When preparing for your fantasy football draft, there are several tools at your disposal.
Running your own mock draft is a great way to get a feel for how things might unfold during the real thing. There is a variety of websites out there that offer season-long projections, potential busts and sleeper projections. And, of course, there are NFL player rankings.
All of these tools will help prepare you for your draft, but actually navigating the selection process is up to you. Here, we'll examine some tips and trends for the first round, along with the latest consensus player rankings from FantasyPros.
Consensus Top 25, Standard Scoring
1. Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
3. Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
5. David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals
6. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
7. Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
8. James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
10. Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
11. Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
12. Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns
13. Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
14. Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
15. Tyreek Hill, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
16. Todd Gurley, RB, Los Angeles Rams
17. Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings
18. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
19. Michael Thomas, WR, New Orleans Saints
20. Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21. T.Y. Hilton, WR, Indianapolis Colts
22. Keenan Allen, WR, Los Angeles Chargers
23. Marlon Mack, RB, Indianapolis Colts
24. Antonio Brown, WR, Oakland Raiders
25. Kerryon Johnson, RB, Detroit Lions
1st-Round Mock Draft and Tips
1.01: Saquon Barkley, RB, New York Giants
1.02: Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers
1.03: Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints
1.04: Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Dallas Cowboys
1.05: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans
1.06: Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
1.07: Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland Browns
1.08: Joe Mixon, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
1.09: James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
1.10: Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons
1.11: Le'Veon Bell, RB, New York Jets
1.12: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City Chiefs
When navigating the first round of your fantasy draft, the goal is obviously to land a player who will consistently be among the top scorers in the league. However, it's actually more important to not miss on your first pick.
Therefore, it's advisable to target a three-down running back or a clear-cut No. 1 receiver if at all possible. This is not the round for boom-or-bust candidates. If you land a running back like Joe Mixon and he ends up being a second-tier player, that's OK.
What isn't OK is gambling on a guy like Dalvin Cook—who has never been healthy for a full 16-game season—and then watching him completely disappear for long stretches.
This means it's important to stay on top of the contract situations involving Ezekiel Elliott and Melvin Gordon. Both would be viable first-round options if they had been with their respective teams in camp. Both have yet to report, though.
For now, Gordon is a player to avoid anywhere in the first few rounds. Elliott is still a major gamble in Round 1, but at least the Dallas Cowboys have made him a significant contract offer:
Ed Werder @WerderEdESPN
Sources: The most recent offer in negotiations between holdout Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys came from the team. Elliott has been offered a contract making him one of the NFL’s 2 highest-paid RB. That would suggest team offering more than LeVeon Bell and less than Todd Gurley.
Elliott has the upside of a top-three fantasy player. It's entirely up to you to decide if he's worth the risk in your first-round slot.
It's also important to be aware of the situations surrounding potential first-round picks. Le'Veon Bell was an absolute stud when paired with Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers. He's now playing with Sam Darnold and the New York Jets, though. Viewing him as the exact same player is unrealistic.
Odell Beckham Jr., meanwhile, is going from the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns. He'll have a more dynamic quarterback in Baker Mayfield, but he'll also be competing with the likes of Jarvis Landry, Rashard Higgins and David Njoku for targets.
Arizona Cardinals running back David Johnson may be primed for a fantasy revival in Kliff Kingsbury's offense.
"Keep in mind that Kingsbury’s last team for a full season at Tech averaged 35 rushes a game," Peter King of Pro Football Talk wrote. "Johnson will not go hungry, in the running or passing game."
At the same time, the Cardinals have an underwhelming offensive line and a defense that has been borderline disastrous in the preseason. This hurts the Northern Iowa product's stock in standard-scoring leagues.
Lastly, it's important to be flexible in Round 1. If the first six selections are running backs, don't take the 10th player on your draft board just because he's a running back and that's the position you planned to fill. Production is far more important than position in fantasy.
You want to land two elite players, regardless of position, in the first two rounds. Take a best-player-available approach at the top of your draft and fill out your starting lineup later. If you end up with a surplus at one position, you can always look to work a trade after the draft.
Drafting for need over value—much like in the real world—will usually yield a functional roster but not a championship team.