Fantasy

High Stakes Draft Breakdown Part 2

Josh Larky (@JLarkyTweets) and I (@neel2112) recently completed a high stakes draft together in the Football Guys Player Championship, a 1QB, PPR, TE-Premium league. If you haven’t read part 1 of this article where we break down the higher and more important picks in the draft, read here.

This article shows the thought process we used when rounding out our draft in the key final rounds.

Here is our draft board:

high stakes draft board

Our starting roster:

high stakes draft starting lineup

Our bench:

Bench

Late Round Picks

Filling out the Roster with Picks whom have Clear Paths to Starting on Our Roster

Round 10 Pick 110 – Rachaad White

Do any of us actually know Leonard Fournette’s real weight? I certainly don’t. What I do know is that Fournette has never played a fully healthy season, and Rachaad White has third round draft capital with a legitimate workhorse profile. Fournette going down at some point in the season is a fairly safe bet, and in those weeks, Rachaad White will be in our lineup. When drafting running backs in traditional leagues this late, make sure there are paths to you starting them in your lineup. This is not best ball; a running back like Rachaad White has a lot more value than a back like James White who went just a round later in our draft. A lot of variables have to go your way to consider starting James White at any point in the season, but only one has to go right to start White. In the later rounds, don’t identify players that score the most fantasy points, identify players that score fantasy points in predictable and exploitable circumstances.

 

Round 11 Pick 131 – Tyler Boyd

 

Tyler Boyd is one injury away from being an every week starter on our fantasy team in the high scoring Cincinnati Bengals offense. Our young wide receiver core is loaded with upside near the top; Toney, Davis and Amon-Ra St. Brown are somewhat risky picks that we need to hit big on. A player like Tyler Boyd has little to no uncertainty in what’s going to happen. He will be a fringe WR3 unless either Tee Higgins or Ja’Marr Chase get injured, but if they do, its wheels up because Tyler Boyd will be a plug-and–play WR2. One thing has to go right for our 11th round pick to force his way into our lineup. That’s the type of player to target. 

 

Round 12 Pick 134 – Tyrion Davis-Price

 

TDP fits into the mold of the previous couple of picks where not much has to go right in order for him to become a consistent starter on your fantasy team. I think the 49ers backfield is also a pretty unique situation where if you draft one of the top three backs from it, you’re probably going to get some startable weeks no matter what. Shanahan likes to cycle backs and ride the hot hand for a couple of weeks before moving on, and the zone read offense he runs creates lots of opportunities for running backs to get injured through high-velocity impact. With Trey Sermon the lone exception, the 49ers roster usually holds a host of smaller speed backs who can create explosive plays, but who often don’t have durable body types, and the team consistently pumps mid round draft capital into the position every year. While Elijah Mitchell is the incumbent starter, I’d be shocked if he starts over 12 games this season, given the precedent of the running back position these last few years with the team. 

It’s important to note that after our run of wide receivers in the middle rounds, we’ve stayed relatively balanced between the two primary positions. After investing such high draft capital into both the TE and QB positions, we don’t intend on drafting a second at either position. We only expect to start one of each position, and by taking another TE or QB, we’re just betting against our own 3rd and 4th round picks, which isn’t a winning strategy. 

 

Round 13 Pick 155 and Round 14 Pick 158 – Jarvis Landry and Jakobi Meyers

 

We round out our receiver core here with two players who could reasonably start for us if some of our upside swings higher don’t hit, or if something breaks these players’ ways. Landry has been a productive player his entire career and who’s to say he doesn’t have a WR2 outcome this season when only Michael Thomas and a rookie are ahead of him in the pecking order. Jakobi Meyers on the other hand really doesn’t need much besides Mac Jones taking a second year leap to hit his ceiling. Meyers had 126 targets last season but just two touchdowns, deflating his final placement in the wide receiver ranks. He probably projects to garner a similar amount of targets this season as the lead wide receiver in an above average scoring offense (they were sixth in total scoring in 2021). I personally think Meyers is mispriced and am picking him up in a lot of my deeper drafts. You shouldn’t be able to get a team’s WR1 for this cheap of a price. 

This is the time of the draft where we fully pivot from wide receivers to running backs. We have drafted eight wide receivers and invested a decent amount of draft capital into the position. Every single one of these players will be non-zeroes on our bench, and drafting more wide receivers from this point on (regardless of the value) isn’t adding much to our total expected fantasy points by the end of the season. Wide receivers after this point are often two or even three events away from entering lineups, which isn’t a realistic scenario to bank on. In general, structurally, wide receiver value dries up here and the value instead lies in cheap handcuff backs that have top 15 potential at their position with injuries to the starters at the position.

 

Rounds 15-20 – Hassan Haskins, Cleveland Def, Snoop Conner, Tyler Badie, Keaontay Ingram, Rodrigo Blankenship

 

While Josh and I weren’t able to find too many micro edges at this point in the draft, it is important to be attentive and intentional in the final rounds of your draft. Stacking cheap running backs from the same offense is a good tactic to ensure production from your bench in case the starter goes down. We had an opportunity in the second to last round to draft Trey Sermon to “handcuff” TDP, which is exactly the type of good handcuff we support. Betting against your 12th round pick isn’t ceiling reducing, rather, by picking up multiple cheap pieces of the 49ers backfield we can ensure that if Elijah Mitchell goes down, we’ll more likely be able to capitalize on any eventual outcome in the highly efficient and productive offense. However, we chose Keaontay Ingram because we felt there was just a gap in player ability and potential upside between the two picks. It’s a tough situation, and I think both are good picks for entirely different reasons. The Ingram-Sermon thought process at the end of the draft is how you should be approaching the late rounds in all your drafts, you need to know when to sacrifice some value in your own player projection to take a player that completes your build more efficiently and vice versa. 

 

Haskins is the likely workhorse if Derrick Henry goes down in Tennessee. Snoop Conner was drafted before James Robinson’s timeline became clearer. At the time, it was unknown if Robinson would be ready for week one. Tyler Badie has an all-purpose skill set, with ridiculous college production. The time tables for JK Dobbins and Gus Edwards may not allow them to be at full strength for week one, and Badie in a vacuum is the best pass-catching back in Baltimore.

 

The Cleveland defense faces Baker Mayfield and the Panthers, Zach Wilson and the Jets, Mitch Trubisky and the Steelers, and Marcus Mariota and the Falcons to open the season. We will most likely stream defenses this season, but with Cleveland, we are confident they have four matchups against below-average offenses to start the season. We took Blankenship at kicker because the Colts have a good offense and play their home games in a dome environment, which means there won’t be ill weather effects to worry about in at least half their games.

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this lengthy writeup and learned a thing or two about how to approach drafts. Josh and I had a very specific draft and not every choice we made can be applied to your draft, and not every edge you’ll be able to find in your draft will be documented here. For instance, as the 11th pick in the draft, you should always pay close attention to how the 12th pick’s team build is constructed, so you can figure out moments when you can take certain players over others because you know the other player will come back around after the turn. Paying close attention to how your league is drafting is essential to exploiting them; us taking Darren Waller close after team 9 revealed their hand with a bully TE approach gives us a competitive advantage on the rest of the field. Pay attention to correlation opportunities with players you drafted – and players you didn’t draft – along with scoring format, lineup options, and what needs to go right for you to win your league in all of your drafts.