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Ask the Experts

What is your preferred draft position?

Benefits of early picks vs. late

ASK THE EXPERTS appears weekly from training camp through the Super Bowl with answers to a new question being posted Thursday morning. How the guest experts responded when we asked them: What is your preferred draft position?

DAVID DOREY

I've become very comfortable with always taking the lowest pick possible, until you reach 6th. Then I want 12, 11, or 10. I like being near either end even though you occasionally have to reach early for a player to avoid losing them. My most hated - 9,8,7 and 6. I'm also convinced that every draft offers around 50 top players with higher upside and lower risk. Picking at No. 1 gets you 5 of those in a 12-team league.

Dorey co-founded The Huddle.com in 1997. He's ranked every player and projected every game for the last 23 years and is the author of Fantasy Football: The Next Level. David has appeared on numerous radio, television, newspaper and magazines over the last two decades.

JASON WOOD

After doing thousands of drafts in my life, I’m fairly numb to the idea of a perfect draft slot. I think it’s worthwhile, particularly as an industry analyst, to have flexibility in our approach. But in those instances where I get to pick my spot, I generally aim for a mid-round pick and avoid the corners so I’m not as much at risk of being caught in a positional run.

Wood is Senior Editor at Footballguys.com and has been with the company since its start in 2000. For more than 20 years, Footballguys has provided rankings, projections, and analysis to help fantasy managers dominate their leagues.

SCOTT SACHS

Like almost everything in life, there's pros and cons in fantasy football, even in regards to drafting early, mid or late. First, how many teams in the league, 10, 12, 14? I prefer 10 or 12. If just 10, almost everyone will have a stacked team, so drafting late can be advantageous as you'll get two great choices close together or back to back in the first/second round and then every other round. In 12-team, I like to be near the top so as to grab a difference maker, then have a close together or back-to-back pick every other round after a long wait. For a 14-team league, talent can get sparse near the end, so being in the middle is best as you don't have the large gaps between picks.

With 2 perfect seasons and multiple league championships to his credit, Scott Sachs runs Perfect Season Fantasy Football, featuring LIVE Talk & Text Advice. He is a 3-time Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Auction League, as well as a previous Winner of the Fantasy Index Experts Poll.

IAN ALLAN

I’ve drafted late in the first round of a pair of 12-team drafts (12th and 11th), and I haven’t cared for it. Picking there, I feel like I’m not really getting a first-round pick. I’m getting two good second-round picks. And I don’t like being parked while 22 or 20 other picks are being made. I think it results in capturing fewer values. You can see a player lasting over a round longer than you feel he’s worth, and you don’t get a shot at him. And when you’re up to pick, you’re picking two guys, reducing the likelihood of landing those players (with your two choices being right next to each other).

Allan is the senior writer for Fantasy Football Index magazine. He is a member of the FSGA’s Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame and the Fantasy Sports Writers Association Hall of Fame. He is an avid runner, swimmer and cyclist.

PAUL CHARCHIAN

There's never been a better season to move to the end of the first round. Unlike most years, there aren't sure-thing superstars at the top of the draft; virtually all of the first-round players have similar projections, upside and risk. And for the running back-obsessed among you, I've never seen the position slide like this season. Right now, there's only four runners with a first-round ADP. We've seen many previous seasons where four runners are taken with the first four picks! I've been able to get compensation for trading back in the first round from someone who doesn't realize there's almost no dropoff from pick 1 to pick 12.

Charchian is the CEO at GuillotineLeagues.com. Guillotine Leagues are a new way to play in which the lowest-scoring team each week gets chopped from the league, and all the players go to the waiver wire. Charchian was inducted into the Fantasy Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.

SAM HENDRICKS

I love the 3rd or 4th spot this year. With those you can play the turn to gain extra value and still get one of the top 3 running backs or wide receivers. For example, in the sixth round with the 6.10 pick you can see what the two teams ahead of you need and have picked with their 5 picks. Use that information to predict what their next picks are before you pick in the seventh with 7.03. So if they have picked as follows:

1st WR/RB/WR/TE/QB
2nd RB/WR/WR/RB/TE
YOU: RB/WR/RB/WR/QB

Then you have a pretty good idea that they will not go TE/TE in the 6th and 7th rounds before you. So wait and get your tight end in the 7th, not the 6th round if you were considering it. You can wait and get better value with another position in the sixth. Maybe add that flex running back or wide receiver at 6.10.

Hendricks is the author of Fantasy Football Guidebook, Fantasy Football Tips and Fantasy Football Basics, all available at ExtraPointPress.com, at all major bookstores, and at Amazon and BN.com. He is a 30-year fantasy football veteran who participated in the National Fantasy Football Championship (NFFC) and finished 7th and 16th overall in the 2008 and 2009 Fantasy Football Players Championship (FFPC). He won the Fantasy Index Open in 2013 and 2018.

KEN HOLIZNA

In snake drafts I usually prefer to draft in the back half, picks 6-10 or 8-12. This way the draft falls to you instead of you having to make decisions on higher-ranked players, that if they get injured, or happen to fail, it's catastrophic for your team. In most of the mock drafts I have done up to this point (a little early for accurate predictive data) the draft boards tell me that if you draft early (1-4) you are almost forced to take a top- 7 quarterback (earlier than value) which leaves you reaching at other positions the rest of the draft. Up to this point in mocks the top 7 are going in the top 65 picks. This affords those drafting in the back end to wait until the 5th or 6th round and doesn't seem to put you in a position of reaching for players above their draft value. For those drafting early you are almost forced to take a quarterback in the 4th or 5th round, or earlier if you are risk adverse. I don't like taking the position higher than their draft value or playing catchup at any position. When drafting early if you resist a top-7 QB then you can get stuck with mediocre production at best and forced to use another pick for a solid backup instead of a possible breakout, or sleeper player. In comparison, drafting in the back end of the round nets you two top 6-14 (10-team) or 8-16 (12-team) players to build around and solid players at every position, though maybe not spectacular at any. Get me in the playoffs and I have a chance to win.

Holizna is a 29-year fantasy football enthusiast and founder of Faith-Family-Fantasy Football in 2019, a family-friendly, faith-based, G-rated fantasy football platform. Rankings contributor to the 2023 Fantasy Index magazine. Find him on Twitter @holihandicapper

ANDY RICHARDSON

When given a choice, I tend to think the earlier the pick, the better. Yes if you go later, those even-round picks are earlier. But it bugs me to think I may be passing up an earlier pick in the first round that I really want. If you take the earlier selection, you'll always have the earlier choice in every odd round, which is something to be happy about. That being said, this year specifically I'm thinking the middle of the round is better. I think with picks 5 or 6, you're getting one of the elite options in the first round, and also a very nice player in the second round. Picking 3rd, as I am in a current experts draft, I think the second-round guys you're left with aren't much better (if at all) than the third-rounders. I would prefer the combo at 1.06 and 2.07, I think, to what I ended up with at 1.03 and 2.10. Picking in the middle of the round also reduces the chance of missing out on a lengthy run at one position.

Richardson has been a contributing writer and editor to the Fantasy Football Index magazine and www.fantasyindex.com since 2002. His responsibilities include team defense and IDP projections and various site features, and he has run the magazine's annual experts draft and auction leagues since their inception. He previews all the NFL games on Saturdays and writes a wrap-up column on Mondays during the NFL season.

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