Let’s go over a few things to keep in mind for your football draft/auction.
■ It certainly looks like we’re back to when the running backs ruled. Grab your backs early and often, as the pickings will be slim later. We’re thinking take two in the first three rounds.
There are a solid 15 running backs to pick from, then we start getting to wishing on a player or running-back-by-committee approaches. You’ll want two early who play all three downs.
■ You should take your wide receiver with your other selection. Again, there’s a big falloff after the big names, and you’ll need a team’s No. 1 receiver to do serious damage in you league.
■ As for quarterbacks, you can wait a little longer for one (unless your league uses two QBs in your starting lineup, in which case don’t hesitate).
But there isn’t a big difference between the top 15-20 quarterbacks over the season, so don’t reach. You should get someone serviceable.
■ Be one of the first eight or 10 league owners to draft a tight end. If you don’t, wait until the end. You might be surprised with who you get in the 16th round at this position, but just don’t count on it.
■ Your defense and kicker should be your last picks, even after your third quarterback. Someone will probably grab Jacksonville in the mid-rounds, but that doesn’t have to be you.
As for kickers, just get one who isn’t injured or was cut. You’ll be able to get another one off the waiver wire when you need one anyway.
Now for the players. We all know the top ones, so let’s look at the players who might be flying under the radar and are poised for success.
■ Out of the backfield, take a look at Nyheim Hines of Indianapolis. He could turn into a three-down back, though he’s got some work to do. He has pass-catching ability.
In Denver, Royce Freeman has shown flashes of good things to come. He could excel as the season progresses and would make a nice pairing with Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman, right?
Ronald Jones is Tampa Bay’s explosive feature running back. Selected in the second round of the NFL draft, Jones might be a work-in-progress, but should get a big opportunity with the Buccaneers.
■ Wide receiver Jamison Crowder of the Redskins could become Alex Smith’s favorite target. Don’t expend an early pick on him, but keep him in your back pocket for later in the draft.
■ Sterling Shepard missed time last year, but could step into some playing time with the Giants. He should be valuable in PPR (points-per-reception) leagues.
■ New England has been jettisoning receivers, which makes Chris Hogan all that more important. With Julian Edelman suspended for four games. Hogan should be Tom Brady’s prime target.
■ Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been showing off his arm with Kansas CIty this preseason, and he can also run. Grab him as your second QB and watch him develop.
■ Mitchell Trubisky was the second overall pick of the 2017 draft, and Chicago is ready for his breakout season. He should be relevant this season.
■ If Cleveland’s Tyrod Taylor can stay healthy, and if the Browns don’t get antsy to play Baker Mayfield, Taylor should put up good numbers. Keep him available for your bye week.
■ If you don’t get one of the elite tight ends, think of drafting Tyler Eifert of Cincinnati. He has a lot of upside for a late-round pickup.
■ Trey Burton is out of the shadow of Philadelphia’s Zach Ertz, and could excel with the Bears. Chicago didn’t sign him to a four-year deal just to block.
■ Since we’re expecting quite a bit from Taylor in Cleveland, look for David Njoku to catch a lot of passes. He’s got the size to be an end-zone target.
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