Fantasy football draft strategy: Who should I take with first pick in my draft?


Having the No. 1 pick in your fantasy football draft seems like an enviable position, but what do you do when you have precisely every player available to you? Let this article be your guide if you are in this situation this year.

Standard leagues

In some years, there is a big debate over who should go No. 1. This year, not so much. It’s Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor, certainly in standard leagues. You’re talking about a 230-pound, 23-year-old workhorse who led the league in rushing yards (1,811) and rush TDs (18) last season. His 40 receptions weren’t too shabby either, and there is reason to believe he could top that total this year. The offense shouldn’t change much with Matt Ryan stepping in for Carson Wentz. If anything, it will be a little more risk-averse, which could help Taylor. He’s still running behind one of the better offensive lines in the NFL, too. All other contenders for the No. 1 spot — Austin Ekeler, Derrick Henry, Christian McCaffrey, etc — have questions regarding their injury history or workload attached to them.

PPR leagues

Here, you’ll have to ask yourself whether you would rather have Taylor or Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp, who is coming off a historic season with a juicy 145-1,947-16 receiving line. Incredibly consistent, Kupp reached six receptions and 90 yards in all but one of his 17 games last season en route to being named the NFL’s Offensive Player of the Year. However, when choosing between a top-notch running back and a superstar wideout, the RB should still get the edge. There is a scarcity of elite talent at each position, but more so at running back. By the time you get to pick again at the Round 2-3 turn, the RBs likely available include Leonard Fournette, James Conner and David Montgomery. The wideouts will probably be Mike Evans, Keenan Allen and A.J. Brown. I’d much rather choose from that second group.

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Two-QB leagues

Who’s the next contender for Taylor’s throne? In two-QB leagues, it’s Buffalo Bills gunslinger Josh Allen. There is no doubt that you will need to pick at least one quarterback within the first few rounds of such a draft, but if you pass on Allen, you could get a chance to pair Taylor with Dak Prescott, Tom Brady, Russell Wilson or possibly Jalen Hurts. That’s not bad at all. Given the concerns about Patrick Mahomes’ receiving corps sans Tyreek Hill entering this season, Allen should be the first quarterback off the board in two-QB drafts. But putting him ahead of Taylor is a little much.

Summary

It’s not indefensible if you decide to pick someone other than Taylor at No. 1 overall. But right now, Taylor is the best blend of low risk and high potential. And grabbing a bona fide workhorse running back gives you a roster advantage over many of the other teams in your league.

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Fantasy football draft strategy: Who should I take with first pick in my draft?

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