Draft Slots Study - 12 Teams / Pick 1.04
By Chris Smith
August 7th, 2012

One of the more interesting discussion points every time a new fantasy football season rolls around is in regards to the draft slots. While it is possible with wise decisions, bold moves and fearless picks 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. Every draft slot will have positives, negatives and its own unique draft strategy and it is imperative that fantasy owners take the time to really breakdown the advantages and disadvantages to their draft position. That is where I and this long-running Footballguys exclusive come in.

This series of articles will take an in-depth look at multiple types of leagues such as 10-team, 12-team and 14-team leagues as well as unique starting lineup and scoring rules. We will run a mock draft for every new scenario and breakdown the positives and negatives of each draft position.

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.

We will begin this season with one of the more common fantasy leagues today.

Starting Lineup Requirements (18 total players on roster)

  • 1 QB
  • 2 RBs
  • 3 WRs
  • 1 TE
  • 1 PK
  • 1 defense/special teams unit
  • No flex
  • League Scoring Rules (standard performance based scoring)

  • Passing: 1 point every 20 passing yards / 4 points per touchdown pass / -1 point per interception
  • Rushing: 1 point every 10 rushing yards / 6 points per touchdown
  • Receiving: 1 point every 10 receiving yards / 6 points per touchdown / 1 point per reception
  • Kicking: 3 points per field goal / 1 point per extra point
  • Defense: 5 points for shutout / 3 points for allowing < 7 points / 1 point for allowing less than 11 points / 2 points for interceptions / fumble recoveries and safeties / 1 point per sack
  • 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 4th overall (12-team re-draft)

    The first three draft picks are somewhat interchangeable this season with Arian Foster, Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy being similar talents. So we will move on to the 4th pick in the draft, a draft slot in which an owner without question has a choice between four different positions.

    The conventional draft strategy here is to take a running back and not look back. In this situation that would be a player such as Ryan Matthews of the San Diego Chargers. He has all the tools and abilities to become an elite fantasy running back this season and would not be a terrible pick here. However going running back here will leave you chasing the three owners that took the higher rated running backs ahead of you. Of course there are no guarantees those three running backs finish better than Matthews or even that one of them doesn't drop to this pick. However the owner drafting 4th overall also can choose to take the best quarterback available, the top receiver or even throw a real curve ball by taking an elite tight end. All can be interesting options here depending on your league mates and their tendencies.

    I think the best option here is to pick up the stud quarterback (Aaron Rodgers) or the stud receiver (Calvin Johnson). Either player sets this owner up significantly ahead of curve at one of these positions and sets this roster up as one to chase instead of chasing the three owners at the top of the draft board.

    Two example strategies to incorporate into your draft

    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...

    Possible squad through five rounds

  • QB Aaron Rodgers 1.04
  • WR Greg Jennings 2.09
  • WR Roddy White 3.04
  • RB Michael Turner 4.09
  • RB Reggie Bush 5.04
  • Starting a draft quarterback / receiver / receiver is very difficult to do. If owners around your pick keep taking questionable talent at running back, do not insist on being a follower. Instead take the best available talent in the first few rounds and build. Having a trio such as Rodgers, Jennings and White to begin a draft is a foundation that can lead to glory. You will be able to find capable running backs that fall through the cracks.

    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...

    Possible squad through five rounds

  • RB LeSean McCoy 1.04
  • RB Jamaal Charles 2.09
  • WR Roddy White 3.04
  • WR Vincent Jackson 4.09
  • WR Brandon Marshall 5.04
  • In a draft in which receivers and quarterbacks are coveted within the first two rounds in addition to the top two tight ends, this is an exceptional strategy to follow. Two very strong running backs are available here and is a great cornerstone to any fantasy team. Add to that three nice receiving options in rounds three through five and this team is without question starting the right way towards a possible fantasy title.

    Likely selections in first seven rounds

  • Round 1: RB/QB (Aaron Rodgers is a distinct possibility here)
  • Round 2: RB/WR
  • Round 3: RB/WR unless exceptional value at QB (Brady, Brees, Newton)
  • Round 4: RB/WR unless exceptional value at QB
  • Round 5: RB/WR unless great value at QB
  • Round 6: RB/WR/QB
  • Round 7: RB/WR/TE/QB
  • In my opinion the foundation of a fantasy team is the seven potential weekly starters. By the end of round seven my goal is usually to secure the starter at quarterback, running back, receiver and tight end. Both quarterback and tight end however I will sometimes wait on if I see lots of talent on the board or I am fairly confident a player I like will drop. It all depends on who is available each round.

