Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken a look at the top quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends for the upcoming season. Today, we’ll wrap up our ranking series with the cream of the crop- the overall draft board!
There are plenty of different strategies when it comes to when you can draft each position group, and a lot of them have validity. Plus, to be honest, what really matters is how the draft plays out. If you select running backs early, for instance, it won’t matter whether you have another running back or a wide receiver in the fifth round rated higher- you’ll probably opt for the receivers. Most studies have shown that having a balanced team is truly what matters, after all.
With that in mind, I have developed a statistic to help us in the formulation of a draft board- expected average draft position (xADP). Using this tool, rather than decide between players at different position groups, we can shift our focus to simply ranking players within their position groups. From there, looking at when position groups are normally drafted, xADP is able to rank them. For example, should you have Patrick Mahomes as your QB1, the equation will compute when the QB1 has been drafted in drafts this offseason. It’s that simple!
For analysis on what into rankings, I recommend reading the previous positional ranking pieces. Also, keep in mind that draft boards can vary greatly based on what strategy you take and how the draft plays out, so make sure to make these adjustments. Without further adieu, I present to you the top-300 PPR and PPR superflex rankings!
Top-300 PPR/SuperFlex Rankings
The main difference between these two formats is clearly the value of quarterbacks. In a normal draft, the general public begins to draft quarterbacks after the 20th pick, but the consensus generally is that the fourth round in 12-team drafts is a more optimal time for the first quarterback to off the board- this manual adjustment was made. In superflex leagues, though, some are selecting the first quarterback as soon as the second pick of the draft! Many appreciate how superflex leagues better demonstrate the value of quarterbacks, and if you prefer that style, then I highly recommend giving it a try.
With the rankings developed, let’s once again look at where the value lies with each position group. Where are steals present? When looks the best time to invest in each position? Let’s take a closer look.
- Favorite QB1 Targets: Tom Brady, Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson
- Favorite QB2 Targets: Justin Fields, Trey Lance, Daniel Jones
- Staying Away From: Top QBs, Justin Herbert, Aaron Rodgers
- Random Deep-League Bench Stash: Taysom Hill
- Context-Neutral Strategy: Wait Until The 6th/7th Round To Consider a QB
In my opinion, this is a rather deep group of quarterbacks in terms of fantasy value this season. I generally have not had positive experiences selecting quarterbacks early on in the draft, and the value of Tom Brady and Joe Burrow makes me feel confident in waiting later on. In addition to Brady and Burrow, players like Matthew Stafford, Jalen Hurts, Matt Ryan, and others can be drafted in the 7th round or later and offer QB1 value. Honestly, from the looks on it, I’m intrigued to double-up on two of those players. That said, the upside of having dual-threats Justin Fields and Trey Lance stashed on your bench cannot be overlooked.
- Favorite RB1 Targets: Ezekiel Elliot, Austin Ekeler, Any Of The Top-3 Running Backs
- Favorite RB2 Targets: Joe Mixon, Najee Harris, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Miles Sanders, Chris Carson
- Other Good Values: Mike Davis, Michael Carter
- Staying Away From: Derrick Henry, JK Dobbins
- Random Deep-League Bench Stash(es): Elijah Mitchell, Justin Jackson, Chuba Hubbard
- Context-Neutral Strategy: Secure At Least Two RBs In The Top-3 Rounds If Possible
Most research-based strategies suggest that taking a running back early is a strong investment, and that couldn’t be more true this season. Committee backfields continue to become more and more popular, meaning that workhorse running backs are the type of rare assets that we need to covet significantly. With how hard it is to predict efficiency and how unstable running back production is, I’d look more towards either those with no volume concerns, dual-threat value, or likely to see positive regression. On my bench, rather than simply looking for contributors, I generally recommend looking for players with very wide range of outcomes. Chuba Hubbard, for instance, doesn’t currently hold much value, but we saw what happened when Mike Davis replaced Christian McCaffrey due to injury- you want to be ready to capitalize if an unexpected development comes up.
- Favorite WR1 Targets: Michael Thomas, Amari Cooper, DJ Moore, Calvin Ridley
- Favorite WR2 Targets: Diontae Johnson, Odell Beckham Jr., Tyler Lockett
- Other Good Values: Tyler Boyd, Antonio Brown, Curtis Samuel, Jaylen Waddle, Mecole Hardman
- Staying Away From: DK Metcalf (At His Current ADP), Mike Evans, Brandon Aiyuk
- Random Deep-League Bench Stash(es): Olamide Zaccheaus, Deonte Harris
- Context-Neutral Strategy: No Specific Strategy, Just Look For Value
Unlike running back, wide receiver is as deep of a position as there is for fantasy. With that in mind, I’m comfortable waiting until the third round to take my first wide receivers, though it’d be silly to overlook value at the top of the draft should it come back (though that’s true of every position). What I really recommend, though, is attacking the depth of this group. There are so many talented players that could offer noticeable value at various stages of the draft, so let’s take advantage of this!
- Favorite TE1 Targets: TJ Hockenson, Dallas Goedert, Tyler Higbee
- Favorite TE2 Targets: Adam Trautman, Anthony Firkser, Gerald Everett
- Stay Away From: Kyle Pitts (At Current ADP), Robert Tonyan
- Other Good Values: Evan Engram
- Random Deep-League Bench Stash: Chris Herndon, Dan Arnold
- Context-Neutral Strategy: Probably Don’t Select a TE Early, But Don’t Wait Too Long
Tight end is not exactly what you’d call a deep position; once again, thank you Patriots for signing both Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith to make our lives harder! There are still, however, plenty of ascending young tight ends that I want to buy into. Remember, it takes a tight end until his third season normally to reach his peak performance. The fifth round (TJ Hockenson) is when I currently plan to start seriously considering a player at this position, though Darren Waller could offer some value earlier on depending on his ADP (currently 23rd in xADP). What you don’t want to do, though, is wait too long to get a tight end. There are only about nine tight ends, in my opinion, that are both efficient and will have enough volume to be true TE1s. After that, you can wait and select a player with a lot of unknown, or an efficient player (Gerald Everett) that you hope can thrive if given a larger opportunity. Generally, secure a starting tight end and a capable backup, and that’s it! With other picks, prioritize depth at running back and wide receiver, where both the odds of those players contributing and the potential pay-off considerably higher.
It’s been a fun journey, my friends! Now, the onus is on you to dominate your draft! Just remember; there is not one exact strategy to follow. Just let the draft play out! You never want to pass on the opportunity to draft good players lower than they should be going, making accumulating value the main goal of any draft. If you’re focused on drafting the most optimal player for your team at every spot, I’m confident you’ll have a lot of success.
My parting words? Process will lead to the best results over time! I wish you the best of luck in all of your fantasy drafts and, most of all, an engaging experience in what figures to be another very fun season!