Draft Slots Study - 12 Teams / Pick 1.07
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 7th overall (12-team re-draft)

    In the first two articles, I broke down drafting from the 1st and the 4th position of this 12-team study. This is the 3rd part of the opening series. I am looking for spots in the first round in which significant decisions need to be made if the draft unfolds as expected. Moving to the 7th position is the next interesting study as the top few running backs, top quarterback and top receiver are all likely to be off the board with this pick meaning this owner is likely starting behind the eight ball in regards to the owners drafting in front of this pick.

    It is very difficult spot to draft from this year. There are questions at running back here and you missed out on the best quarterback (and only one I would draft in round one) as well as the top receiver by a sizable margin. The good news drafting from the middle of this draft is it is possible to determine which players will be available each round with no long wait between picks. So in a draft spot like this, try to project positional runs happening after your current pick and stay ahead of those fights for players.

    Honestly, it is likely you are going to begin this draft a little being the eight ball due to being behind the owners getting the top players and being behind the owners getting the earlier second round pick. This is not catastrophic by any stretch but it will require smart decisions through the first several rounds and trying to stay ahead of the curves.

    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

  • WR Calvin Johnson
  • QB Drew Brees
  • WR Julio Jones
  • WR Steve Smith
  • RB Jahvid Best
  • In the above example, the owner drafting 5th decided to scoop up RB Maurice Jones-Drew freeing up the selection of Calvin Johnson. Then in round two with a few questionable running backs having come off the board, Drew Brees is an easy selection here, solidifying big points from my quarterback position and can ignore the position until round 10+. Rounds three and four are interesting. As always it is tough to ignore the running back position when you have none on board but to build a championship team from this draft position, unless running back talent slides to you, it is best to pick up the best available players and if that means beginning a draft with three receivers and a quarterback do not be afraid to do so. Just be aware if your draft follows a similar path to this one to target four running backs from rounds six through ten unless exceptional receiver value falls into your lap.

    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 Maurice Jones-Drew
  • WR Andre Johnson
  • WR Julio Jones
  • RB Frank Gore
  • TE Jason Witten
  • The above scenario is more likely this season as both QB Aaron Rodger and WR Calvin Johnson are likely to be off the board with the 7th best. Jones-Drew is a good, solid pick here however capable of elevating to a top fantasy weapon. Two outstanding receiver options are available round two and three and then a good RB2 is there to scoop up in round four. Round five was interesting as there was a difficult choice between a good receiver in Dwayne Bowe and a great tight end in Jason Witten. Either is a good pick there but it is easier to find a good WR3 than a starting tight end.

    Likely selections in first seven rounds

  • Round 1: RB
  • Round 2: RB/WR unless Brees, Brady or TE Jimmy Graham available
  • Round 3: RB/WR unless TE Rob Gronkowski is available
  • Round 4: RB/WR unless exceptional value at QB
  • Round 5: RB/WR unless great value at QB or TE Antonio Gates / Jason Witten are available
  • Round 6: RB/WR/QB
  • Round 7: RB/WR/TE/QB
  • Positives of the draft slot

  • Not a long wait between picks makes it easier to project who is available in next selection
  • Talent is excellent in the top-seven and will walk away with a very good fantasy player
  • Can dictate the direction of the draft going up and down the draft board with smart drafting
  • Negatives of the draft slot

