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
The running backs available at eighth overall are studly. Even if everyone picking in front of you takes a running back you can still get one with 1,500-total-yard, 10-touchdown potential (Ray Rice, LeSean McCoy, Alfred Morris). It's a refreshing change from last year.
But you can also get Megatron, who had only five touchdowns last year but still finished as the top receiver in Fantasy thanks to his 1,964 yards on 122 catches. Johnson might score five touchdowns in his first six games this season and his yardage should still be on par with the top running backs. That's why he's a consideration -- he should produce like a running back.
Your decision on what to do in Round 1 should be based on these factors:
1. Has Calvin already been taken? (it's very possible he's gone by the time you pick)
2. Are you in a PPR league?
3. Are you comfortable picking starters from the running backs ranked between 14th and 23rd in the rankings?
If running backs were deeper, making Calvin Johnson your pick in Round 1 would be a no-brainer. But if he's the pick in Round 1 then in Round 2 you're looking at Reggie Bush, Maurice Jones-Drew or DeMarco Murray as your No. 1 running back. In Round 3, when you might look for a No. 2 running back, it gets a little dicey (as you'll see below).
But in leagues where receptions count, receivers are in higher demand and running backs sort of get pushed down the draft board. That makes selecting Megatron far more appealing because you can land better rushers in Rounds 2 and 3 (and maybe even 4). The only problem is that he might not make it to you. In the mock drafts we've done, Johnson has been a routine Top 6 pick in PPR formats.
In the event Johnson isn't an option, by choice or by force, then aiming for the best-available back with a heavy workload is where to go. There's absolutely nothing wrong with starting your draft this way. In a standard league, I'd do it even if Johnson was on the board.
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||65%||WR||35%||TE||0%|
Like I mentioned above, Calvin Johnson is the pick if he's available in PPR leagues. But without the full-point bonus for every catch he's not worth the selection compared to Ray Rice, Alfred Morris and LeSean McCoy. Those rushers vary in skill but not explosiveness or productivity, making all of them worthy choices. The Ravens' limited receiving corps might push them to lean on Rice more as a dual threat, something he should be able to handle. I like him a lot, but I like Morris too. He'll get his work and score a slew of touchdowns in the Washington offense. McCoy will also get a ton of work -- the Eagles should be very running back intense. These are pretty much the choices you'll have in standard formats; Rice, McCoy, Trent Richardson and Matt Forte could be the backs you're looking at in a PPR.
Players you can get here (standard): Trent Richardson, Ray Rice, Alfred Morris, LeSean McCoy, Calvin Johnson
Players you can here (PPR): Calvin Johnson, Trent Richardson, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte, Marshawn Lynch
My selection at No. 8 standard: Ray Rice
My selection at No. 8 PPR: Trent Richardson
|Round 2 - Standard||QB||0%||RB||40%||WR||45%||TE||15%|
|Round 2 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||45%||WR||50%||TE||5%|
One of the reasons why it's sweet to pick eighth is because you can get a second player at 17th overall. By picking here you're basically promised a solid running back or an elite receiver -- or maybe even Jimmy Graham. Taking two running backs to begin the draft makes plenty of sense, but it's hard to pass up the next-best receiver behind Calvin Johnson, whomever you think that is. For me, A.J. Green is one of them and Julio Jones is another. I don't mind either one here, particularly in a PPR league if a running back was picked in Round 1. Graham is in the mix too, regardless of format. Focus on getting an elite player, regardless of position. There's just enough running back depth to make one of your next two choices a quality starter.
Players you can get here (standard): Jimmy Graham, A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Reggie Bush
Players you can get here (PPR): A.J. Green, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall
My selection at No. 17 standard: A.J. Green
My selection at No. 17 PPR: Julio Jones
|Round 3 - Standard||QB||15%||RB||40%||WR||35%||TE||10%|
|Round 3 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||45%||WR||50%||TE||5%|
In standard leagues, getting a running back here is a must. The talent pool is getting shallow and winding up with a second running back is really important. But it's not quite as important in a PPR league, particularly if there's still a player with 90-catch potential out there. Remember, in PPR formats the running backs last a little bit longer and with a pick just nine spots away and several teams likely looking at receivers after your third choice, there's not too much risk in waiting for a back. I wouldn't take a quarterback here in PPR formats and probably wouldn't take one in Round 4 either. In standard leagues I'd pick a Top-2 passer here if one slipped.
