Draft Strategy

Here's Who I'm Drafting for My Best-Ball Teams Right Now ...

By Matt Schauf 11:07am EDT 7/9/18


Just this week I realized how much I like Ryan Tannehill this year.

OK, that might be overstating it a bit. This is no Dolphins puff piece. What I did, though, was compile the player shares that I’ve accumulated across 22 drafts on PlayDraft.com so far this offseason (21 of those 12-team drafts, plus one 10-teamer). And Tannehill came out tied with a less surprising name as my highest-owned QBs.

Although I wouldn’t have guessed I had quite that much Tannehill, I’m certainly not shocked. Miami’s QB is going later in drafts than any clear starter besides Joe Flacco, yet Tannehill finished each of his past 3 healthy seasons among fantasy’s top 15 QBs.

My other most-owned QB, of course, is Jameis Winston. Before his 3-game NFL suspension, you could have heard Jared and me talk plenty about his draft value on the podcast. Even with the suspension, I still believe there’s tremendous fantasy upside to the Bucs QB.

Neither QB cracked my top 5 highest-owned players overall, though. In the interest of showing who I’m actually drafting rather than just talking about this summer, let’s get to all the guys who have showed up on multiple rosters to date ...


QB

Jameis Winston, Buccaneers -- 5
Ryan Tannehill, Dolphins -- 5
Andrew Luck, Colts -- 3
Cam Newton, Panthers -- 3
Dak Prescott, Cowboys -- 3
Marcus Mariota, Titans -- 3
Philip Rivers, Chargers -- 3
Alex Smith, Washington -- 2
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers -- 2
Blake Bortles, Jaguars -- 2
Drew Brees, Saints -- 2
Mitchell Trubisky, Bears -- 2

Big surprise: Among the 7 QBs I’ve drafted at least 3 times, Newton’s the only one sitting among the top 12 at the position in ADP. Just 2 of the 12 I’ve drafted more than once reside in the top 12. Both Newton and Brees sit higher in my own rankings than they do in ADP.

I’ve spread it around to 23 QBs in all -- including 1 dreadful early run where I pushed my waiting-on-a-QB a little too far and ended up with Joe Flacco, Tyrod Taylor (then a Bill) and DeShone Kizer (then a Brown; no rookies included yet)


RB

Dion Lewis, Titans -- 9
Duke Johnson, Browns -- 7
Kenneth Dixon, Ravens -- 6
Darren Sproles, Eagles -- 5
Jay Ajayi, Eagles -- 5
Nyheim Hines, Colts -- 5
Joe Mixon, Bengals -- 4

If you listen to the podcast, then Lewis, Johnson, Sproles and Mixon -- at least -- shouldn’t surprise you here. Dixon has been going near the end of drafts all year and will continue to be an easy late pick for me as long as that continues. I similarly love Hines’ upside, though the developing buzz on him threatens to start pushing him way up ADP rankings. He’s still going in mid-RB4 range for now, though.

Ajayi, on the other hand, arrived on more of my teams early. I’ve cooled on him since doing projections, though his situation at least means high weekly upside.

Aaron Jones, Packers -- 3
Carlos Hyde, Browns -- 3
David Johnson, Cardinals -- 3
Ezekiel Elliott, Cowboys -- 3
Jordan Howard, Bears -- 3
Lamar Miller, Texans -- 3
Le’Veon Bell, Steelers -- 3
Tarik Cohen, Bears -- 3

All of my Hyde shares came before he shared a backfield with Nick Chubb -- and all 3 might have come before free agency opened. He’ll need to drop further still for me to keep drafting Hyde now.

Miller has climbed some in ADP with many pointing out his unavoidable value. But he still resides outside RB2 range. So he continues to be an easy pick even for reluctant drafters.

