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2014 Draft Prep: Picking No. 12 overall

Senior Fantasy Writer
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Pick No. 1 | Pick No. 2 | Pick No. 3 | Pick No. 4 | Pick No. 5 | Pick No. 6
Pick No. 7 | Pick No. 8 | Pick No. 9 | Pick No. 10 | Pick No. 11

Back-to-back ... it's cooler when you're talking championships rather than draft picks.

Picking last in Round 1 usually means picking first in Round 2, so owners in this spot get two players before anyone else. What's cool is that there are more than 13 top-tier players you can start a team with, so it's not so bad picking here. Taking it a step further, there are a lot of really quality choices when you're up again in Round 3 or 4, so there is a really good opportunity to get your team off on the right foot without necessarily getting a perfect running back or Calvin Johnson or Jimmy Graham (at least we don't think you'll get those guys, but you never know).

It's also cool to pick two players at once and filling two needs at the same time. If you're into running backs, one plan of attack is to take one every time you have two picks (which is almost every time) until you're happy with the depth there. Or if you're in a PPR league that starts three receivers (or two with a flex), you can take one receiver and another player with your back-to-back picks until you feel really good about your pass catchers. Then again, you can begin your draft with two running backs, follow them up with two receivers, then add depth as desired.

So while we've covered three different approaches to rushers and receivers, we haven't talked about quarterbacks or tight ends. You need those too, right? Picking at the end/beginning of every round should afford a shot at bringing in bargains at those positions. If Jimmy Graham falls to you in Round 1, reel him in. Same thing if Julius Thomas makes it to you in Round 3 or Vernon Davis in Round 5. Otherwise, feel free to just wait until you get some good value at one of those positions. Quarterback is a little bit easier to gauge -- you might be able to get Aaron Rodgers in Round 3 or Colin Kaepernick in Round 5. If you can't get them, plan on either swiping someone in the Round 7/8 swing -- a passer with cred will definitely be around that late.

The big, big negative to picking at the end is waiting around for your consecutive picks. In a 12-team league, 22 picks are made before you get another couple of bites at the proverbial apple. You can't really expect a player you're thinking about picking to slide back to you on your next set of picks. It forces you into a best-available player mentality while also really considering the value of each position as it relates to your draft position. For instance, taking Peyton Manning at 12th overall is good value, but then you short yourself at (presumably) running back and miss out on spiking a different signal caller with a later pick. It's better to take your biggest needs and mesh it with the best players on the board when you're up.

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

Round 1

Round 1 - Standard QB 0% RB 80% WR 15% TE 5%
Round 1 - PPR QB 0% RB 75% WR 20% TE 5%

The best plans are to open up your draft with at least one running back. That's the first pick. Things will get complicated in a second when you debate a second running back versus an elite receiver like Demaryius Thomas/Julio Jones/Dez Bryant/Brandon Marshall/A.J. Green. But for now, the pick needs to be the best available back with 300-touch potential and goal-line work. In a PPR league the pickings will be better.

Players you can get here (Standard): Arian Foster, Alfred Morris, any of the WRs listed above
Players you can get here (PPR): Giovani Bernard, Arian Foster, Eddie Lacy, any of the WRs listed above
My selection at No. 12 standard: Alfred Morris
My selection at No. 12 PPR: Eddie Lacy

Round 2

Round 2 - Standard QB 15% RB 40% WR 40% TE 5%
Round 2 - PPR QB 0% RB 45% WR 50% TE 5%

The safe, sure pick is a receiver. Those left are considered must-start elite types that you'll never bench. Weigh them against the running backs left and make a call. The number of reliable running backs left when you're up in Round 3 is small compared to the remaining receivers, so that might carry some weight, but it's not like there will be bupkis left at 36th overall. What about Peyton? In a standard league you can't call it a reach to take him at 13th overall. In a PPR league it's too soon. And like the receivers, Manning would be a lock for your lineup every week. But unlike the receivers, there will be equally solid starting choices later on in the draft, so the urgency to take one isn't there -- even if Manning, Drew Brees and probably Aaron Rodgers all will be gone the next time you're up. Gronk? Seems too risky for a pick this high, though your risk-tolerance may vary.

