Drafting a winning team, part 12

I have been focusing the past two days on the middle round of the fantasy football draft and explaining how you can separate yourself from other general managers in these rounds. Yesterday, I talked about wide receivers and running backs.

There is no question that wide receivers and running backs are the most important players to draft. I’ve already downplayed the importance of your quarterback because there are so many good ones. This is not the case with tight ends.

You have one spot in your starting lineup each week for a tight end. Similar to backs and wideouts, there is widespread agreement on who are the top three tight ends. They are Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and Zach Ertz. But they will cost you.

When I say the above-mentioned tight ends will cost you, I mean the opportunity cost of drafting one of them in the third or fourth round. In other words, you then lose the opportunity of getting a wide receiver, or running back in that round.

For example, I like Joe Mixon, Larry Fitzgerald and T.Y. Hilton, but they are all expected to be drafted in the third round. If I select Gronk or Kielce, I miss out on the opportunity. And Gronk and Kelce may already be gone by the time I pick.

The solution is to have a Plan B. Plan B would be to draft Jimmy Graham, who signed with the Green Bay Packers during the offseason and now gets to catch balls thrown by Aaron Rodgers. I should be able to get Graham in the eight round.

Tomorrow: Sleepers and value plays in fantasy football.

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