Advice on how to handle the Gordon, Elliott hold out scenarios.
The top industry analysts are in a holding pattern, and this is the correct strategy at this point, but the countdown clock is shrinking on when to buy or sell. Last season I inherited a team in a .5pt PPR, 14 team, two-player keeper league. The two players I kept were Todd Gurley and Tyreek Hill who by league rules cost me my 2018 first-round pick (Gurley), and a fourth-round pick (Hill). I was pick number ten, so the value in keeping Gurley with pick ten made the most since and Hill was undoubtedly worth a fourth-round pick.
Because of league depth, I needed to identify a third high volume player to add to my flex, and that player ended up being James Conner, who I drafted in the 10th round. The lesson of the 2018 Bell/Conner situation as it pertains to the Gordon, Elliott situation that I can offer is to pay close attention news coming out of preseason camp and who is spewing said information before deciding to draft either player. I have listed a few items below to help provide perspective and to help you understand that fantasy leagues are not won or lost in the draft.
What you hear in the news is not always gospel
First Identify and follow those you have trusted with news in the past. Do not rely on that news as the final judgment. As the GM of your fantasy team, it is your responsibility to protect your investment by doing the necessary research and also to trust your gut.
I trusted my gut throughout the 2018 season every time I heard the news that Bell was returning I did not waiver on staying firm with my decision to hold onto Conner. I was able to do this because I had picked up James White in a week two trade. White became a helpful safety net, especially when Conner and Gurley were both banged up during the fantasy playoffs.
You do not win fantasy championships in the fantasy draft.
The fantasy draft is the foundation but the waiver wire and smart trading during the season will elevate your teams' performance. Last season my league used a waiver budget (FAAB) of $100. I used the entire budget before week 12. Dependent on your waiver wire settings, you can take advantage of the waiver wire by staying a week ahead of your opponents.
For example; in another league (12 team, PPR) where I did not have a budget I snagged Tyler Boyd after his week two six catch 91 yard, one TD performance against Baltimore. The following week Boyd exploded for 6/132/1. The mistake I made happened in my keeper league where I spent 30% of my FAAB in week two for Boyd because I knew he was going to take off. I did not need to pay 30% of my FAAB for Boyd in week two, but in week three, or four, I would have been required to spend up to get him. I should have spent at most 10% of my FAAB week two for Boyd while his stock was not quite as high.
Another example: The team that won the .5 pt, 14 team, two-player keeper league barely made the fantasy playoffs. The GM did not have any of the top five fantasy RB’s in 2018. The GM of this team won the title by working waivers and trades. He traded for Amari Cooper, he drafted Eric Ebron, and Robbie Anderson. His keepers were Aaron Rodgers and Devonte Freeman. I lost to him in the wildcard when Cooper went off for 10/217/3 against a weak Philadelphia secondary. Whether this was by luck or his ability to identify late-season matchups before executing a trade, it worked to his advantage. Pay attention to the matchups whether it is a hot waiver pickup, or when making trades, it can work for you and against you.
Based on the examples provided above, you could move on without drafting an Elliott, or Gordon if available when it is your turn to make a pick in round one. Depending on league settings and format, you have a lot of high volume options early in the draft. If you are drafting this week, you should pass on both players. If your draft does not occur for several weeks, you can still consider Elliot and Gordon as options, but continue to educate yourself and become prepared to draft other options.