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The New Upside-Down Draft


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The upside down draft, as popularized on FBGs by Matt Waldman (but by no means strictly attributed to him), encourages drafters to eschew early selections of RBs after the first few studs are off the board. Instead, the strategy advocates targeting 3 top WRs, then getting a solid QB and a top TE (this used to be possible in the 5th... that was Gates/Witten territory), thus WR-WR-WR, QB, TE, and then pile on a bunch of lottery ticket RBs in the mid rounds hoping that some Benjarvis Green-Ellis or Cedric Benson or Fred Jackson type will pan out into a reliable, if not stud, RB and walk you straight to the championship.

In light of:(1) the changing NFL, (2) the scarcity of decent RBs, and (3) the abundance of Quality WRs, I thought it time to revise this strategy.

As a preliminary note, IMO there are ONLY the following non-QB studs in this year's draft: 3 RBs - Foster/McCoy/Rice, 1 WR - CJ, and 2 TEs - G&G. Outside of that, to me there isn't a whole lot of difference between, say, Forte & Lynch vs. Stewart, Redman, and McGahee several rounds later. I just don't see the value in RBs ranked 4 through about 15. Similarly, After Calvin, there are several qualty WRs (although none at his level), but they extend very deep. What's the difference between Andre or Julio (both borderline top 5), or way down the list the upside of someone like Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, or Stevie Johnson?

For these reasons, I don't think it's necessary to go WR-WR-WR, because there are so many quality WRs available in the 4th through 7th round.

Illustrations: Assuming you DON'T have a top 4 pick, i.e. you can't get Foster/McCoy/Rice/Calvin, this is my proposed upside down draft:

[*]This strategy is principled on getting one of (IMO) the five stud QBs and one of the two stud TEs.

[*]Ideally you take either Rodgers or Brady in the first round, and as it snakes back to you in the second, either Gronk or Graham if they remain on the board.

[*]As an alternative, if you have a top 4 pick, you would simply take the RB/WR stud, and then aim for one of Gronk or Graham if available in the 2nd, and then one of the other top QBs (Brees/Cam/Stafford) in the 3rd.

[*]After round two, you look look for quality at WR, and quantity at RB.

[*]Here are two mocks from Mid-first (#5/12) and Late-first (#11/12)

[*]Team 1: Rodgers, Gronk, Doug Martin, Dem.Thomas, Harvin, B.Lloyd, J.Stew, Denarius Moore, Jaquiz Rodgers, Greg Little, Shane Vereen.

[*]Team 2: Brady, Gronk, Redman, Dez, Dem.Thomas, Jahvid Best, M.Bush, Ingram, Titus Young, DHB, Little, Vareen.

With this strategy, I'd say it's fairly easy to pile on a ton of quality WRs in the mid rounds and add a few late round upside guys like Denarius, Titus, and Little, but it's much harder to grab decent RBs. There just aren't that many. As a result, adding RBs during the season via waivers and trades is crucial, but it's also probably the easiest position to do so as guys go down and new RBs emerge.

Another advantage is that you can just keep the best available RBs and WRs from rounds 3 all the way past the 10th, at which point you'll need to look for a very cheap backup QB (Freeman, Palmer, Flacco, Locker, etc.) and a cheap TE if you carry one (Greshem, cook, Tamme, Rudolph).

As a result, with either of these teams, you end up with

QB: Rodgers/Brady

RB: 5-6 lotto tickets

WR: 6 'value' studs, IMO guys like Harvin, Britt, DT, Austin, Maclin, Smith, Colston, Stevie, Desean, A.Brown, Decker, and Lloyd, plus high upside guys like Greg Little and Denarius Moore who are around a bit later.

TE: Gronk or Graham.

OR if you have a top 4 pick:

QB: Stafford/Cam

RB: Rice, plus 4-5 lotto tickets

WR: 6 value studs as mentioned above

TE: Hopefully Gronk or Graham, but it's less likely that one of them makes it back to the end of the 2nd round.

Lotto ticket RBs include: Martin, Bradshaw, Beanie, BJGE, Best, Stewart, Ingram, Redman, McGahee, D.Brown, Ridley, Hunter, Rodgers, Vereen. I particularly like Redman, McGahee, and Brown because all three figure to be solid starters and not as much committee backs.

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While I agree there are several QBs who will flirt with 4,500-5,000 yards and 30 TDs (or the equivilent in fantasy points for rushing QBs) - Stafford, Cam, Vick, Eli, Romo, possibly Ryan, IMO there are only two QBs who look likely to crack 5,000 yards and 40 TDs.

Being light on RBs is part of the original strategy - every year there are mid round guys that turn out to be solid starters, the point is to grab several and hope. In any case, it just seems like a waste to spend 2nd/3rd/4th round picks on RBs with major issues CJ, Richardson, MJD, Murray, DMC, AP, Forte, Charles, and Lycnh all seem WAY over valued to me.

ETA - you trainwreck GIF is pretty rude, considering I took the time to write this, and supposedly as a scientist I figured you would have a more articulate and researched way to express the dangers of the strategy, rather than begin the thread with a dismissive and rude animation. Nonetheless, I appreciate the feedback.

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QBs are deep but remember that if you go with a QB by committee approach, you'll need to guess which one is the best to start every week. There's something to be said about having guaranteed production with a stud.

More and more I'm loving taking either Graham or Gronk in the first two rounds. The potential value gap between them and other tight ends is frightening.

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I've been a huge fan of upside down drafting the past few years, but this season i'm so confused on what to do! Every day I feel different. One day I'm saying "yep, no doubt about it, I'm taking Rodgers or Brady in the first, gotta have that super stud QB"....then 4 hours later I'm like "nah, i really need to get as many solid RBs as I can, so I need to go RB/RB, then just wait for the mid rounds to grab romo/rivers/eli/"(scared of Vick and Peyton)....or I sometimes I say "screw it, just go with what my VBD list says for the first 3 rounds and adjust it to ADP"....haven't been this torn over a draft strategy in a long time

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This year in redraft, I'm going back to the traditional method. I'm locking up two RB's in the first two rounds (unless I happen to be able to get Calvin or Rodgers in the 5th or 6th spot, I'd take Foster, McCoy, Rice, and Matthews ahead of either though) and taking care of everything else later.

Following that strategy, I ended up with the following in a mock (in a PPR league, 2rb, 3wr, 1 flex)...

QB - Philip Rivers (5th), Joe Flacco (12th)

RB - Ryan Matthews (1st), Demarco Murray (2nd), BJGE (6th), Felix Jones (10th), Rashad Jennings (15th)

WR - Greg Jennings (3rd), Marques Colston (4th), Sidney Rice (8th), Mike Williams (9th), Randy Moss (11th), Randall Cobb (13th), Emmanuel Sanders (16th)

TE - Fred Davis (7th), Kyle Rudolph (14th)

I feel pretty good about the team's quality, although I would have liked another mid-round RB. Beyond round 7-8 though, I'm not in love with the options available, which is why I handcuffed Murray (something I rarely do, but I feel like Murray + Felix will guarantee one good starter every week).

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This year in redraft, I'm going back to the traditional method. I'm locking up two RB's in the first two rounds (unless I happen to be able to get Calvin or Rodgers in the 5th or 6th spot, I'd take Foster, McCoy, Rice, and Matthews ahead of either though) and taking care of everything else later.Following that strategy, I ended up with the following in a mock (in a PPR league, 2rb, 3wr, 1 flex)...QB - Philip Rivers (5th), Joe Flacco (12th)RB - Ryan Matthews (1st), Demarco Murray (2nd), BJGE (6th), Felix Jones (10th), Rashad Jennings (15th)WR - Greg Jennings (3rd), Marques Colston (4th), Sidney Rice (8th), Mike Williams (9th), Randy Moss (11th), Randall Cobb (13th), Emmanuel Sanders (16th)TE - Fred Davis (7th), Kyle Rudolph (14th)I feel pretty good about the team's quality, although I would have liked another mid-round RB. Beyond round 7-8 though, I'm not in love with the options available, which is why I handcuffed Murray (something I rarely do, but I feel like Murray + Felix will guarantee one good starter every week).

