Your Draft Plan: First three picks in 8-team leagues

Your Draft Plan: First three picks in 8-team leagues

Fantasy football draft strategy tips and advice

Your Draft Plan: First three picks in 8-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.

Your Draft Plan For 12-Team Leagues »

Your Draft Plan For 10-Team Leagues »

The key to 8 team leagues is that you MUST have all-star players. There is no need for depth. Sleepers count much less because everyone has a good team.

Performance Scoring (Non PPR) Leagues

The scoring here doesn’t have reception points so usually quarterbacks and running backs are the top scorers. Wide receivers are not too far behind but almost all tight ends are somewhat worthless after Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen. 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 WR A Brown RB C Hyde RB D Freeman Brown going first in a 8 team league with no reception points? Sure – he is a lock to be an advantage. But that left him with only the #5 best RB and took Carlos Hyde which seems overly risky – there were less risky players on the board. Going with Devonta Freeman is less advantageous without the reception point. This just doesn’t look like a great start though each pick may have felt reasonable at the time.
2 RB T Gurley QB A Rodgers RB L Bell No doubt happy to get Todd Gurley as RB1, went with Aaron Rodgers in the second for a small advantage at QB and then Bell in the third round. That hurts even less in an 8 team league because you will easily reach DeAngelo Williams and likely your RB3 will be decent to start for those first four weeks that Bell is gone anyway. Next picks have to consider WR but a TE is okay as well. But next pick has to be a WR.
3 RB A Peterson WR A Green RB L McCoy Starting out with Adrian Peterson is strong and then still reached the #5 WR in the second round. Going with RB in the third respects the scoring as well though this team is building a very good roster – but is it great? QB could be considered next but starting out RB-WR-RB does allow flexibility for the next several rounds.
4 WR O Beckham RB L Miller WR A Robinson Starting with Odell Beckham is solid enough even without the reception point. But then went Lamar Miller at RB1 in the second round which looks a bit more risky than needed. But after the Top 6 running backs, the rest all have some element of risk anyway. Reaching Allen Robinson was nice for WR2 but this doesn’t really address the scoring rules. Next pick probably has to be RB and a QB should come soon. With no reception point, it is hard to justify 2 WR in the first three rounds since it starts to build an average team and that won’t fly in an 8 team league.
5 TE R Gronkowski WR D Bryant RB J Charles Going with Gronkowski this early is trying to gain an advantage but even in an 8 team league, the Gronk Gambit really costs the team owner. Was able to reach Dez Bryant for WR1 and that likely make sense since RB was already past the first tier. But then by the third round, Jamaal Charles offers a risky RB1 and there are no reception points. Still hard to justify Gronk in a league with no reception points but he is taken early and he is clearly a positional advantage… at a price.
6 RB D Martin RB D Johnson QB A Luck While this did pay respects to the scoring rules, starting out RB-RB meant that this drafter could access two Top 5 RBs but that is no lock to happen in other leagues. It is a terrific start to be sure and adding Andrew Luck later was a nice move assuming he returns to form. But this also means the next two picks have to consider WR and pick at least one if not two. But the solid start leaves WRs lacking and that is the deepest position – incredibly deep in an 8 team league with no reception points.
7 RB E Elliott WR D Hopkins RB E Lacy This is a standard start – RB-WR-RB or RB-RB-WR always makes some sense in an 8 team league with no reception points. This could work if Ezekiel Elliott meets expectations and drafting later in the round means accepting more risk in the search for advantage. DeAndre Hopkins was a solid find for WR1 and then still reach Eddie Lacy for RB2 but that could have been QB or TE for a better advantage and then taken RB three picks later.
8 QB C Newton WR J Jones RB M Ingram This is a nice use of the end of the first round swing. Takes the best QB with Cam Newton, then gets a Top 3 WR with Julio Jones and has to settle for Mark Ingram at RB. This means the next pick and maybe the next two picks need to consider RB and there should be decent value still there. WR1 is so good that WR2 can wait.

