If you are lucky enough to get a top spot in the draft, there is not much thought going into your first selection.  Got the first overall pick?  You’re taking Adrian Peterson all day.  Second or third?  You’ve got Jones-Drew, Forte, Turner, or even Tomlinson or Steven Jackson if they’re your type.  There are plenty of options that you really can’t go wrong with.  But someone also has to draft last.  Some might see that they got the 12 spot, and immediately think their season is done.  How are you supposed to build a championship contender with the last pick? Well, with the proper strategy, you can put yourself a step ahead of the competition drafting from the 12 spot.

Before getting into the strategy, there are two common misconceptions about drafting in the 12 spot that I’d like to set straight.

1.    The last pick puts you a step behind everyone else from the start. – In the first round, yes it does.  But the 12 pick also gets the first pick in the second round.  No picks are guarantees, so making your second pick before everyone else gives you an advantage.

2.    But you have to wait 22 picks between each turn.  –  Also true, but why is this a disadvantage?  Sometimes you may miss out on a position run, but why is that bad?  If you are well prepared, you don’t want to get caught in the position runs.  Each time your picks come around, grab a safe pick, and then take a pick with high upside.  Stick to your strategy, avoid position runs, and maybe you can even start a run or two to throw others off their game.

Many traditionalists will tell you that you have to go with running backs with your first two picks.  Another very popular strategy is drafting the best player available at each position for the first few rounds.  And if you haven’t discovered my favorite, the WR strategy, I would like to introduce it to you.

According to FantasyFootballCalculator.com’s average draft position (ADP) for 12 team leagues, 8 of the first 11 picks are RB’s, and the other 3 are WR’s.   That leaves you with the #9 RB, #4 WR, and #1 QB at the turn.  It also leaves you with the #1 TE, #1 K, and #1 Defense, but if you’re looking at those positions in the first round, you’ve already lost your league.  Now everyone knows that your draft won’t look the same as most mock drafts, but ADP is the best way to judge when most players will be drafted.  There is always that guy that either doesn’t know what he’s doing, or thinks he knows too much, and takes a QB way too early.  Can you win that way? Sure, if you find great value late you can make up for this mistake.  And then there’s always that Cowboys homer taking Barber a round and a half too soon.  (Or Packers fan taking Grant, Bills fan taking Lynch/Owens, etc.)  Take a look at the draft order, and you can take advantage of these nuances if you see them coming.

If you follow the traditional RB strategy, you’re likely looking at the #8-10 RBs with the 12th overall pick.  Then when the 3/4 turn comes around, (36th/37th overall) you’re looking at the #14/15 WR’s.   If you wait for the 5/6 turn to come around for your WR2, you’ll be looking at the #24 WR.  Going RB/RB, then WR/WR will give you a low end RB1 and WR1, and high end RB2 and WR2.  Put simply, your top 4 picks will be very average.  Nothing wrong with that if you do your homework and get some value late in the draft.

If you decide to go with the best available player for the first few rounds, you’ll likely be drafting RB/WR on both the 1/2 and 3/4 turns unless Brady/Brees/Peyton fall to 36.  This will likely give you the #9/19 RB, #4/14 WR.  You’ll have a slightly below average RB1, average RB2, and top end WR1 and WR2.  Your RB’s will be slightly below average, but WR’s will be very good.  You could easily make up for the slight deficiency in RB’s with some high upside picks later in the draft, and you have a step up on the competition with your top 2 WR’s.

Now if you’re looking for a different strategy, try the one that helped me win a championship last year, the WR strategy.  Take the top 2 WR’s on the 1/2 turn, and the top 2 RB’s on the 3/4 turn.  Going by ADP, that will net you the #4/5 WR’s, and #19/20 RB’s.  Those top 4 might not strike fear into your opponents, but the true value of this strategy lies with what happens next. As WR’s have less injury risk, and are more consistent on a yearly basis, it’s easier to predict who will be in the top 5 WR’s than top 5 RB’s. You already have 2 of the top WR’s.  You can wait until round 9 or 10 before grabbing your WR3 because you know your WR1 and 2 will be putting up good numbers every week.  You might not end up with an elite RB, but you can easily build a stable of solid contributors and play their best matchups.  You can use 2 more picks at the next turn on RB’s knowing you have very good point totals coming from your top 2 WR’s.  Lynch, McFadden, Bush, Ward, Moreno, LJ, Thomas Jones, Stewart, Rice, Parker, and White all have ADP’s in the 4th round or later, and coming out of the draft with 4 of these backs rounds 3-6 is a very good possibility.  Then as others are taking Fred Taylor and Willis McGahee as their RB4 hoping to squeeze out carries, you can take fliers on Bernard Scott, Glen Coffee, and James Davis as your RB5 and 6, who could put up RB2-3 numbers with significant carries.

