8.05
89
RB
CLE
9.08
104
RB
CLE
10.05
113
RB
IND
11.08
128
RB
SFO
12.05
137
QB
WAS
13.08
152
TE
OAK
14.05
161
TE
NOS
15.08
176
WR
PHI
16.05
185
QB
NYG
17.08
200
WR
NEP
18.05
209
QB
CLE

Post-Draft Questions

1. This "Upside-down" draft would make Matt Waldman proud. Talk through starting with three wide receiver selections followed by eight running back picks. Why build a roster like this for this format?

If Barkley was available, I would have gone the traditional route. But, I do not like the idea of picking lesser players at a position just because everyone else is. This is a losing strategy. So, with all of the running backs flying off the board, I went wide receiver-heavy with three top guys. Then, I hammered running back for eight consecutive picks. Looking back, I maybe should have taken another wide receiver with one of those picks, but I love the outcome. I locked up most of the Eagles and Packers respective backfields, added the two Browns (Johnson and Hyde), and two big upside backs in Hines and Breida.

2. You craftily created value by selecting both Jamaal Williams (5th) and Aaron Jones (6th). Your pre-draft write-up suggested Aaron Jones as a prime target because of his suspension. Combined, what can we expect from these two backs?

Any concern running back Ty Montgomery also takes some of the opportunity? Williams finished strong down the stretch with PPR games of 30, 20, and 31 points in weeks 12, 13, and 14. He showed big-time upside in an offense without Aaron Rodgers. Jones had two 20-point games midseason. There will be scoring and rushing opportunities for these two backs. Given the best-ball nature of the league, If I can get eight 20-point outings from the pair, I will be ecstatic. It is realistic. The Packers starter had 6 20-point outings last year without Rodgers under center. Montgomery will be used in the passing game. I did not want to roster all three Packer RBs so I chose the two I thought would get the carries.

3. You wanted Jordan Matthews late and you selected him in the 17th. What role will he have with the Patriots both during Edelman's suspension and after it?

Given Edelman's four-game suspension and the Patriots distribution of passes, Matthews in the Amendola role will be an asset. Beat reporter Mike Reiss has said that he expects Matthews to emerge during Edelman's suspension. He is plugged into the team so I take the report at face value. Even after Edelman returns, Matthews will have big games. Plus, it is not as though Edelman has been a beacon of health of late.

4. You were able to draft Alex Smith as the 18th quarterback off the board. How good can he be in this Washington offense?

Cousins put up top-5 quarterback numbers last year in this offense .... and Smith is a better quarterback. Also, the additions of Paul Richardson Jr and Derrius Guice will help give the offense a boost.

5. You were the last to take your first tight end and you elected to take just two at the position. Is this adequate coverage considering one of them is 38-year-old Ben Watson?

After going WR-heavy then pounding running backs through the middle rounds, I had to go minimal quarterback and minimal TE. Both of my TEs are proven and undervalued. While Watson is old by NFL standards, I have confidence that Sean Payton knows how to get the most out of Watson's skills. He was a high-end TE2 last year in Baltimore and was a TE1 in New Orleans in 2015 (before missing 2016 with an injury. In that 2015 season in New Orleans, Watson caught 74 passes for 825 yards. I would take a repeat of 2017 considering how late I got Watson.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B+

Strengths

Tefertiller spent the first 11 rounds exclusively stockpiling flex depth, alternating top-tier receivers with quantity at running back. That's only a shrewd approach when the drafter bombards the running back spot with bodies, and Tefertiller did just that, taking 7 straight from Rounds 4-11. One could certainly say he leaped early on some of those guys, namely Corey Clement (RB37) and the suspended Aaron Jones (RB30). But this strategy is a numbers game; Tefertiller is banking on his receivers holding high-end value and only needing two of those seven backs to produce each week. Considering the quality of those top-three receivers, it's a fair proposition.

Weaknesses

While the approach itself makes sense, Tefertiller may have overextended with those running backs. Beyond the top three rounds, he didn't leap again at wide receiver until Round 15, leaving only Mike Wallace and Jordan Matthews for depth. Seven backs probably weren't needed here – Tefertiller could've rounded out better elsewhere by sticking at five, while mixing in, say, Will Fuller V and Jamison Crowder along the way. He's also shallow at tight end, with only two bodies – neither with a TE1 profile – on his roster. I admire his strategy and discipline, but he may have taken it just a hair too far.

How he'll win it all

DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, and Adam Thielen produce elite, injury-free seasons, masking Tefertiller's lack of depth behind them. Throughout the year, two or three of his marginal RBs pop each week – perhaps either Jones and Jamaal Williams trade off big weeks, or Carlos Hyde runs away with the Cleveland backfield. In any event, a Tefertiller win here will predominantly come down to those top three receivers.

