The Perfect Draft (12-team, PPR league - WCOFF format)
By David Dodds and Jeff Pasquino
August 30th, 2010

Key Reference Material (Print out before your WCOFF Draft):

  • WCOFF Drafting Ranges
  • WCOFF Average Draft Position
  • WCOFF - Number Drafted
  • These articles are from 2005, but the scoring has not changed at all so the data should still be very accurate. The only piece that seems to have changed a bit is that the top QBs generally go a few picks sooner than this article indicates.

    You need to approach this draft as if you are trying to end up with the best team out of the 900+ that will be playing. This is possibly the most important point. Beating 11 owners and qualifying for the big dance with a roster that can never win the event should not be the desired outcome. Things that work in your normal 12 team league can be counter-productive to fielding a winning WCOFF team.

    Specifically, I think these things are LOSING plays in WCOFF:

  • Handcuffing players with two picks in the first 8 rounds. You need to pick a side and gamble that it is correct. Handcuffs this early in a draft waste a roster spot that could easily go to another starting player in your lineup.

  • Taking a QB before Round 6. This has to do with the rules (1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 2 flex + PPR). Take a look at how things change for the top QB as the rules change (from the VBD App):
  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE (no flex, no PPR) - Aaron Rodgers (QB1) = 7th overall
  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE (no flex, no PPR) - Rodgers = 8th overall
  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE (no flex, PPR) - Rodgers = 15th overall
  • 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE (1 flex, PPR) - Rodgers = 16th overall (WCOFF Scoring Rules)
  • This effect is even more evident when you examine where Tom Brady (QB5) ends up (39th with WCOFF scoring). Suffice it to say all of the elite QBs will be taken too early. Wait until the 7th round and then get ready to pounce on one of the best players left.

  • Taking a TE early. Every year someone flying way below the radar at TE puts up solid numbers. Using a fourth rounder for someone like Witten, Gates or Clark will have you lagging behind all the owners that fielded a productive TE after round 10. I would look at the TE position in round 7 or later.

  • Drafting a second QB in the first half of the draft and taking a first defense and/or first PK in the first 2/3 of the draft. The RBs and WRs are going to dry up. You need to have your share of these players to improve your chances that one emerges. Use your 11th-13th round picks to secure your second QB and wait even longer for your first PK and defense. Do not draft more than one kicker or defense.
  • I have examined a lot of winning rosters over the years and believe the winning teams had this in common:

    1. Winning teams usually took a RB in the first round (Sometimes your draft position dictates going WR in round 1). After 5 rounds, these teams usually had 2 RBs and 3WRs.

    2. Drafting RB, RB, RB with your first three picks is generally a LOSING strategy. In fact, the biggest key to winning is finding that all or nothing RB later in the draft so you can stockpile elite WRs in rounds 2 and 3.

    3. The most common winning team design started with the first four picks as follows:
    4. RB, WR, RB, WR
    5. RB, WR, WR, RB
    6. Winning teams roster a LOT of WRs. With the ability to start 4 on any given week, the WR position is VERY valuable in this format.

    7. Winning teams had a solid CORE (first 6 picks) and many fliers AFTER that. These teams also were very active in the blind bidding process through the season.

    8. Some of their HOMERUNS hit (either by the draft or waivers) to give them a very solid lineup every week. These homeruns by definition are not value picks. They are swings for the fences. Most end up being whiffs, but some (when hit) catapult teams to the top of this event.

    9. Teams drafted to win their first eleven games. You need to have the best record or the most points after 11 games to play in week for the right to join the Championship bracket (where all the big money is). So choosing second half guys (rookies, drug suspensions, tough early schedules, etc with any early picks is a recipe for disaster). Wins are important NOW.

    10. Playoff teams usually took advantage of the Thursday night stats (i.e. paying a slight premium for the studs from the early game and avoiding those players that stunk). If selecting some of these players gets you a Week 1 win, that is indeed significant. The Sharks took Charlie Batch a few years ago after he lit up the scoreboard in a Thursday night game with the sole purpose of using him in week 1 and then dropping him.

    11. All things being equal (same projected fantasy points), take the WR or TE that catches a lot of balls over the Red Zone TD producer. Guys like Santana Moss and Jason Witten excel in PPR leagues because of all of their catches. If the TDs ever come, you could have an elite producer.

    Generally, If I took a RB in round 1, I would look to grab WRs in rounds 2 and 3.

    If I took a WR in round 1, I would look to take a RB in round 2 and a WR in round 3.

    In rounds 4 and 5 I would make selections based on value to get my roster to be 3WRs and 2 RBs.

    Let's have the perfect WCOFF draft.