Players you can get here (Standard): Demaryius Thomas, Giovani Bernard, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, Zac Stacy, Peyton Manning
Players you can get here (PPR): Brandon Marshall, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Jordy Nelson, Le'Veon Bell
My selection at No. 13 standard: Demaryius Thomas
My selection at No. 13 PPR: Brandon Marshall

Round 3

Round 3 - Standard QB 10% RB 35% WR 30% TE 25%
Round 3 - PPR QB 5% RB 35% WR 40% TE 20%

You could be boxed into a serious couple of need picks depending on what you did in Rounds 1 and 2. The nice thing about starting with running back and receiver is that you can continue that balance with your next two picks, including the last Round 3 grab. The receivers will look better than the running backs. Chances are it will dwindle down to those two positions, though there are some names that could make it tough. Julius Thomas is a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown tight end that's almost impossible to pass up here, as would be a Top 3 quarterback in standard leagues.

Players you can get here (Standard): Julius Thomas, Andre Johnson, Reggie Bush, Vincent Jackson, Michael Crabtree, C.J. Spiller
Players you can get here (PPR): Julius Thomas, Ray Rice, Michael Crabtree, C.J. Spiller, Vincent Jackson
My selection at No. 36 standard: Andre Johnson
My selection at No. 36 PPR: Julius Thomas

Round 4

Round 4 - Standard QB 10% RB 45% WR 35% TE 10%
Round 4 - PPR QB 10% RB 45% WR 35% TE 10%

One thing lost on owners picking in this slot is the chance at four players in the Top 40. That part's pretty cool. You can also hit the running back piñata here if you only have one so far, probably a good move if you don't want to be in full-on panic mode by your next pair of decisions. Some obvious analysis: running backs that get at least 200 touches have a very good shot at finishing in the Top 24 at their position. The running back you consider here might end up being around the 24th rusher off the board, so spend the pick on a back with that 200-touch potential. Naturally, if you already have two running backs then there's no pressure on you to take a third. Receiver is probably where you'll end up going.

Players you can get here (Standard): Andre Johnson, Reggie Bush, Michael Crabtree, Vincent Jackson, C.J. Spiller
Players you can get here (PPR): Ray Rice, Michael Crabtree, C.J. Spiller, Vincent Jackson, Pierre Garcon
My selection at No. 37 standard: Reggie Bush
My selection at No. 37 PPR: Ray Rice

Round 5

Round 5 - Standard QB 20% RB 30% WR 30% TE 20%
Round 5 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 35% TE 20%

Your next two picks should firm up your stable of running backs and receivers if you're not already pleased with your starters. If you took a tight end or a quarterback then you must consider filling a starter from those positions with your next two choices. You might even go with two of a kind and pencil in a platoon to begin the year. If you do find yourself uninterested in a running back or receiver then you will be able to rake in gems at quarterback and tight end. It'll just cost you some quality depth.

Players you can get here (Standard): Colin Kaepernick, Golden Tate, Torrey Smith, Rashad Jennings, Chris Johnson, Matt Ryan, Jordan Cameron
Players you can get here (PPR): Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Jason Witten, Eric Decker, Rashad Jennings, Golden Tate
My selection at No. 60 standard: Rashad Jennings
My selection at No. 60 PPR: Jeremy Maclin

Round 6

Round 6 - Standard QB 30% RB 30% WR 20% TE 20%
Round 6 - PPR QB 25% RB 30% WR 25% TE 20%

Maybe it's counter-intuitive, but a lot of Fantasy owners would rather stockpile talent and wait for bargains at other positions than fill out a starting lineup and then look for backups. This is a good year to do such hoarding since quarterbacks and tight ends (and DSTs and kickers) will be plentiful once you get to the draft's mid-point. If you subscribe to such a theory then go ahead with your bad self and pick up more backs and receivers.

