Draft Slots Study - 14 Teams / Pick 1.14
By Chris Smith
August 29th, 2011

Every new NFL season there is much discussion on the positives and the negatives for each of the draft slots in a fantasy football league. While it is possible to win a league no matter where you draft from, it is obvious to veteran fantasy owners that there is some advantage to drafting in certain positions as opposed to others. This series of articles will take an in-depth look at some of the interesting slots in a 14-team league and outline the positives and negatives of each slot. In addition each separate article will showcase a mock draft compiled using the Draft Dominator.

To make things more interesting, I have used a unique turn in scoring as all positions will score 6 points per touchdown. That included touchdown passes from the quarterback position. This will certainly change the strategies throughout the draft.

This particular series is based on...

  • 14-team redraft league / 18-round fantasy draft
  • Must start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 DEF, 1 K
  • Scoring is as follows:
  • 1 pt every 20 passing yards
  • 1 pt every 10 rushing yards
  • 6 points per passing touchdown
  • 6 points per rushing / receiving touchdown
  • 1 point per reception
  • 3 points per field goal / 1 pt per extra point
  • 2 points per interception, fumble recovery and safety
  • 1 pt per sack
  • 6 points per defensive touchdown
  • This study is performed using the mock draft function within our own Draft Dominator software. The program gives you the ability to draft for one team and have the other teams taken over by computer control using different ADP lists. For the purpose of this study, I will use David Dodds' projections found within the Dominator. The mock draft ability of the Dominator is a nice way to prepare for your fantasy draft. Running the same draft several times will help you to anticipate all possible scenarios when your own draft arrives. Check it out today.

    If you would like to see a particular study this season, please send me an e-mail at smith@footballguys.com, and I will do my best to cover your scoring rules, starting lineup requirements, etc. before the end of training camp.

    Onto the article.

    Drafting 14th overall (14-team re-draft)

    If you enjoy challenges, then this is a slot for you my friends. It is a long, long wait until your first two picks come around and many of the players you are hoping will fall to you inevitably will get scooped up. The key here is not to fall in love with particular players. There is no point with such a long wait between your picks. Allow the draft to happen, take it easy, don't stress the small stuff and take VALUE. If you want to just do alright and coast along, going RB/RB to begin this draft regardless of who is available will likely get you there. Having two of the top running backs on your board will be a decent foundation for your team. The problem is you will be chasing the owners who landed the elite running backs to begin the draft and if they come back with a top receiver and quarterback in the next two rounds, it will likely be a losing battle for your team in the chase. So in a nutshell, stay flexible here and change your strategy on the fly. That is the key in many slots and without question it is here.

    Possible strategies to incorporate into your draft

    Examples

    1. League that goes RB heavy in first two rounds: Many leagues out there still feature running backs flying off the board in the first two rounds. If this happens, RB/WR/WR is certainly the play here.

    Possible squad through five rounds

  • WR Calvin Johnson 1.14
  • WR Roddy White 2.01
  • RB LeGarrette Blount 3.14
  • RB Michael Turner 4.01
  • QB Matt Ryan 5.14
  • RB Brandon Jacobs 6.01
  • As scary as it is to begin a 14-team draft with a pair of receivers, if running backs get scooped up early and often in round one, you almost are forced here to buck the trend and go for strength in another position. Taking three running backs over the next four rounds does help to solidify the position and I believe at 6 points per touchdown pass, you almost have to look at quarterback here in the first six rounds unless it really dries up early.

    2. League that has more flexibility in first two rounds: If your league has more flexibility in the top include the best quarterbacks and receivers off the board, then a more conventional approach is in order. I can see going RB/RB/RB to begin a draft where a FLEX player starts each week.

    Possible squad through five rounds

  • RB Rashard Mendenhall 1.14
  • RB Chris Johnson 2.01
  • WR Dez Bryant 3.14
  • WR Steve Johnson 4.01
  • WR Chad Ochocinco 5.14
  • QB Matt Ryan 6.01
  • If this situation happens in a 'real' draft, an owner would be very happy. Two excellent running backs to begin the draft, followed by a trio of capable receivers and a great, young quarterback. Can't go wrong beginning a draft like this if the chips fall the right way.

