You can go many a route: The conservative approach, the risky approach, the all or nothing approach, etc. It's up to you. Below, you'll find various views of the most recognized approaches practiced by today's fantasy owners in the first two rounds. Let's get down to business.
If you're still clinging onto the RB-RB strategy with your first two picks, let me welcome you to fantasy football in 2009. This approach is still in the dying stages, but it has run its course. Shared duties and increasing depth at the RB position have almost killed off the workhorse back, relatively speaking. There is a steep drop from the top three to five RBs compared to the rest of the bunch. However, what's significant to realize is each tier after the big dogs kinda-sorta blurs or morphs with one another.
A lot goes into where you land in the draft. If you're at the front or tail end of the draft it's less of a headache to skip out on the RB-RB strategy we've come to know and love. You're already sitting on a stud or you can change the run by grabbing the first premier WR. Basically, you can get creative. However, it's gamble at the middle of the draft, because if you decide to go RB-RB...you're probably looking at the next tier at the WR or QB position.
For my money – this is not the strategy to apply anymore. Fantasy historians can scoff at me now.
Now we're getting somewhere. Chances are the normal standard strategy most frequently used currently in fantasy football is to grab a stud RB in the first round and a stud WR in the 2nd. Let's face it, if you don't have the intestinal fortitude to veer too far from the course, this is the best option for you. The run on elite WR's starts much earlier nowadays in fantasy drafts.
If you're at the front of the draft, you will most likely miss the top tier guys like Larry Fitzgerald or Andre Johnson this season. However, if you're at the tail end of the draft – the advantage is all yours. If you're still thinking of going RB-RB, be prepared to take a deep step down the WR talent ladder. Chances are the big names will be snatched before your third round pick.
I highly recommend this approach for those looking for the best talent at each position. It's even considered somewhat conservative by current fantasy standards.
This is where things get a bit risky. Many of us fell in love with Peyton Manning as a first-round pick after his record breaking season of 2004. Same thing went for Tom Brady during most drafts last season. Let the record show, I am 100% against drafting a QB in the first round. It's just not worth the price of the payoff. If you opt to draft a QB in the first round be prepared to scramble in the middle of the draft instead of grabbing upside.
Beside the point, is there really a single stud QB this year that you simply have to have in the 1st round? Probably not, but it does get tricky when it comes to the 2nd round. Sticking with the conventional wisdom of nabbing a stud RB with your first pick, next comes the dilemma of grabbing a steady anchor at the QB slot. Trust me, most of the other owners in your league aren't thinking this route. It's a sneaky strategy. If you want a Drew Brees, Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, you're gonna have to reach later in the 2nd round or hope you're picking early in the snake 3rd round.
There is a huge risk involved here. You give up the chance to pair up a stud RB with a stud WR or another decent RB by electing to use this strategy. You'll have watched the upper tier WRs slide by and you'll still need to find a serviceable RB to counter with your ace. So it's obviously not an easy chore ahead. I like to avoid this route at all costs because you can find value on QBs as the draft drags along. There is never a real steady run on signal-callers and it's simply mortgaging too valuable a pick to snag a QB in the one of the first two rounds.
Ah yes, a relatively new strategy I decided to test this season during mock drafts. The thinking is that if I landed in the bottom 3 picks of a draft (based on a 10 man league), I was going to go WR-WR. Yes, a huge leap of faith to neglect running backs for two whole rounds. However, to be honest, I just don't like much after to the top 5 RBs (if that). So, what's the harm? I'd have the chance to net two absolute studs like Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson on the same team. Meanwhile, once everyone started their run on WRs and QBs in the third and fourth rounds I could nab some decent RBs.
My first trial run wasn't a 100 percent success, but it was not a failure, either. Picking out of the eight hole, I ended up with my dream WR tandem of Fitzgerald and Johnson. I was able to get Kevin Smith, Darren McFadden, Jonathan Stewart, Derrick Ward, Beanie Wells and Felix Jones as my backfield. Yes, a lot of what-ifs and potentially good RBs, but, aside from Smith, not a real surefire stud. In reality, I only need two of those six to be regular starters. If one of the other ones has a bust-out season, I'm sitting on a goldmine.
This strategy is high-risk/ high-reward, so it's not for the weak stomached. You're sure to draw the taunts and ridicule of your fellow owners as you buck conventional draft strategies, but if you're looking to gamble, this strategy can pay off in the long run. Unless, of course, we are all overvaluing the likes of Larry Fitzgerald due to his miraculous playoff run last year -- which is certainly possible.
Heading into draft day, the ball is in your court to decide the strategy that works best for you. My job is merely to shed light on the possible routes one can take. Do you go by the old-school book and grab RB-RB, follow the trends and go RB-WR, get creative and go RB-QB or buck the trend and grab WR-WR? Think it over, but you shouldn't veer too far from your chosen course. Have a plan and execute it. Best of luck with whatever route you take.