Posted: Thursday August 23, 2012 4:47PM ; Updated: Thursday August 23, 2012 8:30PM
Eric Mack
Eric Mack>INSIDE FANTASY FOOTBALL

NFL fantasy 2012 mock draft

Story Highlights

After early run on top QBs, most fantasy owners wait to draft quarterbacks

Round 9 was roughly where running back handcuffs started being selected

Rounds two and three was where majority of top-flight receivers drafted

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Arian Foster
No matter the scoring format, Arian Foster's skills as a runner and pass catcher has made him the top pick in many fantasy drafts.
George Bridges/MCT/LANDOV

Every fantasy football league is different and every draft is the same, especially if you consider the scoring differences of a Points-Per-Reception (PPR) league. Understanding the subtle differences make or break your draft.

Before we present to you SI.com's first Mock Draft for 2012 (a PPR league, by the way), we give you a few final pointers of things to weigh before you get to pickin'.

1. Draft according to your format

This should be beyond obvious to everyone, but it tends to be where the least amount of time fantasy owners spend preparing for their draft. You can know the NFL and its players upside down and inside out -- like your TV talking head of choice -- but if you don't know fantasy and your scoring nuances, you are ostensibly picking blind. Player rankings and average draft position (ADP) differ greatly depending on your format and scoring system. For example, in some leagues that reward points for yardage-against and points-against for Defense/Special teams, it can make sense picking your D/ST before your starting quarterback even. Seriously. D/STs can score big points in some formats, hardly anything in others.

2. Know your league's draft history

Like knowing your scoring system, if you play in a league that has generally had the same members, you can gleam a lot of knowledge from past years' drafts. Watch where the first defenses go off the board (on average); note where the second- and third-tier QBs start going off the board. Fantasy football drafters are creatures of habit. You can learn more about what will happen by looking back at what has.

3. Know your draft location

We aren't talking about showing up at the right address here. If you pick online, know the rankings, projections and ADPs of the website you are drafting on. Where you draft tends to have a significant impact on how your draft goes. A draft on Yahoo.com or ESPN.com will vary from one on CBSSports.com. The wisdom of the crowd tends to get us closer to reality, so have multiple sources of rankings and ADPs. (MockDraftCentral.com has good, frequently updated and multi-format ADP rankings that generally are unaffected by the major commissioner host website's rankings.)

Now that you have those three tips in mind, the draft below is a standard, 12-team PPR league that doesn't value D/STs that greatly. The participants, like most fantasy analysts drafts, generally value running backs and receivers, waiting a bit on quarterbacks. The draft was hosted on CBSSports.com, so it might not follow SI.com's top 200 rankings as closely as some other drafts might.

A few key notes on the draft below:

1. QB -- Three went in Round 1, two went in the middle of Round 2 and then there was a significant wait for the rest of the teams to lock up a starting QB.

2. RB -- Round 9 was roughly the start of owners picking up handcuffs for their elite starting RBs. If you pick Arian Foster (Ben Tate), Fred Jackson (C.J. Spiller), Darren Sproles (Mark Ingram), Beanie Wells (Ryan Williams) and DeAngelo Williams (Jonathan Stewart), you are going to have a tough time locking up your RBs proper handcuff.

3. WR -- They tend to go in bunches. Rounds 2 and 3 were heavy on WRs and RBs.

4. TE -- The elite duo goes off the board early in Round 2 and the next tier waits all the way until Round 5 and 6.

5. K -- If you don't like waiting until the final round, you shouldn't go any earlier than third to the last round. Even then, you should only pick a kicker if you are at the back end of the round. That figures to be where you can start a run on the few top kickers.

6. D/ST -- As reminded above, this league wasn't heavy on D/ST points, so the first unit went off the board in Round 10 and most owners waited even later. If you are in the league with bigger D/STs points, you can consider picking the first unit -- unanimously the 49ers -- in Round 7 or 8.

