Fantasy Clicks: Who's In Your Five?
Adrian Peterson: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
"Just like Texas Hold 'Em; fantasy football takes five minutes to learn but a lifetime to master." -- Unknown
Let's talk about something real in fantasyland drafts: What is your strategy for the first five picks? Without making any specific player assumptions -- unless you possess a top-4 pick -- have you determined a general battleplan for attacking 10-, 12- or even 14-team drafts? Have you figured out which middle round you'll spring for a quarterback, unless Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning should fall into your lap late in Round 3? Well, hath no fear or ambivalence ... because here's a great positional flow-chart for all four quadrants of a standard-scoring, 12-team draft:
Round 1, RB options -- Peterson, Turner, Forte, Jones-Drew
Round 2, WR options -- Wayne, Jennings, Boldin, Bowe
Round 3, WR options -- Boldin, Bowe, Roddy White, Steve Smith
Round 4, RB options -- Addai, Larry Johnson, Beanie Wells, Lynch
Round 5, RB options -- Wells, Ward, Lynch, Reggie Bush, Derrick Ward, Thomas Jones
Strategy: This plan could not be simpler. First, you corral a stratospheric running back in Round 1. Secondly, get ready to land one, if not two of the Elite Six wideouts (Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Calvin Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Greg Jennings) and then, lastly, kill the opposition with a steady-stream of talented rushers in time-shares (or soloists like Beanie Wells -- sorry, Tim Hightower). And oh yeah, see ya in the playoffs!
Round 1, RB -- Forte, Jones-Drew, Jackson, Tomlinson, DeAngelo Williams, Chris Johnson
Round 2, WR -- Calvin Johnson, Andre Johnson, Wayne, Jennings, Boldin, Bowe
Round 3, RB -- Portis, Barber, Gore, Ronnie Brown, Ryan Grant, Westbrook
Round 4, WR -- Welker, Owens, Ochocinco, Marshall, Edwards, Vincent Jackson,
Round 5, RB -- McFadden, Kevin Smith, Thomas Jones, Stewart, Parker, Rice, Felix Jones, Brown, Benson
Strategy: Most people view the 4-6 slots as a proverbial No Man's Land, where you seldom have control of the flow of the draft. Pish-posh. If anything, you simply let the stars at RB/WR/RB/WR/RB fall to you for each respective round, thus getting maximum value without really racking your brain on how to build an all-star team.
Round 1, WR -- Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Randy Moss
Round 2, RB -- Jacobs, Westbrook, Portis, Barber, Gore, Ronnie Brown
Round 3, QB -- Brees, Brady, Peyton Manning
Round 4, WR -- Colston, Houshmandzadeh, Owens, Braylon Edwards, Ochocinco, Marshall
Round 5, RB -- Stewart, Parker, Rice, Felix Jones, Brown, Benson, Bush
Strategy: If you really crave Drew Brees, Tom Brady or Peyton Manning for 2009 ... this is the perfect spot to land 'em in Round 3 -- without any of the guilt associated with reaching in a draft. In leagues where TD passes are only worth 4 or 5 points, I guarantee that either Brees, Brady or Manning will be available to you midway through Round 3. This ought to blow your mind when considering Manning, who hasn't missed a significant snap with the Colts in 11 amazing NFL seasons.
Round 1, WR -- Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson, Randy Moss
Round 2, WR -- Calvin Johnson, Moss, Wayne, Jennings
Round 3, WR -- Roddy White, Steve Smith, Bowe, Houshmandzadeh, Colston
Round 4, RB -- Ryan Grant, Kevin Smith, McFadden, Pierre Thomas, Addai, Wells
Round 5, RB -- Wells, Ward, Thomas Jones, Felix Jones, Lynch, Willie Parker, Jonathan Stewart
Strategy: Given all the effective time-shares at the running back spot, what bold fantasy owner doesn't dream of going WR-WR-WR to start a draft, knowing there's immense RB value in the middle rounds? I've already implemented this strategy in two recent drafts ... with superb RB classes in both. Just make sure that you secure at least five quality rushers from Rounds 4 through 10.
