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.

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