Draft a TE or WR early on and wait on QB?

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In just three more Thursdays, we'll be kicking back and getting set to see the Dallas Cowboys and Tampa Bay Buccaneers square off. It'll be here before we know it and we can imagine how eager fantasy managers are to see their draft strategies pay off during the season. Even those who haven't drafted yet are probably excited to try their strategies in their upcoming drafts. Inching closer to the season opener, we thought it would be a good time to learn about strategies experts have been implementing in their mock drafts. Who knows, it could be something managers can take advantage of. :: Shoulder shrug::

We here at NBC Sports EDGE are eager to provide you with all the information you need to be successful from draft day until the last day of the fantasy season. With a stacked arsenal of content on deck -- from season-long projections, positional rankings and ADP reports to mock drafts and draft cheat sheets -- we are confident as we've ever been of what we have to offer and are excited to share it with you over the next few weeks. Regardless of what format or size your league is, we are sure we can provide the tools you need to secure your coveted league title.

We have already shown off our first expert mock draft, sleepers, overall half-PPR rankings, half-PPR RB rankings, half-PPR WR rankings, QB Dynasty Rankings and RB Dynasty Rankings for 2021 and an excerpt from Chris Allen's Differences in Draft Strategy: The Nuance of Best-Ball.

Today we're digging into another excerpt from Allen in which he highlights a strategy he practiced during a mock draft, which is from his Differences in Draft Strategy: Fighting for Value in Re-Draft.

Check it out:

MACROS TRENDS

NFL DG Teaser Draft Board 8192021
NFL DG Teaser Draft Board 8192021

Adding Depth Late

I took the “early-TE” approach with George Kittle at the 3.02. As a result, I waited at quarterback as a way to balance the opportunity cost spent at a onesie position. It gave me ample time to build a stable of running backs and wide receivers through the rest of the early and middle rounds. But I, along with the rest of the group, needed depth. So, even the late rounds were contentious.

“Dart throws” have become a common name for late-round picks. But there’s usually more rigor applied than just a random player being selected. Offensive situation and projected opportunity are still a part of the equation when taking a player late. And being able to mitigate any losses in the early rounds is critical to our success. So while the names may not be popular, their range of outcomes can swing our leagues.

Quarterbacks drafted late have an easier path to winning leagues. Scoring and less weekly demand at the position is what’s given us players like Ryan Fitzpatrick at the top of winning rosters. Consequently, the drafters who didn’t take a quarterback early selected multiple to maximize their likelihood of landing a top-12 passer early. Dave Kluge expanded more on the approach.

“You got Tannehill at good value (QB9), but you went back to the well and grabbed Herbert in the next round. Why take two at quarterbacks here? Did you apply the same logic for taking two tight-ends?"

DK: Had I drafted a top-tier quarterback or tight end, I wouldn’t have thought about doubling up. But drafting two of each position increases the likelihood that I stumble upon a high-end weekly starter. After hammering running backs and wide receivers through the first nine rounds, I was confident there. Tannehill and Herbert both have sky-high ceilings with a bit of risk baked into their draft values. Herbert is in my second quarterback tier, so that value was tough to pass on.

As for Jonnu Smith and Evan Engram, I have them ranked side-by-side, but their range of outcomes are wildly different. Smith has a much higher ceiling, but his utilization in New England is unknown. Engram is a safer, albeit boring, backup plan. Hopefully, it’s clear early in the season who the favorites are so I can drop the depth for waiver wire starters.

Regardless of approach, each drafter had the same goal of building a strong core at running back and wide receiver. Even with strong picks early, supplementing our production with strong bench players can sustain your roster as you navigate through the season.

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