Study­ing draft trends can give you an edge in fantasy

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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.

TIGHT END

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.

DE­FENSE

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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