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Fantasy Football Drafts and Finding Key Undervalued Picks

Millions of fantasy football team managers will be picking their players this coming weekend and early next week as the NFL gets set to begin. The Detroit Lions will be visiting the Kansas City Chiefs on the 7th of September which will kick off the season. Real football is great, fantasy football, however, is enticing for many because it allows us as fans to 'participate' and show what we know, and sometimes unfortunately don't know. And like day trading it can also cost money or make profits depending on the ability to select assets and use risk management wisely.

Fantasy football draft for 2023 is coming and you need to be prepared.
Fantasy Football Drafts are Coming

Whether you are playing in a fantasy league that has 'free' drafts or need to price players per an allowable budget while selecting your team, you need to consider your options carefully. Many fantasy football leagues mandate rosters that include 15 picks. Over the past few years a growing emphasis has evolved around wide receivers as they have outscored running backs by a wide margin.

Top Tier Wide Receivers Compared to Other Positions

Finding solid wide receivers in the first two rounds of the draft is a tactic many players have started to use, then this is followed by choosing a running back or two to fill in these positions which are needed per your active weekly roster. Nowadays you want a running back who also can catch the ball, yards matter and a lot of them come after a pass has been caught.

Quarterbacks, as worthy as they are in the NFL and fantasy football, have become a commodity that many team managers wait on until the late fourth or fifth round to select. Fantasy football team managers need to remember the game is quantified via points on paper and is completely different than the game being played on the field. Your bias against a certain NFL team and the fact that you have a team you root for can often cause a lot of discomfort if you make your selections with these sentiments clouding your judgement.

Selecting positions and the round they are taken also depends on the amount of players in your league. The above is written with the notion that leagues are 10 teams. If you are participating in a league with 12 teams, then you can count on quarterbacks starting to disappear who are considered tier 1 players in the third round. Yes, you will also find fantasy managers who gamble and take a quarterback earlier. However, seldom do you see a qb taken in the first round.

Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are causing plenty of early selections and looks this year via mock drafts. But fantasy managers need to be careful and make sure they do not overpay by drafting the quarterbacks too high, and lose out on other key positions in which points are accumulated and can prove costly if you miss out on talent which provides needed active roster value.

A key spot on fantasy football rosters includes the 'flex' which allows for wide receivers, running backs or tight ends to be used in this 'extra active' position. Yes, some leagues allow for two quarterbacks to play at once also. Not to mention leagues that include defensive players, not including defensive teams. The point being that the flex position and the importance wide receivers have taken on often means wide receivers go fast and hard in fantasy football drafts because of their ability to accumulate value better than most running backs and tight ends.

Finishing Well Based on Undervalued Selections that Over Perform

Your decision in the later rounds are often more important than early selections. This is where you can begin to develop a team that finishes high among your friends and competitors. Deciding on your top tier players within positions is important but it is also crucial to decide on who you think is overvalued and who is undervalued. For instance, it has been noticed in mock drafts that the wide receiver Calvin Ridley is being taken suspiciously high by fantasy managers counting on Trevor Lawrence potentially making him a top receiver this season. Folks are counting on outlooks of what could be, instead of what has happened the past couple of years and this could prove dangerous. Lawrence will try to get the ball to him, but will Ridley be ready.

George Pickens of the Pittsburgh Steelers stands out. He is a second year wide receiver who has incredible talent and via many mock drafts seems to be lasting until the 7th round and sometimes even the 8th. The fact that Pickens plays with a second year quarterback who is not getting a lot of attention early either in Kenny Pickett is intriguing. Pickett in ten team mock drafts appears to be lasting until the last round in many cases, allowing for a potentially solid player to backup your tier 1 or 2 quarterback and to be replaced if your starter gets injured or have a bye week.

Does anyone want to go into what DeShaun Watson did last year after missing extensive playing time the past couple of years before? Real game speed takes a while to get used to even by veteran NFL players if they have been standing on the sidelines too long. Counting on players such as Calvin Ridley to immediately perform like a tier 2 wide receiver may prove to be wishful thinking. Yes, he is playing with a quarterback in Lawrence who has all-world talent, but Ridley will have to prove he is ready for prime-time. By the way, DeShaun Watson may prove to be undervalued as a quarterback, if he regains his form which seemingly vanished upon his return from a suspension last season as he struggled.

So what do you do in theory? Staying away from Calvin Ridley who seems to be a gamble in the 4th round and waiting on another wide receiver you believe will perform solidly, but can draft a little lower may be the route to go with more than a handful of players. Passing on tier 2 players and taking a player at another position who you believe will perform better is an option.

Fantasy football results are largely about fulfilling expectations among top players selected and finding hidden gems others have not considered in later rounds. Team managers also have to weigh positions via their point production expectations, and decide if it is better to overload on wide receivers for instance who are in the top 3 tiers, and then wait and gamble on questionable other positions consisting of second or third tier production which may be around later to select.

The same process needs to be used for drafting defenses and kickers. There are only a few difference makers on defense and among kickers who can be counted on to perform and deliver above average results and make them worth taking in higher rounds than normal. San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia and the New York Jets are considered top defensive selections by many. However, San Francisco may be gambled on earlier than expected, because their estimated point production may be above the remaining top tier 3 defense's listed. Kickers work the same way via worthiness, only a few can reasonable be expected to outperform average results. Many kickers are taken in the last round for this reason.

Finding solid undervalued position players in the later rounds after your first five picks can change the outcome of fantasy football leagues. Production from the top selections is always important, but it is your skill level while drafting later that will likely determine your team's overall performance.

Before you draft your team you should figure out how many wide receivers you want on your roster, a solid number would be to take 5, yes, out of your 15 player roster. This would allow for 3 running backs, two tight ends, two quarterbacks, 1 defensive team and 1 kicker, and then 1 streaming position which can be used to drop and add for players that have bye weeks and injuries that will certainly arise.


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