Pick No. 1 | Pick No. 2 | Pick No. 3 | Pick No. 4 | Pick No. 5 | Pick No. 7
Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11 | Pick No. 12
Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11 | Pick No. 12
Should the owner who draws the sixth overall selection take the best available running back or the best available non-running back? Let the debate begin!
There's no question that if you pass on a running back you'll get an elite player. Calvin Johnson or Demaryius Thomas, Jimmy Graham or Peyton Manning are at your fingertips. All of them are consistent, strong Fantasy choices that can bolster a team. But by taking them, you're putting pressure on yourself to find good running backs later (scope the backs ranked 10th and beyond in our rankings). Maybe you like that pressure -- it's kind of fun to hunt running backs and hope to strike gold with one. But it's painful if you pass up a great running back.
That's the risk you'll take if you don't stay on the ground in Round 1. Guys like Jamaal Charles, LeSean McCoy, Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson are likely to be long gone. You might have a shot at Eddie Lacy, which is the next best back in our opinion. But if he's gone and you're set on getting a rusher, you'll have a big choice to make from:
• Arian Foster is coming off of a minor back surgery and has dealt with minor injuries for a while. He'll be the bell cow for the Texans, but will their passing game push defenders closer to shutting him down?
• DeMarco Murray has been stellar when healthy and the Cowboys figure to have an explosive offense. But could Murray lose some targets in the passing game, and what guarantees are there that he'll stay healthy?
• Montee Ball is next in line to run the ball for the Broncos, and playing next to Peyton Manning has always been a good thing for a rusher. But is he a lock to keep the job even if he struggles or fumbles? Can he be trusted in just his second season?
• Marshawn Lynch has been a beast for several Fantasy seasons, displaying the role of No. 1 Fantasy running back quite well. Will his holdout affect him? And if not, will the 400-plus touches he took on en route to the Super Bowl make for some eventual bad news?
Ugh, it's enough to just make you take a non-running back, isn't it?
We'd consider going with a receiver or a tight end in Round 1 if our league were smaller and/or gave full points for receptions (PPR). That matters because smaller leagues will allow owners opportunities to pick up running backs later on and points for catches mean more points for receivers. We would not go with a quarterback unless owners could start more than one every week -- there's just too much supply for the demand involved. Maybe our tune would change in a league with 16 or more teams. Maybe.
The only person who can settle the debate is you. If it helps, the running backs that will be there all have the potential to be exceptional, just some of them come with more questions than others. And as you'll soon see, passing on a quarterback, receiver or tight end in Round 1 isn't such a bad thing.
We have two teams to show you: One in which we took a running back first and one in which we went with a receiver (a PPR league). Hopefully you'll learn something from the differences in philosophy.
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||55%||WR||30%||TE||15%|
|Round 1 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||40%||WR||45%||TE||15%|
In a perfect world, one of the Top 4 running backs slides to this spot for an easy pick. But the world is an imperfect place. Eddie Lacy might be the best you can get and if not him, then someone like we mentioned above. Don't limit yourself to a running back if you're in a PPR league or a small league. One of the perks of taking an elite receiver early on is that you'll never have to replace him except in case of injury, and the production should end up being very consistent. Yes, you will feel a little pressure to add running backs, but you should find one to your liking in Round 2 if you want to take one (which is probably a good plan).
Players you can get here (Standard): Eddie Lacy, Arian Foster, Montee Ball, DeMarco Murray, Marshawn Lynch, Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham
Players you can get here (PPR): Jimmy Graham, Demaryius Thomas, Giovani Bernard, DeMarco Murray
My selection at No. 6 standard: Eddie Lacy
My selection at No. 6 PPR: Demaryius Thomas
|Round 2 - Standard||QB||5%||RB||60%||WR||30%||TE||5%|
|Round 2 - PPR||QB||0%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||15%|
You might feel the need to take a running back here regardless of your first-round pick. The position dries up quickly and the likes of Zac Stacy and Doug Martin could be too appealing to pass up. Of course, you might have taken a running back in Round 1 and would like to opt for an elite receiver in Round 2. Those are bound to be there, and it means having a rock solid starter in your lineup. The best reason to wait on a receiver is knowing that there will be pass catchers in the third and fourth tiers waiting for you in Round 3 and potentially Round 4.
