Why you should draft a running back in the first round of your fantasy football draft Since I started playing this maddening game in the mid 90’s there has always been a couple axioms regarding the first round: (1) draft a RB in the first round and (2) don’t draft a QB in the first round. To this day these axioms stand and I’m going to tell you why. Of course there are caveats. Yes you should draft a RB in the first round鈥f one of the top X is available.‘X’ of course changes from year to year. Same with whether to draft a QB in the first round鈥t depends on your draft position...o This year is no different for these axioms to ring true. Here’s how I’ve determined what RBs you should draft in the first round in 2018 and when it may be the time to pick a QB.I started with the list of top 12 scorers from last season (see top 25 below). Here’s the position breakdown for the top 12 http://www.panthersfootballauthentic.com/graham-gano-jersey-authentic , essentially those players scoring like first rounders.Top 12 breakdown by position:QB: 4 of 12 (33%)RB: 5 of 12 (42%)WR: 3 of 12 (25%)ESPN Fantasy FootballThose numbers certainly support taking a RB in the first round but it doesn’t explain not taking a QB. If you take the analysis out to the top 25 the numbers change somewhat.QB: 12 of 25 (48%)RB: 7 of 25 (28%)WR: 6 of 25 (24%)This should be an eye opener for everyone. Almost half of the top 25 are QBs. Since there is typically a maximum of 12 teams in a league you have a pretty good chance of getting a QB much latter in the draft. While I think you can get a good QB in the first round I would say never go earlier than the third round. Hell I got Matt Ryan in the 12th round two seasons ago. He had a big year obviously. Waiting until the fourth or fifth round to draft a QB means you will most likely get the top QB on the board but I’m betting you get a top six or seven QB. So would I ever draft a QB in the first round? Probably not but my advice to you is you better be pretty sure your guy is going to be top five if you pull the trigger. Are you willing to pull the trigger on Russell Wilson in the first this season? How about our QB Cam Newton? Tom Brady? Notice Drew Brees is not on the list. His offense went run heavy last season. Who really saw that coming? Final point is that you might be able to get your top QB in the second round or even later. Moving back to RB the numbers indicate that you should consider at least five RBs in the first round but not too many after that for the second round. Here’s a look at one consensus draft rankings for the top 12, this one by ESPN. Notice not a single QB. It’s seven RBs and five WRs. So let’s assume these are the seven top RBs to consider in the first.LeVeon BellTodd GurleyDavid JohnsonZeke ElliotSaquon BarkleyAlvin KamaraKareem HuntSo if you have a top seven draft position your decision becomes pretty easy. All seven of those guys, if they remain healthy, should not only have good seasons but could vie for the No. 1 position. Of course staying healthy is a key. Just ask all the owners that drafted David Johnson No. 1 overall last season. Johnson was lost of the season in the first game of the season. Yet the data shows that after the top seven RBs the value drops off until you get to the third round area. So it puts more value on getting a top RB in the first two rounds but then waiting until the fourth or fifth round to get your No. 2 RB. If your draft position is 8-12 your decision is a little harder. You could still go RB but with a player that poses a little more risk such as Dalvin Cook. Leonard Fournette or Melvin Gordon. Those would not be bad picks for 11 or 12 in my view. At No. 8 I would look to WR if all seven of those RBs were taken 1-7 (doubtful but it could happen). I see two WRs worth a first round pick in 2018, Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins. Odell Beckham is coming off and injury but a bigger factor is the offense is sure to run the ball more with Barkley in the stable. Julio Jones might be primed for a bounce back season were he not in a contract dispute. No idea who that might turn out and the last scars it could leave.I am a true believer that you can win a fantasy league no matter where you draft. The key is getting value with every pick鈥nd getting lucky. Luck sometimes can come in the form of not losing a player to injury. So my final advice is to plan to draft in this order if drafting in positions 1-7:1 – RB2 – WR3 – WR4 – QB5 – RBNow if you are drafting 8-12:1 – WR2 – RB3 – WR4 – RB5 – QBMy reasoning here is if you getting a potentially second tier RB as your No. 1 then you better grab another one with potential soon afterward. That will push your QB pick to the ned of the fifth round but remember, you can still get a good QB at that point. In early draft results QBs such as Carson Wentz, Drew Brees and Kirk Cousins are still on the board. Heck I think you could still wait another round and grab my sleeper top five QB Jimmy Garrappolo鈥ut I digress.Just for kicks I did a simulated draft and from the No. 3 draft position I got Tom Brady in the fifth round. Three QBs were off the board before him: Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and DeShaun Watson.So that is the extent of my first couple of rounds drafting secrets. They have worked well for me in the past. Any questions?James Bradberry vs Julio Jones headlines several key player matchups as the Panthers head to Atlanta to face the Falcons Both the Panthers and Falcons enter this game quite banged up, and each team will have opportunities to capitalize on that. However, these teams still have a lot of their core players www.carolinapanthersteamonline.com , and those guys will need to step up. With that in mind here are your key match ups.James Bradberry vs. Julio JonesIt is really no secret that Jones will be a major factor on Sunday. As one of few wide receivers to ever log 300 yards in one game, he is no stranger to being the focal point of the passing game. This Panthers secondary could end up getting torched once again, however James Bradberry believes in himself. The team drafted him to be a top cover corner, and he is in position to do so. Julio Jones is a tall order ahead of him. If he really wants to follow in the steps of Josh Norman and Xavier Rhodes then this is where it starts.Dontari Poe vs. Alex MackWhile Julio Jones will be a focal point, the Falcons like to run the football. At this juncture, it is unknown if Devonta Freeman will play, but even if he doesn’t Tevin Coleman is a threat on his own. The Panthers dominated the line of scrimmage against the Cowboys, allowing Luke Kuechly and Shaq Thompson to attack the rushers and pressure Dak Prescott in the pocket. While Kawann Short and Mario Addison did a bit of the statistical leg work, it starts in the middle with Poe and Mack. This match up can dictate the entire line of scrimmage battle.Taylor Moton vs. Vic Beasley/Takkarist McKinleyThe Panthers’ offensive line is in shambles right now. Between Daryl Williams going on IR, Trai Turner going into the concussion protocol Carolina Panthers T-Shirt , and Amini Silatolu simply being in the lineup, the Falcons have a plus matchup across the defensive line. This means Moton will likely be on an island no matter what side of the line he plays on, since additional resources will need to be devoted to helping either Silatolu or one of the Panthers’ newest tackles. Moton will also be critical in the running game on the edge, meaning he needs to show up for this game for the team to sustain any sort of offense.Christian McCaffrey vs. Falcons linebackersIn addition to Moton, McCaffrey will need to show up in pretty much every facet of the game. Without Greg Olsen, McCaffrey should be tasked with being Cam Newton’s security blanket both down the field and out of the backfield. In addition, expect the Panthers to try to establish the running game early in an effort to alleviate some pass rush. I’d also expect some screens in the event the Falcons come out firing with blitzes. McCaffrey is going to be a major part of the offense going forward, as he is one of the few Panthers who can make a play on any given down.Who else are you watching?