2019 Edition

Draft Position Specific Strategy

Picks 4-5 & 8-9

Tis the season for draft prep and everyone is giving their draft strategy tips and sorting their player rankings and adjusting their tiers. Throughout it all, we always hear mention of “well if I was taking him at the end of the 2nd…” and other such vague references to how your draft position may affect a decision. Hearing many of these, it occurred to me I hadn’t heard much that was specifically about how one’s overall strategy or decision making process may change simply because of your draft position.

So I’ve done it myself: I present the second annual edition of the “Drafting From” draft prep series. These are not written to tell you who to draft or how to draft, though there are comments and suggestions throughout. However, the emphasis is on ensuring you are prepared in your approach for the likely eventualities of your draft. Each spot in the draft does come with it’s own challenges and benefits, being aware of them is the key to taking advantage while avoiding mistakes.

I’ve divided up a snake draft into four sections. I’m labeling these for a 12 team draft, but if you have more or less simply squeeze or stretch it a bit accordingly:

“The Turn”

Positions 1 and 12

The Turn is either end of the draft where you will have back to back picks. It’s a long way back and careful planning, foresight and opposition research is needed.

“The Whiplash”

Positions 2-3 and 10-11

Whiplash spots are difficult because you know you will have another pick coming up soon, but the Turn or the other Whiplash are going to have two picks before you. You have to watch for snipers, but can also turn it to your advantage. In a 10 team, the Whiplash simply shrinks to the 2 and 9.

“The Quarterpost”

Positions 4-5 and 8-9

With your picks coming up either one quarter or three quarters through each round, you don’t have to wait too long till your next pick. In a 10 team, the Quarterpost is the 3-4 and 7-8.

“The Middle”

Positions 6-7

A lot of great value, never a long wait, and yet the hardest swing between either setting the tone, or chasing the pack. In a 10 team, the Middle is 5-6.

Now, of course, in the early rounds it does matter which end of the round you are on and each section will address that, but once you get around a few turns it doesn’t make much difference.

The Quarterpost

General Thoughts

The Quarterpost picks are THE picks to get the best value in my opinion. More difficult on the 8-9 end, but once you’re out of the early rounds it’s all the same.

Playing Your Opponents

There’s not much for games to play or strategy to use when you are the Quarterpost. Your job is simply to make your opponents pay the consequences for their bad decisions. You will more often than anyone be in a position to take the player that “should have been taken.” You don’t need to guess who the Turn or Whiplash are taking based on their team, because it’s too many picks out for that. You don’t need to change your picks according to them. You just need to focus on your list of players, and take the value as it comes. Unlike the Turn, the Quarterpost and Middle are the positions that say “I had a great draft, I just let it come to me.”

Practice Drafting Jujitsu. Now, I’m no expert in Jujitsu and I’ll probably be told how wrong I am, but I’ve heard it described by those that do as such. That a Jujitsu fight is a bit like a dance where every move has a countermove and the fighters just progress through the counters until one messes up or doesn’t know the counter. So Drafting Jujitsu is knowing what moves to make in response to the draft, to the other owners, and to be able to take advantage when they don’t know and make the wrong move. When teams start taking QBs too early, you don’t. When they go so crazy on RBs that Antonio Brown or Deandre Hopkins falls to your 9th pick, you take them. When someone takes two receivers behind you towards the Turn, you take the running back they dropped to you. When teams are undervaluing tight end in a TE premium or two TE league, make them pay. Know what you are going to do in any given situation.

Perspective on Your Picks

That said, there’s a fine line between letting the draft come to you, and you finding yourself chasing everyone else. You still want to be taking the players you want. The idea is to get players that you wanted that should already be gone, not to just clean up everyone’s leftovers. If it’s not a player you would normally want, don’t take them just because he’s fallen below his ADP.

While the Turn and even the Whiplash can focus on the 20% of the players they like and focus on them, the Quarterpost and Middle should keep a wider pool of players in mind. Instead of raising the ones you like, fade the 20% that you don’t. Now you can happily take the value that falls without being picky, but knowing which ones you aren’t interested in, even if they “fall” to you.


As your picks approach, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do I have any positional needs that may influence who I’ll take? What position?
  2. Who is my highest ranked player on the board at that position?
  3. Would I rather have that player, or the best available player of a different position?

