We continue our Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies series with Pick 6. We've been going strong with Picks 1-5 already completed. You can check out my other strategy write-up for Pick 3.
If you haven't read the other ones, we utilized the FantasyPros Mock Draft Wizard to help play out our Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies. These are 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.
Oh, pick 6. The middle of the draft. Some love it, some hate it. I personally like being closer to the ends more as I feel like I can control my draft a bit more. Even though I know I have to "reach" on a few players I know will 100% not make it back to me, but it is my decision. I also enjoy being able to start runs.
On the flip side of that though, being on the ends you can find yourself on the wrong side of a run much easier. That unexpected mid-tier quarterback run or the run of third running backs can really come up and bite you in the you know what. This is where being in the middle of the draft is helpful. You are able to adjust to the flow of the draft a bit more. Not get caught on the wrong end of a run as much.
Ultimately though, I can draft from anywhere. Below I give three strategies you can implement from Pick 6 and just how to do it.
Just as in my last draft slot strategy article, I don't mention my last two picks in the draft in any of my strategies cause it was a defense, then a kicker each time.
Fantasy Football Draft Slot Strategies - Pick 6
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All-In on Rookie Running Backs
This was not a strategy I planned originally, but it sort of fell into my lap. It all started when... sounds like a movie right?
Bijan Robinson was sitting there at No. 6 overall for me to take. Not surprising at all to be honest, but I know some people really like to take chances with their first pick and Biijan is as blue chip of a prospect as they come, so I figured why not. I'm not one to get super excited over a camp clip, but damn he cooked Troy Anderson here. Bijan could easily be worth the sixth pick.
Bijan Robinson ??
— PFF (@PFF) July 28, 2023
Now, in all honesty, I passed on players I would much rather have drafted here, most notably Saquon Barkley, or if I was targeting WR, Tyreek Hill.
Again this was about trying to see how the strategy would play out, so we move on.
Rounds 2 & 3
I was hoping a few players would drop to me in Round 2 and one of them did in A.J. Brown. I wanted one of, what I consider, the elite and reliable receivers in the draft. That ends with Brown in my opinion. Yes, I like Garrett Wilson and Amon-Ra St. Brown, but after Brown in our Fantasy Football Rankings, there is a bit more risk added to the picks.
In Round 3, I was able to take a guy who I think has a ton of potential to be a WR1, yet is not being drafted like one. That is Chris Olave. The most important point here isn't so much the player but the fact that I took what I think is a lock down RB1 in Round 1 so to counter that I wanted to get two upper-echelon receivers to build around.
Round 4 - Second Rookie RB
Now here is there the plan to build around Rookie RB came into focus. I was thinking running back all the way in Round 4, and when the board fell to me I had some solid choices; J.K. Dobbins, Miles Sanders, Cam Akers, Dameon Pierce. However, I decided to roll the dice with another upside play in Jahmyr Gibbs.
Gibbs is a very talented player and, at the very least, should be heavily involved in the pass-game in Detroit. It could be one of those picks where I'm regretting it until Week 9, when he explodes onto the scene, and then it is likely too late to save my season. Or he could be great from Day 1. I'll be honest, I'm on the fence about him, but I wanted to see how this would play out.
During these rounds, I tried to mitigate my risk at running back, but then also add to a solid reliable receiving corps.
Starting in Round 5. Alexander Mattison was a great pick for this team. Unless the Vikings go out and sign one of the vets this preseason, he will be the hands-down RB1 for the Vikings. Other options at this point were Rachaad White, Alvin Kamara and Isiah Pacheco. All could be RB1 for their teams, but also all have much bigger question marks surrounding them, most importantly, their availability.
In Round 6. I wanted to go back to the receiver well. It helped that a favorite of mine, Jerry Jeudy, fell to me. I mentioned how much I like him in my Pick 3 writeup, but to recap, he went over 1,000 yards with a crappy Russell Wilson and coaching staff. With the addition of Sean Peyton, I expect everything to improve.
Round 7 I hedged my risk at running back with another back who some might say super is risky, but I don't think is. That is Brian Robinson Jr. I'm not expecting him to be a Fantasy RB1 or even RB2, but in the 7th Round, this is a great safety pick. Especially for somebody who took chances on two rookies early.
Robinson carried the ball over 200 times last season in just 12 games. Don't forget, this was after returning to the field just months after being shot. That is incredible. I know he won't be involved in the passing game, but again this was a safety pick to have somebody I can rely on early on in case Bijan or Gibbs don't work out early on in the season.
In Rounds 8 & 9 I went back to receiver, needing to add depth. I started with Jahan Dotson. I don't love the pick as he is a tad boom/bust, but with a solid top-3 at receiver, I figured I could go for it. The guys going around him at receiver I didn't like as much for this squad, despite having more upside; Treylon Burks, George Pickens, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Gabre Davis.
