Oh, and you also have an agonizing decision over who to take. But at least you know it should be a running back.
Most people have Arian Foster, Doug Martin, Jamaal Charles, C.J. Spiller and Trent Richardson as candidates for the No. 2 overall selection. I don’t think there’s a wrong answer here among the group, but it really depends on what you’re looking for and whether or not your league counts receptions.
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|Foster has the pedigree of being a Fantasy dynamo but he also has a creaky back that kept him on the PUP list to begin training camp. Drafting him means also playing it safe and literally dedicating a seventh-round pick to his backup, Ben Tate. You will not easily get him in Round 8, so sucking up two of your first seven picks for one “spot” on an NFL team is a tough to digest — luckily those Texans running backs are usually really good, so it’s worth it.|
Martin and Richardson are coming off of dandy rookie seasons and don’t show signs of a sophomore slump. Charles came back nicely from a torn ACL in 2012 and gets the tutelage of Andy Reid as his head coach, meaning he should post sweet stats much like LeSean McCoy, Brian Westbrook and other two-way threat rushers did under Reid in Philadelphia. Spiller was a freak last year for the Bills (12 games with 10-plus Fantasy points!) and only has to avoid injury to be one of the best backs in the league.
Before you make this decision, though, get ready to monitor another team during your draft — the one at No. 1. Before you pick in the even-number rounds, see what positions he has filled on his roster that you don’t have, then pick accordingly. There will be examples later on but if he has a quarterback and you’re up in Round 4 and need a quarterback, the odds are slim he’ll take two. You can wait until Round 5 to snag the quarterback (or later if you’re the gamblin’ type). Anyway, some draft decisions will be easier because of the owner with swing picks in-between your picks.
Finally, picking second overall means getting five players in the Top 50. That’s a perk.
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||100%||WR||0%||TE||0%|
It’s a running back and as of this writing it should be Arian Foster if receptions do not count. Yes, even with the Round 7 price tag to handcuff him to Ben Tate. Look, even if you consider Foster’s 2012 as a “down year,” he still had more 10-plus Fantasy point games than anyone (excluding quarterbacks and DSTs of course). He averaged 15.5 Fantasy points per game. He’s an animal. The injury concerns are valid which is why if he’s still not practicing by the time of his second preseason game you can move on to another back: Doug Martin. That’s who I’m taking in a PPR league. He’s safe, he has a great offensive line, he should see a ton of work and he’s nearly as consistent as Foster, getting 10-plus Fantasy points in 75 percent of his games. Martin doesn’t carry the injury risk of Richardson or the age risk of Charles and should catch more passes and clean up at the goal line better than Spiller. Martin did pick up 30 pct. of his overall 2012 production in two games last year against weak opponents, but he has plenty more to play in 2013. The only guy better is a healthy Foster.
|Round 2 – Standard||QB||5%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||15%|
|Round 2 – PPR||QB||0%||RB||40%||WR||55%||TE||5%|
Running backs are going to fly in drafts — what else is new? — but there’s no guarantee there will be one available you’ll really like, especially compared to the receivers who will be on the board. Thing is, receivers should be in fairly hot demand in Round 2, too. So here’s the dynamic to watch: One position between running backs and receivers won’t be thin on elite or near-elite talent by the time 23rd overall comes around. Whichever position offers an elite-talent player is the one you should go with. I’ve been in mocks where receivers start to come off the board and I feel lucky to get Demaryius Thomas in Round 2. I’ve been in mocks where I thank the Fantasy Gods for Reggie Bush falling into my lap. The key is to take the elite talent in Round 2, then pick up the near-elite talent in whichever position you didn’t draft in Round 3. Only if you can get two elite receivers should you take both in Rounds 2 and 3. The wild card in this is Jimmy Graham; if he’s there, regardless of format, take him. It’s possible he’s there in standard leagues but he’s a longshot for PPR.
