Draft Day Beast Series: Get The Upside

Updated: Sep 4, 2020

Now that I have shared with you the rules I follow on draft day for quarterback and running back, we are able to move on to the next set of rules to follow on draft day that’ll make your team an absolute Beast. The next topic I want to address in this series is upside and when to target it heavily in drafts. Many will argue we want all our picks to offer upside no matter the round we select them in. This is true, and I fully agree that every pick ideally should offer upside, because as we know upside wins championships. However, we have to remember when it comes to our early picks we not only want that upside, but we also want those secure/safe picks. This leads me to the first rule I want to cover in this article, which is minimize risk in the first three rounds.

What do I mean when I say minimize risk? Well it is quite simple, we want our early picks to be solid and reliable, as they will be the core of our team. So ideally, I am looking for players that do not have extensive injury history, that are not embroiled in contract disputes, or players that have question marks in terms of how they will fit into their offenses. Therefore, when looking at the NFFC ADP, which players through the first three rounds offer this season long security and upside combination. Let us start with the ADP’s top six of McCaffrey, Barkley, Zeke, Kamara, Thomas, and Cook. Three names should be jumping out of the screen at you as safe, reliable, upside players and three should be standing out as those more risky plays. Can you see it? McCaffrey, Elliott, and Thomas are the risk free picks. Whereas, Barkley (injury), Kamara (Injury), and Cook (Injury, Contract) are the more risky picks. Now, I am not saying don't draft a player like Saquon or Kamara if you have the opportunity just because they have injury concern that would be foolish, because they are high-end talent. What I am saying is we just need to minimize risk, so if you draft one of these players we have to be sure to aim for those less risky high upside players in rounds two and three to pair with them. When we look at the ADP’s 6-12 of Edwards-Helaire, Henry, Sanders, Mixon, Adams, and Drake we should quickly be able to identify those safer risk free plays. Edwards-Helaire, Henry, and Adams would be those reliable upside players. Yes, one could argue we do not know what CEH will bring to the table, but I am comfortable taking him, just due to the fact he is the guy in this Andy Reid backfield now, and we all know they tend to always produce at a high level.

When we move to round two the ADP tells us we will find Aaron Jones, Josh Jacobs, Tyreek Hill, Ekeler, Chubb, Hopkins, Julio, Lamar, Mahomes, Kelce, Godwin, and Kittle. Julio Jones and Travis Kelce are the safest upside picks for us in this range. Both these players seem to be able to play through injury while still performing at a high level. Mahomes and Jackson are relatively safe, if you are one to go after the quarterback position this early in drafts. Chubb is splitting time with Hunt that makes him a bit unreliable/unsafe. Jacobs is a monster and plays through injury, but a question mark in his passing game role makes him a little more risky. Ekeler and Jones both seem risky with rookie additions to the backfield, and for Ekeler a new QB under center who rarely checks down. Hill has injury concerns and already is battling a soft tissue injury in camp so is more risky. Hopkins and Godwin are both on offenses with many mouths to feed. According to ADP, we find Golladay, Robinson, Evans, Conner, Gordon, OBJ, Gurley, Fournette, Bell, Taylor, Kupp, and Moore in round three. The risks are easy to spot here as well Conner (Injury), Gordon (Injury/Role), Gurley (Injury), Fournette (Role), and Kupp (Role). Many are worried about Taylor’s role in this offense as a rookie, to those people I say do not worry. Taylor is a high-end talent that will produce for both the Colts and our fantasy teams.

Now that we have minimized risk in rounds 1-3, we can now focus on those riskier high upside players. This is what the next rule I follow in drafts is, target high upside players in the middle rounds, rounds 6-10. Looking at ADP again, I will list the players that fit this rule in each round for you to look at on draft day. For round six three wide receivers stand out to me, Hollywood Brown, Stefon Diggs, and Tyler Boyd. Hollywood and Diggs are those explosive deep threats that have weekly WR1 potential. They are risky in the fact that yes they could finish as WR1’s in any given week, but they could also finish as WR30 in any given week. Tyler Boyd would be the more consistent week to week upside play here. Boyd’s ceiling isn’t as high has Brown and Diggs, but his potential to be high volume in an offense led by a rookie who leaned on his slot receiver at LSU makes him very intriguing. Round seven, Will Fuller, Diontae Johnson, and Tarik Cohen are the upside plays that stand out to me. Will Fuller has potential to finish as the top wide receiver any given week, but injury always follows his big performances. Diontae showed us flashes of AB during his rookie campaign, which he played without a competent QB. Now, Big Ben returns and the sky is the limit for this very talented second year receiver. Cohen is a PPR gem, ala James White. He will not see a lot of work as a rusher, but his upside in the passing attack is what we want in the middle of drafts.

When looking at round eight ADP I see many potential high upside players. Deebo Samuel is the first I like. Normally Deebo would be an earlier pick but this low ADP is due to his jones fracture. Samuel showed us last season he has upside for days in an offense that is run by an offensive genius. Christian Kirk already showed us flashes of his immense ceiling last year, week 10 against the Bucs. The team then went and brought in an elite talent at the position in Hopkins, which will only help take the attention off Kirk, which in turn unlocks his weekly upside. Hayden Hurst is another high upside player we like in this range, as he assumes that heavy volume role that Austin Hooper vacated when he left for Cleveland. Then we find a rookie wide out in CeeDee Lamb who we like to hit the ground running in a very pass happy offense. Yes, Lamb has two other skilled wide outs to battle with, but his opportunity to shine in Jerry’s World will be there for him to take and flourish from day one.

Round nine ADP is where we can find Mecole Hardman, who last year with limited opportunity showed us his upside in this high-powered Chiefs attack. Jerry Jeudy is a rookie wide out that has blown camp wide open with his, as advertised, route running and ball skills. I like him to emerge in Denver very early as a go to target of Drew Lock, as he will be lined up all over the formation. Another rookie that catches my eye in this round is Zack Moss. Moss will be in a time-share with Singletary, but he is another player impressing in camp. Moss has shown good burst and power as a runner, which is why the team will use him as that short yardage and goal line back. This goal line work leads to potential for high touchdown upside, upside that I want on my fantasy teams. Then in round ten, we find two more rookie wide outs that offer huge weekly upside in Henry Ruggs and Jalen Reagor. Both Ruggs and Reagor figure to be key passing targets in their respective offenses. You couple this opportunity and their talent as ball players and it adds up to immense potential upside every week.

So, to recap when looking for upside on draft day we must follow these two simple rules. The first minimize as much risk as possible in the first three rounds, and second be sure to target the high upside players in the middle rounds. By following these two rules and our others highlighted in the previous two articles you can begin to see how you are building a monster of a team on draft day. There is one final piece to the puzzle left to go over, and that is in regards to the rule I follow when it comes to the tight end position on draft day. This is where we will head next in the final installment of our Draft Day Beast Series.