Your Draft Plan: First three picks in 10-team leagues

Your Draft Plan: First three picks in 10-team leagues

Draft Strategy

Your Draft Plan: First three picks in 10-team leagues

This is a sample draft using the current Huddle rankings and what we suggest at each pick. The names are less important than the positions because each draft slot will have its own unique situation. Just as important is what you plan on doing with your future picks and what you must do given where you are at after three rounds. Below uses the three main types of drafts.

Performance Scoring (Non PPR) Leagues – 1/10 rush and receive yards, 1/20 pass yards, TD = 6 except pass = 4.

Point Per Reception (PPR) Leagues – Same as Performance but with one point per reception.

QB Heavy Leagues – Assumes QBs are significantly more valuable than other positions and/or you can start two of them.

A league of 10 means more good players to go around than a 12 team – figure the first 60 players yield five per team in a 12 team league but six for a 10 team league. So there are better players and position depth lasts at least slightly longer. You still want a balanced team but everyone should have a good team. You need elite play makers to win more games than in a 12 team league. A little less worry about getting good starters in every position – that should happen anyway. You worry less about depth because the waiver wire is going to be better than in a 12 team league or bigger. You definitely want difference makers for starters.

Your Draft Plan For 12-Team Leagues »

Your Draft Plan For 8-Team Leagues »

Performance Scoring (Non PPR) Leagues

The scoring here doesn’t have reception points so quarterbacks and running backs are the top scorers. Wide receivers are not too far behind and the elite will match top running backs. Tight ends are all the same after the Top 3 are gone. If you leave the first three rounds without two running backs you should have a good reason.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 What’s Next?
1 RB T Gurley QB A Rodgers RB E Lacy Standard start with good results. Todd Gurley an immediate advantage and still reached Aaron Rodgers with second pick which may or may not happen in other leagues. Then went with RB2 of Eddie Lacy looking for a stud backfield assuming the 2014 version of Lacy returns and not the 2015. No reception points means this start can still be good even though the fourth and likely fifth round picks of WR are not going to be top quality. But in a 10 team league, there is still some quality out there that late and this works. The biggest downside as it worked out was relying on the Packers so heavily to return to form.
2 RB A Peterson QB C Newton RB M Ingram Same plan as Team #1 with the same sort of results. No arguing the value of Adrian Peterson in this scoring and then still reaching the top QB would be another advantage. Ingram sews up the starting RBs and the next few picks need to WR unless some RB unexpectedly falls.
3 WR A Brown RB J Charles QB A Luck In a 10 team league, getting the best WR is an advantage no matter if there is no reception point. And picking up a RB next makes sense sine have to assume that at least two will be gone before you pick again. Could have gone QB but since none have been taken, went for picking the RB knowing that they would get a Top 3 QB regardless. Next up can be anything though RB and WR have to be first considerations for the next three or four rounds.
4 WR O Beckham RB L McCoy RB M Forte Starting out with Odell Beckham at WR1 is an advantage and he should score like a RB or better. Then went for RB-RB and came away with a realistic LeSean McCoy and then Matt Forte. Both backs are solid and should not be any disadvantage, but getting close to the middle rounds even in a 10 team league means not just building a good team – everyone is going to have a good team. From here on out, need to go for upside picks since the start was so safe.
5 RB D Martin WR A Green RB D Murray This worked out a bit better than Team #4 since having Doug Martin and A.J. Green is probably a bit better than Odell Beckham and LeSean McCoy with no reception points added. Landing DeMarcus Murray adds a very safe start but without any kind of star power so far. Martin should be solid but again – middle round drafters need to think about getting difference makers at other positions before teams at either end of the first round.
6 RB E Elliott RB L Bell WR A Robinson Since this was a 10 team league with no reception points, starting out RB-RB on two very high upside RBs was followed by still reaching Allen Robinson for WR1. If this team meets expectations for those first three picks, it will contend but needs to consider QB soon. if an advantage can be had.
7 RB D Johnson RB D Freeman WR T Hilton Same plan as Team #6 and same results though Robinson and Hilton may not be equals in everyone’s eyes. This team would really rock with reception points but without it is still very good. Safe start. WR and QB have to come into the picture soon. Have to hope that 2015 was not a fluke for either RB.
8 WR J Jones RB C Hyde RB T Rawls Went for a difference maker in Julio Jones knowing that still would have good RB left in the second round and then doubled up in the third and landed Thomas Rawls. This start is yet another safe one and still reached Rawls for RB2 which could be a great value. Absolutely should consider a top QB or TE next pick to avoid building an average team since so many picks happen before the fifth round. So far just followed runs really. But cannot wait too long on the WR2 that likely has to be the consideration in the fifth round.
9 RB L Miller WR D Bryant WR A Cooper Taking a RB at the #9 is just following a trend and even then needs Miller to come through big on a new team. That is risky. Taking two straight WR also is risky though both have tremendous upside from their draft spot. Have to go RB next which means the fifth/sixth rounds needs to be best RB/WR and consider a QB.
10 WR D Hopkins TE R Gronkowski RB C Ivory This is the end of the round dilemma. Starting out with DeAndre Hopkins and Rob Gronkowski feels plenty good even in a 10 team league with no reception points. Definite advantages at WR and TE. But even in a 10 team league, RB1 is going to access the 15th best RB or so. And that’s a disadvantage. This can work but next two rounds need to be RB and WR and go for high upside guys even if they are a bit risky. The nice part is that with RB, the league will provide some quality for RB in later rounds just in case a swing for the fence fails with RB2. Could consider a QB at the next pick and end up with a slight advantage there but it would cost too much. RB and WR have to be the considerations.

