Utilizing the Draft Planner: Drafting from the #1-#3 Spots

Utilizing the Draft Planner: Drafting from the #1-#3 Spots

By John Paulsen (Director of Forecasting), last update Aug 16, 2013

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John was named the Most Accurate Fantasy Football Expert by FantasyPros for the 2010 and 2014 seasons, and has finished in the Top 6 in seven of the last eight years. Cumulatively, John has been the most accurate expert from 2010-17 while also winning the 2011 Fantasy Sports Trade Association award for the most accurate draft rankings. 

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Last week, I outlined a draft plan for owners picking at the end of the first round. Earlier this week, I discussed a plan for the #4-#6 spots. Today, let's look at the #1-#3 spots.

Using the ADP Draft Planner, for each round (through the 8th), I'll mention a few players 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 a standard scoring strategy as well. For PPR, I'm going to assume a starting lineup of 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR and 1 TE. If your league allows you to start three RBs, you'll want to draft a minimum of three RBs in the first five rounds. Conversely, if your league only requires one starting RB, you can focus more on the other positions.

If you want to take a look at the Full Impact Value Based Rankings as we go along, choose PPR - 4pt PaTD and enter 1-2-3-1 as the roster requirements. For the standard strategy, I'll use ESPN's standard roster requirements, which include 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE and a flex, so enter 1-2.5-2.5-1 in Full Impact. (CBS and Yahoo standard leagues both use 1-2-3-1 with no flex, so a similar strategy can be used with a bit more emphasis on receiver.) Rankings will change over time as we gain more information, but this is how I'd attack the draft at this point in training camp.

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 continue to roll in on myfantasyleague.com.

Let's do this...



I'm taking Adrian Peterson #1 overall in both standard and PPR formats. Detractors will point to the performance of 2,000-yard rushers the following year, but I'm now convinced that AP is part machine. After Peterson, at this point I would draft Jamaal Charles, Doug Martin, C.J. Spiller and Arian Foster, in that order, but that could change if Foster returned to practice. In standard, I'd go Martin, Spiller, Foster and Charles, but those players are separated by five points, so take your favorite. We'll assume Charles in PPR and Martin in standard.



Having done a number of drafts from these spots, the 2/3 turn can feel a little like no man's land if Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and Chris Johnson are off the board.

I'd feel good about Sproles or CJ?K here, and pretty good about Jackson as well, though the O-line's performance against the Bengals in the preseason is a bit worrisome. One of these three have been available around 82% of the time. Reggie Bush is another good option in PPR.

The other option is to go WR, but only 26% of the time does one of this group fall to 2.11. Larry Fitzgeraled is usually there, however.

We'll assume we get Sproles in PPR.

Standard Scoring: RBs who are not involved in the passing game (like Alfred Morris and Stevan Ridley) get a boost. Maurice Jones-Drew and Frank Gore are also 2nd round options in standard. We'll assume we get MJD.

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