An Expert's Cheat Sheet for Dominating CBS Fantasy Drafts
There is no singular perfect draft strategy for fantasy football. Drafts evolve as they progress, and rigid adherence to a predetermined strategy can be catastrophic to your team’s long-term potential. So no, this article isn’t the perfect draft strategy for those drafting on CBS.com this summer. It will, however, serve as a handy guide with some tips, tricks and values to potentially exploit come draft day.
Before I get into all of that though, I have two general strategy reminders:
- Know your league
- Know your scoring system
I remind people every summer of the importance of knowing their league. Rankings, analytics, and strategy are all well and good, but if you have a die-hard Falcons fan in your league who is going to take Julio Jones, Devonta Freeman, and Matt Ryan with his first three picks, that’s going to change the flow of the draft. My League of Record (i.e. most important league, h/t Adam Rank for coining the term) is a quarterback heavy league. In years past I could count on an early run on elite passers once the first one came off the board, so I’d build my strategy and approach around that nugget. Likewise, if your favorite analyst has a strategy article for a 12-team PPR league and you play in a 10-team standard superflex format, then the advice isn’t going to be as useful.
Unlike other platforms, the CBS standard league is a bit different. Standard CBS leagues feature no PPR scoring, but start three WRs and no FLEX position, with the rest of the starting positions being the usual: QB, RB, RB, TE, K, D/ST. Thus, unless your league features a stark shift from the standard CBS league settings, you'll be OK following the advice below. I touch on how the three WR set-up should change your drafting philosophy in the wide receiver section.
PRINT: Jump to 16-Round Cheat Sheet ⟶
With that out of the way, it’s time to dive into how you can dominate your upcoming CBS draft. Using the weapons in our 4for4 tool chest, such as the ADP Bargains tool and our stellar rankings page, as well as doing some mocks on CBS.com, I’ve compiled a handful of tips and ideas to keep in mind as you enter your draft. Remember: these are not ironclad. But if you look out for these players, trends, and opportunities, I’m confident you can walk away feeling confident about your 2019 squad.
Wait on a Quarterback
By now, hopefully, this draft strategy tip feels as old as time. The kind of pearl of wisdom your grandfather would tell you every time you saw him (and sometimes multiple times in the same visit). CBS features one of the earliest runs on quarterbacks, with 10 going on average before the end of the seventh round in 12-team leagues. So while Dak Prescott, Lamar Jackson, and Mitchell Trubisky still make for nice late-round values, don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on someone like Cam Newton or Carson Wentz if they survive the initial crazy run on quarterbacks.
Wait on a Tight End … Unless Travis Kelce Falls to You in Round 2
Kelce is the league’s clear-cut No. 1 tight end with Rob Gronkowski retired. Zach Ertz and George Kittle are next in the fantasy pecking order, and both could be third-round picks, but to me, there’s better value to be mined later in the draft if you let the non-Kelce options go. Vance McDonald is a nice middle-round option, while Jordan Reed, Delanie Walker, and Trey Burton all have top-10 upside and can be had around the deep double-digit rounds.
Running Backs: Mine for ADP Values
The elite tier of running backs in 2019 is magnificent. But once you get past the top five to six backs, the picture begins to get murky. However, with a lack of a FLEX position in CBS standard leagues, securing a few extra strong running backs could create trade bait or enviable depth. Don't be afraid to grab an extra RB early even though the format limits you to starting two at a time. Running backs are a highly volatile position in terms of games missed, so more depth at the position is only a good thing. To do this, make sure to find some sneaky values via the ADP Bargains tool. Currently, James White and Austin Ekeler are going over 30 spots lower than their corresponding 4for4 rank, while Chris Carson and Miles Sanders are going 20 spots lower. If you start your draft wide receiver or tight end heavy, these are some names to circle who can give you RB1 upside at half the draft price.
It’s critical to land one of the stud wide receivers within the first two rounds, especially in CBS drafts where you must start three wide receivers. With several running backs values available later, it could allow you to grab two or three wide receivers in your first four rounds. On a recent 12-team standard mock on CBS, I started out Christian McCaffrey-Mike Evans-Stefon Diggs-Chris Godwin-Derrick Henry. I'd be very happy if this was a real draft. In your own draft, make sure to get a top-tier wideout (or two) early, then add a middle-round option with a safe floor. Other options like Robert Woods, Julian Edelman, and Brandin Cooks are all solid choices. After that, the later rounds are rich with young, talented, potential breakouts that it’s worth taking multiple shots at this group. Guys like Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Jamison Crowder could end up being league-winners if their 2019 season unfolds favorably. The lack of PPR scoring makes taking homerun shots with limited reception ceilings more appealing, so don't shy away from speedy deep threats like John Brown, Marquise Brown, or Tyrell Williams.
The Bottom Line
Pick and choose the recommendations above depending on how your draft flows. Hopefully, with a little bit of savvy and a little bit of luck, you’ll be ready to rock come Week 1. Either way, be sure to utilize 4for4’s Draft Analyzer tool. It uses your league’s scoring settings and 4for4’s rankings to help you strategize. For more information, check out Jennifer Eakins’ Draft Analyzer Walkthrough.
Lastly, this handy 16-round cheat sheet is compiled both by using 4for4’s ADP Bargains tool and my own general feelings on some players. Use it as much or little as you’d like.
Round-by-Round Cheat Sheet
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