What Position Do You Draft First in Fantasy Football?

In fantasy football, the consensus is often to prioritize drafting a running back (RB) in the first round due to the position’s high potential for scoring and relative scarcity. However, the best strategy can vary based on your league’s specific rules, scoring system, and the draft’s dynamics.

Understanding the Value of Positions

The Case for Drafting Running Backs First

  • High Usage and Scoring Potential: RBs who receive a high volume of carries and are involved in the passing game can accumulate significant points each week.
  • Scarcity of Bell-Cow Backs: True lead RBs, who handle the majority of rushes and goal-line carries, are rare, making them highly valuable.

Considering Other Positions

  • Wide Receivers (WRs): In Point Per Reception (PPR) leagues, top WRs can be just as valuable as top RBs, leading some managers to draft a WR first.
  • Tight Ends (TEs): In some cases, drafting an elite TE early, like Travis Kelce or George Kittle, can provide a significant advantage at a typically thin position.
  • Quarterbacks (QBs): While generally advised against, drafting a top QB first can be a strategy in leagues that heavily favor QB scoring.

Draft Strategy and League Format

Standard vs. PPR Leagues

  • Standard Leagues: Typically prioritize RBs due to their high touchdown and rushing yard potential.
  • PPR Leagues: The value of WRs and pass-catching RBs increases, making them viable first-round picks.

Understanding Your League’s Scoring System

  • Custom Scoring: Be aware of how your league’s unique scoring settings might impact the value of different positions.

Drafting Based on Your Position

Early Draft Picks

  • Top Talent Availability: If you have one of the first few picks, securing a top RB or the best player available at another position can set a strong foundation for your team.

Middle to Late Draft Picks

  • Flexibility and Best Player Available: If you’re drafting in the middle or at the end of the first round, being flexible and selecting the best player available, regardless of position, might be the wisest strategy.

The Importance of a Balanced Roster

  • Filling Out Key Positions: While your first pick is important, ensuring a balanced team by addressing all positions throughout the draft is crucial for long-term success.

Adapting to Draft Flow

  • Being Reactive: Pay attention to the positions other managers are drafting and be prepared to adjust your strategy to take advantage of runs on certain positions or to counteract them.

The Final Play Call: Strategizing Your First Pick

Choosing which position to draft first in fantasy football is a strategic decision that sets the tone for your draft and your season. While RBs are traditionally favored due to their scoring potential and scarcity, understanding your league’s specifics, being adaptable to the draft’s flow, and maintaining a focus on building a balanced team are all crucial elements of a successful first-round pick. In fantasy football, the first pick is just the beginning of a season-long journey of strategic decisions and management, where adaptability, foresight, and a deep understanding of the game combine to create a winning team.