    Positives of the draft slot

  • Back to back picks are always fun and can influence the direction of the draft
  • There will always be players slide in a draft you like and a patient owner here can thrive
  • Two of the top fifteen players on the draft board is a nice start
  • Negatives of the draft slot

  • Long, long wait between picks makes it almost impossible to project who will be there with the next two picks
  • Best running backs, receivers and quarterbacks could be off the board with your first pick
  • Final Draft Table

    Pick
    Pos
    Player Selected
    Team
    Selected By
    1.01
    RB1
    Ray Rice
    Bal/5
    Team 1
    1.02
    RB2
    LeSean McCoy
    Phi/7
    Team 2
    1.03
    WR1
    Andre Johnson
    Hou/11
    Team 3
    1.04
    RB3
    Adrian Peterson
    Min/9
    Team 4
    1.05
    RB4
    Arian Foster
    Hou/11
    Team 5
    1.06
    WR2
    Calvin Johnson
    Det/9
    Team 6
    1.07
    RB5
    Jamaal Charles
    KC/6
    Team 7
    1.08
    QB1
    Aaron Rodgers
    GB/8
    Team 8
    1.09
    WR3
    Roddy White
    Atl/8
    Team 9
    1.10
    WR4
    Hakeem Nicks
    NYG/7
    Team 10
    1.11
    RB6
    Darren McFadden
    Oak/8
    Team 11
    1.12
    RB7
    Matt Forte
    Chi/8
    Team 12
    1.13
    RB8
    Steven Jackson
    StL/5
    Team 13
    1.14
    RB9
    Rashard Mendenhall
    Pit/11
    Draft Study Team
    2.01
    WR5
    Larry Fitzgerald
    Ari/6
    Draft Study Team
    2.02
    RB10
    Chris Johnson
    Ten/6
    Team 13
    2.03
    RB11
    Peyton Hillis
    Cle/5
    Team 12
    2.04
    RB12
    Maurice Jones-Drew
    Jac/9
    Team 11
    2.05
    WR6
    Vincent Jackson
    SD/6
    Team 10
    2.06
    RB13
    Frank Gore
    SF/7
    Team 9
    2.07
    RB14
    Ahmad Bradshaw
    NYG/7
    Team 8
    2.08
    WR7
    Greg Jennings
    GB/8
    Team 7
    2.09
    WR8
    Mike Wallace
    Pit/11
    Team 6
    2.10
    QB2
    Michael Vick
    Phi/7
    Team 5
    2.11
    QB3
    Tom Brady
    NE/7
    Team 4
    2.12
    RB15
    Jahvid Best
    Det/9
    Team 3
    2.13
    WR9
    Dwayne Bowe
    KC/6
    Team 2
    2.14
    RB16
    Felix Jones
    Dal/5
    Team 1
    3.01
    QB4
    Tony Romo
    Dal/5
    Team 1
    3.02
    QB5
    Philip Rivers
    SD/6
    Team 2
    3.03
    QB6
    Drew Brees
    NO/11
    Team 3
    3.04
    WR10
    Miles Austin
    Dal/5
    Team 4
    3.05
    WR11
    Brandon Marshall
    Mia/5
    Team 5
    3.06
    QB7
    Peyton Manning
    Ind/11
    Team 6
    3.07
    WR12
    Santonio Holmes
    NYJ/8
    Team 7
    3.08
    WR13
    Reggie Wayne
    Ind/11
    Team 8
    3.09
    WR14
    Brandon Lloyd
    Den/6
    Team 9
    3.10
    WR15
    DeSean Jackson
    Phi/7
    Team 10
    3.11
    WR16
    Wes Welker
    NE/7
    Team 11
    3.12
    WR17
    Mike Williams
    TB/8
    Team 12
    3.13
    RB17
    DeAngelo Williams
    Car/9
    Team 13
    3.14
    RB19
    LeGarrette Blount
    TB/8
    Draft Study Team
    4.01
    WR18
    Dez Bryant
