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Drafting from No. 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12
We’re back at it with the second version of our pick-by-pick series, and this is great draft prep to get you ready to dominate your leagues this year. That’s right, dominate.
If you’re not familiar with this series — where have you been hiding? — this is an exercise we have done for the past several years at CBS Sports to give you a guide on how to build your team from a particular draft slot in a 12-team league. We do it as part of a three-man draft with me, Dave Richard and Heath Cummings, and my teams are at No. 1, No. 4, No. 7 and No. 10 overall.
This is for standard leagues, and we also have a PPR version. And if you want to read the first edition of this series from June then click here.
In this draft at No. 1 overall, I started my team with David Johnson , which was the easy choice. He was the No. 1 running back in 2016 and has the chance to repeat if healthy, and I like him better than Le’Veon Bell , who has yet to report to the Steelers because of a contract dispute.
From there, I went with the best-player available through the first 10 rounds until it was time to get a quarterback, and it paid off to wait. My team is stacked, and I still have a top-10 quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger .
My receiving corps doesn’t have a dominant, No. 1 option, but I like this group, which is led by Terrelle Pryor , Martavis Bryant and Julian Edelman . And I’m excited about my running backs, especially if Leonard Fournette can play at a high level as a rookie. I also have a stud tight end in Jordan Reed .
Here is my team at No. 1 overall:
1.1 David Johnson, RB, ARI
2.12 Terrelle Pryor, WR, WAS
3.1 Leonard Fournette, RB, JAC
4.12 Jordan Reed, TE, WAS
5.1 Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT
6.12 Bilal Powell , RB, NYJ
7.1 Julian Edelman, WR, NE
8.12 Donte Moncrief , WR, IND
9.1 Jacquizz Rodgers , RB, TB
10.12 Cooper Kupp , WR, LAR
11.1 Ben Roethlisberger, QB, PIT
12.12 Josh Doctson , WR, WAS
13.1 Wendell Smallwood , RB, PHI
14.12 Los Angeles Rams DST
Pryor and Bryant aren’t the ideal starting receivers, but in a standard league they both have top-15 upside. And Edelman is a perfect third option, but he should not be drafted before Round 6 now that the Patriots added weapons with Brandin Cooks and Dwayne Allen to go with a healthy Rob Gronkowski .
I’m more than comfortable with my three other receivers in Moncrief, Kupp and Doctson as reserves, and Moncrief could emerge as a solid Fantasy option if his shoulder is OK, as well as having a healthy Andrew Luck (shoulder). Kupp is also one of my favorite late-round sleepers in any format.
When you have a player like Johnson, you have a clear advantage over most teams at running back, and I can dominate this position if Fournette is as good as advertised when he was selected at No. 4 overall in the NFL Draft from LSU. He’s dealing with a foot injury heading into the third preseason game, and the Jaguars have a mess at quarterback with Chad Henne apparently moving ahead of Blake Bortles . But Fournette still offers top-10 upside and is worth a pick in early Round 3.
Powell should be the No. 1 running back for the Jets this year and makes for good insurance as a No. 3 Fantasy option, and I have a wildcard in Rodgers, who will start the first three games for Tampa Bay with Doug Martin (suspension) out. Rodgers could also stake his claim for a big role even when Martin returns if he plays well to start the season. And Smallwood is a sleeper given the uncertainty of the Eagles backfield.
While my receiving corps could make or break my team, so could Reed. He’s finally healthy after starting training camp on the PUP list with a toe injury, and he could be a steal at the end of Round 4 given his upside. If he plays 13-plus games he could easily be the No. 2 Fantasy tight end this year and potentially challenge Gronkowski for the No. 1 spot if Gronkowski struggles with an injury.
Favorite pick: Martavis Bryant
Martavis Bryant WR / Steelers (2015 stats – DNP 2016)
TAR: 92 REC: 50 YDS: 765 TD: 6
I’m glad he’s back from last year’s suspension, and he offers so much upside that it could be scary if he ever got 120-plus targets. Bryant has scored 14 touchdowns in 21 career games, and this is technically his third year in the NFL, which should lead to a breakout campaign. He might never reach his potential with Bell and Antonio Brown on the same field, but he could still finish as a solid No. 2 Fantasy receiver in all leagues. And I love having the bonus double-point connection of Bryant and Roethlisberger on this roster.
Pick I might regret: Leonard Fournette
Leonard Fournette RB / Jaguars (2016 stats in 7 games at LSU)
ATT: 129 YDS: 843 TD: 8 YPC: 6.5 REC: 15 REC YDS: 146
A foot injury, a bad quarterback situation and a shaky offensive line. That’s the downside for Fournette coming into the season, which makes him a risk at the end of Round 2 or beginning of Round 3. But there’s also the chance he has a standout rookie campaign, which has happened to the past three running backs drafted in the first 10 overall picks since 2012 ( Trent Richardson , Todd Gurley and Ezekiel Elliott ). I don’t need Fournette to be as good as Elliott last year for this team to be great. But if he somehow is, watch out.
Player who could make or break my team: Terrelle Pryor
Terrelle Pryor WR / Redskins (2016 stats with CLE)
TAR: 140 REC: 77 YDS: 1,007 TD: 4
Pryor was great last season with terrible quarterback play in Cleveland, and he could be a star in Washington with an upgrade in Kirk Cousins . I’d prefer if he was my No. 2 receiver instead of my No. 1 option, but you don’t have the luxury of getting a top-10 receiver when you pick at No. 1 overall. I’ll buy into Pryor’s upside instead of the receivers who were available at No. 24 overall, which included Demaryius Thomas , Brandin Cooks and Keenan Allen . And if Pryor is as good as I expect then this team could be exceptional.
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