  1. dbhammel says:
    (link)

    Hey, love the content, been reading nearly every day! The commish of one of my $$ leagues just announced that we are moving to an auction style league this year, and since im the defending champion i cant rightly abandon the league. Ive never done an auction style league before though, can people suggest some good resources to educate myself…thanks!

  2. The Peoples Champ

    The Peoples Champ says:
    (link)

    @dbhammel: I’ve never actually done one before either, although I’ve always wanted to. You can get any player you want, for the right price, and you don’t have to worry about someone stealing your guy. I really wish I could help you, but I just don’t have enough personal experience with auctions to be of much use.

  3. Doc says:
    (link)

    @dbhammel: First decide how much you want to spend at each position. Don’t over pay just because you really like someone. I try to go with mid tier players with upside. And as in d & t don’t pay too much for a qb. Let others blow their cash and then get good deals. But be ready to snatch the best player if he falls in your price range. Good luck.

  4. cws05nuts says:
    (link)

    I exercised this strat last night and am pretty optimistic. I was that guy that rolled the dice on Cutler really early. But felt I could build a good keeper team around Fitz and megatron for this year and the future. I put together the stable of rb’s that doesn’t have me tingling with anticipation but hopefully something will rise out of mediocrity or an injury will go my way.

  5. cws05nuts says:
    (link)

    Oh yeah, PC/Doc – you guys are doing a great job! I continue reading daily!

  6. Doc

    Doc says:
    (link)

    @cws05nuts: Thanks!

    I like this strategy more and more as long as you really choose your RB’s well. If you have enough upside backups you should be able to get a couple good ones that will help you down the stretch and the fantasy playoffs.

  7. AL KOHOLIC says:
    (link)

    @Doc: yeah i grabbed chris johnson and forte last year as backups

  8. AL KOHOLIC says:
    (link)

    @Doc: we know brandon jacobs is a injury risk,but with the wr`s looking young and elli not being a accurate passer do you think thier offense will hurt brandon much this year

  9. Commish Cauda (formerly Mike) says:
    (link)

    I have the 11th pick in a 12-team league. I agree with your thinking about going WR-WR.

    But what if I told you:

    (1) There is a FLEX that QB’s can be used in, (start QB/2RB/3WR/FLEX/TE/K/DEF)
    (2) 0.5pt. per rec.
    (3) QB’s get 4pts. for passing TDs, everyone else gets 6pts. for TDs.

    You still think going WR-WR is the best strategy?

  10. Trevor says:
    (link)

    I am the complete opposite of this strategy this year. WIth every team employing a two back system and even teams with stud RB’s i think it is a necessity to fill the RB slot with your 1st pick. Then I have been taking brady 2nd round depending on my pick position and if its to early to take brady Ive been going Calvin Johnson. I find it stupid to take WR’s in any of the top 5 rounds this year because theres just so much value. Devin Hester in the 8th. Ted Ginn around 10. Justin gage. There are some heavy sleepers this year that absolutely noone wants because EVERYONE is taking WR’s as early as possible. This is the sole reason for not jumping on WR’s early. EVERYONE is doing it. Each year its about bucking the trends and WR’s are the craze this year. Good luck to those that take WR’s early playing backs like Thomas Jones, Reggie bush, pierre thomas, lenwhale, ward, etc. You wont be liking it when your filling out your roster come week 11, 12.

  11. Da Birds says:
    (link)

    Pretty standard H2H league except .5 ppr. Got the #4 spot. Do I take Turner or go LT or SJ? I’d take Forte if he’s there.

  12. Doc

    Doc says:
    (link)

    @Da Birds: In ppr I think it is very close between Forte and S Jax. I have been going with S Jax for his higher ceiling, but Bulger is already hurt. Im starting to lean toward Forte.

