Life and Style

College 101: What to Know Before Your 2019 Fantasy Football Draft

Do you feel it — that slight chill in the air? The slightly shorter days? The feeling that pumpkin spice lattes and pumpkin-flavored beers are making their way to your local coffee shops and bars? Yes, fall is almost here, and with it comes fantasy football season.

Your fantasy football draft is just around the corner, and it’s time to go over the crucial details that will guide your draft-day strategies. Here’s what you need to know before you’re on the clock.

The tight ends drop off fast

Rankings will tell you which players are projected to be more valuable than others, but they won’t necessarily tell you much about how much more valuable players can be. That’s what tier lists are for, and they’re very important for effective drafting.

They’re particularly important when top players are drastically more valuable as plan B options at a given position. And they are even more crucial when plan C is all but nonexistent — as is the case this year with tight ends.

When a position is thin, you don’t necessarily need to wildly overdraft it. But you do need to pay close attention to what your other owners are doing in the draft. If you see a run on tight ends, take it seriously; there are only three good options this year and only five or six acceptable ones. After that, you might as well wait another few rounds.

Andrew Luck retired

Hey, did you hear about Andrew Luck’s retirement? Of course you did. But unless you want to end up like some angry fantasy players (including, unbelievably, O.J. Simpson), then you had better remember to cross Luck off your draft board.

And while you’re at it, you can move Jacoby Brissett up your board. He’s the new man under center for the Colts, and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares in that spot. Brissett has been underwhelming in the past, but this is a very talented team, so don’t rule out snapping him up as a late-round sleeper in deep drafts.

Brissett shouldn’t be your starter at the quarterback position, but he’s a fun lottery ticket to grab with one of those low-value late-round picks.

Nobody came close to Patrick Mahomes last season

So who should be your starter? Probably Patrick Mahomes, if you can get him. Nobody could touch Mahomes last year; take away 15 touchdown passes from him last year, and he still would be the most valuable quarterback of 2018-19.

But beware, because Mahomes’ value is one of the biggest questions of the fantasy season. He’s virtually certain to be good, and even great, but how great? Could he possibly repeat last season’s spectacular run? If he can, he’s easily worth a first-round pick.

But most experts are a little bearish on Mahomes (relatively anyway, he’s still clearly the top quarterback) and are putting him a round or two later in a typical 10- or 12-team league. There’s a good chance that someone in your draft overdrafts Mahomes, so don’t let it be you. But if he’s still sitting there later than you expect, don’t hesitate to pounce.

Top running backs are huge difference-makers

It will come as no surprise to fantasy veterans to learn that running backs will be important this year. But after a bit of a wide receiver renaissance this decade and a stunning season last year from Mahomes, it’s worth reiterating that running backs — top running backs — are going to be crucial to your success.

This is partly because the top few running backs — Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Ezekiel Elliot, and the rest of the gang — are significantly better than running backs further down the roster. It’s also because of the relative depth you’ll find in this year’s wide receiver rankings. It’s going to be easier to get solid wide receivers in the middle and later rounds than it would be to get acceptable running backs, so draft accordingly.

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