Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the top of the round
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Get ready for your season with theScore's 2018 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

theScore's Justin Boone breaks down the best ways to approach your draft depending on where you're selecting in the order.

Draft Position

Here's a look at how you can attack your draft if you've been assigned one of the first four picks in a 12-team standard scoring league.

Average draft position (ADP) data courtesy of Fantasy Football Calculator and is based on 12-team leagues with standard scoring.

Round 1

Picks: 1.01-1.04

Last year, there were two clear top options. This season, you will happily take any of the first four running backs going at the top of the opening round. Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott, and David Johnson offer massive fantasy ceilings due to their dual-threat ability.

Gurley gets the edge over the group after an MVP-like campaign in 2017 with over 2,000 total yards and 19 touchdowns. The Rams loaded up on both sides of the ball in the offseason, and Gurley will be the beneficiary. Brandin Cooks' deep speed will help keep opponents away from the line of scrimmage on offense, while the stacked L.A. defense will provide Gurley with ample opportunities to ice games in the fourth quarter.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st

Others to consider: Le'Veon Bell, David Johnson

Round 2

Picks: 2.09-2.12

In any snake draft, there are pockets where value seems to dry up. For anyone with a top-four pick in the first round, there aren't many targets who can vastly outperform this draft slot when the action returns to you. That's why we're going to steer away from RB and WR and take the unquestioned best tight end in the game - Rob Gronkowski.

Waiting until you can scoop up a discounted tight end later in the draft is normally the smart approach, but in recent years, I've also opened up to investing high picks to acquire elite players at the position. There are none more elite than Gronk, who projects to have another monster season with the Patriots receiving corps decimated by injuries and a suspension to Julian Edelman. Chris Hogan is the only man standing out wide, leaving Gronk to continue his hold on being Tom Brady's favorite weapon. The TD upside alone makes him worth the selection.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd

Others to consider: A.J. Green, Jerick McKinnon

Round 3

Picks: 3.01-3.04

If you're worried we don't have a WR1 yet, don't be. Receiver is arguably the deepest position this year and there's one player on the board who is about to ascend to a new level of stardom in 2018 - Stefon Diggs.

The 24-year-old was a top-20 fantasy wideout last season and gets a major upgrade at quarterback with the arrival of Kirk Cousins. Diggs may still be developing as a pass-catcher, but his talents were on full display during the Vikings' two playoff games where he totaled 14 catches, 207 yards, and a touchdown. It also appears as though Diggs and Cousins have found instant chemistry with the duo connecting three times on their lone drive in the preseason opener, one of which put Diggs into the end zone.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd

Others to consider: T.Y. Hilton, Mike Evans

Round 4

Picks: 4.09-4.12

You always need to be conscious of how you plan on acquiring your running backs. Having a top pick in the first round allowed us to secure an elite rusher, but we still need to get an RB2 before it's too late. If Lamar Miller fell to the end of the fourth, I'd gladly take him as a player who could benefit from a full season with Deshaun Watson. Miller's ADP puts him just out of reach, and with no other backs enticing me in this range, and with us having another pick early in the next round, let's go with an established receiver.

Diggs is a player on the rise and we're going to pair him with a veteran at the position who people write off every year. Larry Fitzgerald turns 35 at the end of August but continues to put up WR1 numbers in fantasy despite being drafted outside the top-20 receivers every year. With little competition for targets in Arizona, Fitzgerald will be in for another high-volume campaign.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 4th
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd

Others to consider: Lamar Miller, Josh Gordon

Round 5

Picks: 5.01-5.04

Now that we've selected our core, we can start to take some chances on players who could vastly outproduce their draft round if things fall their way. As we did in the last round, we need to strongly consider our RB2 situation.

There are a variety of intriguing backs with high ceilings still on the board, but, unfortunately, many of them come with extremely low floors as well. Kerryon Johnson is a rookie we discussed in our exceeding expectations series back in May. He has a diverse skill set, is playing in a proven offense in Detroit, and is running behind an upgraded offensive line. If you're looking for fantasy's next Alvin Kamara or Kareem Hunt, he might be the guy.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
RB2 Kerryon Johnson 5th
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 4th
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd

Others to consider: Marshawn Lynch, Royce Freeman

Round 6

Picks: 6.09-6.12

Maintaining a balanced roster throughout the draft allows you the flexibility to adapt as runs happen or players fall. We find ourselves in that position now as we reach the middle rounds and have the option to steer in any direction.

