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Guillotine Leagues

Guillotine Draft

Recapping the Fantasy Index Guillotine League draft

A few weeks ago, I sent out an invitation to the 2023 Fantasy Index Guillotine League. First and foremost, thank you to everyone for commenting that they were interested, and a special thanks to those who participated in the draft. They made it tough on me. My team appears below, and we can now look back at what mistakes I made, what I would change, and what I did right.

As a quick reminder, starting rosters include 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE and 2 flex, with 6 on the bench. Here’s my roster from the 18-team league hosted on guillotineleagues.com:

COLT'S GUILLOTINE TEAM
PosPlayerTmByePick
QBDerek CarrNO118.12
QBBaker MayfieldTB512.12
RBAaron JonesGB63.07
RBJavonte WilliamsDEN96.12
RBJeff WilsonMIA109.07
RBChase BrownCIN710.12
RBJoshua KelleyLAC511.07
WRCooper KuppLAR101.07
WRChris OlaveNO112.12
WRCalvin RidleyJAC94.12
WRMike EvansTB55.07
WRDeVante ParkerNE1113.07
TEDalton SchultzHOU77.07
TEMike GesickiNE1114.12

STRATEGY

Given my draft position (from the 7th spot) I decided to go receiver heavy, with a hero running back approach. Four of my five first picks were receivers. My thought process is that receivers are injured less frequently, and I want most of my earlier picks (the most valuable ones) to be as safe as possible.

Remember, no matter how much you mock or prepare for a draft, they never turn out exactly how you want. Players you’re hoping will fall often don’t, and the options at the time may be less than ideal. However, when adversity strikes, that’s when having a game plan can help. It’s also good to remember that it’s an 18-team league, so the talent dropoff comes much quicker, and you’re waiting much longer between picks. Given the talent pool, roster size, and number of teams in the league, you’re likely to start the first 6-8 players you draft for the first couple weeks.

EARLY-SEASON OUTLOOK

QB -- Derek Carr and Baker Mayfield. Carr has a favorable schedule early, including the Titans, Panthers, Packers and Bucs. On a new team and with safety in mind, he is one of the best late-round quarterbacks. I like grabbing two quarterbacks as well as two tight ends, just in case there is an injury early in the season. That way I won’t be scrambling to grab one off waivers. Mayfield has the surrounding receivers to be serviceable in a pinch, assuming he holds onto the job.

RB -- Aaron Jones, Javonte Williams, Jeff Wilson, Chase Brown and Joshua Kelley. With the guillotine league being PPR, I looked for running backs who can catch. Jones has been a top-10 running back each of the last four years, helped along by at least 47 receptions in each of those seasons. A change at quarterback in 2023, but I’m still expecting great production. Javonte was on my “avoid drafting list” due to his ACL injury. He wasn’t my first choice, as my targeted running backs who were going after him in ADP but were drafted before him were David Montgomery and Samaje Perine. Knowing that I’d already filled out all of my receivers and wanted to wait on grabbing quarterback and tight end, I needed to draft a running back. My options were Javonte, Rashaad Penny, Zach Charbonnet, Brian Robinson, and AJ Dillon. Penny has never caught 10 balls in a season, and his workload is questionable; Charbonnet looks to be in a timeshare and is a rookie; Robinson doesn’t catch the ball but has a decent rushing floor; and Dillon would be a fine pick, but I already had Aaron Jones, his teammate. So I gambled a bit, knowing I have a safe enough floor with the rest of my team, and I’m hoping the positive camp reports about Javonte’s health are true. Wilson will compete for playing time in Miami against Raheem Mostert and Devon Achane. I rounded out my draft with a pair of backs who might wind up being the backups for two of the better offenses.

WRs -- Cooper Kupp, Chris Olave, Calvin Ridley, Mike Evans, and DeVante Parker. Kupp wasn’t injured when I drafted him, but when healthy, he’s Cooper Kupp. Not much more to say. Olave, just like Carr, has an easy projected schedule to begin the season. Easy strength of schedule plus I’m expecting a breakout season – sign me up. I’m not convinced Ridley is washed, and even if he doesn’t hit the upside some are hoping for, he’s still one of the best receivers on a good offense. Evans has been in the NFL for nine seasons. He’s gone over 1,000 yards every year. I know Evans didn’t look great at times last year, but I’m not betting against history. He’s done it with questionable quarterbacks before. My other options on the board were Mike Williams, Treylon Burks and Jahan Dotson. While I like all of these receivers, when looking for consistency, Evans seemed like the safest bet. Starts off Week 1 against the Vikings, who ranked 2nd-worst in passing yards allowed in 2022. Parker was a late-round dart throw in hopes that my beloved Patriots pick it up with new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien.

TEs -- Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki. Schultz decided to stay in Texas, moving from one of the best offenses (Dallas) to one of the worst (Houston). With no clear No. 1 receiver on the roster, Schultz could lead the team in targets. Gesicki is in a similar situation, with a lack of talent on offense. I don’t regret not paying up and getting one of the star tight ends, but this is an area I’ll be looking to upgrade early in the season. Again, I think it’s a great idea, especially when drafting early, to grab two tight ends just in case one gets injured, so you’re not having to scour the waiver wire.

Guillotine Leagues are still drafting right now

If you missed out on the Fantasy Index Guillotine League draft and you’re still interested in playing in a guillotine league, no worries. You can still head over to guillotineleagues.com, where they have drafts going every day. I’m hopping into one of the $50 Super Chop High Stakes Guillotine Leagues, where you stand to win $3000 for first place. In most ways, Super Chop leagues play like the regular format. Super Chop contests are comprised of 12 guillotine leagues, each with 12 teams, resulting in 144 total teams. If you win your league, you redraft against the other winners in late November.

—Colt Williams

Williams is working towards a degree in economics and statistics at Sonoma State. A United States Air Force veteran, he’s been playing fantasy football since 2012. Follow him on Twitter @_ColtWilliams

For an overview of this style of game, see his Introduction to Guillotine Leagues article.

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