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 are less important because they no longer are as big of a difference maker. Top tight ends are considered much more highly

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 What’s Next?
1 WR A Brown RB D Martin QB C Newton Starting with Antonio Brown was automatic and then opted for Doug Martin as RB1 in the second round along with QB Cam Newton. Have to like having the best WR and QB with a top 5 RB. Next pick should strongly consider WR or TE. This is a hot start in this size of a league and a nice example of taking advantages when possible.
2 WR O Beckham WR A Robinson QB A Rodgers This is essentially the same plan as Team #1 but with a WR2 instead of RB1 for the second pick. And that respects the scoring. In this case, Allen Robinson filled out the top tier and made more sense. Aaron Rodgers and Allen Robinson sound safer and better than Cam Newton and Alshon Jeffery or Doug Martin. Has to chase RBs over the next few rounds but has very nice advantages at WR and QB.
3 WR J Jones WR B Marshall RB D Freeman Julio Jones a natural PPR pick for Team #3 and then Brandon Marshall sets up the wideouts very well. Still was able to get DeVonta Freeman for RB1 which should be big thanks to the reception point.WR-WR is always an option in a PPR league and it works well in an 8 team league. And almost at any slot, the third round pick yields at worse a solid player and usually an upside player that could be elite.
4 RB T Gurley WR T Hilton WR A Jeffery First pick of RB1 Todd Gurley was prudent but then hitting WR twice in a row made the team look rather average. WR1 was the 8th WR taken overall so was the weakest WR1 in the league and Alshon Jeffery is only an average WR2 so there is no advantages. Next pick could go TE for a slight advantage but even QB is already in the average range for this small of a league. RB-WR-WR seems a safe start but it looks like a really average team so far and isn’t likely to make up much ground. Kind of a standard middle round average team so far.
5 RB D Johnson WR A Cooper QB A Luck Opted for reception-heavy David Johnson and still reached WR1 Amari Cooper. Opted for a QB in the third to get Andrew Luck and what should be an advantage there. Overall this worked well so far since it was able to access reasonably good players in their position. And it allows for flexibility in future picks that could be anything but almost certainly would consider WR and RB next. QB’s may not offer a lot of advantage but every little bit helps in an 8-team league.
6 TE R Gronkowski RB E Elliott WR D Thomas The Gronk Gamble looks better here than in the 12 or 10-Team versions. He adds an immediate and distinct advantage at TE in a PPR league. Then Ezekiel Elliott at RB1 is a high upside play instead of just taking the #7 overall WR. That left only Demaryius Thomas for WR1 and that might be Alshon Jeffery or worse instead so may have gotten away with something. Could have considered QB but that would have only been about average and Andrew Luck went right before him anyway. Next pick is only four players away and should at least consider WR strongly since ten more picks happen before the round 5 pick happens. But the small size of the league means that Gronk doesn’t set them as far back in WR or RB as he does in bigger leagues.
7 WR D Hopkins RB A Peterson RB L Bell This start looks better than it may prove in another league. Certainly DeAndre Hopkins and Adrian Peterson are great starts for their position but then dipping into RB again was able to net Le’Veon Bell but he may be gone by this point in some leagues regardless of missing games.This is not a bad start by any means and is certainly safe enough with WR-RB start. But WR was starting to drain quickly by the third pick and going again in just two more turns means controlling the RB instead of the more raided WR position. This was actually about as well as it could have ended up just given what happened before him. Top 3 QBs are gone and a non-Gronk TE is just not that big of a deal.
8 WR A Green WR D Bryant RB L Miller Going WR-WR at the back-end swing makes plenty of sense since owns two of the Top 6 WR but then in the third QB and WR was drained and even RB was getting much thinner but it was sort of a need pick. And goes again right after where should consider another RB so at least RB2 is stronger than most. This is about as good as they could have done given what happened. It doesn’t look that sexy but it is practical and a great base for a team. And it respects the scoring scenario as well.

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 be half gone by the second round. There is a lot of variation here based on overall scoring but figure on the top three quarterbacks being taken in the first round. This plays out differently with only eight teams. There are roughly eight great choices at quarterback so everyone gets one. But you don’t want to miss out on a good one. And the last thing you want is to wait on QB and then have someone get cute and take two quarterbacks earlier than you expected and then you have a big disadvantage at the best position – never good.

Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 What’s Next?
1 WR A Brown WR D Bryant QB R Wilson Tough to pass on Cam Newton but Antonio Brown just looks all-world this year and is a big advantage at WR. Then doubled on WR and still reached Dez Bryant thanks to more QBs taken allowing WR to last longer. Settled on Russell Wilson for an average QB but knew waiting on the position would have resulted in a potential painful hole at QB in a league that prizes them. Next picks have to consider RB of course..
2 QB C Newton RB D Martin WR A Cooper Scooped Cam Newton for a nice advantage and then still reached Doug Martin in the second round. That still left Amari Cooper for WR1 though that’s weaker for the first WR than desired. This is a safe play and after top QB secures solid enough RB and WR. Certainly any failure by Newton will cause significant problems with the starting lineup point total. But a safe play so far and can go anywhere with next picks. WR has to be considered but also could add a top TE in the fifth round if one is still there.
3 QB A Rodgers RB E Elliott WR T Hilton Same plan as Team #2 with the same sort of results – slightly better perhaps with the higher upside RB1 in Ezekiel Elliott but there is more risk as well. T.Y, Hilton is nothing special at WR1. Again – safe enough start that respects the scoring though switching RB-WR to make it WR-RB probably works out better because of the reception point.
4 WR O Beckham QB B Bortles RB D Freeman This mid-draft plan is good. Starting with top WR1 in Odell Beckham, follows with QB Blake Bortles who may not be an advantage so much but is not a disadvantage which in the highest scoring position is a good thing. Still reached Devonta Freeman for a solid start that allows the next two picks (or even the next four) to decide between RB and WR each time.
5 RB T Gurley WR A Green QB C Palmer Going with best RB in the league is a nice start and still reached A.J. Green for WR1 for a solid start. And Carson Palmer in the third was another good choice though not great. As it fell, this is effectively as good as WR-RB-QB but went RB first for the value in Gurley. Have to consider WR the most after the next six picks happen and the fourth round will see WR drained much more.
6 TE R Gronkowski RB A Peterson QB D Brees The Gronk Gambit worked though it doesn’t look as strong as other teams. Was able to reach Adrian Peterson for RB1 but then felt they had to go QB in the third despite it being at the end of the tier because have to assume Team #8 takes a QB and so opted to control the QB they got instead of WR which needs to be the pick in the fourth round. RB and WR are going to happen for the next four rounds to make up any ground lost when a TE was the first pick.
7 QB A Luck WR D Hopkins RB L Bell Made good sense to grab Andrew Luck first for a better-than-most QB. And still reached Andre Hopkins for a solid WR1. That third round pick went for Bell who could be golden after the first month and his backup is easier to acquire in a small league. Overall, this is a very standard start in a QB-heavy league but will need to consider WR when the fourth round pick happens in two more turns. Solid start that looks better with Bell there than it would other names. But a solid start that respects the scoring.
8 WR J Jones RB D Johnson QB E Manning This did not look as good though it is just the way the draft fell. Top 3 QBs were gone so went with Top 3 WR that makes sense. Then could have doubled on WR but opted for RB1 David Johnson. But then ended up in a bind at the end of the third round when felt had to take a QB (also has the next pick so could be WR-QB or QB-WR). If ignored QB at this turn, then runs a big risk of having a disadvantage at high scoring QB position and yet no major advantages anywhere else. But as the draft fell, this is a realistic plan that makes sense at every pick but doesn’t result in as good a set of starters as desired. Likely best bet would have been to double down on WR in the first two picks and gain a decent advantage from two starting WR. Taking a QB in second round would have only been an average one and delayed RB for a low quality RB1 in the third. This was as good as could be given what happened.

Fourth Round and Beyond Considerations

Quarterbacks – To have an advantage, you need a Top 4 quarterback and that may not even make it past the first round in many leagues. Can take two quarterbacks after the first eight are gone and play mix-n-match but that is hard to get right and in an 8 team league, half or most of teams are going to be getting major quarterback points every week. Smaller league size means taking an earlier quarterback does not hurt as much as in larger leagues.

Running Backs – They last longer then they ever have. And even in the third and fourth rounds there are surprisingly good options because wideouts have such a premium value this year even in non-PPR leagues. With reception points, “startable” running backs last into the eighth round or more in this small of a league.

Wide Receivers – Always the deepest position though they go faster in PPR leagues. This year they are going fast and you should assume in a 8 team league that the top 8 are all gone by the end of the second round. But as always, this is the deepest position with the most upside plays later in the draft. Still pays to have at least one top WR.

Tight Ends – Gronkowski is usually a first rounder unless there is no reception point. Have to expect Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen to be gone by the fifth round and maybe earlier. But the rest are relatively indistinguishable so loading up elsewhere makes sense. Especially in an 8-team league where there are at least eight decent tight ends anyway.

Your Draft Plan For 12-Team Leagues »

Your Draft Plan For 10-Team Leagues »


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