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A Study on Fantasy Draft Position - 2005 Season

Performance leagues with one point per reception included in the scoring (scenario # 1)

How much, if any advantage is it to draft number one overall in a fantasy draft? Does drafting in the middle of the draft hurt or help? In addition, how much of a hindrance is it to be stuck at the bottom of your draft? One thing is for sure and that is your draft strategy will vary depending on which slot you draft from. While competing in fantasy football over the years, I have drafted everywhere from first overall down to sixteenth overall in a large fantasy league. I have found that all draft positions can have benefits as well as negatives but some are more beneficial than others.

This article will take a look at all twelve positions an owner can draft from in a standard twelve team league with these scoring rules and what the strategy should be for the first seven rounds of the draft. I will also go through a mock draft until round seven and take a look at whom an owner should take with each pick. There is no reason for any team, picking from any slot to not have a solid foundation after seven selections.

Notes about this study

  • Based on a 12-team league


  • Must Start 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 K, 1 Def


  • This study doesn't take into account oddball picks in a draft. In many drafts, one renegade owner makes baffling pick after baffling pick that allows value to drop to the other teams in the league. An idea of an oddball pick would be to take RB Stephen Davis in the 2nd round, QB Joey Harrington in the 3rd round or WR Rod Smith in the 4th round.


  • This study isn't written in stone. Consider it to be a set of guidelines. There will be times a player drops to your pick you weren't expecting to be there and your entire draft strategy can change. That is healthy as long as you adjust your game plan going forward from that pick. In fact if a player is taken you don't expect to go before your pick, it is even better for you as that means value is dropping to your draft slot.


  • As much as possible in this study, I try not to let what one owner is going to do reflect on my thoughts for the next owner. I do this study over the course of several days and treat it like I would a draft in slow time. I try to look at it from the point of view of one fantasy owner at a time.


  • I don't want this study to become a debate on why I picked receiver 'X' over receiver 'Y' or running back 'A' over running back 'B'. That isn't what this exercise is about. To that end, I will be using the Footballguys.com VBD Application and plugging it into the Draft Dominator for this scoring system to determine which player should go during each slot. I also glance at the ADP of each player to help determine which position makes the most sense for each pick and may tweak the rankings somewhat at times if a player offers better value later on in the draft.


  • I only go seven rounds deep into the draft. After that point in a draft, you have the main pieces in place and it begins to find a game of searching for gems and filling out your roster. The key to a great draft every time from every draft position is the foundation of your roster.

Scoring Rules

  • 1 pt per 20 yards passing
  • 4 pts per passing TD
  • 1 pt per 10 yards rushing/receiving
  • 6 pts per rushing/receiving TD
  • 1 pt per reception
  • -1 per interception
  • Field Goals worth 3 points
  • Conversions worth 1 point

    Defensive Scoring

  • 2 points per sack
  • 2 pts per interception
  • 2 pts per fumble recovery
  • 6 pts per touchdown
  • 2 pts per safety
  • Shutout worth 5 FP
  • 1 pt to 6 pts surrendered worth 3 FP
  • 7 pts to 13 pts surrendered worth 1 FP

The Draft Unfolds

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
1 RB Tomlinson WR Owens TE Gonzalez RB Barlow QB Collins WR L. Evans WR Porter
2 RB Holmes QB Culpepper RB S. Jackson WR Coles TE Shockey RB L. Johnson WR Lelie
3 RB James RB Lewis WR Horn WR Boldin RB Dunn WR J. Smith QB Brooks
4 RB Alexander WR Holt RB T. Bell TE Witten RB Taylor WR Chambers QB Hasselbeck
5 RB McAllister RB R. Johnson RB Jordan WR R. Williams QB Favre WR S. Smith WR Moulds
6 RB Barber RB Green QB McNabb WR Mi Clayton RB Foster WR Fitzgerald WR Muhammad
7 RB D. Davis RB Martin WR Wayne QB Bulger RB Staley WR Driver WR Mason
8 RB Westbrook RB Dillon WR A. Johnson WR Ward RB R. Brown QB Plummer WR Branch
9 RB McGahee QB P. Manning RB Arrington WR D. Bennett RB Benson WR Bruce WR Stokley
10 WR R. Moss RB J. Jones RB M. Bennett WR Walker WR Burleson TE Heap QB Brady
11 RB Portis WR Harrison RB C. Brown WR D. Jackson QB Vick TE Crumpler RB R. Williams
12 RB K. Jones WR C. Johnson TE Gates RB C. Williams QB T. Green RB Suggs WR Kennison