    Positives of the draft slot

  • Always top-end talent on the board with the 4th overall pick
  • Get the jump on the three owners ahead of you in round one with the earlier 2nd round pick
  • Can dictate the direction of the draft with shrewd selections
  • Negatives of the draft slot

  • Likely to miss out on the big trio at running back
  • Long time between odd and even round picks can result in a position drying up
  • Projecting which positional runs will occur inaccurately can hurt your roster
  • Final Draft Table

    Pick
    Pos
    Player Selected
    Team
    Selected By
    1.01
    RB1
    Arian Foster
    Hou/8
    Team 1
    1.02
    RB2
    Ray Rice
    Bal/8
    Team 2
    1.03
    RB3
    LeSean McCoy
    Phi/7
    Team 3
    1.04
    QB1
    Aaron Rodgers
    GB/10
    1.04 Team
    1.05
    RB4
    Ryan Mathews
    SD/7
    Team 5
    1.06
    WR1
    Calvin Johnson
    Det/5
    Team 6
    1.07
    RB5
    Maurice Jones-Drew
    Jac/6
    Team 7
    1.08
    QB2
    Tom Brady
    NE/9
    Team 8
    1.09
    RB6
    Trent Richardson
    Cle/10
    Team 9
    1.10
    TE1
    Jimmy Graham
    NO/6
    Team 10
    1.11
    TE2
    Rob Gronkowski
    NE/9
    Team 11
    1.12
    RB7
    Darren McFadden
    Oak/5
    Team 12
    2.01
    RB8
    Chris Johnson
    Ten/11
    Team 12
    2.02
    QB3
    Drew Brees
    NO/6
    Team 11
    2.03
    RB9
    Matt Forte
    Chi/6
    Team 10
    2.04
    WR2
    Larry Fitzgerald
    Ari/10
    Team 9
    2.05
    RB10
    Darren Sproles
    NO/6
    Team 8
    2.06
    RB11
    Jamaal Charles
    KC/7
    Team 7
    2.07
    RB12
    Ahmad Bradshaw
    NYG/11
    Team 6
    2.08
    RB13
    Steven Jackson
    StL/9
    Team 5
    2.09
    WR3
    Andre Johnson
    Hou/8
    1.04 Team
    2.10
    QB4
    Cam Newton
    Car/6
    Team 3
    2.11
    RB14
    Fred Jackson
    Buf/8
    Team 2
    2.12
    RB15
    Marshawn Lynch
    Sea/11
    Team 1
    3.01
    QB5
    Matthew Stafford
    Det/5
    Team 1
    3.02
    WR4
    Mike Wallace
    Pit/4
    Team 2
    3.03
    RB16
    DeMarco Murray
    Dal/5
    Team 3
    3.04
    WR6
    Hakeem Nicks
    NYG/11
    1.04 Team
    3.05
    WR5
    Roddy White
    Atl/7
    Team 5
    3.06
    RB17
    Doug Martin
    TB/5
    Team 6
    3.07
    WR7
    Julio Jones
    Atl/7
    Team 7
    3.08
    WR8
    A.J. Green
    Cin/8
    Team 8
    3.09
    WR9
    Victor Cruz
    NYG/11
    Team 9
    3.10
    WR10
    Greg Jennings
    GB/10
    Team 10
    3.11
    RB18
    Reggie Bush
    Mia/7
    Team 11
    3.12
    QB6
    Michael Vick
    Phi/7
    Team 12
    4.01
    WR11
    Dez Bryant
    Dal/5
    Team 12
    4.02
    WR12
    Demaryius Thomas
    Den/7
    Team 11
    4.03
    WR13
    Percy Harvin
    Min/11
    Team 10
    4.04
    WR14
    Wes Welker
    NE/9
    Team 9
    4.05
    WR15
    Brandon Marshall
    Chi/6
    Team 8
    4.06
    WR16
    Steve Smith
    Car/6
    Team 7
    4.07
    WR17
    Marques Colston
    NO/6
    Team 6
    4.08
    WR18
    Jordy Nelson
    GB/10
    Team 5
    4.09
    RB19
    Adrian Peterson
    Min/11
    1.04 Team
    4.10
    WR19
    Kenny Britt
    Ten/11
    Team 3
    4.11
    WR20
    Steve Johnson
    Buf/8
