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Fantasy Football High-Stakes Draft Strategy: Optimal approach to picks Nos. 1 - 4

Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Calvin Ridley (18) eludes Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Eric Wilson (50) during the second quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Picking from the early position is an advantage for 2021, but fantasy managers often lose focus after the first few picks and ruin a great start.

Last weekend, I entered several Footballguys Players Championship (FPC) drafts at the FFPC to put all of my draft strategies and tier articles into an actionable format.

In this article, I will walk you through my strategy for tackling pick No. 4, including:

  • Roster construction goals
  • When to be aggressive vs. ADP
  • When to wait for value vs. ADP
  • Which sleepers to target

I joined forces with PFF's Ian Hartitz, and we recorded and streamed the entire event for this draft.

For those unfamiliar with the FPC format, it is one of my personal favorites because the tight-end premium scoring (1.5 PPR) and dual-flex spots allow for the deployment of many strategies. You must be strong at the flex, and tight ends matter more than ever.

If you're interested in different draft positions, I shared my strategy for picks 5-8 and 9-12 earlier this week.

Click here for more PFF tools:

Fantasy Draft Kit | PFF Betting Dashboard | PFF Fantasy Rankings
PFF Fantasy Projections | NFL Premium Stats | Win Totals Tracker


Starters: 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, 1TE, 2FLX (RB, WR, TE), 1K, 1TDST
Scoring: PPR for all positions except TE, which receive an additional .5 per reception
Format: Re-draft
Teams: 12
Roster spots: 20
Entry fee: $350
Draft position: Pick 4
Team name: Isn't that a daisy

If you lead your division in points or win the league, you advance to a playoff format from Weeks 15 to 17 versus teams from all the other leagues that did the same. First place is $500K, which I have just missed three times.

All ADP information is per Fantasy Mojo.



Targets: The first pick was between the top three running backs and Travis Kelce

Having an elite tight end is a differentiator in all league formats, but that is compounded at the FFPC due to the 50% scoring bump on receptions and the ability to use them in the flex.

That last part is essential, as it negates the limited nature of the position, especially over the first few rounds.

With Kelce gone, Kamara was the easy pick. We have an anchor RB and can prioritize George Kittle if he falls into Round 2 or grab an elite WR.


Targets: George Kittle, Joe Mixon, Justin Jefferson, D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Clyde Edwards-Helaire

Ridley wasn't even on our target list due to his 2.4 ADP, but we were glad to accept him onto the squad when he made it to us. He would have still been the selection even if Kittle or Mixon had made it. Ridley ranks above those players, and getting him at this spot is a potential differentiator in a vast field.

Had Ridley gone, the pick would have been Metcalf or Jefferson. Smashing young receivers with 20% target-share seasons already under their belts by age 23 is one way to find the next breakouts. Those players average a 2% increase in target share in their N+1 season.

PFF's 2021 Fantasy Football Draft Kit includes links to every article, tool and chart to best prepare you for your fantasy football draft. This will be updated regularly between now and Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season.


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