IMO, what you've given up to pursue early round RBs is: your QBs are middling, possibly below average if Rivers continues to play poorly given that his WR group is worse), admittiedly your RBs are solid, but then at WR you have an overvalued guy in Jennings, a decent value in Colston (but I don't love him in the 4th), and then serious problems at WR 3 and 4, and then average TEs. I think the sweet spots in this year's draft are top 5-6 QBs, top 2 TEs, and then middle WRs. This strategy has you missing on all of those.
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I've been a huge fan of upside down drafting the past few years, but this season i'm so confused on what to do! Every day I feel different. One day I'm saying "yep, no doubt about it, I'm taking Rodgers or Brady in the first, gotta have that super stud QB"....then 4 hours later I'm like "nah, i really need to get as many solid RBs as I can, so I need to go RB/RB, then just wait for the mid rounds to grab romo/rivers/eli/"(scared of Vick and Peyton)....or I sometimes I say "screw it, just go with what my VBD list says for the first 3 rounds and adjust it to ADP"....haven't been this torn over a draft strategy in a long time

I am in the same boat picking 11th out of 14th. I always have a set approach going into the draft but the last two years have failed me. I have made the playoffs in 3/4 years in my league with one championship so I always end up picking near the end. I may just go in a completely different direction this year and see what happens.
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Interesting strategy but may not be suitable for my 14 team league that starts 3 RBs, or is it?

Probably not, but how many WRs do you start? With that many teams and starters at RBs, they become much more important. It's typically easy enough to shuffle two starters each week in a 12 team league, but 14 is much harder on RBs.
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Interesting strategy but may not be suitable for my 14 team league that starts 3 RBs, or is it?

Probably not, but how many WRs do you start? With that many teams and starters at RBs, they become much more important. It's typically easy enough to shuffle two starters each week in a 12 team league, but 14 is much harder on RBs.
3 WR or TE. I'm probably going to be picking from McFadden, CJ, Lynch, or Richardson as my RB1, grabbing a Forte/Charles in round 2, and going WR in rounds 3 and 4.The teams that take a QB in round one in my league almost always end up sucking (only 4 points for passing TD). A perfect example is last year's championship game had Dalton vs Carson Palmer as QBs.
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also with TE, i'm 95% sure that i'm just going to concede until the 13th round and grab someone like Celek, Cook, Daniels, Keller, Olsen,...I still haven't brought myself to drafting a TE in the early 2nd round, and I hate the value of where guys like Gates, Witten, Finely, Davis, Davis are being drafted...Hernandez could be better than those 5 guys, and probably represents the best value out of all TE's, but you prob still need to draft him within the first 5 rounds, and there will most likely be someone who is willing to reach a little higher than his ADP to get him....

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Silva posted his top 150 a few days ago and had a few interesting points.

1) No QBs in the 1st 2 rounds. QB is deep. Don't waste the pick. Although he has 7 guys going in the 3rd and 4th round. If you get Vick, Romo, or one of the OP's 5 you are ok. Vick's ADP is 4.9 ATM which is a steal.

2) Both Gronk and Graham in the 1st. TEs are shallow. A genuine advantage to grab one of them. This is similar to the OP.

3) WRs are much deeper than RB. Although this has little impact in his rankings, I think.

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With this strategy, I'd say it's fairly easy to pile on a ton of quality WRs in the mid rounds and add a few late round upside guys like Denarius, Titus, and Little, but it's much harder to grab decent RBs. There just aren't that many. As a result, adding RBs during the season via waivers and trades is crucial, but it's also probably the easiest position to do so as guys go down and new RBs emerge.

...

Lotto ticket RBs include: Martin, Bradshaw, Beanie, BJGE, Best, Stewart, Ingram, Redman, McGahee, D.Brown, Ridley, Hunter, Rodgers, Vereen. I particularly like Redman, McGahee, and Brown because all three figure to be solid starters and not as much committee backs.

This sounds great in theory, but is entirely boom or bust. Other people are competing for those breakout RBs as well. And even if some hit, you are probably lagging significantly at the RB position. Look at Waldman's article from last year: http://subscribers.footballguys.com/2011/11waldman_gutcheck226.php

Team 11 doesn't take a RB until round 5, and then promptly selects Mark Ingram. There are actually a couple of hits on that team. But in my standard scoring system, those RBs grade out as #15, #25, #27, #43, #67, DNP, DNP by year-end. Calvin and Brees were huge hits, but Dallas Clark was the TE. How does that team look if you take Andre Johnson, who went #6 overall in that draft, instead of Calvin last year?

So if you are trying to maximize your point ceiling only, then this strategy may get you there (with a ton of risk) but probably not the best if you are just trying to guarantee yourself a playoff spot.

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With this strategy, I'd say it's fairly easy to pile on a ton of quality WRs in the mid rounds and add a few late round upside guys like Denarius, Titus, and Little, but it's much harder to grab decent RBs. There just aren't that many. As a result, adding RBs during the season via waivers and trades is crucial, but it's also probably the easiest position to do so as guys go down and new RBs emerge.

...

Lotto ticket RBs include: Martin, Bradshaw, Beanie, BJGE, Best, Stewart, Ingram, Redman, McGahee, D.Brown, Ridley, Hunter, Rodgers, Vereen. I particularly like Redman, McGahee, and Brown because all three figure to be solid starters and not as much committee backs.

This sounds great in theory, but is entirely boom or bust. Other people are competing for those breakout RBs as well. And even if some hit, you are probably lagging significantly at the RB position. Look at Waldman's article from last year: http://subscribers.footballguys.com/2011/11waldman_gutcheck226.php

Team 11 doesn't take a RB until round 5, and then promptly selects Mark Ingram. There are actually a couple of hits on that team. But in my standard scoring system, those RBs grade out as #15, #25, #27, #43, #67, DNP, DNP by year-end. Calvin and Brees were huge hits, but Dallas Clark was the TE. How does that team look if you take Andre Johnson, who went #6 overall in that draft, instead of Calvin last year?

So if you are trying to maximize your point ceiling only, then this strategy may get you there (with a ton of risk) but probably not the best if you are just trying to guarantee yourself a playoff spot.

Looking back on that illustrates the boom-bust nature of these lotto ticket RBs. The AJ/Calvin point is a risk in any draft, using any strategy - yes Calvin was awesome, and AJ got hurt, but it could've been the other way around. Point being, the injury there isn't relevant to whether this is a decent strategy.

However, for the RBs, he DID hit on a number of guys: Stewart, Lynch, Wells, M.Bush, McGahee.

Of course, he also had a huge number of misses, which is expected: Ingram, Grant, Felix, D.Thomas, Addai.

I think that RB risk is a risk I can live with - I don't know that you are much more secure by targetting early round RBs, as this year's borderline 1st/2nd round RBs through about the 4th or 5th all have seemingly larger risk factors than similarly drafted RBs in previous years.

In exchange for the risk you take on at RB, you gain certainty and studs at QB, TE, and WR.

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With this strategy, I'd say it's fairly easy to pile on a ton of quality WRs in the mid rounds and add a few late round upside guys like Denarius, Titus, and Little, but it's much harder to grab decent RBs. There just aren't that many. As a result, adding RBs during the season via waivers and trades is crucial, but it's also probably the easiest position to do so as guys go down and new RBs emerge.

...

Lotto ticket RBs include: Martin, Bradshaw, Beanie, BJGE, Best, Stewart, Ingram, Redman, McGahee, D.Brown, Ridley, Hunter, Rodgers, Vereen. I particularly like Redman, McGahee, and Brown because all three figure to be solid starters and not as much committee backs.

This sounds great in theory, but is entirely boom or bust. Other people are competing for those breakout RBs as well. And even if some hit, you are probably lagging significantly at the RB position. Look at Waldman's article from last year: http://subscribers.footballguys.com/2011/11waldman_gutcheck226.php

Team 11 doesn't take a RB until round 5, and then promptly selects Mark Ingram. There are actually a couple of hits on that team. But in my standard scoring system, those RBs grade out as #15, #25, #27, #43, #67, DNP, DNP by year-end. Calvin and Brees were huge hits, but Dallas Clark was the TE. How does that team look if you take Andre Johnson, who went #6 overall in that draft, instead of Calvin last year?

So if you are trying to maximize your point ceiling only, then this strategy may get you there (with a ton of risk) but probably not the best if you are just trying to guarantee yourself a playoff spot.

For example, in one of my leagues last year (12 team 0.5ppr league picking 7th) I went Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Antonio Gates with my first 3 picks...then i drafted Blount, Ingram, Schaub, Benson, BJG in rounds 4,5,6,7,8....needless to say, I missed the playoffs...yea, Johnson, Schaub and Gates all had injuries last year, but the 3 headed monster of Blount, Ingram and Benson sucked...Benson and BJG were pretty decent for a 7th and 8th round picks, but investing a 4th and a 5th Blount and Ingram killed me...

