So you've landed the ninth pick in your 12-team fantasy football draft. You are not going to secure one of the sure-fire runners. It is definitely too early for a quarterback, and you are ready to pull the trigger on Calvin Johnson.
Not so fast, my friend.
Calvin Johnson is a great pick. If you choose him here, you will be fine. The team you assemble by building around Megatron will compete. But there is an alternative that will give you a distinct advantage.
Taking Saints TE Jimmy Graham in the second half of the first round is a great move. He is the Calvin Johnson of the tight end position, and stands head and shoulders above everyone below him.
Experts say that the tight end position is deep, and it is; after Graham. Nobody at the position can guarantee 1,000 plus yards receiving and double-digit touchdowns. Graham can. After him, it is a mixed bag. But you can gain a serious advantage by grabbing Graham in the right spot in your draft, basically deploying a WR1 in your tight end spot every week.
In the second half of the first round, running back is far from a safe choice (see from 2013: C.J. Spiller, Chris Johnson or Ray Rice). Wide receiver is the deepest position from a fantasy standpoint, and quarterbacks are available far later.
Drafting Graham towards of the first round allows you to pair a player who is as close to a sure-fire thing as they come with the tier 2 runner of your choice, or the ability to grab a tier 1 wide receiver in the second round. You gain the flexibility to go after players with higher upside in the later rounds because you are getting guaranteed production from a fairly volatile position.
Last year, I was able to snag Graham in the back-end of the 2nd round in most of my drafts. That will not happen this season. If you're picking at the end of the first round, do yourself a favor and grab Graham. Give yourself a stud at a mostly stud-less position.
And then watch the points pile up.