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My First Ever High-Stakes Fantasy Football Draft

Trevor breaks down the results of his first high-stakes fantasy football draft.

I decided to enter the Rotowire Online Championship hosted by the NFFC with a grand prize of $250K. I was a bit nervous to enter because I didn’t really know what to expect because Doc always says you can throw ADP out the window in these high-stakes fantasy football drafts. Going in, I was hoping to get either the first or second pick overall to draft either receiver Justin Jefferson or Ja’Marr Chase. That didn’t happen, as I got the eighth pick, but I’m still happy with how my team turned out. Check out the draft board above, and I will give an overview of my draft: what I was thinking, what was unexpected, and my final thoughts. Feel free to comment and tell me what you may have done differently.

Rounds 1-3: WR CeeDee Lamb, WR Jaylen Waddle, RB Najee Harris

Knowing that I was picking eighth, I had to be realistic about my early-round targets. Luckily, I landed all three in CeeDee Lamb, Jaylen Waddle and Najee Harris. Lamb should be a target monster as the Cowboys’ number-one receiver, Waddle is smooth as silk and always gets open and I expect big things from Najee Harris with the Steelers’ improved offensive line and offense overall. I was very tempted to take RB Bijan Robinson at eighth overall but I am seeing too much value at running back in the mid-rounds. I was shocked that WR Deebo Samuel went as early as he did, just before my Harris pick. I was sweating that one out but luckily Team 9 had already picked two backs. Notice how far up WR Jerry Jeudy has climbed. All the way into the mid-third round, which I love, because I didn’t land him but the value is gone at that price.

Round 4: TE T.J. Hockenson

It took me almost all my allotted time to make this pick. I really wanted a receiver, but I felt like the receivers available weren’t quite as valuable, so I went with TE T.J. Hockenson. If this were a Best Ball draft, I would have gone in a different direction and accumulated several tight ends later. But since this is not Best Ball, I value having a set-it-and-forget-it tight end who should be the number-two target in Minnesota. If you look at who went off the board in Rounds 4 and 5, those receivers really do nothing for me, and I still see more running back value available later in the draft. Lamar Jackson did cross my mind as an option, but I really wanted to target another QB later in this draft who I will discuss later. My being a Vikings fan put TJ over the top.

Rounds 5-6: RB Kenneth Walker, RB Rachaad White

These were the rounds I had running back circled for my draft; this is where all the value is. I initially had Alexander Mattison and Rachaad White as my targets, but was pleasantly surprised that Kenneth Walker made it to me in the fifth. Had Walker been nabbed, I would have taken Travis Etienne. So now I was just hoping that either Mattison or White would make it to me in the sixth round, and when Mattison was drafted before my pick, it made White the automatic choice. 

Round 7: QB Tua Tagovailoa

I knew I was going to take a QB around Round 7 or 8, and I’m higher on Tua Tagovailoa than most. When I drafted, Dak Prescott and Tua were the next two in QBs ADP, and I think Tua has tremendous upside and is a player I really wanted. I could have taken a receiver and maybe waited another round, but I didn’t want to get sniped. If I did go that route and Tua was taken before my next pick, then I would have drafted Daniel Jones in the 8th round, but I would have been mad at myself in that scenario for not taking a player I had targeted pre-draft. It would bug the heck out of me. Now that I have Tua, I know that I will need a solid backup later in the draft because of his injury history. 

Round 8: WR Gabe Davis

I went with WR Gabe Davis as he feels like a safe play at this price. While he disappointed compared to the hype last season, I think he will have a better year this year if he stays healthy. It has been widely reported that he played with a high ankle sprain last season. If I can get 1,000 yards out of him, I will be jumping for joy. I almost took one of the rookie receivers in Quentin Johnston or Zay Flowers, and Elijah Moore was also on the board and crossed my mind, but I just felt that Davis was the safest play and still had upside this far into the draft. Catch me on a different day, and maybe I would have gone elsewhere. 

Rounds 9-11: RB Zach Charbonnet, RB Tyler Allgeier, QB Dak Prescott

I had my starting lineup filled and now it was time to draft depth. Since I had RB Kenneth Walker, I think drafting RB Zach Charbonnet was a no-brainer. He is the handcuff to Walker and should see a ton of action on third down even while Walker is healthy. I came back with RB Tyler Allgeier as the handcuff to Bijan Robinson. Allgeier should also get some volume, as he did have over 1,000 yards last year. If either Walker or Robinson gets injured, then I have a top-20 back waiting in the wings. What surprised me was that Packers WR Romeo Doubs came off the board in Round 9. I was hoping to get him later in the draft, but oh well, Round 9 is too early for him. I also was a bit greedy as I thought maybe I could get Daniel Jones to come back in Round 11. That didn’t happen, but I was still able to get QB Dak Prescott in that round as he slipped dramatically. I was very happy to get him this late as a backup to Tua; considering Tua’s injury history, I needed a viable backup. So, 11 rounds into the draft, and I am ecstatic. I don’t think it could have gone better for me. 

Rounds 12-20: RB D’Onta Foreman, WR Alec Pierce, WR DJ Chark, Dallas Cowboys Team Defense, WR Chase Claypool, RB Ty Chandler, TE Jake Ferguson, QB Kenny Pickett, Miami Dolphins Team Kicker

I can just sum these late rounds up fairly quickly. My goal here was to get receiver depth, as I only had three receivers on my roster. Considering this is a FAAB league, I was fine with that, but this is where the draft turned for me a little bit and stopped me from having what I would consider a perfect draft out of the eighth position. I wanted RB Jaylen Warren in Round 13 as the handcuff to Harris, but he was sniped right before I took RB D’Onta Foreman. I knew he would be the last back I would take until much later when I drafted Ty Chandler. I took Alec Pierce in Round 13, thinking I would easily get WR John Metchie in Round 14 … but I was wrong, and that kind of deflated me as I was too greedy. I should have taken my target in Metchie, and it still bothers me as I write this. I know there is a chance that Pierce could be the better player, but still, I missed out on one of “my guys.” Then I drafted WR DJ Chark thinking that I could get WR Rashee Rice in the following round … again, that was foiled a pick later as Rice went well ahead of his ADP. I took WR Chase Claypool as my final WR, hoping that maybe I will see flashes of his rookie year. I was happy to get TE Jake Ferguson, as he could have very good value this late. Ty Chandler should be the handcuff to Alexander Mattison in Minnesota, and I was making sure I left the draft with him. I took QB Kenny Pickett against my own rule to not draft three quarterbacks, but he does have upside and my other two quarterbacks have injury history. 


I am very happy with my draft. I got most of my top targets besides Metchie and Warren. My strength is definitely at running back, as I would take my running back room over anyone else’s. I am very top-heavy at receiver and am a little worried about my depth. I have a feeling I will be using my FAAB money on receiver this season. My tight end slot is solid with Hockenson and an underrated backup in Ferguson. What will determine if my team becomes great or not will be the arm of QB Tua Tagovailoa. If he can play even just 15 games, I could have a top-five QB drafted in the 7th round. My team can still be good with Dak at the helm, but I don’t see it winning big money.

Let me know your thoughts on my draft and follow me on Twitter @Ibleedpurple93.