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2012 Draft Prep: Dissecting reader strategies

Senior Fantasy Writer
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We provide advice for your Fantasy teams all the time. We have rankings, projections, predictions, strategies, tiers, videos and podcasts. While I'm at it, you might as well check it out in our Draft Prep Index.

2012 Draft Prep essentials
Fantasy News
Rankings | Top 200 | Player Profiles
CBSSports.com Draft Averages
Mock Drafts | Projections | Draft Index

But we're well aware not all of you need our help on Draft Day. You're seasoned Fantasy Football players and you know what you're doing. With that in mind, we're giving a few select readers the chance to be analysts and share their secrets to success.

I solicited owners on Twitter who have won multiple Fantasy championships and I asked them how they did it, which we'll show here. We'll then break down if those strategies actually make sense or not – and if it's advice worth using.

Strategy No. 1: Drafting RB-RB with your first two picks

From: @SavageSportsFan
He says: I've learned that RB/RB is the way to go. … People seem to get enamored with Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers they fail to do the smart thing and build your team around your backs. … For instance this year, I am drafting 12th. I will be drafting Marshawn Lynch and Steven Jackson at 12 and 13. … Right off the bat my team is more well-rounded than the guy who went for the stud WR or QB. … I can still scoop up two great receivers in Round 3 and 4 and grab a QB like Peyton Manning in the sixth. … Right there I have a balanced team that can go off any week.
Our take: Many owners shared this sentiment, which is old-school drafting. I don't mind this strategy at all, especially picking toward the end of Round 1, because finding workhorse running backs is difficult to do. Last year there were nine running backs who averaged 20 touches a game (Maurice Jones-Drew, Arian Foster, Lynch, LeSean McCoy, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Fred Jackson and Steven Jackson). If you follow the formula of @SavageSportsFan and get the right receivers and quarterback you should be in excellent shape.

Strategy No. 2: Drafting a quarterback in Round 1

From: @Sarkkasm
He says: There's always a sleeper RB that develops but rarely ever a sleeper QB. … What I'm trying to say is top quarterbacks like Brady, Rodgers, Brees never fail, but top running backs sometimes do, a La Chris Johnson and Darren McFadden.
Our take: As @mrdeadlier points out, this only works when passing touchdowns are worth six points. We prefer running backs in Round 1, but if you want a safe first-round pick then take Rodgers, Brady or Brees. You know they will play 16 games and likely be the Top 3 scorers in the majority of standard leagues. The key to drafting a quarterback in Round 1 is landing a quality running back in Round 2. Based on Average Draft Position, the running backs available in the second round are Jones-Drew, DeMarco Murray, Matt Forte, Lynch, Steven Jackson, Ryan Mathews and Adrian Peterson. For example, you can take Brees at No. 6 overall and then draft Lynch in the second round based on ADP. That's a solid start if it works out that way -- unless @Sarkkasm is in the same league as @SavageSportsFan.

Strategy No. 3: Best player available

From: @mwcoast
He says: I have never entered a draft with the "I must pick (insert player) in (insert position) approach." … I try to do a fair amount of mocks to get an idea of who is going where to know who will be available when and then set my rankings based on when I would be willing to take them. … In the draft I try to stay true to those ranks -- looking for value in terms of round, who has gone and who I think will be gone. … Where my true success has come has been through waivers. … My drafts get me solid starts but waivers put me over the top every time.
Our take: I love and hate this strategy. I hate it because I don't like winging it on Draft Day, even though @mwcoast clearly does his homework. But I love it because it keeps you paying attention and staying on top of the news and trends all throughout the year with the waiver wire. You're obviously going to need some luck for (insert player) to fall to you in (insert round), but you could find elite talent if you're taking an aggressive approach. If you want Julio Jones, draft him in Round 2 instead of Round 3. Take Donald Brown in Round 6 instead of Round 7. Grab Brandon Pettigrew in Round 9 instead of Round 10. You might not have a strategy, but you should have players you want. Just make sure you get them instead of waiting for them to fall in your lap.

Strategy No. 4: Drafting WR-WR with your first two picks

From: @Jake_Lort
He says: I've won two in a row going WR-WR-WR. Then got the three-peat going WR-WR-RB. … Usually (I draft) WR-WR-WR-RB-QB-TE-RB-DST-Bench-K. … Last year I was able to get Mathew Stafford and Megatron, which helped a ton. … And for running backs I usually just wait until someone comes out of nowhere, and I'll pick them up.
Our take: Most people hate this strategy. As @dmschapira wrote, "wide receivers are a dime a dozen. … Studs like (Andre Johnson) or (Larry Fitzgerald) are great but still less consistent than similarly valued running backs. … It's easier to trade a RB for a WR." We liked this strategy more last season when Calvin Johnson was being drafted toward the end of Round 1. But now it's a waste to pass on a running back for two receivers with your first two picks, even if it means drafting Johnson and Jones, who are both studs. There is the most depth at receiver this year and you can find amazing talent later in the draft. Steve Smith, who was the No. 6 Fantasy receiver last year, is being drafted in Round 4 based on ADP. Hakeem Nicks, Demaryius Thomas, Dez Bryant, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin and Brandon Lloyd are all going in Round 5 or later. I'd rather do what @SavageSportsFan suggests and get Lynch and Jackson with my first two picks and then follow that up with Thomas and Bryant in Rounds 3 and 4. That's a much better team than going Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson to start your team and then taking Doug Martin and BenJarvus Green-Ellis based on ADP.

Strategy No. 5: Drafting Gronkowski or Graham in Round 1

From: @Afogg0855
He says: Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham are the elite of the elite. … They both put up numbers that are the same or better than most No. 1 receivers last year. … I don't see much of a drop off this year for either one, especially Graham. … Gronkowski may lose some catches but will continue to be a TD machine. … I'd say (these) two are the safest bets to put up big numbers.
Our take: This is obviously a new strategy this year after what Gronkowski and Graham did in 2011. To put it in perspective, Gronkowski had 233 Fantasy points and would have been the No. 5 running back or No. 2 receiver based on points. Graham had 187 Fantasy points and would have been the No. 7 running back or No. 5 receiver. They are worth drafting in Round 1, but it's risky to take them in that spot. You're leaving yourself potentially thin at running back, which is dangerous, and you can't afford to take a quarterback in Round 2. Even though it would look great to have Graham and Stafford with your first two picks, you're then settling for Frank Gore as your No. 1 running back. We'd prefer Gronkowski or Graham to actually be drafted at the beginning of Round 3 in standard leagues and in Round 2 in PPR formats. Just know that if you miss on these two, there is still plenty of elite talent at tight end with guys like Pettigrew, Fred Davis, Jermaine Gresham and Jacob Tamme with late-round picks.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

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