Players you can get here (standard): Reggie Bush, DeMarco Murray, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Jimmy Graham
Players you can get here (PPR): Demaryius Thomas, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Maurice Jones-Drew
My selection at No. 23 standard: Demaryius Thomas
My selection at No. 23 PPR: Andre Johnson
|Round 3 – Standard||QB||5%||RB||50%||WR||40%||TE||5%|
|Round 3 – PPR||QB||0%||RB||50%||WR||45%||TE||5%|
What you’re supposed to do is take the best available player from the position you didn’t take in Round 2. So if you went receiver in Round 2 you should come back with a running back in Round 3 and vice versa if you went running back with your last choice. The exception is if there’s a very good value pick there. It’s OK if you start your draft with three rushers — that might even be encouraged depending on who we’re talking about. But going rusher in Round 1 and then back-to-back receivers in Rounds 2 and 3 promises to put a strain on your running back corps the rest of the way. The flipside is that any pair of receivers you draft with your second and third picks are going to be must-starts every week and the need to pile up receiver depth later on is minimalized. This also isn’t a bad time to take Drew Brees or Aaron Rodgers in a standard league (not PPR) as they offer great value, but it ties your hands in building up your roster at running back and receiver. They should only be options if you really don’t like anyone available at running back or receiver.
Players you can get here (standard): Larry Fitzgerald, Maurice Jones-Drew, Lamar Miller, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson
Players you can get here (PPR): Maurice Jones-Drew, Stevan Ridley, Roddy White, DeMarco Murray, Vincent Jackson, Darren Sproles
My selection at No. 26 standard: Lamar Miller
My selection at No. 26 PPR: Roddy White
|Round 4 – Standard||QB||5%||RB||45%||WR||45%||TE||5%|
|Round 4 – PPR||QB||5%||RB||45%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
The advice here is plain and simple: Round 4, and the ensuing pick in Round 5, should be used to land near-elite starters. If there’s an exception it’s to pick up another running back, something I’m prone to do myself. But it can’t be any running back. I don’t like the idea of reaching for an undesirable starter like Ryan Mathews, Rashard Mendenhall or Ahmad Bradshaw. I’d rather take a quality receiver here — good reason to only take one receiver with your previous three picks in a standard league (the running backs are a little bit deeper in a PPR thanks to guys like Shane Vereen, Giovani Bernard and Daryl Richardson. I’m looking for Peyton Manning or maybe Cam Newton here if I need a passer, otherwise it’s worth waiting. Rob Gronkowski is the only tight end worth the choice in standard leagues but he’s probably gone. Jason Witten is a contender in a PPR. Don’t forget to keep an eye on the team picking twice after you — if there’s a player on the board you want at a position he or she needs, you should probably go for him.
Players you can get here (standard): Marques Colston, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne, Cam Newton, Giovani Bernard, Shane Vereen
Players you can get here (PPR): Peyton Manning, Jason Witten, Shane Vereen, Giovani Bernard, Pierre Garcon
My selection at No. 47 standard: Reggie Wayne
My selection at No. 47 PPR: Shane Vereen
|Round 5 – Standard||QB||45%||RB||20%||WR||25%||TE||10%|
|Round 5 – PPR||QB||40%||RB||25%||WR||25%||TE||10%|
The wait could be over for a quarterback. Any qualified veteran Fantasy signal-caller is worth a pick here if they’re still up. This is why you don’t reach for one early — someone like Matt Ryan or Matthew Stafford is a dreamboat at pick 50. But maybe you want to wait a little longer — that’s fine too. In fact in a PPR that could be the right move since there should still be a handful of bargains, mainly at receiver. Really it depends on who’s left at quarterback and how frisky you are to roll the dice on a bargain making it back to you when you pick at the end of Round 6/beginning of Round 7.