I'm happy to report that I survived Wednesday's SI.com & Friends league draft, a venture that comprised 16 teams but just 14 rounds. Frankly, it's an experience like none other in fantasyland: You have to fight a simultaneous battle of building a strong, deep and reliable WR/RB stable, while also landing a top-notch quarterback or tight end -- out of fear of having Chad Pennington and Kevin Boss as week-in, week-out starters.
Round 1 -- WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (the best wideout in the biz)
Round 2 -- RB Kevin Smith, Lions (has capacity for 1,300 total yards/10 TDs)
Round 3 -- WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs (the new Fitzgerald in Todd Haley's world)
Round 4 -- RB Beanie Wells, Cards (did you see last week's scoring runs?)
Round 5 -- WR Santana Moss, Redskins (solid and dependable -- just like Hines Ward)
Round 6 -- TE John Carlson, Seahawks (could rise to No. 5 tight end by season's end)
Round 7 -- RB Leon Washington, Jets (I'm relying on Rex Ryan's word that L-Wash will explode)
Round 8 -- QB Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks (the best option; plus, I have the Carlson handcuff)
Round 9 -- RB Glen Coffee, 49ers (perhaps the most impressive non-QB during the preseason)
Round 10 -- WR Earl Bennett, Bears (someone has to benefit from Jay Cutler's presence)
Round 11 -- D/ST San Diego Chargers (I'm fully committed to The Figthing Cromarties)
Round 12 -- QB JaMarcus Russell, Raiders (has 3,000-yard potential)
Round 13 -- PK Kris Brown, Texans
Round 14 -- WR Laurent Robinson, Rams (will legitimately push Donnie Avery as the team's WR1)
One quick note about the SI.com & Friends' 16-team draft: In eight years of playing fantasy football -- spanning more than 100 leagues -- I had never owned Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss (430 catches, 6,541 receiving yards, 10 touchdowns) ... until today. Wow!
Here are a few predraft pointers that are eerily similar to the ones in Sports Illustrated's runaway best-selling fantasy magazine (at a bookstore near you):
1. Do Your Homework
Fantasy championships seldom fall in the laps of absentee or indifferent owners. In fact, a title earned in Week 16/17 is usually the culmination of hard work, discipline and excellent preparation in August. Here are three components to that process:
**Study at least four publications (outside of your thrice-a-week addiction to Fantasy Clicks): Get a sense of what the experts are saying -- along with what they're not saying -- about cetain players. Find common ground among the predraft rankings and drafting trends.
**Continually monitor the Average Draft Position (ADP) rankings on various Web sites: Average draft positions afford you the chance to get the player you want at the value you want ... without the embarrassment of "reaching" for his services.
**Mock, mock, mock your way to building draft-day confidence: There's no disputing your childhood piano instructor's creed: Practice makes perfect. For example, let's say you have your heart set on taking Marques Colston as a WR1 in a standard-scoring league, and after five or 10 mock drafts, you're stunned to learn that he's typically going in Round 4 (maybe Round 3, for those playing in Louisiana-based leagues). With that inside knowledge, you can now focus on getting a stud running back in Round 3, knowing Colston will most likely be waiting for you on the flip side.
2. Get To Know Your Fellow Owners
This process is incredibly simple: If you're in a league with friends, just stick to a methodical predraft plan of talking trash (like psyching out the competition for players slotted in Rounds 2-5). And in the interest of a little investigative journalism, find out which players will be taken in Round 1, pick-by-pick, just in case you're looking to trade down in the draft.
Now for the fun part: If you're playing in an online league with strangers, buddy up to 'em before the draft. Find out where they're from (chances are they'll reach for a player from their hometown team -- it's human nature) and/or subtly coerce them into bragging about the best draft pick or trade they've made in recent times. The rationale: Fantasy owners tend to redraft players who once led them to a title. You can use that loyalty as leverage for a draft-day trade (assuming you can swap picks during The Show).
