Drafting in the Apex Expert Writers League is never easy. All of these writers know the news, know the players, and know how to steal your pick. It’s the type of draft that requires a lot of critical thinking, the type of draft that makes you better at fantasy football.
If you haven’t checked out the star-studded cast, I highly suggest you do. We’ve recruited fantasy writers that we admire and want to see how they draft in difficult situations.
This is a real Apex league – complete with weekly lineup setting, blind bidding, and cash prizes. Todd Gurley was enough to carry my team to the championship last season.
This year’s email draft started on Monday. In this article, I’ll discuss the thought process behind my first 10 selections.
1.02 – Antonio Brown
I love Le’Veon Bell as much as the next guy but as many of you know, I’m a proponent of Zero RB. Zero RB involves loading up on wide receivers, as you want to start a wide receiver in your flex position. It is essentially a race to the flex. If my flex is outscoring my opponent’s, then I have a weekly advantage.
If I select Le’Veon Bell, I draft my flex position later – hurting my opportunity to gain a weekly advantage. Despite many claiming that the wide receiver position is deep this season, I believe there is a big drop-off after the first 20-25 wide receivers are selected. I want to load up on as many of those as possible.
Antonio Brown has finished as the top wide receiver in weekly scoring for four straight years. He’s a good selection at any point in any draft.
2.11 – Stefon Diggs
One could argue that this pick is a reach, but I don’t believe that it is. Once Mike Evans and TY Hilton are selected, Stefon Diggs is the best wide receiver available. I strongly debated taking Christian McCaffrey but again, that would impact that advantage I’m trying to gain at my flex position.
If there is any pick that I see myself questioning into the season, it’s this one. McCaffrey is clearly better than C.J. Anderson and will see a heavy workload this season. I do expect McCaffrey to be a valuable fantasy asset and worthy of a selection here.
However, Diggs is still just 24 years old and his best football is in front of him. If we get a full healthy season out of Diggs, a top-five wide receiver season would not be a surprise.
3.02 – Adam Thielen
I received many questions about taking two wide receivers on the same team. I don’t even hesitate to select two wide receivers on the same team. Both Diggs and Adam Thielen maintain reliable market shares with good quarterback play and were the top wide receivers on my board.
In addition, if there was an injury to one of them – I benefit from the other being targeted more frequently. Perhaps only one can be targeted on each play but that didn’t affect Demaryius Thomas (WR1) and Eric Decker (WR9) in 2013.
4.11 – Chris Hogan
As I mentioned above, I want my flex to provide a weekly advantage. Chris Hogan does just that. Even with Brandin Cooks healthy, Hogan was the WR10 halfway through last season before injuring his shoulder. There are a lot of reasons to like him this season. He provides me with a potential WR1 as my flex right before the big drop-off at wide receiver.
5.02 – Rex Burkhead
With Rex Burkhead and Kenyan Drake both available, this was a hard selection. I love Drake’s ability and think the Dolphins should be using him as a workhorse. The concern is Adam Gase seems likely to force Frank Gore and potentially Kalen Ballage onto the field, limiting Drake’s volume. Coming with workload concerns on a bad offense, I selected Rex Burkhead instead.
Now that Sony Michel is missing time with a knee injury, the Patriots need running backs who can play. Burkhead averaged the most points per game out of the Patriots running backs last year and was used frequently near the goal line. Used at the goal-line and in the passing game, Burkhead has the chance to be a league-winning selection.
6.11 – Tarik Cohen
My plan of having my RB2 be my weakest position has worked out. I am happy to start Tarik Cohen in a PPR league each week.
New head coach Matt Nagy will make the Bears offense a lot better. Cohen is a great fit for Nagy’s offense and will be used frequently as a pass-catcher in space. He’s one of my Zero Running Back Targets this season.
7.02 – Evan Engram
With only four tight ends selected, this is an opportunity to select a good tight end. It’s unlikely that one of the tight ends in this tier will make it back to me after the next 20 selections. Based on the depreciated value remaining at RB and WR, it’s easy to assume a tight end run is coming.
I don’t strongly prefer Evan Engram to Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen, but I believe his upside is very high. Engram is a freak and although Odell Beckham Jr. is back, the offense should be better this season. That means he will receive more valuable targets and red-zone looks.
8.11 – Nelson Agholor
With 45 wide receivers already selected, most of the receiver value is gone. Agholor is one of the few remaining wide receivers that may be the best receiver on his team. I wrote about why Agholor is a value pick and how he outperformed Alshon Jeffery in terms of efficiency.
9.02 – Nick Chubb
Obviously, Nick Chubb is stuck in a very crowded backfield. Carlos Hyde has been effective on early-downs and Duke Johnson is one of the league’s best running backs in the passing game. The argument for Chubb is he’s potentially special.
He was very productive in college, is a phenomenal athlete, and the Browns used a very expensive pick to draft him. The Browns are going to want to see what he can do on the field and if he’s special, they’re going to have a hard time taking him off the field.
10.11 – Aaron Jones
In terms of college production, Aaron Jones is a special prospect. As a rookie he dominated, rushing for 5.6 yards per carry while the other two Packer rushers didn’t top 3.8 yards per carry.
Starting the season with a two-game suspension, Jones is obviously in a difficult position. However, I believe he’s the most talented rusher in this backfield – and talent wins out. He’s a perfect target for Zero RB teams.
I’m really happy with my team but there’s no question that this Experts league is always a grueling draft. You can see the rest of the draft here.
As a place to play season-long fantasy football, I highly recommend Apex. The format is great, and drafts are extremely fun! Drafts are taking place every day until football season – see what’s available in the lobby right now.