JuJu Smith-Schuster was my other pick. this was more like the Brian Robinson pick, where it was more of a safety blanket than anything. I don't think JuJu will dominate but a reliable FLEX player is definitely something he can be. Then if I deal with an injury to one of my top-3, he is a great fill-in.
To close out I needed to get my tight end, quarterback and then one more depth piece.
I started with TE first, the main reason being that I looked at the draft board and realized I was the only team who had not taken their starting quarterback yet. That meant I could wait until the very end. Now I will note, in your home leagues this might not be a viable strategy as I know from experience, teams like to draft backup quarterbacks.
In Round 11, I added yet another rookie RB, this time it was more as a massive upside play, Kendre Miller. I'm not sold that Alvin Kamara won't get suspended and Jamaal Williams is not a lead back, so if that happens then Miller is an absolute steal at this point in the draft. If I miss, who cares, I missed on my Round 12 pick, which in 90 out of 100 leagues I'm dropping at some point in the season anyway. This is a league-winning type pick and well worth the risk.
In Round 12 I took my quarterback and was 100% right, I took the last one. Tua Tagovailoa is the man and should easily be a top-5 quarterback if the can stay healthy. That, of course, is why he falls to where he does in drafts. However, if I'm waiting to take my quarterback, I'm perfectly happy with Tua.
FantasyPros scored this draft a 93 out of 100. I'll be honest, I was a bit surprised at the score. I think it is because more of the "experts" who put their rankings into FantasyPros like Bijan and Gibbs a tad more than me.
Despite my surprise at the score, I did like how this draft turned out. I was able to mitigate some of the risk at running back early, by taking some more safe players later. Then went complete home run at the end with Miller.
Finding a solid, not elite tight end and quarterback is very easy to do in drafts this season. I know the top-tier at each position have reasons for being drafted where they are, but if you can't draft correctly when taking one of them early, then it won't matter.
Zero-RB & Wait on TE
This was a strategy that was suggested I try via Twitter. I'm not a huge fan of Zero-RB and if I did do it, I'd prob go early tight end and quarterback. However, I'm here for the people, so let's go for it.
Round 1-4 Establish the Wide Receiver Base
In true Zero-RB fashion, I started with very heavy receiver. Ja'Marr Chase was a massive surprise at Pick 6. I don't expect him to be there very often, but Cooper Kupp or even Tyreek Hill would have been good there instead for this strategy.
Receivers flew off the board before my next pick and did not get another true WR1 in my opinion. I took Amon-Ra St. Brown just to stick with the strategy. However, Derrick Henry was there and would have been my pick if it wasn't for forcing this. Don't get me wrong, I really like ARSB, but there is a slight tier drop in my receiver rankings between A.J. Brown and him.
I know people that will not deviate from Zero-RB no matter what, so I wanted to force it for that reason. But with the board shaping up the way it did, I think it proves that you should be able to adjust on the fly. This is especially true with one of the middle picks.
Next up though I did luck out to get Chris Olave. As mentioned above, I'm a big fan of his and seeing him still on the board made up for having to take ARSB as my WR2.
My last receiver to start the draft was Keenan Allen. He is a great fourth receiver to have on a team that is straight-up loaded up top. Really any of the receivers going here, Amari Cooper, Deebo Samuel, D.J. Moore, Calvin Ridley are great grabs.
That is a great receiving corps to start with Chase,
With four receivers it is now time to look elsewhere to build my team up.
My first pick was a quarterback as I wanted to lock up a top-end guy to give myself an advantage at the position. My pick was Joe Burrow who is fantastic and also doesn't hurt it gives me the Chase/Burrow stack. I don't force stacks, but if they happen to fall to me I'll gladly take it.
Now as of July 27th, this may not be the best pick, thanks to an injury at camp. We don't know yet if he will be good to go, but this easily could be swapped out for Lamar Jackson and be just fine, even though I lose the stack.
Here is the play on which Bengals’ QB Joe Burrow suffered what head coach Zac Taylor called a calf injury:
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 27, 2023
Next up I went my first running backs with James Conner and David Montgomery. The reason for taking these players over the likes of Isiah Pachecho, James Cook, D'Andre Swift, etc., these are very safe running backs. We know, as long as health is good for them that the workload will be there.
With this strategy, I wanted to make sure I got a couple more running backs and build on my strength at wide receiver.
With my first pick, I took a chance on Jordan Addison. As my WR5, this is a great place to take a chance on a high-upside player.
I then went after a couple of running backs in Antonio Gibson and Elijah Mitchell who can be RB1s in any given week. No, neither of them will be consistently RB1 or even RB2 thanks to the depth chart. However, going Zero-RB, I wanted to pair my safer running backs with guys who have the opportunity to hit RB1 status occasionally and if there is an injury in front of them can easily hit that.
My last two picks were Skyy Moore and Dalton Schultz (the last TE drafted, to fit the "wait on TE strategy"). Moore is a high-upside WR play. Yes, I could have taken a D'Onta Foreman-type running back, but Moore has a much higher ceiling, especially with the recent Kadarius Toney injury.