    The goal is to get you the best possible team and to make sure you don't overpay for players that can still be had a few rounds later. What I look for are players that I project significantly better than where they are being drafted. The positional analysis tracks to my projections.

    This article assumes a 12 team league using scoring that starts 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 flex (RB/WR/TE), 1 Def and 1 PK. It also assumes this scoring criteria: 1 point per 20 yards passing, 1 point per 10 yards rushing/receiving, 1 point per reception, 4 points per passing TD, 6 points per rushing/receiving TD, -1 points for interceptions.

    In a 12-team draft, there is pressure to grab the quality RBs before they are gone. In a WCOFF draft, there is pressure on RBs and WRs while the rest of the positions generally slide until teams have 2 RBs and 3 WRs. This point is important, because failure to lock up solid RBs and WRs within the first few rounds of the draft will likely cost you a chance at competing for the title.

    Instead of concentrating on things by position, I believe the correct approach is to grab the best player available until the Top 50 are off the board. With some luck and creating the right Top 50 list, you are hopeful to still be drafting from this list when you complete the 5th round (60 picks). If you are still using this list in the 7th round, you are positioned well to make a strong run in this contest.

    Start by creating the Perfect 50 List for WCOFF Leagues. Because ADP is a crucial barometer on when players will get drafted, I believe it's important to merge the Footballguys Top 300 PPR with ADP to create a single Top 50 draft list. Here is how I create this list:

  • For players that have a value lower than ADP, use the average of the two numbers.
  • For players that have a value higher than ADP, use the value number.
  • Example: Player A has a value of 13 and an ADP of 21. His "drafting" value would be 17. (13 + 21)/2. Conversely, if Player has a value of 21 and an ADP of 13, his "drafting" value would be 21.

    Doing this for the PPR Top 300 list yields these Top 50 players (ranked from 1st to 50).

    1. RB1 Chris Johnson, TEN/9 (ADP = 1)
    2. RB2 Adrian Peterson, MIN/4 (ADP = 2)
    3. RB3 Maurice Jones-Drew, JAX/9 (ADP = 3)
    4. RB4 Ray Rice BAL/8 (ADP = 4)
    5. RB5 Frank Gore, SF/9 (ADP = 5)
    6. WR1 Andre Johnson, HOU/7 (ADP = 6)
    7. RB6 Steven Jackson, STL/9 (ADP = 7)
    8. WR2 Randy Moss, NE/5 (ADP = 8)
    9. RB7 Michael Turner, ATL/8 (ADP = 9)
    10. WR3 Calvin Johnson, DET/7 (ADP = 13)
    11. WR4 Reggie Wayne, IND/7 (ADP = 10)
    12. QB1 Aaron Rodgers, GB/10 (ADP = 11)
    13. WR5 Larry Fitzgerald, ARI/6 (ADP = 12)
    14. WR6 Miles Austin, DAL/4 (ADP = 14)
    15. WR7 Roddy White, ATL/8 (ADP = 16)
    16. QB2 Drew Brees, NO/10 (ADP = 15)
    17. WR8 Brandon Marshall, MIA/5 (ADP = 19)
    18. RB8 Rashard Mendenhall, PIT/5 (ADP = 17)
    19. RB9 DeAngelo Williams, CAR/6 (ADP = 18)
    20. WR9 Greg Jennings, GB/10 (ADP = 22)
    21. RB10 Ryan Mathews, SD/10 (ADP = 20)
    22. QB3 Peyton Manning, IND/7 (ADP = 21)
    23. WR10 Marques Colston, NO/10 (ADP = 26)
    24. RB11 Ryan Grant, GB/10 (ADP = 23)
    25. WR11 DeSean Jackson, PHI/8 (ADP = 24)
    26. RB12 Jamaal Charles, KC/4 (ADP = 25)
    27. RB13 Shonn Greene, NYJ/7 (ADP = 27)
    28. WR12 Steve Smith, CAR/6 (ADP = 32)
    29. RB14 Pierre Thomas, NO/10 (ADP = 28)
    30. TE1 Dallas Clark, IND/7 (ADP = 29)
    31. QB4 Tom Brady, NE/5 (ADP = 30)
    32. WR13 Wes Welker, NE/5 (ADP = 39)
    33. RB15 Cedric Benson, CIN/6 (ADP = 31)
    34. RB16 LeSean McCoy, PHI/8 (ADP = 36)
    35. QB5 Tony Romo, DAL/4 (ADP = 34)
    36. WR14 Anquan Boldin, BAL/8 (ADP = 33)
    37. RB17 Jahvid Best, DET/7 (ADP = 40)
    38. WR15 Steve Smith, NYG/8 (ADP = 35)
    39. WR16 Chad Ochocinco, CIN/6 (ADP = 41)
    40. RB18 Chris Wells, ARI/6 (ADP = 37)
    41. TE2 Antonio Gates, SD/10 (ADP = 38)
    42. WR17 Hakeem Nicks, NYG/8 (ADP = 53)
    43. RB19 Knowshon Moreno, DEN/9 (ADP = 44)
    44. QB6 Matt Schaub, HOU/7 (ADP = 42)
    45. RB20 Joseph Addai, IND/7 (ADP = 43)
    46. RB21 Matt Forte, CHI/8 (ADP = 46)
    47. WR18 Hines Ward, PIT/5 (ADP = 54)
    48. WR19 Michael Crabtree, SF/9 (ADP = 45)
    49. QB7 Philip Rivers, SD/10 (ADP = 49)
    50. TE3 Jason Witten, DAL/4 (ADP = 48)

