First, I have to say that I did not pioneer this drafting method. I am just a big advocate of this strategy and want to see it used more and more often...just not in my leagues!
I first heard of strategy from Minnesota fantasy football guru Paul Charchian. You may know Paul from his stint at Fanball.com and his current position at Leagesafe.com. He also hosts a fantastic radio show dedicated to fantasy football on Minneapolis sports radio station KFAN-1130.
This is a great strategy to use if you have a later draft pick in the rounds 9-12 where there is a chance that all of the top running backs are gone by the time you draft.
It's called: Do the Opposite.
While everyone is going after running backs early in the draft, you're going after the top WR's, QB's, and TE's before those drafting running backs get to them.
Then, when everyone is going for WR's, QB's, and TE's, you're drafting mid-tier/sleeper running backs. In other words, you're doing the opposite of most, if not all of the others drafting.
Executing the Strategy
Odds are that if you pick late in the first round, the solid running backs are gone and none of the remaining are worth drafting with your first pick. So instead of settling on a running back for the sake of drafting a running back, you're going to draft one of the top WR's in the first instead.
For this article, I did an ESPN.com mock draft using this strategy with the tenth overall pick in a 12-team draft. I actually wrote the descriptions after I made the pick so those are my real thoughts at the time of the draft.
This was 50/50 scoring, non-PPR/non-keeper.
Round 1: WR Randy Moss- Andre Johnson was taken seventh so I settled for the second/third ranked WR on many boards.
Round 2: WR Reggie Wayne- Coming back into the second, the No. 3,4 WR was on the board so I took him. I now have two of the top five WR's in a VERY shallow WR board. Going to go for a top 5 QB next round before there's a big run on them.
Round 3: QB Matt Schaub- The run started, but Schaub made it back to me and was the clear choice after Rodgers, Brees, Manning, and Brady. I have a top 5 QB. Going TE in round 4 before that run starts.
Round 4: TE Antonio Gates- Ryan Matthews as actually still on the board coming into the fourth but was taken four picks before me. If he was still here, I would have taken him in a heart beat.
I stayed with the "DTO" strategy instead. It was either Dallas Clark or Gates here so I decided on Gates who is the main and pretty much only receiving threat in San Diego at the time. I have him as the No. 1 TE. Time to get some sleeper backs.
Round 5: RB Felix Jones- Wanted Justin Forsett here. I think MB3 is getting pushed out by Jerry Jones in favor for the flashy Jones. I think he'll get most the yards in Dallas.
Round 6: RB Jerome Harrison- There's going to be a time-share in Cleveland with Harrison and Montario Hardesty but it's a running team and both will get enough carries to make a Harrison pick worth while even if the line sucks. I'm going to try and get Hardesty in the 10th.
Round 7: RB Cadillac Williams- I got one of my top sleeper backs here. I think he has a real shot at breaking 1,000 yards and 150+ receiving yards with a total of 7-10 touchdowns. I'm going to go BPA after this.
Round 8: WR Braylon Edwards- Needed another WR for depth. It's going to be Edwards and Cotchery for the first four games of the 2010 season. Even though the Jets are a running team, somebody has to get the ball and Cotch was gone while Edwards was the best on the board.
Round 9: RB Laurence Maroney- Another some-what sleeper pick. It seems that Maroney is out of the Bill Belichick dog house and will at least be getting the goal line carries in New England. Gotta love goal line backs!
Round 10: RB Montario Hardesty- Just in case Harrison flat out loses his job to the rookie, I have the rookie. Good injury insurance as well. Better target a D/ST next before the run.
Round 11: Vikings D/ST- I'm happy with the Vikings defense and all the sacks. A top 3 defense. SKOL VIKINGS!
Round 12: WR Bernard Berrian- When healthy, Berrian is a very solid WR. He hasn't been 100 percent for the past two seasons and, as of right now, is the ONLY healthy Vikings starting WR with Harvin's migraines and Sidney Rice's hip. He'll be the starting wideout for the Brett Favre lead offense.
Round 13: WR Golden Tate- Going to take a flyer on the rookie WR who will probably be the No. 3 guy in Seattle and could be at No. 2 by the end of the season if Housh or Branch get hurt.
Round 14: RB Tashard Choice- Got my "handcuff" to Felix Jones just in case Felix goes down. Just building depth at this point. Kicker next.
Round 15: K Lawrence Tynes- A kicker is a kicker. He's top 10.
Round 16: QB Mark Sanchez- Needed a back-up QB. Yay...
In the end, I have a top 5 QB, two top 5 WRs, and the top TE by doing the opposite. Later, I ended up with a top 3 defense since I was able to get one early since I had most of my starters and key backups set.
Now, many may think the RB's I have aren't very good but they're sleepers. I have enough of them to where at least two are bound to break through and put up decent enough numbers.
Even though the RB's aren't going to post 1,400 yards and 12+ TD's, my other positions will put up enough points where I don't need great RB's to have a successful team.
NOTE: If there's a running back that falls into rounds 3-4 that has zero business falling like Matthews almost did, don't be afraid to take them!
And you may think "Dan! Where's your back-up TE, K, and D/ST?!"
I don't draft back-ups in those positions. I'd rather draft a lot of sleepers or low risk/high reward players at the key positions (RB, WR, QB) then draft a backup that I'll use once (pending injuries) for the bye.
So when it's time for Gates', Tynes', or the Vikings bye, or if someone gets hurt, I'll drop the least performing bench player and pick up a backup. There's enough TE's, D/ST, and kickers that I'll be able to find one in the free agent pool to fill in for a week or so.
NOTE: You do not have to take a WR in the first, a WR in the second, and a QB in the third. You can take them in any order as you see fit.
So, that's the Do the Opposite strategy! Enjoy and feel free to mail me some of your prize winnings!
QB- Matt Schaub
RB- Felix Jones
RB- Cadillac Williams
RB/WR- Jerome Harrison
WR- Randy Moss
WR- Reggie Wayne
TE- Antonio Gates
K- Lawrence Tynes
D/ST- Minnesota Vikings
BN- RB Laurence Maroney
BN- RB Montario Hardesty
BN- RB Tashard Choice
BN- WR Bernard Berrian
BN- WR Golden Tate
BN- WR Braylon Edwards
BN- QB Mark Sanchez