  • The six owners drafting ahead of this pick in round one likely to secure the top running backs, quarterback and receiver
  • The owners drafting 8 through 12 get the earlier 2nd round pick which has this particular owner behind the eight ball both ahead and behind his draft selection
  • 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
    RB4
    Ryan Mathews
    SD/7
    Team 4
    1.05
    QB1
    Aaron Rodgers
    GB/10
    Team 5
    1.06
    WR1
    Calvin Johnson
    Det/5
    Team 6
    1.07
    RB5
    Maurice Jones-Drew
    Jac/6
    1.07 Team
    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
    WR3
    Andre Johnson
    Hou/8
    1.07 Team
    2.07
    RB11
    Jamaal Charles
    KC/7
    Team 6
    2.08
    RB12
    Ahmad Bradshaw
    NYG/11
    Team 5
    2.09
    RB13
    Steven Jackson
    StL/9
    Team 4
    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
    WR5
    Roddy White
    Atl/7
    Team 4
    3.05
    RB17
    Doug Martin
    TB/5
    Team 5
    3.06
    WR6
    Hakeem Nicks
    NYG/11
    Team 6
    3.07
    WR7
    Julio Jones
    Atl/7
    1.07 Team
    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
    1.07 Team
    4.07
    WR17
    Marques Colston
    NO/6
    Team 6
    4.08
    WR18
    Jordy Nelson
    GB/10
    Team 5
    4.09
    WR19
    Kenny Britt
    Ten/11
    Team 4
    4.10
    WR20
    Steve Johnson
    Buf/8
    Team 3
    4.11
    WR21
    Miles Austin
    Dal/5
    Team 2
    4.12
    WR22
    Vincent Jackson
    TB/5
    Team 1
    5.01
    TE3
    Jason Witten
    Dal/5
    Team 1
    5.02
    QB7
    Philip Rivers
    SD/7
    Team 2
    5.03
    TE4
    Antonio Gates
    SD/7
    Team 3
    5.04
    TE5
    Aaron Hernandez
    NE/9
    Team 4
    5.05
    TE6
    Vernon Davis
    SF/9
    Team 5
    5.06
    QB8
    Tony Romo
    Dal/5
    Team 6
    5.07
    RB19
    Adrian Peterson
    Min/11
    1.07 Team
    5.08
    WR23
    DeSean Jackson
    Phi/7
    Team 8
    5.09
    QB9
    Eli Manning
    NYG/11
    Team 9
    5.10
    RB20
    Isaac Redman
    Pit/4
    Team 10
    5.11
    RB21
    Frank Gore
    SF/9
    Team 11
    5.12
    WR24
    Jeremy Maclin
    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
    RB25
    Jonathan Stewart
    Car/6
    Team 9
    6.05
    RB26
    BenJarvus Green-Ellis
    Cin/8
    Team 8
    6.06
    RB28
    C.J. Spiller
    Buf/8
    1.07 Team
    6.07
    RB27
    Jahvid Best
    Det/5
    Team 6
    6.08
    WR25
    Dwayne Bowe
    KC/7
    Team 5
    6.09
    QB10
    Robert Griffin III
    Was/10
    Team 4
    6.10
    WR26
    Reggie Wayne
    Ind/4
    Team 3
    6.11
    WR27
    Eric Decker
    Den/7
    Team 2
    6.12
    WR28
    Torrey Smith
    Bal/8
    Team 1
    7.01
    RB29
    Donald Brown
    Ind/4
    Team 1
    7.02
    RB30
    Willis McGahee
    Den/7
    Team 2
    7.03
    WR29
    Antonio Brown
    Pit/4
    Team 3
    7.04
    RB31
    James Starks
    GB/10
    Team 4
    7.05
    WR30
    Denarius Moore
    Oak/5
    Team 5
    7.06
    RB32
    DeAngelo Williams
    Car/6
    Team 6
    7.07
    TE7
    Jermichael Finley
    GB/10
    1.07 Team
    7.08
    RB33
    Chris Wells
    Ari/10
    Team 8
    7.09
    RB34
    Pierre Thomas
    NO/6
    Team 9
    7.10
    QB11
    Matt Ryan
    Atl/7
    Team 10
    7.11
    RB35
    Mark Ingram
    NO/6
    Team 11
    7.12
    QB12
    Ben Roethlisberger
    Pit/4
    Team 12
    8.01
    WR31
    Santonio Holmes
    NYJ/9
    Team 12
    8.02
    WR32
    Brandon Lloyd
    NE/9
    Team 11
    8.03
    WR33
    Darrius Heyward-Bey
    Oak/5
    Team 10
    8.04
    TE8
    Brandon Pettigrew
    Det/5