    The First 50 Players

    Essentially you are just looking to grab the best player available until this list is exhausted. But use some common sense while you do this. You must take at least one RB within the first three rounds of the draft (no exceptions). Additionally limit yourself to at most one QB or TE from this list. If you draft a QB because he represents value, then you must wait and get a TE late (drafted after the top 50 is depleted). Conversely if you draft a TE early, then you must wait and get a QB late.

    I would pay little to no attention to bye weeks during this phase. You have plenty of time to adjust after the Top 50 players are gone.

    After the Top 50 - Assessment / Building Your Core Phase

    The transition from the Top 50 to rounding out your team based on need is a critical one. Your analysis here can instantly turn a good draft into a great one. Here are the questions you should be asking yourself to determine your weaknesses:

  • How many backs did you secure? The average owner should have 1.8. Do you have at least two? Is this a position of strength for your team? If the answer is no, this should be your prime objective.

  • Did you draft a QB or TE yet? If so consider yourself done at this position until very late in the draft. If you have not drafted these positions yet, do not panic. Good ones will be available late in your WCOFF draft.

  • Assess your bye week situation. If two or more of your first four players are off on the same bye week, I will usually sacrifice that week to be strong in every other week. If that is not the case, then I look to patch the holes with complimentary players that could have big weeks during these rough spots. Teams lining up against Jacksonville, Seattle, Cleveland, Kansas City and St. Louis should all yield good results during these weeks.
  • As an example, Let's say you landed this team after 5 rounds (from the 3rd position):

  • 5. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jac/9
  • 20. WR Brandon Marshall, Mia/5
  • 29. RB Jamaal Charles, KC/4
  • 44. WR Chad Ochocinco, Cin/6
  • 53. WR Hines Ward, Pit/5
  • This is generally where you want to be. You have a slight Week 5 bye issue, but have time to recover from that. You have two solid backs and three receivers.

    So in this example your next steps would be:

  • Grab another starting running back in the next two rounds (before they dry up).
  • Add one WR in the next three rounds (without a Week 5 bye).
  • Add either your starting QB or TE in the next 3 rounds.
  • Fast-forwarding this roster, you should have 0-1 QBs, 3 RBs, 4 WRs and 0-1 TE after 8 rounds.

    Here is another example (drafting from the 11th position):

  • 11. WR Calvin Johnson, Det/7
  • 14. WR Miles Austin, Dal/4
  • 35. TE Dallas Clark, Ind/7
  • 38. RB Jahvid Best, Det/7
  • 59. WR Hakeem Nicks, NYG/8
  • Assessing where you are:

  • You have a strong WR core with three top receivers. This is not a position of need, but you should likely add one in the 7th or 8th round for depth.

  • You have just one RB. This should be your top priority since you need to start 2 each week and the good ones will dry up fast. Look to grab a RB in the next round and another in round 7 or 8.

  • You have the best TE. Wait until late in the draft to add a backup.

  • You do not have a QB, but since you took a TE early, you need to wait until late so that you do not miss out on key core talent in the next three rounds.

  • You have three top players on a Week 7 bye. Suffice it to say you are likely going to lose this game. But there is still time to round out your squad so that you at least can field a team that week.
  • Fast-forwarding this roster, you should have 0 QB, 3 RBs, 4 WRs and 1 TE after 8 rounds.

    See the theme here? That's right.

    The Perfect WCOFF Draft should have 0-1 QBs, 3 RBs, 4 WRs and 0-1 TEs after 8 rounds.

    Moving to Fill Positional Needs

    Quarterbacks

    The plan is simple at the quarterback position this year. Unless you grab a top star at value from the Top 50 list above, wait until 8 or 9 quarterbacks are drafted before taking your first. In a WCOFF league this strategy will plop you firmly into the sweet spot of quarterback value.