General Thoughts

  • Quarterbacks are extremely deep this season so don't overspend for one in 2005. Dependable quarterbacks like Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, Byron Leftwich, Jake Delhomme, David Carr, Brian Griese and Steve McNair haven't been drafted after the first 84 picks.


  • There are about thirty solid running backs this season which is a great number. However after that it begins to fall flat.


  • There is also a ton of receiver depth. When you can find solid veteran contributors like Keyshawn Johnson, Amani Toomer, Plaxico Burress, Santana Moss, Keenan McCardell and David Givens outside the 7th round as well as young players such as Donte Stallworth, Mike Williams and Charles Rogers you will be able to find gems outside of the top 84 this season.


  • The tight end position has a big six this season in Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jason Witten, Jeremy Shockey, Alge Crumpler and Todd Heap and then there is a pretty big falloff.


  • 12 quarterbacks, 34 running backs, 32 receivers and 6 tight ends were selected.

Drafting from the # 1 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
1 RB Tomlinson WR Owens TE Gonzalez RB Barlow QB Collins WR L. Evans WR Porter

General Thoughts

This season, drafting first overall is a no-brainer. RB LaDainian Tomlinson is a consensus top choice this season and he has the least risk of any of the running backs slotted into the top five. Tomlinson is an amazing runner with incredible vision on the field. He should pay dividends throughout the year for the owner lucky enough to slot into this spot.

Getting a top running back on board allows the owner picking 1st overall to be flexible with his strategy throughout the next few picks. Because there is a stud running back already on board, the owners can go many different ways with his next two picks at 24 and 25 overall. He can simply take the best two players left on the board without worrying about filling particular positions. If the best two players are receivers or if one is a receiver and one is a quarterback or even if it happens to be a tight end, this owner has no hesitation in landing those players.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Kerry Collins (5)
RB LaDainian Tomlinson (1)
RB Kevan Barlow (4)
WR Terrell Owens (2)
WR Lee Evans (6)
WR Jerry Porter (7)
TE Tony Gonzalez (3)

Thoughts on roster so far

This foundation of this roster is very strong. Included in this group is the top rated fantasy running back, a potential top receiver in Terrell Owens if he can resolve his messy contract situation in Philly and the top tight end in the NFL in Tony Gonzalez. The 25th pick overall is earlier than most usually take a tight end but there is certainly value at the position this year with six tight ends head over heels better than the rest. The receiving trio is quite talented with Owens, Evans and Porter all having upside greater than the spot in which they were picked. However the running back stable is a little shaky despite the presence of Tomlinson. Barlow certainly has the skills to be a solid fantasy performer but he has to play much better than a year ago to reach that level. Top to bottom, this is a roster that looks very strong heading into the season. The Kerry Collins to Jerry Porter connection could yield some big fantasy points.

Draft Strategy going forward

With quarterback, receiver and tight end looking quite nice, this squad would be best served taking a few running back candidates in the next several rounds to try and land a diamond in the rough. Potential finds would be T.J. Duckett, Marshall Faulk, Eric Shelton and Reuben Droughns.


Drafting from the # 2 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
2 RB Holmes QB Culpepper RB S. Jackson WR Coles TE Shockey RB L. Johnson WR Lelie

General Thoughts

There is a lot of question marks in every running back this season in the top ten but for sure explosiveness and the ability to win fantasy games on his own, you have to take Priest Holmes here with this pick. Sure Holmes is an injury risk but he will help an owner win a lot of games as long as he can avoid the injury bug that plagued him a year ago. Getting a top running back early on in the draft gives an owner the luxury of looking elsewhere in rounds two through five if the value presents itself.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Daunte Culpepper (2)
RB Priest Holmes (1)
RB Stephen Jackson (3)
RB Larry Johnson (6)
WR Laveranues Coles (4)
WR Ashley Lelie (7)
TE Jeremy Shockey (5)