Players you can get here (Standard): Zac Stacy, Doug Martin, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, A.J. Green
Players you can get here (PPR): Jordy Nelson, Le'Veon Bell, Andre Ellington, Antonio Brown, Randall Cobb, Alshon Jeffery
My selection at No. 19 standard: Zac Stacy
My selection at No. 19 PPR: Andre Ellington
|Round 3 - Standard||QB||15%||RB||35%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
|Round 3 - PPR||QB||15%||RB||30%||WR||45%||TE||10%|
This is a nice spot to take a quality receiver (think 11th to 16th in our wideout ranks), though there's also a chance a Top 3 quarterback falls into your lap. Can't argue with taking a passer like Aaron Rodgers in Round 3 of a standard league or Peyton Manning in a PPR format. That's quality value. Now, if you started your draft with at least one receiver, you might be inclined to roll with a running back. I might fight that feeling since there should be some good enough running back choices coming up in Round 4.
Players you can get here (Standard): Aaron Rodgers, Toby Gerhart, Ryan Mathews, Bishop Sankey, Larry Fitzgerald, Julius Thomas, Michael Crabtree
Players you can get here (PPR): Larry Fitzgerald, Shane Vereen, Peyton Manning, Michael Crabtree, Pierre Garcon
My selection at No. 30 standard: Aaron Rodgers
My selection at No. 30 PPR: Larry Fitzgerald
|Round 4 - Standard||QB||5%||RB||45%||WR||45%||TE||5%|
|Round 4 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
Kind of a simple formula for this pick: If you need a second running back, take one. If you need a second receiver, take one. Anticipate going with one of those two positions; the only players who you might otherwise remotely consider here are Matthew Stafford or Julius Thomas (if Thomas slides). Aaron Rodgers could make it here in a PPR format. Anyway, you might want to lean toward a rusher since that position will drop a tier sooner than the receivers. Players like Joique Bell, Shane Vereen and Ray Rice will make for the best of the bunch before names like Frank Gore and Chris Johnson begin to invade the draft in a round or so.
Players you can get here (Standard): Keenan Allen, Cordarrelle Patterson, Shane Vereen, Matthew Stafford, Joique Bell
Players you can get here (PPR): Keenan Allen, Joique Bell, Cordarrelle Patterson, Roddy White, Michael Floyd
My selection at No. 43 standard: Cordarrelle Patterson
My selection at No. 43 PPR: Joique Bell
|Round 5 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
|Round 5 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
A round ago we talked about running backs dropping down to the next tier. The kind of backs left make decent No. 2 options but are better flexes. Thing is, running backs will fall yet another tier soon, so it's not a bad idea to pick up the best of what's left in Round 5 -- a player with 1,000-yard, six touchdown potential. That's for the owners who already have two capable receivers on their roster -- if you don't have two receivers already then it's probably in your best interests to invest in someone like Roddy White, Wes Welker or Victor Cruz. This pick shouldn't be a quarterback unless someone falls into your lap (not sure Stafford qualifies here if it's a PPR league) and aside from maybe Vernon Davis the tight ends won't pick up again until Round 6.
Players you can get here (Standard): Frank Gore, Wes Welker, Roddy White, Victor Cruz, Vernon Davis
Players you can get here (PPR): Emmanuel Sanders, Trent Richardson, Chris Johnson, Julian Edelman, Vernon Davis, Frank Gore
My selection at No. 54 standard: Roddy White
My selection at No. 54 PPR: Chris Johnson
|Round 6 - Standard||QB||20%||RB||25%||WR||30%||TE||25%|
|Round 6 - PPR||QB||15%||RB||30%||WR||30%||TE||25%|
This is a terrific spot to wind up with a tight end or quarterback, assuming you don't have one of each already (you might have one or the other already but it's sort of frowned upon to have both). While running backs and receivers become slim pickings, the tight ends and quarterbacks offer quality value. One name you should find is Jordan Cameron, the breakout Browns tight end from a season ago and likely De facto leading receiver again in 2014. Quarterbacks you'll find available include Tom Brady, Matt Ryan, Tony Romo and Andrew Luck. Thing is, one of those quarterbacks might make it back to you in Round 7, so there could be less urgency to take one now.