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BB League going on over in the mock draft forums, 14 team league and we incorporated a similar strategy. QB-2RB-3WR-TE PPR...TE get 2PPR/1.5PPR

1.09 QB Tom Brady

2.06 TE Antonio Gates

3.09 WR Brandon Marshall

4.06 WR Steve Smith

5.09 WR DeSean Jackson

6.06 RB CJ Spiller

7.09 RB David Wilson

8.06 RB Mark Ingram

9.09 RB Ryan Williams

10.06WR Titus Young

A couple of backs that slipped away that we were mighty interested in included Ridley and Hillis in KC. We still like where we are at right now. The first 4 picks are all anchors, DJax has a lot of upside and a fat contract he has to live up to. At RB we are mixing and matching like everyone else. Spiller, Wilson, and Ingram could all end up getting a lot of touches so we are taking guys that could be the lead dog if pressed into action more than just sharing the RBBC.

I would love to see what Matt has to say about this.

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This is an interesting topic and to me. I strongly agree that outside of Calvin, it doesn't make too much sense to take a WR early. The depth at WR this year is incredible. You can get a legit #1 in the 3rd round and there are some big-time talents going in the 4th-6th. I also like some of the guys going later like Garcon, Wayne, Collie, DHB, etc.

In terms of RB vs. TE/QB in the first w rounds, it comes down to 2 big factors:

1. Specific league scoring/roster:

-1 pt. per 20 passing vs. 1 pt. per 25 actually makes a pretty big difference as does 4 pt. vs. 6 pt. for passing TDs. I have a much harder time making the #s work in favor of early round QB in 1 pt. per 25. Especially since there are a few guys at QB I really like in the mid-rounds (Matt Ryan) who I think will come relatively close to the top guys (I think Ryan ends up at about 4400, 33 TDs).

-In terms of roster, 2/2/1 Flex vs. 2/3 in terms of RB/WR makes a pretty big difference. The ability to start a 3rd RB is big. I also think the smaller the league, the more a QB or TE makes sense, whereas the larger the league, the more it makes sense to go RB. Same with total # of starters. Fewer starters adds value to QB/TE. More starters, like if you start 2/3/and a flex or two, it makes more sense to go WR/RB.

2. Your view on "regression" and how repeatable last year's results will be:

-No matter how you slice it, last year's top 5 QBs and top 2 TEs had historic, record breaking seasons. If you buy into the idea that they could be repeated (or at least almost repeated, i.e. 5,000 yards 38+ TDs out of Brady/Brees/Rodgers/Stafford or 90-1200-10 out of one of the TEs), then this strategy has to be strongly considered.

-If you project the top QBs based more off of an average of their last 3 years, then there's just not enough separation with the depth this year. For example, if you're looking at Brady over a longer term, its more reasonable to project something like 4400 yards, 35 TDs (which would be the 3rd best season of his long career). Still very good, but not elite enough to justify round 1.

-With the TEs, they had the 2 best seasons for TEs ever. Both are young and very talented, there is definitely a strong case to be made that they can come close to repeating. Maybe even room for upside? On the other hand, if they come back to earth a little bit and put up very good 80-1000-9 type seasons, your strategy falls apart as you just aren't getting enough separation there from guys like Witten who are likely to put up pretty close to those numbers. Again, are you comfortable needing a historic season for a guy to justify his draft position? If not, a RB like Matthews or DMC will provide similar VBD with just a normal, good starting RB type season.

Personally, it'll come down to a bit of a gut feeling come draft day. My leagues aren't quite so QB favorable in scoring, so I'll probably wait. I tend to think those 5000 yard passers should have better defenses which will lead to more normal passing results. Combined with my relatively high projections for Ryan, Peyton M., Vick, etc. I'll probably wait on QB and make sure I have at least one top RB.

As far as the TEs, there are certain RBs I would probably take over them in the 2nd if the RBs look good in preseason (Charles, Richardson, Matthews, maybe DMC, maybe CJ2k) and one of them is available. There are others I probably don't trust enough and would instead lean towards the TE (Murray, Lynch). Just depends on which guys are available. I do think TE makes a ton of sense in round 2, but its not my top choice.

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This year in redraft, I'm going back to the traditional method. I'm locking up two RB's in the first two rounds (unless I happen to be able to get Calvin or Rodgers in the 5th or 6th spot, I'd take Foster, McCoy, Rice, and Matthews ahead of either though) and taking care of everything else later.Following that strategy, I ended up with the following in a mock (in a PPR league, 2rb, 3wr, 1 flex)...QB - Philip Rivers (5th), Joe Flacco (12th)RB - Ryan Matthews (1st), Demarco Murray (2nd), BJGE (6th), Felix Jones (10th), Rashad Jennings (15th)WR - Greg Jennings (3rd), Marques Colston (4th), Sidney Rice (8th), Mike Williams (9th), Randy Moss (11th), Randall Cobb (13th), Emmanuel Sanders (16th)TE - Fred Davis (7th), Kyle Rudolph (14th)I feel pretty good about the team's quality, although I would have liked another mid-round RB. Beyond round 7-8 though, I'm not in love with the options available, which is why I handcuffed Murray (something I rarely do, but I feel like Murray + Felix will guarantee one good starter every week).

IMO, what you've given up to pursue early round RBs is: your QBs are middling, possibly below average if Rivers continues to play poorly given that his WR group is worse), admittiedly your RBs are solid, but then at WR you have an overvalued guy in Jennings, a decent value in Colston (but I don't love him in the 4th), and then serious problems at WR 3 and 4, and then average TEs. I think the sweet spots in this year's draft are top 5-6 QBs, top 2 TEs, and then middle WRs. This strategy has you missing on all of those.
Fair enough, but I would hardly consider rivers to be "middling", and Jennings and colston happened to be my favorite options at those spots. You could easily pick other wr options that you are more interested in at those picks. Plus, with your strategy, you're taking receivers around the same spots anyway... So its really just a matter of the players you like at that point. The point is that by getting two top running backs early, you're going to have a head start on the rest of the league who doesn't. You may see Sidney, mwtb, moss, Cobb, etc. as a concern at wr3, but I'd much rather have a concern at that spot, with 5 options to get a breakout from, than hoping for two different low level rb options to pan out. Different strategies for different people I suppose, but I think passing up on early running backs is a huge mistake this year.
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In terms of mock/ideal draft in 12 team PPR mid-round, something like:

1st-CJ2k

2nd-Richardson

3rd-Cruz

4th-Dem. Thomas

5th-Britt

6th-Matt Ryan

7th-Garcon

8th-Donald Brown

9th-Jermaine Gresham

Something like that...

Ryan

Johnson, Richardson, Brown

Cruz, Thomas, Britt, Garcon

Gresham

Another thing in favor of a strategy like this that waits on QB/TE is there are some pretty attractive backup options late. You can grab a guy like Tamme, Celek, Fleener, Cook as your backup relatively late or Carson Palmer, Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman, Andrew Luck, etc. to increase your chances of getting at least solid production.

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QBs are deep but remember that if you go with a QB by committee approach, you'll need to guess which one is the best to start every week. There's something to be said about having guaranteed production with a stud.

More and more I'm loving taking either Graham or Gronk in the first two rounds. The potential value gap between them and other tight ends is frightening.

You won't have to decide each week. Even the 'stud' QB pool is deep. You can get a 'stud' at like QB8 this season.
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QBs are deep but remember that if you go with a QB by committee approach, you'll need to guess which one is the best to start every week. There's something to be said about having guaranteed production with a stud.

More and more I'm loving taking either Graham or Gronk in the first two rounds. The potential value gap between them and other tight ends is frightening.

You won't have to decide each week. Even the 'stud' QB pool is deep. You can get a 'stud' at like QB8 this season.
That's the thing that has me leaning towards waiting.

Eli and Phil Rivers are going in the 6th round. Peyton and Matt Ryan in the 7th.

You can get proven guys like Rothlisberger, Schaub, Cutler, Palmer, etc. as backups in round 8-10.

Those top guys are great, but the 2 Mannings, Rivers and Ryan are QBs8 thru 11 right now and they aren't exactly scrubs who you need to play matchups with.

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This is an interesting topic and to me. I strongly agree that outside of Calvin, it doesn't make too much sense to take a WR early. The depth at WR this year is incredible. You can get a legit #1 in the 3rd round and there are some big-time talents going in the 4th-6th. I also like some of the guys going later like Garcon, Wayne, Collie, DHB, etc.

