Let’s take a look at drafting with a top 1-4 pick in a 12 team QB, RB,RB,WR,WR, FLEX, TE, D, K, 16 round league using ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator:

If you have picks 1 through 4 you can out think yourself and go for someone other than CJ, AP, MJD or Rice, but I wouldn’t do it.  Yes, they could get hurt, have a mental breakdown, retire to join Krishna, but their upside in just about any normalish format is too good to go for a surprise pick.  So, after grabbing an elite running back, what do you do?

Go after a receiver is the answer.  The top receivers are more durable (don’t touch the ball or get hit as often) and are more apt to repeat their historical numbers (this would be a good post).  In PPR you almost have to go for a WR, but even in non-PPR I recommend it. You have an extremely solid start at RB, take a receiver; do it!

So, with your second pick you’ll have picks 21-24, which puts you out of the bulk of top tier receivers.   ADP is putting players like Peyton Manning, Greg Jennings, Desean Jackson, Jamaal Charles, and Marques Colston all in that range, but when deciding on your second pick you also have to think of your third pick because it isn’t too far away at 25-28, with players like Ryan Grant, Tom Brady, Cedric Benson, Wes Welker and Anquan Boldin possibly available.

You know how much I love Jamaal Charles, but I also really want a receiver to anchor my team and the only guy out of this group that I feel good being my #1 is Greg Jennings.  If I can pair up one of the top RBs with him, I’m content.  If Jennings and the other elite receivers are gone I’m going with JC with my second pick there.  But we’ll move on with Jennings.  So who to grab with your 3rd pick?

I believe the best position here is going to be a running back.  Could JC fall to you?  There is a possibility in this area.  But you also have to be prepared for Ryan Grant or Cedric Benson, both who I feel okay with in the third round.  So let’s say you lose out on JC and grab Cedric Benson (Grant has a better chance of being gone).  You’re sitting fairly good with, one of the Top 4 RBs, Jennings and Benson.  At this point you have punted a top #2 WR, but this is the sacrifice you make for getting one of the stud RBs.  But soon, well, after waiting for the draft to snake back around to you, the pickings get fairly slim.

For your 4th and 5th pick we’re looking at picks 45-48 and 49-53.  Who do we have behind door #4 and #5 Chuck?!  Well, none other than, Ocho Cinco, Rivers, Addai, Moreno, and Bowe in the 4th round range and then Finley, Brown, Nicks, and VD in the 5th round range.  So you already have two solid running backs and one solid receiver.  I am very willing to grab the best value here if you have a flex position.  So if say, Jahvid Best fell from his ADP of 41ish I would scoop him up, but we can’t rely on that.  What we do have is a fairly tough decision. The 4th/5th rounds are the first time I would start thinking quarterback, but it would have to be good value.  I like Rivers, but don’t see his upside exceeding his ADP like I want. So I’m left with an interesting dilemma.  I like Moreno quite a bit, but his injury is concerning.  Finley and VD are great, but I’m waiting on TE.  Looking ahead in ADP I see some interesting names that will go before it comes back around, like Foster, Garcon, Ward, and Harvin.Out of all these choices I like Moreno, Bowe, Nicks, and Foster.  I feel like our choices would be Moreno/Nicks or Bowe/Foster.  I choo choo choose the first.  Welcome to team Razzball Knowshon and Hakeem!

Let’s regroup — Top 4 RB/Jennings/Benson/Moreno/Nicks. This fills out the core offensive players so it’s time to go QB and TE hunting.

For rounds 6 and 7 we have picks 69-72 and 73-76. Bradshaw, R. Bush, Barber, Gonzo, S. Moss, T.O.? then Maclin, Cutler, Flacco, Knox, Wallace.  We have the reliable Tony Gonzalez, some good upside running backs, and Jay Jay Cutler. You know my love for one Zachary Joseph Miller, so I’m shooting Gonzo out of the cannon and looking for a running back whose side is pointed up.  I really like Moss and Maclin this season, but you have to worry about your starting backs going down.  I’m in the Bradshaw camp here in the 6th.  And do I even have to say who I take in the 7th, yes, JC, all praise to thee and your Martzian bible.