3. Come Armed With Cheat Sheets (1-2 pages max)
With 60-90 seconds between picks, you'll never have enough time to peruse a whole notebook of predraft insights once the clock starts ticking. Be orgzanized. Condense your notes. Economize on time. Rank players by specific numbers or color-coded schemes, or whatever it takes to save time when you're on the clock.
4. Limit Your Alcohol Intake During A Live Draft
Fantasy friends typically enjoy having a few drinks at a local watering hole on draft night. The rule of thumb here: Always consume less alcohol than the owners selecting before AND after you in a snake draft. You'll thank me in the morning.
1. Never take a QB in the first two rounds (only two exceptions to the rule)
**IF Tom Brady should personally guarantee you, in writing, that he'll throw 45-50 touchdowns in 2009. And if he falls through on the promise, you get to date one of Gisele's supermodel friends for a week (which, as luck would have it, includes one trip to your ex-girlfriend/ex-boyfriend's house ... just to say "Hi").
**IF Brady, Drew Brees or Peyton Manning should magically fall into your lap at the tail end of Round 3. Otherwise, keep building a viable stable of running backs and receivers. The lesson here: Fantasyland quarterback depth should never be a concern (except for 16-team leagues).
2. Never be at the tail-end of a same-position draft run
Rather than grabbing the No. 12 running back in Round 2 -- just because everyone else is hurrying to fill that position -- how about snagging the No. 1 or 2 receiver instead (Larry Fitzgerald/Andre Johnson/Randy Moss -- depending on the scoring rules)? Good drafting is ALWAYS about great value.
3. Never draft a kicker until the last three rounds
By my count, there are 16 fantasy-friendly kickers this season (and I wasn't necessarily counting Garrett Hartley on that list). So, unless you're playing in a league with 18 teams or more ... wait, wait, wait to rescue someone off the proverbial salt mine.
4. Never a take a defense until the last three rounds
Forgive me for essentially repeating points from #3, but here's some food for thought: In an 18-round PPR draft last year, I landed running backs DeAngelo Williams (1,636 total yards, 20 TDs in '08) and Chris Johnson (1,488 yards, 10 TDs) in Rounds 14 and 15, respectively, simply because I wasn't stupid enough to take dime-a-dozen defense early in the game. C'mon people, think!
5. Put on your George Costanza thinking cap and 'Do The Opposite'
If you own a low pick in Round 1 (10- or 12-team league), how about taking receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson with the first two picks? And, if Packers wideout Greg Jennings is sitting there in Round 3, run -- don't walk -- to grab him. All of a sudden you possess three all-world receivers, and you now have 10 solid chances (Rounds 4-13) to find two or three high-quality running backs (an easy feat in this age of time-sharing), one stud quarterback (you might even secure two) and one difference-making tight end (John Carlson, Kellen Winslow, Visanthe Shiancoe or Dustin Keller).
Kickers may be the red-headed step-children of fantasy football; but, like it or not, they're still a vital part of the game (and championships). So, if you're playing in a league that rewards kickers three points for field goals 21-39 yards, four points for FGs 40-49 yards and five points for 50-plus-yard FGs ... here's something to consider: CBSSports.com's projections for every kicker who'll make at least 25 field goals. Noticeably absent here is Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding, who's earmarked for only 23 field goals -- which can ONLY mean an avalanche of red-zone touchdowns for LaDainian Tomlinson and/or Philip Rivers.
Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots -- 29 field goals
Jason Elam, Falcons -- 29 field goals
Mason Crosby, Packers -- 28 field goals
Rob Bironas, Titans -- 28 field goals
David Akers, Eagles -- 28
Robbie Gould, Bears -- 27
Josh Brown, Rams -- 27
Matt Bryant, Buccaneers -- 26
Shayne Graham, Bengals -- 26
Adam Vinatieri, Colts -- 25
Dan Carpenter, Dolphins -- 25
Jeff Reed, Steelers -- 25
Rian Lindell, Bills -- 25
Olindo Mare, Seahawks -- 25
Shaun Suisham, Redskins -- 25
Let's pretend you have the No. 2 overall pick in a 10-team, standard-scoring league ... and subsequently, the No. 19 pick on the turnaround. And let's say you're primed to grab Falcons RB Michael Turner in Round 1 and Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin in Round 2. Sounds like a great plan ... until you realize both Turner and Boldin share the same bye period, Week 4. Would you be comfortable with having two elite talents sitting out the same week, or would you prefer to miss their fantasy goodness in staggered weeks? Here's the 2009 bye schedule, along with the impacted fantasy stars:
Week 4: Cardinals (Fitzgerald, Boldin, Warner, Wells, Urban, Breaston, Hightower, Pope), Falcons (Turner, Ryan, White, Jenkins, Norwood, Gonzalez), Panthers (Williams, Stewart, Delhomme, Muhammad, Smith, Dawson, Jarrett), Eagles (McNabb, Westbrook, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin, Curtis, Avant, Celek)
Week 5: Bears (Cutler, Forte, Peterson, Bennett, Hester, Olsen), Packers (Rodgers, Grant, Wynn, Jennings, Driver, Jones, Lee), Saints (Brees, Bush, Thomas, Colston, Moore, Henderson, Meachem, Shockey, Miller), Chargers (Rivers, Tomlinson, Sproles, Jackson, Chambers, Floyd, Gates, Davis)
Week 6: Cowboys (Romo, Barber, Jones, Choice, Williams, Hurd, Crayton, Witten, Bennett), Colts (Manning, Addai, Brown, Wayne, Gonzalez, Collie, Clark), Dolphins (Pennington, Brown, Williams, Camarillo, Ginn, Bess, Fasano), 49ers (Hill, Crabtree, Gore, Robinson, Coffee, Bruce, Davis, Morgan)
Week 7: Ravens (Flacco, McGahee, McClain, Rice, Mason, Clayton, Heap), Broncos (Orton/Simms, Marshall, Royal, Stokley, Scheffler, Moreno, Buckhalter, Jordan, Hillis, Torain), Lions (Culpepper/Stafford, Smith, Johnson, Johnson, Curry, Pettigrew), Jaguars (Garrard, Jones-Drew, Washington, Northcutt, Holt, Lewis, Dillard, Walker, Williamson), Seahawks (Hasselbeck, Jones, Duckett, Burleson, Branch, Houshmandzadeh, Payne, Carlson), Titans (Collins/Young, Johnson, White, Gage, Thorpe, Washington, Scaife)
Week 8: Bengals (Palmer, Benson, Johnson, Leonard, Dorsey, Ochocinco, Simpson, Crosby, Urrutia), Chiefs (Cassel/Thigpen, Johnson, Charles, Cottam, Bowe, Engram, Bradley), Patriots (Brady, Taylor, Maroney, Morris, Moss, Welker, Galloway, Smith), Steelers (Roethlisberger, Parker, Mendenhall, Ward, Sweed, Holmes, Miller), Buccaneers (Johnson/Griese/Leftwich, Graham, Ward, Williams, Winslow, Clayton, Bryant), Redskins (Campbell, Portis, Betts, Moss, Cooley, Thomas, Kelly, Randle El)
Week 9: Bills (Edwards, Lynch, Jackson, Rhodes, Owens, Evans, Hardy, Reed, Parrish), Browns (Quinn, Anderson, Lewis, Edwards, Robiskie, Heiden, Royal, Harrison, Furrey, Cribbs), Rams (Bulger, Jackson, Avery, Burton, Robinson, Klopfenstein, Darby, Pittman, McMichael), Vikings (Rosenfels, Peterson, Harvin, Taylor, Berrian, Rice, Shiancoe), Raiders (Russell, McFadden, Fargas, Bush, Heyward-Bey, Walker, Schilens, Miller), Jets (Clemens, Washington, Jones, Greene, Stuckey, Cotchery, Keller, Clowney)