In terms of RB vs. TE/QB in the first w rounds, it comes down to 2 big factors:

1. Specific league scoring/roster:

-1 pt. per 20 passing vs. 1 pt. per 25 actually makes a pretty big difference as does 4 pt. vs. 6 pt. for passing TDs. I have a much harder time making the #s work in favor of early round QB in 1 pt. per 25. Especially since there are a few guys at QB I really like in the mid-rounds (Matt Ryan) who I think will come relatively close to the top guys (I think Ryan ends up at about 4400, 33 TDs).

-In terms of roster, 2/2/1 Flex vs. 2/3 in terms of RB/WR makes a pretty big difference. The ability to start a 3rd RB is big. I also think the smaller the league, the more a QB or TE makes sense, whereas the larger the league, the more it makes sense to go RB. Same with total # of starters. Fewer starters adds value to QB/TE. More starters, like if you start 2/3/and a flex or two, it makes more sense to go WR/RB.

2. Your view on "regression" and how repeatable last year's results will be:

-No matter how you slice it, last year's top 5 QBs and top 2 TEs had historic, record breaking seasons. If you buy into the idea that they could be repeated (or at least almost repeated, i.e. 5,000 yards 38+ TDs out of Brady/Brees/Rodgers/Stafford or 90-1200-10 out of one of the TEs), then this strategy has to be strongly considered.

-If you project the top QBs based more off of an average of their last 3 years, then there's just not enough separation with the depth this year. For example, if you're looking at Brady over a longer term, its more reasonable to project something like 4400 yards, 35 TDs (which would be the 3rd best season of his long career). Still very good, but not elite enough to justify round 1.

-With the TEs, they had the 2 best seasons for TEs ever. Both are young and very talented, there is definitely a strong case to be made that they can come close to repeating. Maybe even room for upside? On the other hand, if they come back to earth a little bit and put up very good 80-1000-9 type seasons, your strategy falls apart as you just aren't getting enough separation there from guys like Witten who are likely to put up pretty close to those numbers. Again, are you comfortable needing a historic season for a guy to justify his draft position? If not, a RB like Matthews or DMC will provide similar VBD with just a normal, good starting RB type season.

Personally, it'll come down to a bit of a gut feeling come draft day. My leagues aren't quite so QB favorable in scoring, so I'll probably wait. I tend to think those 5000 yard passers should have better defenses which will lead to more normal passing results. Combined with my relatively high projections for Ryan, Peyton M., Vick, etc. I'll probably wait on QB and make sure I have at least one top RB.

As far as the TEs, there are certain RBs I would probably take over them in the 2nd if the RBs look good in preseason (Charles, Richardson, Matthews, maybe DMC, maybe CJ2k) and one of them is available. There are others I probably don't trust enough and would instead lean towards the TE (Murray, Lynch). Just depends on which guys are available. I do think TE makes a ton of sense in round 2, but its not my top choice.

Thanks for the quality feedback. To address a few of your points:

Yes scoring system makes a huge difference. I've been playing in several leagues the past few years that use the following scoring system: 25 yards/ 5 pt TDs for QBs (low on yardage, middle on TDs), and also uses .5 PPR for RBs and full PPR for WRs/TEs. Some leagues start 1RB, 2WR, 1 TE + 2 flex, while others are 2-3-1 +flex. Other leagues I play in are full PPR across the board, and either typical QB scoring or 20 yards per point. This strategy is definitely better in formats that favor QBs and WRs, especially the leagues that have half PPR for RBs.

Re: Regression. I think this splits between QBs and TEs. As you point out, Gronk and Graham both had historical seasons last year. There are a few minor red flags against them repeating: For Gronk, the Pats added Lloyd and Gaffney (I think?), plus Hernandez missed a few games this year. For Graham, the Saints have seen a huge deal of offseason turmoil and Brees is currently negotiating. Thus I am somewhat nervous about them repeating, but they do seem like safe bets for 80/1100/10 at least.

For QBs, I think it's a whole different matter. I'm fairly certain that up to a half-dozen QBs will flirt with 5,000 yards this year. 4,000 yards no longer means anything. This is a trend that has been growing over the last few years in the NFL. Rule changes and style of play changes mean that QB yardage is off the charts. What seperates Rodgers and Brady from the rest of the other 3-4 elite QBs is the quality of the targets on GB and NE; and as a result, they will have huge TD numbers in addition to excellent yardage.

For example, projecting Brady at 4,400/35 is fairly conservative IMO. Consider this: over the past 5 seasons, he's played 4. In 2007 he had elite targets in Moss and Welker, and we all know what happened. In 2009 with those same elite targets, while knocking off the rust of missing 2008, he put up 4,300/28. 2010 was a down year for him due to the quality of his targets - Moss sucking, and the TEs as rookies. As his targets improved last year with the maturation of the TEs, he went 5,200/39. Averaging THOSE years (2007, 2009, and 2011, and excluding the down year) comes out to 4,600/39. I'd say that's a more realistic starting point, and I fully expect him to exceed that yardage and match those TDs.

Considering that he has, arguably, better targets this year than he did in 2007, he could be approach his career best in both yardage AND touchdowns. Yes I know Lloyd is not Moss in his prime, but he's still excellent, and top-down Brady has more excellent targets than he did in 2007 when you consider Gronk/Hernandez/Welker.

At the same time, I understand the approach of waiting a bit to get Cam/Stafford or Vick/Eli/Romo. I would not be surprised at all if Eli or Romo joined the 5k club this year. If you can find a 'value' QB to break that 5k mark, you're golden. I just feel MUCH more certain that Brady will do so: if Brady and at least 3 out of Lloyd/Welker/Gronk/Hernandez are healthy for the season, you can book 5k and 35+.

In short I attribute the success of G&G last season to individual excellence, whereas I attribute the plethora of QBs throwing for crazy yardage due to changes in the style of game (although they are certainly related, as the TEs certainly benefited).

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The upside down draft, as popularized on FBGs by Matt Waldman (but by no means strictly attributed to him), encourages drafters to eschew early selections of RBs after the first few studs are off the board. Instead, the strategy advocates targeting 3 top WRs, then getting a solid QB and a top TE (this used to be possible in the 5th... that was Gates/Witten territory), thus WR-WR-WR, QB, TE, and then pile on a bunch of lottery ticket RBs in the mid rounds hoping that some Benjarvis Green-Ellis or Cedric Benson or Fred Jackson type will pan out into a reliable, if not stud, RB and walk you straight to the championship.

In light of:(1) the changing NFL, (2) the scarcity of decent RBs, and (3) the abundance of Quality WRs, I thought it time to revise this strategy.

As a preliminary note, IMO there are ONLY the following non-QB studs in this year's draft: 3 RBs - Foster/McCoy/Rice, 1 WR - CJ, and 2 TEs - G&G. Outside of that, to me there isn't a whole lot of difference between, say, Forte & Lynch vs. Stewart, Redman, and McGahee several rounds later. I just don't see the value in RBs ranked 4 through about 15. Similarly, After Calvin, there are several qualty WRs (although none at his level), but they extend very deep. What's the difference between Andre or Julio (both borderline top 5), or way down the list the upside of someone like Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, or Stevie Johnson?

For these reasons, I don't think it's necessary to go WR-WR-WR, because there are so many quality WRs available in the 4th through 7th round.

Illustrations: Assuming you DON'T have a top 4 pick, i.e. you can't get Foster/McCoy/Rice/Calvin, this is my proposed upside down draft:

[*]This strategy is principled on getting one of (IMO) the five stud QBs and one of the two stud TEs.

[*]Ideally you take either Rodgers or Brady in the first round, and as it snakes back to you in the second, either Gronk or Graham if they remain on the board.

[*]As an alternative, if you have a top 4 pick, you would simply take the RB/WR stud, and then aim for one of Gronk or Graham if available in the 2nd, and then one of the other top QBs (Brees/Cam/Stafford) in the 3rd.

[*]After round two, you look look for quality at WR, and quantity at RB.

[*]Here are two mocks from Mid-first (#5/12) and Late-first (#11/12)

[*]Team 1: Rodgers, Gronk, Doug Martin, Dem.Thomas, Harvin, B.Lloyd, J.Stew, Denarius Moore, Jaquiz Rodgers, Greg Little, Shane Vereen.

