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The Draft Board to end all Draft Boards: Jeff Ratcliffe's 2018 fantasy breakdown

Oct 23, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) reacts to a touchdown against the Washington Redskins during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve all been there. It’s draft day, and you’re up in three picks. You have your guy. He’s highlighted, underlined, and circled on your draft board. You can already see him helping your team to the league championship.

One pick goes by, and then another. Your guy is still there. Just one pick left. As you start to rise up out your chair to head over to the draft board, he gets picked.

D’oh!

Panic sets in. Everyone is looking at you. Who do you pick? Quick, make a decision.

You frantically scroll through a top 300 list and then rapidly glance at some positional rankings hoping a name, some name, any name that sticks out. Then one does. You casually put his sticker on the board, acting like nothing happened, and walk nonchalantly back over to your seat.

As soon as you sit down, you see it: The obvious pick you overlooked in your desperate search. It was right there in front of you, and you’re already starting to kick yourself. It gets in your head and doesn’t go away. You keep thinking about this mistake for the next several rounds. And you know what? You make more mistakes because of this one slipup. To borrow a term from poker, you’re on tilt.

Of course, this is an absolutely worst-case scenario, but even small mistakes on draft day have a ripple effect that can potentially impact your entire draft.

To avoid these mishaps, you want to go into draft day prepared and with a solid draft board in place. Today, I’m going to give you my actual 2018 draft board. You can use this to help build your own board and make sure the nightmare situation above doesn’t happen to you this year.

Before we get to the actual board, here are few tips to keep in mind that will help you dominate your draft:

  1. Draft for value, and don’t reach. You put your board in place based on how your value players. Stick to the plan and don’t deviate on draft day. Your opponents are going to make mistakes and let value slip to you. Make them pay for it.
  2. There are no “must draft” or “must avoid” players. Even though you may really like certain players, look at the first tip. Don’t reach for these guys. It’s a mistake that allows value to slip to your opponent. Likewise, there are no “must avoid” players — only players to avoid at certain ADPs. However, there’s a point in drafts where these guys will become values if they stick around on the board.
  3. You don’t need Aaron Rodgers to win your league. Sure, he’s very nice to have, but Rodgers will likely go earlier than it’s worth drafting a quarterback. “But you don’t understand. Everyone in my home league drafts quarterbacks very early.” That’s fine. You don’t have to drink the Kool Aid. Follow your board and you’ll still end up getting value.
  4. Ceiling is more important than floor. If you’re faced with a decision between two players, choose the player with the higher ceiling. For example, Frank Gore and Tevin Coleman are often picked in the same area of the draft. If you had to choose between the two, the better option is Coleman. Sure, his floor is much lower, but Coleman’s massive upside gives him the greater potential to be a fantasy difference maker.

With these tips in mind, let’s dive into the draft board and strategy for each position in this year’s drafts. If you haven’t already, make sure you check out my tiered rankings for the skill position. I provide detailed information on quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends.

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