Studying draft trends can give you an edge in fantasy
you want a low-risk, high-reward wide receiver, you must take one by the second round.
This is the deepest fantasy position but also the one that generally requires the most starters each week. Usually, your third wideout is still a starter — and maybe your fourth in some leagues. There are still excellent values by the fifth round with Larry Fitzgerald, Kelvin Benjamin, Jamison Crowder, Martavis Bryant and the like.
By the ninth round, the run on wide receivers will cool down with the position already raking in the top 40 if not top 50. Tight ends and quarterbacks start to dominate before wideout depth is addressed for the rest of the draft.
Trend advantage: It is a passing league, and wide receivers score well even without reception points. It is a deep position but heavily raided early, so not having two by the end of the fourth round means you need to get lucky with sleeper types.
The top 10 tight ends of 2016 are also mirrored in 2017 drafts, but in this case it is reasonable since the position offers so few viable fantasy starters. Rob Gronkowski is healthy again and is usually taken in the second round. When healthy, there is no comparing the advantage he offers. But the next tight end won’t go for another couple of rounds at best.
Travis Kelce, Greg Olsen and Jordan Reed go next, usually around the fifth round. The sixth might see Jimmy Graham and Tyler Eifert picked. Round 8 is when the gates open up, with most teams taking their tight end by the start of the 10th.
Tight ends are more relevant and drafted a bit earlier in pointper-reception leagues. But everyone needs one, and once the starters at running back and wide receivers are secured, it makes sense to get value in a starting position.
Trend advantage: Taking Gronk is great if he stays healthy, but he impacts your other starters. Waiting until the seventh round still yields Hunter Henry, Kyle Rudolph, Martellus Bennett and Delanie Walker. Waiting on a tight end doesn’t hurt nearly as much as missing earlier-round running backs and wide receivers. There is a new trend happening with fantasy leagues choosing not to use a kicker. I say “Bravo!” The final two rounds are littered with “sigh … a kicker” picks. Someone grabs Stephen Gostkowski early despite his No. 10 finish last year.
Kickers are the fantasy football equivalent of a prostate exam. You need one, but you put it off. It happens, and then you never want to talk about it again.
Trend advantage: None.
This roster spot is not that different from kickers in that there is little consensus on the position and minimal advantage. They, too, get scraped up in the final two or three rounds of drafts.
The Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans are most popular and start to go four or five rounds from the end.
The final two rounds contain most of the defenses.
Trend advantage: This is a starting position, and spending an earlier pick on a starting defense makes more sense than taking a sixth wide receiver. Look at what your Round 15 picks did last year. Why not try to get one of the best defenses? They’re still relatively cheap.
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