Charles Sims, Buccaneers -- 2
Derrius Guice, Washington -- 2
Devonta Freeman, Falcons -- 2
Giovani Bernard, Bengals -- 2
Isaiah Crowell, Jets -- 2
Jamaal Williams, Packers -- 2
James White, Patriots -- 2
Kareem Hunt, Chiefs -- 2
Leonard Fournette, Jaguars -- 2
LeSean McCoy, Bills -- 2
Mark Ingram, Saints -- 2
Marshawn Lynch, Raiders -- 2
Rashaad Penny, Seahawks -- 2
Rex Burkhead, Patriots -- 2
Robert Kelley, Washington -- 2
Sony Michel, Patriots -- 2
Theo Riddick, Lions -- 2

I don’t remember exactly where and when I took McCoy, but these just might remain my only 2 McCoy shares for the year.


WR

DeSean Jackson, Buccaneers -- 6
Jamison Crowder, Washington -- 6
Courtland Sutton, Broncos -- 5
Dez Bryant, ??? -- 5
Albert Wilson, Chiefs -- 4
Alshon Jeffery, Eagles -- 4
Amari Cooper, Raiders -- 4
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans -- 4
Demaryius Thomas, Broncos -- 4
Julian Edelman, Patriots -- 4
Keenan Allen, Chargers -- 4
Kenny Golladay, Lions -- 4
Kenny Stills, Dolphins -- 4
Sammy Watkins, Chiefs -- 4
Tyler Lockett, Seahawks -- 4

Most (maybe all) of my Bryant exposure came before Dallas released him. I’ll admit that I didn’t buy rumors predicting that. I do still expect him to land on a roster before the season, but I’m not going out of my way for him right now.

Jackson, on the other hand, will remain an easy pick as long as you can get him into the mid-double-digit rounds. I’m less interested in Sutton in the late rounds since he landed with the Broncos, but his end-of-draft ADP still makes him draftable.

Otherwise, you can see some of my preferred targets through the early, middle and later rounds.

Allen Robinson, Bears -- 3
Antonio Brown, Steelers -- 3
Cooper Kupp, Rams -- 3
Corey Davis, Titans -- 3
Davante Adams, Packers -- 3
Golden Tate, Lions -- 3
Jordan Matthews, Patriots -- 3
Marqise Lee, Jaguars -- 3
Marvin Jones, Lions -- 3
Mike Williams, Chargers -- 3
Rishard Matthews, Titans -- 3
Robby Anderson, Jets -- 3
Tyrell Williams, Chargers -- 3

I don’t see much of particular note in this group. If you do, feel free to ask me about it in the comments section below. There are another 17 wideouts I’ve drafted twice, among 73 total that have landed on my rosters.

I was surprised I didn’t have more shares of Bengals WR John Ross (2), and I’ll probably look to add exposure to Cowboys WR Michael Gallup (also 2 so far).


TE

Tyler Eifert, Bengals -- 5
Austin Hooper, Falcons -- 4
Greg Olsen, Panthers -- 4
Jordan Reed, Washington -- 4
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jaguars -- 3
Benjamin Watson, Saints -- 3
Cameron Brate, Buccaneers -- 3
Eric Ebron, Colts -- 3
Jack Doyle, Colts -- 3
Rob Gronkowski, Patriots -- 3
Charles Clay, Bills -- 2
David Njoku, Browns -- 2
Delanie Walker, Titans -- 2
Gerald Everett, Rams -- 2
Jared Cook, Raiders -- 2
Jimmy Graham, Packers -- 2
Vance McDonald, Steelers -- 2
Virgil Green, Chargers -- 2

I’ve backed off Eifert some since the spring relapse with his back injury. I’ll still take him, though, now that he’s sitting at the bottom of TE2 territory in ADP -- especially if I’m drafting 3 TEs. That’s nearly always my plan in these 18-round drafts with just 8 weekly-lineup spots to fill.

Otherwise, the top of the list features mostly double-digit-round TEs … and Olsen. I just don’t see much difference between him and Zach Ertz, other than a 2-round gap in ADP.

I don’t know what to make of the Colts TE spot since Ebron arrived, but I’ll take some shots at each guy and see what happens.

Who are you drafting most often in your best-ball drafts?

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