Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the top of the round
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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 to attack the draft if you're assigned one of the first four picks in a 12-team PPR scoring league.

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

Round 1

Picks: 1.01-1.04

Workhorse backs are in high demand, so you have an easy decision to make at the top of the draft.

Christian McCaffrey is this year's unanimous first-overall pick after averaging 29.5 fantasy points per game in 2019 - the most by any player, including league MVP Lamar Jackson (28.1). We haven't seen a running back repeat as the top scoring fantasy rusher in back to back seasons recently, but it's not an impossible task. Players like Marshall Faulk, Emmitt Smith, and even Priest Holmes have accomplished the feat in the past.

If you're picking early in the round, but aren't lucky enough to get the 1.01, don't sweat. Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, and Dalvin Cook are all strong selections in the top five and the most likely candidates to take the rushing crown from CMC.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st

Others to consider: Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara

Round 2

Picks: 2.09-2.12

My goal for most 2020 drafts is to come away with two backs in the first three rounds. However, with an elite halfback option already locked in, we have some wiggle room. The third tier of rushers - including Nick Chubb and Aaron Jones - is usually off the board by this point, so we'll pivot our attention to securing an elite tight end.

Even with so many breakout options at the position this year, Travis Kelce and George Kittle offer a weekly advantage few other players provide. Last season, when compared against wide receivers, Kelce would have finished as the WR9 and Kittle at WR18. In 2018, both players would have been top-12 fantasy wideouts.

Kelce tends to be chosen first between the two, so we'll happily settle for Kittle, who often falls to this range and should see a volume spike early in the season with all the injuries in the 49ers' receiving corps.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
TE1 George Kittle 2nd

Others to consider: Aaron Jones, Allen Robinson, Chris Godwin

Round 3

Picks: 3.01-3.04

Although taking a tight end early on gives us an advantage at a one-off position, it makes filling our rushing and receiving spots more difficult. There's no real running back value presenting itself on this turn, so we'll focus on landing a receiver with top-five upside.

Allen Robinson amassed the third-most targets and eighth-most fantasy points at the position last year. He's made a career of producing despite subpar quarterback play, dating back to his 80-catch, 1,400-yard, 14-touchdown campaign with Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars. If Nick Foles can provide a minor upgrade or push Mitch Trubisky to improve his game, we'll see Robinson move even higher up the fantasy charts.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
TE1 George Kittle 2nd

Others to consider: DJ Moore, Chris Carson, Adam Thielen

Round 4

Picks: 4.09-4.12

My favorite approach is to maintain balance throughout a draft, allowing you to grab whatever valuable picks emerge. As leveled as we appear on paper at the moment, we came out of the first three rounds with only one running back. We still have a vital need in that area, and the guys with guaranteed volume are drying up quickly.

Mark Ingram doesn't come without flaws - his pass-catching role in Baltimore's offense is limited, with his five receiving touchdowns destined to regress in 2020. He's also 30 years old and coming off a late-season calf injury. Oh, and did we mention the team drafted his future replacement J.K. Dobbins in the second round this year? The clock is ticking on Ingram's time as the Ravens' starter.

Even so, Ingram averaged the 10th-most fantasy points among ball carriers last season, and he'll open the year leading the backfield for the league's best rushing attack. At this stage of the draft, he's worth the risk given his RB1 upside.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
TE1 George Kittle 2nd

Others to consider: Robert Woods, Devin Singletary, Terry McLaurin

Round 5

Picks: 5.01-5.04

Receiving depth is what ultimately allowed us to select two running backs and a tight end in our opening four picks. Now, this is the range of the draft where we make up for it by hitting the receivers hard - starting with Tyler Lockett.

Lockett's mind-meld with Russell Wilson is a sight to be seen every Sunday, and it helped the 27-year-old to a career year - 82 receptions, 1,057 yards, and eight touchdowns made him the WR13 in fantasy. His teammate DK Metcalf excels as a big-bodied downfield threat on the outside, while Lockett carves defenses up at every level. Another top-15 season is well within reach.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd

Others to consider: DJ Chark, Raheem Mostert, Mark Andrews

Round 6

Picks: 6.09-6.12

We put our wide receiver run on hold to make sure we have both key members of the Ravens' RB depth chart. Handcuffing running backs isn't something you should go out of your way to do, but in this instance, our stable lineup affords us the luxury of grabbing an expensive backup.

We talked about the upside of Baltimore's ground game when we drafted Ingram, and now we're confident we'll have their lead back at RB2 for all 16 weeks. Dobbins is the future for the Ravens, and that future might arrive at some point this season.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd
Bench J.K. Dobbins 6th

Others to consider: DeVante Parker, Marquise Brown, Julian Edelman

Round 7

Picks: 7.01-7.04

The top end of our roster is set, so now we can aim purely for upside. Will Fuller has an extremely low floor, having missed 22 games over his four-year career and often struggling to play through injuries.

Fuller also possesses one of the highest ceilings of any NFL receiver, evidenced by his 14-catch, 217-yard, three-touchdown performance against the Atlanta Falcons last season. With DeAndre Hopkins now out of the picture, Fuller will have a chance to take his game to the next level - if he can stay healthy.

Knowing Fuller's durability issues, we'll make sure to invest in a few more upside receivers as the draft moves along.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
WR3 Will Fuller 7th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd
Bench J.K. Dobbins 6th

Others to consider: Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup, Jordan Howard

Round 8

Picks: 8.09-8.12

Marvin Jones might be the most valuable player available in 2020 fantasy drafts. Over their last 16 games, Jones has more receptions and the same number of touchdowns as teammate Kenny Golladay, who's going off the board six rounds before him.