[*]Team 2: Brady, Gronk, Redman, Dez, Dem.Thomas, Jahvid Best, M.Bush, Ingram, Titus Young, DHB, Little, Vareen.

With this strategy, I'd say it's fairly easy to pile on a ton of quality WRs in the mid rounds and add a few late round upside guys like Denarius, Titus, and Little, but it's much harder to grab decent RBs. There just aren't that many. As a result, adding RBs during the season via waivers and trades is crucial, but it's also probably the easiest position to do so as guys go down and new RBs emerge.

Another advantage is that you can just keep the best available RBs and WRs from rounds 3 all the way past the 10th, at which point you'll need to look for a very cheap backup QB (Freeman, Palmer, Flacco, Locker, etc.) and a cheap TE if you carry one (Greshem, cook, Tamme, Rudolph).

As a result, with either of these teams, you end up with

QB: Rodgers/Brady

RB: 5-6 lotto tickets

WR: 6 'value' studs, IMO guys like Harvin, Britt, DT, Austin, Maclin, Smith, Colston, Stevie, Desean, A.Brown, Decker, and Lloyd, plus high upside guys like Greg Little and Denarius Moore who are around a bit later.

TE: Gronk or Graham.

OR if you have a top 4 pick:

QB: Stafford/Cam

RB: Rice, plus 4-5 lotto tickets

WR: 6 value studs as mentioned above

TE: Hopefully Gronk or Graham, but it's less likely that one of them makes it back to the end of the 2nd round.

Lotto ticket RBs include: Martin, Bradshaw, Beanie, BJGE, Best, Stewart, Ingram, Redman, McGahee, D.Brown, Ridley, Hunter, Rodgers, Vereen. I particularly like Redman, McGahee, and Brown because all three figure to be solid starters and not as much committee backs.

I have been mapping out this exact strategy for a 14 team Phenom's redraft and have done just 2 mock drafts so far. These are Yahoo mocks though so they are very guppy-ish, and it is just 2 drafts but in one the top 5 QB's went 5,6,7,9,11 and in the other they went 3,5,9,13,18. Gronk and Graham went 13, 14 and 10, 16. I pick 10th and then 19th so I might have to have a little luck (or a less guppy-like draft).

Last year, in 4 pt passing TD, 1 pt per 25 yds leagues, there was a 56 pt drop-off between QB5 and QB6, and over 100 pt difference between QB's 1-3 and QB6. Then starts another tier of drop-offs. In 1 PPR leagues there was another ~ 100 pt drop-off between TE's 1-2 and the rest (Aaron Hernandez would have been in solid 3rd if not for missing 2 games). If you can get a top 5 QB plus a top 2 TE you've got a great head start.

Then there are still some great WR choices in the 3rd, a guy like Martin, Sproles, Bradshaw or FJax in the 4th. And like the OP says there are a ton of high-upside WR's from there on out. You would have to hit on a RB like Redman, Ridley, JStew, Best, Brown, Starks, etc., but as stated there aren't even a handful of elite RB's anyway.

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I have been mapping out this exact strategy for a 14 team Phenom's redraft and have done just 2 mock drafts so far. These are Yahoo mocks though so they are very guppy-ish, and it is just 2 drafts but in one the top 5 QB's went 5,6,7,9,11 and in the other they went 3,5,9,13,18. Gronk and Graham went 13, 14 and 10, 16. I pick 10th and then 19th so I might have to have a little luck (or a less guppy-like draft).Last year, in 4 pt passing TD, 1 pt per 25 yds leagues, there was a 56 pt drop-off between QB5 and QB6, and over 100 pt difference between QB's 1-3 and QB6. Then starts another tier of drop-offs. In 1 PPR leagues there was another ~ 100 pt drop-off between TE's 1-2 and the rest (Aaron Hernandez would have been in solid 3rd if not for missing 2 games). If you can get a top 5 QB plus a top 2 TE you've got a great head start.Then there are still some great WR choices in the 3rd, a guy like Martin, Sproles, Bradshaw or FJax in the 4th. And like the OP says there are a ton of high-upside WR's from there on out. You would have to hit on a RB like Redman, Ridley, JStew, Best, Brown, Starks, etc., but as stated there aren't even a handful of elite RB's anyway.

Yes this strategy is TAILOR MADE for Phenom's leagues, given that RBs get 0.5 PPR whereas WRs and TEs get full PPR, QBs get 5 pts/TD, and you can usually start either 2 RB/4 WR or 1 RB/4 WR depending on format.
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This is an interesting topic and to me. I strongly agree that outside of Calvin, it doesn't make too much sense to take a WR early. The depth at WR this year is incredible. You can get a legit #1 in the 3rd round and there are some big-time talents going in the 4th-6th. I also like some of the guys going later like Garcon, Wayne, Collie, DHB, etc.

In terms of RB vs. TE/QB in the first w rounds, it comes down to 2 big factors:

1. Specific league scoring/roster:

-1 pt. per 20 passing vs. 1 pt. per 25 actually makes a pretty big difference as does 4 pt. vs. 6 pt. for passing TDs. I have a much harder time making the #s work in favor of early round QB in 1 pt. per 25. Especially since there are a few guys at QB I really like in the mid-rounds (Matt Ryan) who I think will come relatively close to the top guys (I think Ryan ends up at about 4400, 33 TDs).

-In terms of roster, 2/2/1 Flex vs. 2/3 in terms of RB/WR makes a pretty big difference. The ability to start a 3rd RB is big. I also think the smaller the league, the more a QB or TE makes sense, whereas the larger the league, the more it makes sense to go RB. Same with total # of starters. Fewer starters adds value to QB/TE. More starters, like if you start 2/3/and a flex or two, it makes more sense to go WR/RB.

2. Your view on "regression" and how repeatable last year's results will be:

-No matter how you slice it, last year's top 5 QBs and top 2 TEs had historic, record breaking seasons. If you buy into the idea that they could be repeated (or at least almost repeated, i.e. 5,000 yards 38+ TDs out of Brady/Brees/Rodgers/Stafford or 90-1200-10 out of one of the TEs), then this strategy has to be strongly considered.

-If you project the top QBs based more off of an average of their last 3 years, then there's just not enough separation with the depth this year. For example, if you're looking at Brady over a longer term, its more reasonable to project something like 4400 yards, 35 TDs (which would be the 3rd best season of his long career). Still very good, but not elite enough to justify round 1.

-With the TEs, they had the 2 best seasons for TEs ever. Both are young and very talented, there is definitely a strong case to be made that they can come close to repeating. Maybe even room for upside? On the other hand, if they come back to earth a little bit and put up very good 80-1000-9 type seasons, your strategy falls apart as you just aren't getting enough separation there from guys like Witten who are likely to put up pretty close to those numbers. Again, are you comfortable needing a historic season for a guy to justify his draft position? If not, a RB like Matthews or DMC will provide similar VBD with just a normal, good starting RB type season.

Personally, it'll come down to a bit of a gut feeling come draft day. My leagues aren't quite so QB favorable in scoring, so I'll probably wait. I tend to think those 5000 yard passers should have better defenses which will lead to more normal passing results. Combined with my relatively high projections for Ryan, Peyton M., Vick, etc. I'll probably wait on QB and make sure I have at least one top RB.

As far as the TEs, there are certain RBs I would probably take over them in the 2nd if the RBs look good in preseason (Charles, Richardson, Matthews, maybe DMC, maybe CJ2k) and one of them is available. There are others I probably don't trust enough and would instead lean towards the TE (Murray, Lynch). Just depends on which guys are available. I do think TE makes a ton of sense in round 2, but its not my top choice.

Thanks for the quality feedback. To address a few of your points:

Yes scoring system makes a huge difference. I've been playing in several leagues the past few years that use the following scoring system: 25 yards/ 5 pt TDs for QBs (low on yardage, middle on TDs), and also uses .5 PPR for RBs and full PPR for WRs/TEs. Some leagues start 1RB, 2WR, 1 TE + 2 flex, while others are 2-3-1 +flex. Other leagues I play in are full PPR across the board, and either typical QB scoring or 20 yards per point. This strategy is definitely better in formats that favor QBs and WRs, especially the leagues that have half PPR for RBs.

Re: Regression. I think this splits between QBs and TEs. As you point out, Gronk and Graham both had historical seasons last year. There are a few minor red flags against them repeating: For Gronk, the Pats added Lloyd and Gaffney (I think?), plus Hernandez missed a few games this year. For Graham, the Saints have seen a huge deal of offseason turmoil and Brees is currently negotiating. Thus I am somewhat nervous about them repeating, but they do seem like safe bets for 80/1100/10 at least.