    Dal/5
    Draft Study Team
    4.02
    WR19
    Percy Harvin
    Min/9
    Team 13
    4.03
    WR20
    Steve Johnson
    Buf/7
    Team 12
    4.04
    QB8
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Pit/11
    Team 11
    4.05
    RB18
    Knowshon Moreno
    Den/6
    Team 10
    4.06
    RB20
    Michael Turner
    Atl/8
    Team 9
    4.07
    RB21
    Mark Ingram
    NO/11
    Team 8
    4.08
    RB22
    Ryan Mathews
    SD/6
    Team 7
    4.09
    RB23
    Fred Jackson
    Buf/7
    Team 6
    4.10
    RB24
    Cedric Benson
    Cin/7
    Team 5
    4.11
    WR21
    Mario Manningham
    NYG/7
    Team 4
    4.12
    WR22
    Austin Collie
    Ind/11
    Team 3
    4.13
    RB25
    Shonn Greene
    NYJ/8
    Team 2
    4.14
    RB26
    Tim Hightower
    Was/5
    Team 1
    5.01
    WR23
    Anquan Boldin
    Bal/5
    Team 1
    5.02
    RB27
    Marshawn Lynch
    Sea/6
    Team 2
    5.03
    RB28
    Joseph Addai
    Ind/11
    Team 3
    5.04
    RB29
    Ryan Grant
    GB/8
    Team 4
    5.05
    WR24
    Santana Moss
    Was/5
    Team 5
    5.06
    WR25
    Kenny Britt
    Ten/6
    Team 6
    5.07
    WR26
    Mike Thomas
    Jac/9
    Team 7
    5.08
    WR27
    Marques Colston
    NO/11
    Team 8
    5.09
    QB9
    Matthew Stafford
    Det/9
    Team 9
    5.10
    RB30
    Chris Wells
    Ari/6
    Team 10
    5.11
    WR28
    Julio Jones
    Atl/8
    Team 11
    5.12
    QB10
    Matt Schaub
    Hou/11
    Team 12
    5.13
    TE1
    Antonio Gates
    SD/6
    Team 13
    5.14
    QB11
    Matt Ryan
    Atl/8
    Draft Study Team
    6.01
    RB33
    Reggie Bush
    Mia/5
    Draft Study Team
    6.02
    RB31
    Daniel Thomas
    Mia/5
    Team 13
    6.03
    RB32
    Brandon Jacobs
    NYG/7
    Team 12
    6.04
    TE2
    Jason Witten
    Dal/5
    Team 11
    6.05
    TE3
    Dallas Clark
    Ind/11
    Team 10
    6.06
    TE4
    Jermichael Finley
    GB/8
    Team 9
    6.07
    TE5
    Vernon Davis
    SF/7
    Team 8
    6.08
    TE6
    Owen Daniels
    Hou/11
    Team 7
    6.09
    RB34
    Mike Tolbert
    SD/6
    Team 6
    6.10
    WR29
    A.J. Green
    Cin/7
    Team 5
    6.11
    WR30
    Sidney Rice
    Sea/6
    Team 4
    6.12
    WR31
    Pierre Garcon
    Ind/11
    Team 3
    6.13
    WR32
    Steve Smith
    Car/9
    Team 2
    6.14
    TE7
    Rob Gronkowski
    NE/7
    Team 1
    7.01
    WR33
    Chad Ochocinco
    NE/7
    Team 1
    7.02
    WR34
    Lance Moore
    NO/11
    Team 2
    7.03
    RB35
    C.J. Spiller
    Buf/7
    Team 3
    7.04
    DEF1
    Pittsburgh
    Pit/11
    Team 4
    7.05
    QB12
    Josh Freeman
    TB/8
    Team 5
    7.06
    RB36
    Darren Sproles
    NO/11
    Team 6
    7.07
    QB13
    Eli Manning
    NYG/7
    Team 7
    7.08
    RB37
    LaDainian Tomlinson
    NYJ/8
    Team 8
    7.09
    RB38
    Rashad Jennings
    Jac/9
    Team 9
    7.10
    QB14
    Joe Flacco
    Bal/5
    Team 10
    7.11
    RB39
    Danny Woodhead
    NE/7
    Team 11
    7.12