    Here are the quarterbacks that I think represent great value this year:

  • Tony Romo (Value = 32, ADP = 34) at pick 3.10 or higher - This Dallas offense (especially when Dez Bryant is healthy) should be unstoppable this year. Miles Austin and Dez Bryant alone would be a very good receiving corps. Having Roy Williams in the slot and TE Jason Witten on underneath routes is sick. Both Felix Jones and Marion Barber can catch the ball out of the backfield as well. I think Tony Romo has an excellent chance to be the top QB when the season ends. The tricky part regarding Romo though is to get him at value. Although I rate his value (from a pure VBD metric) as more valuable than his ADP, I wouldn't take him before the middle 3rd round (pick 3.10 or higher). Why is that? For the same reason that Peyton Manning isn't valuable near his ADP. It will significantly impact the kind of team you can build. For many drafts, you won't be able to land Romo here. That's OK, there are many more prospects that will come at considerable value.

  • Kevin Kolb (Value = 78, ADP = 71) at pick 6.11 or higher - He's got a dynamic set of young WRs with DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin and TE Brent Celek. He also steps in for an offense that has always thrown the ball a lot. Donovan McNabb will be in Washington this year, but don't expect this version of the West-Coast offense to slow down anytime soon.

  • Matt Ryan, ATL/8 (Value = 72, ADP = 90) in the 7th or later - Matt Ryan is not that flashy of a quarterback but he gets the job done. Ryan has a strong WR1 in Roddy White and a Hall of Fame TE in Tony Gonzalez. The return of Michael Turner will help to balance the offense as the Falcons look to compete against some very tough matchups on the schedule this season. With games against New Orleans twice, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Green Bay and even Carolina twice the Falcons may have to outscore several of those teams to be competitive. That makes Ryan a nice candidate for a Top 10 fantasy finish in 2010.

  • Matthew Stafford, DET/7 (Value = 80, ADP = 122) in the 9th or later - His situation in 2010 is so much different than in 2009, I am not sure looking at last year even helps in trying to guess where he ends up. Besides another year in the offense, he gets a dynamic RB in Best, a great WR2 in Burleson, depth at TE in Scheffler. The defense is also improved, but Stafford is still going to be asked to throw a lot as this team plays from behind often. But instead of throwing it into quadruple coverage near Calvin Johnson, Stafford will actually have some additional options this year. He is a guy you can draft late that wouldn't shock me at all if he was a top 5-7 QB at season's end.
  • I would then target these players later in the draft:

  • Alex Smith, SF (Value = 112, ADP = 141) in the 10th round or later - I applaud what the 49ers did here. It's so easy to blame the QB when things go awry. And Alex Smith has not lived up to anything close to his #1 overall draft selection. But with all that said, this kid has had multiple coordinators (I believe five in his first five years), really bad WRs, a horrible offensive line, and was playing for a terrible team. But instead of throwing Alex under the bus, the team went out and got good lineman and the year before that they got an elite WR in Crabtree. The schedule is soft this year and this team looks ready to make the playoffs. I am betting Alex Smith takes his game to another level here. He is grossly under-valued.

  • Ben Roethlisberger, PIT (Value = 189, ADP = 123) in the 11th or later - I know that this looks backwards, but here me out. Roethlisberger is one of the few QBs that will be available after Round 10 that has a Top 10 fantasy season under his belt and the skills to repeat those types of performances down the stretch. He is a solid QB2 candidate and could step up big once the second half of the NFL schedule kicks into gear. Look for Roethlisberger to return from his suspension with an attitude as he wants to prove he is among the top QBs in the league.
  • Before we leave the topic of quarterback, an interesting strategy presents itself from looking at the value list on the Top 300. Matthew Stafford is going to have a solid year, so if teams are plucking the Top 10 QBs off of the board too early, you can certainly wait to take your starter and be the last team to grab one as late as Round 9 or 10. Just watch and see who still needs a QB after Round 8 and then just grab Stafford in Round 9 as your starter (or a QB of higher value that slips down into Round 9). By waiting this long you will be able to grab 3 RBs, 4 WRs and a starting TE with relative ease.

    Running Backs

    In most leagues, running backs are golden. Yes they can run and catch, but the real reason they are golden is that there simply are not enough of them to go around. But if you followed the Top 50 plan from above, you should have a nice stable of backs on your roster.

    But two or three quality backs don't make a powerhouse fantasy roster...having depth at RB does.