    Team 9
    8.05
    TE9
    Tony Gonzalez
    Atl/7
    Team 8
    8.06
    QB13
    Peyton Manning
    Den/7
    1.07 Team
    8.07
    QB14
    Josh Freeman
    TB/5
    Team 6
    8.08
    RB36
    Felix Jones
    Dal/5
    Team 5
    8.09
    WR34
    Sidney Rice
    Sea/11
    Team 4
    8.10
    RB37
    Michael Bush
    Chi/6
    Team 3
    8.11
    WR35
    Robert Meachem
    SD/7
    Team 2
    8.12
    WR36
    Pierre Garcon
    Was/10
    Team 1
    9.01
    WR37
    Greg Little
    Cle/10
    Team 1
    9.02
    TE10
    Fred Davis
    Was/10
    Team 2
    9.03
    WR38
    Michael Crabtree
    SF/9
    Team 3
    9.04
    WR39
    Lance Moore
    NO/6
    Team 4
    9.05
    RB38
    Peyton Hillis
    KC/7
    Team 5
    9.06
    RB39
    Ryan Williams
    Ari/10
    Team 6
    9.07
    RB42
    Toby Gerhart
    Min/11
    1.07 Team
    9.08
    RB40
    Stevan Ridley
    NE/9
    Team 8
    9.09
    RB41
    Ronnie Hillman
    Den/7
    Team 9
    9.10
    WR40
    Malcom Floyd
    SD/7
    Team 10
    9.11
    WR41
    Anquan Boldin
    Bal/8
    Team 11
    9.12
    WR42
    Mike Williams
    TB/5
    Team 12
    10.01
    TE11
    Brent Celek
    Phi/7
    Team 12
    10.02
    WR43
    Titus Young
    Det/5
    Team 11
    10.03
    TE12
    Dustin Keller
    NYJ/9
    Team 10
    10.04
    TE13
    Jermaine Gresham
    Cin/8
    Team 9
    10.05
    TE14
    Owen Daniels
    Hou/8
    Team 8
    10.06
    WR59
    Randy Moss
    SF/9
    1.07 Team
    10.07
    RB43
    David Wilson
    NYG/11
    Team 6
    10.08
    WR44
    Austin Collie
    Ind/4
    Team 5
    10.09
    QB15
    Carson Palmer
    Oak/5
    Team 4
    10.10
    RB44
    Ben Tate
    Hou/8
    Team 3
    10.11
    QB16
    Andy Dalton
    Cin/8
    Team 2
    10.12
    RB45
    Daniel Thomas
    Mia/7
    Team 1
    11.01
    DEF1
    San Francisco
    SF/9
    Team 1
    11.02
    RB46
    Jacquizz Rodgers
    Atl/7
    Team 2
    11.03
    QB17
    Ryan Fitzpatrick
    Buf/8
    Team 3
    11.04
    WR45
    Nate Washington
    Ten/11
    Team 4
    11.05
    WR46
    Doug Baldwin
    Sea/11
    Team 5
    11.06
    WR47
    Justin Blackmon
    Jac/6
    Team 6
    11.07
    RB50
    Rashad Jennings
    Jac/6
    1.07 Team
    11.08
    WR48
    Michael Floyd
    Ari/10
    Team 8
    11.09
    QB18
    Matt Schaub
    Hou/8
    Team 9
    11.10
    QB19
    Alex Smith
    SF/9
    Team 10
    11.11
    TE15
    Coby Fleener
    Ind/4
    Team 11
    11.12
    RB47
    Shane Vereen
    NE/9
    Team 12
    12.01
    WR49
    Nate Burleson
    Det/5
    Team 12
    12.02
    QB20
    Andrew Luck
    Ind/4
    Team 11
    12.03
    DEF2
    Philadelphia
    Phi/7
    Team 10
    12.04
    WR50
    David Nelson
    Buf/8
    Team 9
    12.05
    QB21
    Joe Flacco
    Bal/8
    Team 8
    12.06
    RB48
    Mikel Leshoure
    Det/5
    1.07 Team
    12.07
    DEF3
    Baltimore
    Bal/8
    Team 6
    12.08
    QB22
    Jay Cutler
    Chi/6
    Team 5
    12.09
    DEF4
    Chicago
    Chi/6
    Team 4
    12.10
    WR51
    Jerome Simpson
    Min/11
    Team 3
    12.11
    WR52
    Brandon LaFell
    Car/6
    Team 2
    12.12
    WR53
    Davone Bess
    Mia/7
    Team 1
    13.01
    WR54
    Laurent Robinson
    Jac/6
    Team 1
    13.02
    PK1
    Stephen Gostkowski
    NE/9
    Team 2
    13.03
    WR55
    Randall Cobb
    GB/10
    Team 3
    13.04
    RB49
    Marcel Reece
    Oak/5
    Team 4
    13.05
    WR56
    Brian Quick
    StL/9
    Team 5
    13.06
    WR57
    Stephen Hill
    NYJ/9
    Team 6
    13.07
    DEF6
    Pittsburgh
    Pit/4
    1.07 Team
    13.08
    RB51
    Tim Hightower
    Was/10