Week 10: Texans (Schaub, Johnson, Walter, Slaton, Daniels, Green), Giants (Manning, Hixon, Hicks, Boss, Jacobs, Bradshaw, Toomer)
Kurt Warner: AP
On paper, I want to believe that Aaron Rodgers has a statistical fantasy edge over the ageless Kurt Warner. Oh sure, Warner has Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston at his beckon call and enjoys the climate-controlled creature comforts of University of Phoenix Stadium (worst park name ... ever!). But every QB-rankings sheet I've found in magazines and on the Web (including my own rankings for the SI/Facebook game) has Rodgers (4,038 yards, 28 TDs in '08) pegged ahead of Warner -- with a few guys separating them, as well. But I'm the curious type. I need to know exactly how the Rodgers-Warner battle will shake out from a week-to-week standpoint. Hence, this impromptu breakdown:
Week 1 -- Warner (vs. San Francisco) over Rodgers (vs. Chicago)
Week 2 -- Rodgers (vs. Cincinnati) over Warner (@ Jacksonville) -- virtual toss-up
Week 3 -- Rodgers (@ St. Louis) over Warner (vs. Indianapolis)
Week 4 -- Rodgers (@ Minnesota) over Warner (BYE)
Week 5 -- Warner (vs. Houston) over Rodgers (BYE)
Week 6 -- Rodgers (vs. Detroit) over Warner (@ Seattle)
Week 7 -- Rodgers (@ Cleveland) over Warner (@ N.Y. Giants)
Week 8 -- Warner (vs. Carolina) over Rodgers (vs. Minnesota)
Week 9 -- Rodgers (@ Tampa Bay) over Warner (@ Chicago)
Week 10 -- Warner (vs. Seattle) over Rodgers (vs. Dallas) -- virtual toss-up
Week 11 -- Warner (@ St. Louis) over Rodgers (vs. San Francisco) -- virtual toss-up
Week 12 -- Rodgers (@ Detroit) over Warner (@ Tennessee)
Week 13 -- Warner (vs. Minnesota) over Rodgers (vs. Baltimore)
Week 14 -- Warner (@ San Francisco) over Rodgers (@ Chicago)
Week 15 -- Warner (@ Detroit) over Rodgers (@ Pittsburgh)
Week 16 -- Warner (vs. St. Louis) over Rodgers (vs. Seattle)
Week 17 -- Warner over Rodgers (head-to-head -- Green Bay @ Arizona)
Verdict: Well, you could've knocked me over with a feather on this one. Not only does Warner win by a decisive 10-7 margin ... he takes the cake in the last five games -- including the all-important playoff period of Weeks 13-16. I guess Jerry Seinfeld was right when he opined, "Never assume ... it only leads to assumptions."
These teams should have a minimum of 12 weather-friendly games, which is the first step to predicting fantasy goodness (especially with quarterbacks):
St. Louis (the lone exception is Dec. 6 @ Chicago)
Tampa Bay (Dec. 20 @ Seattle represents the only hindrance)
Arizona (only Nov. 8 @ Chicago could be a problem)
Houston (how blustery can Buffalo actually be on Nov. 1?)
New Orleans (maybe there'll be crummy weather @ Carolina on Jan. 3)
Detroit (this may be a factor in giving Matthew Stafford the starting nod)
On the flip side ... these clubs should encounter treacherous weather for at least five games, which often serves as the great equalizer with star QBs (see Tom Brady, Week 15 of 2007 vs. N.Y. Jets):
Buffalo (I hope T.O. can catch balls amidst freezing temps, snow and perilous crosswinds)
Cleveland (In bad weather, does it really matter who's QB -- Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson?)
