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2012 Draft Prep: Strategies for 12th overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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No one likes to be last. And if you're picking 12th in a 12-team Fantasy league, you're last to get your first player.

Of course, the bright side is if you're in a traditional "snake" draft, you're first in Round 2. You'll have two players before everyone else. So you've got that going for you. Which is nice.

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

The overriding strategy you'll have to embrace picking back-to-back is aiming for the two best-available players every time you're up. Can't really do anything else, can you?

One thing to keep in mind when you pick is acknowledging which players won't be there when you pick again. Early on there will be an obvious list of a dozen guys who won't make it back to you between picks 13 and 36. But as the draft progresses there could be some names that might actually slip 23 spots and fall back into your lap.

This is also where tiers come into play. Before you dig into your draft, sort players into groups based on general expectations (our version is here). When you're picking your two players, if you see a group of talent deep enough to survive those 23 picks before you're up again, feel good about going in a different direction. Conversely, if there's a tier about to dwindle and there's a guy at a position of need waiting for you, aim there.

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

Round 1
Standard QB 5% RB 85% WR 10% TE 0%
PPR QB 0% RB 50% WR 50% TE 0%

In standard leagues, your gameplan is to kick off your draft with a pair of running backs. In a PPR format you can open that up to include a high-target, reliable receiver and a running back with your first two choices. Just keep in mind that the quality of talent at positions other than running back will still be nice when you pick in Rounds 3 and 4 whereas the running back talent will slip. In the case of PPR formats, some rushers should slip because of the expected run on receivers, which is why going with someone like Larry Fitzgerald is OK. I don't mind taking an inexperienced back like Trent Richardson because of his potential to dominate touches in what should be a much improved Cleveland offense. Don't forget that Peyton Hillis ran roughshod all over the league with a weaker supporting cast than what Richardson has now.

Players you can get here: Trent Richardson, Michael Turner, DeMarco Murray, any receiver not named Calvin Johnson
My selection at No. 12 standard: Trent Richardson
My selection at No. 12 PPR: Larry Fitzgerald

Round 2
Standard QB 10% RB 75% WR 15% TE 0%
PPR QB 20% RB 55% WR 25% TE 0%

If you went running back with your first pick, hit that talent pool again. If you went anything other than a running back with your first pick, you almost have to take a rusher here or else risk having a weak running back corps. Again, it's the only position that will be decidedly worse by the time you get to pick again. Does this mean passing on a tight end like Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski? In a standard league it's pretty much a must. In a PPR league the case could be made to take one of those tight ends because we know they won't be there when you pick in Round 3. If you firmly believe one of the tight ends will exceed what they did last year, or if your PPR league allows tight ends to play the same as a wide receiver, then take the plunge. It's your team after all.

Players you can get here: DeMarco Murray, Michael Turner, Matt Forte, Matthew Stafford, Jimmy Graham
My selection at No. 13 standard: Michael Turner
My selection at No. 13 PPR: Matt Forte

Round 3
Standard QB 5% RB 35% WR 55% TE 5%
PPR QB 5% RB 35% WR 55% TE 5%

If you have two running backs, start looking for a receiver here and with your next pick. If you have only one running back, you might start surveying what's left of the running back field while also picking up a receiver. Common thread? Receivers should be on your mind. We talked about tiers at the beginning of this story -- you should be able to find receivers at the end of the near-elite receiver tier with your picks. Leave the quarterbacks, non-Graham/Gronk tight ends and good-but-not-great rushers for your fifth-round pick.

Players you can get here: Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Victor Cruz, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles
My selection at No. 36 standard: Demaryius Thomas
My selection at No. 36 PPR: Marques Colston

Round 4
Standard QB 5% RB 35% WR 55% TE 5%
PPR QB 5% RB 35% WR 55% TE 5%

The key to drafting receivers at this point is finding reliable starters so you're not searching for those kinds of players 23 picks from now (or later). But when is it right to not take a receiver here? If you already have two on board then the pressure to get a third isn't as strong. Moreover, if a quality talent from another position falls into your lap, why not take him? The combination of those two things happened in our PPR example with Marshawn Lynch landing at 37th overall. I wouldn't count on this happening in most drafts -- a receiver will probably be the way to go -- but it pays to pay attention and jump on a steal if one presents itself.