Break it down for yourself. You don’t need 20 different scenarios and comparisons going through your head. Prioritize between players as your pick approaches and reduce the debate to 2-3 players max as you go on the clock.

Early Draft Walk Through

The “Perfect” Picks are called such because they are the best options available there according to PPR Average Draft Position. It’s not meant as what you have to take, but just to give you a heads up as we walk through what to expect in the early rounds of your draft. This helps you prepare for likely dilemmas and decisions you will need to make. The “Make Up Your Mind” highlights this as the biggest issue you’ll need to resolve at this section of your draft. Meanwhile, the “Acceptable Reaches” are picks I would say not to be afraid of reaching for according to ADP if you like them.

Drafting from the #4 or #5

First Round (1.04/1.05)

“Perfect” Picks: Ezekiel Elliot, DeAndre Hopkins
Make up your mind: Ezekiel Elliott
Acceptable Reaches: David Johnson, Nick Chubb

There’s 3 top RBs going at the top of most drafts. Saquon, McCaffery, and Kamara. If one falls to you, you probably don’t want to think about it too much and take them. Otherwise you have to make the Zeke Decision. If he plays even 15 games you are getting a major advantage getting him this late and picking again in the 2nd round earlier than if you’d had to take him top three.

If you want to avoid the risk of Zeke, you need to know who you want ahead of time. There’s some solid RBs coming back to you in the 2nd, but if you aren’t comfortable with them as your RB1 you may need to pass on Hopkins or another WR and reach on David Johnson or, in my opinion, the safest back here: Nick Chubb.

Second Round (2.08/2.09)

Perfect” Picks: Mike Evans, Joe Mixon
Make up your mind:  Antonio Brown
Acceptable Reaches: Keenan Allen, Fournette

This is a spot that you can really just take whatever the best option falls to you, particularly if you take a RB in the 1st. This is why I would advise not taking a receiver in the early 1st round because it severely limits your options in the 2nd and 3rd. You can survive taking a WR in the 3rd if you go two RBs first. You can even get two great WR2s around your 2/3 turn. But if you don’t have a RB already you will be really pressured to take one with your 2nd even when some great WR1s are still there. Don’t put yourself in a corner.

It’s possible that receivers like Mike Evans make it back to you, but Antonio Brown has been falling this far with Adam Thielen and Keenan Allen likely available too.

The running backs are go off the board quickly, but if Joe Mixon falls to your pick I know I wouldn’t be able to pass him up. Otherwise, it’s options like Fournette or Kerryon.

Third Round (3.04/3.05)

Perfect” Picks: Aaron Jones, Stefon Diggs
Make up your mind:  Tight End
Acceptable Reaches: Chris Carson, Brandin Cooks

Travis Kelce is usually going early in the second round, leaving Kittle and Ertz to often be take in the third round. You’ll want to make up your mind ahead of time about TE, whether you would want to take either Kittle or Ertz or none at all.

If you went RB heavy in the first two rounds then you are in luck, there is quite a nice grouping of receivers here that are all on the edge of being WR1s. Diggs, Amari Cooper (falling because of foot injury, so beware), Brandin Cooks, and Edelman are all likely here. Know who your favorite in these tiers is.

There’s a large group of running back two’s here as well. So if you went balanced or even two receivers in the first two rounds you will have options here such as Freeman, Aaron Jones, Carson, and the rookies Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery.

Fourth round (4.08/4.09)

Perfect” Picks:  Tyler Lockett, Sony Michel
Make up your mind: Melvin Gordon

There’s a large group of receivers and running backs in the fourth round with no solid order. Mark Ingram, Derrick Henry, Sony Michel, Marlon Mack, Phillip Lindsay, and then Chris Godwin, Tyler Lockett, Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp are all over this section. So just know your own order and take the best available at the position that fits your draft so far.

You may see QBs start to be taken this round. I’m not even going to be diplomatic about this: Just don’t draft a QB yet. You can think about it in the 8th.

Fifth Round (5.04/5.05)

“Perfect” Picks:  Tyler Boyd, Tevin Coleman
Make up your mind: AJ Green

By the time it comes back to you in the 5th round most of the desirable RBs will be gone. If you are lucky, Tevin Coleman or Miles Sanders may make it back to you. The longer Melvin Gordon holds out, Austin Ekeler will rise into this range as well. In fact, if that’s the case, Melvin may have fallen to your pick here. Understand the risk and the benefit.

