With training camp underway and the preseason about to begin, the fantasy draft landscape is getting chaotic. And that chaos is only going to ramp up in the coming weeks.
We're now flooded with a hectic barrage of depth chart information, hype videos, and injury reports. And we should be open-minded about new players becoming draftable with so much new information becoming available. In fact, we should be looking for draftable players that our opponents are sleeping on.
But at the same time, as I covered in Draft Like You Have a Time Machine, showing up to the fantasy playoffs with dead roster spots really hurts. We don't want to throw caution to the wind and load up on a few risky players. So what's the best way to mix in some risky but high-upside dart throws?
Stack it Up
If you haven't gotten on board with the Week 17 stacking phenomenon, I highly recommend it. It's a helpful tool in building a portfolio of teams better suited to taking down top-heavy best ball tournaments. Correlation is very unlikely to create a perfect team, but it can allow you to build a very high-scoring team while only getting a few bets right.
And, honestly, building with Week 17 in mind... is fun. Finding ways to stack without reaching and while building structurally sound teams makes each draft a mini puzzle. But it also creates a team that you can instantly dream on. You know what needs to happen for your team to win it all.
But while building teams with correlation in mind, I'm sometimes guilty of losing sight of what I'm trying to do.
Surviving the Bring Back Gauntlet
When building out Week 17 correlation, it can be tempting to treat your bring back options just like a typical draft pick. For example, I'm comfortable taking Darius Slayton as a late-round flier, particularly on teams where I went heavy on rookie WRs. At the very least, Slayton should help me get off to a fast start.
I'm also open to taking Samaje Perine, especially if I have Breece Hall or Jahmyr Gibbs as my RB1 and feel like I need early-season RB help.
But do these players hold the same appeal as bring backs? Remember, our goal is to have a player who can be part of a winning single-week lineup on December 31st.
Slayton could hold down a starting job all year; that is within the range of outcomes. But if you're drafting Slayton, it's probably not for his late-season appeal.
And Perine could be a pass-catching back in a Week 17 shootout or have the backfield to himself if injury strikes. But he's primarily a bet on early-season production.
So yes, Slayton and Perine could easily have big Week 17 games. But for Week 17 alone, their teammates – Jalin Hyatt and Javonte Williams – look far more intriguing.