    Team 2
    4.12
    WR21
    Miles Austin
    Dal/5
    Team 1
    5.01
    TE3
    Jason Witten
    Dal/5
    Team 1
    5.02
    TE4
    Antonio Gates
    SD/7
    Team 2
    5.03
    TE5
    Aaron Hernandez
    NE/9
    Team 3
    5.04
    RB21
    Frank Gore
    SF/9
    1.04 Team
    5.05
    QB7
    Philip Rivers
    SD/7
    Team 5
    5.06
    QB8
    Tony Romo
    Dal/5
    Team 6
    5.07
    QB9
    Eli Manning
    NYG/11
    Team 7
    5.08
    WR22
    Vincent Jackson
    TB/5
    Team 8
    5.09
    TE6
    Vernon Davis
    SF/9
    Team 9
    5.10
    QB10
    Robert Griffin III
    Was/10
    Team 10
    5.11
    RB20
    Isaac Redman
    Pit/4
    Team 11
    5.12
    WR23
    DeSean Jackson
    Phi/7
    Team 12
    6.01
    RB22
    Shonn Greene
    NYJ/9
    Team 12
    6.02
    RB23
    Roy Helu
    Was/10
    Team 11
    6.03
    RB24
    Michael Turner
    Atl/7
    Team 10
    6.04
    QB11
    Matt Ryan
    Atl/7
    Team 9
    6.05
    RB25
    Jonathan Stewart
    Car/6
    Team 8
    6.06
    QB12
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Pit/4
    Team 7
    6.07
    WR24
    Jeremy Maclin
    Phi/7
    Team 6
    6.08
    WR25
    Dwayne Bowe
    KC/7
    Team 5
    6.09
    RB28
    C.J. Spiller
    Buf/8
    1.04 Team
    6.10
    RB26
    BenJarvus Green-Ellis
    Cin/8
    Team 3
    6.11
    QB13
    Peyton Manning
    Den/7
    Team 2
    6.12
    WR26
    Reggie Wayne
    Ind/4
    Team 1
    7.01
    WR27
    Eric Decker
    Den/7
    Team 1
    7.02
    RB27
    Jahvid Best
    Det/5
    Team 2
    7.03
    WR28
    Torrey Smith
    Bal/8
    Team 3
    7.04
    WR29
    Antonio Brown
    Pit/4
    1.04 Team
    7.05
    QB14
    Josh Freeman
    TB/5
    Team 5
    7.06
    TE7
    Jermichael Finley
    GB/10
    Team 6
    7.07
    WR30
    Denarius Moore
    Oak/5
    Team 7
    7.08
    RB29
    Donald Brown
    Ind/4
    Team 8
    7.09
    RB30
    Willis McGahee
    Den/7
    Team 9
    7.10
    WR31
    Santonio Holmes
    NYJ/9
    Team 10
    7.11
    WR32
    Brandon Lloyd
    NE/9
    Team 11
    7.12
    TE8
    Brandon Pettigrew
    Det/5
    Team 12
    8.01
    WR33
    Darrius Heyward-Bey
    Oak/5
    Team 12
    8.02
    RB31
    James Starks
    GB/10
    Team 11
    8.03
    RB32
    DeAngelo Williams
    Car/6
    Team 10
    8.04
    RB33
    Chris Wells
    Ari/10
    Team 9
    8.05
    RB34
    Pierre Thomas
    NO/6
    Team 8
    8.06
    RB35
    Mark Ingram
    NO/6
    Team 7
    8.07
    RB36
    Felix Jones
    Dal/5
    Team 6
    8.08
    RB37
    Michael Bush
    Chi/6
    Team 5
    8.09
    TE10
    Fred Davis
    Was/10
    1.04 Team
    8.10
    RB38
    Peyton Hillis
    KC/7
    Team 3
    8.11
    QB15
    Carson Palmer
    Oak/5
    Team 2
    8.12
    TE9
    Tony Gonzalez
    Atl/7
    Team 1
    9.01
    WR34
    Sidney Rice
    Sea/11
    Team 1
    9.02
    WR35
    Robert Meachem
    SD/7
    Team 2
    9.03
    WR36
    Pierre Garcon
    Was/10
    Team 3
    9.04
    WR38
    Michael Crabtree
    SF/9
    1.04 Team
    9.05
    TE11
    Brent Celek
    Phi/7
    Team 5
    9.06
    TE12
    Dustin Keller
    NYJ/9
    Team 6
    9.07
    TE13
    Jermaine Gresham
    Cin/8
    Team 7
