Using Our Draft Kit to Win Your CBS Sports Fantasy Football League

If your league mates tend to follow the default rankings, you can gain an advantage over them on occasion. That could make a big-name player a surprising value in CBS leagues.

I've already discussed some general trends and players to avoid and to target in your Yahoo! drafts and in your ESPN drafts, so now it's time to look at the third big name in fantasy football: CBS Sports.

I want to reiterate that I'm not necessarily criticizing any site's rankings or perceptions on single players, but rather pointing out that when one site gets to suggest the value of a player, you can understand the asking price better if you have a second or third opinion. And thinking differently is a key to success in the cerebral endeavor of fantasy football.

I also want to reiterate that you don't necessarily need to agree with certain player evaluations that our algorithms make. I posit, though, that it's nonetheless helpful to cognize the general perceptions of each position in your league's default rankings. This can help create value for players who might be overvalued elsewhere.

Now that that's settled, let's get into the trends to know in your CBS Sports drafts and where there are discrepancies between our rankings set to CBS Sports' default scoring with a flex and the ones you'll see on draft day.

Fundamental Differences

1. The CBS Sports ranks suggest tight ends much earlier than ours do. This, like I mentioned in previous articles, is a common theme. Per our math, the value of top tight ends over replacement-level tight ends isn't great enough to warrant investing early- or mid-round picks on them. They're safer than running backs and less injury prone, but if you want to maximize your potential value, you shouldn't draft tight ends where CBS suggests.

2. CBS likes rookies and high-upside young talent, but our rankings are less enthusiastic about youth. CBS Sports ranks three players inside their top 100, and 11 guys inside their top 140 that don't even crack our top 200. You'll see who they are below.

3. Despite offering 6 points for passing touchdowns, CBS overvalues, per our projections, just 3 of our top 17 quarterbacks. I love waiting on quarterback as much as the next guy, but six points per touchdown can add up if you have a truly elite touchdown-tallying quarterback. However, CBS Sports' rankings are so low on quarterbacks that some guys can be had at extreme discounts - even two of the top three fantasy quarterbacks.

4. Our rankings and CBS Sports' rankings disagree about many wide receivers. Our rankings suggest that 10 wide receivers are overvalued by at least 12 picks (a full round) and that 19 are undervalued by at least 12 picks.

Overvalued CBS Sports Players According to Our Projections

I don't want to get too in-depth about the tight ends because I've done it for the Yahoo rankings and ESPN rankings. However, Jordan Cameron is the only top-11 CBS Sports tight end whose CBS Sports rank is within 24 spots of our rank. This means that the other 10 are suggested at least two rounds earlier than we think they should go. Cameron is ranked 75th on CBS Sports and 96th on numberFire, a difference of 21 spots. However, 7 of the other 10 are suggested to be drafted 40 or more spots ahead of where we would suggest.

CBS Sports also suggests some young, high-upside types of players who are either vying for a starting role in good offenses like San Diego and New Orleans or who are behind the depth chart of some fragile and aging players. There are a few players who CBS Sports ranks inside their top 140 that we have outside our top 200. Here's that list.

PlayerCBS Sports RankPlayerCBS Sports Rank
Devonta Freeman95Khiry Robinson114
Brandin Cooks98Jeremy Hill123
Eric Ebron99Stepfan Taylor126
Heath Miller106Justin Hunter134
Christine Michael111Jarrett Boykin137
Ladarius Green112 

It's actually difficult not to get caught up in the hype for some of these players because their upside either from ability or opportunity is mostly obvious, but realistically, expecting consistent fantasy production for each of these guys isn't very likely. A ninth-round pick might be too steep a price for these lottery tickets.

Overall, CBS Sports doesn't really suggest too many players too early, so most of the intrigue is found in the guys of whom CBS Sports is less supportive.

Undervalued CBS Sports Players According to Our Projections

CBS Sports will be suggesting that you go for youth instead of the aging talent pool at wide receiver, but reliability can be a good thing. I mentioned before that there were 19 receivers with CBS ranks at least 12 spots lower than our ranks, and 14 of those players are inside our top 100 overall. It's a long list, but here it is.

PlayerCBS Sports RanknumberFire RankDifferential
Wes Welker5838+20
Victor Cruz5944+15
DeSean Jackson6340+23
Julian Edelman7453+21
Jeremy Maclin7765+12
Kendall Wright8262+20
Marques Colston8464+20
Eric Decker9074+16
Reggie Wayne10269+33
Dwayne Bowe12185+36
Anquan Boldin14692+54
Brian Hartline15093+57
Danny Amendola16299+63
Steve Smith17088+82

Now, of course, if your league mates don't adhere strictly enough to the default rankings, then the value in these players diminishes, but it's likely that a few of them will fall to you at some point in the draft. The power of suggestion of seeing, say, a 84 overall rank for Marques Colston might scare people off of him, but that could work in your advantage if he ends up closer to our ranks than to theirs.

Another place you can find value is at quarterback. While it's unlikely everyone in your league will wait as long as CBS Sports suggests to grab a fantasy signal caller, there are tons of quarterback talent that you can get very late, per CBS Sports' suggestions. Here are the eight biggest values in our top 16 quarterbacks on

PlayerCBS Sports RanknumberFire RankDifferential
Tom Brady6843+25
Andrew Luck8847+41
Robert Griffin III10177+24
Jay Cutler12472+52
Cam Newton12750+77
Ben Roethlisberger12882+46
Philip Rivers14845+103
Russell Wilson16360+103

Having an elite quarterback doesn't necessarily give you an elite edge, but there are plenty of options late in your draft who will likely be viable starting options, so you don't need to invest an early pick on one. However, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that Drew Brees ranks sixth overall in our system when set to CBS Sports' standard scoring, Peyton Manning ranks 10th, and Aaron Rodgers ranks 13th. While Manning is pegged as the sixth option in CBS Sports' draft room, Brees is just 21st, and Rodgers is 23rd, making them surprising values if they can reach our projected ranking for them.

There are, of course, many winning strategies in fantasy football, and the draft is just the starting point. But being able to wait on players and knowing to avoid some guys with a steep asking price can set you up for a great season, one that leads to the fantasy championship.