Thoughts on roster so far

Having the duo of Priest Holmes and Daunte Culpepper could result in a sick amount of fantasy points this season but there is a risk associated with both. Holmes as we touched on above needs to stay healthy to help an owner through all sixteen games. If he can do that he'll likely lead his position in fantasy points. Culpepper put up monster numbers a year ago but needs to prove he can do it without his former superstar receiver Randy Moss who was traded to the Oakland Raiders this past offseason. Stephen Jackson should prove to be a serviceable # 2 guy and the owner was fortunate to land Larry Johnson in the 6th to cement the Chiefs duo. It is a crapshoot when L. Johnson will be available that late in the draft and the Holmes owner may have to live without the handcuff if Johnson goes before the fifth round of the draft. The only real troublesome spot on this roster is at the receiver position. Both Coles and Lelie can put up big numbers but both haven't proven to be the most consistent players in the world. If these two receivers perform well, this squad will be difficult to beat.

Draft Strategy going forward

This owner is pretty set going forward. He only has two receivers so he'll want to address that over the next several rounds but as I illustrated in the article earlier, there is a bunch of receiver talent still available for the plucking.


Drafting from the # 3 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
3 RB James RB Lewis WR Horn WR Boldin RB Dunn WR J. Smith QB Brooks

General Thoughts

This will be a tough call this season from the # 3 hole. There are a lot of running backs that appear clustered together in a single tier to me here and you are best served just taking the top one on your list and running with it as it is too early to go any other position but running back. This is a good spot to trade down from if trades are allowed in your league. You don't have quite as much flexibility as the top two slots do but you still have pretty nice flexibility here to take the player that represents value.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Aaron Brooks (7)
RB Edgerrin James (1)
RB Jamal Lewis (2)
RB Warrick Dunn (5)
WR Joe Horn (3)
WR Anquan Boldin (4)
WR Jimmy Smith (6)

Thoughts on roster so far

The running back trio of James, Lewis and Dunn is amongst the best in this league. This owner should have little difficulty racking up big fantasy points at the position on a weekly basis. Also strong is the receiver position with three potentially strong fantasy producers on the roster. Both Horn and Smith are getting up there in age but should have at least another season or two as strong fantasy options. Getting a strong fantasy quarterback such as Aaron Brooks in the 7th round of a draft is exceptional value and really displays why it works so well to wait on the quarterback position

Draft Strategy going forward

This squad is in very good shape going forward. Only tight end is a clear weakness right now and this owner can simply pick for value over the next several rounds, ignoring the tight end position until he sees terrific value. This team will certainly be in the running in 2005.


Drafting from the # 4 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
4 RB Alexander WR Holt RB T. Bell TE Witten RB Taylor WR Chambers QB Hasselbeck

General Thoughts

As with the 3rd pick, this is a difficult choice to make between many running backs all bunched together. You must go running back here though this early in your fantasy draft. It is just a matter of which one you like more. Let the draft come to you from this position and you'll be fine.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Matt Hasselbeck (7)
RB Shaun Alexander (1)
RB Tatum Bell (3)
RB Fred Taylor (5)
WR Torry Holt (2)
WR Chris Chambers (6)
TE Jason Witten (4)

Thoughts on roster so far

I'll tell you what. This squad has the makings of a very strong side. Matt Hasselbeck is great value in the 7th round of a fantasy draft and his going so late allowed this squad to build great running back depth if Fred Taylor can stay healthy and a great duo at receiver in Torry Holt and Chris Chambers. Shaun Alexander has officially signed a one-year contract and he could finish as the top fantasy producer without question. Add in a potential top five tight end and the squad is off to a super start.

Draft Strategy going forward

You have to like the look of this team going forward. Receiver is a concern only because starter # 3 hasn't been filled out yet but this owner will be able to find serviceable guys coming up through the draft. If Jason Witten can match the numbers he put up a year ago and Tatum Bell emerges as the starter in Denver, this team may be tough to beat.


