Top minds here at F6P recently had the idea to roll out a series of articles on draft-order-specific tactics for all our readers. Yesterday, Joe Bond walked you through your options at the 1.03 pick. Today, we roll on with our latest installment: Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies - Pick 4.
Alright, so! The stage is set: you've landed the fourth overall selection in your legacy redraft league with all those bragging rights, all that pot money. Four's a great number! Respected, even! Four horsemen, batting fourth in a lineup, etc. Some might go so far as to say it's a number that drips with power.
Let's be real. You're going to miss out on Christian McCaffrey, almost certainly. But, you will likely have one of Austin Ekeler, Justin Jefferson or Ja'Marr Chase on your roster! And you're not going to be unhappy with that at all.
You've narrowly avoided the pressure of picking in the top-three, which you like. Those managers in front of you are shaking in their boots from the pressure. Still, with a pick as high as fourth, you're going to be drafting someone at their projected ceiling, with absolute hopes for more. Feasibly, you could pick the league winner!
And, of course, always at the perimeter of this pick: the looming sense that it might be fine to pick Travis Kelce!
Let's get into the three strategies I think are going to be the most common—and most successful—at Pick 4. We referenced the FantasyPros Mock Draft Wizard, and our tactics will be for 12-team, half-PPR leagues with 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 FLEX, 4 BN, 1 K and 1 DST roster settings.
Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies - Pick 4
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Christian McCaffrey really showed us he is still in his prime at the end of last year and the playoffs
— Chris O'Brien (@17gamepace) July 19, 2023
Plain and simple, you know that you'll have at least one of the following four players available to you on the board with the 1.04 in redrafts:
- Christian McCaffrey
- Justin Jefferson
- Ja'Marr Chase
- Austin Ekeler
McCaffrey and Jefferson feel the least likely to be available here, but there's always a shot. The Straight-Shooter draft approach would simply dictate snagging whichever player remains out of those four so as shore up either your RB or WR starters with a bang. We know volume and per-touch production is all absolutely elite with this foursome, so, for some of you, there may be no need to overthink it.
Depending on which of the above skill players you pick at 1.04, there are plenty of sub-strategies you can employ for the remainder of your draft. If you snag a WR, you can go WR-Heavy / Zero-RB by using the first three-to-four rounds on wideouts; if you snag a running back, you can go Dual-RB / WR-Light by snagging another stud feature back in the second and maybe even third rounds.
I say pick your poison, here, straight-shooters! Get out there and do a few mock drafts with both of those sub-strategies to see which team composition you might like best.
I'm going to walk you through a scenario I think is most likely going to happen in my legacy league, talk through my strategy, and the individual picks I'm high on.
Dan's Straight-Shooter Scenario
These Ja’Marr Chase one handed catches are going to be completions one day.. pic.twitter.com/NCYWXCOsOO
— Chaston Scott (@CinCity808) July 21, 2023
I'm almost certain, if I had the 1.04 in my league, I'd be left with Ja'Marr Chase to snag. I'll do so happily. It's splitting hairs, but I have him ranked first overall on my board, anyways.
So, now that I've got an elite wideout, I'm probably looking to pair him with another potential WR1 with my second pick, and a low-end RB1 / high-end RB2 with my third. Depending on who is available, perhaps vice versa. If you do the same, this will mean you're almost certainly giving up any chance to grab an elite, top-tier QB in Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Jalen Hurts.
Here's who I think will be available and worth targeting at the 2/3 turn, for this strategy:
- Second (2.09): Garrett Wilson, Jaylen Waddle, Tony Pollard, Rhamondre Stevenson, Breece Hall
- Third (3.04): DeVonta Smith, Travis Etienne, Deebo Samuel, Keenan Allen, Joe Mixon
Those are the players I'm highest on in that 21-32 range on the overall draft board.
You're gonna start feeling the pressure with your fourth and fifth picks because you'll have seen lots of juicy quarterback and tight end names fly off the board by then. You're wondering: have I missed out? Will those positions just be sinkholes for me all season?
Don't give in to that fear. Hold steady. I'm still looking for an RB2, a WR3, and a FLEX here at pick four and pick five:
- Fourth (4.09)/Fifth (5.04): Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk, J.K. Dobbins, Isiah Pacheco, Dameon Pierce, Jahmyr Gibbs, DeAndre Hopkins
I sort of feel like, universally, there are plenty of folks who won't believe in Hopkins after signing with Tennessee. But count me as someone who's come around to it. I think he's an absolute steal in the fourth/fifth. He, Kirk, and Aiyuk would be my top targets here. And I know you'll be able to get Aiyuk here; it's just a matter of whether or not you want to jump for him.
