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Fantasy Football 2017: Mock Draft Strategy, Dynasty and Keeper Cheatsheet

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorAugust 17, 2017

GLENDALE, AZ - AUGUST 12:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football past cornerback David Amerson #29 of the Oakland Raiders during the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on August 12, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals defeated the Raiders 20-10.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

A person's fantasy football strategy must vary based on the type of draft he or she is participating in before the NFL season.

For example, a standard snake draft is very different to an auction, and a keeper league varies from a best-ball contest.

For this piece, we'll focus on the long term and look at keeper and dynasty league rankings.

The strategy here is simple: If you're joining a new keeper or dynasty league for the first time, you need to look toward the long term.

In keeper leagues, one gets to keep a set number of players on his or her roster for a pre-determined amount of time. For example, in my keeper league, we keep up to two players for two years before they go back into the draft pool for the third season.

In dynasty leagues, one can keep players as long as they want. Each year, there is a rookie draft, in addition to a free-agent system (e.g. FAAB) for the waiver wire.

Therefore, you want to draft players who should be sticking around for a while, like 24-year-old Odell Beckham Jr.

Here's a look at dynasty rankings for this upcoming year, along with write-ups for the top-ranked player for each position.

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Quarterbacks

1. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay)

2. Cam Newton (Carolina)

3. Derek Carr (Oakland)

4. Russell Wilson (Seattle)

5. Marcus Mariota (Tennessee)

6. Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay)

7. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis)

8. Matt Ryan (Atlanta)

9. Kirk Cousins (Washington)

10. Carson Wentz (Philadelphia)

11. Dak Prescott (Dallas)

12. Tom Brady (New England)

13. Drew Brees (New Orleans)

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently said he wants to play until age 40, which would give the 33-year-old at least seven more years in the league.

Given that he carried a clipboard for his first three seasons (2005-2007) in the NFL, he doesn't have as much tread on his tires as a typical 13-year veteran.

Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL, and given his desire to play for quite some time, you can feel safe drafting him as the first signal-caller off the board in dynasty leagues.

           

Running Backs

1. David Johnson (Arizona)

2. Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas)

3. Le'Veon Bell (Pittsburgh)

4. Jordan Howard (Chicago)

5. Leonard Fournette (Jacksonville)

6. Devonta Freeman (Atlanta)

7. Christian McCaffrey (Carolina)

8. Melvin Gordon (Los Angeles Chargers)

9. Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams)

10. Jay Ajayi (Miami)

11. Dalvin Cook (Minnesota)

12. LeSean McCoy (Buffalo)

13. DeMarco Murray (Tennessee)

14. Lamar Miller (Houston)

15. Joe Mixon (Cincinnati)

16. Derrick Henry (Tennessee)

17. Isaiah Crowell (Cleveland)

18. Ty Montgomery (Green Bay)

19. Carlos Hyde (San Francisco)

20. Spencer Ware (Kansas City)

21. Ameer Abdullah (Detroit)

22. C.J. Prosise (Seattle)

23. Alvin Kamara (New Orleans)

24. Samaje Perine (Washington)

25. Paul Perkins (New York Giants)

Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson accrued 100 or more yards from scrimmage in every single game he played in 2016 until the last one, and that's only because he left early with an injury.

Now Johnson is back healthy and ready to go, and he's going to be the engine for the Cardinals offense once again. He's their primary ball-carrier and the guy the Cardinals look to in the red zone. That shouldn't change for years to come.

Johnson only averaged a little over 10 touches per game in his rookie year in 2015, so last year was his first season carrying a giant workload. Therefore, the 25-year-old has plenty of stamina and strength left to potentially have a prosperous Hall of Fame career.

           