Point Per Reception (PPR) Leagues

The difference here is that wide receivers may score as much more often more than running backs and that makes the quarterbacks less important because they no longer are as big of a difference maker. Top tight ends are considered much more highly. In a 10 team league, that means that at least decent value exists out even further since that reception point makes more players relevant for running backs, wideouts and tight ends.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 What’s Next?
1 WR A Brown QB C Newton RB L Bell First pick is a no-brainer and it seems a little early to take a QB in this format though quite often someone does. The problem is that even in a 10 team league, the WR are already stripped from Tier 1 and even RB has been raided. So taking the best QB is not a terrible play though the difference is not that great. Reaching Bell could be a major value if DeAngelo Williams is grabbed to ensure the first four weeks are covered and he should be easy to reach in this smaller league. Can go anywhere from here though will likely need to look WR and RB up next.
2 WR O Beckham RB D Freeman WR J Nelson Odell Beckham should be the second pick in most any PPR draft and then opted for RB1 of Devonta Freeman/ that respects the reception point without sacrificing much since as it worked out no WR was taken behind him. This is a very standard start in a PPR and is a solid base to be sure. Drafting early is always an advantage and going near the first means getting three of the Top 20 players. Next up can be anything but will consider RB and QB of course.
3 WR J Jones RB L Miller WR D Thomas No different than Team #2 and that is because this is such a solid plan that works out well in 10 team leagues with PPR. Next up will be RB or WR. Solid base. Drafting this early in the round allowed for decent quality on the #3 pick which frees up the best available player for the next several rounds.
4 RB T Gurley WR A Jeffery RB C Hyde This is what happens when it looks like a top tier has emptied for WR. Starting with Todd Gurley is strong since the Top 3 WR are gone but only reaching an Alshon Jeffrey/Jordy Nelson/Demaryius Thomas for WR1 is right after a stronger Allen Robinson or Brandon Marshall. But felt like a need pick in Round 2 knowing that a few more WR would be taken before the #3 pick was made. Reached Carlos Hyde/LeSean Mccoy for RB2 which doesn’t seem as strong in this scoring. Hyde could have been Jarvis Landry or Keenan Allen. Since RBs last a bit longer in this scoring, this may not be as strong as it could have been.
5 RB D Johnson WR B Marshall WR J Landry Like Team #4 but with that WR in the third round. David Johnson pays homage to the PPR nature and then still was able to reach Brandon Marshall for WR1. Jarvis Landry as WR2 should be solid enough thanks to reception points. It shows the difference between 12 and 10 team leagues since even this deep can catch the tail end of Tier 1 WRs. Next picks likely RB-WR or could consider QB.
6 TE R Gronkowski WR A Robinson RB L McCoy The Gronk Gambit works better in a 10 team league since there are better WR and RB left in Rounds 2 and 3. Still reached WR1 Allen Robinson and could take RB1 as LeSean McCoy. It is a solid start and opting for QB next could be interesting to fill out the other starting position. It depends on who is still there though and more likely would be WR-RB or even WR-WR next. But at least taking Gronk hurts the other positions less in a 10 team league.
7 WR D Hopkins RB D Martin WR K Allen Going with DeAndre Hopkins made good sense and then RB1 Doug Martin reaches a top back from last year. Still was able to get Keenan Allen next for WR2 for a solid standard start. Since they go again in six picks, controlling the WR was the better option than reversing it to take WR-RB. Can go anywhere next and might even think QB or TE if some advantage looks reasonable to take. Both RB and WR should have serviceable options for the next several rounds.
8 WR A Green WR A Cooper RB J Charles If there was one plan you had to use in a small PPR league, WR-WR-RB is likely it. Elite WR with A.J. Green and then high upside with Amari Cooper. RB1 was Jamaal Charles which is risky and not even easy to backup. But as able to get two of the top 8 WR and that counts big in a PPR league. RB and possibly QB should come next.
9 RB A Peterson WR T Hilton WR M Evans Towards the end of the first round, RB-WR-WR has to be considered since it allowed Adrian Peterson for RB1 as the safest RB pick. Then still reached T.Y. Hilton and Mike Evans. Those two WR are solid to be sure though less like difference makers like Team #8 had going WR-WR-RB. But low risk/high production should always be a priority with early picks and Peterson offers that. Still workable and no disadvantage yet.
10 WR D Bryant RB E Elliott WR S Watkins This still worked. Drafting the back-end swing in a 10 team means getting away with things better. Went with Dez Bryant for WR1 and then took Ezekiel Elliott for RB1. That is a bit Cowboy heavy so it could have been Bryant and Doug Martin or Devonta Freeman or whichever RB to taste. But still managed to get Sammy Watkins for WR2. Bryant seemed like the optimal WR pick and in 2014, he and Demarco Murray both had monster seasons. But it is a risk that is not necessary this early in the draft. The nice part of going RB is that had they gone WR-WR, then the RB would have likely added a less optimal risk. Picking at the end of the round means you cannot play it safe the whole way or you end up with just another good team. And good never wins championships in fantasy football, much less in a 10 team league.

