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1 I AM HAPPY TO BE THY FANTASY LORD, BUT NOT THINE ONLY ONE
NO ONE EXPERT HAS ALL THE ANSWERS FOR YOU, and there's no substitute for accumulating wisdom and becoming your own draft-day guru: A) Study at least four fantasy publications before creating a draft board; B) Continually monitor the Average Draft Position on websites such as mockdraftcentral.com; C) Mock, mock, mock draft your way to build draft-day confidence; D) Study an expert's mock draft and emulate patterns of team-building based on draft slot; and E) Go with your gut instincts—you're the only one whose happiness matters on draft day.
2 THOU SHALT NOT UNDERESTIMATE RUNNING BACK DEPTH WHILE DRAFTING
BY OUR COUNT ABOUT 14 NFL TEAMS BOAST A workhorse back who will monopolize his team's carries this season—Chris Johnson, Ray Rice, Maurice Jones-Drew, Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, Michael Turner, Rashard Mendenhall, Cedric Benson, Beanie Wells, Ryan Mathews, Ryan Grant, Joseph Addai and Cadillac Williams. And yet as owners opt for running backs in time-share situations, not every one of these 14 featured runners will be scooped up in the first four rounds of drafts. The strategy: Don't be afraid to forsake a good but not great tight end or quarterback in rounds 5 or 6 in order to land, say, Williams, who will be the unquestioned back in Tampa, for your bench. You can never have enough rushing depth.
3 THOU SHALT NOT BE A CHUMP
DON'T BE THE FIRST TO DRAFT A KICKER OR a defense (unless it's in the second-to-last round). There is no significant difference between No. 1 and No. 5 in either category. On the flip side, don't be the last to choose a player at the end of a same-position draft run. Obviously this rule can be relaxed when grabbing Mendenhall or Benson right before Andre Johnson in round 1. But for the most part, instead of taking a third-tier receiver late in the fourth round, how about grabbing an elite tight end such as Antonio Gates?
4 REMEMBER THE SABBATH, ESPECIALLY AT 4:15 P.M. ET
SCHEDULE AND WEATHER OFTEN serve as ideal tiebreakers among players with similar talents. Two general rules: Seek out players who are expected to be largely unaffected by bad weather in November and December, and when applicable, always side with those who play against the AFC West or NFC South. With the exception of New Orleans, teams in those divisions should be terrible defensively. The two West divisions will meet round-robin style this year; additionally, the NFC West battles the NFC South. So Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald will have dates with the Falcons, Raiders, Chargers and Buccaneers. Also, Broncos back Knowshon Moreno enjoys two meetings each with the Raiders, Chargers and Chiefs.
5 THOU SHALT NOT MAKE WRONGFUL USE OF JEROME HARRISON'S NAME
WE'RE STANDING BEHIND HARRISON, WHO was getting zero respect in early mock drafts, for the following reasons: A) He rushed for 561 yards and five touchdowns in his final three games of 2009 (Chiefs, Raiders and Jaguars); B) Cleveland opens with Tampa Bay and Kansas City; C) The Browns have an unheralded offensive line, anchored by left tackle Joe Thomas; D) After Mohamed Massaquoi, Cleveland's receiving corps includes Brian Robiskie, Syndric Steptoe and Chansi Stuckey—Translation: The Browns will not be throwing the ball—and E) Cleveland only has to play the tough run defenses of Baltimore and Pittsburgh once from Weeks 1 through 15. And if you have to start Harrison in Weeks 16 (against the Ravens) and 17 (Steelers), that's a good problem to have, since you'll be deep into your fantasy playoffs.