John Paulsen's 2021 Draft Day Strategery
Last Updated: 9/1/2021
Due to popular demand, I've decided to bump this article up my schedule. I’ll do a deeper dive into each position later this month. I've participated in a number of best-ball and industry drafts (and mocks) and I think I have a pretty good handle on my strategy for 2021.
This piece is written with a 12-team half-PPR draft in mind, but Rule No. 1 of fantasy football is to know your scoring system. They cover this on the first day in Fantasy Football 101. Your scoring system is going to influence positional value and there are a number of different scoring systems out there.
Drafters in standard leagues can favor running backs a bit more in the early rounds since that position gets a boost in that format. Drafters in PPR formats can safely go WR-heavy in the early rounds if they so choose. Drafters in two-quarterback or superflex (i.e. QB-eligible flex) leagues should ignore all the late-round quarterback talk and be sure to draft a couple of top-20 passers before they’re gone. Managers drafting in 10-team leagues should be able to wait for an extra round or two to draft the targets I discuss below since there are fewer picks in each round. A great way to discover how a particular scoring system impacts the different positions is to use our Top 200 Value-Based Rankings Report.
Back in 2015, I had something of an epiphany when it came to formulating my overall draft strategy. At the two onesie positions—quarterback and tight end, where managers typically only have to start one—I felt great about Carson Palmer in the 13th round and Delanie Walker in the 10th/11th. I also advocated for the Angry Tom Strategy, which revolved around drafting a royally pissed-off Tom Brady in the 10th/11th round and taking Palmer later as his backup. This worked out even better than expected since Brady’s suspension was lifted and he played a full season. Oh, and Walker finished as the No. 3 tight end that year.
Since then, I have been trying to identify the best values at quarterback and tight end and then build my draft plan around them, and for the most part, it’s worked.
Contiue reading for Paulsen's breakdown of every position and who is targeting in every round!
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