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Fantasy football mock draft trials – Taking a WR with a top-five pick

Welcome to Part 2 of my fantasy football mock draft series! The first installment explained why you should mock draft often. The TL;DR version is that I’m doing a series of mock drafts in which I practice different draft strategies to better understand the draft board before I get into an actual fantasy draft. I’ll share my biggest takeaways from the mocks I take part in and some of my draft preferences, with the hope of giving you something to consider when you go through the exercise yourself.

Today’s strategy: Drafting a WR with one of the first five picks of the draft

I’m drafting based on my rankings, so your teams might look totally different based on how you value certain players. This is not an exercise in me telling you which players to draft but rather how an early-WR draft strategy played out for me.

The logistics

  • I did six PPR drafts: three 10-team leagues and three 12-team leagues.

  • Draft slots: I did two drafts with the No. 1 pick and one draft each with the second, third, fourth and fifth picks.

Each position on your roster is going to be impacted by a different draft strategy, so how did this early-WR approach impact my teams? After looking back at my mock rosters, I’ve included a few notes below about each key position, followed by a larger breakdown of my favorite team from this exercise at the end of the column.


Quarterback

I didn’t draft any of the top three QBs: It just felt a little too early! We’ll see how that changes when I do that mock exercise (very soon).

I always grabbed a QB between Round 5 and 7

Running Back

  • Tony Pollard was my most-drafted RB1 and Rachaad White my most-drafted RB2.

  • The best RB that fell to me — only one time — was Derrick Henry (Round 2, Pick 8).

  • David Montgomery was the lowest-ranked RB2 on any of my teams (RB24). He’s the end of my starting RB line.

  • My most-drafted RB3s were AJ Dillon, Zach Charbonnet and Samaje Perine.

  • Twice I waited on my RB1, grabbing them in the third and fourth round, respectively. I really don’t like either team because of how weak my RB room was. And I wouldn’t feel this conviction without this mock draft exercise!

Wide Receiver

Tight End

  • I really liked drafting Mark Andrews in the third, but only if I went WR-RB-TE. Going WR-WR-TE was way too long to wait for my RB1.

  • I was on the wrong side of a few tight end runs and missed out on a good TE1 in two drafts. I don’t love those teams. I learned that I like my teams most when grabbing a top-eight TE, rather than playing the tight end waiting game.

  • The teams on which I grabbed a top-five TE (Andrews or T.J. Hockenson) are my favorite. I was able to find good value at WR later in the draft.


My favorite team from this exercise
(drafting in No. 3 slot in 10-team league)

Starters

QB: Deshaun Watson (7th round)
RB: Derrick Henry (2nd)
RB: Jahmyr Gibbs (5th)
WR: Justin Jefferson (1st)
WR: Keenan Allen (4th)
TE: Mark Andrews (3rd)
Flex: Chris Godwin (6th)

Bench

WR Christian Kirk (8th)
RB James Cook (9th)
WR Elijah Moore (10th)
RB Samaje Perine (11th)
WR Skyy Moore (12th)
WR Romeo Doubs (13th)

Of all my early-WR mock drafts, this one was my favorite, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. There are question marks at the QB position, including will Watson regain his former top-five status or be closer to QB10? Getting him in the seventh round gives me good value with an elite ceiling and hopefully a decently high floor.

Drafting Henry at the end of the second round was incredible, and I really like pairing him with Gibbs, the explosive pass-catching back out of Alabama. He should be heavily utilized by a Lions team that drafted him 12th overall in this year’s draft. My backups are both upside plays in Cook and Perine.

It’s almost impossible to complain about your WR position when you have Jefferson on your team. Having him, Allen, Godwin and Kirk as my top four WRs gives me an incredibly high floor, as all four were top 20 at the position in fantasy points per game last season. BANGARANG!

Because I was so confident in my WRs, I took a few guys I think have some nice upside later in the draft in Elijah Moore (great training camp reports), Skyy Moore (second year with Mahomes) and Doubs (has also been garnering buzz in camp).

Lastly, Mark Andrews in the third round? Yes, please! The dude has been dominant at the tight end position with a 25% target share over the past two seasons. That’s a bigger target share than Ja’Marr Chase or DK Metcalf over that span! He’s an incredible pass-catcher, and pairing him with four top-20 WRs and Henry gives my roster an elite floor every week.


In summary …

  • I am thrilled to get any of the top four WRs: Jefferson, Kupp, Hill and Chase (though I never grabbed Chase in any of these mocks).

  • Going WR in the first round consistently put me in the Pollard tier of RBs in the second round. That gives me a lot of confidence knowing I can get an RB with a high floor but also an elite ceiling.

  • I didn’t like my teams when I started WR-WR in the first two rounds, because it left my RB floor so much lower. In one of those drafts, I took a tight end, Andrews, in the third, which meant I had to settle for Aaron Jones as my RB1 in Round 4 — not ideal.

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