Players you can get here (Standard): Torrey Smith, DeSean Jackson, Ben Tate, Jordan Cameron, Andrew Luck, Mike Wallace
Players you can get here (PPR): Golden Tate, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, Jordan Cameron, Ben Tate
My selection at No. 67 standard: Jordan Cameron
My selection at No. 67 PPR: Jordan Cameron
|Round 7 - Standard||QB||20%||RB||20%||WR||30%||TE||30%|
|Round 7 - PPR||QB||25%||RB||25%||WR||30%||TE||20%|
You're either looking for depth, a quality starter at a deep position or a sleeper here. That doesn't really narrow things down, but your roster and your needs will do that for you. If you need a running back or a receiver for comfortable depth this is the last round you'll really feel okay about whoever you take (things take a turn in Round 8). If you need a quarterback or a tight end this is a good time to pick up a solid value (though sleepers and insane values at those positions will start infiltrating the draft in Round 8 and 9). And the sleepers that go here will be the kind that everyone in your league has earmarked. If one of those sleepers could also fill a need for you (like running back depth, for instance), then it's a winner.
Players you can get here (Standard): Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston, Terrance Williams, Maurice Jones-Drew, T.Y. Hilton
Players you can get here (PPR): Matt Ryan, Terrance Williams, T.Y. Hilton, Fred Jackson, Steven Jackson, Sammy Watkins
My selection at No. 78 standard: Marques Colston
My selection at No. 78 PPR: Terrance Williams
|Round 8 - Standard||QB||15%||RB||40%||WR||30%||TE||15%|
|Round 8 - PPR||QB||15%||RB||40%||WR||30%||TE||15%|
The halfway point of the draft is a good time to pick up some depth at running back if you haven't collected enough already. The longer you wait for running backs, the more likely you'll run into ones with too many question marks or road blocks for playing time. If not that then some quarterbacks along with some high-upside receivers will be in the offing.
Players you can get here (Standard): Fred Jackson, Mike Evans, Danny Woodhead, Jordan Reed, Brandin Cooks, Jeremy Hill
Players you can get here (PPR): Maurice Jones-Drew, Lamar Miller, Devonta Freeman, Zach Ertz, Kyle Rudolph, Brandin Cooks
My selection at No. 91 standard: Danny Woodhead
My selection at No. 91 PPR: Lamar Miller
|Round 9 - Standard||QB||15%||RB||35%||WR||30%||TE||20%|
|Round 9 - PPR||QB||15%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
As the draft begins to wind down, this round represents a chance to either go for big-time sleepers that are still on the board or pick up an in-demand handcuff for one of your starting running backs. Rushers like Tre Mason, Stepfan Taylor, Khiry Robinson and Christine Michael are worth taking here because in Round 10 some owners will start to gobble them up, even if they don't have the starter in front of them. If you don't have the desire to get 'cuffed, then find a sleeper with outrageous upside and plunk him on your roster. Do not reach for a DST or a second quarterback.
Players you can get here (Standard): Zach Ertz, Stepfan Taylor, Tre Mason, Jay Cutler, Rueben Randle
Players you can get here (PPR): Khiry Robinson, Mike Evans, Dexter McCluster, Marvin Jones, Christine Michael, Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Hill
My selection at No. 102 standard: Tre Mason
My selection at No. 102 PPR: Mike Evans
|Round 10 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||35%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||5%|
|Round 10 - PPR||QB||15%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||5%|
There's going to be an owner in every league who will be last to draft a starting quarterback. The owner will have incomparable value fall into his lap, making it worth his while to wait on the position. That pick might get made in Round 10, particularly in a PPR format, where people de-value quarterbacks to begin with. That happened here with Nick Foles freefalling into the double-digit round. He would have been a great pick two rounds prior! Things like this happen on Draft Day, which is why as a general rule, it's a good idea to keep track of everyone who's been drafted and pounce if someone falls through the cracks. If there isn't someone in the cracks waiting to get caught, then look for depth or maybe the top DST.