    9.08
    TE14
    Owen Daniels
    Hou/8
    Team 8
    9.09
    QB16
    Andy Dalton
    Cin/8
    Team 9
    9.10
    RB39
    Ryan Williams
    Ari/10
    Team 10
    9.11
    WR37
    Greg Little
    Cle/10
    Team 11
    9.12
    QB17
    Ryan Fitzpatrick
    Buf/8
    Team 12
    10.01
    WR39
    Lance Moore
    NO/6
    Team 12
    10.02
    WR40
    Malcom Floyd
    SD/7
    Team 11
    10.03
    WR41
    Anquan Boldin
    Bal/8
    Team 10
    10.04
    RB40
    Stevan Ridley
    NE/9
    Team 9
    10.05
    QB18
    Matt Schaub
    Hou/8
    Team 8
    10.06
    RB41
    Ronnie Hillman
    Den/7
    Team 7
    10.07
    RB42
    Toby Gerhart
    Min/11
    Team 6
    10.08
    DEF1
    Green Bay
    GB/10
    Team 5
    10.09
    RB43
    David Wilson
    NYG/11
    1.04 Team
    10.10
    QB19
    Alex Smith
    SF/9
    Team 3
    10.11
    DEF2
    Philadelphia
    Phi/7
    Team 2
    10.12
    DEF3
    Chicago
    Chi/6
    Team 1
    11.01
    QB20
    Andrew Luck
    Ind/4
    Team 1
    11.02
    WR42
    Mike Williams
    TB/5
    Team 2
    11.03
    DEF4
    San Francisco
    SF/9
    Team 3
    11.04
    RB48
    Mikel Leshoure
    Det/5
    1.04 Team
    11.05
    WR43
    Titus Young
    Det/5
    Team 5
    11.06
    QB21
    Joe Flacco
    Bal/8
    Team 6
    11.07
    DEF5
    New England
    NE/9
    Team 7
    11.08
    DEF6
    Detroit
    Det/5
    Team 8
    11.09
    DEF7
    Baltimore
    Bal/8
    Team 9
    11.10
    QB22
    Jay Cutler
    Chi/6
    Team 10
    11.11
    WR44
    Austin Collie
    Ind/4
    Team 11
    11.12
    TE15
    Coby Fleener
    Ind/4
    Team 12
    12.01
    RB44
    Ben Tate
    Hou/8
    Team 12
    12.02
    PK1
    Stephen Gostkowski
    NE/9
    Team 11
    12.03
    RB45
    Daniel Thomas
    Mia/7
    Team 10
    12.04
    RB46
    Jacquizz Rodgers
    Atl/7
    Team 9
    12.05
    WR45
    Nate Washington
    Ten/11
    Team 8
    12.06
    WR46
    Doug Baldwin
    Sea/11
    Team 7
    12.07
    WR47
    Justin Blackmon
    Jac/6
    Team 6
    12.08
    RB47
    Shane Vereen
    NE/9
    Team 5
    12.09
    WR48
    Michael Floyd
    Ari/10
    1.04 Team
    12.10
    PK2
    David Akers
    SF/9
    Team 3
    12.11
    DEF8
    New York Jets
    NYJ/9
    Team 2
    12.12
    DEF9
    Buffalo
    Buf/8
    Team 1
    13.01
    RB49
    Marcel Reece
    Oak/5
    Team 1
    13.02
    WR49
    Nate Burleson
    Det/5
    Team 2
    13.03
    WR50
    David Nelson
    Buf/8
    Team 3
    13.04
    DEF11
    Pittsburgh
    Pit/4
    1.04 Team
    13.05
    RB50
    Rashad Jennings
    Jac/6
    Team 5
    13.06
    RB51
    Tim Hightower
    Was/10
    Team 6
    13.07
    WR51
    Jerome Simpson
    Min/11
    Team 7
    13.08
    WR52
    Brandon LaFell
    Car/6
    Team 8
    13.09
    DEF10
    New York Giants
    NYG/11
    Team 9
    13.10
    TE16
    Greg Olsen
    Car/6
    Team 10
    13.11
    QB23
    Christian Ponder
    Min/11
    Team 11
    13.12
    DEF12
    Dallas
    Dal/5
    Team 12
    14.01
    WR53
    Davone Bess
    Mia/7
    Team 12
    14.02
    TE17
    Jacob Tamme
    Den/7
    Team 11
    14.03
    WR54
    Laurent Robinson
    Jac/6
    Team 10
    14.04
    TE18
    Heath Miller