We’re moving now! Onto rounds 8-9 where we have picks 93-96 and 97-100.  Meachem, Aroma, Tom Jones, and LDT.  Then Cooley, Edwards, Eli, Shiancoe, Donald Brown and Breaston.  We need a wide receiver to backup our 2 starters and possibly fill in for the flex position. I like Meachem pretty easily here, but I could see him going earlier than this.  Since he’s here I’m grabbing him, but the pickings are fairly slim after him.  One possibility that follows is Mason, who is solid and a decent #3 receiver if the upside of Meachem is up on someone elses side. I like Donald Brown as a back up RB, but we need a TE and even though we haven’t reached Miller’s ADP yet, he does get a lot of good fantasy sleeper pub.  I’m grabbing him in the 9th just in case and feeling good about it.  I could even see grabbing him in the eighth just to be sure, then grabbing Mason, if you were forced into a corner.

Now we start grabbing bench players.  Bench players for the most part should be in a position where their ceiling hasn’t been reached yet, but with just a tweak here or there, it could be.  In the 10th and 11th rounds ADP might not be as relevant, but we need some kind of guide here.  So with picks 117-120 and 121-124 we have Britt, Massaquoi, Winslow, Mike Williams then Chester Taylor, Pittsburgh D, Stafford, and some more bluh.  Taylor has some upside and will battle Forte for work, but I like Forte’s chances betetr.  Williams is doing everything right, but has an injured QB and plays for the Bucs.  Britt isn’t taking his shot very seriously and Massaquoi is a pretty big question mark with Delhomme.  So is their anybody further down the charts we like? Probably.  This is where you get the guys you like and don’t worry about rankings, ADP, etc… Here are a few I would target:

Chad Henne (126), Jabar Gaffney (128), Willis McGahee (131), Bernard Berrian (133), Leon Washington (137), Bernard Scott (148), (whoever is backing up your Top 4 RB), Marshawn Lynch (151), Legedu Naanee (151), Devin Thomas (153), Louis Murphy (155), Lance Moore (155), Tashard Choice (155), Mike Thomas (159), Aaron Hernandez (161), Tony Scheffler (161), David Garrard (163), Kareem Huggins (n/a)

All of these guys are fliers.  Some ‘perts will tell you, “grab Naanee and watch the fantasy points pile up! You’ll be using them to wipe with!” But i can’t say that.  It’s gross.  I like all these guys for one reason or another, and at this point there isn’t an easy ranking for them.  Some I can say, this guy is better than this guy, but others it’s more of a gut check.  So, when you get down to filling out your bench I recommend going with running backs because they have more value if they move their way into the starting position, give yourself some leg room backup wise, and go with your gut.  I usually draft a backup QB, but not a backup TE, D, or K (of course).  If I have a deep bench I will grab a backup TE because there are some good ones out there.

So how would I fill out this team?  Where were we? Oh yeah, we need 1oth and 11th round picks.  Jabberwocky Gaffney is moving up the draft charts and I’m getting on board as long as he can be had here and I think watchoo talkin’ bout Willis McGahee still has some gas left in the tank and there is a slim possibility he gets traded to a team who could use him, but don’t hold me to that!

Onto the 12th and 13th, picks 141-148. We have 2 WR backups and only one RB backup, so I’m looking hard at RBs for a cheddar melt and a decent back. My choice here comes down to Lynch, Choice, and Huggins. I still have some hope left for Lynch.  He actually looked good in the preseason game where he was injured, but he was injured, and has Spiller and FJax to contend with. Choice is always a good flier since he is on a good team and has somewhat injury prone backs in front of him.  Huggins looks like he is backing up Caddy who could hit the dirt at any time.  Huggins feels like one of those guys it feels good to pick because they are so sleeperish and the less you know about them, the higher their ceiling seems, but he does play for the Bucs.  So after all that, I choose Jif, I mean Choice (cuz I’m a choosy mom).