For QBs, I think it's a whole different matter. I'm fairly certain that up to a half-dozen QBs will flirt with 5,000 yards this year. 4,000 yards no longer means anything. This is a trend that has been growing over the last few years in the NFL. Rule changes and style of play changes mean that QB yardage is off the charts. What seperates Rodgers and Brady from the rest of the other 3-4 elite QBs is the quality of the targets on GB and NE; and as a result, they will have huge TD numbers in addition to excellent yardage.

For example, projecting Brady at 4,400/35 is fairly conservative IMO. Consider this: over the past 5 seasons, he's played 4. In 2007 he had elite targets in Moss and Welker, and we all know what happened. In 2009 with those same elite targets, while knocking off the rust of missing 2008, he put up 4,300/28. 2010 was a down year for him due to the quality of his targets - Moss sucking, and the TEs as rookies. As his targets improved last year with the maturation of the TEs, he went 5,200/39. Averaging THOSE years (2007, 2009, and 2011, and excluding the down year) comes out to 4,600/39. I'd say that's a more realistic starting point, and I fully expect him to exceed that yardage and match those TDs.

Considering that he has, arguably, better targets this year than he did in 2007, he could be approach his career best in both yardage AND touchdowns. Yes I know Lloyd is not Moss in his prime, but he's still excellent, and top-down Brady has more excellent targets than he did in 2007 when you consider Gronk/Hernandez/Welker.

At the same time, I understand the approach of waiting a bit to get Cam/Stafford or Vick/Eli/Romo. I would not be surprised at all if Eli or Romo joined the 5k club this year. If you can find a 'value' QB to break that 5k mark, you're golden. I just feel MUCH more certain that Brady will do so: if Brady and at least 3 out of Lloyd/Welker/Gronk/Hernandez are healthy for the season, you can book 5k and 35+.

In short I attribute the success of G&G last season to individual excellence, whereas I attribute the plethora of QBs throwing for crazy yardage due to changes in the style of game (although they are certainly related, as the TEs certainly benefited).

In your format, there's definitely a stronger argument for QB over RB with the low RB PPR and the 5 point passing TDs. I think scoring specifics are under-discussed here in The Shark Pool as they have such a big impact and make what is right in one league wrong in another.

With regard to Brady specifically, I mostly agree with you. He is so good and his targets are so good, I think it is somewhat safe to project big numbers. He's my favorite of this year's QBs (though I think it is always a bit dangerous to throwout a down year that doesn't fit your hypothesis).

As far as the assertion that the QB stuff has been steadily trending this direction, I somewhat disagree. I started a topic about this a month or so back comparing the 2010 numbers to the 2011 numbers. I asked whether people thought it was a 1 year fluke or we could regularly expect 5000 yards.

It was amazing how big the difference was in QB scoring. I don't have the exact numbers in front of me, but in 2010, Rodgers led all QBs with about 440 fantasy points (pretty normal scoring format, 1 per 20, 4 pt TDs). Guys like Brees and Brady weren't too far behind with about 420. Last year, there were 5 QBs who broke 500 fantasy points in the exact same format with a few guys up near 550. It was a massive jump in just one season. They left Eli in the dust and Eli finished 2011 with the exact same point total as Rodgers had in 2010 at 440.....

I understand how some could see last year's stats, compare the weapons those QBs had and predict similar numbers. And it may be right. But I tend to feel that it was a little bit of a fluky year and that 5,000 isn't the new 4,000. I think the lockout last year had the defenses behind. I think there was a really rare dynamic where the best offensive teams really struggled to stop anyone on D. Green Bay and New England's Ds were uncharacteristically terrible which led to wide open game plans and a ton of shootouts. Detroit seemed to get behind by 17 points every other week which led to Stafford flinging it all over the place like crazy trying to come back. If you look at how New England and Green Bay approached the draft, you see they went almost entirely defense. Both teams traded up to try to get impact defensive players. I suspect they will both be improved on D and not need to score 40 to win. Detroit probably won't need huge comebacks all the time.

In short, I think there's a good chance that one, maybe two, of the top 5 QBs have a 5000 yard season and put up 500+ fantasy points (4 pt. passing TDs). Mathematically, that's what you need in most formats to justify one of these guys in the 1st round or early 2nd. So that means there's something like a 60-80% chance that the early QB doesn't quite pan out and/or prove worthy of such a high pick.

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Copied this from ESPN, so hopefully it formats correctly. This is what I meant about a multi-year trend, but also I hear what you're saying about a few unique situations with the defenses of NE, GB, and Det.

Year Passes Rushes Pass % Avg. Y@C

2011 17,410 13,971 55.5% 6.4

2010 17,269 13,920 55.4% 6.2

2009 17,033 14,088 54.7% 6.1

2008 16,525 14,119 53.9% 6.0

Pass vs. Run percentage continues to shift towards passing, while at the same time the passes go for longer yardage. Thus it's an increase in both quantity and quality of passing leading to the big numbers.

http://sports.espn.go.com/fantasy/football/ffl/story?page=nfldk2k12qbpreview

ETA - also, although I know it's cherry picking to throw out 2010, consider his leading WRs that year:

Welker - 86/850 (ACL recovery?)

Branch - 48/700 (played part of the season with Seattle)

Hernandez - 45/560 (rookie)

Gronk - 43/540 (rookie)

Tate = 24/430 (garbage)

It's just not comparable in terms of the quality of his targets, and for that reason I think it's legit to throw that out when considering his 3 year average (when he has excellent targets). Also, we haven't even brought up the McDaniels factor.

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I have done about a dozen 10- & 12-team mocks over the last couple weeks with the main goal of getting Calvin in 1st with Graham or Gronk in 2nd. When I pick at 5-6, I usually get Calvin for sure. At 7-8 about 50% of the time, I get him. I get one of the top 2 TE's everytime. It is possible to get a very attractive team using BPA beginning round 3. Most of the time I get 2-3 solid WR's (Dez, Cruz, Maclin) to go with Top WR & Top TE. The various combinations of RB have not been spectacular (Bradshaw, Brown, Hillis, Helu) but I usually end up thinking they are serviceable with some upside. However, when I miss out on Calvin and can grab Rodgers, I do go QB-WR.

In support of the OP, I like his idea this season for waiting on RBs. Several of his lotto ticket RB's labeled hit/miss aren't as hit/miss as he thinks (Bradshaw, BJGE). At least 1-2 will pan out if you have 5-6 on your team (ala Fred Jackson).

EXAMPLE:

QB-Cutler or Schaub

RB-Bradshaw, Helu

WR-Calvin, Cruz, Maclin

TE-Gronk or Graham

K-Who cares

Def-Who cares

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I think OP has the right idea, but I would tweak it slightly. I agree on TE and WR, but am a little more squeamish about going without at least one dependable RB. Also, even though I avoided him like the plague last season, I think that Michael Vick presents a lot of value in the late fourth or early fifth round.

Accordingly, I'm hoping for something like this:

Top 4 pick:

1st: Rice

2nd: Graham/Gronk

3rd: Sproles

4th: Vick

5th: Harvin

6th/7th:: Stevie Johnson/Lotto RB (Jahvid? CJ? Starks?)

8th: Rivers/Ryan

Similarly, for a lower pick:

1st: Fitzgerald

2nd: Graham/Gronk

3rd: Sproles

4th: Vick

5th/6th: Harvin/solid lotto RB (Redman, Shonn Greene, Reggie Bush)

For the record, this is for a 2WR/2RB/flex, PPR league.

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Just completed a couple 14 team, 15 rd Yahoo mock drafts picking 10th. My real draft will be 16 rds so another RB or WR would be added. These drafts are pretty ridiculous as people were picking D and PK in the 9th when I took Ridley in the 1st draft. Both pretty similar. In the 2nd draft I messed up in the 6th rd taking a WR by mistake (Decker). Also in the 2nd draft I didn't choose a 2nd TE and I would likely choose another WR vs so many RB's but I wanted to show the kind of RB's available late that have potential upside..