    DEF2
    New York Jets
    NYJ/8
    Team 12
    7.13
    QB15
    Kevin Kolb
    Ari/6
    Team 13
    7.14
    WR35
    Jeremy Maclin
    Phi/7
    Draft Study Team
    8.01
    TE10
    Jimmy Graham
    NO/11
    Draft Study Team
    8.02
    WR36
    Jacoby Ford
    Oak/8
    Team 13
    8.03
    WR37
    Roy Williams
    Chi/8
    Team 12
    8.04
    WR38
    Lee Evans
    Bal/5
    Team 11
    8.05
    RB40
    Jonathan Stewart
    Car/9
    Team 10
    8.06
    WR39
    Davone Bess
    Mia/5
    Team 9
    8.07
    WR40
    Nate Burleson
    Det/9
    Team 8
    8.08
    RB41
    BenJarvus Green-Ellis
    NE/7
    Team 7
    8.09
    TE8
    Marcedes Lewis
    Jac/9
    Team 6
    8.10
    DEF3
    Green Bay
    GB/8
    Team 5
    8.11
    WR41
    Denarius Moore
    Oak/8
    Team 4
    8.12
    WR42
    Andre Roberts
    Ari/6
    Team 3
    8.13
    WR43
    Mike Sims-Walker
    StL/5
    Team 2
    8.14
    WR44
    Mike Williams
    Sea/6
    Team 1
    9.01
    WR45
    Braylon Edwards
    SF/7
    Team 1
    9.02
    TE9
    Kellen Winslow
    TB/8
    Team 2
    9.03
    TE11
    Tony Gonzalez
    Atl/8
    Team 3
    9.04
    TE12
    Brandon Pettigrew
    Det/9
    Team 4
    9.05
    WR46
    Robert Meachem
    NO/11
    Team 5
    9.06
    WR47
    Hines Ward
    Pit/11
    Team 6
    9.07
    WR48
    Johnny Knox
    Chi/8
    Team 7
    9.08
    WR49
    Malcom Floyd
    SD/6
    Team 8
    9.09
    DEF4
    Philadelphia
    Phi/7
    Team 9
    9.10
    QB16
    Jay Cutler
    Chi/8
    Team 10
    9.11
    WR50
    Arrelious Benn
    TB/8
    Team 11
    9.12
    WR51
    Plaxico Burress
    NYJ/8
    Team 12
    9.13
    QB17
    Mark Sanchez
    NYJ/8
    Team 13
    9.14
    WR57
    Donald Driver
    GB/8
    Draft Study Team
    10.01
    RB42
    Willis McGahee
    Den/6
    Draft Study Team
    10.02
    TE13
    Dustin Keller
    NYJ/8
    Team 13
    10.03
    QB18
    Sam Bradford
    StL/5
    Team 12
    10.04
    QB19
    Matt Cassel
    KC/6
    Team 11
    10.05
    RB43
    Demarco Murray
    Dal/5
    Team 10
    10.06
    QB20
    Jason Campbell
    Oak/8
    Team 9
    10.07
    RB44
    Michael Bush
    Oak/8
    Team 8
    10.08
    RB45
    Pierre Thomas
    NO/11
    Team 7
    10.09
    TE14
    Jared Cook
    Ten/6
    Team 6
    10.10
    TE15
    Greg Olsen
    Car/9
    Team 5
    10.11
    RB46
    James Starks
    GB/8
    Team 4
    10.12
    QB21
    Cam Newton
    Car/9
    Team 3
    10.13
    QB22
    Colt McCoy
    Cle/5
    Team 2
    10.14
    DEF5
    New York Giants
    NYG/7
    Team 1
    11.01
    DEF6
    New England
    NE/7
    Team 1
    11.02
    DEF7
    Detroit
    Det/9
    Team 2
    11.03
    DEF8
    New Orleans
    NO/11
    Team 3
    11.04
    RB47
    Delone Carter
    Ind/11
    Team 4
    11.05
    TE16
    Jermaine Gresham
    Cin/7
    Team 5
    11.06
    DEF9
    Chicago
    Chi/8
    Team 6
    11.07
    QB23
    Donovan McNabb
    Min/9
    Team 7
    11.08
    WR52
    Deion Branch
    NE/7
    Team 8