The fact that Jones is 30 years old and has missed time each of the past two seasons still doesn't explain his discounted ADP. Jones was the WR13 through 12 outings in 2019 before injuries ended his campaign. We're getting him here as the WR38.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
WR3 Will Fuller 7th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd
FLEX Marvin Jones 8th
Bench J.K. Dobbins 6th

Others to consider: Latavius Murray, Emmanuel Sanders, CeeDee Lamb

Round 9

Picks: 9.01-9.04

The ninth round is when I routinely find my starting quarterback, and that process helped me snag Patrick Mahomes in 2018 and Lamar Jackson in 2019. While the odds of finding another late-round QB on the verge of a transformative year are slim, there are a few passers who fit the bill this fantasy season, like Josh Allen and Carson Wentz.

Our choice is Allen, thanks to his rushing upside (1,141 yards and 17 touchdowns over two seasons) and Stefon Diggs' arrival. Deep-ball accuracy is a weakness in Allen's arsenal, but that's where Diggs excels. After rebuilding the offensive line and bringing in weapons like John Brown, Cole Beasley, and Devin Singletary, Bills general manager Brandon Beane found a true No. 1 receiver who can help Allen reach new heights.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Josh Allen 9th
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
WR3 Will Fuller 7th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd
FLEX Marvin Jones 8th
Bench J.K. Dobbins 6th

Others to consider: Carson Wentz, Henry Ruggs, Jalen Reagor

Round 10

Picks: 10.09-10.12

Our starting lineup is complete, meaning we can continue filling out our bench with upside players. Anthony Miller made my list of breakout candidates after finishing his sophomore season on a strong note.

Miller scored seven touchdowns as a rookie, but the Bears bizarrely didn't use him full-time last year until Week 11. From then on, he averaged nine targets per game - ranking 15th in the league over that stretch - and put up at least 50 yards and/or a score in five out of six appearances.

If Foles ends up under center, his affinity for the slot will be another asset for Miller's fantasy outlook.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Josh Allen 9th
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
WR3 Will Fuller 7th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd
FLEX Marvin Jones 8th
Bench J.K. Dobbins 6th
Bench Anthony Miller 10th

Others to consider: Christian Kirk, Tony Pollard, Darrell Henderson

Round 11

Picks: 11.01-11.04

Fading rookie receivers can be a smart decision, especially with a limited offseason and no exhibition games this year. Opportunity can be a massive difference-maker in terms of fantasy value, and first-rounder Jalen Reagor is about to get all the snaps he can handle in Philly.

With Alshon Jeffery sidelined indefinitely and Marquise Goodwin opting out, the Eagles' receiving corps is looking thin already. DeSean Jackson returns healthy after missing almost the entire 2019 season, occupying one of the starting spots. Behind him, it's JJ Arcega-Whiteside hoping to rebound after a disappointing rookie year, journeyman Greg Ward, and a slew of rookies.

Reagor has draft capital on his side and the speed to challenge defenders downfield - something the Eagles' coaching staff has made clear they want to push moving forward. He's an obvious late-round target.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Josh Allen 9th
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
WR3 Will Fuller 7th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd
FLEX Marvin Jones 8th
Bench J.K. Dobbins 6th
Bench Anthony Miller 10th
Bench Jalen Reagor 11th

Others to consider: Duke Johnson, Boston Scott, DeSean Jackson

Round 12

Picks: 12.09-12.12

We're light on tailbacks entering the final rounds, so that'll be our focus as we fill our bench with value options.

Jerick McKinnon missed each of the last two seasons due to injuries, but now he's back and earning positive reviews from teammates and beat writers in San Francisco. Raheem Mostert is the favorite to lead the 49ers in carries, but they barely used him in the passing game during his late-season breakout.

McKinnon not only steps in as a pass-catching threat but can also produce yards on the ground, proven when the Minnesota Vikings thrust him into a primary back role. Kyle Shanahan isn't shy about using the hot-hand approach with his backs, so we'll take McKinnon as a possible PPR flex play with an outside shot at an expanded role if Mostert falters.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Josh Allen 9th
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Mark Ingram 4th
WR1 Allen Robinson 3rd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 5th
WR3 Will Fuller 7th
TE1 George Kittle 2nd
FLEX Marvin Jones 8th
Bench J.K. Dobbins 6th
Bench Anthony Miller 10th
Bench Jalen Reagor 11th
Bench Jerick McKinnon 12th

Others to consider: DeAndre Washington, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard

Late rounds

The truth is, after the 10th round or so, you no longer need to pay close attention to ADPs. You should focus on stocking your bench with as many high-ceiling players as possible, with your sights set on running backs and receivers. Quarterbacks or tight ends can always be streamed or acquired by trading a bench player. Save your final two picks for a defense and a kicker.

Players to consider: Damien Harris, DeAndre Washington, Ryquell Armstead, Anthony McFarland, Benny Snell, Bryce Love, N’Keal Harry, Preston Williams, Mike Williams, Parris Campbell, Curtis Samuel, Breshad Perriman, Allen Lazard, Gardner Minshew, Teddy Bridgewater, Mike Gesicki, TJ Hockenson, Jonnu Smith, Eric Ebron, Blake Jarwin

Draft Position

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Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the top of the round
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