We’re looking at draft slots 5-8 in the second installment of the draft strategies series for your first five picks. Picking in the middle of the first, you’re luckily never going to wait too long between selections, but your first-round pick is more of an unknown than those picking in the first four slots.
Picks 5 to 8 draft strategy breakdown
My advice for picking in this range is to go best player available with one exception. Either Ezekiel Elliott or Derrick Henry will fall to the No. 5 pick; whoever it is, draft them. Getting a high-end running back in the middle of the first round is a great value, and both Elliott and Henry see high-volume workloads annually in awesome offenses. Pick No. 6 is the next tier drop-off. Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook are their own tier, and then there are the next three backs: Alvin Kamara, Derrick Henry, and Ezekiel Elliott, in whatever order you please. After them, it's a matter of personal preference.
You can keep the running back train going. Nick Chubb will be available, as will Saquon Barkley. I'm not high on Chubb this early in a PPR league, and Barkley's status with Week 1 fast approaching is still murky. But if you believe in either of them at this spot, get your guy while you can — they won't be there for you in the second round. Austin Ekeler and Aaron Jones should also be considered here. Ekeler is a PPR machine, and Jones is consistently one of the league's top touchdown scorers.
I prefer an elite pass catcher in this range, and there are two that rise above all: Davante Adams and Travis Kelce. Both were by far the top scorers at their respective positions in 2020, and with Aaron Rodgers still in Green Bay and Patrick Mahomes shielded by a revamped offensive line in Kansas City, Kelce should repeat as the No. 1 tight end and Adams the top wideout.
Drafting in rounds 2 and 3
The 17-20 range in the second round is full of high-upside receivers; D.K. Metcalf, DeAndre Hopkins, Calvin Ridley, and Justin Jefferson are all going around this point. If you went running back in the first, go get your WR1.
However, if you took a receiver or Kelce in the first round, you need to make sure you lock up a running back. There will still be low-end RB1s and high-end RB2s to be had, and it's essential to have one of the top 12 or so running backs on your team this season. The position is extremely thin at the top, with each tier drop off more dramatic than the last. You're looking at Joe Mixon, Antonio Gibson, and Clyde Edwards-Helaire in this range. You may even need to reach to grab a player like Chris Carson.
There’s also nothing wrong with drafting running backs in the first and second rounds. This was the norm for the game in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Plenty of talent at receiver can be found in the third round and beyond. The takeaway here is to come away with at least one running back in your top two picks no matter what.
It would be best if you were targeting pass catchers in the third. There will be low-end WR1s available, and if you went RB-RB to start, you should be very pleased with Allen Robinson, Terry McLaurin, or CeeDee Lamb being your top receiver. George Kittle will also be there if you're dead set on having a top-three tight end on your team. I like a few running backs in this range, like David Montgomery, if you want to fill both running back slots. You might be better off waiting another round or two to get better value at the position. It all depends on how your league drafts, and you have to be ready to adapt to what players are available.
Drafting in rounds 4 and 5
If you’ve waited this long for your second running back, grab one in the fourth or keep on waiting. You’ll likely be looking at Myles Gaskin, Josh Jacobs, or Miles Sanders here. I’m also high on Mike Davis, but his ranking is all over the place. His ADP is 53 — my colleague Michael Fabiano has him at 38. I agree with Fabiano on Davis. He’s a cheap RB option in the middle rounds destined to see volume.
If running back isn't an issue for you at this point, congratulations. Keep loading up on receivers. Grab a WR2 and your flex in these rounds. Your options will include Julio Jones, Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, and D.J. Moore in the fourth and Ja’Marr Chase, Adam Thielen, and Kenny Golladay in the fifth. Cooper Kupp is also a value in this range. He’s going about a round later than his teammate Robert Woods despite outpacing Woods in catches and yards in one fewer game last season. Kupp is also due for positive touchdown regression.
Due to your spot drafting in the middle of each round, you won't miss out on the run on quarterbacks. Don't panic and grab one, but if you want one of the top five QBs, you're going to have to spend one of your first five picks on one. I'd wait until the fifth to do so, though, unless you're paying up for Patrick Mahomes.
Takeaways from drafting from picks 5 to 8
Due to your draft position, you might have to reach to make sure you get a running back with one of your first two picks. Be grateful and take advantage that the longest stretch without drafting in this range is 15 picks, so you're least prone to missing out on runs on quarterbacks or tight ends. It would help if you had your running backs and wide receivers taken care of through the first five rounds to go along with either a receiver at flex or a top-tier tight end. You can wait on a quarterback with one of these picks.
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