Utilizing the Draft Planner: Drafting from the #1-#3 Spots
Welcome to the first of a four-part series that is intended to help fantasy owners develop a draft plan based on their position in the first round.
We'll start with those owners picking #1-#3 in 12-team drafts. Using the ADP Draft Planner, I'll go round-by-round (through the 8th round) and mention a few players at each pick that fantasy owners should be targeting.
Keep in mind that these picks are for PPR scoring formats (with 4 pt per pass TD), but I will outline standard scoring strategy as well. I'm going to assume a starting lineup of 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR and 1 TE (along with a kicker and defense). If your league allows you to start three RBs, you'll want to focus a little more on the RB position as the draft wears on. (Same thing goes if your league requires three starting wide receivers.) Conversely, if your league only requires one starting RB, you can focus more on the other positions.
Note: Since there is far more draft data for PPR in the Draft Planner, I'm going to use it for both formats. ADP doesn't change all that much between formats, unless you're talking about players like Wes Welker or Darren Sproles. All percentages are for last two weeks as of time of publishing. The ADP Draft Planner is constantly being updated as real drafts complete on myfantasyleague.com.
Let's jump right in...
Congratulations, you have a top 3 pick! Your job in the 1st round is a lot easier than those owners picking 4th through 12th. Unless your league gives six points per pass TD, you really should be looking at Arian Foster, Ray Rice or LeSean McCoy. Foster is the clear #1 RB, and we'd lean Rice at #2 in PPR formats and McCoy at #2 in standard leagues.
Standard Scoring: Draft Foster, McCoy and Rice, in that order. McCoy and Rice are a tossup, so pick your favorite.
In PPR formats, Darren Sproles is a great guy to target on the way back. He ranks #10 in overall value in PPR, and is a safe pick. Plus, he's likely to be there.
Standard Scoring: The chances of Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski being available at 2.10 are fairly slim (12%), and the chances of Tom Brady or Drew Brees slipping are even slimmer, so you're probably looking at a running back here. Either DeMarco Murray or Jamaal Charles should be available (70%), and barring Brady slipping they are your best bets anyway. If they're both gone, you have some options. You could grab the next best running back, Steven Jackson, or hope he's there in the 3rd round (likely -- 81%) and grab Matthew Stafford or Cam Newton here.
With your top two RB slots taken care of, you can shift your focus to other positions. It's possible that Stafford or Newton will be there (27%), but they actually hold less value than the WRs that should be there. Assuming Larry Fitzgerald is gone, Roddy White, Wes Welker, Julio Jones or A.J. Green should be available (80%). if not, look to go Stafford/Newton.
Standard Scoring: You can use a similar strategy, but QBs would take priority over the best available wide receiver. Still, you're likely to end up with a WR here.