1. Drew Brees (NO - QB).......1. Drew Brees (NO - QB)

2. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE)...2. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE)

3. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR)......3. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR)

4. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR).....4. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR)

5. Torrey Smith (Bal - WR)....5. Torrey Smith (Bal - WR)

6. Isaac Redman (Pit - RB)....6. Eric Decker (Den - WR)

7. Jahvid Best (Det - RB).....7. Isaac Redman (Pit - RB)

8. Donald Brown (Ind - RB)....8. Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)

9. Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)....9. James Starks (GB - RB)

10. Michael Crabtree (SF - WR)10. C.J. Spiller (Buf - RB)

11. Dustin Keller (NYJ - TE)..11. Tim Hightower (Was - RB)

12. Stephen Hill (NYJ - WR)...12. Stephen Hill (NYJ - WR)

13. Alex Smith (SF - QB)......13. LeGarrette Blount (TB - RB)

14. Cincinnati (Cin - DEF)....14. New York (NYG - DEF)

15. Alex Henery (Phi - K).....15. Alex Henery (Phi - K)

Redman, Ridley, Starks, Hightower, Brown, Best all look like probable starters at this point in time. Of course that could

change. Spiller can be had late. If you just had to start 2 RB's and up to 4 WR's I think these are pretty good teams in a 14 team

league. Keep in mind there would be one more roster spot.

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Just completed a couple 14 team, 15 rd Yahoo mock drafts picking 10th. My real draft will be 16 rds so another RB or WR would be added. These drafts are pretty ridiculous as people were picking D and PK in the 9th when I took Ridley in the 1st draft. Both pretty similar. In the 2nd draft I messed up in the 6th rd taking a WR by mistake (Decker). Also in the 2nd draft I didn't choose a 2nd TE and I would likely choose another WR vs so many RB's but I wanted to show the kind of RB's available late that have potential upside..1. Drew Brees (NO - QB).......1. Drew Brees (NO - QB)2. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE)...2. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE)3. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR)......3. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR)4. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR).....4. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR)5. Torrey Smith (Bal - WR)....5. Torrey Smith (Bal - WR)6. Isaac Redman (Pit - RB)....6. Eric Decker (Den - WR)7. Jahvid Best (Det - RB).....7. Isaac Redman (Pit - RB)8. Donald Brown (Ind - RB)....8. Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)9. Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)....9. James Starks (GB - RB)10. Michael Crabtree (SF - WR)10. C.J. Spiller (Buf - RB)11. Dustin Keller (NYJ - TE)..11. Tim Hightower (Was - RB)12. Stephen Hill (NYJ - WR)...12. Stephen Hill (NYJ - WR)13. Alex Smith (SF - QB)......13. LeGarrette Blount (TB - RB)14. Cincinnati (Cin - DEF)....14. New York (NYG - DEF)15. Alex Henery (Phi - K).....15. Alex Henery (Phi - K) Redman, Ridley, Starks, Hightower, Brown, Best all look like probable starters at this point in time. Of course that couldchange. Spiller can be had late. If you just had to start 2 RB's and up to 4 WR's I think these are pretty good teams in a 14 teamleague. Keep in mind there would be one more roster spot.

With all due respect, anyone who is playin in any sort of even moderately competitive league has no business relying on info provided in Yahoo mocks.
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I'm doing my 5th draftmaster right now, Calvin has never made it past 5th, the latest Graham or Gronk had gone is 14. If you go qb in 1, odds are you're not getting one of the tier 1 TE's in rnd 2. If you go TE in 1, you can get a Qb in 2 bit not Rodgers or Brady, usually Cam, Brees or Stafford. It might be a good plan in theory (or not), but actualizing it in competitive leagues will be difficult.

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Well, all mocks of course never totally prepare you for real drafts. But mocks on Yahoo, ESPN, FFCalculator, MockDraftCentral... they all have slightly different results, and none of them are really accurate. But they can be helpful to ballpark. Of course that Yahoo draft looks more like a good team in 12 team league, let alone 14.

Also I agree that Vick provides excellent value - he put up Rodgers/Brady/Brees type points just two years ago, and now has both of his WRs back and healthy. But I also think that there's someone in every draft that will grab him early. Seen him go in the 3rd, in mocks of course.

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I swore off Yahoo! mocks...I used to wonder why I was getting so much great value in the 9, 10, 11th round....but then I realized that half the draft was on auto-draft and kickers and defenses were being drafted in those rounds...not just the top notch K's and D's...mediocre ones were drafted because teams who were on auto draft would fill out the starting lineup before taking any reserve player, regardless of rank....I switched to fantasyfootballcalculator.com's mock drafts...it isn't perfect, but I found it to be much better than Yahoo...

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Just completed a couple 14 team, 15 rd Yahoo mock drafts picking 10th. My real draft will be 16 rds so another RB or WR would be added. These drafts are pretty ridiculous as people were picking D and PK in the 9th when I took Ridley in the 1st draft. Both pretty similar. In the 2nd draft I messed up in the 6th rd taking a WR by mistake (Decker). Also in the 2nd draft I didn't choose a 2nd TE and I would likely choose another WR vs so many RB's but I wanted to show the kind of RB's available late that have potential upside..1. Drew Brees (NO - QB).......1. Drew Brees (NO - QB)2. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE)...2. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE)3. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR)......3. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR)4. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR).....4. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR)5. Torrey Smith (Bal - WR)....5. Torrey Smith (Bal - WR)6. Isaac Redman (Pit - RB)....6. Eric Decker (Den - WR)7. Jahvid Best (Det - RB).....7. Isaac Redman (Pit - RB)8. Donald Brown (Ind - RB)....8. Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)9. Stevan Ridley (NE - RB)....9. James Starks (GB - RB)10. Michael Crabtree (SF - WR)10. C.J. Spiller (Buf - RB)11. Dustin Keller (NYJ - TE)..11. Tim Hightower (Was - RB)12. Stephen Hill (NYJ - WR)...12. Stephen Hill (NYJ - WR)13. Alex Smith (SF - QB)......13. LeGarrette Blount (TB - RB)14. Cincinnati (Cin - DEF)....14. New York (NYG - DEF)15. Alex Henery (Phi - K).....15. Alex Henery (Phi - K) Redman, Ridley, Starks, Hightower, Brown, Best all look like probable starters at this point in time. Of course that couldchange. Spiller can be had late. If you just had to start 2 RB's and up to 4 WR's I think these are pretty good teams in a 14 teamleague. Keep in mind there would be one more roster spot.

With all due respect, anyone who is playin in any sort of even moderately competitive league has no business relying on info provided in Yahoo mocks.
Yeah, well with all due respect back, if you read the entire post you would see the disclaimer regarding Yahoo drafts. But I do believe you can get a ballpark idea if you combine the results with the other tools out there (like the ADP rankings here at FBG that give the results from several sources)I think you can come up with a reasonable idea of what could transpire. So look at the first draft I did. In the left hand column is where I took the pick and to the right of the player in parenthesis is the FBG expert ADP rankings and the MFL ADP from actual drafts.10. Drew Brees (NO - QB) (18, 14)19. Rob Gronkowski (NE - TE) (14, 11)38. Dez Bryant (Dal - WR) (37, 33)47. Kenny Britt (Ten - WR) (50, 38)66. Torrey Smith (Bal - WR) (74, 71)75. Isaac Redman (Pit - RB) (78, 85)94. Jahvid Best (Det - RB) (68, 78)103. Donald Brown (Ind - RB) (103, 103)122. Stevan Ridley (NE - RB) (108, 110)131. Michael Crabtree (SF - WR) (98, 89)150. Dustin Keller (NYJ - TE) (118, 146)159. Stephen Hill (NYJ - WR) (147, 155)178. Alex Smith (SF - QB) (155, 171)187. Cincinnati (Cin - DEF)206. Alex Henery (Phi - K)Really, through the first 8 rounds the results aren't that far off, (with possibly the exception of Best). Then, as I previously stated, things get weird in the 9th and 10th when dummies start taking defenses and kickers, but then it pretty much goes back to normal. By comparing where I took my pick with the FBG/MFL ADP's I can see that I'd probably have to start TE, QB though in real life. But the remaining players I chose, or similar players, should still be available close to where I drafted them telling me that I can draft a decent team starting out QB, TE or TE, QB.
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you can play the WR merry-go-round all season long via waivers..heck I rode Jabar Gaffney's late season production to a chamionship in a 12-team league where everyone already has 4 WR's..

it's much,much easier to play the WR du jour than it is to play the same game with RB's..you absolutely need at least 1 stud RB..when you're trying hit win the lottery with Benson, Law Firm, Snelling/Quizz, Tolbert, Michael Bush, Taiwan Jones, Ben Tate, Spiller, etc, you're asking a lot from very little...

