2016 Fantasy Football Draft Strategy


It's funny, but at the end of the 2015 season I wrote a draft strategy (link).  The reason I took the time to do that is so when the 2016 drafting time rolled around I would be prepared for drafting a solid team.  Check out  Top Sportsbooks for odds.

Let's take a look at my round by round recommendations; let's assume this is a 12 team league doing a redraft type draft.  Let's assume 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, and 1 DEF for your starters.

Round 1:  This year running back (RB) is a super deep position and it's in your best interest to attack wide-receivers (WR).  I highly recommend you take a WR with your first round pick; I am targeting players like: Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins, AJ Green, Allen Robinson.  You are very likely to get any one of these WR's in the first round.

Round 2:  Again, let's keep attacking WR's as we go into Round 2, because RB's will still be available later in the draft and you want top WR talent this year.  I am targeting: Brandon Marshall, Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks, Demaryius Thomas.

Round 3: Here is another pick that may be going against the grain, but again I am targeting a WR in Round 3 due purely to RB depth this year.  If you have three elite WR's after Round 3 it will pay off due to: WR's tend to play the entire season, the top WR's can be more likely to get double digit TD's, if you are in a PPR league then you have even further safety.  I am targeting: Brandon Marshall, Amari Cooper, Brandin Cooks, Demaryius Thomas, Jeremy Maclin, Jarvis Landry.

Recap: Targeting players is very important when you are drafting; it's better to go down the list and get the players you want then drafting best available.  I like to go into the draft with a plan and get the players I want rather than just taking the best available player.  At this point in the draft your team could look like: Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, and Demaryius Thomas.  That's a wonderful foundation to build upon. 

Round 4: Well, we have been putting off RB's for a while now and it's time to jump in and grab your first RB, but you will find solid RB depth at this point in the draft.  I am targeting: CJ Anderson, Carlos Hyde, Thomas Rawls, Latavius Murray.

Round 5:  Let's go ahead and grab another RB at this point, because the depth is still strong here and there are tons of solid options in Round 5.  I am targeting: Carlos Hyde, Thomas Rawls, Latavius Murray, Jeremy Langford, Ryan Mathews, Melvin Gordon.

Round 6:  By Round 6 you can go ahead and grab your Quarterback (QB) or Tight-End (TE); I have been grabbing my QB at this point and there has been some top talent available.  If any of the top seven QB's are available (Newton, Rodgers, Wilson, Luck, Brees, Big Ben, Palmer) then grab them, but otherwise those QB's will most likely be gone so I am targeting: Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Andy Dalton, Matt Ryan.  It's fine to wait another round on your QB and get your TE here.

Round 7:  Let's assume you took your QB in Round 6 so let's go ahead and take our TE in this round as most leagues require a TE.  The good news is that there is a ton of value at this point in the draft.  I am targeting: (probably not there but grab Reed, Olsen, Kelce, Walker, Eifert if there) but otherwise the most likely TE's available: Julius Thomas, Jimmy Graham, Antonio Gates, Martellus Bennett

Recap: At this point in the draft all of my starters except Kicker (K) and Defense (DEF) have been drafted.  My teams have been looking like: Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Carlos Hyde, Latavius Murray, Andy Dalton, Julius Thomas.  This team is incredibly strong. 

Round 8: A theme of this article is the depth at RB this year and because you waited to draft RB's this year now let's really build our bench at RB.  Let's use this pick to pick a RB; I am targeting: Frank Gore, Rashad Jennings, Justin Forsett

Round 9: Let's work on a back-up WR in this round; there are two ways to play this in going for a younger WR with upside or if you just want a more veteran WR for stability through bye-weeks that is fine.  I don't mind gambling here so going for upside and targeting: Sterling Shepard, Marvin Jones, Willie Snead, Kevin White.  Again, if you are not wanting to gamble then Larry Fitzgerald, Vincent Jackson, or Desean Jackson should be available.

Round 10:  I will probably receive some hate mail here, but if the Denver Broncos are available then go ahead and grab them.  Denver was the top defense last year and they pretty much look the same for this year; I love the idea of having the top defense.  If you don't want Denver then there are plenty of solid RB and WR back-ups in Round 10 to keep building up your bench.

Ok, at this point in the draft you will have your core team and back-ups.  I like to have a list of targets for each round and then stick to my plan to ensure a solid foundation.  My team in this example would be: Odell Beckham, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Carlos Hyde, Latavius Murray, Andy Dalton, Julius Thomas, Justin Forsett, Willie Snead, and Denver Broncos.

One last notable point is that solid drafts get you started but the Waiver Wire wins you championships.  Work the waiver wire hard in 2016!

See the free draft guide for 2016: Draft Guide