Draft Slot 9

Eliot Crist

Eliot Crist is the Sports Product Manager for TheQuantEdge.com. A startup company launching on August 8th, TheQuantEdge will give you the tools you need to play like a tool. Eliot formerly contributed to 4for4, Powerhour, PFF, and Bleacher Report. You can follow him on twitter @EliotCrist where he is consistently talking football, DFS, fantasy and the draft.

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

My ideal roster build (with Gronkowski):

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 8
  • Tight Ends - 2

However, when I miss on Gronkowski I tend to go like this:

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 7
  • Tight Ends - 3

Because tight end is a crapshoot in the later rounds.

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

I like having three running backs by the 7th round. If I have a top 7 pick and I don't go Antonio Brown after the big four at running back I will almost exclusively take a running back. When the draft comes back around guys like Freeman McCaffrey are consistent targets. If I get a bottom four pick I will often pair Gordon, Hunt, Fournette, and Cook. Going heavy on running back is the new fad, but I am buying because a back locked into volume is much harder to come by later in the draft.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

Wide receiver is the deepest position in the league. While you do need to start three a week, there are very talented players in the fourth, five, and sixth rounds. Guys who are their team's top targets such as Allen Robinson and Alshon Jeffrey are routinely available.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

Quarterback is the deepest position in fantasy and only needing to start one I don't take one before round seven. If Russell Wilson or Cam Newton falls I look to take advantage, and Carson Wentz in the 8th is one of my favorite values.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

The days of Gronk at the top of round three seem to be over, but that was my favorite pick of any pick I could consistently make. I will take Gronkowski middle of Round 2 when I can, Kelce in Round 3, or wait till the eight or ninth round depending on who is failing. The mid-tier tight ends of Graham, Engram, and Olsen rarely end up on my teams.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

Holding pick nine I am hoping that Hopkins or Barkley falls to me. If they fail to do so I will grab Hunt and hope for Julio Jones when it comes back around. Gronk is my fall back plan, and while it may be a bit of a reach, getting tight end early almost always has me feeling better about my roster. In the third, I am hoping for Baldwin or Thielen to come back around and then a running back in Penny or Collins to start the fourth. This will give me balance and allow me to fill out the rest of my roster as the board falls and I can take advantage of value. Late I will try to stack up options on my team and get pieces of explosive offenses such as the Steelers, Saints, Eagles, and Rams.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

No. I go in with a strategy, but I don't get locked into a player. You need to be aware of a position run, but I look to anticipate it instead of chase it. The one thing I will do is if I take an important piece of an offense I will look to get his quarterback later in the draft. Example: If I get Allen Robinson in the 5th I will look to add Mitch Trubisky later.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 9 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

Drafting from the nine-hole I understand that I am unlikely to get one of the top eight players in the draft. I will turn my attention to trying to build the running back position up early. I like to try to be one of the top teams in the league at multiple positions. Picking out of the nine-hole allows me to do that at running back and load up on mid-round receivers and potentially grab an Ertz or Kelce if he falls in the third round. If quarterbacks fall in the middle of the draft having two picks close to each other can allow me to try and get two of the best quarterbacks as well.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

There are a few weeks that you need to be careful with. Week 9 and 11 a lot of the top players aren't playing and if you aren't careful your team will be filled with them. First few rounds I don't pay much attention to it, but as the draft goes on I look to mix and match bye weeks so my team isn't killed in one week and have a major hole to climb out of.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

Rookie running backs I will draft based on their projected role, and I often take advantage of a valuable role at a discounted price tag. If they are a handcuff but have a valuable role I will look to draft them as well. Being scared by rookie running backs is a dangerous strategy as NFL teams have proven how willing they are to give them an early workload. I tend to ignore most other positions among rookies as the learning curve is much steeper. With injured or suspended players, it all has to do with the cost. A player like Mark Ingram II won't play five of the first six weeks, but his price tag is still high, so I will pass. A player like Edelman has been falling to the eighth round and I see value there.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers - 3
  • Tight Ends - 1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 5
  • Tight Ends - 2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.09
9
RB
KCC
2.04
16
RB
MIN
3.09
33
TE
PHI
4.04
40
WR
ARI
5.09
57
WR
LAR
6.04
64
WR
DET
7.09
81
QB
HOU
8.04
88
QB
CAR
9.09
105
TE
WAS
10.04
112
WR
DAL
11.09
129
RB
DEN
12.04
136
WR
TEN
13.09
153
RB
DET
14.04
160
WR
TBB
15.09
177
RB
D\'Onta Foreman
HOU
16.04
184
RB
DET
17.09
201
WR
ATL
18.04
208
WR
PIT

Post-Draft Questions

1. Where some experts failed to take a single quarterback or tight end by Round 9, you were already done drafting both positions (taking two quarterbacks and two tight ends). Talk through your thought process on grabbing talent early at these positions and using that structure to maximize shots on goal at the running back and wide receiver positions.