The Melvin question will probably be taken care of for you, but the AJ Green decision is one you may be forced to make for yourself here. Is 75% of a season with risk of missing more worth his per game production when healthy? You answer that for yourself.

Drafting from the #8 or #9

First Round (1.08/1.09)

Perfect” Picks:  Le’Veon Bell, Julio Jones
Make up your mind: Todd Gurley
Acceptable Reaches: Nick Chubb, Juju Smith-Schuster

There are plenty of locked in wide receiver one’s here, so your decision will be between safety or the risk and reward of a running back that could pay off with top 5 value. Todd Gurley is falling through and even beyond this portion of the draft.

Looking ahead to the second round, you’ll likely have at least one decent running back one option, so if they are good enough for you as your team’s RB1, then take your best receiver. But if you are just as happy with the lower end wide receiver one’s, take your running back now.

Second Round (2.04/2.05)

“Perfect” Picks: Dalvin Cook, Travis Kelce, Juju Smith-Schuster
Make up your mind:  Travis Kelce
Acceptable Reaches: Mike Evans, Joe Mixon

This is the first spot where we practice what I talked about earlier in taking the value that falls. If you went RB first and somehow Juju or Tyreek falls to you here I’d jump on that. But if Todd Gurley falls I am perfectly fine with his risk considering he’s your RB2. Ten or eleven RBs are likely off your board already, so you can take him at his floor and smile.

Travis Kelce is in a tight end tier by himself and is practically a wide receiver one in the tight end slot. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine him improving and you are buying him at peak cost. A Dalvin or Juju pick have opportunity to leap into top five of their position this season, improving on this pick.

Third Round (3.08/3.09)

“Perfect” Picks: Stefon Diggs, Josh Jacobs
Make up your mind: Rookie Running Backs
Acceptable Reaches: Brandin Cooks, Sony Michel

The rookie running backs finish up this grouping of backs before the fourth round options. But luckily if you’re not a fan of that, a few solid receivers with WR1 potential remain in Amari Cooper, Julian Edelman, and Brandin Cooks. Solid options to fill in depending on which positions you took in the first two rounds.

Fourth Round (4.04/4.05)

“Perfect” Picks: Robert Woods, Mark Ingram
Make up your mind: Melvin Gordon
Acceptable Reaches: Sony Michel, Kenny Golladay

You’ll want to make sure your team doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses coming out of this pick. Having no quarterback or tight end is not weaknesses. You may see QBs start to be taken this round. I’m not even going to be diplomatic about this: Just don’t draft a QB yet. You can think about it in the 8th.

The longer Melvin Gordon holds out, he will continue to drop. If that is the case, Melvin may fall to your pick here. Understand the risk and the benefit.

There’s a large group of receivers and running backs in the fourth round with no solid order. Mark Ingram, Derrick Henry, Sony Michel, Marlon Mack, Phillip Lindsay, and then Chris Godwin, Tyler Lockett, Kenny Golladay and Cooper Kupp are all over this section. So just know your own order and take the best available at the position that fits your draft so far.

Fifth Round (5.08/5.09)

Perfect” Picks: Mile Sanders, Jarvis Landry
Make up your mind:  AJ Green
Acceptable Reaches: Tight End

This is the perfect spot to do a little cleanup. Hopefully your team is solid and you won’t be pressured to take a specific position here, leaving you free to take the best player. But if you do need to take a specific position, start to ignore ADP. Of course, you need to know projections and points, just to make sure you are in the right ballpark, but anything within 16 ADP picks is perfectly fine if its the right player for your team.

You could wait until the sixth round and grab whichever middle class tight end is available, but if you think Evan Engram or OJ Howard are a cut above the rest, you’ll need to pick them here.

The Rest of your Picks

Continue to take YOUR players that happen to fall through. Don’t try to play the ADP game in the Quarterpost, too much happens before it comes back to you. From here on out you are better off drafting off a projection sheet than a ADP list. Luckily, we have that for you here at FusionFFB.com with our combined projections ranks, with QBs not included!


As always, the best way to feel comfortable in your draft is to do a few mock drafts from your position. There are many great options, but my favorite ones I’ll suggest are the Sleeper app and Fantasy Football Calculator where you can easily join and pick your position.

Keep an eye out and check in for articles on all the other positions.

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