Players you can get here (standard): Matthew Stafford, Shane Vereen, Giovani Bernard, Tom Brady, Pierre Garcon, Rashard Mendenhall
Players you can get here (PPR): Cam Newton, Montee Ball, Matt Ryan, Eric Decker
My selection at No. 50 standard: Matthew Stafford
My selection at No. 50 PPR: Cam Newton
|Round 6 – Standard||QB||25%||RB||40%||WR||25%||TE||10%|
|Round 6 – PPR||QB||20%||RB||40%||WR||25%||TE||15%|
The receivers left are toward the bottom of the No. 2 talent pool and the top of the No. 3 talent pool. The quarterbacks left should include many second-year players and Tony Romo. The types of running backs left are part-timers with potential to be full-timers. They’re the only ones I’d key in on drafting here since everything else should slip to you in Round 7. Hand in hand with that is the reality that running backs will dry up quickly after your next two picks, so now’s the right time to bulk up at the most valuable position in Fantasy. In PPR formats Tony Gonzalez would merit drafting if he made it back to you and you wanted him.
Players you can get here (standard): T.Y. Hilton, Daryl Richardson, Ronnie Hillman, Antonio Brown, Jason Witten, Tavon Austin
Players you can get here (PPR): Robert Griffin III, Andre Brown, Tony Gonzalez, Tony Romo,
My selection at No. 71 standard: Daryl Richardson
My selection at No. 71 PPR: Andre Brown
|Round 7 – Standard||QB||15%||RB||45%||WR||30%||TE||10%|
|Round 7 – PPR||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
Same drill in Round 7 as in Round 6 with a slight twist for PPR owners who don’t mind going with receiver depth instead of running back depth. When you pick again the running backs left will be pretty bad so make sure you’re cool with what you have there before you make this pick. If you’re Krazy for Colin Kaepernick this is pretty much the last chance to get him. And for the love of all that is holy, if you drafted Arian Foster back in Round 1, this is the time to take Ben Tate!
Players you can get here (standard): Ronnie Hillman, Tavon Austin, DeAngelo Williams, Torrey Smith, Vernon Davis, Colin Kaepernick
Players you can get here (PPR): Mike Williams, Kenny Britt, Torrey Smith, Andrew Luck, Bernard Pierce, Pierre Thomas
My selection at No. 74 standard: Ronnie Hillman
My selection at No. 74 PPR: Mike Williams
|Round 8 – Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
|Round 8 – PPR||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
Let’s call this the clean-up round: Any starting spot you don’t have filled should get your attention now or in Round 9 depending on the needs of the person picking after you (don’t forget about that!). The exception to that is if a running back with some good potential slides into your lap or if you want to wait longer for a tight end. And if you don’t have a quarterback by now, drafting two with your next two picks is advised.
Players you can get here (standard): Josh Gordon, Zac Stacy, Jared Cook, Mike Wallace, DeSean Jackson
Players you can get here (PPR): Jared Cook, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Michael Floyd, Ryan Broyles, Kyle Rudolph
My selection at No. 95 standard: Zac Stacy
My selection at No. 95 PPR: BenJarvus Green-Ellis
|Round 9 – Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||40%||TE||15%|
|Round 9 – PPR||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
Bye weeks, injuries and terrible play are all common occurrences in Fantasy Football. If you cleaned up your starting roster in the last round, this pick is to bolster depth. You don’t have to take a second quarterback if your starter is someone you’ll never bench, but if you want one this is the round to start thinking about it. Getting a running back is acceptable but there are a number of sleeper receivers that will start getting picked off in this round — I like aiming for Golden Tate, Michael Floyd, Ryan Broyles or DeAndre Hopkins as a pick in Round 9, regardless of format. If you still need a tight end and someone like Kyle Rudolph is still around, pounce.