I saw Ertz as a value. I had wanted to take Gronkowski with my second round pick, but I saw Dalvin Cook as a value. Ertz was one of the best, most consistent tight ends in the league last year and let me feel comfortable taking a chance on the health of Reed. If Reed is healthy, I feel as if my tight end group is as strong as any team in the league. I almost always wait on quarterbacks, but there comes a point where I like to take advantage of guys dropping in the draft. Watson consistently goes in the fifth round on draft, while Newton goes in the seventh. Getting Watson in the seventh and Newton in the eight gave me a quarterback pairing that has the highest ceiling of any team in the league, while not having to reach on a position to do it. This strategy also allowed me to focus on the running back and receiver position with my remaining draft picks. I felt as if my core five of running back and wide receiver talent of Kareem Hunt, Dalvin Cook, Larry Fitzgerald, Brandin Cooks, and Marvin Jones Jr allowed me to attack the tight end and quarterback position earlier than I might otherwise.

2. Nearly nothing went as expected according to your pre-draft plan for players yet you executed a strong team by staying to your planned roster construct. What advice can you give the readers when the draft unfolds in such an unexpected fashion?

I always have targets, but the ability to adjust in the draft is the key to success. I let the draft come to me, players who were falling a round or two below ADP, who I think are values this year, I made sure the fall stopped when I was on the clock. Whenever I do a fast draft, and I am three picks away from my pick, I put four guys in my queue who id want in order. This way no matter what happens in front of me I can adjust to it.

3. Which of your last 4 picks are you most excited for? What do you expect from this player?

I am going to cheat here and say I am excited for both Sanu and Washington for different reasons. Washington is one of my favorite late round best ball targets because I like to get a piece of high scoring offenses. With Washington's college dominance in the intermediate and deep game and him landing on the Steelers, he should step into the Martavis Bryant role which will be good for a few weeks of long touchdowns. Sanu, also on a high scoring offense, should give me consistent production. The kind of guy who can win you a league, but his consistency will allow you to take risks on other high ceiling players who will be far more inconsistent like a James Washington and Desean Jackson.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B-

Strengths

Crist opened with a clustered, balanced approach, coming out of Round 9 with two quarterbacks, two running backs, three wideouts, and two tight ends. He then ignored the running back spot until the double digits, making sure to afford himself depth and dynamism elsewhere. He's light in the backfield, but scooping Dalvin Cook as the RB11 and Donta Foreman at RB61 went a long way toward establishing his value. All told, he's brimming with upside everywhere, and despite the unorthodox style boasts a real path to winning this league.

Weaknesses

It's hard to like Crist's week-to-week depth at running back. Beyond Cook and Kareem Hunt, he holds no other lead back candidates and will spend the year hoping for eruptive games from late-round guys. Again, it's fortunate the names he did pick up – Cook, Foreman, and Theo Riddick (RB54) – presented strong value. Still, Crist needs a few very specific breaks to field any alternative options to Hunt and Cook. The back-to-back quarterbacks in Rounds 7 and 8 were a bit of an overextension, and he probably could've skipped Allen Hurns' middling upside in favor of another back. Duke Johnson Jr, Ty Montgomery, or Nyheim Hines would look great folded into this roster.

How he'll win it all

Hunt and Cook stay healthy and super-active, while Deshaun Watson and Cam Newton trade-off huge weeks and prove Crist right for taking both over a wide pool of running backs. This is a swing-for-the-fences roster, and Crist did a solid job of setting himself up for it. Question marks abound, but there's real potential here for an eruptive 2018.

Draft Slot 10

James Brimacombe - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

I am currently approaching 500 drafts on DRAFT, and about 75 percent of the time, I have stuck to this basic build:

  • Quarterbacks - 3
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 7
  • Tight Ends - 3

I try to keep to this build early in the offseason because of injury concerns leading up to the start of the season. Two or three weeks before the season starts I will be looking at more of this build:

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 8
  • Tight Ends - 2

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

Usually, my first three picks all go to the running back position. I often start drafts with four out of my first five picks at running back. The only time I switch this strategy is if I get a top-four running back (1.01-1.04 draft spot) and go double-tight-end (Gronkowski, Kelce, or Ertz) at the 2/3 turn to lock up that position.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

Most likely I will mix one wide receiver in within the first five rounds and grab two more in between Rounds 6-9.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

Round 10 and 11 I usually pair up a nice combo at the position. Rarely if a Wilson, Brady, Wentz, Brees, Newton fall to me in the 8th or 9th I consider them.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

Tight end is not a priority for me in this format. If I fail to get a top 3 option I will wait until after I select my pair of quarterbacks in Rounds 10-11 to start looking in Round 12 for my tight end position. Because I go this route I like to grab three tight ends and it feels like you have to get all three before Round 15.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

Running backs, end of story. I want four or five in the first four of five rounds, and I will build around that from there. Guys I tend to get a lot of exposure to are Ajayi/Henry in the fourth and Ronald Jones in the fifth because people are scared off because they don't 100% know what their roles will be and what percentage of the workload they will get.

