DAVID T. FOSTER III DTFOSTER@CHARLOTTEOBSERVER.COM

In a three-part article series on building a team during each part of the draft, this article covers picking at the beginning of fantasy football drafts.

Part Two: Picks 5th-8th

Part Three: Picks 9th-12th Picks 9th-12th

Drafting in the first few picks has never looked better than it does in 2020. Quality wide receivers(WR) are being chosen in rounds five and six which allows you to either attack the running back(RB) position early, or splurge on high quality tight ends(TE) or quarterbacks(QB).

Let's examine what your team could look like by the end of round three when picking at the beginning of snake drafts (Picks 1-4). For the sake of this article, we'll assume it's a 12 man, standard scoring league (1QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX).


Round 1:

The Big 4: You're taking one of Christian McCaffery, Saquon Barkley, Dalvin Cook or Alvin Kamara. It's pretty simple, these four RBs are in their own tier of elite, and with the quality WRs that can be had in Rounds three through five, it's not worth the drop off in talent at RB after these four to take someone like Michael Thomas in the first four picks.

Saquon Barkley leaping with football Saquon Barkley is going Top 2 in almost all fantasy drafts. Elsa/Getty Images

Round 2:

If your drafts have mostly competent owners, ADP will be relatively accurate. You'll be picking near the end of the second round and that means you are going to have different strategies to build your team:

  • RB-QB: You'll have one of the big 4 RBs and then Lamar Jackson or Patrick Mahomes. These are the only two QBs that are worth this price at the end of the 2nd round. Chances are one or both will be gone by the time you pick. If both are gone, look at your board and find better value instead of reaching for Deshaun Watson here.
  • RB-RB: There are still quality RBs to be had at the end of round two, and it's going to depend on how many owners went RB-RB at the end of round 1 and beginning of round 2. The important thing is to not reach for a RB that could be had at the beginning of Round 3 when there is obvious WR or TE value still on the board. RBs like Melvin Gordon or Chris Carson would be good value here, and you could even consider reaching for Austin Ekeler or Kenyan Drake as well considering the drop off in talent after that 3rd round.
  • RB-WR: Lots of value here at WR near the end of the 2nd round. Adam Theilen, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Kenny Galloday, and Amari Cooper will all most likely be on the board. All are values in this draft slot. Watch the beginning of round 2 though, if WRs are going and RBs begin to slide, don't be afraid to scoop up a value RB that dropped.
  • RB-TE: Two TEs are worth a slot at the end of Round 2, Travis Kelce and George Kittle. Because of the depth at WR compared to RB and TE, this could be an excellent strategy at locking up elite talent at a position where very few elite options are available. This could be a league winning strategy in 2020.

Travis Kelce holding football. Travis Kelce is excellent value in Round 2Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Round 3:

This will inevitably be a WR heavy round, so it will take planning on where to go. In every scenario, you'll have a top four RB already on your team. This is where the draft branches out. You can snag another WR like Cooper Kupp, TY Hilton or Tyler Lockett. You could spend an early third to shore up QB on Deshaun Watson. There is value to be had at RB as well with Kenyan Drake, Austin Ekler, James Connor and Leonard Fournette. If Kelce and Kittle are both drafted by the time you pick in the 3rd round, no TE will garner enough value to be picked in round three.

The later rounds should be used to accumulate high ceiling players that have the ability to be starters as the season progresses. You should mainly focus on getting RBs that fit this mold, as WRs can be found on the waiver wire in a pinch as needed. Remember to follow your board and don't reach.

Paul George grabbing a rebound in Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals

Barry Gossage/Getty Images

In a must win game for the Los Angeles Clippers, Paul George was finally able to look like the best player on the floor in a playoff game.

After a slow start, George poured it on in the second half on his way to a game high 41 points in Game 5. The performance elevated the Clippers over strong outings from the likes of Devin Booker and Chris Paul as L.A. outlasted Phoenix 116-102.

The Clippers don't have much time to bask in their win however as they have to turn around and play two more elimination games just to make it out of the West. The Suns jumped out to a 3-1 series lead as Los Angeles struggled to find their identity without Kawhi Leonard. If the Clippers are to stave off elimination any longer, George has to continue this level of play.

Keep reading... Show less

Ben Simmons disappointed in the playoffs this season

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Following a Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks, the Philadelphia 76ers and coach, Doc Rivers, are questioning if Ben Simmons is the right guy to be running their offense through moving forward.

Offense being the key word here.

Simmons is an all-world defender possessing the ability to guard virtually any opponent on the court from the perimeter to the rim. But it was his lack of offensive help throughout this playoff season that stood out beyond any accomplishments this year. Simmons joined Rudy Gobert as unanimous selections for the NBA's All-Defensive First Team this year and also finished fifth in the NBA in assists per game with 8.8 per contest.

Keep reading... Show less

The Lakers looked lost in the Valley

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Phoenix Suns are just a win away from sending LeBron James home in the first round of the playoffs for the first time in the King's illustrious career.

After stating that "These shoulders were built for a reason," James referring to facing the challenge of taking on added responsibilities after Anthony Davis was ruled out for Game 5, the Lakers and LeBron disappointed in a big way Tuesday night. L.A. started off hot jumping out to a 10-5 lead behind a couple shots from James and a three from Davis' replacement Markieff Morris. But it didn't take long for the wheels to completely fall off for the defending champion Lakers as they spent most of the first half trying to remember how basketball works.

LeBron James LeBron looking on during Game 5Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Two numbers stick out in the Game 5 loss for the Lakers and those are 34.5 and 12. Los Angeles shot 34.5% from the field on Tuesday night and were minus 12 in turnover ratio. No matter who's on your team, if you can't shoot and you can't protect the ball, the outcome is already determined.

The Suns weren't simply beneficiaries of a poor performance however as the Suns put it on the Lakers early and often and they never let their foot off the pedal for 48 minutes. Phoenix ended with 15 more assists, had seven more combined steals and blocks, and outscored L.A. in the paint by 12 points. Devin Booker and Cameron Payne were spectacular and they seemed to hit big shots every time the Lakers appeared to threaten a comeback. Mikal Bridges was effective on both sides of the ball adding three steals and two blocks to help electrify his team with the defensive effort.


Keep reading... Show less