I think WR is my weakest position, so with my 13th pick in this here draft I’m going to buck my grab running backs mantra and take Devin Thomas.  He has that upside I keep yammering on about.

So we have 3 picks left.  I usually grab a backup QB when I get Cutler because Martz may have him killed, but nobody popped up on the radar that I really wanted, so I’m going to go back to my old stand by for my 14th pick and go with David Garrard.  His legs can usually give him enough points to keep you in your matchups.

With 2 picks left do we want to fill out our D and K (with an i and c) or do we want to skip one or both for a flier?  Kareem Huggins is still on the board and I rather have him than some dumb kicker, so I’m going to grab him with my last pick.  Whoops, I skipped the 15th pick.  I’m not enamored with any sleepers here, so I’m going to grab a defense.  I have picks 169-172 which Fantasy Football Calculator informs me are in no man’s land.  So I’m going to grab a D I think would be available here, The Cincinnatuh Bengals.

So here’s the team.  Each draft is different and hopefully some guys you like will slip to you, but that doesn’t always happen.  This is a solid, if not a little bland team, but I would be happy going into battle with them.

1. Top 4 RB

2. Greg Jennings

3. Cedric Benson

4. Knowshon Moreno

5. Hakeem Nicks

6. Ahmad Bradshaw

7. Jay Cutler

8. Robert Meachem

9. Zach Miller

10. Jabar Gaffney

11. Willis McGahee

12. Tashard Choice

13. Devin Thomas

14. David Garrard

15. Cincinnati Bengals

16. Kareem Huggins

  1. perdew says:

    how about fora 10 team draft?

  2. Nuke LaDouche says:

    Hey Doc, I had my first FFB draft last night. How’d I do?

    Aaron Rodgers
    Adrian Petersen
    Felix Jones
    Vincent Jackson (couldn’t pass him up to where he fell)
    Kenny Britt (ugh, not much left here)

    I don’t love my receiving corps at all but overall I think its a solid team.

  3. Doc

    Doc says:

    @perdew: I’m hoping to get other draft slots done, so i don’t think I can get a 10 teamer done. Sorry!

  4. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Nuke LaDouche: I think I responded to this team already.

  5. xopchipili says:

    Very helpful column, as I’ve got #1 and #2 in my two drafts this weekend. Any thoughts to grabbing the handcuff for your Top 4 RB? Where do you think is the right spot to do so?

  6. John says:

    Great info this is the exact format of my league for 12 teams and ive been drafting all over the place. This is exactly what i do for the most part with the top picks but just with a few different guys in certain spots. I always end up grabbing backup upside RB’s cause with 2 WR slots i like just taking upside picks and hope something sticks.

    Can’t wait to see what you do with picks 7,8 and 12. I think these are some of the hardest spots to draft from this year.

  7. Doc

    Doc says:

    @John: Thanks.

  8. nate says:

    Awesome stuff as usual, Doc.
    Curious…what do you do about a kicker? Do you just not start one or do you drop someone off your roster before your first matchup and grab a kicker off waivers?

  9. Doc

    Doc says:

    @nate: I wait until I have to pick one up. Each league’s waiver rules are different so be sure to figure out how they work so you aren’t left without a kicker.

  10. dingo says:

    great article doc, if you had the choice of djax with your third pick to go with jennings would you take him over benson and wait on 2nd rb. and if you could tell the future, would you prefer charles/djax over jennings/benson

  11. Doc

    Doc says:

    @dingo: Those are close. I think the second is safer, but would probably go with the first.

  12. Omar says:

    In a 16 team league does this still apply? esp with the lack of the elite WR this year
    I have the 4th pick in the 16 team trade (non ppr) and seriously considering taking Andre Johnson with the pick over Rice/MJD who ever falls to the 4th pick just because after the top 10-11 WR there is a huge drop off
    What you think?