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

Nothing fancy, go heavy on running back early, find the value in wide receivers after that, grab a solid quarterback duo and a nice set of value tight ends late in the draft. If I get a top draft slot I will look to go running back and double-tight-end with my first three picks as I feel it locks people out of the tight end tier and gives me leverage at that position all season long.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie Players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab Player C the next time I pick)

I have my ADP set up and adjust it daily but once I am in a draft I might switch up my queued players to better fit my team as the draft is ongoing. I try not to lock onto too many single players.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 10 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

I will likely end up with Kareem Hunt, Melvin Gordon III or Leonard Fournette and will be fine building around that.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

I look at bye week very closely. I want every edge I can find. If I can draft five running backs with all different bye weeks I am happy as that is the position most likely to be hit with an injury. quarterback and tight end are the same I want my players all with different bye weeks and try to avoid taking a zero in any week.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I love rookie running backs and I don't mind a few of the rookie wide receivers for value. Injured players I won't touch, and suspended players I don't mind taking for value purposes depending on where they land.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 0-1
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 3
  • Tight Ends - 0-1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 5
  • Wide Receivers - 5-6
  • Tight Ends - 1-2

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

If I needed a fifth running back it is T.J. Yeldon every single time. I sometimes like him as a sixth running back just because I can get him in the 18th round. It mainly is wide receivers that I target in these rounds and often they are my WR6-WR8 types. In this range, I like these guys:

I typically take whoever falls to me.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.10
10
RB
LAC
2.03
15
RB
CAR
3.10
34
RB
MIA
4.03
39
RB
TEN
5.10
58
WR
NEP
6.03
63
TE
CAR
7.10
82
RB
IND
8.03
87
WR
HOU
9.10
106
QB
MIN
10.03
111
QB
DET
11.10
130
WR
WAS
12.03
135
WR
BUF
13.10
154
WR
SEA
14.03
159
WR
WAS
15.10
178
WR
TBB
16.03
183
WR
LAC
17.10
202
TE
DET
18.03
207
TE
SEA

Post-Draft Questions

1. You had a plan to slam running backs early and selected them with the first four picks of the draft. You added your fifth running back (Mack) in the seventh round as well. Discuss why this is your go-to approach in Best-Ball leagues drafted in July.

In a way maybe I am chasing what everyone else is doing now with the running back situation. They are going fast in drafts so I continue to target them early and pass on some potential higher upside guys at other positions. In July having the likes of Melvin Gordon III, Christian McCaffrey, Kenyan Drake, Derrick Henry, and Marlon Mack I am feeling strong at the position and don't feel like I will need to worry about any competition for these backs. If you were to wait on the position you are chasing a lot of "what if" type of players. I am playing it safe in July and early August.

2. You selected the ninth and tenth quarterbacks off of the board (Cousins and Stafford). Is the sweet spot for value/expectation at the position?

I feel like I am not overpaying for Cousins and Stafford at this spot and they both have top-five upside any week of the season. Pairing these two quarterbacks together makes me feel confident entering the season. Round 10-12 feel like the spot you want to look for the value at the quarterback position. I paid a little more of a premium to lock in Cousins and Stafford who I feel have a higher upside than some of the others around this ADP.

3. You targeted wide receiver Tyrell Williams as a value play you were hoping to secure late. What do you expect from him in 2018?

The fact that the Chargers haven't filled the Hunter Henry void makes me like all the Chargers wide receivers a little bit more. Tyrell Williams is coming off a pair of solid seasons with 69/1059/7 line in 2016 and 43/728/4 last year. I am not sure why he is tumbling down the draft board when he should see plenty of targets and be a top-three option for Philip Rivers once again this season.

4. You drafted six consecutive WRs in rounds 11-16. What player attributes are you looking for to find value this late at the position?

The downfall of going running back early makes you have to load up on value wide receivers later in the draft. That is exactly what I did in this draft and looking at this position in these later rounds I want WR2 players on their team who have a strong quarterback throwing them the ball. Kelvin Benjamin is the only one that doesn't fit that profile but he is a WR1 on his team and should see plenty of targets regardless of quarterback play.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B+

Strengths

Brimacombe opened with an RBx4 approach, ultimately coming away with 5 backs over the first 7 rounds. He did a fine job of stockpiling strong names at a premium position while taking advantage of a bloated tier of receivers in the middle rounds. He also stood pat after two quality quarterbacks; by not pushing that issue, he was able to load up on upside WRs from Rounds 11-16. This is a soundly-constructed roster, one that prioritizes a tough position to get reliable production from.

