The Ultimate Redraft Strategy

I am here today my mafiosos to give you the best draft strategy for Redraft out there. It involves drafting a running back in every round for the first three. Why do you ask? Raise your hand if you have lost a fantasy championship or just a game in the past by eight points or less. I am going to venture a guess unless you are like my idiot neighbor who keeps taking only Kansas State Alumni or Chicago Bears in our home league that loses by double digits on the regular, that is everyone. 

Over the past six seasons, the difference from RB1 to RB24 is almost 14 points per game, the gap widens to 15.5 points per game when you look past RB24 to RB36. By securing three of the top-24 RBs and two within the top 15, you now don’t have to concern yourself with deciding which low-end RB you take to be your RB2 and which bottom feeder you’re going to have to survive with when your other RBs have their bye-week. In addition, with the NFL expanding to a 17-game season, the odds of injury to RB only increase so having an additional workhorse in the stable will give you peace of mind.

But Heady, you ask, what about wide receivers?!? If I don’t get Adams or Hill won’t I be toast? Fear, not my mafiosos. There is plenty of talent to be had between WR13 to WR36. Over the past six seasons, the difference between those positions is only 4.7 points per game. Which, if you can math well, that means by taking three running backs in the top-24, you will be gaining on average an extra eight-plus points per game. Also, as we discussed before, with this being the age of wide receivers and quarterbacks, the second wide receiver on teams will be scoring at a blistering pace and most of the high-profile offenses have that second wideout that will score in the top 24 regularly.

With Quarterbacks, the difference between QB1 and QB12 is 7.4 points per game and in 12-team leagues, you should only be drafting one quarterback, to begin with so obtaining one should be as simple as breathing. In addition, the difference from QB4 to QB12 was only 2.9 ppg, that’s minimal. Granted, getting one of the elite quarterbacks in Mahomes or Murray is desirable, it shouldn’t be your focus. This is all about the whole team concept, which is how you win titles. You will only have to face the opposing teams with the elite quarterbacks maybe three or four times. Also, odds are, if they have drafted one of those in the first few rounds, they have neglected the running back position which you have not. Advantage, you. Game, blouses.

So, now that I have you seeing the man behind the curtain and you understand why it’s important to target running backs early and quarterbacks late, you’re probably curious to see if this can work. Like any good analyst, I’ve put the time into testing this strategy, so you don’t have to. I performed 24 different mock drafts, eight from every third on that wonderful app that is Sleeper (cough, let’s partner up, cough), drafting from the top third, middle third, and bottom third of every draft. This way, I was able to give you an idea as to what your team’s make-up would be. Instead of posting a picture of every team, I’m just going to give you an analytical breakdown of drafting from the first, middle, and last third of the drafts.

The First Third Draft Report

This was my least favorite position to be drafting from, while it guaranteed me someone like Christian McCaffrey or Dalvin Cook, it left me wanting more for my second running back. As for the wide receiver position, in virtually every draft, no matter the spot, I was able to take CeeDee Lamb as my first wide receiver and followed that up with either Cooper Kupp or Robert Woods and topping it off with Tee Higgins. That ends up giving me three potential top-24 wide receivers to go along with my three top 20 running backs. No matter how you slice it, folks, that’s a recipe for success. Sure, my depth at wide receiver left something to be desired but arguments can be made that my later round selections of Antonio Brown, Mike Williams, and Robby Anderson all have the potential for top-30 seasons, and guess what? I was getting two of those three virtually every draft I completed. 

Ryan Tannehill has the weapons to be elite this year

As for quarterbacks, I was consistently getting the likes of Matt Stafford, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Tannehill, Ben Roethlisberger, Kirk Cousins, and Jalen Hurts no matter my draft position in Round 10. With that being the case, this will be the last time I address who I was obtaining in the later rounds. All of these quarterbacks outside of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Big Ben are being touted as potential top-12 quarterbacks for this season. I think Fitzmagic has a legit opportunity to be a top-12 quarterback and Big Ben will be giving you consistent top-12 weeks during the year. Why do you ask? This is the first time in Fitzpatrick’s career he has no competition at quarterback and considering he has averaged out as a top-12 quarterback every year (19.5 ppg)  for the past three makes him an easy call. Couple that with him having two wide receivers who will potentially be top-24 in scoring makes me very high on him. As for Ben, he was slinging the rock like a man possessed last season and with his new look, I’m expecting him to have a very successful season. If I had to rank these guys, I would go Stafford, Hurts, Tannehill, Fitzpatrick, Cousins, and then Big Ben. Draft accordingly. 

