No. 1 overall | No. 2 | No. 3 | No. 4 | No. 5 | No. 6 | No. 7
No. 8 | No. 9 | No. 10 | No. 11 | No. 12
No. 8 | No. 9 | No. 10 | No. 11 | No. 12
A year ago picking sixth was a headache. No running back was worthy of being taken so soon. Quarterbacks were safe but not a perfect model to begin a draft. Calvin Johnson was an option, but maybe one too soon for typical non-PPR leagues.
Well, that year is over and this year is here. Now there are more than enough quality running backs in Round 1 if you want one. Getting another one like it in Round 2, however, might be asking too much.
That uncertainty of landing a quality rusher in Round 2 is what might make you think twice about taking Calvin Johnson in Round 1. Among the safest receivers in Fantasy Football history, Johnson should be in line for another 100-catch season with a slew of yardage and an uptick in touchdowns from last year's pathetic five. It's alluring for owners in PPR leagues if a running back with high-catch potential doesn't draw interest, but in standard leagues it feels like a mistake to get Johnson when you can get a receiver in Round 2 that's just under his grade level -- or, perhaps, that second running back. Owners in 10-team leagues might be able to safely take Johnson because they'll pick sooner and the running back talent pool won't drain so quickly.
Picking in the middle of the draft should create some good opportunities for value picks. Landing three players in the Top 30 isn't so bad either.
Editor's note: The percentages listed are what position you should target based on that round for each pick.
|Round 1 - Standard||QB||0%||RB||100%||WR||0%||TE||0%|
|Round 1 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||55%||WR||45%||TE||0%|
Some owners are incensed because they can't get a stud running back at sixth overall. To that I say: Save it! The likes of Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster and Doug Martin will be history but there are still plenty of heavy lifters. That's the direction I'll aim for in standard leagues, but in PPR formats I will give very serious consideration to Calvin Johnson. One reason why is because he seems very safe. The other reason is because I'm reasonably sure a number of wideouts will get picked between sixth overall and your pick in Round 2, pushing down the running backs to your spot. If you're OK with Alfred Morris or at worst Stevan Ridley as your first running back, then Calvin's the way to go. If you don't take Calvin in a PPR you could get a rusher like Ray Rice or Trent Richardson and a receiver like Brandon Marshall or Larry Fitzgerald. The differences are negligible but there's probably just enough of a benefit to taking Megatron over Marshall/Fitzgerald to make it worthwhile. Unfortunately, in the PPR league I'm basing these analysis on, Johnson was taken fifth -- not everyone with a Top 5 pick will look for a first-round running back.
Players you can get here (standard): Marshawn Lynch, Trent Richardson, C.J. Spiller, Ray Rice
Players you can get here (PPR): Ray Rice, Calvin Johnson, C.J. Spiller, LeSean McCoy, Trent Richardson
My selection at No. 6 standard: Trent Richardson
My selection at No. 6 PPR: Ray Rice
|Round 2 - Standard||QB||0%||RB||45%||WR||45%||TE||10%|
|Round 2 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||50%||WR||45%||TE||5%|
The odds of getting a running back you're comfortable with as a second option are pretty good, but they'll be about as good in Round 3, so don't rule out a receiver. I especially wouldn't blame you for taking a Top 3 receiver over a running back that has health concerns (DeMarco Murray) or performance concerns (Chris Johnson). In a PPR league that expands from a Top 3 receiver to a receiver with 100-catch potential instead. This is a nice benefit to picking in the sixth slot: You'll get a crack at elite players before the five people who picked before you in Round 1 do. You'll appreciate this when you're up in Round 3 and don't have nearly as much pressure to make a pick based solely on need. Tight end Jimmy Graham could gum up the works and fall to you here in a standard league (I doubt he gets past 15th overall in a PPR). Graham with a running back is fine; Graham with Megatron sounds fine but really forces that third-round pick to be a running back, not to mention wait a long time until going with a quarterback.
Players you can get here (standard): Reggie Bush, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray
Players you can get here (PPR): Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, Alfred Morris, Chris Johnson
My selection at No. 19 standard: Dez Bryant
My selection at No. 19 PPR: Larry Fitzgerald
|Round 3 - Standard||QB||15%||RB||40%||WR||35%||TE||10%|
|Round 3 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||50%||WR||45%||TE||5%|
If you went with a receiver in Round 2, double back for a rusher in Round 3. This is an easier plan of attack in PPR formats when receivers will push running backs down the board a little bit. The types of running backs left still have 1,000-yard, eight-plus-touchdown potential and are way, way better than what will be left over when you're up in Round 4. Obviously if you took two running backs with your first two picks, this is a good chance to get a quality receiver, albeit one that doesn't have crazy potential. Owners in standard leagues could see their strategy tested if Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers falls to this pick. The value might be too good to pass up.