    Pit/4
    Team 9
    14.05
    TE19
    Jared Cook
    Ten/11
    Team 8
    14.06
    TE20
    Ed Dickson
    Bal/8
    Team 7
    14.07
    DEF13
    Seattle
    Sea/11
    Team 6
    14.08
    DEF14
    Arizona
    Ari/10
    Team 5
    14.09
    QB25
    Sam Bradford
    StL/9
    1.04 Team
    14.10
    WR55
    Randall Cobb
    GB/10
    Team 3
    14.11
    RB52
    Alex Green
    GB/10
    Team 2
    14.12
    RB53
    Kendall Hunter
    SF/9
    Team 1
    15.01
    WR56
    Brian Quick
    StL/9
    Team 1
    15.02
    RB54
    Joe McKnight
    NYJ/9
    Team 2
    15.03
    DEF15
    Atlanta
    Atl/7
    Team 3
    15.04
    RB56
    LeGarrette Blount
    TB/5
    1.04 Team
    15.05
    WR57
    Stephen Hill
    NYJ/9
    Team 5
    15.06
    WR58
    Brian Hartline
    Mia/7
    Team 6
    15.07
    PK3
    Garrett Hartley
    NO/6
    Team 7
    15.08
    RB55
    Danny Woodhead
    NE/9
    Team 8
    15.09
    WR59
    Randy Moss
    SF/9
    Team 9
    15.10
    WR60
    Alshon Jeffery
    Chi/6
    Team 10
    15.11
    RB57
    Isaiah Pead
    StL/9
    Team 11
    15.12
    RB58
    Delone Carter
    Ind/4
    Team 12
    16.01
    PK4
    Sebastian Janikowski
    Oak/5
    Team 12
    16.02
    PK5
    Alex Henery
    Phi/7
    Team 11
    16.03
    PK6
    Mason Crosby
    GB/10
    Team 10
    16.04
    WR61
    Steve Smith
    StL/9
    Team 9
    16.05
    WR62
    Emmanuel Sanders
    Pit/4
    Team 8
    16.06
    RB59
    Mike Goodson
    Oak/5
    Team 7
    16.07
    WR63
    Jacoby Ford
    Oak/5
    Team 6
    16.08
    TE21
    Kyle Rudolph
    Min/11
    Team 5
    16.09
    PK8
    Randy Bullock
    Hou/8
    1.04 Team
    16.10
    RB60
    Mike Tolbert
    Car/6
    Team 3
    16.11
    PK7
    Dan Carpenter
    Mia/7
    Team 2
    16.12
    RB61
    Bernard Scott
    Cin/8
    Team 1
    17.01
    PK9
    Nate Kaeding
    SD/7
    Team 1
    17.02
    PK10
    Dan Bailey
    Dal/5
    Team 2
    17.03
    WR64
    Kendall Wright
    Ten/11
    Team 3
    17.04
    TE33
    Kellen Winslow
    Sea/11
    1.04 Team
    17.05
    WR65
    Steve Breaston
    KC/7
    Team 5
    17.06
    PK11
    Matt Bryant
    Atl/7
    Team 6
    17.07
    WR66
    Vincent Brown
    SD/7
    Team 7
    17.08
    PK12
    Billy Cundiff
    Bal/8
    Team 8
    17.09
    WR67
    Donnie Avery
    Ind/4
    Team 9
    17.10
    DEF16
    Tennessee
    Ten/11
    Team 10
    17.11
    WR68
    Santana Moss
    Was/10
    Team 11
    17.12
    WR69
    Devery Henderson
    NO/6
    Team 12
    18.01
    DEF17
    San Diego
    SD/7
    Team 12
    18.02
    DEF18
    Denver
    Den/7
    Team 11
    18.03
    DEF19
    Oakland
    Oak/5
    Team 10
    18.04
    PK13
    Jason Hanson
    Det/5
    Team 9
    18.05
    PK14
    Mike Nugent
    Cin/8
    Team 8
    18.06
    PK15
    Shaun Suisham
    Pit/4
    Team 7
    18.07
    PK16
    Neil Rackers
    Was/10
    Team 6
    18.08
    PK17
    Rob Bironas
    Ten/11
    Team 5
    18.09
    WR84
    Chad Johnson
    Mia/7
    1.04 Team
    18.10
    TE22
    Marcedes Lewis
    Jac/6
    Team 3
    18.11
    WR70
    Harry Douglas
    Atl/7
    Team 2
    18.12
    WR71
    Mohamed Sanu
    Cin/8
    Team 1