Drafting from the # 5 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
5 RB McAllister RB R. Johnson RB Jordan WR R. Williams QB Favre WR S. Smith WR Moulds

General Thoughts

It gets tougher and tougher here to pick a running back which may be why many owners out there are targeting Randy Moss or Peyton Manning with this pick. Do not sway from the running back position this early in the draft. Sure you will have a strong quarterback (by selecting Manning) or receiver (with R. Moss) but you will be fighting to build depth throughout the draft at the running back spot which is more difficult than finding strong fantasy quarterbacks later in the draft. Deuce McAllister is a good choice here.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Brett Favre (5)
RB Deuce McAllister (1)
RB Rudi Johnson (2)
RB Lamont Jordan (3)
WR Roy Williams (4)
WR Steve Smith (6)
WR Eric Moulds (7)

Thoughts on roster so far

Come on now, who would you rather have? Brett Favre with the 53rd pick in the draft or Peyton Manning with the 5th overall selection. That is why it is important to go running back early in the draft. Going RB/RB/RB in the first three rounds can be a great strategy but only if the value to do so presents itself. Don't reach for questionable value in the 2nd and 3rd rounds to build a running back stable as that can cripple you throughout the season. However landing a trio like McAllister, Johnson and Jordan can be huge. There is a lot of potential for those three to put up big numbers in 2005. If an owner can successfully grab a Roy Williams, Steve Smith and Eric Moulds that late in the draft, that person will be very happy. Neither Smith nor Moulds is a cinch to be available in the 7th round of your drafts but this one just happened to work out this way.

Draft Strategy going forward

The plan going forward should be simply to take the best value remaining on the board. At some point, this owner needs to target a tight end but only when the value to do so presents itself. With Favre, McAllister, Rudi Johnson and a great trio at receiver, this owner appears to be very strong.


Drafting from the # 6 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
6 RB Barber RB Green QB McNabb WR Mi Clayton RB Foster WR Fitzgerald WR Muhammad

General Thoughts

Tiki Barber in a one point per reception league is a no brainer in this spot. While the lure of looking towards Randy Moss is still there, you can't go wrong by going running back in this spot.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Donovan McNabb (3)
RB Tiki Barber (1)
RB Ahman Green (2)
RB DeShaun Foster (5)
WR Michael Clayton (4)
WR Larry Fitzgerald (6)
WR Muhsin Muhammad (7)

Thoughts on roster so far

Another roster without a tight end after seven rounds but looking strong nonetheless. The team is set at quarterback with Donovan McNabb although the whole "Terrell Owens' problem is getting ridiculous. Having the duo of Barber and Green may be deadly and add in the big potential of 3rd back DeShaun Foster and this squad couldn't be more set at the running back spot. There is a lot of potential at the receiver slot as well with Michael Clayton, Larry Fitzgerald and Muhsin Muhammad having the ability to outperform their draft positions.

Draft Strategy going forward

Same as # 5 above. This team is set up pretty well and can simply go for the best 'value pick' on the board over the next several picks while searching for a tight end that can start for their squad.


Drafting from the # 7 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
7 RB D. Davis RB Martin WR Wayne QB Bulger RB Staley WR Driver WR Mason

General Thoughts

This is where the draft begins to get dicey. You can make a strong push for a Randy Moss here and possibly Peyton Manning as well. However there are still quality running backs on the board and you may as well start right and scoop one of them up here. Domanick Davis, armed with a new long-term contract could be golden this season.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Marc Bulger (4)
RB Curtis Martin (2)
RB Domanick Davis (1)
RB Duce Staley (5)
WR Reggie Wayne (3)
WR Donald Driver (6)
WR Derrick Mason (7)

Thoughts on roster so far

This squad isn't as flashy as some of the earlier ones but that doesn't mean they don't have a chance at success. Martin and Domanick Davis should be a strong 1-2 punch at running back and Bulger can certainly put up big numbers. At receiver, there is potential for greatness if everything goes well. Driver may be the # 1 option this year with Javon Walker holding out for more cash and Wayne is 1(a) in Indianapolis. Taking a receiver or quarterback here is simply too early and will hurt the depth of this team later on.

Draft Strategy going forward

Just like the other two now before him, this is simple. Take the best value left on the board and don't look back.