Now, if you're lucky, you'll still be able to nab Trevor Lawrence with your sixth pick at 69. It's not guaranteed whatsoever, given that he's going 59th overall in most Sleeper leagues. With your seventh pick (76), try shoring up your TE slot with Darren Waller or Pat Freiermuth, both guys I really like in this range.
Travis Kelce forced 27 missed tackles on receptions last year (2nd to Deebo’s 28)
— Chris O'Brien (@17gamepace) July 21, 2023
I had thought about beginning this section with: How risky do you feel? But that's not entirely right, is it? Perhaps from a draft-strategy perspective, it feels just taboo enough to take a tight end fourth-overall that you've got the willies. But Travis Kelce is as consistent, and consistently dominant, a Fantasy asset as they come.
Here's one thing I know: if I'm taking Kelce at 1.04, I sure as hell am licking my lips to grab Patrick Mahomes at 2.09 for the stack, but I think most leagues will see Mahomes last until the beginning of the third round.
Kind of a relief, isn't it? You've got the two peskiest and most-oft-debated-in-redraft-tactics positions shored up in the first two picks. And they're a stack. Yes, it's unconventional. But, come Week 5, when your opponents are staring down the barrel of your starting roster with Mahomes and Kelce at the tip of the spear, folks are going to think your unconventionality might just have been a stroke of genius prudence.
This leaves you, at pick 3.09, with the following likely options: DeVonta Smith, Travis Etienne, Deebo Samuel, Keenan Allen, Joe Mixon (as listed above).
Now you can just spend the rest of your picks loading up on skill positions, snatching up the mid-round gold nuggets your fellow Fantasy panhandlers might be overlooking. To name a few: DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Brandon Aiyuk, Isiah Pacheco, Brandin Cooks, Gabe Davis.
From there, you've got the freedom to use all your later-round picks on your soup du jour of dart throws and longshots.
The Hangar-First-Pilot-Second (Alternate title: RB-Light)
52 days left til #BillsMafia SZN?
Your reminder that…
Josh Allen owns the Dolphins and Stefon Diggs is him. 52 yards to setup the TD. pic.twitter.com/JGJ7u58nyq
— Trainwreck Sports (@TrainwreckSprts) July 21, 2023
So, this isn't entirely much different than the Straight-Shooter. The first step, however, is to perform a mental gymnastic trick of erasure when thinking about the first four-to-five rounds of your drafts. All those juicy, marquee-name running backs? Wipe them from your boards.
That means, at the 1.04, I see your best possible options as follows:
Those are my top-five receivers this year. I know I'm higher on Diggs than, like, everyone. But I don't think you'd be whatsoever out of your tree to grab him at 1.04.
And the whole point of this strategy is to build a hangar of military-grade jet fighters to be captained by a stud pilot, right? These five guys, to me, are the most talented, savage wide receivers out there on the board this early. If you want to grab Davante Adams or A.J. Brown here, I won't blame you. But don't let me catch you snagging CeeDee Lamb at 1.04.
With the second pick at 2.09, I'm still looking for another elite wide receiver. In mock drafts, I've routinely been able to snag Jaylen Waddle and DeVonta Smith at this slot, and I couldn't be more thrilled. Target those guys here, and jump on them if they're around still at 3.04. If you got one and the other is selected during the turn, Chris Olave or Tee Higgins can play WR3 for me.
I'm willing to bet you'll be able to secure your last jet fighter for your FLEX at 4.09. Who better than DeAndre Hopkins, whose ADP might still be low enough come the time of your redraft league war rooms. Who better for that position? There's some risk, but, boy, the upside is too delicious to pass.
Which brings us to our pilot at your fifth pick (5.04). If I'm lucky, Justin Herbert has still been on the board here. Almost certainly, however, you'll have your pick of either Justin Fields or Trevor Lawrence, here. Jump for whichever one you prefer. And you've got yourself a breakout-star pilot sitting at the wheel, with four potential top-twenty wide receivers in your starting lineup.
RBs to Target in Rounds 6 & 7
I think true Zero-RB zealots would suggest you pass on drafting guys to fill out your running back slots even here. That's why I called the second part of this strategy RB-Light.
Maybe I'm conservative, but that's just too courageous for me. Below is a list of backs I'm thrilled to be left with at this 6/7 turn. Grab them as best you can:
I think all of these backs have easy pathways to RB2 seasons. And, with the roster you've already built, that's really all you need, here.
From there, you can either prioritize grabbing a tight end at 8.09, or maybe snag a rookie wide receiver in Quentin Johnston or Zay Flowers to bulwark your hangar.
For more draft tactics beyond the Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies - Pick 4 walkthrough, check out our Fantasy Six Pack Fantasy Football Draft Kit for Rankings, Projections, Team Previews, Sleepers, Busts, IDP, Best Ball, Dynasty and more.