QB Heavy Leagues

Most leagues with high points for quarterbacks and/or using two quarterbacks to start mean that the starting quarterbacks are going to fly off the shelves. There is a lot of variation based on overall scoring but figure on the top three quarterbacks being taken in the first round. This sort of draft really mixes everything up with positions drafted. If there are two quarterbacks that can start, expect at least six to eight gone by the end of the second round. Below is a QB-heavy league which is mostly just a PPR league seeding in early quarterbacks. If a league allows two quarterbacks to start and there are no reception points, then expect everyone to want two quarterbacks by the end of their third round because the advantage is profound.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 What’s Next?
1 WR A Brown QB D Brees RB L Miller Opted for Antonio Brown for WR1 to start but that mostly says that the advantage of the best WR is more than the best QB. Was still able to reach Drew Brees for QB1 and should get a Top 8 QB there unless 2 QBs are allowed to start. But starting out WR-QB left Lamar Miller as RB1 though he could be Devonta Freeman or even Le’veon Bell and maybe look better. This is a good start with the best WR and still a good QB though no real advantage and that pick is more need than best available. but have to know that skipping QB until the fourth round really hurts for the first overall pick. Definite disadvantage at that position had they waited.
2 QB C Newton WR A Cooper RB D Freeman This is a very standard approach, particularly early in the first round. Grab top QB, then the best WR and the best RB available. Solid plan, easy to follow up with any position. Likely seek WR next but a top TE is more in play with a 10 team league as well searching for any advantage. Early round – this is best “close your eyes and pick” plan. Safest. Flexible.
3 QB A Rodgers RB D Martin RB L Bell Taking a top QB makes perfect sense in this scoring but then went for RB-RB despite reception points. But it looks good with Doug Martin and Le’veon Bell attached if that can actually happen with Bell falling die to his four game suspension. WR is the deepest position and ground can made up but by round 4 figure on 15 WR being gone so your WR1 is really only an average WR2 at best. This seems very safe and Bell adds a lot of flavor here even if September is going to hurt. but you can reach DeAngelo Williams pretty easily in a 10 team league. But hard to gain any distinct advantages when next picks are WR because of need and they won’t be great ones at that.
4 WR O Beckham RB E Elliott QB E Manning This one worked out well enough. Odell Beckham instead of a QB gives an absolute advantage at that position and then skipped QB again to take high-upside Ezekiel Elliott. Then went for QB and still reached Eli Manning (or just Manning now). So QB is not an advantage but is not a disadvantage either. being able to reach a Top 8 QB should not mean missing out on that much and yet the difference from early WR and RB is much bigger. Next pick likely has to be WR and a RB to follow soon. But this is not a bad ploy and can work but only if you reach a Top 8 QB in the third round. Wouldn’t happen in a 2-QB start league.
5 RB T Gurley QB C Palmer WR T Hilton Top two WRs and QBs are off the board so opts for the best RB in Todd Gurley. That still leaves Carson Palmer for QB1 and then settled for T.Y. Hilton as WR1. Nothing wrong with Hilton but no advantage either. Mid-first round pick goes for biggest bang with Gurley but could have been Amari Cooper and then Eli Manning. Hard to rely on Manning being there though and dropping past him for QB means risk and likely a disadvantage. So this is safe and makes sense. And allows flexibility in the next rounds but should consider WR for the next pick if not the next two.
