7-11 Drafting: Focusing on the Middle Rounds

How to use the middle rounds of your draft plan to map out your overall draft day strategy 

Today is the day - Draft Day. You've prepped all offseason - you know who you are picking in the first round. It doesn't matter what draft spot you get tonight, because you are tuned in and you have read everything on Footballguys.com about Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliott, David Johnson, and Alvin Kamara. You have your stud running backs ranked from 1 to 12 along with some wide receiver studs and Travis Kelce and you are set to go once the draft order is announced. Bring on the draft!

Pssst. Did you remember that you have 17-19 more rounds to go?

Wow, did you forget about the rest of the draft? Are you too focused on which stud running back to take first that you haven't had a chance to run a mock draft and see who to take next?

Well, maybe this is not a good description of you. You have already run 20-30 mock drafts and you know who goes in which round this year. You know your ADPs better than your ABCs. You have a list of 40-50 guys to target and two dozen different sleepers that are begging to be picked for your team. But wait - is that too many? How am I going to get all that talent on my roster?

OK - don't panic. I got you covered. It is called 7-11 Drafting.

I know what you are thinking. Jeff, seriously, I love your articles and all, but I think you might be a little frazzled with all those "by committee" articles you have been pulling together. What does a Slurpee have to do with my fantasy draft plan? Allow me to explain.

What I am proposing to you is to plan out your draft strategy a little backward. Not quite Matt Waldman’s Upside Down Draft plan, but I am asking you to look at Rounds 7-11 with some fresh eyes and decide who you want to take in those rounds. By knowing your plans for the middle of the draft – the point at which many fantasy owners’ eyes start to roll back in their heads, ask for a break in the draft, or head for the bathroom, beer fridge or both – you will be far ahead of the competition. Trust me here, and let’s get started.

ROUNDS 7-11

The first thing to do is to take a look at the current ADP data for Rounds 7-11. I used the 2019 PPR Data from Footballguys, but the same strategy will work with standard, non-PPR data. My assumption here is a standard PPR league, where you start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K and a defense (also known as a "1-2-3-1-1-1" league).

Looking over the players that are likely to be picked in Rounds 7-11 (Picks 73 through 132), I can start to plan my strategy. With 60 players to select from (and possibly a few more, if I look into Round 12 or at a few players who might fall), I have the ability to decide what positions I will address in these rounds. That information will guide my decision-making process for Rounds 1-6 and help me to build the best team possible. It will also allow me to confirm or question my overall strategy for how to set up my team overall.

Normally, in a 1-2-3-1-1-1 league, I would like to have my skill position starters addressed plus one backup at each position after 11 rounds. That means I want to first think about having two quarterbacks, three running backs, four wideouts, and two tight ends by the end of Round 11. That is not always the case for every league, but it is my starting point for my planning process. The next step is to look over the players I will use to get to that point – or to consciously decide to deviate from that basic strategy. Either way, I will have more information and a better plan before I ever make my first pick.

Let’s start the process, position by position.

QUARTERBACKS

Taking a look at the players that will be available in Rounds 7-11, Picks 73-132, it is apparent that these are the rounds where most of the quarterbacks are going to be drafted. Table 1 shows a shortlist of the quarterbacks under consideration, including 1-2 options that might slip past Round 6.

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