    Here are the other RBs that I would target for value (outside of the Top 50 picks):

  • Tim Hightower, ARI (Value = 69, ADP = 102) in the seventh round or later - In my heart I believe Chris Wells is the better player, but what came easy to Chris at every level before the NFL isn't coming easy now. Hightower is a pro's pro. He works hard and impresses the coaches with all the little things. Unfortunately for Chris Wells, Hightower isn't going to away. Hightower has limited upside (See Ryan Grant), but will keep plodding away while earning playing time. Both of these players seem slotted pretty well according to their ADP. Both would see their value skyrocket should the other get hurt. Wells has massive upside, but getting the much cheaper part of this duo (Wells is Round 4 pick in most drafts) is a great value RB to grab this late in your draft.

  • Darren Sproles, SD (Value = 88, ADP = 111) in the eighth round or later - San Diego is planning on relying on their new running back, rookie Ryan Mathews. There is no guarantee that he lasts for a very long 16 game schedule (and he has played quite a bit in the preseason already). Head coach Norv Turner has said that Mathews will see around 290 touches this year - but over the past three years the Chargers have given their RBs at least 480 chances each season. That leaves plenty of opportunity on the table for Darren Sproles even if Mathews stays healthy all year. Sproles is also a great receiver, boosting his PPR value.

  • Donald Brown, IND (Value = 113, ADP = 100) in the ninth round or later - Yes, the value is negative here, but the upside is huge if Joseph Addai misses any time. The Colts are a top notch offense and they run the ball inside the 20, making the goal line option a very valuable running back. Addai has already suffered one concussion in the preseason so Brown may see more snaps early in the year. If you grab Brown as your 4th or 5th RB in Round 9 there is plenty of room for positive upside.

  • Leon Washington, NYJ (Value = 100, ADP = 128) in the ninth round or later - Julius Jones is terrible and Justin Forsett has had ample opportunity to lock down this job all preseason but has not done it yet. I don't really think Forsett is all that special as an NFL back, but he could win this job by default. The guy I am targeting in most drafts though is Leon Washington. He really is electric and looks all the way back from his devastating injury. He probably won't ever be a 25-touch back, but the fact Washington can take any play to the house makes him like Jamaal Charles. He is special. The haters can tell me Pete Carroll doesn't know football, but I think he definitely knows what he has in Washington. It's hard not to love his game as he attacks defenses at full speed and is so dangerous in space.

  • Correll Buckhalter, DEN (Value = 103, ADP = 161) in the 10th round or later - I am a big fan of Knowshon Moreno's game and I pictured myself taking him in a lot of leagues this year. Then he goes and tears his hamstring in camp which changes everything. I know the reports are that he is almost back on the field, but a less than 100% hamstring on a running back is something I prefer to avoid. That throws the door wide open for Buckhalter to come in and take over that backfield for at least Week 1 and probably several weeks thereafter. Even when Moreno gets back expect a full blown committee to develop as they will ease Moreno back in and keep Buckhalter involved.

  • Bernard Scott, CIN (Value = 151, ADP = 154) in the 13th round or later - I loved him last year before he got hurt. As much as Cedric Benson has turned around his game, I still think Scott is a break away from being the primary ball carrier. He is another RB that you really want to have rostered for upside. If he becomes the RB1 over Benson, his value will skyrocket with this strong offensive line.

  • Kareem Huggins, TB (Value = 164, ADP = 217) in the 14th round or later - Herniated disks for Cadillac Williams and nothing short of electric camp performer the new guy on the block, Kareem Huggins. I am pretty certain we have seen this type of situation play out over and over again. I respect Cadillac - he is as tough as they come - and I can't imagine his pain tolerance to play with his condition. He is a warrior and deserves our applause. But I think he will break down. And when he does, Kareem is likely to take this job and never give it back. He is everything Derrick Ward has failed to be. Roster Kareem at all costs and you can thank me later.

  • Tashard Choice, DAL (Value = 231, ADP = 165) in the 15th round or later - Many fantasy fans are focused on the big two running back names in the Dallas backfield - Marion Barber and Felix Jones. Tashard Choice is the red-headed stepchild of that trio, but he should not be overlooked. Choice always finds a little bit of playing time, usually on third downs, even when everyone is healthy. The coaching staff has a ton of confidence in him and if either Barber or Jones gets hurt (or both) as they have virtually every year, Choice leaps up the value chart. In the three games that Jones or Barber missed last year, Choice averaged over 100 total yards and scored twice. Choice is a great pick late in your draft for that upside alone.
  • Wide Receivers

    The biggest key to having a great wide receiver corps is following the Top 50 plan above and then swooping in and stealing the players that slide unnecessarily in a draft. Here is a list of those wideouts who should represent value:

  • Santana Moss, WAS (Value = 38, ADP = 72) in the fifth round or later - Donovan McNabb will need someone to catch passes this year and there is not much on the Washington wide receiver depth chart after Moss. The Redskins are very likely to be throwing often with a questionable (and old) backfield so look for Moss to lead the Redskins in all receiving categories.