Weaknesses

It's nitpicky among this impressive stable of running backs, but Brimacombe may regret leaping at Christian McCaffrey over Dalvin Cook. The DRAFT format is only half-PPR, so unless McCaffrey adds an appreciable amount of rushing work, he may fall short of these expectations. He's also a bit ceiling-dependent at receiver, depending mostly on boom-or-bust guys that will erupt sporadically but disappear plenty as well. Brimacombe is playing a numbers game here with his positions, so he can stomach some busts but might find some of these guys too volatile.

How he'll win it all

Brimacombe's wall of running backs hums along, producing three strong performances each week, while his dynamic receivers put together two. Meanwhile, Greg Olsen returns from an injury-plagued campaign to bolster a thin tight end group and avoid zeroes. Brimacombe's approach was far more strategic and rooted in position allocation than in value, so he's nicely insulated from the hit-or-miss nature of much of the roster.

Draft Slot 11

Jeff Haseley - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

Probably this:

  • Quarterbacks - 3
  • Running Backs - 6
  • Wide Receivers - 7
  • Tight Ends - 2

I may take a quarterback or wide receiver and turn them into a third tight end. I like having a fairly competent TE1 in the Top 8 and perhaps a TE2/TE3 by committee in the later rounds. I wouldn't mind having Cameron Brate & O.J. Howard paired with someone like Jimmy Graham or Greg Olsen. A lesser degree would be Jack Doyle and Eric Ebron. A boom/bust could be Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee, but with only 18 rounds, I doubt it gets that deep.

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

This depends on my interest in going big with a tight end. I would say by the seventh round for sure and maybe the sixth round.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

By the seventh round. I generally like to have equal running backs and receivers by rounds six or seven.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

I strongly doubt I will take a quarterback in the first four rounds. The run is going to come quick, but I am okay with having two top-12 quarterbacks, perhaps one proven veteran and another up and comer, like Pat Mahomes or Jimmy Garoppolo.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

Unless I find myself with good value on Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce, I will probably wait until I have at least five from running back and wide receiver combined.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

I am drafting in the 11-spot so I have several options to choose from - Kareem Hunt, Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, Michael Thomas to name a few. I'm not sold on Rob Gronkowski at pick 1.11 or 2.02. That's a bit rich for my tastes given his recent history with injuries. Later in the draft, I'll be targeting players like T.Y. Hilton, Doug Baldwin, Michael Crabtree, Rex Burkhead, Dion Lewis. All have the potential for sustained success as a team leader at their position, or a player who can strike it big any given week. That's what Best Ball is all about.

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

Target players on high scoring teams and don't be afraid to double up on a running back tandem like Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones, or Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram II, A combo of Devontae Booker and Royce Freeman also isn't a bad strategy. TE2/3 by committee of players on the same team could work, especially in Best Ball. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate could even be a TE1/2 by committee.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

Not particularly, however, I may be able to start a run at the 7-8 turn with quarterbacks or a mini-run with tight ends. It won't be my strategy, but if it happens and I get ahead of the run, that's good for my team.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 11 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

At the 11-slot, I will get two solid players at the 1/2 turn and my gut says I'll have one running back and one wide receiver. The 3/4 turn will probably have more wide receiver value, so picking two wide receivers in the first and second round may not be in my best interest unless I'm lucky enough to have Travis Kelce fall to me at the end of Round 3.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

Plan accordingly, especially for my quarterbacks. I don't want to have two quarterbacks with the same bye week.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

I am all for selecting rookies, but with caution. I would want to have Royce Freeman or Ronald Jones be my RB2. Rookie wide receivers are more difficult to predict and usually fall in the WR4 or WR5 range for me. I generally stay clear of rookie tight ends, but Hayden Hurst as a late-round flier may interest me. Baltimore is bare at the tight end position and Hurst is by far the best athlete they have for that role.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 3
  • Wide Receivers - 4
  • Tight Ends - 1

That would be a decent start for me.

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

I tend to draft on an even slate. I can see myself with this:

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers - 6
  • Tight Ends - 2

I could very easily have five receivers and running backs or maybe even one tight end with a sixth wide receiver.

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.11
11
RB
JAC
2.02
14
WR
NOS
3.11
35
RB
BAL
4.02
38
WR
DEN
5.11
59
TE
GBP
6.02
62
RB
NEP
7.11
83
WR
NEP
8.02
86
QB
NEP
9.11
107
WR
OAK
10.02
110
TE
IND
11.11
131
QB
LAR
12.02
134
TE
IND
13.11
155
WR
CHI
14.02
158
RB
JAC
15.11
179
QB
DEN
16.02
182
RB
TBB
17.11
203
RB
JAC
18.02
206
WR
MIA

Post-Draft Questions

1. You had targeted wide receiver Albert Wilson as a value pick late and were able to select him in the 18th round. What kind of season do you expect from him?

