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Drafting From the Top
Part 2

Rds 1-5 | Rds 6-10 | Rds 11-End
Rounds 6-10

Since the ADP varies more at this point in the draft than earlier on, and filling in your starters and key backups takes more priority before finally finishing off the roster, this and subsequent sections apply equally whether drafting from the early, middle or late spots in the draft order.

The first 5 rounds have been tough with lots to think about, but this isn't the time to relax yet. We are right in the heart of the draft here. Following the recommendations above, you probably have a lineup of 3 RB and 2 WR or slightly different with 1 QB or 1 TE in place of a RB and/or WR. It is tougher to say who exactly will be available in these rounds as drafts vary quite a bit from one to the next. As a general guide though, we want the current lineup after 5 picks to turn into the following after 10 picks:

1-2 QB, 3-4 RB, 4 WR, 0-1 TE, 0 K and 0 DEF/ST

Here are some general guidelines to get us there:


If you've waited this long to get a QB, then you've done well and should be rewarded accordingly. Brett Favre, Tom Brady, Matt Hasselbeck, Kerry Collins, Jake Delhomme and Jake Plummer can all make acceptable starters who also aren't in danger of losing their starting jobs except due to injury. I believe that is 12 different QB we've mentioned so far so we've managed to fill the starting spot for every team in this league and everyone is happy. And there are still a few others who could easily be regular fantasy starters at QB, like Aaron Brooks, Chad Pennington, Carson Palmer and Drew Brees. Brooks should really be ranked high amongst the prior group, but if mental mistakes continue to haunt him he could be in some danger of losing his job.

When to add a #2 QB to your squad will be related to when you grabbed the first one. If you have Manning or Culpepper, one of the benefits of taking them is you should be able to wait longer for the backup. If you waited to get your starter and you have a guy like Bulger, Vick, or Pennington (injury concerns), Delhomme (predominantly rushing team), Brooks or Plummer (erratic), then you should want to take your backup sooner.

There are some nice ones here too. In fact, it would seem to me there is more of a drop-off at the backup QB spots than the starters. I like Byron Leftwich, Brian Griese and Kurt Warner (somewhat) and would do what I can to secure one of the extra QB above, or one of these guys, as my #2 QB before you end up picking Kyle Boller, Patrick Ramsey, Drew Bledsoe or have to rely on the shaky QB situations in Detroit or Miami.


There might still be a couple starters sitting here, like one of Thomas Jones/Cedric Benson, Lee Suggs/Reuben Droughns, or Chris Brown/Travis Henry, but the reason they are sitting there is because we can’t decipher who the true starter is short term (beginning of the season), much less medium term (end of the season). If you can figure out each team’s depth chart and like the player’s chances, then you can get a good deal in these rounds bagging a 3rd or 4th RB. Personally I would not draft Chris Brown or Reuben Droughns, and Thomas Jones is unlikely to make it on my roster depending on the status of Cedric Benson’s continued holdout. That pretty much sums up how I see these depth charts shaking out this season, but preferably I’ll just try to steer clear of all 6 of these guys.

As mentioned before I probably already have 3 RB so these guys don't do much for me. It is better to draft for upside in this instance and/or pay the price of insurance if you drafted a RB early who has a high profile backup itching for playing time:

Go For The Upside:
Larry Johnson
Travis Henry
Mewelde Moore
T.J. Duckett
Marshall Faulk
Jerome Bettis
Eric Shelton
Ricky Williams

Larry Johnson is no ordinary backup because of his situation and the gaudy numbers he put up in the Kansas City system a year ago. He may very well have been taken in the first 5 rounds, and not necessarily by the Priest Holmes owner. If you did draft Priest Holmes at the top of the 1st, consider spending a 5th round pick on Johnson as insurance. I don’t think you necessarily have to draft Johnson, because that 5th round pick is a pretty high selection to spend on a backup, and you wouldn’t have drafted Holmes if you didn’t think he could return to glory – right? Insurance is nice, but better to go with no insurance if the cost is too prohibitive. The further Johnson falls the lower the cost of insurance, and the more incentive there is to jump on it and lock up that KC running game all season.

I liked the RB choices in this section a lot better in '04 than this year. That said, Mewelde Moore is intriguing because I really liked what I saw from him last year when forced into duty, and I have no faith in Michael Bennett being a heavily used feature back. I do recommend drafting Eric Shelton to backup DeShaun Foster given the Panthers’ run-first philosophy and Foster’s injury history, plus the cost of Shelton is a 9th to 10th round pick. Personally, I pass on Ricky Williams every time this year. I don’t need that dead weight on my roster for the first 4 games this season, with a “who knows?” expectation after that.