Drafting from the # 8 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
8 RB Westbrook RB Dillon WR A. Johnson WR Ward RB R. Brown QB Plummer WR Branch

General Thoughts

This is where round one begins to get challenging. The 'top' running backs may be off of the board but players like Brian Westbrook, Willis McGahee, Clinton Portis and Kevin Jones are all still available and you can certainly make a case that each of these players has a shot to crack the top five. The direction this squad takes is entirely up to the owner. It is always better in my opinion to take a running back over a receiver in round one unless exceptional value presents itself and frankly with the scoring rules in place for this league, it makes no sense to target a quarterback in round one so running back is the way to go. Westbrook would be golden in a one point per reception league and is a nice pick here. After that pick, landing Dillon in round two gives this squad a great one-two punch at running back and landing rookie running back Ronnie Brown and the reborn Ricky Williams in the fifth and seventh round respectively could be huge. You are guaranteed points out of your RB3 position which will help cover injuries and bye weeks.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Jake Plummer (6)
RB Brian Westbrook (1)
RB Corey Dillon (2)
RB Ronnie Brown (5)
RB Ricky Williams (7)
WR Andre Johnson (3)
WR Hines Ward (4)

Thoughts on roster so far

The running back position is obviously set with Westbrook, Dillon and the Dolphins' ground game covering all bases. While there are only two receivers on this team after seven rounds, both Andre Johnson and Hines Ward can be money in one point per reception leagues. Finally Jake Plummer is a solid fantasy quarterback and will have a good season. The foundation is in place for this owner to build a strong squad throughout the rest of his draft.

Draft Strategy going forward

This owner should target the receiver position in two of the next four rounds for sure to build depth at the position. Other than that he needs to find a decent tight end and he'll be good to go. Taking Ricky Williams in the 7th round was a great move to guarantee point production out of your backup running back position.


Drafting from the # 9 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
9 RB McGahee QB P. Manning RB Arrington WR D. Bennett RB Benson WR Bruce WR Stokley

General Thoughts

Again, this is a spot that can offer many different choices to a fantasy owner. It is certainly not a bad move at this point to target Randy Moss with this pick but with running back talent like Willis McGahee still on the board, this is really a no-brainer still. McGahee has top five potential and taking him in round one gives this squad options going forward. The Peyton Manning pick in round two is the perfect spot for him to go in a draft with these scoring rules. You can find many strong fantasy quarterbacks later in the draft but at some point, Manning's value becomes such that you simply cannot ignore his worth. Taking him in round two does make it tougher to build strong depth at running back and receiver but it certainly gives consistently high scoring from the quarterback slot.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Peyton Manning (2)
RB Willis McGahee (1)
RB J.J. Arrington (3)
RB Cedric Benson (5)
WR Drew Bennett (4)
WR Isaac Bruce (6)
WR Brandon Stokley (7)

Thoughts on roster so far

This squad could be outstanding but there is some significant risk to deal with as well. Two of the three running backs on board are rookies and as we all know those types of picks are often as much 'bust' as 'boom'. Arrington looks to be in a great position to contribute this season but Benson has to beat out the capable Thomas Jones for playing time and that may take awhile to happen in 2005. Still if both rookies perform at a high level, the running back core will be strong. Receiver also looks a little dicey with both Drew Bennett and Brandon Stokley coming off of career seasons that may not be duplicated. Isaac Bruce has been a fantasy machine but he is getting up there in age and will start slowing down at some point in the near future. Obviously having Manning is a strong basis to a team but taking a quarterback early always makes it more difficult to build depth at the other positions.

Draft Strategy going forward

Simply put 'take the best value possible, going forward'. I would put a premium on the receiver spot and avoid selecting a backup quarterback until round ten or eleven but other than that you can take the best value in each round.