Players you can get here (standard): Frank Gore, Roddy White, David Wilson, Darren McFadden, Le'Veon Bell
Players you can get here (PPR): Lamar Miller, Wes Welker, David Wilson, Victor Cruz
My selection at No. 32 standard: David Wilson
My selection at No. 32 PPR: Wes Welker
|Round 4 - Standard||QB||25%||RB||25%||WR||30%||TE||20%|
|Round 4 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||40%||TE||20%|
There are three types of players you'll draft here: A quarterback you'd never expect to see, a running back you don't necessarily love but need because the position depth is getting soft or Rob Gronkowski. In my opinion this is when to get Gronkowski if you really lucked out with your first three picks. There's risk involved since he's not promised to play in Week 1 but there's reward in case he does. He's averaged nearly a touchdown per game over his career and can pick up anywhere from 50 to 75 yards per game on top of it. If you don't have the stomach for Gronk and if there isn't a stunningly valuable quarterback sitting there then go with a running back, even if it's one you're not jazzed about. There will still be quality receivers when you're up in Round 5 but the same can't be said of their backfield counterparts.
Players you can get here (standard): Rob Gronkowski, Darren Sproles, Cam Newton, Montee Ball, Marques Colston
Players you can get here (PPR): Rob Gronkowski, Frank Gore, Darren McFadden, Danny Amendola
My selection at No. 41 standard: Cam Newton
My selection at No. 41 PPR: Frank Gore
|Round 5 - Standard||QB||35%||RB||35%||WR||25%||TE||5%|
|Round 5 - PPR||QB||35%||RB||25%||WR||30%||TE||10%|
Round 5 feels like the time to fill a spot in your roster with the best available player at a position you need. For many of you it will be a quarterback and as such there's plenty of valuable commodities to select. Others might already have quarterback filled and should then aim for either a high-catch receiver in a PPR format or a "good enough" running back to fill in at flex. Receivers will be more plentiful. Tight ends will look good too but there isn't as much demand for one of those.
Players you can get here (standard): Tom Brady, Rashard Mendenhall, Ahmad Bradshaw, Pierre Garcon, Eric Decker, Hakeem Nicks
Players you can get here (PPR): Steve Smith, Matthew Stafford, Rashard Mendenhall, Cecil Shorts, Eddie Lacy, Tavon Austin
My selection at No. 56 standard: Eric Decker
My selection at No. 56 PPR: Matthew Stafford
|Round 6 - Standard||QB||25%||RB||30%||WR||30%||TE||15%|
|Round 6 - PPR||QB||25%||RB||30%||WR||30%||TE||15%|
Let need dictate the direction of this pick. If you need a third running back, might as well draft one. If you need a third receiver there's plenty of options there too. Going with a tight end isn't a horrible idea either depending on who's left at receiver (I'd take a 1,000-yard receiver over an 800-yard tight end). And of course, if you still need a quarterback there should be some valuable entities to ponder. The only position drying up quickly is running back, which is why it doesn't hurt to lean that way if you don't feel like you have to fill a spot in your starting lineup. By Round 7 the pickings will be slim.
Players you can get here (standard): Tony Romo, Steve Smith, Cecil Shorts, James Jones, Tony Gonzalez
Players you can get here (PPR): Ahmad Bradshaw, Antonio Brown, James Jones, Ronnie Hillman
My selection at No. 65 standard: Cecil Shorts
My selection at No. 65 PPR: Ahmad Bradshaw
|Round 7 - Standard||QB||20%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||15%|
|Round 7 - PPR||QB||20%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||15%|
Round 7 is for high-end handcuffs and potential steals. Vernon Davis should especially look pretty good as should a couple of receivers. Quarterbacks too, though I imagine the best name left will be Colin Kaepernick. At running back, though, it's bleak. It's fine to pad the depth there if someone in your specific format can provide an edge and it's OK to draft the handcuff for Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Vernon Davis, Colin Kaepernick, Pierre Thomas, Bernard Pierce, Bryce Brown, T.Y. Hilton, Steve Johnson, Jordy Nelson
My selection at No. 80 standard: Bernard Pierce
My selection at No. 80 PPR: Danny Woodhead
|Round 8 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||25%|
|Round 8 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||25%||WR||40%||TE||25%|
In my mind, the search for starters ended last round and the search for sleepers begins this round. For your next five picks, be on the lookout for quality contributors with high potential. I don't mind taking any specific position except quarterback -- you should have one by now and if not you're probably going to have to take two with back-to-back picks. Receivers might have higher priority in PPR leagues than running backs.
Players you can get here (standard): Mark Ingram, Mike Williams, Kenny Britt, Vick Ballard, Miles Austin, Eli Manning
Players you can get here (PPR): Colin Kaepernick, DeSean Jackson, Michael Floyd, Vick Ballard
My selection at No. 89 standard: Vick Ballard
My selection at No. 89 PPR: DeSean Jackson
|Round 9 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||40%||TE||15%|
|Round 9 - PPR||QB||15%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||15%|
Match breakout candidates and vets who have slipped far in drafts with whatever needs you think you have to fill your team. Obviously if a running back with a decent chance to get to 900 total yards and six touchdowns falls into your lap then jump at it. But you could see some older players become available, and Round 9 isn't a bad time to take someone a little past his prime but still capable of being an effective option. You're probably not starting any running backs or receivers left here anyway but anyone who can give some stats from week to week is welcomed.