Players you can get here (standard): Golden Tate, Bilal Powell, Jonathan Stewart, Lance Moore, Michael Floyd, Ryan Broyles, DeAndre Hopkins
Players you can get here (PPR): Ryan Broyles, Kyle Rudolph, Zac Stacy, Anquan Boldin, Vincent Brown
My selection at No. 98 standard: Golden Tate
My selection at No. 98 PPR: Kyle Rudolph
|Round 10 – Standard||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||40%||TE||10%|
|Round 10 – PPR||QB||10%||RB||40%||WR||35%||TE||15%|
A lot of people scoff at their late picks, calling them useless. Those people are idiots. Your goal with your double-digit round picks should be to find high-upside players. There’s virtually no risk in taking them: If they stink after a couple of weeks you punt them away Ray Guy style for someone on waivers. If they’re good, you’ve struck gold. A lot of people took Alfred Morris late last season and it paid off. Young pass-catchers with a lot of playing time ahead of themselves, young running backs with an old veteran in front of them on the depth chart and quarterbacks surrounded by lots of talent should be considered. DSTs and kickers can wait until the next round.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Rueben Randle, Alshon Jeffery, Greg Olsen, Martellus Bennett, Christine Michael, Joique Bell, Andy Dalton
My selection at No. 119 standard: Rueben Randle
My selection at No. 119 PPR: Joique Bell
|Round 11 – Standard||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
|Round 11 – PPR||QB||10%||RB||35%||WR||35%||TE||20%|
We’re still looking for high-upside bench guys. Nothing’s really changed. Just remember to count the total number of open bench spots you have and plan accordingly for one to be a kicker and another for a DST (assuming you have to draft both of those). If you’re overloaded at running back and thin at receiver you should make the appropriate move and go with a wideout. If you’re thin at running back, though, good luck. Oh, and low-end handcuffs to your stud running backs come into play here. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll wait for a tight end if you couldn’t get one at a fair value earlier. Time’s up if you need one of those.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Martellus Bennett, Antonio Gates, Mohamed Sanu, Stepfan Taylor, Knile Davis, Vincent Brown
My selection at No. 122 standard: Martellus Bennett
My selection at No. 122 PPR: Rueben Randle
|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%|
Two of your next three picks won’t be skill-position players, so this is either the time to pull the trigger on a hot shot sleeper, a backup quarterback or tight end or a DST. The benefit of taking a DST here is that you’ll get one expected to be productive. Don’t let that mean you’re committed to them in case they don’t put up what you expect, but if you can land a Top 5 unit here and there isn’t a good player left to round out your bench then there’s nothing wrong with a DST. Just remember — you can always get a DST later.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Sidney Rice, Malcom Floyd, Stepfan Taylor, Mike Tolbert, Bears DST, Broncos DST
My selection at No. 143 standard: Sidney Rice
My selection at No. 143 PPR: Bears 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%|
If you’re tapped out of bench spots, now’s the time for a DST. You’ll get a good one while others who pick later in the round get stuck with something else. Taking a kicker would leave you with the last DST assuming the guy picking in the No. 1 slot doesn’t draft a DST first. This isn’t rocket science. If you went DST earlier, it’s sleeper time.
Players you can get here (standard and PPR): Sidney Rice, Malcom Floyd, Stepfan Taylor, Mike Tolbert, Bears DST, Broncos DST
My selection at No. 146 standard: Bears DST
My selection at No. 146 PPR: Marcel Reece
|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%|
You’ll likely end up picking over what’s left of the kicker population if your draft ends after 14 rounds. So, what makes a good sleeper kicker? One that plays with a potent offense, maybe one that’s good but not great. Blair Walsh was a shining example of that last year with the Vikings (his incredible long-distance leg didn’t hurt either). My last-to-go kicker faves include Greg Zuerlein, Robbie Gould, Randy Bullock and whoever wins the Lions gig between David Akers and Havard “Kickalicious” Rugland.
Here’s what the teams look like following the draft:
|QB||Matthew Stafford||QB||Cam Newton|
|RB||Arian Foster||RB||Doug Martin|
|RB||Lamar Miller||RB||Shane Vereen|
|WR||Demaryius Thomas||WR||Andre Johnson|
|WR||Reggie Wayne||WR||Roddy White|
|FLEX||Daryl Richardson||FLEX||Andre Brown|
|TE||Martellus Bennett||TE||Kyle Rudolph|
|K||Robbie Gould||K||Robbie Gould|
|BENCH||Ronnie Hillman||BENCH||Mike Williams|
|BENCH||Zac Stacy||BENCH||BenJarvus Green-Ellis|
|BENCH||Golden Tate||BENCH||Joique Bell|
|BENCH||Rueben Randle||BENCH||Rueben Randle|
|BENCH||Sidney Rice||BENCH||Marcel Reece|