Quarterbacks are the make-or-break assets of fantasy football -- especially if you reached early on one -- but they're not all created equal. To wit, the QB tier system for fantasy drafts:
Tier 1 (4,350 total yards and/or 34 TDs)
Drew Brees, Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Kurt Warner
Tier 2 (4,000 total yards and/or 30 TDs)
Philip Rivers, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Donovan McNabb
Tier 3 (3,600 total yards and/or 27 TDs)
Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning, Matt Schaub, Matt Hasselbeck, Matt Cassel, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Carson Palmer
Tier 4 (3,050 yards and/or 22 TDs)
Jason Campbell, Trent Edwards, JaMarcus Russell, Joe Flacco, David Garrard, Chad Pennington, Kyle Orton, Brett Favre, Jake Delhomme, Shaun Hill, Marc Bulger
Tier 5 (2,700 yards and 17 TDs)
Daunte Culpepper, Mark Sanchez, Brady Quinn, Kerry Collins
Tier 6 (Does it really matter how they perform?)
Matthew Stafford, Tarvaris Jackson, Josh Freeman, Luke McCown, Sage Rosenfels, Derek Anderson, Tyler Thigpen, Byron Leftwich, Kellen Clemens, Vince Young, Pat White, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dan Orlovsky, Matt Leinart, Kyle Boller, Seneca Wallace, Rex Grossman
The number 7 may be lucky in Las Vegas, but it's an insult to the fantasy world when associated with Captain America himself, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. In Sports Illustrated's fantasy football spectacular, we apparently created a tiny stir when listing Brady as the seventh-ranked QB, behind such notables as Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner and Donovan McNabb. Never mind that Brady was coming off a season-ending knee injury (one that required two separate surgeries after an infection following Operation No. 1), or that he has thrown 29-plus TD passes exactly once in his nine-year career (an NFL-record 50 in 2007) ... our prediction -- although proffered with the best of intentions -- still drew the ire of those who think Brady's fantasy bar now begins at 42 TDs and 4,800 yards. But hey, that's OK, it comes with the territory of walking the plank of bold statements.
That aside, it would be incredibly disingenuous to NOT mention the following, so here goes: In my rankings on SI.com, I have Brady at No. 2, fractionally ahead of the Colts' Manning. So, even I am not in lock-step agreement with the magazine's QB rankings (penned by the incomparable David Sabino). But that's not to say Sabino (or anyone else) couldn't find 10 valid reasons to justify the No. 7 ranking:
10. It's possible for Brady to throw for 4,000 yards and 33 TDs and still finish seventh among quarterbacks this year. Brady's competition -- especially in this golden age of passing attempts per game -- is that good.
9. I mentioned this up top, but Brady has only tossed 29 or more TDs once in his career (2007), all with the same team and same head coach (Bill Belichick).
8. The Patriots might have their best corps at running back since 2004 -- in Kevin Faulk, Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and a seemingly healthy Laurence Maroney.
7. Most players in today's age need approximately 18-24 months to fully recover from reconstructive knee surgery, although it certainly helps Brady's cause that he suffered his injury in Week 1 last year -- not Week 10.
6. The median age for the Patriots' top-3 receivers: 32 (Randy Moss, 31; We Welker, 28; Joey Galloway, 37).
5. Brady's usually an annual lock for 12-14 interceptions. His eight in 2007 may have been a statistical anomaly.
4. The last time the Patriots had a new offensive coordinator was 2005, the season after Charlie Weis left Foxboro to coach at Notre Dame. In '05, Belichick reportedly spent a lot of time in offensive meetings, essentially helping new coordinator (and current Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels) get his feet wet with play-calling. Brady's stats that season -- a respectable 26 TDs and 4,110 passing yards (a career-high for Brady at the time).
3. Brady's post-surgery mobility may be compromised early in the season. Plus, rust could be a lingering factor in September.
2. In 1984, Dolphins QB Dan Marino set an NFL record with 48 TD passes. The following season, he threw "only" 30. Twenty years later, Peyton Manning topped Marino's mark with 49 touchdowns ... only to fling 28 in 2005.
1. Why can't people just accept that Brady was in a once-in-a-lifetime "zone" for 2007 ... and that no one could ever duplicate such prodigious play again in a season?