Drafting from the # 10 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
10 WR R. Moss RB J. Jones RB M. Bennett WR Walker WR Burleson TE Heap QB Brady

General Thoughts

Many times this season, owners drafting in the 9th through 12th picks will find themselves with one running back and one of another position in the first two rounds. Why? Simply because the best value down at this spot is to take the best receiver in Randy Moss. Of course starting a draft with a receiver makes the running back core a little shaky to start with but there is a lot of upside with a Julius Jones / Michael Bennett duo at the running back spot. The receiver trio of Moss, Walker and Burleson could be outstanding but it could also be a major disappointment depending on how the cards fall. Walker is in the midst of an ugly contract dispute while Burleson has to prove he can get the job done with Randy Moss to rely on.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Tom Brady (7)
RB Julius Jones (2)
RB Michael Bennett (3)
WR Randy Moss
WR Javon Walker (4)
WR Nate Burleson (5)
TE Todd Heap (6)

Thoughts on roster so far

The good news with this squad is that they are already set up pretty nicely across the four main positions (QB,RB,WR and TE). Tom Brady brings consistency to the table as the 12th quarterback taken and he is capable of putting up top five numbers. Julius Jones looks like a strong # 1 if he can even match his play from a year ago but Michael Bennett is about as risky of a # 2 runner as you would care to have. If Bennett plays up to his potential though, this team is set at the starting running back spot. Javon Walker and Nate Burleson could be outstanding in the role of a # 2 and # 3 receiver for a fantasy squad but the risks outlined above are a potential pratfall. The bad news for this owner is the lack of depth he has stockpiled at the running back position with a very shaky # 2 runner in place. He will have to address that in the rounds ahead.

Draft Strategy going forward

With both a quarterback and a tight end already on board, this owner should focus in at the running back position and take as many as three runners in the next four rounds. Targeting players like Anthony Thomas and Mewelde Moore to help guarantee points out of the two starting positions would be a shrewd move. The receiving core should be dynamite but it would be a wise move to target Packers WR Robert Ferguson later on to fall back on if Walker continues his holdout into the season. With some luck, this squad could be very strong in 2005.


Drafting from the # 11 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
11 RB Portis WR Harrison RB C. Brown WR D. Jackson QB Vick TE Crumpler RB R. Williams

General Thoughts

You can call this slot 'the Reaction Position' because that is what you'll be doing. What you do here will always depend on what the owners do in front of you. If the first ten picks were all running backs, definitely go WR to find value. Other than that it is up to you what happens. With both WR Marvin Harrison and WR Chad Johnson available here the best move is to wait on the receiver position and take a strong running back here knowing you can almost certainly go back to receiver the following round unless the owner in the 12 slot pulls a double shot and takes both. However if he does that, the consolation prize becomes Kevin Jones which would be a great pick in the 2nd round. In this scenario, Harrison was available in the 2nd round and landing him made this team look very solid throughout the first seven rounds.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Michael Vick (5)
RB Clinton Portis (1)
RB Chris Brown (3)
RB Travis Henry (7)
WR Marvin Harrison (2)
WR Darrell Jackson (4)
TE Alge Crumpler (6)

Thoughts on roster so far

This team is in great shape going forward. Landing a quarterback at the end of round five with the upside of Michael Vick who is hungry to improve on his pedestrian performance in 2004 is a great move. He could be a fantasy 'MVP' in any given year. Portis is a solid # 1 guy and the duo of Brown/Henry guarantees weekly points from your RB # 2 slot. At receiver Harrison and Jackson are a great one-two punch and should put up big numbers and Alge Crumpler could definitely finish in the top five at his position in 2005.

Draft Strategy going forward

This squad is in the perfect position to take the best available player. As the owner here though I would try to grab another two receivers in the next three rounds if at all possible to salt away my # 3 position. Towards the end of the draft, selecting Redskins' backup running back Ladell Betts to back up Clinton Portis would be a shrewd move.


Drafting from the # 12 slot

Slot # Round 1 Round 2 Round 3 Round 4 Round 5 Round 6 Round 7
12 RB K. Jones WR C. Johnson TE Gates RB C. Williams QB T. Green RB Suggs WR Kennison

General Thoughts

Without a doubt, the one slot that requires the best use of strategic planning is the final slot in a draft. It can be both a huge liability and a huge positive depending on how the owner uses his selections. The biggest problem with this slot is the long wait between picks. It is similar to the first slot in that but the first owner has the luxury of taking the best running back on board in addition to three of the top twenty-five players. There are a number of ways this owner can go.