    Breaking down the mock draft from the 4th draft position

    Round 1: QB Aaron Rodgers
    With the top three running backs selected ahead of my pick here, I have multiple paths I can head down. I can take a chance on Ryan Matthews, hoping he can make the jump to elite running back and certainly he is not a bad pick here. In fact I may go this route often drafting from this position. If you are only comfortable with a running back 4th overall, simply re-read my 1st article in this series, drafting from the 1st overall draft position as the strategy laid out is similar enough to what this pick would be. However let us switch up this draft and pick up the fantasy juggernaut Aaron Rodgers with the 4th overall pick. He is a fantasy machine over the past few seasons and is as sure of a bet as you can find in the first round. You pick him up, sit back and watch him rack up 25+ fantasy points in most games. There is nothing wrong with a consistent cornerstone like him to begin your team, even if conventional wisdom tells you to wait on the position.

    Round 2: WR Andre Johnson
    This is where my draft is getting interesting. Normally after taking a non-running back to begin a draft it is a wise move to targets running backs in the next couple of rounds. However this is a year in which I see tons of running back depth but not many exciting players in rounds two and three. Sure I can take a Marshawn Lynch kind of back here but I want players that will have an opportunity to be fantasy stars this season and really, it is a no-brainer to scoop up Texans receiver Andre Johnson with this pick. I am actually surprised he is still on the board here and I don't think twice about beginning a draft with a quarterback and a receiver when those two names are Rodgers and Johnson.

    Round 3: WR Hakeem Nicks
    I am planning on taking DeMarco Murray with my third round pick but he is scooped up one spot before mine. I really like rookie running back Doug Martin and do consider him here but again, looking ahead to the next several rounds I believe there will be running backs worth targeting later on. I decide to really get a jump on my league mates at both quarterback and receiver by adding the explosive Hakeem Nicks here with my third pick. He is exactly the type of third round pick that can lead a team to victory as he has elite player written all over him.

    Round 4: RB Adrian Peterson
    Heading into rounds four and five, now I know that I must secure two running backs with these picks. The first one I am very happy to add the former fantasy superstar Adrian Peterson to my lineup. He is coming off of knee surgery and may not be 100% to begin the season. In fact Toby Gerhart may get the majority of touches for the first few weeks. However the fantasy season is a long one and I am confident that Peterson will be leading the team in rushing each week no later than October 1st. I may have to tread water for the first few weeks at running back but my first three selections of Rodgers, Johnson and Nicks are capable of stealing me a win on their own while I wait on Peterson to solidify my starting lineup.

    Round 5: RB Frank Gore
    Gore is getting older and has had injury woes in the past but landing him in the fifth round makes me very happy I waited on the receiver position to begin the draft. I quickly pick him up with little thought here.

    Round 6: RB C.J. Spiller
    Having ignored the running back position for the first three rounds, my thought processes for rounds four through six are simple, take a running back unless exceptional receiver or tight end talent is available to be selected. I am very pleased to add Spiller here as I believe he has a chance to become the top fantasy producer in the Bills backfield this season after he began to showcase his explosiveness in 2011.

    Round 7: WR Antonio Brown
    I am looking at Torrey Smith as my WR3 here but he is scooped up one spot before my pick. Antonio Brown is a capable WR3 in his own right and I am happy to add him to my squad. I also consider Jermichael Finley here but I like four different tight ends and one is likely to drop to my next selection.

    Round 8: TE Fred Davis
    As mentioned in round seven, I saw tight ends I liked that were likely to drop. Davis was one of those tight ends and I am pleased to add him as my starting tight end here.

    Round 9: WR Michael Crabtree
    Crabtree is a young receiver with considerable upside in an up and coming offensive attack. As my WR4, I do not need to count on him for consistent weekly output but he certainly has the tools to become the WR3 on my roster.

