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Drafting From the Top
Part 3

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

It's nearing time to close out this draft. While other owners sitting around you are paying less attention to detail, and making more trips to the fridge for another beer, and the bathroom to relieve themselves of said beer, it is time to bear down and make the most of every pick you've got. Build that depth with quality from here on out. You need to fill out your roster with backups, potentially a TE starter and finally draft a K and DEF. Here are some things to look for:


If you have a fairly deep size roster, a 3rd QB is not out of the question. But, make it worthwhile by going for upside with a young guy like Eli Manning or J.P. Losman. You don't really need 3 QB in a 12 team league, and sometimes it just complicates things when you're trying to start the right one each week, but consider it a little extra insurance in case one of your QB go down. This is especially something to consider if drafting early and there are 2-3 weeks of preseason games still on the schedule.


RB are so drained at this point the options tend to be guys who could get a chance if the starter gets injured. Many people don't believe in this but I do believe in paying for proper insurance backing up your starter (handcuffing), which is why I drafted Marion Barber late in the Grange Masters league a month ago since I took Julius Jones in the 1st round.

So, I would be taking Chester Taylor to insure Jamal Lewis, Najeh Davenport to insure Ahman Green, and Dominic Rhodes to insure Edgerrin James, etc. Priest Holmes’s backup as we mentioned earlier came at a somewhat higher price and shouldn’t be available this late. If he is, then whether you have Priest or not take Larry Johnson. Michael Turner backs up LaDainian Tomlinson and looked good in early preseason action against Green Bay.

It never hurts to have depth at RB, so I will take backups at the right value before other teams handcuff their stars. Players I like here are Ryan Moats, Derrick Blaylock, and Brandon Jacobs. Chris Perry is also getting good early reviews from the media, but I have soured on him somewhat since he got drafted last year.


I've said it before and I'll say it again. Draft for upside, especially at WR and especially this late in the draft. Of what possible use could Marty Booker be to your team, or Jerome Pathon, Bobby Engram or Ricky Proehl? The upside potential has been here already but packed up and left town long ago.

Do your research and keep an eye out for opportunity for a young guy to take over an injured, aging, or just plain brutal starting WR crew for their respective team. Perhaps a former relatively highly touted player who has fallen off the radar in recent years, but should still have some upside potential given their situation (think Muhsin Muhammad’s performance a year ago). There are plenty of guys that fit the bill which you can get at various spots in the draft, all post-10th. Here is who I like and here's hoping one or more of them are this year's Michael Clayton and Nate Burleson, both 10th+ round draftees the year before:

  • Justin McCareins
  • Antonio Bryant
  • Joey Galloway
  • Reggie Williams
  • Marcus Robinson
  • Ronald Curry
  • Tyrone Calico
  • Kevin Curtis
  • Mark Clayton


If you're going TE late then there are some decent sleeper picks available. Antonio Gates was drafted about the 10th round last year. It will be tough to duplicate that value pick this year, but let’s look at some choices:

  • Chris Cooley
  • Jermaine Wiggins
  • Ben Watson
  • L.J. Smith
  • Jerramy Stevens (although I’ve fallen for this before)

Do not think that for a position like TE, which is a low value position (and the same applies to K and DEF), that you absolutely must have a backup on your roster at all times. If your league has any kind of reasonable free agent system where you can pick up 2 or more players per week, it isn't necessary to worry about covering byes for your TE, K or DEF during the draft.

This especially applies to a relatively small roster, such as 8-9 starters but only 5-6 bench spots. You're better off filling the backup spots at RB, WR and QB and just inserting a bye week replacement as you need it.


You know how I feel about kickers. I'd list the ones I like but since I care little for them I don't even focus on the names too much. Instead look for someone who benefits from a combination of a high powered or potentially high powered offense (Jeff Wilkins, Rams), a strong defense to give the offense a short field and lot of opportunities (Matt Stover, Ravens), a big leg (Jason Elam, Broncos), job security (Adam Vinatieri, Patriots) and plays in a dome or warm climate (John Carney, Saints). And most of all is someone who you won't have to draft until the final 1-2 rounds of the draft.


Defenses are tougher to choose from because you know they can vary in points scored, unlike kickers do very much, but it is just extremely difficult figuring out which ones will do well and which ones will flop. And honestly I don't spend a lot of time researching team defenses since most of my leagues use individual defensive players (IDP).

Check the early matchups to see who is playing a team with a young, inexperienced or mistake-prone offense, particularly the QB (49ers, Bears). Look for a team with a strong offense that is going to force their opponent into a one-dimensional, come from behind mode. Look for a defense with a strong DL first and foremost. Everything starts at the line. A team can have the best corners in the league but with no pressure up front on the QB the corners aren't going to be able to defend the receivers forever.

Don't be too concerned about drafting a DEF that you think will last all year for you, because chances are they won't. Keep you wits about you early in the season because there is usually a DEF which really shines the first week or two available on waivers that you want to jump on.


Wow, never when I started this did I expect it to go this long. Remember this is only a guide. Stay flexible as you draft. Do not lock into certain positions in advance of each pick, but it doesn't hurt to have a plan or expectation going in. Happy Drafting!