So your league held its draft lottery, and you’re not happy with what you ended up with. Don’t worry, with so many question marks, there probably aren’t too many (if any?) other teams in your league happy either. However, not to worry, you can make things happen for you at any point in the draft order.
Let’s examine closely some ideas at each of the positions where you can get some players to keep you ahead of the curve. I’ll assume a twelve team serpentine draft, though this should still work out for a ten team league, just take out positions nine and ten and move up eleven and twelve.
Of all the positions, this might be one of the lesser desirable places to be. Sure, you get to open things up and get the exact player that you want, but then you get to sit and watch 22 players selected before your next pick. And this probably isn’t the year to have #1, what with LaDanian Tomlinson, Ricky Williams, newbee to the top of this list Clinton Portis and longtime #1 consensus Marshall Faulk. Not to mention last year’s top player Priest Holmes apparently showing no signs of last year’s hip injury. While you probably can’t go wrong, if the guy you take ends up getting hurt, you’re in trouble (but then again, isn’t that the case of any first rounder, eh?). For my money, I’d probably be looking at Tomlinson or Williams. Again, tough choice. Yet with each pre-season game, Holmes has to move up your list, too.
By the time it gets back to you, you’ve got back to back selections, but there’s no room for error. The RB core will probably be pared down to a minimum, but you might need to bite the bullet and take on a William Green, Troy Hambrick or Warrick Dunn. On the bright side, the WR and QB lists should still be relatively fresh, perhaps a perfect spot to take on Randy Moss or Donovan McNabb. Why not take a top 5 guy from your WR or QB list instead of the #20 guy on your RB list (did I just type that?). Then again, if many of the WRs and QBs are gone, the RB list might be a little fresher.
Second, Third and Fourth Position
I’m grouping all of these together since they are very similar this season. Many of the thoughts expressed above about First Position hold true here. Meaning, you’ll be getting one of the Fab Five RBs, yet many picks will be made before it comes back to you. When it gets back, hopefully something like Curtis Martin, William Green, or Eddie George are available for you here. Otherwise, you’re probably in a good position to tap into one of the top QBs or WRs. Not that I’d recommend that, but those are possibilities.
This might be one of the most desirable slots to be in this year. Just on the cusp of the Fab Five, you won’t even have to make a decision who to take, it should already be made for you. And things will get back to you in a hurry in round two. Corey Dillon, Curtis Martin, maybe even a Charlie Garner if you are lucky.
Third round also finds you in a prime position since a Randy Moss or Donte Culpepper might be staring you in the face. If you’re lucky, one of the last few viable RBs like Duce Staley might still be there for your selecting pleasure.
Just on the outside looking in, hurts doesn’t it? Yet if one of the top five fall into the Vick or Harrison/Owens trap, you’re in business. Otherwise, you’re on level two – Deuce McAllister, Shawn Alexander or Ahman Green. And worse, you are like position one in that you are the first buyer on level two and have to wait that many more picks before getting another turn in round two.
Seventh, Eighth and Ninth Position
As with positions two thru four, these get grouped together as well. Here you are well into the Level Two backs, less choices to make, closer to getting to pick again in round two. Decent part about being here, you are either looking at a fresh WR and QB list (or close to it), or a selection of scraps left from Level Three guys like Jamal Lewis, Fred Taylor, and Corey Dillon. This is a good position for you to get your two stud RBs.
Down around here is one of my favorite positions to be in. This might be because in my many years of playing, 95% of the time I end up down here (this year is no different, I drew #10 in my money league). So I might be used to it, or maybe because it actually is a desirable place to be. You will end up with two of the top fifteen players. In addition, you are very close to the “corner”, so you can many times predict what positions the teams picking eleventh and twelfth are going to take. Don’t discount this, when it gets late in the draft and you are trying to decide between a kicker and another position (ie. RB7), if you see that the two teams picking after you are light at RB and already have kickers, there you go, you take the RB and it’s like a freebie since they don’t take a kicker you get the next one on your list.
As for what you can expect to be available here in the first round, unless there is a run on nine RBs (which, of course, is possible), guys like Edgerrin James, Tiki Barber, or Travis Henry should be available. You have to think (and I know this is the case in my league – right guys?) that at least one team is not going to be a fantasysharks reader and will take a WR or even a QB. And if not, the talent at RB should still be sufficient to keep you in the RB list.
From there, you will hopefully see someone like Corey Dillon or Charlie Garner available for your second round pleasure. Third round should still find you with a couple of your top 10 WRs, perhaps even one of the last of the viable RBs as well (James Stewart or Duce Staley). Round four is where it can really get interesting. If you are in a TE required league, perhaps it’s a good time to begin the run. Or perhaps if some of the top QBs have been going, then you can grab another of your top WRs. While it’s possible to dictate the draft from any position, I think that is the case most often when you are down at the bottom of the first round.
Getting down your lists and no doubt you’re already angry about what has transpired. Not to worry, get your two stud RBs from Levels 2 and 3. Edgerrin James, Travis Henry, Jamal Lewis, Charlie Garner, Tiki Barber. Or if it’s been all RB all the time, crack open the WR list with a Harrison or keep it going with an Owens. Obviously, I recommend that at least one of your first two picks be of the RB variety. And hey, at least you get to screw one more guy who hasn’t picked yet, ha ha.
Aah, the corner. Like the team at eleven, many players are already gone. On the bright side, you get to take two. No need to worry about what team will be taking what, you have back to back action. As a bonus, if your league is like mine, you are allowed to combine the two picks’ time to pick before making any moves. This can come in particularly handy if you need to make a pizza/beer/bathroom run, or for those late round picks when you were daydreaming the 1/2 hour it took for the draft to get back to you. Time is on your side.
And like the team at eleven, Edgerrin James, Travis Henry, Jamal Lewis, Charlie Garner, Tiki Barber, Fred Taylor…two of these guys will be yours. And when it gets back to you for your next picks, the WR and QB lists should still be within the top 10 or even top 5. Don’t like what’s out there? Break the seal on the TE list with your top guy and watch as the rest of the league starts scrambling. The key to being on the end, you have to be very perceptive. You need to be the person starting the run, because if it starts anywhere else in the draft order, you are going to be left behind. You might need to jump down your rankings a little bit to do this (ie. grab a TE in round four when your sheets are telling you to go elsewhere), but to be the dictator sometimes you have to adjust on the fly.
So there you have it. Good players all around the draft order, with there being many positives to being in almost any draft slot this year. Don’t get mad at the hand you’ve been dealt, get ready to run with it. The choice is yours!