Players you can get here (Standard): Golden Tate, Chris Johnson, Matt Ryan, Jordan Cameron, DeSean Jackson, Ben Tate
Players you can get here (PPR): Jason Witten, Eric Decker, Rashad Jennings, Pierre Thomas, Marques Colston
My selection at No. 61 standard: Chris Johnson
My selection at No. 61 PPR: Eric Decker

Round 7

Round 7 - Standard QB 10% RB 35% WR 35% TE 20%
Round 7 - PPR QB 10% RB 35% WR 35% TE 20%

The next two picks represent the halfway point of a 14-round, 12-team draft. This is about the time the trendy sleepers will mix in with the value picks at quarterback and tight end. Let's make the next pick (first in Round 8) a quarterback and focus on going with a big-time sleeper here. Rookie studs certainly qualify, particularly those with a good chance to contribute right away. Remember, sleepers can also pad depth, which never hurts.

Players you can get here (Standard): Eric Decker, Sammy Watkins, Khiry Robinson, Devonta Freeman, Mike Evans
Players you can get here (PPR): Fred Jackson, Sammy Watkins, Terrance West, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jordan Reed, Darren Sproles
My selection at No. 84 standard: Sammy Watkins
My selection at No. 84 PPR: Terrance West

Round 8

Round 8 - Standard QB 25% RB 30% WR 25% TE 20%
Round 8 - PPR QB 25% RB 25% WR 30% TE 20%

So far we've built two teams with a lot of running backs and receivers but no quarterbacks. That changes here. The players available here make waiting feel like the right move. Even if eight or more other owners take a quarterback, one in our Top 12 will make it to this spot. That's because it's very rare for a Fantasy owner to take two quarterbacks with a Top 80 pick. So this should be the spot you aim for a quarterback, which is what we did. Granted, if we had taken a quarterback with an earlier choice then this would be spent on a tight end (there are good options there, too) or on running back depth before that position gets thinned out.

Players you can get here (Standard): Tom Brady, Khiry Robinson, Fred Jackson, Mike Evans, Devonta Freeman, Danny Woodhead, Jordan Reed
Players you can get here (PPR): Robert Griffin III, Darren Sproles, Greg Olsen, Jordan Reed, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tony Romo, Lamar Miller
My selection at No. 85 standard: Tom Brady
My selection at No. 85 PPR: Robert Griffin III

Round 9

Round 9 - Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 30% TE 20%
Round 9 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 35% TE 20%

So by now you should have most or all of your starting lineup figured out. It's time to keep up that sleeper shopping, baby! It's the combination of low-risk, high-upside players that Fantasy owners have to start shooting for. The thing is, every Fantasy owner is going to start going for them now. They'll also start rounding up handcuffs in Rounds 10 and 11, too. So if your running back handcuff happens to be a popular name in sleeper columns and such, make him yours with this pick.

Players you can get here (Standard): Kyle Rudolph, Andre Williams, Darren Sproles, Reggie Wayne, Philip Rivers, Dwayne Bowe, Charles Sims
Players you can get here (PPR): Jeremy Hill, Charles Sims, Andre Williams, Tre Mason, Carlos Hyde, Stepfan Taylor
My selection at No. 108 standard: Darren Sproles
My selection at No. 108 PPR: Charles Sims

Round 10

Round 10 - Standard QB 10% RB 35% WR 35% TE 10% K 0% DST 10%
Round 10 - PPR QB 10% RB 35% WR 35% TE 10% K 0% DST 10%

The same kind of sleeper/handcuff advice from Round 9 is still in play here, but what about a DST? The rule of thumb is that if you love your first nine picks, taking the best DST off the board in Round 10 is acceptable. In this case, taking the Seahawks DST is worth consideration if only because they're considered the best of the group and because there's probably no way they're making it back to you in Rounds 11 and 12. It's a neat perk to think about since most owners refuse to take a DST earlier than Round 13 -- and when those owners are taking their DST, you'll be able to pick off a sleeper.