Players you can get here (standard): Andre Johnson, Frank Gore, Roddy White, David Wilson
Players you can get here (PPR): Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles, Maurice Jones-Drew, Lamar Miller, Wes Welker
My selection at No. 30 standard: Frank Gore
My selection at No. 30 PPR: Maurice Jones-Drew
|Round 4 - Standard||QB||20%||RB||30%||WR||45%||TE||5%|
|Round 4 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||55%||TE||5%|
This should be the first time in the draft where you look at the running backs available and get sick. When that happens, throw down some pills from indigestion and go with a value pick at receiver or quarterback. Why force it with a running back when you can get a good pick at another position? The quarterbacks to target here are Peyton Manning and Cam Newton; regardless of format they're steals this late. The receivers left have 75-catch, 1,000-yard expectations and shouldn't be frowned upon. If you went with two running backs and one wideout with your first three picks, you'll love what you get here.
Players you can get here (standard): Peyton Manning, Cam Newton, Marques Colston, Dwayne Bowe, Wes Welker, Eddie Lacy
Players you can get here (PPR): Peyton Manning, Dwayne Bowe, Reggie Wayne, Jason Witten
My selection at No. 43 standard: Marques Colston
My selection at No. 43 PPR: Peyton Manning
|Round 5 - Standard||QB||35%||RB||35%||WR||25%||TE||5%|
|Round 5 - PPR||QB||35%||RB||25%||WR||30%||TE||10%|
Ideally, this is the time to really focus on taking a quarterback. The likes of Matt Ryan, Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady should be available in Round 5. But what if you already have a passer? Or what if those passers are long gone? Don't reach for a quarterback. Instead rummage through some valuable picks left, though they're stronger at receiver than running back. I happen to like loading up on running backs so making an exception for one that can play in my Flex spot is something worth considering. Otherwise aim for a Top 24 receiver or maybe even a Top 5 tight end.
Players you can get here (standard): Matthew Stafford, Giovani Bernard, Rashard Mendenhall, Tom Brady, Ahmad Bradshaw, Pierre Garcon
Players you can get here (PPR): Matt Ryan, Eric Decker, Montee Ball, Cecil Shorts, Steve Smith, Matthew Stafford
My selection at No. 54 standard: Ahmad Bradshaw
My selection at No. 54 PPR: Cecil Shorts
|Round 6 - Standard||QB||25%||RB||30%||WR||30%||TE||15%|
|Round 6 - PPR||QB||25%||RB||30%||WR||30%||TE||15%|
If you still need a quarterback there's no point in fighting it anymore -- you should be happy with your choices here. If you need a running back, or just want to collect them like memorabilia, this is the last time they'll be even moderately good. When you're up in Round 7 the rushers left will be high-end backups and part-time players. But it's not a lock to go with a running back here. By now most owners will have assembled their core group and just want to add to it. You can do the same, of course, but there are some stud receivers in the mix (maybe a Top 5 tight end too).
Players you can get here(standard): Cecil Shorts, James Jones, T.Y. Hilton, Daryl Richardson, Tony Gonzalez, Tony Romo
Players you can get here (PPR): James Jones, Ronnie Hillman, Daryl Richardson, Robert Griffin III, Kenny Britt
My selection at No. 67 standard: Tony Gonzalez
My selection at No. 67 PPR: James Jones
|Round 7 - Standard||QB||20%||RB||25%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
|Round 7 - PPR||QB||20%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||15%|
Assume the owners picking in front of you in Round 7 left the running back cupboard bare. With that being the case, follow the plan from Round 4 and pick up the best of what's left at another position. Tight ends should carry good value as should receivers -- the last of the 1,000-yard guys should get picked off around now. And of course some start-worthy quarterbacks will be left. The exception to all of this is if your first-round pick requires a quality handcuff -- then get the handcuff before someone else in your league gets cute and takes him.
Players you can get here (standard): Vernon Davis, Colin Kaepernick, Pierre Thomas, Bernard Pierce, Bryce Brown, Steve Johnson
Players you can get here (PPR): Kenny Britt, Andrew Luck, Bernard Pierce, Pierre Thomas, Danny Woodhead
My selection at No. 78 standard: Colin Kaepernick
My selection at No. 78 PPR: Bernard Pierce
|Round 8 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||25%|
|Round 8 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||25%||WR||40%||TE||25%|
Be on the lookout this round for sleeper receivers in PPR leagues (you can wait a round for them in standard leagues) and a handful of marginal running backs for depth. You can pick up a starter or two here if you need a tight end or a Flex but it's not going to be pretty. You could also take a quarterback now and another one in Round 9 if you don't have one (play the matchups with two solid options). I don't mind skewing toward a young player with this pick, particularly since you'll aim to do so with your next group of picks too.
