Almost every draft has “that guy,” whether you join a random league online or with your friends. They take the highest rated player on their favorite team and take them with their first pick. And while anything can happen, you can only blame yourself if your season is down the drain because you made the decision that Todd Gurley is a top-5 pick and everyone around you is a moron. So, let’s avoid that. How do we avoid that? With bold text followed by an explanation providing more depth, of course.
First things first, think of your favorite team.
Oh, it’s the Rams? What a coincidence, me too! The best thing about fantasy football is that it gives us something to look forward to after Thanksgiving.
Next, check out the rankings on the website you’re using.
For the sake of consistency, I’m going to be using ESPN ranks for this article because that’s the site I traditionally use. But keep in mind that different websites will have different ranks because experts have varying opinions. This is going to affect a player’s average draft position (ADP) because people are sheep and will just draft down the line. So, for ESPN, there are only 4 Rams that are ranked in their top 200.
- Todd Gurley (20 overall, RB #10, 21st in ADP)
- Sammy Watkins (57 overall, WR #29, 61st in ADP)
- Robert Woods (139 overall, WR #57, 198 in ADP)
- Cooper Kupp (158 overall, WR #60, outside top 200)
It’s worth noting that a standard, 10-team league on ESPN will go to pick 160. This makes Woods and Kupp essentially free if you want them. I’ll bring this up later.
This isn’t an endorsement for any specific mock draft tool, but I can’t recommend it enough. It’s especially useful if you have an upcoming draft with a predetermined draft order. It helps you walk into a draft with a battle plan. Let’s say you need Todd Gurley on your team. This is a matter of life and death. Maybe you just really loved the Carl’s Jr. commercials. And let’s say you have the 7th pick in the draft. Knowing Gurley’s ADP, he should be available with either of your first two picks. I just ran a quick mock draft at pick number 7, knowing I was getting Gurley at 14th overall and my nucleus looks like this:
- 7. Julio Jones, WR, ATL
- 14. Todd Gurley, RB, LAR
- 27. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU
- 34. Carlos Hyde, RB, SF
If you like how that looks, then good. You have a reasonable chance of replicating that in the real thing. If you hate it, try another one. Go with a running back at 27 and a wide receiver at 34. The best thing about mock drafts is experimenting and giving yourself the best chance to be prepared in the draft room.
Free players are there for the taking.
The mock draft strategy really only needs to be utilized if you are interested in Gurley or Watkins. Every other Ram will be available in the late rounds, while people are finalizing their rosters, including that one guy who took a kicker in the 10th round. At this point in the draft, you aren’t picking starters, so my personal strategy is to pick based on upside. I’m one of many Rams fans who are excited about Kupp, so I’ve made it a point to draft him on every team that I can. While Woods is the more established receiver at this point in their respective careers, his upside feels more limited than Kupp.
Another note, the Ram’s defense is currently ranked outside the top-12 and is being taken 11th among defenses. That’s based on poor fantasy-yielding stats last season. Call me biased, but I fully expect a bounce-back season. I always draft a defense in the second-to-the-last round, and I’ve had no problem picking them.
If all else fails, go for it.
Fantasy football is ultimately about having fun. Sure, winning is fun. But so is having a roster full of people whom you actually enjoy rooting for. If your roster is literally the 2017 Rams, then I wish you all the best. In the end, it’s just a game. If you’re interested in what I’ve been doing, I’ve been ending up with Kupp and the defense in nearly every draft. I’ve been in positions where I can take Gurley or Watkins, but they are a little too expensive for a team that may or may not still have issues on offense.