Players you can get here: Victor Cruz, Marques Colston, Darren Sproles, BenJarvus Green-Ellis
My selection at No. 37 standard: Victor Cruz
My selection at No. 37 PPR: Marshawn Lynch

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

If you've already drafted two running backs and two wide receivers, now's a great time to spike your roster with value picks of very good players at quarterback and tight end. Basically solidify your starting lineup. This could vary in a PPR format depending on who's left at those spots. For instance in our PPR example the best available tight end is Vernon Davis, who is a good player but probably not too far from the kind of tight end you can expect to snag in Round 7. In that format it's cool to pick up a third receiver if you're looking for someone with 80-catch potential or a running back that might have slipped because he's not expected to put up a lot of receptions.

Players you can get here: Roy Helu, Aaron Hernandez, Steve Johnson, Willis McGahee, Eli Manning
My selection at No. 60 standard: Eli Manning
My selection at No. 60 PPR: Antonio Brown

Round 6
Standard QB 30% RB 20% WR 20% TE 30%
PPR QB 30% RB 20% WR 30% TE 20%

Keep filling out your roster with potential starters, something done in both formats in our mock draft exercise. In standard formats the tight ends are about to draw a lot of attention and in PPR formats the quarterbacks will begin to fly. This is a good time to aim for one of those positions. At the same time, start making a list of the Top 10 players you'd take with your next two picks, updating it as players get taken. Round 7 is the time to start buckling down on taking best available players almost without regard to position.

Players you can get here: Roy Helu, Aaron Hernandez, Steve Johnson, Tony Romo, Willis McGahee
My selection at No. 61 standard: Aaron Hernandez
My selection at No. 61 PPR: Tony Romo

Round 7
Standard QB 25% RB 30% WR 30% TE 15%
PPR QB 25% RB 30% WR 30% TE 15%

This is the right time to begin searching for the best player available, almost without regard to position. It goes without saying that if you're at this point of the draft with a hole in your starting lineup, fill it as best as you can. But candidates for this pick and the next pick should be quarterbacks with 4,000-yard, 25-touchdown potential and skill-position players with 1,000-yard, seven-touchdown potential (you can dial down that number for tight ends).

Players you can get here: Titus Young, Anquan Boldin, Matt Ryan, Ronnie Hillman, Pierre Garcon
My selection at No. 84 standard: Titus Young
My selection at No. 84 PPR: Ronnie Hillman

Round 8
Standard QB 25% RB 30% WR 30% TE 15%
PPR QB 25% RB 30% WR 30% TE 15%

So as I just said, taking the best player available is one way to go. Taking depth is another way to go. Each of these examples was made in our mock drafts when I took Michael Bush for depth in our PPR format and Peyton Manning for value in our standard format. Surprises like this happen in drafts. Typically I might be opposed to drafting two quarterbacks within your first eight picks but not here. Manning is considered a Top 60 type of player and with a non-Top 5 quarterback already on the roster, doubling down on passers with what's basically a mid-round pick was an easy call. I don't think Manning will fall this far in your draft but if he does don't be afraid to take advantage. I bet you can trade him for a Top 60 player as the season unfolds.

Players you can get here: Titus Young, Anquan Boldin, Matt Ryan, Pierre Garcon, Michael Bush
My selection at No. 85 standard: Peyton Manning
My selection at No. 85 PPR: Michael Bush

Round 9
Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 25% TE 25%
PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 25% TE 30%

Handcuff running backs, low-risk running backs and low-end bargains are the name of the game in Round 9 and beyond. You can find a good value at tight end here and some decent quarterback backups will be around but really this is a good chance to land some running backs with potential to do well if they can find an opportunity. Be it as a handcuff or as a speculative choice, spending the pick now will either lead to an easy drop later or a tremendous find for your team. Though you might need a starter at another position, this is typically when going with a quality reserve running back is OK.

