Perfect Draft: 8th in a 10-Team ESPN Standard League
Being on the latter end of a 10-team draft is a desirable spot for me because despite missing out on a top-tier RB, you can get an elite WR or solid RB, plus another choice guy in just four picks. The turn also allows you to play off the drafters in the nine and 10-hole, using their strategies to bolster your roster along the way.
Editor's Note: Click here to see all our Perfect Draft series entries.
In this article, I will walk through a perfect draft from the eighth slot in a 10-team ESPN Standard league. Each pick was optimized using projections and value-based rankings from the 4for4 Draft Analyzer tool.
Draft Analyzer Settings
- Roster Settings: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1 Flex (RB/WR/TE), 1K, 1DST, six bench spots.
- No QBs until the seventh round: In a single-quarterback league, I don't think about drafting a signal-caller any earlier than the seventh round, unless someone like Russell Wilson or Tom Brady happens to fall. With such a deep QB pool this season, it’s more advantageous to grab positional players early as those points are tough to make up later in the draft.
- No TEs before the fifth round: The fifth round is usually the soonest I’d consider a TE, and that’s only if one of the second-tier guys is sitting there. Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, and Zach Ertz should all be gone. From the eighth spot, I prefer to load up on players in positions of higher demand and grab a TE much later in the draft. However, if I’m pleased with my first four RBs or WRs, and I see Greg Olsen or Jimmy Graham are available, I may grab them, as long as their potential point output is greater than the top WR or RB still on the board.
- No Kicker or D/ST until the last two rounds: I let my league mates jump the gun for the top-rated D/ST, and grab plenty of depth in those later rounds. Kickers do matter, but should not be taken ahead of your handcuffs and possible streamers.
Both Melvin Gordon and Saquon Barkley were under heavy consideration, but I chose Hopkins due to this fantasy league’s standard format. Since Gordon, Barkley, Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette are all within one projected fantasy point of each other, I should get similar value with my next pick.
Hopkins is estimated to score 13 points above the next ranked WR, Julio Jones, and boasts a VBD or value based draft score of +54, to Jones’ +42. Value based draft (VBD) refers to the value of a player compared to the worst starter at that position. With a healthy Deshaun Watson back under center, Hopkins should ball this season.
Considering I almost drafted him with my first pick, I’m thrilled to see Gordon here in the second round. Now that he’s put together two consecutive seasons among the top eight in standard fantasy points for RBs, and was fourth in total touches last season, he’s a bit safer for me than Cook. I’m happy with his value as the ninth RB off the draft board.
Since it’s a 10-team league, I go into the third round pretty open in strategy, as it’s too early to really see a pattern in my league mates’ roster constructions. Six of the seven teams in front of me drafted RBs with their first selection, so it will be interesting to see how these next 14 picks unfold.
There are some tempting WRs still on the board here, but I chose McKinnon due to his value and potential from this draft spot. The 49ers RB is projected to score 179 points with a VBD of +36, which is significantly higher than T.Y. Hilton or Adam Thielen, whose estimated point totals are 155 and 154, with VBDs of +16 and +15, respectively. McKinnon is the workhorse in a young and exciting offense, and I want a part of it.
Fairly confident that one of my targeted WRs will still be on the board after the next four players, I look a bit ahead to the fifth-round and have a small glimmer of hope that somehow Ertz will fall to me there. A gal can dream, right?
This pick in some way came down to the health of Diggs versus the health of Andrew Luck, and I’m choosing to believe that Luck’s shoulder is no longer hamburger meat. Hilton managed to muster up a WR5 campaign in 2017, racking up close to 1,000 receiving yards and four scores with Jacoby Brissett throwing the rock, and gets a fresh start in 2018 with a new coaching staff and a healthy QB. As the clear No. 1 WR in Indy’s offense, I like his value here in the fourth.
The next round is fluid for me in terms of targeted players, depending on how the picks before me pan out. I don’t have my heart set on anyone in particular since it’s still too early to notice a definitive pattern in the other teams’ strategies. Sometimes having no plan is the best plan, let’s hope it pays off.
Continue reading to see how the rest of Jen's roster shakes out and to see which picks she deemed to be the best and worst values of the draft, as well as any final takeaways that may help you on draft day...
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