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Hartitz: 10 tips to follow in your 2021 fantasy football draft

October 18, 2020; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Los Angeles Rams during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

We’re in the thick of the NFL offseason and it’s officially time to start fantasy football prep. I’ll be answering the biggest questions heading into the 2021 season. Click here to read the series of questions answered so far.

It’s officially the final week of fantasy football draft season. Lives will soon be changed for the better or worse for the next four months based on the decisions we make during a 90-minute fantasy draft. Why do we do this to ourselves? Good question, but we’re already here: Let’s boogie.

What follows are my top 10 fantasy football draft commandments for 2021.


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1. Don’t get cute early

Fantasy drafts are sort of like the NFL draft in terms of average draft position (ADP): Many can logically predict a good amount of the early rounds (at least the first), but things get far more random and tough to call in the later stages. This is mostly because of the heightened attention paid to the top 20 or so players at each position; early-round ADPs are sharper and better to follow than what you get in the mid-to-late stages of drafts.

This isn’t to suggest you can’t draft your RB7 ahead of the guy the public has deemed the RB6. Rather: Don’t make a habit of going after players with an average draft position well below (12-plus spots) where you’re presently picking in the early rounds. Getting “your guy” is great; there’s a better chance you won’t need to reach in order to secure the player you want in the third round as opposed to the 13th.

2. There are roughly 14 running backs to feel really good about

Personally, I’m a fan of the “Anchor RB” draft strategy. Weirdos refer to it as “Modified Zero-RB.” Essentially: Draft a dope running back in the first or second round and otherwise use your first six-plus picks on receivers.

One of the main rationales for this strategy is the presence of roughly 14 running backs with far fewer questions than answers compared to the rest of the top 24 backs. Yes, plenty of players not included in the following list can and will rise up the ranks and surprise us. Also yes, this is purely an exercise on projected workload, something that’s easier to predict than discernible differences in on-field talent and scheme efficiency:

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