Yesterday, we took a look at the things you SHOULD DO in your fantasy football drafts. But, much like Goofus and Gallant, or the Second Law of Motion, everything you should do has a countervailing force: something you shouldn’t do. With that in mind, here are the things I’ve resolved to not do this draft season, gleaned from doing upwards of 1-2 mock drafts in the last 9 months.
Don’t Punt Quarterback and Tight End
It’s trendy to punt quarterback, and it’s also trendy to punt tight end. But, for the love of God, don’t do it to both positions at the same time on the same roster. First and foremost, it creates a roster construction issue: in most leagues, you have six bench spots. If you’re punting tight end and quarterback, you have to get two of each to make sure you get two bites at that upside apple. All of a sudden, you’re working with four bench spots because you had to get Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, Irv Smith and Albert Okwuegbunam all onto the same roster. And the upside there is what, a backend QB1 and backend TE1? That’s a lot of draft capital and roster space spent on marginal returns. If you end up punting one of these positions, you better have a rock-solid player in the other one.
Punting is supposed to create roster strengths in other areas, it’s why you don’t hear about someone punting a position mid-season: that’s just giving up on finding a replacement. If you decide to punt one of these “onesie” (start one) positions, then you better have a rock top-five guy at the other spot. If you start with Josh Allen, you get a chance to punt tight end. If you start with Travis Kelce or Mark Andrews, then you can get away with having Trevor Lawrence and Derek Carr.
But, trying to punt more than that leaves you in a pickle where you’re making suboptimal moves that fill up your bench with WR4 and RB3 while leaving you picking over the carcass of starting positions that you need to fill.
Don’t Ignore Rookie Wide Receivers
Twelve rookie wide receivers went in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, and since 2010, 33 wide receivers have finished inside the top-36 at the position in full-PPR, peaking with nine such wide receivers in the past two seasons. As of writing this, one rookie wide receiver has an ADP inside the top-100, zero have an ADP inside the top-36 at the position, and the 12 wide receivers who were drafted in the first two rounds of the NFL draft have an ADP of WR63. You’re leaving value on the table if you don’t walk away with at least two of these guys on your bench after the draft. They’re incredible value that we are leaving on the side of the road so that we can draft Russell Gage and Tyler Boyd.
Get multiple rookie wide receivers, and you will profit in your fantasy football drafts this season.
Don’t Clog Your Roster
There are plenty of players that we end up drafting because we think that they will be solid Bye week fill-ins. Do you know when you take those? DURING YOUR BYE WEEKS. Guys like Kendrick Bourne or Jamaal Williams are unlikely to help you on a week-to-week basis, despite having a relatively high floor on a weekly basis. But, a guy who finishes as WR40 every week doesn’t help you, unless you need someone to finish as WR40. Instead of taking those guys, take shots on players who have a chance to finish inside the top-24 at their position. If they miss, you can always cut them and get a guy who can finish as WR40 starting in week six during the Bye weeks.
We don’t have Bye weeks until week six now, so drafting a Bye week fill-in is drafting a guy who will sit on your bench for five weeks until you use him, at best. You can just use that roster spot to get an upside player or a backup running back (someone else’s handcuff) and then you can drop that player when the Bye weeks come. It doesn’t make any sense to draft a “solid” depth guy when you can just get them off of the waiver wire, for free.
Don’t Forget About Pass-Catching Running Backs
I did a study into pass-catching running backs last season and found that year over year, they’re the best value in fantasy football. We often cast them aside because they don’t have a strong upside to be the top running back on the team. But, just last season, for example, we saw Darrel Williams finish as RB22 and J.D. McKissic was RB18 when he suffered a season-ending injury. These guys are incredible roster glue and part of Evan Hoovler’s Toolbox Bench strategy. Some players to consider, at various price points: the aforementioned J.D. McKissic and Darrel Williams, but also Kenneth Gainwell, Nyheim Hines, and rookie James Cook.
Don’t Forget About Roster Changes
Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Marquise Brown, Amari Cooper, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Christian Kirk, A.J. Brown, Allen Robinson, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, and Russell Wilson, among others, are some of the notable fantasy football players who changed teams this offseason. This list also doesn’t include rookies who came in and shook things up (Breece Hall, Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson), or teams whose quarterback situation otherwise changed (Trey Lance promoted to starter). There have been a lot of changes this offseason, and it’s worth your due diligence to just take an extra second to double-check that the player you want to draft is actually still on the roster you think he is, and that you actually want to draft him. It could save you a lot of headaches when you realize that Amari Cooper will not have Dak Prescott and, instead, Jacoby Brissett, throwing him the football.
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