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

    Quarterbacks

  • Aaron Rodgers 1.04
  • Running Backs

  • Adrian Peterson 4.09
  • Frank Gore 5.04
  • C.J. Spiller 6.09
  • Wide Receivers

  • Andre Johnson 2.09
  • Hakeem Nicks 3.04
  • Antonio Brown 7.04
  • Michael Crabtree 9.04
  • Tight Ends

  • Fred Davis 8.09
  • Place Kickers

  • none
  • Defenses

  • none
  • Despite an unconventional beginning to the fantasy draft, after nine picks my roster spots are right where they should be. After nine picks, I am always looking to secure my fantasy starters in place and I have my quarterback, starting running backs, receivers and tight end in place. I just added them to the roster in an unusual order. Obviously I am very strong at quarterback and receiver through the nine rounds and I am happy with my starting tight end. I need to add some running backs with upside in the next nine rounds to make sure I have solid starting options each week if Adrian Peterson struggles to get healthy and C.J. Spiller struggles to elevate his play and touches from last season.

    Rounds 10-13: RB David Wilson / RB Mikel Leshoure / WR Michael Floyd / Steelers Defense
    I see two running backs I really like with my first two picks of the second half of the draft. I believe David Wilson may take over the starting running back position in New York this year as he is an explosive, talented young player. Mikel Leshoure is another young player with huge upside and has the talent to become a fantasy star depending on how the season plays out. Both add a great mix of youth and upside to my weakest position through the first half of the draft. Floyd is a rookie receiver in a great situation to put up at least 800 yards and 5 touchdowns with upside and is an easy selection here. I always find myself targeting my defense somewhere around the thirteenth round of a draft and the Steelers defense is a good starting option.

    Rounds 14-18: QB Sam Bradford / RB LeGarrette Blount / K Randy Bullock / TE Kellen Winslow / WR Chad Johnson
    If you do find yourself taking a quarterback in the first two rounds of a draft, the key is to wait on adding a backup on the latter part of your draft. Sam Bradford is the starter in St. Louis and if all goes well, I only want to use him during the Packers bye week. Most people expect Blount's touches and production to go down with the addition of talented rookie Doug Martin. I myself am in that camp as I love what Martin brings to the table and see a young Curtis Martin when I watch him run. However Blount still has talent and may add fantasy value just with touchdowns as he will likely get the nod in goal line formations. He is a wonderful addition in the 15th round and if Martin does struggle, Blount is a huge steal in this spot. I add my kicker in round sixteen and will rarely target one earlier than that. Finally with my final two picks I like to take some risk on players with upside and both Kellen Winslow and Chad Johnson fall into this category.

    Final Roster (Draft Slot #4)

    Quarterbacks

  • Aaron Rodgers 1.04
  • Sam Bradford 14.09
  • Running Backs

  • Adrian Peterson 4.09
  • Frank Gore 5.04
  • C.J. Spiller 6.09
  • David Wilson 10.09
  • Mikel Leshoure 11.04
  • LeGarrette Blount 15.04
  • Wide Receivers

  • Andre Johnson 2.09
  • Hakeem Nicks 3.04
  • Antonio Brown 7.04
  • Michael Crabtree 9.04
  • Michael Floyd 12.09
  • Chad Johnson 18.09
  • Tight Ends

  • Fred Davis 8.09
  • Kellen Winslow 17.04
  • Place Kickers

  • Randy Bullock 16.09
  • Defenses

  • Pittsburgh Steelers 13.04
  • Final thoughts on this roster

    Taking the best available player in the early rounds and then adapting your strategy going forwards is a wonderful way to build a strong fantasy squad. Starting a draft QB / WR / WR takes courage without question but when you are drafting behind the owners landing the big three at running back heading into the season, high risk can pay off. My foundation of Aaron Rodgers, Andre Johnson and Hakeem Nicks is strong and if Adrian Peterson returns well from injury this team is looking very strong. I have six running backs capable of elevating past their draft position and my receiving roster has two great starters and four players with the upside to put up good WR2 numbers. The rest of the squad is solid and this team is a championship caliber team.

    Last thoughts on the 4th draft slot in a 12-team league

    In a nutshell, do not be scared to buck the trend and forged your own path here. If you do not believe a player such as Ryan Matthews is capable of putting up elite fantasy numbers, select Aaron Rodgers and then you will have the best player in a position and it is easier to build a strong team around an elite player. Stay cool, adapt your draft strategy heading into the draft, and look to add the best available player in the first three rounds. Do this and you will have a strong team heading into the season.

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