    Team 8
    13.09
    RB52
    Alex Green
    GB/10
    Team 9
    13.10
    RB53
    Kendall Hunter
    SF/9
    Team 10
    13.11
    WR58
    Brian Hartline
    Mia/7
    Team 11
    13.12
    WR60
    Alshon Jeffery
    Chi/6
    Team 12
    14.01
    DEF5
    New York Jets
    NYJ/9
    Team 12
    14.02
    DEF7
    New England
    NE/9
    Team 11
    14.03
    RB54
    Joe McKnight
    NYJ/9
    Team 10
    14.04
    DEF8
    Green Bay
    GB/10
    Team 9
    14.05
    DEF9
    Detroit
    Det/5
    Team 8
    14.06
    WR68
    Santana Moss
    Was/10
    1.07 Team
    14.07
    TE16
    Greg Olsen
    Car/6
    Team 6
    14.08
    RB55
    Danny Woodhead
    NE/9
    Team 5
    14.09
    RB56
    LeGarrette Blount
    TB/5
    Team 4
    14.10
    RB57
    Isaiah Pead
    StL/9
    Team 3
    14.11
    DEF10
    New York Giants
    NYG/11
    Team 2
    14.12
    PK2
    David Akers
    SF/9
    Team 1
    15.01
    QB23
    Christian Ponder
    Min/11
    Team 1
    15.02
    DEF11
    Buffalo
    Buf/8
    Team 2
    15.03
    TE17
    Jacob Tamme
    Den/7
    Team 3
    15.04
    PK3
    Garrett Hartley
    NO/6
    Team 4
    15.05
    DEF12
    Dallas
    Dal/5
    Team 5
    15.06
    TE18
    Heath Miller
    Pit/4
    Team 6
    15.07
    WR62
    Emmanuel Sanders
    Pit/4
    1.07 Team
    15.08
    WR61
    Steve Smith
    StL/9
    Team 8
    15.09
    WR63
    Jacoby Ford
    Oak/5
    Team 9
    15.10
    WR64
    Kendall Wright
    Ten/11
    Team 10
    15.11
    WR65
    Steve Breaston
    KC/7
    Team 11
    15.12
    TE19
    Jared Cook
    Ten/11
    Team 12
    16.01
    PK4
    Sebastian Janikowski
    Oak/5
    Team 12
    16.02
    PK5
    Alex Henery
    Phi/7
    Team 11
    16.03
    WR66
    Vincent Brown
    SD/7
    Team 10
    16.04
    PK6
    Mason Crosby
    GB/10
    Team 9
    16.05
    WR67
    Donnie Avery
    Ind/4
    Team 8
    16.06
    PK8
    Randy Bullock
    Hou/8
    1.07 Team
    16.07
    DEF13
    Seattle
    Sea/11
    Team 6
    16.08
    DEF14
    Atlanta
    Atl/7
    Team 5
    16.09
    WR69
    Devery Henderson
    NO/6
    Team 4
    16.10
    PK7
    Dan Carpenter
    Mia/7
    Team 3
    16.11
    RB58
    Delone Carter
    Ind/4
    Team 2
    16.12
    RB59
    Mike Goodson
    Oak/5
    Team 1
    17.01
    TE20
    Ed Dickson
    Bal/8
    Team 1
    17.02
    PK9
    Nate Kaeding
    SD/7
    Team 2
    17.03
    DEF15
    New Orleans
    NO/6
    Team 3
    17.04
    DEF16
    Arizona
    Ari/10
    Team 4
    17.05
    PK10
    Dan Bailey
    Dal/5
    Team 5
    17.06
    WR70
    Harry Douglas
    Atl/7
    Team 6
    17.07
    QB24
    Matt Cassel
    KC/7
    1.07 Team
    17.08
    PK11
    Matt Bryant
    Atl/7
    Team 8
    17.09
    WR71
    Mohamed Sanu
    Cin/8
    Team 9
    17.10
    PK12
    Billy Cundiff
    Bal/8
    Team 10
    17.11
    RB60
    Mike Tolbert
    Car/6
    Team 11
    17.12
    RB61
    Bernard Scott
    Cin/8
    Team 12
    18.01
    PK13
    Jason Hanson
    Det/5
    Team 12
    18.02
    DEF17
    Minnesota
    Min/11
    Team 11
    18.03
    PK14
    Mike Nugent
    Cin/8
    Team 10
    18.04
    DEF18
    Denver
    Den/7
    Team 9
    18.05
    DEF19
    Houston
    Hou/8
    Team 8
    18.06
    QB25
    Sam Bradford
    StL/9
    1.07 Team
    18.07
    PK15
    Shaun Suisham
    Pit/4
    Team 6
    18.08
    PK16
    Neil Rackers
    Was/10
    Team 5
    18.09
    TE21
    Kyle Rudolph
    Min/11
    Team 4
    18.10
    PK17
    Rob Bironas
    Ten/11
    Team 3
    18.11
    WR72
    Rueben Randle
    NYG/11
    Team 2
    18.12
    PK18
    Josh Brown
    NYJ/9
    Team 1