    11.09
    TE17
    Heath Miller
    Pit/11
    Team 9
    11.10
    TE18
    Brent Celek
    Phi/7
    Team 10
    11.11
    TE19
    Zach Miller
    Sea/6
    Team 11
    11.12
    TE20
    Fred Davis
    Was/5
    Team 12
    11.13
    WR53
    Jerome Simpson
    Cin/7
    Team 13
    11.14
    RB49
    Shane Vereen
    NE/7
    Draft Study Team
    12.01
    WR59
    Michael Crabtree
    SF/7
    Draft Study Team
    12.02
    PK1
    Nate Kaeding
    SD/6
    Team 13
    12.03
    PK2
    Mason Crosby
    GB/8
    Team 12
    12.04
    WR54
    James Jones
    GB/8
    Team 11
    12.05
    PK3
    Alex Henery
    Phi/7
    Team 10
    12.06
    RB48
    Jason Snelling
    Atl/8
    Team 9
    12.07
    QB24
    Tarvaris Jackson
    Sea/6
    Team 8
    12.08
    DEF10
    Baltimore
    Bal/5
    Team 7
    12.09
    QB25
    Matt Hasselbeck
    Ten/6
    Team 6
    12.10
    RB50
    Roy Helu
    Was/5
    Team 5
    12.11
    PK4
    Stephen Gostkowski
    NE/7
    Team 4
    12.12
    RB51
    LaRod Stephens-Howling
    Ari/6
    Team 3
    12.13
    WR55
    Earl Bennett
    Chi/8
    Team 2
    12.14
    WR56
    Greg Little
    Cle/5
    Team 1
    13.01
    RB52
    Thomas Jones
    KC/6
    Team 1
    13.02
    RB53
    Bernard Scott
    Cin/7
    Team 2
    13.03
    RB54
    Jacquizz Rodgers
    Atl/8
    Team 3
    13.04
    RB55
    Marion Barber
    Chi/8
    Team 4
    13.05
    RB56
    Ricky Williams
    Bal/5
    Team 5
    13.06
    RB57
    Javon Ringer
    Ten/6
    Team 6
    13.07
    WR58
    Brian Robiskie
    Cle/5
    Team 7
    13.08
    RB58
    Ronnie Brown
    Phi/7
    Team 8
    13.09
    WR60
    Brandon Gibson
    StL/5
    Team 9
    13.10
    WR61
    Kevin Walter
    Hou/11
    Team 10
    13.11
    WR62
    Danny Amendola
    StL/5
    Team 11
    13.12
    WR63
    Derrick Mason
    NYJ/8
    Team 12
    13.13
    WR64
    Nate Washington
    Ten/6
    Team 13
    13.14
    WR66
    Jordy Nelson
    GB/8
    Draft Study Team
    14.01
    RB62
    Montario Hardesty
    Cle/5
    Draft Study Team
    14.02
    WR65
    Eddie Royal
    Den/6
    Team 13
    14.03
    RB59
    Jerome Harrison
    Det/9
    Team 12
    14.04
    RB60
    Toby Gerhart
    Min/9
    Team 11
    14.05
    RB61
    Justin Forsett
    Sea/6
    Team 10
    14.06
    RB63
    Derrick Ward
    Hou/11
    Team 9
    14.07
    TE21
    Tony Moeaki
    KC/6
    Team 8
    14.08
    TE22
    Lance Kendricks
    StL/5
    Team 7
    14.09
    RB64
    Isaac Redman
    Pit/11
    Team 6
    14.10
    RB65
    Anthony Dixon
    SF/7
    Team 5
    14.11
    QB26
    Ryan Fitzpatrick
    Buf/7
    Team 4
    14.12
    TE23
    Ben Watson
    Cle/5
    Team 3
    14.13
    TE24
    Aaron Hernandez
    NE/7
    Team 2
    14.14
    QB27
    Alex Smith
    SF/7
    Team 1
    15.01
    TE25
    Kevin Boss
    Oak/8
    Team 1
    15.02
    PK5
    Dan Bailey
    Dal/5
    Team 2
    15.03
    PK6
    Shaun Suisham
    Pit/11
    Team 3
    15.04
    TE26
    Visanthe Shiancoe