Wide Receiver

1. Odell Beckham Jr. (New York Giants)

2. Antonio Brown (Pittsburgh)

3. Mike Evans (Tampa Bay)

4. Michael Thomas (New Orleans)

5. Julio Jones (Atlanta)

6. Amari Cooper (Oakland)

7. T.Y. Hilton (Indianapolis)

8. A.J. Green (Cincinnati)

9. Terrelle Pryor (Washington)

10. DeAndre Hopkins (Houston)

11. Allen Robinson (Jacksonville)

12. Cameron Meredith (Chicago)

13. Stefon Diggs (Minnesota)

14. Corey Davis (Tennessee)

15. Keenan Allen (Los Angeles Chargers)

16. Alshon Jeffery (Philadelphia)

17. Doug Baldwin (Seattle)

18. Demaryius Thomas (Denver)

19. Jordy Nelson (Green Bay)

20. Davante Adams (Green Bay)

21. Emmanuel Sanders (Denver)

22. Dez Bryant (Dallas)

23. Davante Parker (Miami)

24. Sammy Watkins (Los Angeles Chargers)

25. Donte Moncrief (Indianapolis)

26. Sterling Shepard (New York Giants)

27. Zay Jones (Buffalo)

28. Tyrell Williams (Los Angeles Chargers)

29. Brandin Cooks (New England)

30. Kenny Britt (Cleveland)

31. Randall Cobb (Green Bay)

32. Jamison Crowder (Washington)

33. Rishard Matthews (Tennessee)

34. Tyreek Hill (Kansas City)

35. Jarvis Landry (Miami)

36. Corey Coleman (Cleveland)

37. Martavis Bryant (Pittsburgh)

For standard drafts, it's pretty clear who the top three wide receivers are in Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr. and Julio Jones. Most prefer Brown to go first among that group, but in dynasty drafts, Beckham should be the pick.

That's not a knock on Brown. The fact of the matter is the Steelers wideout is turning 30 years old next summer, while Beckham won't be 25 until November. Naturally, OBJ projects to play more seasons in the league from this point forward, so he's the No. 1 wideout selection in dynasty drafts.

Beckham is one of the most productive wideouts the NFL has seen this century. He hasn't finished with fewer than 91 receptions or 10 touchdowns in any of his three years in the league, and he missed four games during his rookie season with an injury. Expect more of the same for the foreseeable future.

        

Tight End

1. Hunter Henry (Los Angeles Chargers)

2. Rob Gronkowski (New England)

3. Travis Kelce (Kansas City)

4. Jordan Reed (Washington)

5. Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati)

6. Zach Ertz (Philadelphia)

7. Greg Olsen (Carolina)

9. O.J. Howard (Tampa Bay)

9. Kyle Rudolph (Minnesota)

10. David Njoku (Cleveland)

11. Evan Engram (New York Giants)

12. Delanie Walker (Tennessee)

13. Martellus Bennett (Green Bay)

The top pick here is a bit out of left field considering the production the tight ends below him have managed over the past few seasons. However, Henry has the capability to make a big leap within the next year or two and could be considered the game's best tight end when this decade is over.

Henry caught eight touchdown passes during his rookie season despite sharing a workload with Antonio Gates. He's capable of becoming one of the biggest red-zone threats in the NFL.

Also, he's just 22 years old and won't turn 23 until December. He should be in the league, and dominating, for a long time.

         

Defense/Special Teams

1. Denver

2. Houston

3. Kansas City

4. Arizona

5. Seattle

6. Minnesota

7. Jacksonville

8. Carolina

9. New England

10. New York Giants

11. Pittsburgh

12. Buffalo

13. Philadelphia

As long as linebacker Von Miller is still playing, the Denver Broncos will have a top-three defense in the league. Miller nearly single-handedly won Super Bowl 50 as he wreaked havoc in the Carolina backfield all game. He's just 28 years old and already has 73.5 sacks in six seasons.

Otherwise, the Broncos have some incredible young talent in the front seven in Shane Ray and Shaq Barrett, and the secondary is still the best in the AFC (and perhaps the NFL).

         

Kickers

1. Justin Tucker (Baltimore)

2. Stephen Gostkowski (New England)

3. Matt Bryant (Atlanta)

4. Dan Bailey (Dallas)

5. Mason Crosby (Green Bay)

6. Matt Prater (Detroit)

7. Chris Boswell (Pittsburgh)

8. Steven Hauschka (Buffalo)

9. Brandon McManus (Denver)

10. Caleb Sturgis (Philadelphia)

11. Nick Novak (Houston)

12. Adam Vinatieri (Indianapolis)

13. Cairo Santos (Kansas City)

You can more or less treat kickers the same way in any league since they seemingly have unlimited shelf lives. For example, Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen played 26 years in the league, and Adam Vinatieri is entering year No. 22.

Therefore, Justin Tucker is the clear No. 1 pick this year. The Baltimore Ravens kicker only missed one of 39 field-goal attempts and drilled all 27 of his extra points. Incredibly, he made 10-of-10 attempts from 50 or more yards.

Although other top kickers have the advantage of playing half their games indoors (e.g. Matt Bryant and Dan Bailey), Tucker is so good that he's still the No. 1 option by far.

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