While the first two rounds are important, it takes more than two good picks to win a fantasy title, so here’s a primer on navigating through the rest of a draft:
The other RBs: If you enter the third round in need of a running back and Johnson and Gore are not available, here’s what you’re looking at the next few rounds:
• Maurice Jones-Drew: Coming off a serious foot injury on a team with a new regime and a terrible offense. I drafted him once in all those mocks.
• David Wilson: Presumably the Giants’ new starter, he has the best upside of any RB left. I haven’t seen him last past the third round in weeks. His stock is rising. But it’s wise to handcuff him with Andre Brown to guard against his fumble problems resurfacing.
• Darren McFadden: Pass. No, really, don’t draft him. Not worth it.
• Montee Ball: Yes, he plays on a great offense. But I can guarantee you he won’t be allowed on the field by Manning if he can’t pass-block. Watch his progress in the preseason.
• Darren Sproles: I drafted him a few times before I remembered Sean Payton is back and he likes backfields by committee. He’s much more valuable in a point-per-reception league.
• DeMarco Murray: He’s been plagued by injuries since college. He hasn’t finished either of his seasons in Dallas healthy.
• Chris Ivory: Another guy with plenty of upside. He’s got no competition now that he’s a Jet. There’s an injury concern, but if he’s healthy he’ll get the most important thing a successful fantasy RB needs: carries.
• Reggie Bush: He’s consistently getting drafted higher than his ranking. He proved in Miami he’s more than a third-down back, and he’s in a better position in Detroit.
• If you’re looking for fantasy value in later rounds, I like Lamar Miller, DeAngelo Williams and Giovani Bernard. Miller will get those all-important carries in Miami; Williams has been a fantasy stud before and Jonathan Stewart poses little threat anymore in Carolina; and Bernard is just a hunch. If he ends up earning the starting job in Cincinnati, don’t be afraid to go after him as early as the fifth round.
A little more on QBs:Manning has been available in the third round in the majority of my drafts. If he’s available to you in real life and you don’t already have Rodgers or Brees, take him. He threw 37 TDs last season and the offense added one of the best slot receivers in the game (Welker). The last time Manning had three good receivers in their prime, he threw 49 TDs.
• Cam Newton (31) is being drafted too high. Matt Ryan (44) is being drafted too low.