I hope you’ve done your research and have participated in at least one mock draft by now. Keyword, of course, being mock. After seeing what happened to Arian Foster on Tuesday, you don’t want to draft until the last minute possible. However, you want to go into your strategy with a plan, not blind.
Do some mocks. Do some standard, auction and drafts with a PPR mindset. Practice strategies you normally wouldn’t do. So far in the mock season — NOTE: It’s been SO hard to turn my attention to football with the baseball season heating up as we head to the fantasy playoffs — I’ve drafted three running backs early, three receivers early, a mix, best player available and even experimented with taking a quarterback early. Just be prepared when draft day comes. Have a strategy in mind, but don’t become married to it because no matter how much you plan, things are going to change on draft day. You have to be able to adjust on the fly.
But one thing you can get a good idea for early on is what position you are going to stream. Let’s be honest, each team will have some weak spot and will be forced to stream eventually at some point in the season. The most likely positions to be streamed during a given week are quarterback, tight end, defense and the dreaded (useless) kicker.
So to start our preseason weekly streamers discussion, let’s focus on the quarterback position, and some guys you can take late and stream throughout the year. You’ll know right away if you are taking a quarterback early or if you’re going to wait. Personally, I’m the last person to take a quarterback every year, and I’m content with it. I’ve won titles with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Alex Smith and Jay Cutler over the last two seasons. But that’s not to say if Andrew Luck or Aaron Rodgers fall to the middle of the third round that I won’t consider them there.
First, let’s look at auction drafts. It’s the best way to draft for any fantasy sport, by the way. Don’t pay for a quarterback. Seriously, don’t do it. A few mocks ago, I ended up with Cam Newton and Tom Brady for a combined $5 because everyone blew their money by then. Last year, Tony Romo was my guy for $4. There are ALWAYS quarterback bargains toward the end of an auction. I refuse to pay more than $7 for a guy. If I end up with Carson Palmer and Teddy Bridgewater, so be it. Do yourself the favor and let someone else pay $35 or more for the studs at the position. That just allows you to load up at the skill positions and give you the advantage where it really matters.
Next, the difference between four- and six-point touchdown passing leagues. It’s no revelation, but running quarterbacks are so much more valuable in four-point passing leagues than six point. Their legs — especially touchdowns — add more points to your score weekly. Guys like Newton, Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Marcus Mariota become extremely valuable and move up a tier.
For standard and PPR leagues, wait on QB. It’s that simple. If you’re in a 10- or 12-team league, there are plenty of options for you. Anything deeper, yeah you can take one slightly earlier. My rule of thumb — especially knowing the guys that I draft with — is to never take two quarterbacks unless I’m fully committed to streaming them or unusual circumstances (drafting Brady, taking the Eagles’ Bradford and Mark Sanchez).
Once everyone has one, I’ll sit back and wait until round 10 or 11 before taking my signal caller. By that time, Rodgers, Luck, Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Wilson, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Cam Newton, Romo, Eli Manning and Brady will likely be gone. Guys like Matthew Stafford, Palmer, Bridgewater, Tannehill and Bradford are yours for the taking. Is there really that much of a difference between Ryan and Palmer? Not to me, barring health, of course.
If you’re going to stream the position, commit to it or don’t do it at all. Grab a guy whose schedule you like for the first few weeks and who doesn’t have a bye. If you’re going to go with two, make sure they don’t have the same bye week so you don’t have to roster three quarterbacks at once or drop a guy four weeks win.
Some of my favorite streamers for Week 1 include: Palmer vs. the Saints, Winston vs. the Titans, Mariota vs. the Bucs, Andy Dalton vs. the Raiders, Derek Carr vs. the Bengals, Bradford vs. the Falcons and Bridgewater vs. the 49ers.