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Draft Dilemma: Your Guide to Fantasy Football Picks

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Draft Dilemma: Your Guide to Fantasy Football Picks
Top Pick
 
The top fantasy pick is an endless debate between those who prefer players with consistent weekly scores and those who would rather have a player with big breakout games every other week. This year, the top choices are predicted to be Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr., and Antonio Brown. If I’m lucky enough to land the top pick, I tend to trade it away for a couple of reliable, middle- to high-scoring players.
 
I prefer to have depth in my fantasy team positions, with many interchangeable weapons, but if you insist on betting on a number one pick, it should be David Johnson. Johnson is the biggest dual threat player in the league. He will look to follow his breakout season last year. He scored 16 touchdowns, so he guarantees a score every game. In addition, his emergence as a dual threat will secure steady 15-plus points per game between his rushing and receiving yards.
 
Receivers
 
Aside from Antonio Brown, Julio Jones is my next top receiver. With an MVP quarterback like Matt Ryan, Jones enjoys high-yardage catches to complement his red zone threat. 
 
Another receiver to watch out for is Jordy Nelson. Like Jones, Nelson has a top-tier quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers has made Nelson his favorite long throw receiver, so expect him to make big plays. One drawback is that Nelson doesn’t get as many red zone targets, so his touchdown numbers are not spectacular. Still, he is a great addition to a team with a late first round or early second round pick.  
 
Later in the draft, look out for Amari Cooper, Demariyus Thomas, and Brandin Cooks. Three great choices for starting consideration. Cooper and Thomas will be top targets for their respective quarterbacks, while Cooks will be entering his first year with Tom Brady. 
 
Running Backs
 
The big name running backs will go off the board quickly during the first round, but the second round will have some quality options. Devonta Freeman will be a late first-round or early second-round pick. He is a sure pick if he falls into the second round. Two players who will be highly productive and favored in their respective offenses are DeMarco Murray and Jay Ajaji. The Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins will be run-heavy offenses, so expect Murray and Ajaji to have big roles in your fantasy squad. 
 
In later rounds, look to add Marshawn Lynch, Kareem Hunt, and Ty Montgomery. Lynch will return to the NFL as a lead back for the Raiders and should amass significant fantasy points. A preseason injury to Spencer Ware means that the Kansas City Chiefs will rely on Hunt for the running game. Ty Montgomery won’t be a starting running back for your fantasy team, since the Packers invested several draft picks in running backs, but Montgomery is still a solid flex player or bench option. 
 
Tight End
 
Rob Gronkowski is the highest-ranked tight end, but given his injury record, he might be a risk. I would not recommend drafting him in the second round, but if he were to be available in the third round, the risk might be worth taking. Better tight end options will be Jordan Reed or Travis Kelce. These players will be available in the fourth or fifth rounds, allowing you to draft a solid core before grabbing a tight end. I do not put a lot of stock on this position and typically fill the role in rounds six or seven, when I’ll find reliable players like Jimmy Graham or Greg Olsen. 
 
Kickers 
 
Justin Tucker and Matt Bryant are the best kickers to draft when considering the position. You’ll find them in the tenth or eleventh rounds, but I might even consider drafting them in the ninth if I already have a quarterback. They each average thirty more points than others in their position and are in kicker-friendly offenses. Other kickers do not have a clear advantage, so draft a reliable and consistent one such as Stephen Gostkowski, Adam Vinatieri, or Dan Bailey.
 
Defense 
 
This is another position that I would not consider vital. The performance of a defense is dependent on their match-up, so I typically find the defense with the best match-up weekly or bi-weekly and claim them off waivers. The Broncos’ and Seahawks’ defenses are alway good choices, but I would wait until all my positions are filled before considering a defense.
 
Bench and Flex Players 
 
These are simply about drafting the best available player; however, look closely at the bye weeks of your starters. For example, if you have two receivers with the same bye week, draft a few quality receivers as flex or primary bench players.