I’m certain we all agree on the fact that a first-round runner selected between the overall No. 1 pick through No. 5 will generate worth while fantasy numbers. But with the following strategy we will forgo running back until the 4th round. This only works if you're drafting with the 6th or 7th pick. Let’s examine a Standard Format scoring system and concentrate on the 7th and 8th pick.
You’ve witnessed Charles, Peterson, LeVeon Bell, Eddie Lacy and Antonio Brown immediately taken off the board. The owner at the 6th spot grabs Lynch ahead of you, and now it’s your turn - Upside Down Drafting is a green light.
The concept of Upside Down Drafting is to be prepared for draft picks No. 6 or No. 7, when you’re not blessed with the first five picks. All too often in the preseason, we’re practicing mocks on picks 1-5 or 8-12. Take note of the following, so you can have this strategy ready, just in case. You start out with building an elite wide receiver core, Rob Gronk being a WR #1, and next taking a historically “Tall WR” with the hands of past success.
Standard Scoring League
With the No.7 draft pick here’s my Upside Down Drafting Model:
- Overall pick No. 7 Rob Gronk
- Overall pick No. 16 Calvin Johnson
- Overall pick No. 29 DeAndre Hopkins
- Overall pick No. 38 Lamar Miller (Running Back)
- Overall pick No. 51 Big Ben ( QB)
- Overall pick 6th RD Javarius Landry
- Overall pick 7th RD Steve Smith Sr.
- Overall pick 8th RD Shane Vereen
- Overall Pick 9th RD Tre Mason
- Overall Pick 10th RD David Cobb
- Defense – (per scoring system) Best @ Round 11
- Best Value here (TE)
- Best Value here (WR)
- Best Available (RB)
- Kicker — take in last round.
Editors note* Looking at today's ADP numbers, plenty of other solid RB's are still on the board in round 6, 7, and 8, namely: Joique Bell, T.J. Yeldon, Joseph Randle and surprisingly Doug Martin. There's no shame in have Miller and one of those guys I just mentioned are you starting two back. As a matter of fact, if you're new to fantasy football and no waiver wire savvy I recommend getting your second RB in rounds 6, 7 or 8 if you've implemented the Upside Down Draft strategy.
Keys to Upside Draft:
- No. 8 Running Back “At Large” Value Laden.
- No. 9 Running Back “Positional Upside.”
- No. 10 Running Back “Up and coming” Youth etc.
Wide Outs repeat their Fantasy stats 70% of the time. Running Backs repeat their Fantasy stats 38% of the time. Your deficiency is RB, so you focus the waiver wire for RBs
Traditional Runners Are Safe
Because of this most people draft the “Safe Choice”. There’s a comfort level to this type of thinking, and if you’re like most people rarely do you ever try something new because that’s risky, right?
What does the safe choice option have to do with fantasy football? First, what is the definition of “Safe” in Fantasy Football? Is it just coaching well enough to make the playoffs, but not to dominate? If you go the safe route, chances are you’ve never won a league title.
When drafting your team in a standard league format there’s more than one way to skin a cat. Drafting has evolved greatly from back in the 80s and 90s when our fathers and older brothers drafted pretty-much using the same Vanilla Style. Even for NFL owners, there’s no hard-and-fast rules, no exact science to selecting players when Draft Day rolls around. The following is my take on how the wonderful Upside Down Draft approach can best be used in your standard format league.
In Wide Outs We Trust
You must trust that Wide Outs repeat 70% of the time. In the team I drafted as a sample, I had the 7th pick to draft and thus in a great position to boldly go Upside Down. Many of you must be wondering how such a team could (I can hear you now) do so well without taking a stud RB early part in the draft?
Too many years of being brainwashed can warp ones perception because in the past team managers felt it mandatory to grab a monster RB ASAP. I predict here and now that downplaying the need to draft a top- notch RB is going to be the norm all too soon—and if you don’t go with the flow, you’ll be a bottom-feeder.
Remember, you could go 11-2 and lose the 1st round of the playoffs, or you could go 7-6 and win the whole enchilada. Once you make the playoffs, drafting Wide Outs gives you the rock-solid foundation you’ll need to win your league outright. Of course this strategy works even better if you can snag a stud Waiver Wire RB or two in the process, making you unbeatable.
This free-wheeling style is not for owners with a heart condition; it’s a unique style of drafting for winners—but make no mistake, drafting TE/WR out of the gate is words-of-wisdom for the Bold.
See Beyond the Preseason Hype
Back to our example, essentially you have a premier Wide Out in Gronk because that’s what he is. Plus, you have three other starting wide outs—and a super-stud No. 1 Wide Out in Calvin Johnson, a go to cat in DeAndre Hopkins, and a reliable QB, all very capable of putting up huge figures! Yes, you argue—but this squad is too weak on Running Backs. I counter that my No. 4 pick is a solid RB, Lamar Miller, who generated 1300+ all purpose yards and 9 touchdowns. He's in his contract year and the Dolphins have made across the board upgrades on offense.
The Upside of Taking Runners Late
By “tossing darts” at players, so to speak, that could have break-out seasons, or what I deem “Runners at Large” in the rounds following your Round 7 pick, in rounds 8-10, you’ve got a decent chance at landing a least one of these sleeper gems to go with your first-pick RB. This model is for people that know how to take advantage of the waiver wire. You do realize this strategy causes a deficiency at RB which must be overcome with your late round gems or via waiver wire. Congratulations, you now own (drafted) a Ferrari, but it doesn’t guarantee you know how to drive a stick shift. In other words, it’s assumed that you understand how to work the Waiver Wire. Because if you so boldly go Upside Down, you better learn how to access Runners off Waivers in a hurry, and complete your dream team only on your way to the finals!
Consider Using Upside Down Drafting
The UDD method works, as most Fantasy Gurus will attest, but I think too few owners understand how effective this drafting style truly is. I’ve seen too many owners foolishly abort ship and only Upside Down Draft for the 1st and maybe 2nd rounds. You cannot pull off this type of unique drafting strategy successfully unless you’re 100% committed! It’s very important to stress how crucial the trust factor is here, and once you learn this system, you’ll believe in yourself even more!
Upside Down Drafting wins leagues! It not only gets you on the fast- tracks to the post-season, it prepares you player-wise for the championship, while fellow owners scratch their heads wondering, “How did he do it?”