I'd rather get a stud RB,early,and play the lottery with Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, Garcon, D. Thomas, Decker,

V. Brown, Floyd, etc..

(much) easier to find nuggets in the WR ranks, than in the RB ranks.

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you can play the WR merry-go-round all season long via waivers..heck I rode Jabar Gaffney's late season production to a chamionship in a 12-team league where everyone already has 4 WR's..

it's much,much easier to play the WR du jour than it is to play the same game with RB's..you absolutely need at least 1 stud RB..when you're trying hit win the lottery with Benson, Law Firm, Snelling/Quizz, Tolbert, Michael Bush, Taiwan Jones, Ben Tate, Spiller, etc, you're asking a lot from very little...

I'd rather get a stud RB,early,and play the lottery with Reggie Wayne, Randy Moss, Garcon, D. Thomas, Decker,

V. Brown, Floyd, etc..

(much) easier to find nuggets in the WR ranks, than in the RB ranks.

Yes, but you can't get a stud RB unless you have a top 3-4 pick. Do you know that you're getting a stud in Steven Jackson, Michael Turner, or Darren Sproles, or Matt Forte, or Jamaal Charles?
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WR are deep and similar this year after Calvin. Vick, Romo, Rivers, EMan, PMan and dare I say even Roeth make waiting on QB worthwhile too.

This is the year to go back to RB/RB in the first two rounds, or even RB/TE.

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WR are deep and similar this year after Calvin. Vick, Romo, Rivers, EMan, PMan and dare I say even Roeth make waiting on QB worthwhile too.This is the year to go back to RB/RB in the first two rounds, or even RB/TE.

I'm a bigger fan of going RB if you've got one of those absolute top picks...but much prefer Calvin/Rodgers/Brady in the first, G/G in 2nd, then WRs, and then just load the hell up on RBs from rounds like 6-12, unless some value fell to the 3/4/5 rounds, or some great WR value falls to you later on.I'd be totally comfortable starting Donald Brown and James Starks at RB (both seem to be available 6th and 7th rounds) with Rodgers/Graham and some of the 3rd-5th round wideouts.
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Did a couple Mock Drafts on FFCalculator to eschew this strategy somewhat: still aiming for a top QB and a top TE but looking for more early RBs. here are the results:

Team 1 - From #3/12

QB: Brees, Luck

RB: Rice, McGahee, David Wilson, Jacquizz, Tolbert

WR: D.Thomas, Stevie, Britt, Little, DHB,

TE: Gates

Team 2 - From #6/12

QB: Vick, Palmer

RB: DMC, McGahee, D.Brown, Jaquizz, Kevin Smith

WR: Andre, Britt, R.Moss, DHB

TE: Gates

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Not sure how I feel about these results. Although I think Brees and Vick are excellent options, there are red flags - injury for Vick ,and the contract situation/Saints situation with Brees. I also like Gates, but he has injury risk and certainly isn't Gronk or Graham who are in their primes.

To get RICE/DMC, I've given back slightly on QB and TE, and also on WR. In exchange, I've added ONE stud RB to each team. While I recognize that it will be fairly easy to grab a nice WW WR (Torrey Smith, Victor Cruz, Jabar Gaffney), I just think these teams are much more middle of the pack type teams, whereas the higher-risk upside down strategy can produce either a dud or a team that will stomp on your league.

Anyone else have thoughts?

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Best teams I can get so far seem to be at the 5/6 spot - I might risk the 7th, but my goal is to guarantee that I get Calvin/Brady/Rodgers in the 1st round (Keep in mind, I do a 14 team PPR so thats what my mocks are). This is my favorite team to this point:

1. Aaron Rodgers

2. Brandon Marshall

3. Julio Jones

4. Donald Brown (I could have taken Beanie Wells or Dez Bryant here...sometimes I think I like this team better with Dez)

5. Jonathan Stewart

6. Ronnie Hillman

7. David Wilson

8. Felix Jones

9. Jared Cook

10. Greg Olsen I can probably wait a round or two for both of these guys, but when it starts to get to where some people are about to take backups...I grab my two. These specific two are who I want if I can't get Graham or Gronk in the 2nd or Hernandez in the 4th (which happens once in a while)

11. Michael Crabtree (super late to get a guy I will happily start at flex - I think he is way underrated this year)

12. Bernard Scott - lotto ticket

13. Austin Collie - also undervalued to me

K/Def

K/Def

So I typically lock in a QB and WRs, then just delve into RBs repeatedly. Sometimes Britt falls to the 5th, so I take him there, occasionally Hernandez falls to the 4th, and I love that. Stewart always ends up on my teams - this is the first year ever I think he's been undervalued after consistently being overvalued his whole career.

ETA: @karmarooster - I see what you mean about middle of the road or stomp/bust type teams. I think I have decided I want the teams that will run rampant through my league if RBs hit, but should be decent enough to stay afloat and find WW guys if the RBs don't hit.

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While I agree there are several QBs who will flirt with 4,500-5,000 yards and 30 TDs (or the equivilent in fantasy points for rushing QBs) - Stafford, Cam, Vick, Eli, Romo, possibly Ryan, IMO there are only two QBs who look likely to crack 5,000 yards and 40 TDs.

Being light on RBs is part of the original strategy - every year there are mid round guys that turn out to be solid starters, the point is to grab several and hope. In any case, it just seems like a waste to spend 2nd/3rd/4th round picks on RBs with major issues CJ, Richardson, MJD, Murray, DMC, AP, Forte, Charles, and Lycnh all seem WAY over valued to me.

ETA - you trainwreck GIF is pretty rude, considering I took the time to write this, and supposedly as a scientist I figured you would have a more articulate and researched way to express the dangers of the strategy, rather than begin the thread with a dismissive and rude animation. Nonetheless, I appreciate the feedback.

Your deviation in the plan by taking fewer RB's eliminates the solution to the problem created by passing on proven, quality RB's.

You can't go light in terms of ranking and also go light in terms of roster spots reserved for RB and expect to do well. Why? Because you have to roster several RB's to increase your odds of hitting on the surprise guys who end up in the top 10.

Your system, if you limit the number of RB's you take, depends critically on hitting the target with fewer shots. Now, if you're some fantasy football genius than can do that with repeatability, you wouldn't need to employ your own strategy because you are just better at accurately predicting results. In which case you could start a rankings website and make millions.

But if you aren't, and don't be insulted because I think your aren't, you may get lucky in some particular year, but the strategy will fail in more years than not because you are gambling on long shots while taking fewer shots.

As for your comment that there isn't much difference in AJ and someone like Stevie Johnson, that's just crazy talk and sets off red flags for anything you've got to say.

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WR are deep and similar this year after Calvin. Vick, Romo, Rivers, EMan, PMan and dare I say even Roeth make waiting on QB worthwhile too.This is the year to go back to RB/RB in the first two rounds, or even RB/TE.

This I agree with. Although I won't be surprised if Gronk/Graham/Hernandez do as well but yet end up closer to the rest of the pack.While G/G/H are very talented, they may be benefiting more from unique utilization than they are from unique ability. And since it's a copy-cat league, we can reasonably expect teams to try and mimic that success with their own TE's after unraveling how the Pats are doing it. The league is actually pretty well stocked with talented receiving TE's. It's just a matter of time before everyone is doing it. When that happens there won't be the same distance between the #1 ceiling and the #12 floor. Anyone not think that's what the Colts had in mind with their two TE picks this year?
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WR are deep and similar this year after Calvin. Vick, Romo, Rivers, EMan, PMan and dare I say even Roeth make waiting on QB worthwhile too.

This is the year to go back to RB/RB in the first two rounds, or even RB/TE.

This I agree with.

Although I won't be surprised if Gronk/Graham/Hernandez do as well but yet end up closer to the rest of the pack.

While G/G/H are very talented, they may be benefiting more from unique utilization than they are from unique ability. And since it's a copy-cat league, we can reasonably expect teams to try and mimic that success with their own TE's after unraveling how the Pats are doing it. The league is actually pretty well stocked with talented receiving TE's. It's just a matter of time before everyone is doing it. When that happens there won't be the same distance between the #1 ceiling and the #12 floor. Anyone not think that's what the Colts had in mind with their two TE picks this year?

Yeah...they've got an elite QB throwing to them in addition to unique ability. Not too many other teams could come close to what Brady and his 2 TE's do. Brees if he had another Jimmy Graham, Rivers if he had another Gates, Rodgers if he had another Finley and maybe Stafford if he had another Pettigrew.
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