As I mentioned before, this is not my favorite strategy. Call me old school, but I like having running backs to rely on. Regardless I think this was a great way to build a team using this strategy.
My receiver room is absolutely loaded and I have both safe and high-upside running backs. One thing to consider with my running backs is their floors are not zero, even my high-upside guys. They all have a role, even the ones that I took later. That is important as you can't risk taking a complete zero at the position since you waited so long on it.
Going With TE2 - Mark Andrews
Yes, I'm aware that at Pick 6 Travis Kelce is a great option. However, this is also an option for Pick 4 and Pick 5 and Dan discussed how to implement a draft with Kelce as your first pick. So, with that in mind, I thought I would do something different.
Rounds 1 & 2
These two first picks are not super important here, but knowing I was going to target a tight end early in this draft, my thought was to get an RB1 and WR1 to give myself a good base to start with.
I did just that taking Saquon Barkley and CeeDee Lamb. Had the draft fallen a bit differently, for example, Barkley had been taken before me, I could have gone with Cooper Kupp first and one of the stud running backs in Round 2. The players aren't as important because they are all good, but the strategy you are implementing is.
I was fortunate and had Mark Andrews fall to me in the 3rd Round. I'll be the first to say, that I'm not sure this will happen in a lot of drafts. I have seen him go late 2nd Round in a lot of mocks and actual drafts so far.
This is also a great time for me to say, I probably would not go for Mark Andrews if I had to draft him in the 2nd Round. Now you have him drop to the third, where my choices are him, Miles Sanders, DeVonta Smith, Jahmyr Gibbs or Keenan Allen, then I'm on board with the pick.
It was not completely intentional, but I drafted the rest of my team with a lot of balance. It was a combination of how the draft fell to me and with me taking a tight end early, I feel like this is the best way to counter any added risk.
Wanting to get a solid RB2 for my team, I was very fortunate to have Aaron Jones fall to me in Round 4. The Packers will not be as efficient this season on offense, but Jones can still be a great running back for fantasy.
Terry McLaurin and Brandon Aiyuk filled out my receiver slots. Not my favorite players, but both are very talented. When I took McLaurin, Jeudy was drafted just ahead of him and we know at this point how much I like Jeudy. I did take McLaurin over other receivers - Christian Kirk, DeAndre Hopkins and Diontae Johnson. Scary Terry over Kirk is easy for me as Kirk will not get the same target share as he did last season with Calvin Ridley there. It was much closer for me for DHop and Johnson and honestly, I would not fault you for drafting either one of them over McLaurin.
Aiyuk could easily be swapped out for Mike Williams or Chris Godwin. I think all of them are talented and are a bit boom or bust plays week to week. I took Aiyuk due to the news that Brock Purdy is now cleared to practice. With him back in the picture, I'm more confident that Aiyuk can be a tad more consistent than both Big Mike and Godwin.
I built more balance by getting Javonte Williams in Round 7. This is another running back that I think fell to me in this draft, Jones being the first one. I'm not sure if Williams will continue to fall this far in drafts now that he avoided the PUP, but my gut tells me we see his ADP start to rise. I have already moved him up a few spots in my running back rankings.
In these rounds, I went away from my balanced approach. This was due to really liking my running back room after landing Brian Robinson Jr. with my Round 8 pick. It was also due to not really loving my receiving room as much, so I wanted to have more backup options.
I selected JuJu Smith-Schuster in Round 9 over other dart throws such as Quentin Johnston, Romeo Doubs, Michael Thomas and Jameson Williams. MT was the only other player I even considered here as the rest are just too risky in Round 9 and to be my potential flex play.
Allen Lazard was my next pick over other favorites of mine, Michael Gallup and Skyy Moore. In Round 12 I took my last receiver with Adam Thielen. I went more with safe plays with my backup receivers than upside. All of these players I think can out-perform their ADP but lack the ceiling of some of the other guys getting drafted around them. But again that was part of the plan here as I need a bit of safety with taking Andrews where I can get other elite RB/WR to bolster my roster.
Just to throw it out there, I took Deshaun Watson as my quarterback in Round 11. An important note with taking a tight end early is I would wait on quarterback even more so than I normally do. Drafting a quarterback and tight end early will put you behind the curve for running back and wide receiver too much.
I really liked this team I drafted and could see myself implementing this strategy in my actual drafts. Keep in mind though I would only try this if Andrews were to fall to the 3rd Round like he did in this mock. If I have to take him any earlier, it is not worth the loss at receiver or running back.
I get the positional advantage having somebody like Andrews gives you over the rest of the non-Kelce managers, but at the end of the day, we're here to score the most points. Drafting a tight end super early does not usually lead to having the most points overall unless you absolutely crush the rest of your draft or find a gem on the waiver wire.
I hope this Pick 6 Draft Slot Strategy was helpful. Make sure you read the rest of our draft strategy articles so you can go into your drafts with all the ammo you need.
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