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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
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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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Player News
WR Andre Johnson: I didn't join Colts for revenge against Texans
by Marty Gitlin | CBSSports.com
(4/18/2015) Perennial Pro Bowl wideout Andre Johnson insists that he did not sign as a free agent with the Colts with two matchups against his old Texans team in mind. He claims the move was because Indianapolis, led by quarterback Andrew Luck, gives him the best chance to win.

Johnson was surprisingly released by Houston, but revenge was not part of his game plan.

"(Leaving the Texans) hasn't even really set in," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I was just talking about that with someone (Thursday). Everybody thinks that I went to the Colts to try and get back at the Texans and stuff like that. That had nothing to do with it. I just went to the ... place where I felt was the best fit for me and where I can have a chance to win a championship.

"It wasn't about circling (game) dates or nothing against the Texans. I had 12 great years here. Been around some great people, built some great relationships, a lot of great friends. Houston's always going to be my home."

Johnson remained productive in 2014, but his yards-per-catch average declined to 11.0, its lowest since 2005.


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(4/18/2015) The Jaguars restructured the contract of tight end Marcedes Lewis, according to a report by Jacksonville.com.

Lewis did not receive an extension. This year will be the last year of his contract. The restructuring should reduce his cap number, which is currently $8.2 million. 


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Wisniewski reportedly signed a one-year contract for $2.5 million, per Jacksonville.com.

"We had the opportunity to spend time with Stefen earlier this month and remained in contact with him with the hopes of getting a deal done," GM David Caldwell said. "We are excited to get him on board before we officially start our offseason conditioning program next week. He gives us great position flexibility along our offensive line as he has started at both center and guard during his career. He has a familiarity with our offensive system and brings a lot of experience to our offensive line room."


49ers looking to extend Michael Wilhoite
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(4/17/2015) After the unexpected retirements of two linebackers, the 49ers are looking to lock up Michael Wilhoite to a contract extension. 

Wilhoite is an exclusive rights free agent, but GM Trent Baalke told the media he hopes to negotiate a long-term deal. 

"We’re working on something with him as we speak … He’s kind of in a unique situation. He was kind of caught in a numbers deal," Baalke said, per SFGate.com.


DeMeco Ryans likes improved Eagles' defense
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Eagles linebacker DeMeco Ryans likes the changes that the team has made to its defense in the offseason.

"We got better on the outside, which we struggled at last year,” Ryans said, per ESPN. “We had a lot of struggles there on the outside at the corner position, so I feel we've upgraded there with (Byron) Maxwell , a guy that you've seen make a lot of plays for the Seahawks. A guy like Kiko (Alonso), who his rookie year was a really outstanding player, up for defensive rookie of the year, a playmaker all over the field, and another guy in (Walter) Thurmond , who is expected to definitely push guys to be the starting corner on the other side. So I feel like we upgraded at a lot of positions, and I feel like it's really going to improve our defense."


Kubiak: Time for Broncos' backup Brock Osweiler to step up
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler hasn't had much playing time, as Peyton Manning's backup, but coach Gary Kubiak wants to see progress from him.

"I think it's time for Brock to take a big step as a player," Kubiak said, per NFL.com. "A lot of times in this league, the young quarterbacks don't get the opportunity to be behind a player of Peyton's status and learn before they get the opportunity in this league ... I think Brock needs to take advantage of this. But he's going to be very competitive. I'm very impressed with his skills. I'm very impressed with how hard he works in the classroom. I know he's got all of the ability."


Kubiak: Broncos will run no-huddle with Peyton Manning
by Shawn Krest | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Gary Kubiak said he plans to take advantage of future Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning when designing the Broncos' offense for next season. 

We'll definitely be running the hurry-up offense," Kubiak said per NFL.com. "Peyton's been the best at the business at it for many years, so that's a strength that we'll stay with."

That doesn't mean everything will be the same for Manning. Kubiak said he planned on having Manning under center more than in recent seasons. 


Steelers claim LS Brandon Hartson off waivers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) The Steelers announced on Friday that they claimed long snapper Brandon Hartson off of waivers. 

Hartson was waived by the Chiefs on Thursday. 


S Chris Banjo signs EFA tender with Packers
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) Packers safety Chris Banjo signed his exclusive-rights tender on Friday, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

The tender is good for one year and is worth $585,000 for the 2015 season. 


Trent Baalke praises 49ers LB Aldon Smith's offseason work ethic
by Jason Butt | CBSSports.com
(4/17/2015) 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith has had plenty of off-field issues since entering the NFL.

After serving a nine-game suspension a year ago for violating the NFL's personal-conduct and substance-abuse policy, Smith returned and only tallied two sacks. 

The time off followed by sub-par performances has ignited Smith on the practice field thus far, according to general manager Trent Baalke. 

"He’s probably in as good a shape as he’s been in a long time," Baalke said, via the San Jose Mercury News. "He’s starting to develop into a leader out there, which is good to see and been a pleasure to watch."

Baalke knows that Smith has an uphill climb in repairing his image. But while Smith attempts to do so, Baalke wanted the San Francisco media to know that Smith is doing what he can to improve ont he playing field. 

“He’s got a great look in his eye,” Baalke said. “He’s doing well. I look forward to having you guys visit with him.”


 
 
 
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