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. 5.
I have the fifth overall pick. I am playing in a standard format, which means you do not get a point for every reception.
Here is my roster:
Round 1, Pick 5: Running back LeSean McCoy (Buffalo Bills)
Round 2, Pick 8: Running back Todd Gurley (Los Angeles Rams)
Round 3, Pick 5: Tight end Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots)
Round 4, Pick 8: Wide receiver Michael Crabtree (Oakland Raiders)
Round 5, Pick 5: Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders (Denver Broncos)
Round 6, Pick 8: Wide receiver Donte Moncrief (Indianapolis Colts)
Round 7, Pick 5: Running back Ameer Abdullah (Detroit Lions)
Round 8, Pick 8: Wide receiver Jeremy Maclin (Baltimore Ravens)
Round 9, Pick 5: Quarterback Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)
Round 10, Pick 8: Running back Danny Woodhead (Baltimore Ravens)
Round 11, Pick 5: Quarterback Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
Round 12, Pick 8: Running back Joe Williams (San Francisco 49ers)
Round 13, Pick 5: Seattle Seahawks defense
Round 14, Pick 8: Kicker Justin Tucker (Baltimore Ravens)
Round 15, Pick 5: Wide receiver Robert Woods (Los Angeles Rams)
Round 16, Pick 8: Wide receiver Will Fuller (Houston Texans)
In a standard league, I will always try and go with running backs in the first two rounds. McCoy is the fourth-best running back in all formats and maybe even the third best with more concerns about the Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott coming every day. Gurley is a risk, but I expect a bounce-back season from him.
In the third round, Gronkowski, who I have not seen go this late in a draft, was staring me in the face. As I always say, if you draft the player who you should take when it's your pick, usually your team will come out OK. I could not pass on the best tight end (when he is on the field) in the third.
Behind the eight ball at wide receiver, I took solid pass catchers in four of the next five rounds, leaning toward veterans. I finished with some high-upside wide receivers at the end of the draft.
Wait on quarterbacks. Getting Carr and Winston in rounds nine and 11 proves this point better than I can explain it.
Abdullah and Woodhead are solid running backs, and Joe Williams is a rookie I like who I may even wind up as the starter in San Francisco.