I have a feeling that Albert Wilson can be a darkhorse receiving threat in Jarvis Landry's vacated slot role for Miami this season. I doubt anyone can fill Landry's shoes with the sheer volume of targets that he saw, but Wilson has a chance to carve out a role and potentially be fantasy relevant. From Week 12-17 last season with Kansas City, Wilson had 25 receptions on 40 targets (6.6 per game) and one touchdown. This performance put him in the Top 35, which equates to flex option production. Miami signed the 26-year-old free agent in the offseason to a three-year, $24M deal. Earning a salary of $8M per year, I doubt he'll be relegated to a minimal role. In my eyes, he's an educated pick with potential, especially in the 18th round as my last pick in the draft.

2. You went in with a pre-draft plan of just two tight ends but opted for grabbing both Doyle and Ebron from the Colts after selecting Jimmy Graham in the fifth. Talk about your expectation by pairing these two Indianapolis players in this format.

I felt the value for the tight end position was going to start to peak in the sixth round with only three selected in the first 58 picks. I wanted to get a decent producer, especially in best ball format. Jimmy Graham was next on my draft board at the position and I see him being a plug-and-play receiver for Aaron Rodgers, potentially filling Jordy Nelson's shoes, especially at the goal line. Being at the 11 spot of this draft, if I didn't take a tight end at 5.11 or 6.02 I probably would be stuck with a lesser alternative on the next turn. As a result, I selected Graham, which started a mini-tight end run. Evan Engram and Greg Olsen went in the next four picks. The decision to take Jack Doyle and later Eric Ebron was one I was targeting since the Doyle pick at 10.02. My next play was to select Eric Ebron with one of my picks on the next turn. The allure of the Colts tight ends is that Andrew Luck has a propensity to target his tight ends, especially in the red zone. By harnessing that duo, I maximize my ability to accrue virtually all of their tight end production. In the last five years where Andrew Luck has played, the Colts tight ends have amassed 45 touchdowns. If that trend continues, I'll be sitting pretty with a potent TE2 by committee.

3. You grabbed all three Jacksonville running backs essentially ensuring production in all weeks except their bye week. Explain your thought process on why the desire to grab a bunch of the running backs from the same team.

Jacksonville has a run-heavy offense led by workhorse back Leonard Fournette. I like the Jaguars running corps, particularly Fournette for several reasons. The team made improvements to an already stout offensive line by signing top guard, Andrew Norwell, in free agency. In addition to that, their defense is among the best in the league. A strong defense usually leads to a dominant running game, especially in the second half of games where Jacksonville will be looking to control the clock and not make any unnecessary errors. It's also possible that Fournette will sit or be used less in the second half to keep him fresh over the course of the season. There is also a history of Fournette having ankle issues. Rostering the entire Jaguars running game means I will be covered for any and all of their dominating ground game, as well as injury insurance.

4. You grabbed an early quarterback (Brady as the fourth taken off of the board) but still took three players at the position. How important is the quarterback position in Best Ball leagues?

I surprised myself by taking Tom Brady because I usually like to wait at quarterback so I can focus on key players at other positions. However, at pick 8.02, I was at a comfortable spot in my draft where I had three running backs, three wide receivers, and a tight end. Selecting Julian Edelman with pick 7.11 was the deciding factor for me to target Brady with my second pick at the turn. When I selected Edelman, I was all-in on taking Brady for the double-dip combination if he made it to my next pick two spots later, which he did. I later drafted Jared Goff (11.11) and Case Keenum (15.11) to complete my quarterback position. The reasoning behind those two picks - I like how Goff has transitioned into a productive quarterback with Sean McVay calling the plays. Yes, offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur has moved on to Tennessee, but McVay is still very much a big reason for the Rams offensive resurgence. Goff gives me a decent second option who has the potential to reach 4,000 yards and perhaps steal some weeks from Tom Brady as the top quarterback on my roster. Case Keenum was a luxury pick and one that I coveted to stack with Demaryius Thomas. A big game from Thomas may be enough to potentially steal a week as my top quarterback. I like having three quarterbacks in best ball and I feel I selected a good mix of star power and comfortable depth with increased potential.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B+

Strengths

Taking a value-based approach, Haseley mixed and matched his picks evenly throughout his draft. As a result, it's hard not to like the value he wound up with. He was conservative with his early picks, opting for medium-impact workhorses like Leonard Fournette (RB9) and proven contributors like Demaryius Thomas (WR15). That cuts down on his question marks and helps to prop up stumbles elsewhere. He also drew arguably the league's best helping of quarterback value, with Tom Brady as an anchor and high-ceiling Jared Goff later on, without overspending. And it was shrewd to scoop up both talented backups behind Fournette, who's been fighting off a long-term ankle injury for years.

Weaknesses

Hasely drafted well enough that he can't be faulted too hard for not focusing on any one position early. Still, he comes away looking fairly thin at receiver, where he'll rely on a few suspect names during Julian Edelman's suspension. And in DRAFT's half-PPR format, Edelman looks more like a quality WR4 than one players will want to lean on too heavily. Also, it may come back to haunt Haseley to have passed on high-upside receivers like Michael Gallup, Geronimo Allison, and Keelan Cole over marginal QB3 Case Keenum.

