ESPN fantasy expert explains his No. 1 rule for fantasy football players

Kevin C. Cox/Getty ImagesIf Devonta Freeman falls to you in the third round of your fantasy draft, he’s probably worth a pickup even if you already have two running backs, ESPN’s Field Yates says.
  • With fantasy football season fast approaching, the ESPN fantasy expert Field Yates recently gave out his most important tip for players to remember heading into draft day.
  • As Yates puts it, drafting is an art rather than a science, and while you should have a plan before your draft, it’s important to remain flexible as the picks play out.
  • For instance, even if you’ve already taken running backs in the first two rounds, if another valuable RB falls to you in the third round, pick him up and worry about the details later.

Every fantasy football player has a strategy heading into draft day.

Do you go with back-to-back running backs in the first two rounds? Do you reach for one of the elite quarterbacks, or do you roll the dice with someone a bit less consistent but available in later rounds? Can you trust that rookie to produce immediately, or do you lean on the side of move proven veterans?

There’s no perfect answer to these questions, and players should always draft however they choose – it’s your team, after all.

That said, there is one rule the ESPN fantasy expert Field Yates believes all players should keep in mind heading into draft day.Appearing on “Golic and Wingo,” Yates said that while players might have a strategy at the start of their fantasy draft, it’s important to be flexible depending on how the draft unfolds.

“Most important rule that I can tell people is drafting is an art, not a science,” Yates began. “So many people ask me, ‘Hey, I got the sixth pick in my draft – should I go running back running back with my first two picks?’ or ‘Hey, I got the third pick in my draft – do I have to take David Johnson if he’s there?'”

As it turns out, you don’t. There’s no surefire draft list no matter how many experts assure you a potential pick is undoubtedly a top-five player. Still, being ready to react to the way the draft plays out is vital to your success. As Yates said:

“You have to be nimble. You have to be flexible in the draft room. The best way to maintain an art-versus-science approach is by drafting for value. If there’s a guy that falls to you that has no business being there, you should take him. Remember that your drafted squad is not the squad you’ll finish with. This is the team you will begin the season with – heck, you might even trade players before Week 1 of the regular season.”

“If my first three picks just happen to be running backs, because I’m sitting in the third round and a player like Devonta Freeman slides for some reason, sure! I’m OK with starting with three running backs.”

It’s unlikely that anyone enters draft day planning to take running backs with his or her first three picks, but if the value is there and presented for you, it’s most likely the smartest play you can make. Even if you don’t plan on starting all three, by drafting for value you add assets to your roster that can be used in trades down the road or that could even come in handy should one of your top guys go down unexpectedly.

Yates isn’t saying you have to draft for value, just as he denies that you have to take David Johnson at No. 3. Instead, he just advocates being open to drafting value over positioning even if it doesn’t make perfect sense for your roster at the moment. There’s plenty of time to worry about the details, but the more value you have in your lineup the better positioned you’ll be heading into Week 1.

You can listen to Yates’ full appearance here.

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