If you want to draft the best running backs, you should position yourself toward the end of the first or second round of the draft. Then, as you approach the second and third rounds, you should focus on wide receivers and QB1s. Finally, in the late rounds, you should target TE1s. You’ll be glad you did. If you’re unsure where to position yourself, check out the following article for some tips.
Many top-flight fantasy football players use the RB1-RB2-RB3 draft positioning strategy to improve their overall team. This strategy has two main strengths: it can be used with any year’s RB1 and offers a foundation core. It can also be used with mid-to-late-round RBs. Mid/late-round backs are usually goal-line touchdown stragglers, which means week-to-week scoring can be unpredictable. In addition, you can bolster your RB roster with waiver wire picks if you don’t have the budget for elite running backs.
Running backs tend to suffer from the worst injury and volatility of any position in fantasy football. Selecting a high-upside sleeper for your team can give you a huge return on investment. To make the most of your fantasy football drafts, target RB1-RB2 sleepers and draft two RBs in Tiers 1-5. If you want to avoid a forced selection, draft TEs instead of running backs.
The RB1-RB2-RB3 draft positioning strategy may not be for everyone. Some players fit all three of these categories, so it’s important to be careful about your picks in the first round. If you’re a late drafter, you may find a steal in the first round or a sleeper running back in the second or third round. Generally, RB1-RB2-RB3 players are usually the best in their respective draft positions. If you don’t like the RBs you get, consider WR1.
Wide receivers are better than running backs.
Historically, wide receivers are more reliable than running backs and have longer fantasy careers. In addition, starting wide receivers are easier to draft later in the draft, so waiting for a pass catcher to go undrafted isn’t necessarily the worst option. Wide receivers earn one point per carry and six points per touchdown, and they also receive an extra point if they are targeted on backwards screen passes. In PPR leagues, wide receivers can earn rushing yards if they are targeted on backward screen passes. Of course, running backs also lose two points for every fumble the defense recovers, but their yards are not nearly as low as wide receivers.
The first benefit of running backs is their ability to produce top-scoring weeks; that advantage lasts through the high end of the charts. The rate of double-digit-game starting weeks is higher than that of wide receivers, with 12.5% of all starting running backs producing 10 games or more. Moreover, running backs maintain an edge well into the high end of the chart. On the other hand, wide receivers have more competition.
QB1s are better than running backs
It is not the consensus among experts that QB1s are better than running backs. However, running backs are valuable fantasy assets for a few reasons. Running backs are relatively stable game to game, but their injury risks are higher. And fewer mid-level running backs are good enough to stick around the whole season. Therefore, it is better to draft a QB1 in a running back position in a quarterback league.
Although Tom Brady put up freakish numbers in 2007 and is still a good QB1, his performance was not indicative of a true QB1. On the other hand, Peyton Manning is the definition of a quarterback. He is the primary weapon of the Colts’ offense and is on a team built to throw the ball. As such, his fantasy value is comparable to that of an RB1. He’s guaranteed to get plenty of yards and scores each week.
In 2015, zero RB strategies became popular. The Zero RB strategy compares WR1s to RB1s in total fantasy points. But that year’s performance is a huge outlier. WR1s outscored RB1s on average by 74.2 fantasy points per season. That’s 12.1 times more than the typical year. So, while it’s still worth drafting a QB1, you might want to stick with a running back instead.
TE1s are better than wide receivers in later rounds
If you’re looking to snag a premium tight end in the later rounds of the fantasy football draft, you’ve probably heard it all before: TE1s are better than wide receivers in later rounds. But is it true? You’ll have to wait a few rounds before you can get your hands on Andrews, Lockett, and George Kittle, the best options at that position.
Wide receivers represent the ceiling and floor of the fantasy football draft. While running backs and tight ends represent the ceiling and floor, no definitive rule says you can’t draft a wide receiver in the first round. Just ask Odell Beckham Jr. or Michael Thomas, who had a disastrous year coming from inside their ADP ranges. In general, building around a wide receiver is better than moving on to other position groups.
The Buffalo Bills’ TE Dawson Knox is an intriguing option in Tier 4. This rookie developed a rapport with quarterback Josh Allen and should get plenty of target time. He caught 49 passes last season while being targeted 71 times. He scored nine touchdowns, which should put him in line to produce at least five or six scores in Tier 4.
TE1s are better than TE2s
Whether TE1s are better than TE2, you’ll have to decide for yourself. TEs are classic early or middle-round picks. Many owners wait until this tier to get one of these coveted players. While you may not get a true difference-maker out of these guys, they’re still fairly valuable. And if one of them has a breakout season, you may be on the verge of a fantasy championship.
You need to analyze the numbers if you’re wondering whether TE1s are better than TE2. The first is based on a player’s overall efficiency. TE1s produce higher FPOA than TE2s. TE2s are often cheaper than TE1s, but you’ll likely have to pay more for their upside. For instance, in 2018, Knox was a TE1 who scored on 18.3% of his receptions, compared to the league average of 8.5%. Therefore, TE1s are a better bet for your fantasy football team than TE2s.
Tier 3 tight ends should be considered TE1s. They’re worth a look if you’re looking for a TE2 that can be used as a backup during bye weeks. Knox was a TE1 in Buffalo last season and should continue to be a good option. Hockenson is another sleeper option, as he’s not TD-dependent. Despite his injury in 2017, Smith is still a TE1 candidate.
TE1s are better than TE2s in later rounds
Unlike wide receivers, tight ends in the later rounds of the fantasy football draft can be spot starters or weekly starting options. As long as you know how to evaluate matchups, you can go with a low-end TE1 or a high-end TE2 in the later rounds of your fantasy football draft. There is little need to consider Tier 4 tight ends unless they have proven themselves to be inconsistent in the past. You can also consider Knox, Hockenson, and Freiermuth as TE1s.
The Buffalo Bills’ Dawson Knox leads Tier 4’s TE1 class. The TE1 with the most upside in this class is a tight end with a solid connection with Josh Allen. Last year, Knox caught 49 passes on 71 targets for 9 touchdowns. With a QB switch from Matt Ryan to Marcus Mariota, there is a chance Pitts’ TD totals will rebound.
If TE1s are better than TE2, you can still find value in a late-round wide receiver. While some WRs may slip to the second or third round in home leagues, you can still get a good receiver in Round 4. The key is to take a receiver early. You should target a wide receiver between seven and 10 overall and a TE between 15 and 19 in the second round. Depending on your draft, you may even want to draft a WR-TE combination between Jefferson and Chase. This is a much better value than trying to force a back into the later rounds.
Defense is better than wide receivers in later rounds
In general, defense is better than wide receivers in later rounds. If you’re looking to add a player that can make a ton of tackles, defensive backs or cornerbacks might be the right pick. The latter position is arguably the deepest in fantasy football. Wide receivers typically do not receive the same attention as running backs, but they are still a great pick.
You can get a tier-2 wide receiver in round four if you don’t have a need at this position. For example, if your team has only one tier-3 wide receiver, a tier-4 player may be enough to give you a fair value. Otherwise, a tier-three wide receiver can be worth considering. In any case, you need to fill at least two tiers, including a flex spot.
A tier-three D/ST isn’t that different from a Tier-one D/ST, but they’re more likely to be better than expected. You don’t need to reach for one of these players in the draft, but don’t be afraid to pick up a D/ST on the waiver wire, assuming you have a spot to use for a D/ST.