6 QB A Luck WR D Bryant WR B Marshall This is a good generic plan in this sort of league. Take the best QB – Andrew Luck in this case – and then double down on WR take advantage of the reception point and knowing that WR will drain quickly. Obviously has to consider RB and should grab two within the next three or four rounds at least.
7 WR J Jones RB A Peterson WR A Robinson This is one of those “just how it went” rosters. Julio Jones was a nice pickup in the first round and then Adrian Peterson too hard to pass by in the second. But then in the third, RB did not make sense and QB just went into a new tier and can still be addressed six picks later with the fourth round pick. This is not terrible and having Allen Robinson as a WR2 is very nice. Just need to get a QB next and then at last consider RBs soon.
8 WR D Hopkins RB D Johnson QB D Carr This ends up to be Team #7 where DeAndre Hopkins at WR1 gets followed by David Johnson for RB1. But then at the third pick settled for Derek Carr for QB. That could have been a WR or RB and this happens when not paying attention too. Both teams to draft after this already had QB so no need to reach it now. Could have waited until round 4 and had the same QB but had more options at RB or WR. Likely WR is next and then the long wait has to consider RB in round 5.
9 TE R Gronkowski QB R Wilson WR A Jeffery The Gronk team worked out about the same as a 12 team league. And he could go anywhere from the 1.05 to the 2.05 – it just depends. At this point it still allowed Russell Wilson in the second round but then only Alshon Jeffery was there for WR1 as a disadvantage. Will Gronk’s production advantage among TE’s compensate for the loss of value in WR1? Maybe. But oh yeah, round 4 is almost certainly a RB. And Gronk is the only advantage so far. Will need to land some sleepers to make this seem like an optimal plan.
10 WR A Green QB B Bortles RB L McCoy Starting out with WR and QB in the back-end makes a lot of sense. Neither are top players but both are not a disadvantage, And picking intelligently can mean you get plenty of value with these picks. Opted for LeSean McCoy in the third but almost certainly will need a WR with the next pick. That is not a bad start and can offer a solid base to add sleepers and upside players to for a formidable team. This respects the scoring and starting rules. In this scoring, this and WR-QB-WR both make a lot of sense.

Fourth Round and Beyond Considerations

Quarterbacks – While you want an advantage anywhere you can get one, after the first two or three quarterbacks are taken – what is the true bang for the buck between grabbing the third or fourth best versus settling for the sixth or eighth best? Look at your results from the previous season and you’ll probably see only a marginal per game difference. And there are perhaps fifteen quarterbacks who can help carry a team so waiting beyond the eighth best means you should likely grab two and then play match-ups. You can get away with it though it is harder to manage a team with quarterback starting decisions each week.

Running Backs – They are lasting longer than ever and in a 10 team league, expect some “startability” there as late as the seventh round or even more. With reception points, there are at least 30 to 40 reasonable options though no real advantage from most of them. If you wait on running backs, you better really shine in wideout, quarterback and/or tight end.

Wide Receivers – Always the deepest position though they go faster in PPR leagues. This year they are going faster than ever and you should assume in a 10 team league that the top ten are gone by the start of the third round. But as always, this is the deepest position with the most upside plays later in the draft.

Tight Ends – Gronkowski is usually a first rounder unless there is no reception point. Then Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen come next a few rounds later. And then almost mid-draft everyone remembers to get one and a run starts that has no real order from league to league.

Your Draft Plan For 12-Team Leagues »

Your Draft Plan For 8-Team Leagues »

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