Players you can get here: Tony Gonzalez, Felix Jones, Jacquizz Rodgers, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington
My selection at No. 108 standard: Felix Jones
My selection at No. 108 PPR: Ben Tate

Round 10
Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 25% TE 25%
PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 25% TE 30%

Just because you might have taken a running back with your previous pick shouldn't preclude you from taking another one now. One of the strategies we'll preach is loading up on running backs and getting them through Round 10 isn't terrible depending on who's left. A back with some upside is always worth the risk here. Of course, waiting for a tight end until this point isn't such a bad thing either. Tony Gonzalez provides some stability without much upside but he's certainly worth beginning the season as a starter.

Players you can get here: Tony Gonzalez, Jacquizz Rodgers, Santonio Holmes, Nate Washington, Darrius Heyward-Bey
My selection at No. 109 standard: Jacquizz Rodgers
My selection at No. 109 PPR: Tony Gonzalez

Round 11
Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20%
PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20%

You should still be looking for depth at this point regardless of format. You can toy with the idea of a DST or a backup quarterback with your next pick but first and foremost keep an eye out for a rusher or receiver you can either start on a moment's notice or hope for some surprise stats from. If you had made a sleepers list before the draft, now's a good time to take a look at it and pick a name from it.

Players you can get here: Santana Moss, Daniel Thomas, Rashad Jennings, Coby Fleener, Joe Flacco
My selection at No. 132 standard: Santana Moss
My selection at No. 132 PPR: Daniel Thomas

Round 12
Standard QB 10% RB 25% WR 20% TE 10% K 0% DST 35%
PPR QB 10% RB 25% WR 20% TE 10% K 0% DST 35%

If you know you're not picking again until the last pick before the final round, which is when kickers go en masse, that means you'll be dead last on choosing a DST. A tip: If you like your team through your first 11 picks and have a few leftover sleeper names who could make it back to you in Round 13, splurge on the top DST now and beat your leaguemates to the punch. This is a good year for it as the Niners defense is the consensus No. 1 choice and has potential to put up some decent numbers from week to week thanks to a decent schedule and a weak division. Lock up a reliable starter (even if they play at the Packers in Week 1) and sweat a sleeper later. You don't have to settle for a suspect defense just because you pick where you do.

Players you can get here: Rashad Jennings, Coby Fleener, Joe Flacco, Brandon Pettigrew, 49ers DST
My selection at No. 133 standard: 49ers DST
My selection at No. 133 PPR: 49ers DST

Round 13
Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20% K 0% DST 0%
PPR QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20% K 0% DST 0%

Obviously if you need a DST and a kicker at this point, you'll go in that direction with your last two choices. But if you've already taken a DST, now's a great time to settle for a shot-in-the-dark sleeper. Think young and think potential.

Players you can get here: Taiwan Jones, Owen Daniels, Mike Williams, Lamar Miller
My selection at No. 156 standard: Taiwan Jones
My selection at No. 156 PPR: Owen Daniels

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%

Maybe it's a perk to pick early in the final round of the draft and get a kicker you can feel halfway decent about. Look for three things: Guys on teams with a good offense, guys who kick for accuracy and guys who can kick 50-plus-long field goals. And if the guy you pick stinks, just replace him off waivers. We're talking about kickers after all.

Players you can get here: Stephen Gostkowski, Sebastian Janikowski, Mason Crosby
My selection at No. 157 standard: Stephen Gostkowski
My selection at No. 157 PPR: Stephen Gostkowski

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

Standard Point-per-reception
QB Eli Manning QB Tony Romo
RB Trent Richardson RB Matt Forte
RB Michael Turner RB Marshawn Lynch
WR Demaryius Thomas WR Larry Fitzgerald
WR Victor Cruz WR Marques Colston
FLEX Titus Young FLEX Antonio Brown
TE Aaron Hernandez TE Tony Gonzalez
K Stephen Gostkowski K Stephen Gostkowski
DST 49ers DST 49ers
BENCH Peyton Manning BENCH Ronnie Hillman
BENCH Felix Jones BENCH Michael Bush
BENCH Jacquizz Rodgers BENCH Ben Tate
BENCH Santana Moss BENCH Daniel Thomas
BENCH Taiwan Jones BENCH Owen Daniels

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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