NFL

Fantasy Football: How to Draft From the 4th Spot

Zack Bussiere
Zack Bussiere@ZackBussiere
Fantasy Football: How to Draft From the 4th Spot

You didn't land the first overall pick in your draft, but you did land in the top third. Congratulations!

You can win your fantasy football league from any draft spot, and the fourth overall pick certainly provides a pathway to doing so.

Here is what you should be thinking about during your fantasy football drafts if you've been granted the 4th overall pick.

Fantasy Football 4th Pick Strategy

Round 1 and Round 2

When it's time to make your first selection, two wide receivers and one running back are expected to be off the board -- Justin Jefferson, Ja'Marr Chase, and Christian McCaffrey.

If any member of that trio is still available, draft them and shift your focus to round two! Jefferson, Chase, and McCaffrey are clearcut elite options and an excellent start to any draft.

Assuming that trio isn't available, you're looking at four options: Cooper Kupp, Tyreek Hill, Austin Ekeler, and Travis Kelce.

Kelce provides a path to obtaining an advantage at tight end that is unlikely to be matched by any other member of your league. With Kupp and Hill still available, I prefer to wait on tight end, but won't talk you out of Kelce. If he repeats his production form last season, he will be worth his selection in this spot.

Ekeler is part of a two-player mini tier with McCaffrey at the top of the running back position. He is expected to hold both the pass-catching and goal line roles in an offense that looks set to dominate this season after some changes during the offseason. As the foundational piece of a hero-RB draft strategy, he is an excellent selection here.

Hill and Kupp are my two preferred selections with the fourth overall pick. Both win in different ways but have the upside to outscore both Jefferson and Chase in a perfect season. Kupp has less target competition but is on a worse offense. Hill shares Miami's passing game with another elite talent ( Jaylen Waddle), but their targets are extremely concentrated, and the overall offense is better.

By the time you're on the clock again, around 1 QB, 1 TE, and 18 WRs/RBs will have come off the board.

With the exception of tight end (I think this is a bit too early for Mark Andrews), there is an excellent option still available at each position.

If Tony Pollard, Garrett Wilson or Amon-Ra St. Brown somehow fall to you here, thank your leaguemates and draft them immediately. If that trio is all gone, Chris Olave, Jalen Hurts, and Jaylen Waddle are all excellent selections here.

Mock Draft Picks - WR In The First Round: Tyreek Hill (1.04) & Jalen Hurts (2.09)

Mock Draft Picks - RB In the First Round: Austin Ekeler (1.04) & Jalen Hurts (2.09)

Round 3 and Round 4

As your third selection approaches, there will be around 3 QBs, 1 TE, and 23 WRs/RBs that have come off the board.

If Mark Andrews is still available, draft him. There is a tier break at every position around this point in the draft and Andrews represents the final chance to select a tight end that can realistically compete with Kelce if everything goes his way. I much prefer selecting Andrews in the early third round over Kelce with the fourth overall pick.

If Andrews is unavailable, the ideal route is to check each position to see if a player is still available from a previous tier. At wide receiver and running back that would include Olave, Tee Higgins, DeVonta Smith, and Rhamondre Stevenson.

If all of those players are unavailable, there is a duo of upside running backs available, that come with sky-high ceilings but legitimate risk. That duo is Breece Hall and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.

Hall is a generational talent who was well on his way to a breakout rookie season before he suffered a season-ending ACL tear. If healthy, he can push for overall RB1 numbers in the Jets' new-look offense, but there are risks of both a slow start, compensatory injuries, and New York just signed Dalvin Cook. Gibbs has the talent to take control of the Lions' backfield by the end of the season and could be projecting as a top-7 RB on a weekly basis come playoffs, but he could hit the rookie wall and is nearly guaranteed to lose significant work to David Montgomery most of the regular fantasy season. These are bet on talent selections.

By the time you're on the clock in the fourth round, 5 QBs, 2 TEs, and 36 WRs/RBs are expected to be off the board.

