2020 Fantasy Football: The Dreaded 8th Draft Position

by Richard Savill
The Dreaded 8th Draft Position

What's your favorite spot in the draft? You like having the prestigious 1st pick?  Or do you prefer to conduct matters from the caboose at 12th? What about snugly right in the middle at 6th and 7th? Maybe just a good enough spot to remain within shouting distance of the turn? We all have preferences of what is the best draft position.

There is no hard consensus on what is the best spot and I'm not the first to write about it. But where you draft in a 12-team league has a definite impact on your strategy. Your style and targeting needs to adjust depending on where you draft.

Many of you might like the 8th position. It may even be your lucky spot where your best triumphs are in the trophy case. From experience and understanding of the snake system, my opinion is that the 8th position is the most difficult and demanding position to draft from.

2020 Fantasy Football: The Dreaded 8th Draft Position

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Let's face it. You will have to draft 8th at some point in your life. It's far from fabulous. However, you can still win if you are drafting in the 8th position just as well as any other in snake redraft.

Why is 8th such an uncomfortable position?

The dreaded 8th draft position is a disadvantage from the start. The best running backs and a top receiver or two disappear before you even get a sniff. You are too far from the 1-2 turn to assemble a plan for your next pick with any surety. As with all the middle positions from 5th through 8th, you can easily find yourself stuck in a locked flow of forced choices.

The worst thing about being 8th is that you are the last of the middle spots to select your first guy off the board. You might say, "well then, the 9th guy is worse off, right?" and you're partly correct. The 9th position guy does indeed have similar problems to the 8th. However, the 9th position is slightly better (more correctly, "less worse") because the turn is not so distant.

One can argue that the 8th and 9th pick are virtually indistinguishable in difficulty, but remember that the 9th spot is ahead of the 8th when you are coming around the corner to the 2.04 and 2.05 picks after the first round. The person drafting 9th had pretty much the same pick at the "rest of the best" you did before the turn.

What about 7th? Surely, the 8th has the same advantage over that spot after the turn, right? Yes, 7th is much like the 9th. Obviously the same "before and after" turn dynamics apply. And again, 7th goes into the category of also not being an ideal draft position in most minds. But 7th remains in that area of being "less worse" than the 8th spot.

How can I make the 8th spot work toward a winning draft?

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The fact is, you can.

Just because you have the 8th draft position does not automatically mean a low-percentage chance of making your fantasy playoffs. The snake draft structure allows everyone parity. Even though the early rounds look rough, as the draft progresses you'll find the middle tier studs will be available for you ahead of the early and late turn positions.

If you know your draft position prior to your actual draft, and it's number eight, you can practice at places like FantasyPros. Mock drafts will help develop a strategy where you can get an idea of what targets you can get and which will likely be reaches.

Reaching in the 8th position

"Reach" is a fuzzy expression in fantasy. A reach essentially means that a draftable player sits a round or so beyond a consensus rank or ADP. Short to medium reaches usually won't raise any eyebrows among your competitors, but deeper reaches at a distance toward two rounds will pop the monocles. Among seasoned players, long reaches are a rarity.

Like any draft position, you should try and limit ADP short or medium reaches to only two or three instances during your draft. There are players you want and determined to possess. I get it. But in the 8th position, you really have a harder time making up ground after a reach than the draft spots which hug the turn.

Reaching becomes less and less seen as a brash move the later your draft progresses. Players in the latter rounds become fluid in their ADP interchangeability above a certain tier.

But yes, you can reach. As with any draft position, use your caution doing this. If you feel your selection beats the house, then by all means try it. Fantasy Football is meant to be fun.

Things eventually level off

As mentioned, by the time you enter the middle rounds everyone is working on balancing their rosters. Beyond the early rounds, the 8th position doesn't seem so hard.

When building your team in the 8th position, try to give your team a balance so that you can give yourself decisions. The worst trap to get into is not having enough running backs or wide receivers. Or ending up caught with choices of bum quarterbacks.

Often, the 8th position will allow you to procure the top tight end. If you take Travis Kelce in the first round, you remove one awkward fantasy position to fill later in the draft. No doubt a positive. The quarterback is the other one. I would say okay to the top TE and not so much for an early QB in position 1.08 or 2.05 - even 3.08 is asking for a tough road. Most analysts are dead against early quarterback grabs in any case.

In the 8th spot, giving into temptation and grabbing Patrick Mahomes at 2.05 is cutting it very thin. Especially if you took Kelce at 1.08 hoping for what looks like a dream pairing for your team. You might want to reconsider such a major risk. You need those fantasy beasts at wide receiver and running back early to populate your roster.

The Running Back Deficit

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In the 8th spot, you are generally looking at a running back deficit right from the start. The best player to take off the board will likely be Davante Adams or Travis Kelce in the first round. After the turn it is best to grab your RB1 if that happens. Sure, you might get a zero-RB drafter or two ahead of you and in that case the problem solves itself.

This is a major problem for the late-round spots and not just the 8th. Weakness at running back won't win you many weeks. However, having a hoard of RB2 types isn't bad either. You'll always have that early stud WR1 if he fell as best choice in round one. From there, start thinking about building your stash of RBs as soon as possible.

Making up a running back deficit while maintaining a balanced roster during a draft is hard. There is a downside. You can inadvertently create a run on the RB position if your opponents around the bottom turn were thinking the same as you. It makes for a wild draft. But it's not necessarily your fault if the draft flow becomes chaotic. It might even work to your benefit.

In Conclusion

The dreaded 8th draft position need not be the sick horse of your draft. Think of it as a challenge. It's actually one of the pivotal positions (along with the 5th) for guiding the flow of a draft. Any snipes from position 5 or position 8 may reverberate sharply in the draft room as compared with other draft spots. So you have no shortage of ability to add drama compared with the rest.

If you have the 8th spot or any of the less desirable positions, good luck and go get 'em.

Let me know in the comments of what your favorite draft position is or twitter me @RRSSavill with your thoughts.

Visit the F6P Fantasy Football page for more advice, including all 32 Fantasy Football Team Previews to get you prepared for the 2020 season

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