FF Tips

When to Ignore Your 2018 Fantasy Football Rankings

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

If the MVP Board were my wife, we’d be arguing our way through the Scott Fish Bowl tournament.

In Round 1, I reached over all the recommendations at the top of my board to take Rob Gronkowski at 1.09. Two rounds later, I reached over top recommendation LeSean McCoy (and #2 Jordan Howard) to select Adam Thielen. (I’m now even happier I passed on McCoy but second-guessing the Howard decision.)

On the other hand, I followed the recommendations for Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees in rounds 2 and 4 of what’s basically a 2-QB format. And I chose boring wideouts Michael Crabtree and Randall Cobb when they populated the suggested-player tiles.

I know you don’t really care about my team in this particular odd-scoring tournament. But my point is that I’m not married to the projections that drive the Board’s recommendations.

It’s a large-field tournament with 1 overall winner, so I’ll take a chance on Gronk late in Round 1 even when the board’s screaming RB. I really didn’t want to rely on McCoy this season even before Tuesday’s assault accusations, so I passed on him even when he was the value.

We put a lot of work into our projections before we roll them out, and we keep working on them throughout the summer, right up until no one’s drafting fantasy football teams anymore. But that doesn’t mean anyone should blindly follow what the board spits out.

There’s always room for personal preference: reaching a bit for a player you believe in, or simply want; passing on a guy who just rubs you the wrong way for 2018.

There’s knowing your league, which might always deliver early QB runs that have tended to leave you dissatisfied with your starter.

There are players we’ll be wrong about. Some guys will break out or bust, drastically out-producing or underperforming vs. where we project them. There will be injuries, presenting opportunities beyond what we can predict.

And even on players we get right, you might find 2 consecutive finishers in the rankings who perform differently in season. Perhaps they arrive at the same end-of-season fantasy-point total, but 1 did so in a predictable way that let you absorb his best starting weeks while the other volleyed between boom and bust all year.

That’s why we put together this article every year to give you a general idea of where to pay less attention to the rankings. Let’s get to it, by position ...


If you’ve looked over our QB rankings, then you might have noticed how deep the position runs this year. There’s also not huge separation between tiers. Going by our default scoring, you have to look all the way down to Derek Carr at #26 and Eli Manning at #27 before you’ll find 2 players separated by more than 9 total points.

That means the top 25 options at QB are each separated from the next player by fewer than 0.6 points per game. So you can basically decide how to handle your QB situation.

Feel better about Matthew Stafford than the next 5 QBs on the board and not digging your options at other positions in Round 8? Take him. Think the next 6 QBs belong in the same tier with the guy your Board is recommending in Round 11? Keep waiting.

It’s a deep year at the position, which opens up myriad possibilities for how to approach QB in your draft.

The Board can prove particularly valuable in helping you decide when to take that 2nd QB in a 2-QB or superflex league, weighing the relative value of remaining options across positions. Of course, unusual formats can also make for less-predictable drafting patterns. So keep an eye on the QBs you want/like as you decide whether to follow the recommendations at each turn.

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