News & Analysis

A plea for the fifth -- fantasy football's draft round of no excitement

Dec 17, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson (39) tackles Houston Texans running back Lamar Miller (26) during the second half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

(Editor’s note: Every Sunday, we’ll wrap up the week on PFF Fantasy with some topic one of our writers has been thinking about of late, and recap the features, columns, and podcasts you could find on the site that week.)

If you play in auction drafts, go ahead and scroll down to the links, because I’m not talking about you today.

Snake drafters, I’m here today to discuss the bane of our existence. It’s inevitable, and we hate it, and there’s nothing we can do about it.

The fifth round.

No matter the sport (well, football or baseball — I don’t play fantasy hockey or basketball, but I feel like the principles involved are about the same), the fifth round has always been my least favorite round, the one where I feel like no matter who I pick, I’ve done it wrong.

Let’s look at it, piece by piece:

First round: Exciting! A player taken here could easily finish the season first overall, and you’ll look back on him as the anchor of a championship roster.

Second round: Also exciting! These players have their flaws, but there’s no reason to think they can’t be big producers and fantasy difference-makers.

Third and fourth rounds: Hey, fun. These rounds have guys with some black marks. Maybe they’re coming off a bad year or injury, maybe they’re prospects ready for a breakout. Point is, you can look at these guys and see “the reason I won.”

Seventh round and beyond: If you’re relying on anyone you take this late — late-round QB or TE excepted — you’re probably doing it wrong, but that’s okay. These players are the sleepers and/or sneaky plays. You want them to succeed, but you’re fine moving on if you need to. Basically, if this pick is good, great! You’ll remember it! If this pick is bad, that’s fine, you weren’t really that invested in it anyway.

Fifth round (and, yeah, sixth too): These rounds suck. Sorry, they just do. The players available in the fifth and sixth rounds aren’t superstars, or they’d be going in the first few rounds. They aren’t sneaky plays, or they’d be available later. But you have to count on them, because a lineup can’t stop at four players.

Nobody ever says “Oooh” about someone else’s fifth-round pick. Nobody ever says “Oooh” about their own fifth-round pick. The fifth round is the bottom bun of a cheeseburger — it’s got to be there to support the meat of it all, but it’s not nearly as exciting as the bits and pieces you sprinkle on top. (I liked that analogy more and more the longer I thought about it.)

According to early ADP data, guys going in the fifth round of this year’s draft so far include names like Lamar Miller, Jordy Nelson, Michael Crabtree, Marshawn Lynch. Do those names have potential? Sure. Do they have top-of-the-position potential? No, not really. If you can grab those guys in the seventh round, that’s fantastic! In the fifth round, that’s … eh. It’s just about right.

Most picks in a snake draft are there to make you excited, get you ready for the season. The fifth round? It’s there to get you to the sixth, which is there to get you to the seventh. That’s it. The fifth round is a conveyor belt. And I hate it so.


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