  13. Doc

    Doc says:
    (link)

    @AL KOHOLIC: I do. They won’t have to respect the run as much.

    @Commish Cauda (formerly Mike): I wouldn’t use your flex on a QB when you get points per reception and passing TD’s are their normal 4 points. The WR/WR strategy is a good one, but you do have to size up who is on the board. At the 11th pick there is a good chance that WR will be a good option, but if others are taking WR early as well don’t just go WR/WR because that was your strategy going in.

  14. Doc

    Doc says:
    (link)

    @Trevor: If WR’s are going early then I agree that you go with RB’s. It all depends on your draft.

  15. Da Birds says:
    (link)

    @Doc: So you’d say SJax over Turner/LT in a .5 ppr league?

  16. Da Birds says:
    (link)

    So in a .5 ppr league, you’d go Forte then SJax before Turner/LT?

  17. Da Birds says:
    (link)

    sorry for double post

  18. Trevor says:
    (link)

    I wouldnt touch turner, forte, or sjax this year. To me theyll bust. LT or Chris Johnson at 3 after AP and MJD for me. I got gore 5th on my board as well.

  19. Doc

    Doc says:
    (link)

    @Da Birds: Yes. Turner should get a few less carries and never catches a ball and LT won’t return completely to his old self, just close.

  20. Da Birds says:
    (link)

    Sorry for the double post
    @Trevor: @Doc: Thanks for you help

  21. Doc

    Doc says:
    (link)

    @Da Birds: I am starting to worry a little about the injuries for STL though. LT, SJax and Turner are getting closer together in that debate.

  22. Aaron says:
    (link)

    I just used this strategy to take Fitz and Andre Johnson. Later I took Reggie Bush as my RB.

    My leauge is

    QB
    RB
    WR
    RB/WR
    RB/WR
    TE

    Standard scoring with PPR. I like to go with 3WR and 1RB.

  23. The Peoples Champ

    The Peoples Champ says:
    (link)

    @cws05nuts: that’s exactly it man. if you get a couple top notch WRs, you dont need many backups. the only week you’ll ever sit Fitz and Calvin is on their bye week. then you can pick up a WR3 late, and only 1 backup. that leaves a couple extra bench spots for more RBs, which you can never have enough of. The more RB you have, the better chance of getting the next ’05 LJ and Caddy or ’08 Hightower and P.Thomas. and thanks for reading! glad you enjoy it!

    @Commish Cauda (formerly Mike): how early are most QBs drafted? I might go for Brady/Brees/Peyton in the first round if they’re eligible at flex. If 2 of them are available at 11, i’d go WR/QB. only 1 is there, i’d go QB/WR. I don’t know how drafting usually goes in your league, but that’s something i would strongly consider. then try to snag a #10-15 QB. going by Razzball Commenter League (RCL) scoring, the 12th RB, or lowest RB1, scored 190 points. the 13th QB, or best QB2 scored 189 points. The #12 RB has an average draft position (ADP) of 17.8, while the #13 QB has an ADP of 100.8. I’m sure in your league the QB’s go a little sooner, but you’ll probably be starting a QB in your flex as they get the most points, so you might as well grab a reliable one.

  24. Doc

    Doc says:
    (link)

    @Commish Cauda (formerly Mike): @The Peoples Champ: I was thinking in a ppr league that a WR or pass catching RB would score more than the QB, but after taking another look I agree that QB would be the best for the flex position.

  25. The Peoples Champ

    The Peoples Champ says:
    (link)

    @Doc: Your flex will be filled by your RB3/WR4, or in his case, QB2. QB’s #10-15 will easily outscore the #25 RB and #37 WR. RB3 is usually drafted around round 5-6, QB2 is rarely drafted before round 10. So you really aren’t losing much by grabbing a QB2 a couple rounds early.

    And i also want to direct some of those that disagree with me to your post, especially Trevor. If there are 4-5 WR’s off the board by the time the 11th or 12th pick comes, then you could have LT/SJax falling into your lap. No way i’d take Wayne/Jennings/etc. over LT/SJax. It’s not always bad to deviate from your draft strategy.

Comments are closed.