  • Terrell Owens, CIN (Value = 50, ADP = 74) in the sixth round or later - He struggled in Buffalo, but still has the skills to be a playmaker. If he draws single coverage because of Chad Ochocinco on the other side, watch out.

  • Mike Wallace, PIT (Value = 61, ADP = 70) in the sixth round or later - Santonio Holmes has moved on to the Jets and Wallace is now the deep threat and starter opposite of Hines Ward. Wallace has great speed and the ability to get open deep, making him a nice WR3 type of fantasy starter.

  • Malcom Floyd, SD (Value = 59, ADP = 79) in the sixth round or later - Vincent Jackson's nasty contract dispute vaults Floyd to the WR1 on the Chargers. He is big and fast and was already being used in the Red Zone. I think he is ready to take his game to the next level.

  • Lee Evans, Buf (Value = 77, ADP = 114) in the seventh round or later - He is the only legitimate wide receiver on this team. Someone has to catch some passes. At this price, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Lee Evans underperforms his ADP.

  • Jabar Gaffney, DEN (Value = 73, ADP = 110) in the 9th round or later - He was the wide receiver who exploded in Week 17 last season while Marshall sat out. This represents ridiculous value on a team that will need to throw the ball a lot playing from behind.

  • Laurent Robinson, STL (Value = 70, ADP = 152) in the 10th round or later - This is a tricky one, but with Donnie Avery (torn ACL) lost for the year, Robinson leaps up the pecking order for the Rams as the unquestioned WR1. With rookie Sam Bradford looking good in preseason he could grow and develop a strong connection with Robinson this year. A healthy Steven Jackson would also balance the offense enough to open Robinson up for some big gainers each week.

  • Louis Murphy, OAK (Value = 104, ADP = 179) in the 11th round or later - Oakland is quickly fixing their passing game with the addition of Jason Campbell. That makes all of their wideouts more valuable including Murphy, who originally looked to be their third WR and slot man, but now Chaz Schilens is hurt. Darrius Heyward-Bey still looks like a questionable WR1 so Murphy may very well be the go-to guy for Campbell.

  • Mike Thomas, JAX (Value = 124, ADP = 162) in the 12th round or later - Jacksonville needs a WR2 to develop and start opposite of Mike Sims-Walker. That seems to be Mike Thomas' job to lose right now, making him a viable NFL starting wideout. He is worth a late selection if he holds onto the starting job.

  • Lance Moore, NO (Value = 145, ADP = 188) in the 14th round or later - New Orleans loves to throw the ball and Drew Brees always liked Lance Moore as a target over the middle when he was healthy. Last year Moore was not healthy most of the year, and his numbers were way down. Moore is not a lock for big production but he could certainly step up well and produce in one of the best offenses in the NFL.

  • Legedu Naanee, SD (Value = 150, ADP = 158) in the 13th round or later - It's becoming quite clearer every day that Vincent Jackson will not be playing WR for the Chargers this year. That opens the door for Legedu Naanee. Naanee has shown a penchant for making the tough grab over the middle, and it is that fearlessness (not to mention an amazing set of hands) that has led to Philip Rivers trusting him many a time in a crucial situation despite his relative inexperience in the league. Naanee has done just about everything the team has asked of him. He now will get his opportunity to show he deserves to be a starter on a very potent Charger offense.

  • Harry Douglas, ATL (Value = 153, ADP = 216) in the 13th round or later - Even before Michael Jenkins injury, Douglas looked like he might steal the WR2 job away. Now with Jenkins out several weeks, I doubt he ever gets the job back.

  • Mike Williams, SEA (Value = 172, ADP = 251) in the 15th round or later - Mike Williams has bounced around the NFL since being selected in Round 1 by Detroit in 2005, but he may have finally found a home with his former USC head coach Pete Carroll. Both are now in Seattle and are with a team desperate for offensive playmakers. Williams will see plenty of snaps and could pass Deion Branch and get a starting role early in the year.

  • Brandon Tate, NE (Value = 194, ADP = 239) in the 16th round or later - Brandon Tate was considered to be the best wide receiver on his college team (North Carolina) when he was drafted - a team that included Hakeem Nicks. Tate slipped during the 2009 NFL Draft because of his knee injury but the Patriots grabbed him and stashed him on IR last year. Tom Brady looks to be back in his Pro Bowl form and the WR3 spot for New England is wide open - a spot Tate could certainly take over.

