Before you know it, it will be fantasy football draft time. Leading up to the season, I will conduct several mock drafts. During the drafts, I will pick in all 12 positions with all sorts of scenarios.
As a rule, I prefer to draft three starting running backs within the first four rounds. It is a tried-and-true strategy that has done well for me for 20-plus years. The mock drafts will all assume 12 teams are in the league (unless otherwise noted) with the following breakdown: quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, tight end, a flex (running back, wide receiver or tight end), kicker, team defense and six bench spots. So it is a 16-round snake draft.
Here is scenario No. 8.
I have the eighth overall pick. I am playing in a PPR format, which means you get a point for every reception.
Here is my roster:
Round 1, Pick 8: Running back LeSean McCoy (Buffalo Bills)
Round 2, Pick 5: Running back Jordan Howard (Chicago Bears)
Round 3, Pick 8: Running back Christian McCaffrey (Carolina Panthers)
Round 4, Pick 5: Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (Arizona Cardinals)
Round 5, Pick 8: Wide receiver Julian Edelman (New England Patriots)
Round 6, Pick 5: Wide receiver Willie Snead (New Orleans Saints)
Round 7, Pick 8: Tight End Zach Ertz (Philadelphia Eagles)
Round 8, Pick 5: Running back Spencer Ware (Kansas City Chiefs)
Round 9, Pick 8: Running back Terrance West (Baltimore Ravens)
Round 10, Pick 5: Wide receiver Adam Thielen (Minnesota Vikings)
Round 11, Pick 8: Running back Jacquizz Rodgers (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Round 12, Pick 5: Wide receiver Rishard Matthews (Tennessee Titans)
Round 13, Pick 8: Minnesota Vikings defense
Round 14, Pick 5: Kicker Stephen Gostkowski (New England Patriots)
Round 15, Pick 8: Quarterback Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles)
Round 16, Pick 5: Quarterback Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)
In a PPR league, I love taking running backs early and often. McCoy is a no-brainer in the eighth slot in the draft. Having three top 15 pre-draft PPR running backs in my top 3 picks will always make me like my team. Getting Ware in the eighth round will make me love it. Ware is one of the more undervalued running backs.
At wide receiver, I went with high-target players from high-octane offenses. This is never a bad idea when waiting to draft a receiver until the fourth round. At tight end, Ertz was great throughout the last eight weeks of the 2016 season and my hope is that trend continues into 2017.
I passed on Aaron Rodgers for this mock in the fourth round to see how my quarterbacks would turn out. I waited and waited and then waited some more, grabbing quarterbacks in the 15th and 16th rounds. Getting Wentz and Palmer that late shows you how deep the quarterback class could be this season.