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Draft Plan 2013

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Welcome back the fantasy running back. Just when it started to look like fantasy was imitating art by turning into a league dominated by quarterbacks and the top wideouts, in rolls the 2013 draft season. This year the message is firmly, draft a running back, wash, rinse and repeat. Welcome back to a full-on, flat-out, running back hoedown, something the likes of which we haven’t seen for near a decade – and it leaves me just a little tingly inside.

The good news my good people, drafts are fun this year, like, really, really fun. The bad news? You can still paint yourself into a corner if you get greedy on draft day and as usual, there are spots where you can mess it all up. But in general, it’s not an overly complicated draft this season and the season-long playing field across your league will be leveled because of it. If you have that perennial championship team in your league, this will be a tougher year for them to distance themselves from the league through the draft.

Rather, leagues will be won and lost this year in free agency/waivers. If you want to win this year, gamble on your waiver wire and work it, work it, work it. The people that work it this year will be your league champions across fantasy land. You should plan to be one of those teams. No one said this was going to be easy.

Queue the Muzak

Let’s start with the elevator pitch. In a nutshell, there are some gems late this year and some sensible moves to make early. Quarterback and tight end are deep, especially tight end, but don’t wait too long to pull the trigger on your signal caller. That would be a mistake on draft day. The rest of the time you should be collecting running backs and wide receivers and letting the draft come to you. Lean on running back as heavily as you can, while scooping up any wide receiver talent that falls through the cracks.

This year I looked at a blended performance and scoring league – one quarterback, two running backs, two wide receivers, one tight end, one flex, one kicker and one defense/special teams for starting lineup requirements. For the following, this is a PPR (points per reception) league.

Let the games begin

Where do the games begin? With Adrian Peterson, of course. You could make a legitimate case for any of the next nine players I’ll mention for the No. 1 selection overall. I mean, you don’t draft Calvin Johnson No. 1 overall but I’ve seen worse picks in my time. If you really like Johnson and you want him to lead your team, heck, I don’t care, take him anywhere you want in the first round. It’s honestly not a bad pick anywhere you wish to take him.

A stitch in time

So here’s your list of the top 9, and in a 12-team league, I prefer to not be drafting 10-12. I’d much rather get my hands on one of either:

Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Trent Richardson, Calvin Johnson, LeSean McCoy, C.J. Spiller, Jamaal Charles or Ray Rice. My personal order provided for reference. I wrestle with where to place Rice most, but with Bernard Pierce behind him, Rice will need to share the ball a bit more this season. For me, the top two are clear, since no one is vaulting past Martin or Peterson. If you feel like rolling the dice, Richardson is your man, as there is a lot to like and if his planets align, he could contend for top spot on the list just as easily. I’m happily adding Richardson to most all of my teams across fantasy land this year but also increasing my medical staff proportionately.

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