Telmo Talks Draft Strategies 

By: Telmo Costa follow me on twitter @telmotalksFF

July 11, 2017

A lot of casual fantasy owners just print out a Top 100 list and pick players off that. Most have never heard of a draft strategy like zero RB. I put this together to show separate ways you can approach your draft and situations where these can benefit you. After a brief description of how and when to use these strategies I also included a mock to show you some results. Without further ado…

Best Player Available
This is the most common approach. Some choose to fill their starting spots first before moving on to the bench, in which case you are pretty much auto-drafting in person. Most, however, will prioritize depth at certain positions before moving on to another. The method is self-explanatory; you draft the best player available on the board until you no longer need players at that position. This is safe and simple which is why most people use it.
When to use:
This is best used with redraft leagues since you are not looking for long-term potential on your roster.

Mock Drafted Team: 6th pick out of 12
1. Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG – WR)
2. T.Y. Hilton (Ind – WR)
3. Eddie Lacy (Sea – RB)
4. Isaiah Crowell (Cle – RB)
5. Andrew Luck (Ind – QB)
6. Bilal Powell (NYJ – RB)
7. Frank Gore (Ind – RB)
8. Tyler Eifert (Cin – TE)
9. Eric Decker (Ten – WR)
10. Derek Carr (Oak – QB)
11. Eric Ebron (Det – TE)
12. Tyler Lockett (Sea – WR)
13. Kevin White (Chi – WR)
14. Brandon McManus (Den – K)
15. Jacksonville (Jax – DEF)

Zero RB

    Zero RB was formed out of fear for drafting a “fragile” team. Everyone has, or knows someone who has, had the unfortunate experience of their top RB getting hurt or being a bust and the entire team falls apart. The belief is that RBs are more likely to get hurt or have less security on the depth chart so this formula helps draft a less “fragile” team. zero RB believes you can get quality RBs in later rounds and focus your early picks on other positions. If you look at statistics, many of last year’s top RBs came from later rounds (Blount, Gordon, Ajayi, Howard). Also, top pre-ranked RBs often have a drop off the next season (Gurley, Peterson, Lacy, Martin). I would say in your first 5 rounds you take 3 WRs, your starting QB and a TE before taking a RB at all. If done right, and with a little bit of luck, you can get top tier players at all starting positions. The key after that is to draft depth at RB in your later rounds, aiming for fliers with high potential and receiving backs in PPR formats.

When to use:
For 2017, the best time to use zero RB is when you know you have a pick in spot 4-7. That way the top 3 RBs will most likely be taken and you have your choice of the top WRs. Better suited for PPR leagues.

Mock Drafted Team: 5th pick out of 12
1.    Antonio Brown (Pit – WR)
2. Doug Baldwin (Sea – WR)
3. Aaron Rodgers (GB – QB)
4. Greg Olsen (Car – TE)
5. Golden Tate (Det – WR)
6. Ty Montgomery (GB – RB)
7. Bilal Powell (NYJ – RB)
8. Doug Martin (TB – RB)
9. Samaje Perine (Was – RB)
10. John Brown (Ari – WR)
11. Corey Davis (Ten – WR)
12. C.J. Prosise (Sea – RB)
13. Kareem Hunt (KC – RB)
14. Chris Boswell (Pit – K)
15. Atlanta (Atl – DEF)

    Zero WR or Robust RB
    Contrary to the zero RB formula, zero WR focuses on building your team foundation on the RB. The belief here is that you can grab high upside WRs in the middle rounds because of the plethora of depth at the position. You attempt to stack up on bell-cow (every down, high volume, full load, clear cut stud) backs. Granted, after looking at the reasoning for zero RB this may not sound as appealing but there is method to the madness. By not focusing on WRs early you can add security to your starting RBs; whether that comes as a top back-up, Flex starter or a valuable trade piece for when someone else’s RB goes down. Like zero RB I would recommend taking a QB and TE before any WRs to get top tier talent at those positions as well. Again, draft depth at WR in your later rounds, aiming for fliers with high potential and break out candidates.
    When to use:
    For 2017, the best time to use zero WR is when you know you have a pick in spot 1-3 or after 8. Better suited for non-PPR leagues and leagues where RB is a Flex spot choice.