  13. emceeperiod says:

    Nice article and cool idea for an article. ETA on the other slots? Before Sunday? *crossing fingers*

  14. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Omar: I would take Rice there (just got some news that MJD had his knee scoped). If it was PPR I would think harder about going with AJ. Everyone else will have trouble grabbing elite WR/RBs for their starters as well. If you go RB you will need to get a WR with your next pick and they won’t be horrid.

    @emceeperiod: Hopefully another one by then, but not both.

  15. Dakota says:

    This article hit a little too close to home. I drafted first in my Kansas University league and with a few exceptions came up with very similar choices to Doc.

    My main disagreement comes at the TE position, where I think the 4th/5th is a great round to pick one up if Gates or Clark falls, which they did in my league. It’s a best value pick for me because while there are lots of great TEs down the board, the top two guys are more like WR2s than anyone else.

    Here’s what I ended up with:

    1. Christ Johnson
    2. Greg Jennings (my favorite WR in the draft not named AJ or Moss)
    3. Ryan Grant
    4. Ocho Cinco
    5. Dallas Clark
    6. Justin Forsett (thought it was a steal at the time, starting to think i was a sucker)
    7. Jay Cutler
    8. Donald Driver (value over ADP)
    9. Reggie Bush (ditto)
    10. Hardesty
    11. Roethlisberger
    12. Bernard Scott
    13. Mike Thomas (the better of the Thomas’s)
    14. San Diego
    15. Longwell

    I took a couple guys I dread picking (Driver and Bush) because they were going way below their value, even if they don’t perform great. The only place I had a real problem was at the 4/5 turn. I think that’s where your draft is made considering they’re lots of good players, but it’s a real crap shoot. And it’s why I went with Dallas Clark, to increase my security.

  16. Dakota says:

    they’re = there are

  17. KMar says:

    12 team non PPR, 6 points for Qb TD, picked for #4 spot,
    1 qb,2rb,2wr,1te,1k,1dst

    1. Ray Rice
    2. Ryan Matthews
    3. Greg Jennings
    4. Hines Ward
    5. Jason Witten
    6. TO
    7. Santana Moss
    8. Joe Flacco
    9. Reggie Bush
    10. Thomas Jones
    11. Mcnaab
    12. Darren Sproles (has Mcgahee available and thought id get him next round but didnt, so handcuffed 1 of starting rb)
    13. Saints DST
    14. Sidney Rice
    15. Cowboys Kicker


  18. Dingo says:

    Can’t = can not

    Good grammar lessons here

  19. Doc

    Doc says:

    @Dakota: If they fall I can see grabbing them, but the difference between them and Miller won’t be as great as the difference between say a 2nd tier WR and a third or fourth tier.

    its its

    it’s it is

  20. Doc

    Doc says:

    @KMar: Maybe a few too many PPR type guys for non ppr. Moss, Witten, Ward. Love Matthews, Rice, and Jennings though. I could see going for an earlier QB instead of TO or Moss.

  21. NOLA says:

    How would you adjust your rankings for a 2QB league?

  22. NOLA says:

    Better put, how would you adjust your strategy for a 10 team 2QB league with 2 flex positions? Would you still take a WR with your second selection or would you go 1st tier QB?

  23. Doc

    Doc says:

    @NOLA: I would go with a QB with the second pick. After that a lot will depend on how quickly QBs are going off the board.

  24. NOLA says:

    Good stuff. My thoughts exactly. I have the second pick in the draft. I was thinking something like AP, then Brady/Schaub, and then best available RB or Tier 1 WR. What are your thoughts on going RB, Tier 1 QB, Tier 1 QB in a league with this type of set up?

  25. Doc

    Doc says:

    @NOLA: It’s always hard to judge with 2 QB leagues. QBs are the scarcer so grabbing 2 early is fine. If I can I would like to grab one elite and then Cutler a little later, but I just don’t know where Cutler or some of the other high upside later backs are going to go. Preferably I’d like to go Top RB/TopQB/Toppish WR/ RB/WR/QB if a decent QB lasts that long.

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