    Breaking down the mock draft from the 7th draft position

    Round 1: RB Maurice Jones-Drew
    In a typical 12-team league with the seventh pick in the draft, the top four running backs are going to be off the board, QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Calvin Johnson. It is plausible to take the top tight end in Jimmy Graham or QB Tom Brady / Drew Brees or even a receiver like Larry Fitzgerald here but the safe and possibly the best option here is Maurice Jones-Drew who can step into the top-three at the position if he stays healthy. He is not a big drop off from the running backs taken first through fourth.

    Round 2: WR Andre Johnson
    This round has players like RB Jamaal Charles and QB Cam Newton available and both are decent possibilities here but having a receiver like Andre Johnson available here makes this pick a no-brainer. He is a top fantasy weapon.

    Round 3: WR Julio Jones
    There are tons of receivers available here and only one running back really jumps out as an option (Reggie Bush). You can certainly make the argument with so many receivers available to wait on the position and select Bush here but Jones has that elite talent and could skyrocket up the rankings while Bush will be sharing touches in Miami and has been up and down in career. Go for the player with the potential to go boom.

    Round 4: WR Steve Smith (Car)
    I consider going running back and tight end here but I see players at both positions I like and should be able to land them later. Steve Smith had a big season last year and is in a wonderful offense. I gladly add him to my roster and solidify my squad with the best starting receiving core in this league.

    Round 5: RB Adrian Peterson
    Peterson is a huge risk this year due to his return from knee surgery but we all know he is capable of finishing as a top fantasy running back. It will be important to try and land his backup, Toby Gerhart in the middle part of the draft. If he does return strong from injury, my one-two punch at running back will be very strong along with a dynamite receiving core.

    Round 6: RB C.J. Spiller
    Looking at the draft board, I believe I will have no problem waiting on the quarterback position and tight end can wait until next round. Running back is the way to go here so I take the best available in my list and that is C.J. Spiller. He began to show signs of life last year after a slow start to his NFL career. He is still sharing time with Fred Jackson but his blend of speed and quickness make him an intriguing fantasy option in 2012.

    Round 7: TE Jermichael Finley
    I decide unless exceptional running back or receiver value is present in the next two rounds to secure my quarterback and tight end here. I am very happy to add a talented starting tight end in Jermichael Finley this late into the draft. He has potential to finish top-three and is a great fit for my squad.

    Round 8: QB Peyton Manning
    The eighth round is very late to be securing your starting quarterback but I saw a number of players I liked in the last couple of rounds and Manning dropped to my team here in the 8th. Manning has some obvious injury risk but can easily be a top three talent if he is back on track. He is an easy choice here.

