The dilemma most Fantasy owners will have going into their drafts is magnified for those picking seventh overall: When to take a quarterback.
Here's the issue: There's virtually no chance one of the top three or four running backs will make it to you in Round 1, but it's a cinch that at least one (if not all three) stud quarterbacks will be available. If you take one, you punt on finding a quarterback at a good price later in the draft. If you don't take one, you'll end up with a player at another position who isn't quite the lock to put up major Fantasy points every week like the quarterbacks offer.
|No. 1 overall||No. 5 overall||No. 9 overall|
|No. 2 overall||No. 6 overall||No. 10 overall|
|No. 3 overall||No. 7 overall||No. 11 overall|
|No. 4 overall||No. 8 overall||No. 12 overall|
We're talking about Ryan Mathews, Chris Johnson and Calvin Johnson as possible alternatives for Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Anyone can make the case to take or not take any of these guys, and that's the problem. Because there's no certainty to how they'll get picked, it will really come down to personal preference.
The uncertainty also goes into the second-round pick: Unless you're in a tiny league with eight owners, there's a likely chance none of these options will be around when you're up again.
You can either go for the quarterback bargain later and roll the dice that one of the three non-passers plays out of his mind, or take the safe route with the quarterback and begin hunting for running backs and receivers for the rest of your draft.
The good news? There's no wrong answer.
Editor's note: The percentages listed are what position you should target based on that round for each pick.
League format will play a huge role in who I take first overall. If receptions count, running backs and receivers are too valuable to pass up, and most of the other owners will agree. Quarterbacks will slide. In fact, in 10-team PPR leagues it's a mortal lock that I get a Top 4 quarterback in Round 2. So I'll roll the dice on finding a passer later in any PPR format. In standard-scoring leagues, I'm not messing around. I recognize that quarterbacks will be around later and that the running back pool I'll pick from won't be quite as rich as it is here. I don't care. Locking into a stud quarterback who should post 20 points per week minimum (the Top 3 quarterbacks last year failed to score that much seven times combined; Rodgers had at least 20 points in every game he started) will go a long way in helping my team rally to wins. Plus there won't be a need to draft a second quarterback since I'd never start him -- that roster spot can go toward an extra sleeper later on. Knowing there are tons of receiver bargains to come and just enough running backs to go around, I don't mind taking a quarterback first if one of the top four rushers isn't there.
The pick here totally depends on what happened in Round 1: If I took a quarterback, I'm aiming for a Top 12 running back or an elite receiver. If I took a running back or receiver, I'm open to anything but I might lean toward a quarterback in standard formats or a tight end in PPR formats. A rule: If there isn't a Top 12 running back left when you're up, don't reach for one. There will be comparable talent at running back when you're up in Round 3, particularly because the owners behind you will suck up the receivers and tight ends with their next picks. I wouldn't hesitate to take a Top-3 receiver even if I took a quarterback first if there wasn't a running back I liked.
First thing's first: If you don't have a running back by now, you need to take one here and probably two more with your next three picks. If that's not a problem for you then this is a splendid time to take a top receiver -- unless a great quarterback or tight end falls into your lap. That might happen in a PPR league and is a big reason why you shouldn't take a quarterback in those formats in Round 1 (same can't be said for standard drafts). I got lucky in my drafts but you should bank on a receiver in yours.
One good reason to take just one receiver with your first three picks is to grab one in Round 4. The wideouts left by now should be considered quality No. 2 options and more appealing than the running backs left over. Even if you took a receiver with your last pick, make it a point to target another here. Perhaps in PPR leagues you might already have two receivers (or one receiver and one tight end) and could roll with a quarterback here. That also wouldn't be a mistake considering the likes of Tony Romo and Michael Vick are highly unlikely to be available on your next pick.
The last of the serviceable running backs will fly off the board and it's never a bad idea to have too many running backs -- particularly if you've only drafted one thus far. This year there's no problem going thin on running backs with your early picks so long as you're prepared to spend your mid-round choices on what's left. This is also good territory to start considering quarterbacks and tight ends again.