The Middle Third Draft Report

This was my favorite spot to be drafting from in these mocks. It offered me the possibility of having someone like Alvin Kamara or Dalvin Cook when someone went another direction in the first couple of picks. However, for the most part, I was leaving these rounds with the likes of Nick Chubb, Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Taylor, or Ezekiel Elliot on my squad heading into the second round. If you’re scoring at home, that’s me securing a no-doubt top 10 running back every time. The second round typically had me landing the likes of J.K. Dobbins, Antonio Gibson, and Austin Ekeler. Again, three sure-fire top-15 running backs with potential for top-12 performances every week. Lastly, in the third round, I was stealing candy from babies as this is when quarterbacks started coming off the board. I was picking up shares of David Montgomery and Clyde Edwards-Helaire almost every time. 

CEH will be running through holes like this all season

While some will argue against CEH due to his lackluster rookie season, I point to the improvements Kansas City made on the offensive line as to why he will improve. Additionally, during the first six weeks of last year, CEH was flirting with top-12 RB numbers before their offensive line began falling apart. David Montgomery is probably the most polarizing RB on this list but you can’t argue with his production. Sure, he thrived going up against weaker defenses towards the end of the season, but I ask you this, isn’t that what top running backs are SUPPOSED to do? Eat like fat kids do cake versus bad defenses? Newsflash, that NFC North didn’t magically get better on defense, so when fantasy football playoffs begin, guess who he will be facing…those subpar defenses. 

I feel very confident that drafting from this position, you will be walking away with three of the top-15 running backs in PPR with options still left at wide receiver. Speaking of, again, I was typically getting a combination of the Rams and Cowboys’ top two wide receivers (Lamb, Cooper, Kupp, and Woods). Obtaining shares of any combination of those players to me is amazing. You’re getting two wide receivers who should give you top 20 every week and potentially top 10 performances every so often.

The Last Third Draft Report

Drafting from this position is where it got simple on the first couple picks for running back but gave me headaches when my pick came back up in the third round, thus making this position my second favorite slot. I was walking away with shares of Aaron Jones and Austin Ekeler virtually every time, no questions asked. Now and then Ezekiel Elliot or Saquon Barkley would fall to me but that was a rare occurrence. So that’s two top-12 running backs, again, being on my starting roster, and as I said before, the third round is when the quarterback run began but people were also beginning to add their second or first running back. This left me with two sure-fire top 12 running backs and a lower end top-20 running back unlike picking from the first or middle portion of the draft. Why is this my second favorite spot to draft from then you ask? Easy. I have two top-12 running backs giving me that 8-plus point boost. I will take that over the RB1 and two from the RB15-20 range all day. 

What also elevates this position to my second favorite was the wide receiver options. I was seeing Terry McLaurin and Keenan Allen drop to me quite often and at one point, George Kittle. So being able to draft a wide receiver many are projecting to be top 12 then being able to snag CeeDee Lamb, again, in the fifth round just makes me do the happy dance. Real quick sidebar, why CeeDee Lamb is making it past the fourth round is criminal unless you’re the one benefiting. My third wide receiver typically ended up being my choice of the Pittsburgh triplets, Tee Higgins, or your favorite Tampa Bay pass catcher not named Mike Evans. Either way, you are walking away from this spot with superior running back depth and decent wide receiver, and the occasional premier tight end.

This is what it’s all about…getting that trophy

Recap

So, there you have it mafiosos, thank you for reading. This is the blueprint for you to dominate your Redraft leagues this year. Draft running backs early and often with quarterbacks late, it will give you the edge you need to be celebrating with a championship win at the end of the season. They are without a doubt, the most important feature for your team, in addition, it gives you trade options. Having shares of elite running backs will allow you to trade for another high-end wide receiver that you might have missed out on. End of the day while I can give you such insight, it will be up to you to execute your draft. If you have questions find me on Twitter or reach out to any of our amazing contributors here at DFF. Find, follow, and learn from us and dominate. Until next time.

crobertson

Would like to make you an offer you can’t refuse...is how EVERY fantasy football trade should start. Knowledge dropper @ThePregameHQ_ & @DFF_Dynasty #DFFArmy. You can find me on Twitter @Heady_Football.

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