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. Chad Pennington, Aaron Brooks, Trent Green, Marc Bulger, Brett Favre and Tom Brady 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 Jeff Garcia and Brad Johnson.
When to add a number 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 (offensive line concerns), Garcia (history of back problems and poor team), Favre (predominantly rushing team) or Johnson (WR turmoil and whispers of job security concerns), 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 Jake Delhomme, Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Rich Gannon, Josh McCown (although this is waning a bit) and Joey Harrington (kind of) and would do what I can to secure one of these as my #2 QB before you end up picking Tommy Maddox, David Carr or have to decipher the QB situations in San Diego, Washington, NY Giants, etc.
There might still be a couple starters sitting here, like Eddie George or Warrick Dunn, but the reason they are sitting there is because they have issues. If you can explain away those issues and like their chances, then you can get a good deal in these rounds bagging a 3rd or 4th RB. Personally I would never draft Eddie George again and Warrick Dunn is doubtful to make his way on one of my squads except in point per reception leagues. 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:
I really like DeShaun Foster here as someone who the coaches have come out and said will get more playing time this year. The Bills coaching staff has not been so explicit, indicating, "we'll see" about figuring out how to get both Henry and McGahee involved. Jackson has drawn more ire from his coach then praise and appears set for limited duty as long as Faulk can stay healthy. Foster I therefore believe has the best chance to make an impact in a limited role, and also take over for bruiser Stephen Davis. That said, I do buy into protecting your starter if the cost is not too outrageous, so if I drafted either Henry or Faulk, I give McGahee and Jackson serious consideration in these rounds.
Based on ADP, the 6th round has some nice picks here to get your 3rd WR starter and that is probably how I play that round if one of the following are there:
WR mentioned above, particularly the veterans like Rod Smith and Isaac Bruce
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 once the fantasy football hype machine (i.e. FF message boards) get into full gear. 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 Donte' Stallworth, Larry Fitzgerald, Ashley Lelie and Brandon Lloyd are good picks, ones 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 as your right out of the gate as your number 3.
No one is talking about Amani Toomer, who Eli Manning has shown in preseason to be looking his way and they've been on the same page. No one is talking about Plaxico Burress, malcontent as he is but playing for a new contract and ticket out of Pittsburgh next season. Not many people are talking about Jerry Porter who hooked up for 9 TD on only 51 catches from Rich Gannon back in 2002 as the team's number 3 receiver. My Rams "insider" tells me Isaac Bruce will be one of the biggest benefactors of the new past 5 yard no contact rule against opposing defensive backs, so I throw that out there for what it is worth.
Those are the guys I like for the 6th and 7th round if I'm going WR. Stallworth, Fitz, Lelie (not so much), Lloyd, Reggie Wayne, Deion Branch, Justin McCareins (personally, I will pass on him) 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 Stallworth as anything lower than your number 3 receiver since his ADP is middle of the 6th round. In that case, maybe you think a Muhsin Muhammad or Eddie Kennison can provide some stability to your WR3 spot if needed, and you can draft them noticeably later. Take Stallworth first, and get one of Muhammad or Kennison later. There are no rules about putting the guys you draft earliest in the starting lineup right away.
I've mentioned Kellen Winslow in the 6th a few times and here we are finally. Note the word "average" in the acronym ADP. He may very well go in the 5th. The way I play the TE position is I will take one of the top guys where they provide strong value, but not much sooner. If they go sooner then where I deem appropriate, I wait and go the sleeper route. So by the 6th I expect Gonzo gone, Heap gone and I would be willing to draft Winslow or Jeremy Shockey.
If they are gone then I wait a couple rounds to see if Alge Crumpler or Boo Williams are available. No? Then Antonio Gates is the target a round later. If someone reaches for him, 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 Larry Fitzgerald, Brandon Lloyd,
Byron Leftwich, etc. just so you can get Mike
Vanderjagt on your team? Please…
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