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2012 Draft Prep: Strategies for eighth overall

Senior Fantasy Writer

The smaller the league, the easier it is to game plan for picking eighth overall. And by game plan, I mean decide whether or not it's "right" to take a quarterback in Round 1.

If we're talking about a small league (10 or fewer teams), the odds are pretty good you'll get a Top 3 quarterback in Round 2. It'll happen if the picks before you aren't quarterbacks because you can wait a round and let the other owners after you take one (they won't take two). In larger leagues, like the one we'll preview below, the chance of a Top 3 quarterback in Round 2 shrink considerably. Deciding how important quarterbacks are to you is a major factor to your overall draft strategy and should be figured out long before your draft.

Pick-by-pick strategies
Our Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard share a unique draft strategy for each position in a standard 12-team draft.
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

Another benefit of smaller leagues is mapping out your later picks based on what your rival owners' needs might be. For instance, when you pick in Round 3 you'll see what the owners of Picks 9 and 10 already have and can swipe a player at a position of need for them before they can get one. Naturally, this should be part of your arsenal in 12-plus team leagues also but it's harder to pinpoint glaring needs across three or more rivals. You might find yourself picking the best player available based on your own needs rather than your opponents -- which is fine of course -- but it might cost you stealing some talent.

But don't curse your luck for picking eighth -- if you figure that you're locked into getting one of five excellent running backs or three super-safe quarterbacks (or the most impactful wide receiver in years in PPR leagues), you at least know you're going to be set with your first choice. The poor blokes picking ninth or later don't even have that assurance before Draft Day.

Editor's note: The percentages listed are what position you should target based on that round for each pick.

Round 1
Standard QB 55% RB 40% WR 5% TE 0%
PPR QB 10% RB 55% WR 35% TE 0%

If we're talking about a PPR format, you can be reasonably confident a quarterback will be available to you at a very good value later in the draft, so it's worth punting on quarterback for a talent with solid reception potential. I prefer a running back or Calvin Johnson with my first choice in reception-based leagues. The story is different in standard leagues where you're looking for a safe starter week in and week out. The top of the top running backs should be gone and the remaining runners will have plenty of potential but also a few question marks (that's why they're left). The quarterbacks, however, don't have any question marks and are essentially locks for 20-plus points per week (the Top 3 quarterbacks failed to score that much seven times combined; Rodgers had at least 20 points in every game he started). That's why I don't mind going with a stud passer in Round 1, even if it means seeing other quarterbacks available at great values later on. The plan is to take one now and potentially no other quarterbacks later because I would never sit the one I draft in Round 1. If a running back I'm not comfortable with isn't there, that's my move in standard leagues.

Players you can get here: Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Chris Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Darren McFadden
My selection at No. 8 standard: Tom Brady
My selection at No. 8 PPR: Darren McFadden

Round 2
Standard QB 15% RB 40% WR 40% TE 5%
PPR QB 20% RB 25% WR 25% TE 30%

The picking doesn't get any easier here and personal tastes will come into play. You're going to find some dependable running backs and receivers here, and there's a shot a stud quarterback like Drew Brees or Matthew Stafford will be available. If we're looking for the same thing we did in Round 1 -- a dependable, sure-fire starter -- the quarterbacks will be tough to pass on. Otherwise, lean toward a running back if you can because that's the position that will get thin before receivers. Tight ends could be a consideration too in PPR leagues but it's tough to take one over whatever slips from the Top 10 rushers and Top 3 quarterbacks.

Players you can get here: Steven Jackson, Drew Brees, Larry Fitzgerald, Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Graham
My selection at No. 17 standard: Steven Jackson
My selection at No. 17 PPR: Drew Brees

Round 3
Standard QB 10% RB 35% WR 45% TE 10%
PPR QB 20% RB 35% WR 40% TE 5%

Plan on going with a receiver in Round 3, even if you took one already. The Top 5 quarterbacks, Top 15 running backs and Top 2 tight ends should be gone by now -- if they're not then you have to give them a look. The talent at receiver should really be peaking by this point and someone from the Top 10 should be in the mix. True, you will be able to find a receiver about as good in Round 4, but not quite as good. It's a certainty that the types of running backs that are available in Round 3 will be there when you pick again. If taking a receiver here means not having a quarterback or tight end on your roster through three picks, don't panic. I promise that there will be good players there to start for you later on. Now's not the time to reach for a Michael Vick or Antonio Gates.