Players you can get here (standard): Miles Austin, Eli Manning, Vick Ballard, Kenny Britt, Mike Williams, Mark Ingram
Players you can get here (PPR): Michael Floyd, Jared Cook, DeSean Jackson, Vick Ballard, Ryan Broyles
My selection at No. 91 standard: Miles Austin
My selection at No. 91 PPR: Michael Floyd
|Round 9 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||40%||TE||15%|
|Round 9 - PPR||QB||15%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||15%|
The sleepers you looked for in Round 8 can be found in Round 9 in standard leagues. This is the time to get them -- with everyone's rosters built and need not really an issue, everyone will look for high-upside players. This means avoiding older players unless they've got a realistic shot of starting for you for at least a few weeks while putting up some very good numbers. Think young and aim for players with potential for plenty of playing time with a slight lean toward running backs.
Players you can get here (standard): Golden Tate, Jonathan Stewart, Lance Moore, Danny Woodhead
Players you can get here (PPR): Anquan Boldin, Bilal Powell, Josh Gordon, Greg Jennings
My selection at No. 100 standard: Danny Woodhead
My selection at No. 100 PPR: Bilal Powell
|Round 10 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
|Round 10 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||35%||TE||15%|
This isn't the time to start thinking about defenses or kickers -- it's still time to keep an eye out for sleepers. I like the idea of snapping up a second quarterback here if you took one in Round 7 or later (just to play it safe). Running backs will remain thin but there could still be some decent handcuffs to swipe. But this is especially a great time to find a bargain among the older players in the league along with some under-the-radar youngsters. Point is, DSTs and kickers will be around later, don't jinx yourself by taking one of them now.
Players you can get here (standard): Anquan Boldin, Emmanuel Sanders, Andy Dalton, Christine Michael, Joique Bell
Players you can get here (PPR): Kendall Wright, Alshon Jeffery, Antonio Gates, Emmanuel Sanders, Greg Olsen
My selection at No. 115 standard: Andy Dalton
My selection at No. 115 PPR: Antonio Gates
|Round 11 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
|Round 11 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
I love taking chances this late because the risk is so small. If you draft a bust in Round 11, so what? You won't lose any sleep over it, you'll just hit the waiver wire for some fresh blood. If you want something safer, there's nothing wrong with handcuffing a running back or fishing for a receiver with some upside. Just remember to budget your roster spots carefully because two of these last four picks will include a kicker and a DST.
|Round 12 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||15%|
|Round 12 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||15%|
If there's a late-round flier worth taking, do it here. If there's more than one (say there are like four you're eyeing), then grabbing a top-shelf DST before coming back for one of the sleepers is ideal. Why not do it? Everyone picking after you will take a DST in Round 13, making it impossible to come away with a great option. But that said, do not take the DST if your sleeper list is down to one or two names, or if you can still handcuff your first-round pick.
|Round 13 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||20%||WR||15%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||45%|
|Round 13 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||20%||WR||15%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||45%|
Save the kicking for the last round -- if you take one now you'll get an "elite" one, but so what? The difference between the top kickers and the second tier of kickers is negligible. The difference between a Top 5 or 6 DST and one you might find in the last round could be fairly significant. If you must draft a DST, this is a solid time to do it.
|Round 14 - Standard||QB||0%||RB||0%||WR||0%||TE||0%||K||100%||DST||0%|
|Round 14 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||0%||WR||0%||TE||0%||K||100%||DST||0%|
Give the boot to kickers on bad teams with bad offenses. I don't mean to offend the likes of Josh Scobee or Nick Folk but they're on teams with quarterback issues, and those tend to not offer a slew of field goal opportunities. Then again, Sebastian Janikowski has been a great Fantasy kicker for years and the Raiders have gone nowhere fast. That's more than likely because the Raiders are willing to let him try field goals from obscene distances -- younger kickers (or should I say less-proven kickers) don't get that kind of action. Yet something else to look for when deciding who you'll ride with to begin the season.
Here's what the teams look like following the draft:
|QB||Colin Kaepernick||QB||Peyton Manning|
|RB||Trent Richardson||RB||Ray Rice|
|RB||Frank Gore||RB||Maurice Jones-Drew|
|WR||Dez Bryant||WR||Larry Fitzgerald|
|WR||Marques Colston||WR||Cecil Shorts|
|FLEX||Ahmad Bradshaw||FLEX||James Jones|
|TE||Tony Gonzalez||TE||Antonio Gates|
|K||Sebastian Janikowski||K||Justin Tucker|
|BENCH||Miles Austin||BENCH||Bernard Pierce|
|BENCH||Danny Woodhead||BENCH||Michael Floyd|
|BENCH||Andy Dalton||BENCH||Bilal Powell|
|BENCH||Kendall Hunter||BENCH||Mohamed Sanu|
|BENCH||Rod Streater||BENCH||Denard Robinson|