Unless a running back like Dion Lewis or Sony Michel drop to you, I'm fine with rounding out our starting receivers with one of 2018's biggest breakout candidates - Corey Davis. Following a disappointing rookie season, last year's fifth overall selection is making an impression on his new coaching staff based on all the reports coming out of Titans camp. A couple preseason highlights could alert the masses, but for now, Davis is available in the late sixth round.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
RB2 Kerryon Johnson 5th
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 4th
WR3 Corey Davis 6th
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd

Others to consider: Sony Michel, Michael Crabtree

Round 7

Picks: 7.01-7.04

At this time of year, ADP's can vary wildly as owners try to react to all the news and data coming their way. While one draft might have Tevin Coleman as a fifth-rounder, others may have him being taken on average in the seventh round. It can be frustrating at times, so making sure you're checking different ADP sources can help give you a better perspective on the entire fantasy landscape.

If someone like Coleman were still in the queue, you should hit the draft button as fast as possible since he has league-winning potential if Devonta Freeman gets sidelined. Since that's unlikely, let's focus on a back whose ADP is climbing rapidly after the season-ending injury to Derrius Guice.

A broken leg cost Chris Thompson the final six games of 2017. Prior to the injury, he was a top-12 back in both standard and PPR formats. With Guice going down, Thompson will move into a starring role. Though he's never going to see 20 carries in a game, Thompson showed he's dynamic enough to deliver quality fantasy production on 12-14 touches, a number he'll certainly hit this season sharing the backfield with plodders Rob Kelley and Samaje Perine.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
RB2 Kerryon Johnson 5th
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 4th
WR3 Corey Davis 6th
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd
Bench Chris Thompson 7th

Others to consider: Marquise Goodwin, Tarik Cohen

Round 8

Picks: 8.09-8.12

Upside, upside, upside. That's what we're looking for at this point in the draft, and few players in this range have as much top-end potential as Robby Anderson.

The Jets wideout exploded onto the scene as the WR16 a year ago, often posting WR1 stats. The only reason he finds himself this low in fantasy drafts is a string of off-field issues, which still loom, making a short suspension possible. Even if he were to miss time, at an eighth-round price tag, you can accept the risk.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
RB2 Kerryon Johnson 5th
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 4th
WR3 Corey Davis 6th
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd
Bench Chris Thompson 7th
Bench Robby Anderson 8th

Others to consider: Randall Cobb, Aaron Jones

Round 9

Picks: 9.01-9.04

If you haven't noticed, we're into the ninth round and have yet to snag a quarterback. This position is insanely deep, so if you don't grab one of the elite passers, waiting is almost a must.

While we could hold off another round or two, I have a hard time passing on Matthew Stafford in my drafts. His consistency can allow fantasy owners to sleep well at night, having not finished lower than 12th among fantasy quarterbacks dating back to 2011.

Roster Player Round
QB Matthew Stafford 9th
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
RB2 Kerryon Johnson 5th
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 4th
WR3 Corey Davis 6th
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd
Bench Chris Thompson 7th
Bench Robby Anderson 8th

Others to consider: Jamison Crowder, Kelvin Benjamin

Round 10

Picks: 10.09-10.12

With the starters locked in and one bench receiver drafted in case of injury, we can begin loading up on high upside running backs.

Peyton Barber's ADP will likely skyrocket over the next month as owners begin to realize his role in Tampa Bay will be bigger than expected after the team drafted the so-far disappointing Ronald Jones II.

Matt Breida is always available in the 10th round, despite being in a situation similar to Tevin Coleman in Atlanta. Breida is playing for Coleman's former offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, and will be deployed like Coleman was, as a change of pace option capable of putting up flex numbers most weeks. The SPARQ freak is also playing behind a starter, Jerick McKinnon, who has durability concerns, giving Breida a path to a much bigger workload if McKinnon misses time.

Roster Player Round
QB Matthew Stafford 9th
RB1 Todd Gurley 1st
RB2 Kerryon Johnson 5th
WR1 Stefon Diggs 3rd
WR2 Larry Fitzgerald 4th
WR3 Corey Davis 6th
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 2nd
Bench Chris Thompson 7th
Bench Robby Anderson 8th
Bench Matt Breida 10th

Others to consider: Peyton Barber, D.J. Moore

Late rounds

After the 10th round, you no longer need to pay close attention to ADPs. You should be focused on filling out your bench with as many high-upside players as possible with a focus on running backs and receivers. Quarterbacks or tight ends can always be streamed or at worst, acquired by trading a bench player.

Players to consider: Kenny Stills, Latavius Murray, Giovani Bernard, Jordan Wilkins, Nyheim Hines, Anthony Miller, Michael Gallup, Austin Ekeler, John Ross

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Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the top of the round
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