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Need-to-Know Strategies From My 14-Team FSGA Experts League Draft

A 14-team draft presents new, fun challenges for those who mostly play in 10 or 12 team leagues. These are this year's lessons learned from SI Fantasy expert Dr. Roto.

Last Friday, I had my first fantasy football draft of the 2020 season. It was a 14-team league filled with 13 other industry experts. Here is the draft board:


I'm psyched to have Davante Adams and Tyreek Hill as my top two picks. Tucker D. Franklin from Arrowhead Report recently detailed a very high receiving yards over/under total set by oddsmakers:

Oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook place Hill’s receiving yards over/under at 1,150.5 yards. Hill has surpassed the 1,150-yard mark in two of the last three seasons, but an injury in 2019 kept him from breaking 1,000 yards. Hill’s total is the sixth-highest projection among receivers. Only Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Chris Godwin, DeAndre Hopkins and Mike Evans are all projected to haul in more yards than Hill.

I wanted to give you some things that I learned from this draft that might be helpful as the fantasy football season moves forward. 

Running backs are scarce and go off the board EARLY

With the 14th pick in the first round, I was convinced that I would take Cardinals RB Kenyan Drake at the turn. That whole plan went out the window when Drake was selected seventh overall! In fact, 12 of the first 13 first-round picks were running backs. If you look at the draft board, you will see that I went in an entirely different direction, trying to stand out from my opponents.

If you want Travis Kelce or George Kittle, you will end up spending a second-round pick

Although Kelce and Kittle are fantastic talents, I always have trepidation taking a tight end before Round 5 at the earliest. Taking a tight end early seems to leave teams with a hole at either running back and/or wide receiver, and I am unwilling to do that, especially in a 14-team draft. The team who took Kelce has rookie J.K. Dobbins as his RB2, and the team who took Kittle has DeSean Jackson as his WR3. Both are way too speculative for my liking.

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You can get excellent quarterback value late

I took Buccaneers QB Tom Brady in Round 11. Rams QB Jared Goff went in Round 14. There is so much value later in drafts that I am not sure why fantasy players feel the need to take a quarterback early. I know it is hard to be patient, but the patient players will have a considerable advantage.

Rookies seem to be going earlier than ever before

Chiefs RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire went in early Round 2. Lions RB D’Andre Swift went in late Round 3. Colts RB Jonathan Taylor in mid-Round 4 and a host of rookie wide receivers started going off the board at the beginning of Round 7. The bottom line is that if you want to draft the top rookies, you will have to pay a premium.

Ravens QB Lamar Jackson and Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will most likely be gone by Round 3 or earlier

As I said before, quarterback value was surprisingly good later in the draft. However, if you are one of those fantasy players who insist on taking a quarterback early, you will have to strike in Round 2 or early Round 3 before Jackson and Mahomes are gone.

Don’t overlook mid-round depth

After taking Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill in Round 2 and Rams RB Cam Akers in Round 4, I made sure to get their backups in Mecole Hardman (Round 10) and Darrell Henderson (Round 9) to make sure that my team was solidified in case of injury. A lot of fantasy players overlook this simple strategy, which is critical, especially in deeper formats.

Dare to be different

By taking three wide receivers with my first three picks and then taking rookie running back Cam Akers in Round 4, I took a significant chance to stand out. While I might lose this league, I tried to “go big or go home.” In a 14-team league, playing it safe will never bring home a fantasy championship.