  • He could roll the dice and take two top receivers (i.e. - Chad Johnson and Harrison) and try to fill the running back starters in the next several rounds. That would be risky but would give the owner the best receiving core in the league. If he does go this route, he has to take three running backs in the next four rounds to solidify that group.
  • He can take one running back and one receiver. This works well for the fantasy owner as it starts him off right at both positions.

In this scenario though, the owner has an easy choice by taking the best running back left on the board by a wide margin in Kevin Jones and scooping a great receiver in Chad Johnson. This will get his team off to a fast start.

Roster After Seven Rounds

QB Trent Green (5)
RB Kevin Jones (1)
RB Carnell Williams (4)
RB Lee Suggs (6)
WR Chad Johnson (2)
WR Deion Branch (7)
TE Antonio Gates (3)

Thoughts on roster so far

There is a lot of promise for this squad. A potential top quarterback, top running back, top receiver and top tight end are all on this roster in Green, Jones, Johnson and Gates and that is a heck of a solid trio to build upon. At running back Kevin Jones was a great pick at # 12 overall. He could certainly exceed his draft position. Carnell Williams is a risky # 2 as a rookie but is capable of putting up big numbers and the same can be said for Lee Suggs. Both players have to fight hard to win the starting job but could be explosive players if given the chance. There are only two receivers on the squad so far but Chad Johnson has # 1 potential in 2005 and Deion Branch could catch upwards of 90 passes this season. And finally, Antonio Gates was the equal of Tony Gonzalez a year ago and in all likelihood will be very strong once again this year.

Draft Strategy going forward

With the next pick, I would target RB Michael Pittman to solidify points out of the # 2 spot. If not him, a player like Reuben Droughns of the Browns to back up Suggs would work as well. Landing both of those players would be fantastic. Also of importance will be to add to the receiver core within the next four rounds. By the end of round eleven, this squad will want four receivers on the roster.


Important Draft Strategies

  • Your draft strategy must alter depending on whom you take in the first two rounds.
  • Remember to adjust your draft strategy to reflect your league scoring rules and starting lineup requirements
  • Don't worry about bye weeks until you have your starting players in place. Bye weeks matter for backups not starters.
  • Never draft more than one quarterback in the first seven rounds. Too hard to trade them due to the fact there are so many starting quarterbacks and only 12 starting slots in the league.
  • Be willing to adjust your strategy on the fly. Often a draft doesn't go as you planned. If a bargain falls into your lap such as Terrell Owens or Daunte Culpepper at the end of the second round, make sure you take him and then adjust your strategy for the next several rounds. Be flexible!
  • Never take a kicker or defense until you have your starting roster at other positions fill out at the very least and a backup at running back and receiver is highly recommended. Personally I would take both kickers and defense in the bottom quarter of the draft. That's where the value is.
  • The only non-running backs that should be considered in the first two rounds are Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison, Torry Holt, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens at receiver as well as Daunte Culpepper/Peyton Manning at quarterback. The rest of the picks should be running backs although you can make a case for either tight end Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates going towards the latter stages of round two in certain leagues.

Final Conclusions

While there is some variance between the different draft slots, an owner can draft a competitive team at any of them if he is willing to adjust his strategy as the draft goes on. If an owner is patience, prepared and willing to follow his own path the draft will open up to him and he will find himself with a competitive team at the end of the day. Don't be afraid to buck the trend but allow your strategy to change with your choices. If you take a quarterback or receiver in the first two rounds, the focus for your team should switch to running back. Never take more than one quarterback until at least round seven at the very least. If you do take one of the top two tight ends (Gonzalez and Gates) in the first few rounds, ignore the tight end position until near the end of the draft. The same goes with the quarterback position. If you select a Peyton Manning or Daunte Culpepper in round two, do not consider taking another one until at least round ten.

There are no guarantees in fantasy drafts due to injuries and unforeseen occurrences. However having a solid strategy in place that can be flexible can help an owner drafting from any slot be successful in his/her league.

Stay tuned for other articles in this series that take a look at drafting using the *FLEX* position and different scoring rules. There will be a four parts to this series.

Good Luck and Happy Drafting!

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