If you want to select a quarterback, Justin Fields should be available and is a fine selection here. If you need a tight end, T.J. Hockenson could be available here and would also be a fine selection. Unless Kenneth Walker III is still on the board, I prefer to avoid running back in this range due to the wide receivers that are available.

The 4/5 turn is full of wide receivers with interesting combinations of risk and reward. According to FantasyPros ADP, Keenan Allen,Jerry Jeudy, and Terry McLaurin could all be available here. If they are, all three are excellent selections, and I prefer them in the order listed.

Mock Draft Picks - WR In The First Round: Mark Andrews (3.03) & Keenan Allen (4.09)

Mock Draft Picks - RB In the First Round: Chris Olave (3.03) & Keenan Allen (4.09)

Round 5 and Round 6

The options available at your fifth selection will be similar to your fourth. If any of the previously listed wide receivers are still available, they are excellent selections here. If they are not, Drake London, D.J. Moore, and Christian Watson are solid options in this range.

I still prefer to pass on running back for other positions here, but if you haven't drafted a running back yet, J.K. Dobbins is a high-risk high-reward option in this range. Dobbins was recently activated off the PUP list, and, barring any setbacks, should be the lead back for a new-look Ravens' offense.

When you're on the clock for your sixth selection, 8 QBs, 6 TEs, and 54 WRs/RBs are expected to be off the board.

If you don't have a tight end on your roster yet, this is a good place to select one if Kyle Pitts or Darren Waller is available. Pitts disappointed last year, but his current ADP more than accounts for the risk associated with his outlook this season. He remains an elite talent on an offense where the passing volume should be very concentrated. Waller's ADP also accounts for his injury risks. If he stays healthy, he should be the true focal point of the Giants' passing game.

At running back, James Cook is an exciting selection in this range. Cook was trending in the right direction when the Bills' season ended and has the potential to be a serious fantasy contributor operating as the lead back in one of the league's best offenses.

At wide receiver, there are several exciting options, including rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Brandon Aiyuk, Diontae Johnson, and George Pickens. If JSN is available, he is my favorite pick in this range. If he isn't, Aiyuk, Johnson, and Pickens are all excellent alternatives and if you prefer to take them above the rookie, I won't talk you out of it.

Mock Draft Picks - WR In The First Round: Drake London (5.03) & James Cook (6.09)

Mock Draft Picks - RB In the First Round: Drake London (5.03) & Darren Waller (6.09)

Takeaways

The biggest benefit of drafting from the 1.4 is being able to select a first-tier WR/RB, and first-tier QB and/or TE without having to reach with either of your first three selections. Doing so sets you up to have a balanced draft while gaining an advantage at the single roster spot positions.

I would not recommend leaving your first three rounds without selecting at least one WR, so if you do opt for Ekeler in the first round, I would wait on TE and grab a WR at the 2/3 turn.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • In 10-team leagues, prioritize the QB and TE positions higher than in 12-team leagues. The opportunity cost of passing on RB or WR to select those positions is reduced in a smaller league.
  • If all of your tiers break before your selection in the third round, don't be afraid to reach for Hall or Gibbs.
  • At picks 21, 45, and 69, always look to see if the three teams drafting behind you still need a QB or TE. If they don't, you may be able to wait on that position until your next selection in seven picks.
  • In redraft, the later you get in your drafts, the more you should prioritize upside. You want a bench full of players who have the potential to force their way into your starting lineup, ideally at a position you are weaker at than the rest of your league.

While you wait for Week 1's daily fantasy football slates to lock, you can get in on some best-ball fantasy football drafts on FanDuel. Just draft your team and watch the points pile up throughout the season.


The above author is a FanDuel employee and is not eligible to compete in public daily fantasy contests or place sports betting wagers on FanDuel. The advice provided by the author does not necessarily represent the views of FanDuel. Taking the author's advice will not guarantee a successful outcome. You should use your own judgment when participating in daily fantasy contests or placing sports wagers.