You may hear the word “upside” several hundred times this month as you get ready for your Fantasy drafts, and while drafting for upside is crucial, don’t overlook the safe options that provide consistent production. If you’re drafting second, you know you have the ultimate upside pick in Christian McCaffrey.
No player will be better than CMC on a per-game basis, and this knowledge should shape the rest of your draft by allowing you to take some safer options. In round 2, for example, I selected the somewhat-boring-but-incredibly-reliable Mike Evans over the emerging Michael Pittman and electrifying Deebo Samuel. Fortunately, I was able to draft Samuel in round 3 and establish a great foundation for my squad. I tried to strike the right balance of safety and upside. Ultimately, I think I succeeded.
Another goal of mine in this format (three wide receivers, full PPR) is to be good at wide receiver. Finding start-worthy receivers late in the draft or even on waivers can be difficult, so I drafted a wide receiver with three of my first five picks. It’s not ideal that two of those three are on the Bucs, but hey if you’re going to draft two wide receivers from the same team, Tampa Bay is a good team to do that with!
Here’s my squad from the No. 2 overall pick:
1.2: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers
2.11: Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers
3.2: Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers
4.11: J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens
5.2: Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers
6.11: Dalton Schultz, TE, Cowboys
7.2: Elijah Moore, WR, Jets
8.11: Devin Singletary, RB, Bills
9.2: Trey Lance, QB, 49ers
10.11: Alexander Mattison, RB, Vikings
11.2: Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Chiefs
12.11: D’Onta Foreman, RB, Panthers
13.2 Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
4.11: Terrace Marshall, WR, Panthers
15.2: Van Jefferson, WR, Rams
I feel good about this team and I don’t see any obvious weakness. I do have considerable injury risk with McCaffrey of course plus the combination of Dobbins and Godwin coming back from serious knee injuries. When players return from a major injury, you hope to get them at a discount. I can say that Godwin was discounted, but Dobbins was not.
At quarterback, I absolutely love Trey Lance this season. He does not have to be a good NFL quarterback to be an elite Fantasy option. He basically played 2.5 games as a quarterback last season, and in those 10 quarters, he was on pace for 1,095 rushing yards per 17 games. He has that kind of rushing upside. And if he doesn’t work out, I’ll just turn to the reigning MVP, Aaron Rodgers.
Favorite pick: Dalton Schultz
Dalton Schultz is in his own tier this season. You can’t justify drafting him ahead of the top five tight ends, but I do see a sizable separation between Schultz and the next tier of T.J. Hockenson and Dallas Goedert. I love his situation. He should be second on the team in targets and a red zone threat for Dak Prescott. It is incredibly rare for a tight end to finish top five at the position without being first or second on his team in targets, so keep that in mind on draft day.
Pick I might regret: Christian McCaffrey
This is all about injury, of course. You can’t overlook the fact that McCaffrey has played ten games over his last two seasons, but I would point out that even if McCaffrey misses a big chunk of games, you can still be competitive. Your season isn’t over. I drafted D’Onta Foreman as a handcuff to CMC and I think he’ll be a decent flex option if he becomes the starter. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out!
Player who could make or break my team: Deebo Samuel
Deebo Samuel is a top 20 pick in both FantasyPros and NFC average draft position. I actually am not interested in Deebo that early because Trey Lance’s passing numbers will certainly be lower than Jimmy Garoppolo’s were, and Deebo did most of his receiving damage last season while George Kittle was injured and Brandon Aiyuk was in the doghouse. But round 3? That’s a steal! I couldn’t pass him up at 26th overall. He is clearly one of the best playmakers in football. I was thrilled to draft him in the third round.