Players you can get here: Julio Jones, Marshawn Lynch, Ahmad Bradshaw, Adrian Peterson, Victor Cruz
My selection at No. 32 standard: Julio Jones
My selection at No. 32 PPR: Hakeem Nicks

Round 4
Standard QB 15% RB 30% WR 50% TE 5%
PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 40% TE 10%

So remember the advice I gave you about taking a receiver in Round 3? Wasn't it good? Let's go with it again in Round 4. Seriously, the receivers expected here are considered superior to what's left at the other positions and it won't necessarily be this way in Round 5 and beyond. By taking another receiver here, you lock into what should be two Top 20 wideouts in your starting lineup. Pretty awesome. But what if you already have two receivers? If it's a PPR flex league, don't be scared to go three-deep at the position. If it's a standard league, you might find yourself deciding between a good-but-not-great running back and a quarterback. If so, it's not wrong to go with a quarterback if you don't have one already.

Players you can get here: Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Dez Bryant, Jamaal Charles, Tony Romo
My selection at No. 41 standard: Percy Harvin
My selection at No. 41 PPR: Jeremy Maclin

Round 5
Standard QB 20% RB 40% WR 30% TE 10%
PPR QB 20% RB 40% WR 30% TE 10%

Chances are the last two rounds were dominated by receivers. If there's still a stud wideout hanging out by pick 56 it's probably a major steal. But we're getting to the part in the draft where "good enough" running backs will start getting drafted, so you might want to find one. In fact, this should be the first of several running backs you'll take over the next few rounds as you pad depth with running backs that have some good value, considering we're already fairly deep into the draft.

Players you can get here: Beanie Wells, Eli Manning, Reggie Bush, Jason Witten, DeSean Jackson
My selection at No. 56 standard: Reggie Bush
My selection at No. 56 PPR: Beanie Wells

Round 6
Standard QB 30% RB 30% WR 25% TE 15%
PPR QB 25% RB 30% WR 30% TE 15%

Let's aim to solidify the roster here. Assuming you have at least two receivers locked up, the hunt should be on for running back depth unless an excellent quarterback is just hanging out. Round 6 is generally when we'll see the last of the Top 10 quarterbacks picked, and tight ends could start moving too. Go with what you think you need, but you won't like what's left at running back after this round so make sure you're comfortable with what you have if you opt for a different direction. I found a starter with 1,000-yard, seven-touchdown potential in both of my drafts.

Players you can get here: Philip Rivers, Peyton Manning, Donald Brown, Stevan Ridley, Kenny Britt
My selection at No. 65 standard: Donald Brown
My selection at No. 65 PPR: Donald Brown

Round 7
Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 25% TE 25%
PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 20% TE 30%

If you're looking for a quality starting running back and wide receiver, you're not going to be happy. But if you're looking for a quality starting tight end or quarterback, you should be in good shape. There should be one or two Top 12 quarterbacks left and plenty of start-worthy tight ends. The guys available here might be reason enough to pass on a Graham or Gronkowski in Round 2 or 3. That's not to say passing on receivers and running backs in particular is a bad move as it's also a good time to build depth before the pickings get slim.

Players you can get here: Jermichael Finley, Peyton Manning, Mikel Leshoure, DeAngelo Williams, Anquan Boldin
My selection at No. 80 standard: DeAngelo Williams
My selection at No. 80 PPR: Jermichael Finley

Round 8
Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 35% TE 15%
PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20%

We're almost 100 picks into the draft, so any rusher, receiver or tight end with 1,000-yard and seven-touchdown potential deserves a good look at this point. The running backs available won't be pretty but they're still nicer than what will be around in a round or two, so if you value having good backups now is a good time to take one. Don't discount the receivers out there -- No. 1 options in evolving offenses are candidates for your team and are also better than the receivers you'll find in a few rounds. The only other direction I'd point you in is quarterback, but only if you're without one. Round 9 is when other teams will start looking for a high-upside backup.

Players you can get here: Michael Bush, Pierre Garcon, Toby Gerhart, Greg Little, Matt Ryan
My selection at No. 89 standard: Pierre Garcon
My selection at No. 89 PPR: Greg Little

Round 9
Standard QB 15% RB 30% WR 25% TE 30%
PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 25% TE 25%

Three types of players will get picked in Round 9: Sleepers, low-end starters and handcuffs. If you've gone with some balance through eight picks you probably can take a shot on a sleeper. If you've got an open roster spot it's time to fill it. And if you spent an early-round pick on a running back with a history of getting hurt you should back him up the way his NFL team did. Here's a secret: I find pretty good value in handcuff running backs; this year Toby Gerhart and Mike Goodson stand out to me. Even if I don't have Adrian Peterson or Darren McFadden, I'll take a stab at one of these rushers -- but I won't do it unless it's Round 10. Beat owners like me to the punch and save yourself some trouble by handcuffing your stud now if you think he'll be in high demand.