  • Danny Amendola, STL (Value = 180, ADP = 251) in the 16th round or later - Donnie Avery is done for the year (torn ACL) so the Rams desperately need another wideout to step up. Amendola is the next man up on the depth chart and is penciled in as the starter now for the Rams, so take a late pick flyer shot.
  • Some other WRs will undoubtedly slip in your drafts besides the above targeted bargain list. In recap grab quality receivers early and then wait for exceptional value to emerge at WR because it always does.

    Tight Ends

    PPR leagues do spread out the tight end scoring a lot more than standard leagues. This makes this position something to watch throughout the draft. Usually the elite guys go to early (Witten, Gates, and Clark) and I expect that trend to continue this season. Here are the TEs I will be targeting after the Top 50 players have been drafted:

  • The tight end that I will be targeting in most of my drafts this year is Zach Miller, Oak (Value = 89, ADP = 92) in the 7th or 8th round. With a huge upgrade at the QB position, I expect Zach Miller to be a catching machine for the Raiders. If he can add some TDs, he is way under-valued.

  • About the same time that Zach Miller (7th or 8th round) will be selected, Heath Miller (Value = 98, ADP = 125) will be taken off the board. Heath Miller should be a lot more involved in the offense with Santonio Holmes out of the picture. Ben Roethlisberger's suspension will likely have Leftwich looking to the TE more than usual too. Look for him to slip through the cracks between the numbers and if defenses focus on Hines Ward then Miller should see plenty of scoring opportunities.

  • Look to grab either one of the Millers in the seventh round. Kellen Winslow, Owen Daniels and even Chris Cooley will likely get selected before these players. Use them as triggers when to pounce to get your guy.

    Here are the other TEs that I believe will have exceptional value in the draft:

  • Tony Scheffler, DET (Value = 206, ADP = 214) in the 15th round or later - The Detroit Lions went out and acquired Scheffler in a trade this year and they plan to use him as their primary receiving tight end. If teams are preoccupied with Calvin Johnson that should leave Scheffler lots of chances in the Red Zone.

  • John Carlson, SEA (Value = 107, ADP = 133) in the 15th round or later - Seattle is severely lacking in wide receiver depth and talent overall, so look for Matt Hasselbeck to get the ball in the hands of his big target down in the Red Zone. Carlson was underutilized last year and Hasselbeck is more than aware of it. Carlson should see more touchdown chances and overall targets this season.

  • Anthony Fasano, MIA (Value =169, ADP = 238) in the 15th round or later - Chad Henne was a sleeper quarterback last year, but defenses will adjust to him. Defenders will try and take away WRs Brandon Marshall, Davone Bess and Brian Hartline, opening up chances over the middle for Fasano.

  • Todd Heap, Bal (Value = 199, ADP = 226) in the 15th round or later - Baltimore went out and drafted Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta in the 2010 NFL Draft last April, but Todd Heap is still on top of the depth chart for the Ravens. All preseason Heap has been productive and looks to be healthy once again. An injury-free Heap is a TE1 value and a relative steal as a backup tight end late in a draft.
  • Place Kickers

    In leagues that go after kickers early, just wait. You can get an adequate PK three rounds after every other owner has their first.

    In leagues that draft this position real late (most leagues), look towards the top of the kicker list in round 14. If your top kicker is available then draft him. Suffice it to say that in a lot of leagues now, people wait too long to take their kickers. As a rule of thumb, you can generally maximize kicker value by taking the fifth to eighth kicker off the board. In waiver wire friendly leagues (most), don't be afraid to draft just one kicker and add others as necessary during the season to cover the bye weeks and/or exploit matchups.

    Defenses

    Scoring systems generally come into play and define when defenses are taken. I suggest you wait until Round 12 to assess what to do about this position. . If the New York Jets are still on the board, grab them. If they are gone though, I would wait until late in the draft and implement Chase Stuart and Jeff Pasquino's suggested combo of the San Diego Chargers (ADP = 189) and Kansas City Chiefs (ADP = 251). Both can be selected very late in the draft.

    Because owners rank defenses so differently, you can generally get good value just by waiting for the value to emerge.

    If you somehow get squeezed and find yourself with bad options, just draft Tennessee or Tampa Bay late. They start the year with home games against Oakland and Cleveland. In most leagues, half of the defenses are in the waiver pool so this should buy you a week before settling on a better option.

    Another winning strategy to deploy after the draft for defenses is simply to look two games ahead in the waiver process. Most teams will have one or two defenses meaning that half of the defenses are available as free agent pick ups each week. By looking two to three weeks ahead at who will be playing Jacksonville, Cleveland or Buffalo, you likely can find a cheap defense that should perform well against subpar offenses. Drop this defense after their "quality game" so that you can continue to pick up other defenses that will have good weeks. Because of this strategy, I advise you to draft just one quality defense and look to play matchups the rest of the way. Every year two or three defenses are predicted to be terrible but end up playing great.

