As the NFL season quickly approaches, it is finally time to talk seriously about fantasy football! Let’s be honest, the most exciting day of the entire season is draft day. For most players, this is the one and only day their team is relevant. Luckily, this will not be any of you since you are starting early preparing your draft strategies now. If you do not have one, you’re in luck! I am about to share one of my favorite strategies that I use every time the league’s settings makes it possible. Ready for it?
Do NOT draft a kicker.
I know there is a portion of you happy because you feel like kickers should not even be included in fantasy football. Another group is angry because you feel like you need to win every position, because having a difference-maker will lead you to a championship. The rest of you just want me to hurry up and get to the juicy details, so here we go.
I looked at the top-10 kickers chosen in 2016 according to their ADP (Average Draft Position). Out of those ten, only four finished in the top-10 in fantasy points at their position! The four who made it were Matt Bryant (ATL), Justin Tucker (BAL), Nick Novak (HOU), and Dan Bailey (DAL). This short list means Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who was taken 103rd overall on average, was not even one of the best ten kickers. The most surprising name in the top-10 in fantasy points was Redskins kicker Dustin Hopkins, who had an ADP of 218, which means he was likely undrafted.
My point: do not waste a valuable draft pick on a player with the same (or worse) value as someone who goes undrafted.
Now I know you all are clamoring for who you should be selecting with these picks. It is pretty simple; you should draft a player whose value would skyrocket if there was an injury. Many of these players are drafted earlier in the draft to “handcuff” the star players (if you’re confused by this strategy, just ask). If someone happens to get injured before week one, you could end up with a starter from your last pick! If nothing happens, you can just drop them before kickoff to pick up your kicker. No risk, high reward.
Instead of discussing all of these handcuffs that are obvious and will already be taken, I will give you ten guys who currently have an ADP of later than 130 since they should be there on your last picks in a standard 10-team league.
I will list the player, then in parenthesis name the player who would need to get injured for the handcuff to have value. Here are my ten in no specific order:
- Jonathan Williams (LeSean McCoy)
- D’Onta Foreman (Lamar Miller)
- Zay Jones (Sammy Watkins)
- Marlon Mack (Frank Gore)
- Dwayne Allen (Rob Gronkowski)
- Jamaal Williams (Ty Montgomery)
- Darren McFadden (Ezekiel Elliott)
- DeAndre Washington (Marshawn Lynch)
- Duke Johnson (Isaiah Crowell)
- Tyrell Williams (Keenan Allen)
I’ll give one example just to explain my strategy more clearly. Instead of selecting a kicker in the 15th round, let’s pretend you picked Jonathan Williams of the Bills. Through some unfortunate circumstance, LeSean McCoy happened to tear his hamstring. You now have the starting running back for the Bills from your pick in the 15th round, and he could easily have more value than Todd Gurley, who was selected in the 2nd round. Simple right?
If you think you will use this draft strategy, let me know! Also, what is your go-to strategy that has worked for you in the past? Feel free to share in the comment section of this article or continue this conversation over to the Discuss section of our site!