Perfect Draft Series: Drafting 4th in a 12 Team League
The unfortunate truth when it comes to draft preparation is that it only takes one knucklehead to throw a wrench in the entire process. When drafting last week amongst a group of my friends in a very casual league, someone took Robert Griffin III in the fourth round. While that may be just one bad pick, it should go without saying that most of his picks didn't make much sense. Since I live in the DC area, a bunch of Redskins players were going way too early. By resisting the urge to tell these guys they are morons, I focused on my own team.
Once you get past the first four or five rounds, that's when your league breaks off into two main segments: the good and the bad. You'll have guys reaching on gamble picks while you're still stocking your cupboard with studs. Fantasy concepts like average draft position or value based drafting are only guidelines. If one of your wacky friends really likes Titus Young, he could go in the fifth. You may have wanted him in the seventh, knowing the second year wideout usually goes in the eighth but none of that matters come draft day.
I never enter any round with a planned pick whether it's by player or position. Instead, I'm looking at each position and figuring out who's left while also balancing my team's needs. If it's the sixth round and I still don't have a quarterback, of course I'm checking out who's left and which teams ahead of me already have a QB. If a small run of QBs happens just before my pick and I don't like the best available QB in that particular round, I'll pass. This is where practice mock drafts and knowing the players as best you can is invaluable. Quick, snap decisions have to be made so you better know your stuff.
In this Perfect Draft, I have the fourth pick in a 12-team standard scoring league.
Starters: 1 QB / 2 RB / 3 WR / 1 TE / 1 K / 1 D
Roster rules: No more than two QBs, five RBs, five WRs, two TEs, two Ks and two Ds.
Round 1, Pick 4 (4): RB LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
In most leagues, McCoy won't escape the top three selections but Aaron Rodgers and even Tom Brady are beginning to creep earlier into drafts. Locking down a stud RB in the first gives you a lot of flexibility in leagues where you only need two starting RBs. McCoy is only 24 years old and in the prime of his career. He could end up becoming the best fantasy back in 2012.
Round 2, Pick 9 (21): TE Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots
Even if you're against drafting a tight end in the second round, you have to be open to it. In standard scoring leagues, Gronk and Jimmy Graham should be around until the second round. The yardage and touchdown production is too much to ignore at the back end of the second round. Consider this, even if you wait to draft a tight end until the eighth round, they'll have to go back to the well to draft a backup. Yet with Gronk, you don't really need a backup TE except for his bye week. There aren't any weeks where I'm benching him if he's healthy. Roster flexibility can be very helpful.
Round 3, Pick 4 (28): RB Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams
I can understand the urge to want to pass on guys like Jackson, Frank Gore and Michael Turner but really, give the old fellas a chance. Of course the writing is on the wall, SJax has been doing this for a decade. Even still, he rushed for 1,145 yards last season even when the Rams couldn't pass and everybody knew he was getting the ball a ton in the first half.