By my count, there are 22 legitimate running back time-shares, all of which could greatly impact your championship chances this season (especially if you fail to pair Colts rookie Donald Brown with Joseph Addai ... or Raiders second-year stud Darren McFadden with either Michael Bush or Justin Fargas). In fact, here are the time-share rankings, from No. 1 (Marion Barber/Felix Jones) to No. 22 (the Broncos' full-house stable, led by rookie Knowshon Moreno):
1. Marion Barber/Felix Jones, Cowboys
2. DeAngelo Williams/Jonathan Stewart, Panthers
3. Chris Johnson/LenDale White, Titans
4. Joseph Addai/Donald Brown, Colts
5. Darren McFadden/Michael Bush/Justin Fargas, Raiders
6. Frank Gore/Glen Coffee, 49ers
7. LaDainian Tomlinson/Darren Sproles, Chargers
8. Pierre Thomas/Reggie Bush, Saints
9. Marshawn Lynch/Fred Jackson, Bills
10. Thomas Jones/Leon Washington/Shonn Greene, Jets
11. Adrian Peterson/Chester Taylor, Vikings
12. Ryan Grant/Brandon Jackson/Tyrell Sutton, Packers
13. Larry Johnson/Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
14. Ray Rice/Willis McGahee/Le'Ron McClain, Ravens
15. Brian Westbrook/LeSean McCoy, Eagles
16. Willie Parker/Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers
17. Beanie Wells/Tim Hightower, Cardinals
18. Derrick Ward/Earnest Graham/Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers
19. Jamal Lewis/James Davis, Browns
20. Julius Jones/Edgerrin James, Seahawks
21. Kevin Faulk/Laurence Maroney/Fred Taylor/Sammy Morris, Patriots
22. Knowshon Moreno/Peyton Hillis/Correll Buckhalter/LaMont Jordan, Broncos ('full-house backfield?' -- it's more like the timeless tale of the Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe)
Sports Illustrated and SI.com should always be your primary source for voluminous information leading up to fantasy drafts ... but if you're in the mood to participate in a LIVE mock draft on the Web -- while learning NOT to reach for Hakeem Nicks before Round 11 -- here are the best destinations for real-time mocking:
**Mock Draft Central
**ESPN Mock Draft Lobby
**Fantasy Football Calculator
And finally ... a little preview of the likely studs (factoring in opponent and weather) for Week 14 & 15, traditionally the first two fantasy-playoff weeks:
QBs: Kurt Warner, Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb, Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, Matt Ryan, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Peyton Manning
RBs: LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson, Frank Gore, Willie Parker, Michael Turner, Chris Johnson, Steven Jackson, Darren McFadden, Clinton Portis, Brian Westbrook, Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Marshawn Lynch, Marion Barber
WRs: Santonio Holmes, Hines Ward, Marques Colston, Roddy White, Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Eddie Royal, Terrell Owens, Dwayne Bowe, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Anquan Boldin
QBs: Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Donovan McNabb, Matt Schaub, Kerry Collins, JaMarcus Russell, Philip Rivers, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Delhomme
RBs: Maurice Jones-Drew, Marion Barber, Reggie Bush, Marshawn Lynch, Beanie Wells, Larry Johnson, Michael Turner, Thomas Jones, Steven Jackson, Brian Westbrook, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Darren Sproles, Adrian Peterson, Clinton Portis
WRs: Reggie Wayne, Marques Colston, Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Chris Chambers, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Chad Ochocinco, Steve Smith, Kenny Britt
QBs: Matt Ryan, Matt Hasselbeck, Aaron Rodgers, Matt Schaub, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Donovan McNabb, Kurt Warner, Shaun Hill, Matthew Stafford, Peyton Manning, Jason Campbell
RBs: Michael Turner, Marshawn Lynch, Ryan Grant, Steve Slaton, Maurice Jones-Drew, Derrick Ward, Frank Gore, Thomas Jones, Joseph Addai, Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Brandon Jacobs, DeAngelo Williams, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Marion Barber, Brian Westbrook
WRs: Roddy White, Terrell Owens, T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Greg Jennings, Andre Johnson, Kevin Walter, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Marques Colston, Larry Fitzgerald, Anquan Boldin, Reggie Wayne, Calvin Johnson, Santana Moss, Steve Smith, Isaac Bruce