With five picks in the books it's time for a roster check. If you haven't taken a quarterback, now is a good time to find your starter at a quality value. If you haven't taken a tight end and a Top-5 option is out there, make it happen. Otherwise the focus should be on bolstering your roster with whatever you need between a running back and a receiver. A good No. 3 running back or low-end No. 2 receiver is worth taking here. Do it now because the expectations for what's left when you're up in Round 7 aren't very promising.
By this point you're either looking to fill a hole in your roster or add quality depth. There might be some decent receivers left along with some upshot running backs. If you still need a flex or third running back, make one a priority here as the pickings will be slim by your next pick. And if you're looking at quarterbacks, see if any of the owners at Picks 8 through 12 need one. If they do and there's either a great value or a potential starter for your team there, you should pounce.
Aside from a potential need pick, you should focus on adding quality depth with the best available player. Take a long look at the running backs -- most of the ones left are legit backups but they're not bad compared to what's left in a round or two. If you value running back depth, build some. In PPR formats you should be able to pick up a receiver with some modest potential but that position won't dwindle like the running backs will. Finally, consider this pick the absolute last call for a quarterback -- you probably will not see a Top-12 choice available in Round 9.
Expect owners to start taking shots at sleepers starting in Round 9. Basically anyone with high potential but considerable risk based on health, experience or role will get eyeballed. If you have one in mind and they're available, go for it (one of mine is Patriots rusher Shane Vereen). But even if you don't have a sleeper you could be surprised with what's left. After all, if everyone's taking wild sleeper choices, some established veterans will slide. Tight ends also carry some good value here.
If last round was about sleepers, this round is about sleepers and depth. The population of backup passers and pass-catchers won't be too hard to sift through. If a good No. 2 quarterback has made it this far he's worth considering,19638503/ but so are potential 60-catch receivers and start-worthy tight ends.
If you're looking for need, I feel sorry for you. But chances are no one will be searching for a starting skill-position player, so just go for the best available player regardless of position. A running back in a regular part-time role might make it here in PPR formats. Some receivers could be left over from last round, too. Just look for someone you could start and expect some production from in a pinch.
It might be just a bit too soon to take a DST here unless it's the best one (the 49ers in this case). So follow the rule for Round 11 and go with the best available player. The quarterbacks and tight ends left by now offer some decent value.
Most leagues force owners to draft a DST and a kicker. If I'm picking here and the rest of my roster is full, I'm looking for the best available DST before taking the best available kicker. Not much else to the pick. If you need help looking for a DST, don't be afraid to consult their schedules; DSTs with favorable matchups to begin the year never hurt.
Players you can get here: Bears DST, Patriots DST, Jets DST
My selection at No. 151 standard: Bears DST
My selection at No. 151 PPR: Bears DST
It's the kicker round (assuming you must draft one). Look for kickers who either post consistent accuracy or play with a high-powered offense. If they have a good Week 1 matchup it's icing on the cake.
Here is a look at what the teams look like following the draft:
|QB||Aaron Rodgers||QB||Matthew Stafford|
|RB||Ahmad Bradshaw||RB||Maurice Jones-Drew|
|RB||Frank Gore||RB||Frank Gore|
|WR||Larry Fitzgerald||WR||Dez Bryant|
|WR||Jeremy Maclin||WR||Kenny Britt|
|FLEX||Stevan Ridley||FLEX||Mikel Leshoure|
|TE||Jermichael Finley||TE||Jimmy Graham|
|K||Alex Henery||K||Alex Henery|
|BENCH||Michael Bush||BENCH||Pierre Garcon|
|BENCH||Shane Vereen||BENCH||Shane Vereen|
|BENCH||Greg Little||BENCH||Laurent Robinson|
|BENCH||Laurent Robinson||BENCH||Mark Ingram|
|BENCH||Brandon Pettigrew||BENCH||Joe Flacco|