How he'll win it all

The Jaguars keep improving, giving Haseley a strong weekly RB1 candidate every week, and his situational backs help fill in the gaps. Edelman returns and remains healthy all year, providing another high-volume season that effectively maps the lack of depth there. Haseley's middle rounds were packed with wildcards, and one of Jimmy Graham, Rex Burkhead, and Jordy Nelson could prove a major pivot point for this roster.

Draft Slot 12

Devin Knotts - Bio

Pre-draft Questions

1. How many of each position do you plan to take?

In an 18-round draft, I'm going to be targeting this breakdown:

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 5-6
  • Wide Receivers - 7-8
  • Tight Ends - 3

Of course, that is depending on the value that is available. My plan would be that I wouldn't have my third until about Round 7, but it is entirely draft dependent as drafting on the turn you have to take what you can get.

2. How soon do you plan on having three running backs?

Ideally, I would have this completed by round four, but not going to force it as drafting from the 12 spot is tough as your draft is pretty dependent on how the draft comes to you. If it is a running-back-heavy first round, I'll potentially go wide receiver/wide receiver to start the draft.

3. How soon do you plan on having three wide receivers?

My plan would be that I wouldn't have my third until about round 7, but it is entirely draft dependent as drafting on the turn you have to take what you can get.

4. When do you plan to select your first quarterback?

I never really have a plan with quarterbacks. I take the first quarterback when there isn't really a player that I am comfortable taking at that spot. With that said, round nine is when I would begin to force myself into taking a quarterback as you need to get three of them if you aren't paying up early for an elite quarterback.

5. When do you plan to select your first tight end?

I typically pay up for tight ends, but only the right tight ends. There is a tight end I would consider if available in the third round (see next question). Otherwise, Jordan Reed in the 8th is another guy that I am very high on this year.

6. Name a few guys that you are looking to build your team around. What rounds do you expect to get them in?

Zach Ertz is a guy I want on my team if he falls to me in the third round as the consistency he provides is a tremendous value. At the 12 spot, it's hard because you don't have many choices in the first two rounds as it is whoever the first 11 guys don't like enough to draft is left. If Odell Beckham, or Leonard Fournette fall I would be ecstatic, otherwise I'm probably going to build around Dalvin Cook.

7. Give us some advanced strategies you are looking to implement in this draft.

Draft for upside late in the draft. If a guy does not have a clear path to playing a significant role on your team, don't draft them. Play for the win.

8. Do you have any trigger points (ie players A and B are gone therefore I am looking to grab player C the next time I pick)

Trigger points are more useful in the mid-round spots, but for me, at the quarterback position, the player I'm keeping an eye on is Carson Wentz and ultimately quarterback 8. As soon as the eighth quarterback goes off the board, that's when I'll need to jump as having 24 spots 22 spots between draft picks does not give you the luxury to wait things out.

9. Discuss drafting from the No. 12 hole. What will you do differently because of this draft slot?

Drafting 12th is the most difficult spot in the draft to draft from as you really are unable to have a great plan. Typically I have a plan on the first couple of rounds and players I want to target. For this 12 spot, I am throwing that out the strategy and basically creating a large number of contingency plans.

10. What's your approach to bye weeks?

The only position I actively monitor bye weeks for is quarterbacks and backup tight ends. For running backs and wide receivers, I use it more of a tiebreaker than anything else. If I like two guys the same but one has a more advantageous bye week for my existing team then I would go with that player. I'm not taking a running back I like less just because he has a favorable bye week.

11. What's your approach to rookies, injured players, and/or suspended players that may not have a full workload to start the season?

In the best ball format, I'm ok with taking suspended players if it is a rare occurrence like Mark Ingram II or Julian Edelman. I'm generally in favor of rookies although I am not going to overpay for rookies which ultimately means that I don't get a lot of the rookies I would take.

12. At the mid-point of the draft (nine rounds), how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 1
  • Running Backs - 3
  • Wide Receivers - 4
  • Tight Ends - 1

13. After 14 rounds, how many players at each position do you expect to have?

  • Quarterbacks - 2
  • Running Backs - 4
  • Wide Receivers - 6
  • Tight Ends - 1

14. Name five players you would love to choose from in rounds 16-18.

Draft Selections

Pick
Overall
Position
Player
Team
1.12
12
WR
Odell Beckham
NYG
2.01
13
WR
ATL
3.12
36
QB
GBP
4.01
37
RB
SEA
5.12
60
RB
CLE
6.01
61
TE
NYG
7.12
84
RB
BUF
8.01
85
WR
CAR
9.12
108
RB
SEA
10.01
109
WR
LAC
11.12
132
QB
ATL
12.01
133
RB
IND
13.12
156
RB
OAK
14.01
157
WR
NOS
15.12
180
TE
DEN
16.01
181
WR
DAL
17.12
204
RB
KCC
18.01
205
WR
JAC

Post-Draft Questions

1. Drafting from the 12th hole, you opted to select back to back WRs while the rest of the field was loading up on RBs. You double-downed on this strategy by taking the top quarterback in Aaron Rodgers in the third and a top tight end (Engram) in the sixth. You are one of just two drafters who took just two quarterbacks and two tight ends. Talk through why this strategy can work in a Best Ball league.