Players you can get here (Standard): Dwayne Bowe, Charles Sims, Riley Cooper, Tavon Austin, Carlos Hyde, Seahawks DST
Players you can get here (PPR): Hakeem Nicks, Tavon Austin, Stepfan Taylor, Chris Ivory, Seahawks DST
My selection at No. 109 standard: Seahawks DST
My selection at No. 109 PPR: Andre Williams

Round 11

Round 11 - Standard QB 15% RB 35% WR 30% TE 15% K 0% DST 5%
Round 11 - PPR QB 15% RB 30% WR 35% TE 15% K 0% DST 5%

With four picks left, your roster should keep adding sleepers. But maybe call them "sleepers-plus" because they can serve another role besides "cool name of a player who might break out." What about a sleeper who can also be a handcuff for one of your running backs, or maybe someone else's running back? What about a sleeper who could become a starting quarterback for another team in the league? Or a receiver that's a flex candidate who's starting in an offense with a good quarterback that just hasn't been drafted yet?

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Harry Douglas, Lance Dunbar, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Jordan Matthews, Rams DST, Travaris Cadet
My selection at No. 132 standard: Ben Roethlisberger
My selection at No. 132 PPR: Philip Rivers

Round 12

Round 12 - Standard QB 10% RB 30% WR 30% TE 5% K 0% DST 25%
Round 12 - PPR QB 5% RB 30% WR 30% TE 10% K 0% DST 25%

Picking first in Round 12 means picking last in Round 13. That means when you're up next, it'll be with the last pick in the second-to-last round followed by the first pick in the last round. The last round is when all the kickers should go, and the second-to-last round is when all the DSTs will fly off the board. If you like having a quality, Top 5 DST then that's the direction you should go in here. If you don't care what DST you start the season with, then you might as well pluck one last sleeper or breakout here.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): Any non-Top 3 DST, Russell Wilson, Justin Hunter, Kelvin Benjamin, Jordan Matthews, any middle- to low-end running back handcuff
My selection at No. 133 standard: Jordan Matthews
My selection at No. 133 PPR: Brian Hartline

Round 13

Round 13 - Standard QB 10% RB 20% WR 15% TE 10% K 20% DST 25%
Round 13 - PPR QB 10% RB 20% WR 15% TE 10% K 20% DST 25%

If you are without a kicker and a DST then the next two picks make themselves. But if you splurged early on a DST -- you shouldn't have on a kicker -- then this is a last call for a sleeper. What we've seen some Fantasy owners do is wait forever for a tight end and then take one from outside the Top 12. The thinking is that there will be several breakout candidates as the season rolls on (once upon a time Jimmy Graham was a hot waiver wire player) and you can claim one on waivers then. One of the best tight ends you could begin a season with is Martellus Bennett, who has played great in each of his last two Septembers before tanking in October through December.

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. 156 standard: Martellus Bennett
My selection at No. 156 PPR: Saints DST

Round 14

Round 14 - Standard QB 0% RB 5% WR 0% TE 0% K 100% DST 0%
Round 14 - PPR QB 0% RB 5% WR 0% TE 0% K 100% DST 0%

There's no fancy reason to take a kicker any earlier than now. Plus, if most of the league is going to take a kicker in the final round, you'll get a shot at a good one since you pick first in the even-numbered rounds. Some of our favorite top-shelf kickers include Phil Dawson, Matt Bryant, Matt Prater and Mason Crosby.

Players you can get here (Standard and PPR): A kicker
My selection at No. 157 standard: Phil Dawson
My selection at No. 157 PPR: Matt Bryant

Here's what the teams look like following the draft:

The two teams

Standard PPR
QB Tom Brady Robert Griffin III
RB Alfred Morris Eddie Lacy
RB Reggie Bush Ray Rice
WR Demaryius Thomas Brandon Marshall
WR Andre Johnson Jeremy Maclin
FLEX Rashad Jennings Eric Decker
TE Martellus Bennett Julius Thomas
K Phil Dawson Matt Bryant
DST Seahawks Saints
Reserve Chris Johnson Terrance West
Reserve Sammy Watkins Charles Sims
Reserve Darren Sproles Andre Williams
Reserve Ben Roethlisberger Philip Rivers
Reserve Jordan Matthews Brian Hartline

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