    Min/9
    Team 4
    15.05
    PK7
    Garrett Hartley
    NO/11
    Team 5
    15.06
    PK8
    Sebastian Janikowski
    Oak/8
    Team 6
    15.07
    DEF11
    San Diego
    SD/6
    Team 7
    15.08
    WR67
    Devin Hester
    Chi/8
    Team 8
    15.09
    WR68
    Louis Murphy
    Oak/8
    Team 9
    15.10
    WR69
    Jabar Gaffney
    Was/5
    Team 10
    15.11
    RB66
    Earnest Graham
    TB/8
    Team 11
    15.12
    WR70
    Jacoby Jones
    Hou/11
    Team 12
    15.13
    WR71
    Jason Hill
    Jac/9
    Team 13
    15.14
    QB29
    Kyle Orton
    Den/6
    Draft Study Team
    16.01
    DEF12
    Dallas
    Dal/5
    Draft Study Team
    16.02
    DEF13
    Atlanta
    Atl/8
    Team 13
    16.03
    PK9
    Neil Rackers
    Hou/11
    Team 12
    16.04
    PK10
    Adam Vinatieri
    Ind/11
    Team 11
    16.05
    DEF14
    San Francisco
    SF/7
    Team 10
    16.06
    WR72
    Steve Breaston
    KC/6
    Team 9
    16.07
    PK11
    Billy Cundiff
    Bal/5
    Team 8
    16.08
    PK12
    Matt Bryant
    Atl/8
    Team 7
    16.09
    WR73
    Eric Decker
    Den/6
    Team 6
    16.10
    WR74
    Jordan Shipley
    Cin/7
    Team 5
    16.11
    WR75
    Brian Hartline
    Mia/5
    Team 4
    16.12
    WR76
    Devin Aromashodu
    Min/9
    Team 3
    16.13
    RB67
    Mike Goodson
    Car/9
    Team 2
    16.14
    WR77
    Early Doucet
    Ari/6
    Team 1
    17.01
    PK13
    Jason Hanson
    Det/9
    Team 1
    17.02
    DEF15
    Tampa Bay
    TB/8
    Team 2
    17.03
    DEF16
    Minnesota
    Min/9
    Team 3
    17.04
    PK14
    Lawrence Tynes
    NYG/7
    Team 4
    17.05
    WR78
    Terrell Owens
    FA
    Team 5
    17.06
    PK15
    Josh Brown
    StL/5
    Team 6
    17.07
    RB68
    Cadillac Williams
    StL/5
    Team 7
    17.08
    DEF17
    Oakland
    Oak/8
    Team 8
    17.09
    PK16
    Dan Carpenter
    Mia/5
    Team 9
    17.10
    WR79
    Steve Smith
    Phi/7
    Team 10
    17.11
    DEF18
    Arizona
    Ari/6
    Team 11
    17.12
    TE27
    Ed Dickson
    Bal/5
    Team 12
    17.13
    RB69
    Brandon Jackson
    Cle/5
    Team 13
    17.14
    PK17
    Rob Bironas
    Ten/6
    Draft Study Team
    18.01
    RB73
    Stevan Ridley
    NE/7
    Draft Study Team
    18.02
    DEF19
    Tennessee
    Ten/6
    Team 13
    18.03
    RB70
    Allen Bradford
    TB/8
    Team 12
    18.04
    PK18
    Robbie Gould
    Chi/8
    Team 11
    18.05
    PK19
    Josh Scobee
    Jac/9
    Team 10
    18.06
    PK20
    Matt Prater
    Den/6
    Team 9
    18.07
    PK21
    Connor Barth
    TB/8
    Team 8
    18.08
    WR80
    Harry Douglas
    Atl/8
    Team 7
    18.09
    WR81
    David Nelson
    Buf/7
    Team 6
    18.10
    PK22
    Jeff Reed
    Sea/6
    Team 5
    18.11
    WR82
    Dezmon Briscoe
    TB/8
    Team 4
    18.12
    WR83
    Jerheme Urban
    KC/6
    Team 3
    18.13
    WR84
    Emmanuel Sanders
    Pit/11
    Team 2
    18.14
    RB71
    Kendall Hunter
    SF/7
    Team 1