    Mock Drafted Team: 9th pick out of 12
1.    Melvin Gordon (LAC – RB)
2. Leonard Fournette (Jax – RB)
3. Aaron Rodgers (GB – QB)
4. Travis Kelce (KC – TE)
5. Ty Montgomery (GB – RB)
6. Golden Tate (Det – WR)
7. DeVante Parker (Mia – WR)
8. Willie Snead (NO – WR)
9. Mike Gillislee (NE – RB)
10. Stefon Diggs (Min – WR)
11. John Brown (Ari – WR)
12. Quincy Enunwa (NYJ – WR)
13. Zay Jones (Buf – WR)
14. Chris Boswell (Pit – K)
15. Atlanta (Atl – DEF)

    Targeted Position
    Not sure if this has a real name but I just made “targeted position” up. The way I do this is by doing 10 or so mock drafts and seeing where I average with taking a certain position at each round. For example, 8 out of 10 mock drafts I took a RB in the first round so for my real draft I focus on taking an RB that round. The point of this is to see where you can get the best value at each round. For the sake of this article I’ll use my keeper league as an example. It is a 10 man league and from doing mock drafts I’ve realized I can obtain a QB that I am happy and comfortable with in the 9th and a TE in the 11th. Knowing that, I can enter my draft already knowing what position I want to take at each round. This takes more preparation because you need to plan what positions you want your bench to be. An example and the rough draft for my keeper league looks like this:
    Round 1 RB (keeping Zeke), 2 RB, 3 WR, 4 RB, 5 WR,
    6 RB (keeping Ty Mont.), 7 WR, 8 RB, 9 QB, 10 WR,
    11 TE (keeping Henry), 12 WR, 13 RB, 14 QB, 15 TE,
    16 DEF, 17 IDP, 18 IDP, 19 IDP, 20 K
    When to use:
    This is best used when you have a keeper league and you already have some predetermined rounds crossed off. It will help you plan out what holes you need to fill on your team.

    Mock Drafted Team:
1.    LeSean McCoy (Buf – RB)
2. Devonta Freeman (Atl – RB)
3. DeAndre Hopkins (Hou – WR)
4. Christian McCaffrey (Car – RB)
5. Jarvis Landry (Mia – WR)
6. Ty Montgomery (GB – RB)
7. Golden Tate (Det – WR)
8. Dalvin Cook (Min – RB)
9. Kirk Cousins (Was – QB)
10. Willie Snead (NO – WR)
11. Kyle Rudolph (Min – TE)
12. John Brown (Ari – WR)
13. Jonathan Williams (Buf – RB)
14. Atlanta (Atl – DEF)
15. Blair Walsh (Sea – K)

    Stream QB/TE
    Streaming is a strategy of picking up a player from the waiver wire before a favorable matchup. Typically done with DEF or K, this is an effective way to maximize your value at that position if you can predict the right matchups. This method can also be applied to QB and/or TE in certain league set ups. Treat those positions the same you would as a K or DEF, draft them late and look for the best available early matchups. Joe Flacco may not be flashy but he plays CIN, CLE, and JAX his first 3 weeks and is normally available in later rounds. By taking focus off of the QB and/or TE you can focus on your WRs and RBs. Also, when it comes to positions like QB and TE where there is less demand for depth, if you’re not one of the first to take the studs at those positions then you want to be last. The value curve after the top tier decreases much slower than it does at more in demand positions like RB. Season long management and planning for the next week is very important here.
    When to use:
    This strategy only works if your league is set to start 1 QB and/or 1 TE. Even more effective if there is no Flex position or TE is not an option for the Flex spot.

Mock Drafted Team: 4th pick out of 12
1.    Antonio Brown (Pit – WR)
2. Doug Baldwin (Sea – WR)
3. Christian McCaffrey (Car – RB)
4. Marshawn Lynch (Oak – RB)
5. Jarvis Landry (Mia – WR)
6. Tevin Coleman (Atl – RB)
7. DeVante Parker (Mia – WR)
8. Eric Decker (Ten – WR)
9. Samaje Perine (Was – RB)
10. Jack Doyle (Ind – TE)
11. Eric Ebron (Det – TE)
12. Blake Bortles (Jax – QB)
13. Carson Palmer (Ari – QB)
14. Chris Boswell (Pit – K)
15. Atlanta (Atl – DEF)
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