Players you can get here: Mike Goodson, Shane Vereen, Robert Griffin III, Randy Moss, Brent Celek
My selection at No. 104 standard: Brent Celek
My selection at No. 104 PPR: Mike Goodson

Round 10
Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 35% TE 15%
PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 35% TE 15%

You hereby have permission to splurge on a sleeper if you haven't already. Even if you have, it's okay to take another one, but it's also a good time to keep hammering away on roster depth. If a good No. 2 quarterback has made it this far he's worth considering, but so are potential 60-catch receivers and part-time running backs.

Players you can get here: Santonio Holmes, Tony Gonzalez, Laurent Robinson, Jay Cutler, Bernard Scott
My selection at No. 113 standard: Bernard Scott
My selection at No. 113 PPR: Santonio Holmes

Round 11
Standard QB 15% RB 30% WR 30% TE 25%
PPR QB 15% RB 25% WR 30% TE 30%

The popular sleepers and handcuffs will be history, so you should be all about depth here. There is a shot at a decent No. 3 receiver or starting tight end making it this far, and if they're there then jump all over them. But for the most part expect role players at running back and some scraps at receiver. One talent pool that should still be deep: Quarterback. You could fish for a No. 2 option with little worry.

Players you can get here: Mark Ingram, Jacob Tamme, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Michael Crabtree
My selection at No. 128 standard: Santonio Holmes
My selection at No. 128 PPR: Brent Celek

Round 12
Standard QB 25% RB 20% WR 25% TE 25% K 0% DST 5%
PPR QB 25% RB 20% WR 25% TE 25% K 0% DST 5%

Taking a DST, or even worse a kicker, typically doesn't make sense with this pick. Most teams wait until their final two selections for those positions and that's a good move to make unless a top-of-the-top DST is hanging around. Going for value isn't even worth it here -- find a player with all sorts of upside based on his role and take him. You're only risking a late pick on someone who could develop into a factor for his team. It just so happened with my picks I took Rams receivers with 50-plus-catch potential. Can't argue with that this late in the game.

Players you can get here: Brandon Pettigrew, Joe Flacco, Alex Smith, Robert Turbin, Danny Amendola
My selection at No. 137 standard: Danny Amendola
My selection at No. 137 PPR: Brian Quick

Round 13
Standard QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% K 0% DST 100%
PPR QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% K 00% DST 100%

If you need to fill your DST and kicker spots, your choices are as follows: Aim for the best available or reach for a quality kicker before settling for a DST. Maybe you're in a league where kicking accuracy really pays off, and in that case the kicker is worth a little bit. But that's somewhat of a rarity. Unless there are five DSTs left that you'd be happy to use for the first few weeks of a season (and can wait for one in Round 14), take one now and leave the kicking to your last pick.

Players you can get here: Patriots DST, Jets DST, Bills DST
My selection at No. 152 standard: Patriots DST
My selection at No. 152 PPR: Patriots DST

Round 14
Standard QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% K 100% DST 0%
PPR QB 0% RB 0% WR 0% TE 0% K 100% DST 0%

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.

Players you can get here: Jason Hanson, Alex Henery, Dan Bailey, Robbie Gould
My selection at No. 161 standard: Jason Hanson
My selection at No. 161 PPR: Jason Hanson

Here is a look at what the teams look like following the draft:

Standard Point-per-reception
QB Tom Brady QB Drew Brees
RB Steven Jackson RB Darren McFadden
RB Reggie Bush RB Beanie Wells
WR Julio Jones WR Hakeem Nicks
WR Percy Harvin WR Jeremy Maclin
FLEX Donald Brown FLEX Donald Brown
TE Brent Celek TE Jermichael Finley
K Jason Hanson K Jason Hanson
DST Patriots DST Patriots
BENCH DeAngelo Williams BENCH Greg Little
BENCH Pierre Garcon BENCH Mike Goodson
BENCH Bernard Scott BENCH Santonio Holmes
BENCH Santonio Holmes BENCH Brent Celek
BENCH Danny Amendola BENCH Brian QUick

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

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