    Breaking down the mock draft from the 14th draft position

    Round 1/2: RB Rashard Mendenhall / WR Larry Fitzgerald

    I believe the perfect case scenario here in this spot is to take one of each running back and receiver when possible. I believe great starting receivers dry up as quickly as running back this season so landing an elite receiver to go with a good running back is a great strategy here. Mendenhall is guaranteed 20-carries per game in this offense and the Steelers offensive line should be much improved in 2011. He could be very effective this season. Fitzgerald can be the top fantasy receiver in any given season. With a new quarterback in Kevin Kolb throwing him the ball, he may put together some huge stats.

    Rounds 3/4: RB LeGarrette Blount / WR Dez Bryant

    It is without question a long, long time before these two picks come up. However, I sit back, no real panic and let the draft unfold. Talent is going to drop to my pick regardless and I'll pick the best two players available. There are several running backs and receivers I like here so there is no problem here. I take the top running back and receiver on my board although I consider adding Mark Ingram as my RB3 in place of Dez Bryant. Starting three receivers however makes good starting receivers just as valuable as running backs so I take Bryant.

    Rounds 5/6: QB Matt Ryan / RB Reggie Bush

    Again, there is a huge wait here before picks. However I see plenty of talent again to choose from. I consider taking receivers Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith, Lance Moore or Jeremy Maclin but decide to wait on the position and see if one of them drop to round seven. I do that because Reggie Bush looks to be in great shape this year and while he failed to live up to draft hype in the past, with the 71st pick in a PPR league, he is screaming value to me here. He is a nice backup for my team. Matt Ryan is a no brainer for me here. I love him going into this season and believe he'll be top-six with the weapons he has to get the ball to.

    Rounds 7/8: WR Jeremy Maclin / TE Jimmy Graham

    Well three of the four receivers I had my eye on last round have been scooped up but I am pleased to have the fourth available here and I gladly take Maclin as my WR3. He has potential to be much better than this draft slot would suggest and he appears to be back on the right track following his health scare. I consider a RB Jonathan Stewart or WR Braylon Edwards here but do not think the top tight ends will slide to my next pick so I pull the trigger on Graham. He has the ability to put up great numbers in New Orleans.

    Rounds 9/10: WR Donald Driver / RB Willis McGahee

    Time to pick up a couple of crusty veterans that should add nice depth to my squad. Driver especially is long in the tooth but he is capable of some nice things still and as a backup fantasy receiver, he'll get the job done. Willis McGahee is an interesting pickup here. He has the potential to earn plenty of playing time in 2011 and as my RB4, at worst he'll get some touchdowns and 7 to 10 touches per game.

    At just past the halfway point of the draft, our team looks like this...

    Quarterbacks

  • Matt Ryan
  • Running Backs

  • Rashard Mendenhall
  • LeGarrette Blount
  • Reggie Bush
  • Willis McGahee
  • Wide Receivers

  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Dez Bryant
  • Jeremy Maclin
  • Donald Driver
  • Tight Ends

  • Jimmy Graham
  • Place Kickers

  • none
  • Defenses

  • none
  • Rounds 11-14: RB Shane Vereen / WR Michael Crabtree / WR Jordy Nelson / RB Montario Hardesty

    I go into these rounds targeting running back and receiver depth and I do very nicely here. Both Vereen and Hardesty are young running backs capable of 20+ carries per game. Crabtree has excellent potential but I'm skeptical after he missed yet another training camp. Still in the 12th round, he is worth a look. Nelson I picked to handcuff to Driver. One of these two players will emerge as a good option for me so I can sit back and wait to see who it is. I now sit with six running backs and six receivers and I am in good shape.

    Rounds 15-18: QB Kyle Orton / DEF Cowboys / PK Rob Bironas / RB Stevan Ridley

    This is easy here. Need a backup quarterback and cannot believe Orton is still there. I get my starting defense and starting kicker here and finish my draft off with the 2nd Patriots running back in Stevan Ridley. I believe I am guaranteed touches at the Patriots backfield now.

    Final Roster (Draft Slot #14)

    Quarterbacks

  • Matt Ryan
  • Kyle Orton
  • Running Backs

  • Rashard Mendenhall
  • LeGarrette Blount
  • Reggie Bush
  • Willis McGahee
  • Shane Vereen
  • Montario Hardesty
  • Stevan Ridley
  • Wide Receivers

  • Larry Fitzgerald
  • Dez Bryant
  • Jeremy Maclin
  • Donald Driver
  • Michael Crabtree
  • Jordy Nelson
  • Tight Ends

  • Jimmy Graham
  • Place Kickers

  • Rob Bironas
  • Defenses

  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Final thoughts on this roster

    When all is said and done, this squad looks very good. I have plenty of depth at running back to go along with two good starting options in Mendenhall and Blount. I like my starting receiver trio and have some talent in behind them. The backup receiver situation isn't as strong as I would like though unless Crabtree elevates his play. I have a good starting tight end in Graham and my kicker and defense are serviceable. All in all, I am in a good place here to make a run.

    Last thoughts on the 14th draft slot in a 14-team league

    Well, as I stated earlier, drafting here is a challenge without question. With such a long wait between picks, it is so hard to see ahead and determine which players will be there for you to draft. The most important thing the first 3-4 rounds is to take the best players on the board. Once you have that foundation in place, then you can start targeting positions as the draft goes on. Having excellent players regardless of position to begin a draft will help you build a competitive team capable of elevating to elite status. My suggestions through the first five rounds is to make sure you get a top-ten quarterback on your board. However do not take one until at least round three and then assess who is out there and draft accordingly. By round ten if you have a minimum of a quarterback, 3 running backs, 3 receivers and a tight end, you'll be on your way to building a championship caliber team. Happy drafting.

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