Build a Fantasy Football Draft Plan in Reverse

How late-round target players dictate early-round strategy in a fantasy football draft

Over the last few years, the proliferation of the zero or late-round draft strategies for any of the skill positions has led to a boom of activity around team-building and draft capital optimization in fantasy football drafts. The late-round approach to any position is a two-way street as a drafter would be centering their attention on the back-half of the draft (plus more attention to the waiver wire) but also pointing to avoidance of the position in the early rounds. While any strategy of positional drafting can work with the right players, the late-round approach works hand-in-hand with the entire value structure of the position for a particular year.


When getting up to speed on the new landscape of positional value for a fantasy football season - or simply recalibrating for a new wave of upcoming drafts - my first task is simply highlighting late-round players of interest. This can be done on an overall (mix of positions) sheet of the Top 200 or so, but I prefer to separate the positions into distinct columns.

Next, I simply highlight - starting at the bottom - the players of interest. This is especially important outside the first 10 rounds or so as they are all affordable and any singular player can be drafted in most of your leagues if aggressive enough.

There are bound to be highlighted players at every position in the low-cost bucket, but the key is looking at your confidence level and the sheer number of options. For example, the quarterback position is low-hanging fruit this year. Even when a league fades the position as a whole, waiting until at least 10-15 quarterbacks are gone is a sound approach. Based on the August average draft position (ADP), here are the options outside QB15:

There are others, but this list alone screams wait on the position. There are steady veterans (Cousins, Rivers), rushing-centric young guns (Jackson, Trubisky, Allen) and rebound candidates with a reason for optimism (Carr, Stafford, Dalton).

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