Based on ADP, the late 6th round and early 7th round has some nice picks here to get your 3rd WR starter and that is probably how I would play these rounds if one of the following are there:

7th Round Options?
Jimmy Smith
Larry Fitzgerald
Anquan Boldin
Drew Bennett
Laveranues Coles
Donald Driver
Jerry Porter
Chris Chambers
Isaac Bruce
Deion Branch
Eric Moulds
Ashley Lelie
Derrick Mason
Muhsin Muhammad

WR is definitely a position where I like to draft for upside, because I know there will always be a decent number of guys "breakout", both right off the bat and later in the season, with some of them coming off the waiver wire. However, I need to caution you on not going too nuts here on the upside choices which can happen courtesy of the fantasy football hype machine (i.e. FF message boards). Think about drafting 3 quality guys to fill your starter spots, and then wait on your number 4 and number 5 WR roster spots for the young, never done anything but we're expecting big things if the moons align right, upside choices.

What that means is guys like Lee Evans, Charles Rogers, Santana Moss, Donte’ Stallworth and Brandon Lloyd are good picks (second year mentioning Stallworth and Lloyd in this group); picks I have no problem with you making, but they are much more attractive occupying your number 4 and number 5 WR spots instead of counting on them out of the gate as your number 3.

Not a lot of people get excited about Rod Smith, due to his age and expectation of his production falling off soon, but the guy is a steady performer that will do wonders in a number 3 WR spot until such time as you track down a breakout candidate, and know you have one, to start every week in his place. Isaac Bruce falls into this category too, as does Jimmy Smith. Even though it is more exciting to draft the younger guys Lelie and Reggie Williams in hopes that they establish themselves as the clear #1 WR on their respective teams, remember Smith and Smith still hold down that spot on the depth chart, and are not going to give it up very easily.

Those are the guys I like for the 6th and 7th round if I'm going WR. Branch, Evans, Rogers, Lloyd, Stallworth, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Justin McCareins, Keary Colbert-Rod Gardner and similar crew of receivers you are better off having a little deeper on your roster. Remember drafting is like a chess game though. Think through your moves. It might not be possible to get Deion Branch as anything lower than your number 3 receiver since his ADP is middle of the 6th round. In that case, maybe you think Rod Smith or Eddie Kennison can provide some stability to your WR3 spot if needed, and you can draft them noticeably later. Take Branch first, and get one of Rod Smith or Kennison later. There are no rules about putting the guys you draft earliest in the starting lineup right away.

Rod Smith is a nice value pick currently going in the late 8th round. Some of these sleeper selections at WR mentioned are appropriately going later, in the 9th and 10th rounds.


I will take one of the top TE where they provide strong value, but not much sooner. If they go sooner than where I deem appropriate, I wait and go the sleeper route. I expect Gonzo and Gates to be gone, and likely Witten. Therefore, Jeremy Shockey and Alge Crumpler become the targets for the 6th round.

If they are gone then I wait a round or two to see if Dallas Clark is available. No? Then there are a number of upside choices falling somewhat later . If I missed on Clark, then I'm likely heading out of the 10th round with no TE.

K and DEF

Never will I be the first team to pull a K or a DEF off the board. Never will I be one of the first 6 teams (half the league) and often 9-10 teams (over three quarters) to draft a K or DEF.

Think big picture and hear me out. The K are so similar to one another and the DEF are so unpredictable that it just doesn't pay to jump on them early, and yes, before the 10th round is early. Look at the other players you are passing on at this point. Very good looking upside players like Charles Rogers, Mewelde Moore, Lee Evans, etc. just so you can get Mike Vanderjagt on your team? Trust me, don’t do it.

I know some of you are thinking, yeah, but my league scores a lot, a lot, a LOT of points for the defense. Shouldn't I draft the Ravens to make sure I get a good one? No doubt I think the Baltimore Ravens have a great defense and are more than justified as the number 1 DEF off the board. However, by the time I see a scoring system where I say to myself, all right, maybe they are worth a 7th or 8th round pick then invariably some jackass is drafting them in the 4th or 5th of that league. Crazy, but true.

Next Up: Rounds 11 - End