Drafting from the 12 slot I knew it was going to be a challenge. I am of the opinion that following the herd is something that I don't want to do which is why I went with a completely different strategy. I decided to load up on my other positions getting two of my top wide receivers, my top quarterback and what I feel is a top three tight end. There is more too it than that, however, as since I got a top tight end and top quarterback, I was able to avoid having to take three quarterbacks or three tight ends which ultimately allowed me to get the quantity of running backs even if I may not have the quality of running backs. The reason I only took two quarterbacks is relatively simple, Aaron Rodgers is going to provide the consistency that you need and by going and once Matt Ryan fell to me there really was not a need as I have two guys who have zero risk of losing their job unless there is an injury. Tight end is a position that we very rarely see late round tight ends emerge as consistent fantasy performers. So by taking a guy who has less injury risk as he is essentially a wide receiver in Evan Engram, it will provide me consistency while adding the one guy who I think could breakout in Jake Butt.

2. Running back LeSean McCoy's value has plummeted in recent days on news of a beat-up ex-girlfriend, steroids/drug use, etc. Clearly, the story hasn't completely played out, but what are your expectations for McCoy this season?

This is entirely taking a risk, as I don't think anyone really knows what will occur with McCoy. Obviously, this pick could come back to haunt me and be a wasted seventh-round pick, but when you start with deprioritizing running backs it was well worth the risk here.

3. What is your expectation of rookie running back Nick Chubb this season? Can he play himself into the primary ball carrier by season's end?

Nick Chubb is going to be the primary ball carrier early in the season. While the Browns which had a ton of draft capital, still used a second-round pick on a luxury position because of how much they like Chubb. Carlos Hyde is an insurance policy and to teach Chubb how to catch the ball as Hyde was not used as a receiver coming out of college much like Chubb.

4. You drafted two of my favorite sleepers in wide receiver Michael Gallup and tight end Jake Butt. What are your expectations for these two players in 2018?

I'm a big believer in watching what the teams do, and while everyone is concerned about the Cowboys wide receiving group, they don't seem to be overly concerned with Witten retiring, releasing Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams dealing with injury and legal issues. There were a ton of beat writers speculating who the Cowboys could get one player being Corey Coleman as the Browns were seemingly willing to part with him for almost nothing, but the Cowboys did nothing. A big part of this is I believe they know how good Michael Gallup can be in this offense as he is an extremely fluid receiver and a tremendous route runner. While he does not have elite speed, he plays extremely physical and will be looked upon to replace some of the production lost in this offense. I expect inconsistency from Gallup, but I think he could be this season's Cooper Kupp in terms of a third-round guy who produces.

Justin Howe's Evaluation

Grade: B+

Strengths

Beyond the first two rounds, Knotts didn't lean toward one position over another, which afforded him the flexibility to post a value-driven draft. He holds several intriguing mix-and-match names at running back, as well as strong ceilings at receiver from the mid-to-late rounds. Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones will anchor his wideout spots, but when they falter, there's plenty of touchdown upside (Devin Funchess, WR36) and volume potential (Michael Gallup and Dede Westbrook over the last three rounds) in play. Also shrewd was Knotts' prioritizing of LeSean McCoy (RB39) at the end of Round 7. Knotts took him right where running back value starts to crater, opting for McCoy's obvious (if currently murky) RB1/2 outlook over a handful of receiving backs that don't translate as well into DRAFT's scoring format.

Weaknesses

There were a few picks Knotts probably could've waited on. Nick Chubb has a nice ceiling, but most drafts see him fall into Round 8 or 9. (At least Knotts covered himself value-wise by snagging McCoy, as well as RB51 Jordan Wilkins.) And given the depth at quarterback, there's not much space between Aaron Rodgers and the next 8-10 names, and generally no need to leap in Round 3. Knotts' roster is deep and tight, but a name like Stefon Diggs, JuJu Smith-Schuster, or Josh Gordon might have been better at 3.12. Knotts could've sewn up an anti-fragile wide receiver corps and still taken a high-end quarterback several rounds later.

How he'll win it all

Beckham and Jones post the all-world seasons we've seen at their bests, anchoring a roster long on upside. McCoy's legal woes are halted, giving Knotts a top-15 running back at wild value – or, at the very least, two of Knotts' three rookie running backs pan out. Meanwhile, Evan Engram proves TE1-viable next to Beckham and delivers from the 6.01 spot.

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