Players you can get here (standard): Lance Moore, Danny Woodhead, Fred Jackson, Isaiah Pead, Greg Jennings, Michael Floyd, Ryan Broyles
Players you can get here (PPR): Zac Stacy, Anquan Boldin, Bilal Powell, Josh Gordon, Greg Jennings
My selection at No. 104 standard: Isaiah Pead
My selection at No. 104 PPR: Greg Jennings
|Round 10 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||40%||TE||15%|
|Round 10 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
The draft is beginning to wind down but you can still fill up the bench with some decent late-round fliers and a tight end if you need one. Actually the tight ends floating around here are good enough to start, so maybe part of your overall draft strategy is to wait for one until here. It's too soon for kickers and defenses and backup quarterbacks aren't vital unless you took a passer you're not comfortable carrying by himself for the course of the year. The running backs left over are about as mouthwatering as, well, leftovers. Doesn't mean you can't draft one or land a handcuff (or someone else's handcuff) if you want to pad depth.
Players you can get here (standard): Kyle Rudolph, Anquan Boldin, Shonn Greene, Joique Bell, Knile Davis
Players you can get here (PPR): Justin Blackmon, Greg Olsen, Emmanuel Sanders, Isaiah Pead
My selection at No. 113 standard: Anquan Boldin
My selection at No. 113 PPR: Greg Olsen
|Round 11 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||25%|
|Round 11 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||25%|
Of course, getting a tight end in Round 11 isn't a bad plan of attack if you decide to punt on one in Round 10. Nor is it a bad idea to find receivers on bad teams -- this is in addition to the weak running backs that you might think about. Bad teams will have to throw a lot. That helps receivers and tight ends involved. Note that not all the tight ends left will be on bad teams. Your next two picks are the time to take chances and live dangerously since any bust pick made here has minimal impact on your roster.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Jermichael Finley, Martellus Bennett, Rod Streater, Malcom Floyd, Sidney Rice, 49ers DST
My selection at No. 128 standard: Jermichael Finley
My selection at No. 128 PPR: Rod Streater
|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 you're in a 14-round draft you have three picks left with one expected to be a DST and one expected to be a kicker. Do yourself a favor and list all the players you'd take here regardless of position. Is your list seven or eight names deep? If so, splurge on a Top-5 DST. If the list is five names or fewer, pass on the DST until Round 13 and go with the best low-rent, late-round flier you can take. Keep in mind that some handcuffs can still be taken here -- for example if Frank Gore made your team it's probably a smart idea to back him up with Kendall Hunter.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Denard Robinson, Kendall Hunter, Bengals DST, Jacquizz Rodgers, Denarius Moore, Lance Dunbar
My selection at No. 137 standard: Bengals DST
My selection at No. 137 PPR: Kendall Hunter
|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%|
How's that sleeper list looking? If you have space for a wild card on your bench, this is the time to take one -- not next round when everyone drafts a kicker. If you don't have the room you should still be able to land a Top-8 DST, which isn't so bad.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Broncos DST, Patriots DST, Denard Robinson, Vikings DST, Ravens DST
My selection at No. 152 standard: Denard Robinson
My selection at No. 152 PPR: Vikings DST
|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%|
Kicker time. One of my sleeper kickers this year is Phil Dawson, who left Cleveland for the 49ers this offseason. Dawson has been successful on at least 82 pct. of his field goal attempts in each of his last six seasons and has missed only one of 15 field goals from 50-plus yards the last two years. The Niners attempted 42 field goals last year and 52 field goals the year before. Do the math and we could see Dawson be one of the most productive kickers in Fantasy this year.
Here's what the teams look like following the draft:
|QB||Cam Newton||QB||Matthew Stafford|
|RB||Ray Rice||RB||Trent Richardson|
|RB||David Wilson||RB||Frank Gore|
|WR||A.J. Green||WR||Julio Jones|
|WR||Eric Decker||WR||Wes Welker|
|FLEX||Cecil Shorts||FLEX||Ahmad Bradshaw|
|TE||Jermichael Finley||TE||Greg Olsen|
|K||Phil Dawson||K||Phil Dawson|
|BENCH||Bernard Pierce||BENCH||Danny Woodhead|
|BENCH||Vick Ballard||BENCH||DeSean Jackson|
|BENCH||Isaiah Pead||BENCH||Greg Jennings|
|BENCH||Anquan Boldin||BENCH||Rod Streater|
|BENCH||Denard Robinson||BENCH||Kendall Hunter|