    Round 9: RB Toby Gerhart
    I was worried that I waited too long for Gerhart but everything worked out as I gladly pick him up with my 9th pick as handcuff to Adrian Peterson. I am not always a big handcuff guy but in a situation where a player is injury ahead of the season like Adrian Peterson and there is a serviceable back up in place, it does make sense to secure the handcuff.

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

    Quarterbacks

  • Peyton Manning
  • Running Backs

  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Adrian Peterson
  • C.J. Spiller
  • Toby Gerhart
  • Wide Receivers

  • Andre Johnson
  • Julio Jones
  • Steve Smith
  • Tight Ends

  • Jermichael Finley
  • Place Kickers

  • none
  • Defenses

  • none
  • After nine rounds, I have managed to put together a very strong team from a challenging draft position. Maurice Jones-Drew is actually a nice option sitting there at 7th overall and if he is taken either Aaron Rodgers or Calvin Johnson will fall into your lap. By ignoring running backs rounds two through four, I built up a strong starting receiving trio and then I focused on adding running backs in the next rounds. Getting the handcuff to Adrian Peterson should guarantee points at the RB2 position. Finally I managed to find a potential steal at quarterback in Peyton Manning and a very good option at tight end in Jermichael Finley. All in all, this is a great start to a fantasy team. Areas that need addressing in the following round are receiver depth, quarterback depth and a good starting defense.

    Rounds 10-13: WR Randy Moss / RB Rashard Jennings / RB Mikel Leshoure / Pittsburgh Defense
    Randy Moss is a no-brainer with the first pick in the 2nd half of the draft and could become a starter for the team. I didn't expect to select back to back running backs here and but Leshoure is a talented player that could surprise and if something happens to my RB1, I have his backup to cover the injury. Finally, as always, I look to secure my defense somewhere in the round 13 area and the Steelers defense will do nicely.

    Rounds 14-18: WR Santana Moss / WR Emmanuel Sanders / K Randy Bullock / QB Matt Cassel / QB Sam Bradford
    Knowing I need a couple of receivers to flesh out the position, I waste little time thinking about the 14th and 15th round picks. Moss and Sanders are very good 5th and 6th options for any fantasy team. I grab my kicker and then, knowing there is some uncertainty in regards to my starting quarterback Peyton Manning, I decide to add a pair of quarterbacks here at the end to make sure I am in OK shape if Manning struggles to overcome injury.

    Final Roster (Draft Slot #7)

    Quarterbacks

  • Peyton Manning
  • Matt Cassel
  • Sam Bradford
  • Running Backs

  • Maurice Jones-Drew
  • Adrian Peterson
  • C.J. Spiller
  • Toby Gerhart
  • Mikel Leshoure
  • Rashard Jennings
  • Wide Receivers

  • Andre Johnson
  • Julio Jones
  • Steve Smith
  • Randy Moss
  • Santana Moss
  • Emmanuel Sanders
  • Tight Ends

  • Jermichael Finley
  • Place Kickers

  • Randy Bullock
  • Defenses

  • Pittsburgh Steelers
  • Final thoughts on this roster

    It isn't easy to go three receivers in the first four rounds of a fantasy draft but if you simply take the best available player and build a strong foundation regardless of position, the team will flesh out nicely. Looking at this roster, if Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson both recover well from injury, this team will be next to impossible to defeat. Potential weaknesses are quarterback if Peyton Manning cannot overcome injury; a lack of a backup tight end could hurt if Jermichael Finley is lost to injury and no back up team defense. Strengths are a strong receiving core and potentially a very good running game. The starting receiving group of Andre Johnson, Julio Jones, and Steve Smith with Moss and Moss backing up is scary good.

    Last thoughts on the 7th draft slot in a 12-team league

    Seventh overall is not a bad place to be at all this season if you are flexible and allow yourself to target best available players and not positions. The first pick will likely be Maurice Jones-Drew but if you are in a league in which running backs are the premium either Calvin Johnson or Aaron Rodgers will fall into your lap. Either way you will be in a great position to begin your team. By round nine, make sure to have your starters at quarterback, running back and receiver selected and likely your starting tight end as well. Do that and you will be on the way to a successful fantasy season. Good luck and happy drafting.

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