This year's draft class for fantasy football players can essentially be described in one word:
For most leagues, outside of the top four-to-six running backs, everything gets very hazy. And I can almost guarantee you that one of the running backs who will finish as a top three player will be had in the second round of most drafts.
Do I know who it will be?
Absolutely not, but its an annual trend that I simply don't see dissipating. And unless you're absolutely sold on one of the premier guys that you're sure you can grab, you might want to get out of the way in the first round.
The strategy for trading draft picks in fantasy football can go two ways.
If you're in a smaller league, say ten teams, then trading a second round pick and a third round pick for someone else's late first and a fourth might be a gutsy/smart move. If you play by traditional fantasy strategy, you could get your hands on two elite running backs and still snag a solid quarterback and wide receiver in the fourth round.
Guys are going to be there, and by building up the core of your team with two elite rushers, you will have given yourself a big time advantage over your opponents. Granted, there is some risk involved, but you will have skirted the biggest risk that almost everyone in fantasy is going to be dealing with this year:
The risk of picking up a failure of a number two running back. At least half of your league is going to deal with that.
For players in smaller leagues this season, trying to trade up will have its benefits and advantages.
The strategy for deeper leagues is certainly different.
I am playing in a 16 team league this season for the first time, and the biggest thing I have noticed is that no one will be able to pick up more than one elite player. When you expand the size of your league, the later picks become substantially more important.
I for one am not sold on any of the top running backs entirely, so trading down in order to stockpile later picks appears to me to be the best road to a fantasy championship. In my league I now have two fourth round selections, at 55 and 57, which I plan on using on a couple of high risk, high reward players.
In a huge league, if you don't catch some luck and take some big risks, you can't win anyway.
Moving my later picks forward at the expense of trading down in the first round will give me the option of double selecting from a bigger crowd of middle tier players who could potentially explode during the season.
Last year, guys like Miles Austin, Matt Schaub, and Thomas Jones could be had dirt cheap.
I have my eyes set on a few guys that could be the "next big thing" this year, as does everyone else, and by maximizing my chances at landing them, I'm fighting the trench warfare needed to win my fantasy league.
Of course, the strategy sacrifices a shot at the most elite running backs. Having the consistency will probably hurt.
But it only takes one injury for the first overall pick to turn into a complete bust.
If you're a gambling man in a big league, spreading out your risk is the best way to reap the biggest rewards.
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