In the first round I either want a top 5 RB or Gronk. The worst case scenario is landing in the 6 or 7 spot and Bell, Peterson, Charles, Lacy, and Lynch are gone. I love Gronk, but I’d prefer to take him at #8 or later. In that scenario I would be forced to slightly reach for him, but I could easily make a case to take Dez Bryant or Antonio Brown.
If you’re in a league that allows trading, I’d definitely recommend trying to trade into the 8-12 spot. In my first draft this year I traded the #2 slot for #9 since at the back end you’re guaranteed two top talents. I ended up with Gronk and C.J. Anderson, as opposed to Peterson and Alshon Jeffery, and was very happy with my draft out of that spot.
In the 2nd round you want to land a top 8 WR, top 10 RB, or Gronk if he fell out of the 1st round. Having a top 5 pick is nice since you’re guaranteed a top 5 RB, but at the same time you’re not guaranteed one of those top 19 players on your 2nd pick.
5 players you can make a case for picking in that situation in the late 2nd:
- Alshon Jeffery
- Mark Ingram
- Mike Evans
- Andrew Luck
- Aaron Rodgers
I don’t like going for a QB high, but if you can land a top 5 RB then a top 2 QB, you put yourself in a good situation.
In the 3rd I am targeting Jimmy Graham anywhere if I missed on Gronk. If you got Gronk or missed on Jimmy too, I really like Melvin Gordon, Frank Gore, and Justin Forsett as options for RB1/RB2.
In the 4th round I’m targeting Jordan Matthews, Brandin Cooks, DeAndre Hopkins, and Joseph Randle. All young, great values bound to break out.
In the 5th I like Amari Cooper, Andre Johnson, Vincent Jackson, and Brandon Marshall as WR2 targets, and I really like C.J. Spiller as a flex target.
The 6th has a bunch of guys I like to choose from; Greg Olsen or Travis Kelce if I don’t have a TE yet, Jarvis Landry or Jeremy Maclin as my WR2/WR3, and Doug Martin, T.J. Yeldon, and Ameer Abdullah as flexes with RB2 upside.
The 7th is where I start looking for my QB and it’s a good spot to land Tony Romo. Arian Foster becomes a good value, and Chris Ivory is a solid RB3 available in this area.
In the 8th I like Tevin Coleman as a bench player with a lot of upside if he can land the starting job, and Breshad Perriman and Devin Funchess are two rookie WRs that could see big playing time.
In the 9th I’m targeting Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Smith Sr. as two reliable veterans that can fill in when needed.
In the 10th round I’d really like to land the Texans D/ST.
I’m a big believer in streaming defenses (picking them up and dropping them week to week based on match-up), but I think the Texans defense is going to be special this year. They have the best player in J.J Watt, they added a monster in Vince Wilfork, Jadeveon Clowney should be back this season, and they drafted a CB in the first round this year that already looks ready to go in Kevin Johnson.
Not having a good QB is a plus, as it’ll keep their games low scoring. Also, with the exception of Indianapolis, they play in a very weak division, their last two games are at Tennessee then vs Jacksonville, they could be a trophy winner.
If they’re gone however, I also like DeVante Parker as a high ceiling rookie WR.
In the 11th round you have to go QB if you haven’t yet, Tom Brady, Ryan Tannehill, Phillip Rivers, and Matthew Stafford are all good picks. If you have a QB, I like Reggie Bush, especially in PPR formats, and this is a good area to start drafting the handcuffs for your top RBs.
In the 12th I really like Brian Quick, I think he’ll drastically out play his ADP, if he’s gone I’m trying to land a handcuff.
In the 13th round I am targeting Dorial Green-Beckham as a high potential rookie, or Terrance Williams as a solid bench WR.
In the 14th round if you still haven’t taken a TE, I really like Tyler Eifert as a sleeper or Jeff Janis as a sleeper candidate to fill in Jordy Nelson’s old role.
In the 15th I’m taking my D/ST if I missed on the Texans, two good fliers are the Panthers facing the Jaguars week 1, and the Buccaneers at home vs the Titans week 1 (Bucs can probably wait until the last round). Also, if you draft Tom Brady, a good strategy is to also draft Sam Bradford. The biggest knock of Bradford is his health, but in this area there is almost no risk and you’re only counting on him for 4 games. If you want to go K a little early, Adam Vinatieri and Mason Crosby are playing on arguably the 2 best offenses.
In the 16th and last round I’m going for my K, Cody Parkey should benefit from the Eagles productive offense, and Matt Bryant should benefit from playing in a dome. If you already have your K and D/ST, Roy Helu is a bye week fill in type of player with flex potential if Latavius Murray goes down, and Jaelen Strong is a rookie WR that should see a good amount of targets with little behind DeAndre Hopkins.