Players you can get here (Standard): Tavon Austin, Riley Cooper, Charles Sims, Dwayne Bowe, Philip Rivers, Seahawks DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Tavon Austin, Stepfan Taylor, Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe, Carlos Hyde, Seahawks DST
My selection at No. 115 standard: Riley Cooper
My selection at No. 115 PPR: Nick Foles
|Round 11 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||30%||TE||15%||K||0%||DST||10%|
|Round 11 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||35%||TE||15%||K||0%||DST||10%|
Round 11 is a good time to go sleeper shopping. A DST could also be in order if you so choose, but only if it's a real difference maker. Remember that handcuffs and backup quarterbacks can also double as sleepers -- those are the best ones. Naturally if you feel like you need to pick up a legit handcuff for one of your previously drafted backs, then don't take the chance unless you're positive you can get him later.
Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Eric Ebron, Heath Miller, Doug Baldwin, Harry Douglas, Travaris Cadet, Darren McFadden
My selection at No. 126 standard: Eric Ebron
My selection at No. 126 PPR: Travaris Cadet
|Round 12 - Standard||QB||10%||RB||30%||WR||25%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||25%|
|Round 12 - PPR||QB||10%||RB||25%||WR||30%||TE||10%||K||0%||DST||25%|
If you don't have a kicker and a DST, and don't want one of those, then this is your last pick. Two options: A handcuff or yet another sleeper -- no such thing as too many sleepers! It's not a bad thing to go with a DST in this spot, especially if all of the owners picking after you in Round 12 don't have a DST already. That's because they'll all have to take one in Round 13 (assuming you're in a 14-round draft and assuming you have to take a DST). You can beat them to the punch and take a solid unit and then have a sleeper available with your next pick.
Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Any non-Top 3 DST, Kelvin Benjamin, James White, Anquan Boldin, Carson Palmer, Justin Hunter, Rod Streater, any middle- to low-end running back handcuff
My selection at No. 139 standard: Kelvin Benjamin
My selection at No. 139 PPR: Rams DST
|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%|
The advice for Round 13 is the same as Round 12, though most owners will have splurged on a sleeper with their previous pick and now should be shoe-horned into taking a DST here. Handcuffs and serious late-round fliers will be in play if you don't need a DST.
Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Any middle- to low-end running back handcuff, any DST not ranked in the Top 5, any kicker
My selection at No. 150 standard: Broncos DST
My selection at No. 150 PPR: Antonio Gates
|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%|
Most Fantasy owners know by now not to be sentimental with their own players -- and that includes kickers. Maybe a Jaguars fan wants "at least one of my guys" on his roster and takes Josh Scobee. Great. He's not a prolific kicker and his offense figures to be meh. You wasted a pick. Don't go for kickers on offenses that have issues. Sure, sometimes it works out and the kicker turns out to be great -- Dan Carpenter is an example from 2013. But just roll with those guys off of waivers instead of turning to them on Draft Day.
The two teams
|QB||Aaron Rodgers||Nick Foles|
|RB||Eddie Lacy||Andre Ellington|
|RB||Zac Stacy||Joique Bell|
|WR||Cordarrelle Patterson||Demaryius Thomas|
|WR||Roddy White||Larry Fitzgerald|
|FLEX||Marques Colston||Chris Johnson|
|TE||Jordan Cameron||Jordan Cameron|
|K||Mason Crosby||Shayne Graham|
|Reserve||Danny Woodhead||Terrance Williams|
|Reserve||Tre Mason||Lamar Miller|
|Reserve||Riley Cooper||Mike Evans|
|Reserve||Eric Ebron||Travaris Cadet|
|Reserve||Kelvin Benjamin||Antonio Gates|