This draft was held Wednesday, Aug. 22, so there could be significant changes if you are drafting after the pivotal third week of the preseason. That week tends to give us the best information on how offenses and players look, because it is generally the teams' dress rehearsal for opening day. Keep that in mind, as well.

SI.com's 12-team mock draft (PPR)

Round 1

Pick Team Player
1 Team 1 Arian Foster RB HOU
2 Team 2 Ray Rice RB BAL
3 Team 3 LeSean McCoy RB PHI
4 Team 4 Aaron Rodgers QB GB
5 Team 5 Calvin Johnson WR DET
6 Team 6 Chris Johnson RB TEN
7 Team 7 Marshawn Lynch RB SEA
8 Team 8 Darren McFadden RB OAK
9 Team 9 DeMarco Murray RB DAL
10 Team 10 Tom Brady QB NE
11 Team 11 Matt Forte RB CHI
12 Team 12 Drew Brees QB NO

Round 2

Pick Team Player
13 Team 12 Rob Gronkowski TE NE
14 Team 11 Jimmy Graham TE NO
15 Team 10 Wes Welker WR NE
16 Team 9 Cam Newton QB CAR
17 Team 8 Matthew Stafford QB DET
18 Team 7 Trent Richardson RB CLE
19 Team 6 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI
20 Team 5 Greg Jennings WR GB
21 Team 4 Jordy Nelson WR GB
22 Team 3 Andre Johnson WR HOU
23 Team 2 Victor Cruz WR NYG
24 Team 1 Roddy White WR ATL

Round 3

Pick Team Player
25 Team 1 Ryan Mathews RB SD
26 Team 2 Adrian Peterson RB MIN
27 Team 3 Jamaal Charles RB KC
28 Team 4 Fred Jackson RB BUF
29 Team 5 Maurice Jones-Drew RB JAC
30 Team 6 Darren Sproles RB NO
31 Team 7 Julio Jones WR ATL
32 Team 8 A.J. Green WR CIN
33 Team 9 Brandon Marshall WR CHI
34 Team 10 Steven Jackson RB STL
35 Team 11 Hakeem Nicks WR NYG
36 Team 12 Doug Martin RB TB

Round 4

Pick Team Player
37 Team 12 Frank Gore RB SF
38 Team 11 Reggie Bush RB MIA
39 Team 10 Michael Turner RB ATL
40 Team 9 Ahmad Bradshaw RB NYG
41 Team 8 Shonn Greene RB NYJ
42 Team 7 Steve Smith WR CAR
43 Team 6 Percy Harvin WR MIN
44 Team 5 Willis McGahee RB DEN
45 Team 4 Donald Brown RB IND
46 Team 3 Marques Colston WR NO
47 Team 2 Dez Bryant WR DAL
48 Team 1 Eli Manning QB NYG

Round 5

Pick Team Player
49 Team 1 Antonio Gates TE SD
50 Team 2 Matt Ryan QB ATL
51 Team 3 Tony Romo QB DAL
52 Team 4 BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB CIN
53 Team 5 Mike Wallace WR PIT
54 Team 6 Demaryius Thomas WR DEN
55 Team 7 Dwayne Bowe WR KC
56 Team 8 Jeremy Maclin WR PHI
57 Team 9 DeSean Jackson WR PHI
58 Team 10 Miles Austin WR DAL
59 Team 11 Steve Johnson WR BUF
60 Team 12 Antonio Brown WR PIT

Round 6

Pick Team Player
61 Team 12 Eric Decker WR DEN
62 Team 11 Michael Vick QB PHI
63 Team 10 Aaron Hernandez TE NE
64 Team 9 Vernon Davis TE SF
65 Team 8 Jason Witten TE DAL
66 Team 7 Jermichael Finley TE GB
67 Team 6 Ben Roethlisberger QB PIT
68 Team 5 Philip Rivers QB SD
69 Team 4 Torrey Smith WR BAL
70 Team 3 Brandon Lloyd WR NE
71 Team 2 Kevin Smith RB DET
72 Team 1 Vincent Jackson WR TB
 
SI.com
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