    Putting It All Together

    1. Use the Top 50 List to grab as much "core" talent as possible.

    2. Assess your strengths and weaknesses after the Top 50 picks are gone. Look to fill in your roster as well as adding more RB and WR depth should significant value be present.

    3. At the end of 8 rounds, you should have 1 QB or TE, 3 RBs and 4 WRs.

    4. QB value is available throughout the draft so just wait until it emerges. Unless you get a top guy at a reduced price, look to grab your first QB after 8 or 9 have been taken. A solid choice is to be the last owner to grab a starter and go with the best value left in Round 9 (probably Matthew Stafford).

    5. Stockpile value wide receivers. Some will bust, but others will help you win your league. In this format, allocate no less than 8-9 roster spots for wide receivers. When in doubt choose younger players that have higher ceilings. To win the WCOFF, you must connect on some cheap talent.

    6. Keep a pulse on TE throughout the draft and wait for value to emerge. Either Zach Miller, Oak and Heath Miller, PIT should be your fallback position if value doesn't show itself before that point. Do not wait past Round 8 to get your TE1.

    7. Wait on defense, but don't be afraid to grab the first or second one in Round 12. If defenses go earlier than normal, wait for 6-8 defenses to be picked before you take your first. Do not add a second defense unless you can implement the DTBC of San Diego and Kansas City. Work the waiver wire weeks ahead of great matchups for value.

    8. Wait on kicker, but don't be afraid to grab the first or second on your list in Round 14. If kickers go early, take the fifth to eighth kicker off the board.Well that is it folks. Hope you all do well in your coming drafts. Remember, the key is not to just follow the Top 300 list but to see where it differs substantially from average drafts. This is how you get value with every pick. And value is how you build winning fantasy teams.

    Here is a sample team drafted from the 7th position (All picks taken at or before their ADP).

  • Rd 1 - Pick 7 - RB Steven Jackson, STL/9 (ADP = 7)
  • Rd 2 - Pick 18 - WR Greg Jennings, GB/10 (ADP = 22)
  • Rd 3 - Pick 31 - WR Steve Smith, CAR/6 (ADP = 32)
  • Rd 4 - Pick 42 - RB Jahvid Best, DET/7 (ADP = 44)
  • Rd 5 - Pick 55 - RB CJ Spiller, BUF/6 (ADP = 58)
  • Rd 6 - Pick 66 - WR Santana Moss, WASH/9 (ADP = 72)
  • Rd 7 - Pick 79 - WR Malcom Floyd, SD/10 (ADP = 79)
  • Rd 8 - Pick 90 - TE Zach Miller, OAK/10 (ADP = 92)
  • Rd 9 - Pick 103 - QB Matthew Stafford, DET//7 (ADP = 121)
  • Rd 10 - Pick 114 - QB Ben Roethlisberger, PIT/5 (ADP = 123)
  • Rd 11 - Pick 127 - RB Leon Washington, SEA/5 (ADP = 128)
  • Rd 12 - Pick 138 - WR Jacoby Jones, HOU/7 (ADP = 146)
  • Rd 13 - Pick 151 - WR Legedu Naanee, SD/10 (ADP = 158)
  • Rd 14 - Pick 162 - RB Kareem Huggins, TB/4 (ADP = 217)
  • Rd 15 - Pick 175 - San Diego Chargers, SD/10 (ADP = 189)
  • Rd 16 - Pick 186 - TE Tony Scheffler, DET/7 (ADP = 204)
  • Rd 17 - Pick 199 - WR Harry Douglas, ATL/8 (ADP = 216)
  • Rd 18 - Pick 210 - Best Kicker Available (such as Neil Rackers, HOU/7, ADP = 226)
  • Rd 19 - Pick 223 - RB Rashad Jennings, JAX/9 (ADP = 235)
  • Rd 20 - Pick 234 - WR Danny Amendola, STL/9 (ADP = 251)
  • Note: I have crafted this team to appear to be a bit soft at QB but the duo of Stafford and Roethlisberger could be very potent. Detroit has a nice September schedule and Roethlisberger has been a solid QB1 in the past, making him a great backup. The team has solid RBs and WRs at the top of the lineup, our targeted tight end and plenty of players from Round 11 onward that have great upside if things go right for them. This is the type of high risk maneuvering that could vault a team like this way up the rankings should a key injury like that happen.

    As always, questions, suggestions and comments are always welcome to dodds@footballguys.com and pasquino@footballguys.com.

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