Being the last team to draft in Round 1 wouldn't be my first choice in 2013. Truth be told, I feel that it's a great year to have a draft pick between 4 and 8 in the first round. But that hasn't been in the cards for me. Instead, I often find myself with the 11th or 12th pick in a 12-team draft.
I am going to focus on a 12-team, PPR league. That seems to be the most popular format these days. If you don't play in a PPR league, you might see an even bigger run on the RB position early in the draft.
In 12-team PPR leagues the following players are being drafted in Round 1. The order might change a bit, but these players are the first ten players selected in almost every draft I've been in.
- Adrian Peterson
- Doug Martin
- Jamaal Charles
- Arian Foster
- Calvin Johnson
- Ray Rice
- CJ Spiller
- LeSean McCoy
- Marshawn Lynch
- Trent Richardson
This is why it's so interesting to pick 11th or 12th. The first ten picks are almost a complete consensus. After that, drafts can vary wildly. The way I see it, I have five options for my first two draft picks if I'm picking 11th or 12th
- Draft the best 2 RB's available
- Draft the best 2 WR's available
- Draft the best RB and the best WR available
- Draft Jimmy Graham and the best RB available
- Draft Jimmy Graham and the best WR available
I'm passing on Jimmy Graham here. I love him, but he will have to have an absolute monster season to justify drafting him this early. He is by far the best TE in 2013 drafts, but he's carrying plenty of risk along with his reward.
I was picking 12th in a draft like this the other day. My first instinct was to grab two elite WR's. If I get Dez Bryant and AJ Green in a PPR league, I should be in great shape, right? As I thought about it more and more, I realized that there would still be solid WR's on the board in Rounds 3 and 4. There probably wouldn't be many solid RB's available.
Then it comes down to what two RB's I want. In a standard league, I might consider Alfred Morris here. But not in a PPR. Chris Johnson is too streaky on a week-to-week basis for me. I'm not drafting a New England RB here, especially one who doesn't catch the ball. Sorry, Steven Ridley. I wound up drafting Matt Forte and Steven Jackson.
As Round 3 unfolded, I was hoping that Lamar Miller or even Frank Gore would fall to me. They didn't. In fact, the best RB on the board was probably Le'Veon Bell. I stuck with my original plan and addressed the WR position. I grabbed Roddy White and Randall Cobb. It's not Dez and AJ, but it's pretty solid.
If you come out of the first four rounds with 2 RB's and 2 WR's, you're in great shape going forward. You have enough flexibility to take the best players available, regardless of position. The RB position was thoroughly picked over by the time the draft got back to me in Round 5.
Since I didn't need to reach for a RB here, I evaluated my options. There were still plenty of QB's available, so I decided to wait on drafting a QB. There really wasn't a TE option that I felt comfortable reaching for here. Draft the best two players available, right? That wound up being Jordy Nelson and Hakeem Nicks.
Both Nelson and Nicks are dealing with injury issues. That's fine with me. With this kind of depth at WR, I really only need one of them to be healthy for Week 1. In theory, if everybody gets healthy, I should be able to trade one of these WR's and Jackson or Forte to get a true elite RB. Or address a weakness at another position.
For the record, here's how my team ended up.
- Matt Forte
- Steven Jackson
- Roddy White
- Randall Cobb
- Jordy Nelson
- Hakeem Nicks
- Mark Ingram
- Tony Romo
- Bernard Pierce
- Jacquizz Rodgers
- Eli Manning
- Ryan Broyles
- Jordan Cameron
- Rob Housler
- Ravens DST
- Garrett Hartley
I probably should have drafted a TE earlier, but I love both Cameron and Housler. If neither pans out after the first few weeks, I can always deal some of my depth else where to upgrade the position. I'm solid at RB, great at WR and the Romo/Eli combination should provide good production from the QB position.
Your draft won't look the same as mine, even if the league settings and our draft positions are identical. But there are a few lessons to be learned here:
- You're going to have to reach for a RB with one of your first two picks. You don't necessarily have to reach for two of them, but you'll have to draft at least one a little bit earlier than you would like.
- There will be WR's available in Rounds 3-6. Don't fall into the temptation of drafting two "stud" WR's with your first two picks.
- If you draft a QB or a TE in the first six rounds, you should be okay. If you draft a QB and a TE with two of your first six selections, you're going to have to reach for WR's or RB's.
- Never draft a DST or Kicker before the last two rounds.
Everybody wants Adrian Peterson on their fantasy team. And Calvin Johnson. And Aaron Rodgers. But it doesn't work that way. At least not if you're picking at the back of the first round. While picking later can hurt your "star power" it can also provide the opportunity to assemble a more well-rounded roster. You might be picking last in the first round, but you're also picking first in the second round.
One last thing. When you're drafting with either one of the first two or last two picks, it will feel like forever and a day passes between your draft picks. Find a way to stay involved in the draft. Use that time to prepare yourself for making that next pick. I've seen owners complain like crazy about how long it takes for the draft to get back to them. Of course, they then proceed to use their entire draft clock for both of their picks. Even though they had all of that time to prepare. Don't be that guy.
Thanks for reading and good luck to you this fantasy season.