Early Trends in 2013 Fantasy Football Drafts

Jordan Heck@@JordanHeckFFContributor IIIDecember 1, 2016

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 12:  Quarterback Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers throws the ball against the San Francisco 49ers during the NFC Divisional Playoff Game at Candlestick Park on January 12, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Participating in mock drafts isn’t an exact science. Every league has different scoring settings and people will draft to fit their needs. However, the results from mock drafts shouldn’t be completely ignored. There’s a lot to learn from them.

Here are some trends that are happening in fantasy football drafts this year. 


Running backs go quickly

The biggest thing that sticks out is how quickly the running backs go off the board. Failing to take a running back with at least one of your first two picks will hurt in the long run. There are around 22 running backs drafted within the first three rounds.

Taking two running backs in the top three rounds ensures stability at that position. The only reason to go away from that strategy would be if a star receiver or a star quarterback was available for a great value pick. Even then, be cautious. After about Round 3, and some of Round 4, you start getting into unreliable running backs that you don’t want to start on a week-to-week basis.


Quarterbacks can wait 

Last year Aaron Rodgers was being selected first overall in nearly every league. Even Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Matthew Stafford and Cam Newton were going in Round 1.

Not this year.

The influx of young quarterbacks last season has deepened the quarterback pool. Guys like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are now available in later rounds.

People drafting are willing to wait on quarterbacks so they can add more depth at running back and wide receiver. It’s a good strategy, especially in leagues with a flex position. While the late-round quarterbacks may not get the points the elite guys have, they will produce at a high level and offer a better value. 


People are not afraid of rookies

The success of rookie players lately has people confident in the young guns. Running backs Montee Ball and Le’Veon Bell are being drafted in the third round. We don’t even officially know if these guys will be starters.

Continuing the rookie hype is the Green Bay Packers duo (Eddie Lacy and Johnathan Franklin) and Cincinnati Bengals back Giovani Bernard. These guys are going a few rounds later (rounds 5 and 6), but it’s still placing some faith in the rookies. 

The rookie love extends to wide receivers, but to a lesser extent. DeAndre Hopkins, Aaron Dobson and Cordarrelle Patterson are being drafted in the later rounds. All three are in good positions, so it’s no wonder why people are taking them as fliers.


Jimmy Graham is in a class of his own

The tight end position is a tough one to predict. That’s why drafters are getting their hands on the safest player at the position. Jimmy Graham is being selected in the late first and early second round of the draft. After he goes, there’s a long wait for the next tight end. 

Rob Gronkowski is usually the second tight end to go, but he comes with baggage. After five offseason surgeries and a slow recovery, people are skeptical to take him. But there will be at least one person who can’t let the opportunity to take such a talented player get by him.

After Graham and Gronk are Jason Witten, Vernon Davis and Tony Gonzalez. These guys are usually selected at around the same time. It’s not until rounds 8 to 12 that tight ends start going in a hurry. 


After the first 20 receivers the position gets unreliable

After a while, the wide receiving group dwindles down to guys with a lot of question marks; guys like Eric Decker, Pierre Garcon and James Jones start getting selected.

Decker has to compete with Demaryius Thomas and Wes Welker, meaning he’ll likely see a decrease in production. Garcon is great when healthy, but can he play a whole season? Jones scored in bunches last year, but he put up only 784 yards. Can he continue to score touchdowns again this year? 

These players have the potential to be great, but it’s all about picking the right one. It’s good to grab one of these players after you’ve already drafted a top-tier receiver in the first five rounds.