Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the top of the round
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Get ready for your season with theScore's 2019 Fantasy Football Draft Kit and subscribe to push notifications in the NFL Fantasy News section.

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

Here's a look at how to attack the draft if you've been 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

If you own one of the top four picks, congratulations, you're locked into an elite running back. Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, and Alvin Kamara are the clear top three at the position.

Ezekiel Elliott would be in the conversation if it weren't for his holdout, which puts his regular-season availability at risk. Though it still seems like a deal will get done before Week 1, after last year's Le'Veon Bell saga, it's hard to justify spending an early pick on a back threatening to sit out real games.

McCaffrey, who proved himself to be a workhorse a year ago, was also a top-three back in all fantasy formats with 326 touches, 1,965 yards from scrimmage, and 13 touchdowns. However, there's no bad choice among this group.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st

Others to consider: Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, David Johnson

Round 2

Picks: 2.09-2.12

At the end of the second round, several low-end WR1s remain on the board. Mike Evans tends to be taken by this point, and though Keenan Allen was our original pick when this article was published, his recent ankle injury makes us slightly less confident in his Week 1 status.

Even with his penchant for drama, it's hard to pass on Antonio Brown. His frostbitten feet have caused him to miss valuable practice reps in his new offense, but he's returned to the team after his helmet battle and is making strides toward being ready for the opener. Despite being a volatile pick this early in the draft, Brown offers first-round value in the late second.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd

Others to consider: Mike Evans, Keenan Allen, George Kittle

Round 3

Picks: 3.01-3.04

Travis Kelce and George Kittle offer such an advantage at tight end that both players warrant consideration in the second round. Kelce is often selected there, while Kittle tends to fall into the third. We'll gladly take the latter and enjoy owning one of the few players who can provide week-winning results at the position.

Not only did Kittle break the single-season yardage record for tight ends in 2018, he showed remarkable consistency doing it. The 25-year-old posted 70 yards or more 11 times and has big-play ability rarely seen in players his size.

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

Others to consider: Aaron Jones, Kerryon Johnson, Amari Cooper

Round 4

Picks: 4.09-4.12

With a balanced approach through three rounds, we're free to go in any direction with our next pick. Unless running backs like Mark Ingram or Chris Carson fall to the late fourth, you'll normally want to capitalize on the value at receiver.

Tyler Lockett is coming off an outstanding season with 965 yards and 10 touchdowns on just 57 receptions. That kind of efficiency won't last, but Doug Baldwin's departure gives Lockett a chance to repeat those numbers thanks to increased volume and a starting role in the slot. He's a top-20 wideout attached to one of the game's better quarterbacks.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd

Others to consider: Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, Tevin Coleman

Round 5

Picks: 5.01-5.04

Normally, you'd want to address running back a little earlier than this since the productive fantasy starters tend to dry up before this point. Michel's injury history has kept his price low and many fantasy managers may not realize he's back at practice and looking good.

The Patriots are even trying to incorporate him more in the passing game, which - outside of the health issues - is the only other question mark surrounding his fantasy outlook. New England has had one of the NFL's best rushing attacks over the last few seasons and Michel's touchdown ceiling gives him top-12 upside. We'll just need to make sure we can find enough depth at running back to protect us in case he misses time again.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd

Others to consider: Tevin Coleman, DJ Moore, Tyler Boyd

Round 6

Picks: 6.09-6.12

If there's one thing you should know going into drafts in 2019, it's that you'll be able to find starting-caliber fantasy receivers in the fifth-to-seventh round.

Here we're able to grab Allen Robinson, who's been a fantasy star in the past and should be more comfortable in the Bears' offense entering his second season in Chicago. Robinson came on as the year progressed, topping 75 yards in four of his final eight games, including two 100-yard performances. He's overqualified as the WR3 in our starting lineup.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
WR3 Allen Robinson 6th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd

Others to consider: Miles Sanders, Robby Anderson, Dante Pettis

Round 7

Picks: 7.01-7.04

With receiver and tight end sorted and no plans to draft a quarterback until later, we can start to find some high-upside depth at running back. Rashad Penny isn't even the best running back on his own team, but the Seahawks led the league in rushing attempts last season and will likely be near the top of that category again in 2019.

Penny has taken a more professional approach to his sophomore campaign and has a chance to create a dynamic one-two punch with Chris Carson. And if anything were to happen to Carson, we'd be talking about Penny as a top-10 fantasy back.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
WR3 Allen Robinson 6th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd
Bench Rashad Penny 7th

Others to consider: Latavius Murray, Christian Kirk, Sammy Watkins

Round 8

Picks: 8.09-8.12

As we continue to focus on upside, Curtis Samuel checks every box. In fact, with positive reports continuing to come out of Panthers' practices, he might not be available in this range for long.

When Samuel's playing time went up late last season, he posted 70 yards and/or a touchdown in five of his final seven performances. I've actually projected Samuel to see more targets than teammate DJ Moore, though Moore still has the higher fantasy ceiling. With Moore's ADP in the fifth, Samuel is a steal three rounds later.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
WR3 Allen Robinson 6th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd
FLEX Curtis Samuel 8th
Bench Rashad Penny 7th

Others to consider: Dede Westbrook, Royce Freeman, Sterling Shepard

Round 9

Picks: 9.01-9.04

This was the most difficult decision of the draft. After waiting at quarterback, Cam Newton represented good value in the ninth, but the need to position ourselves against a potential Michel injury led us to favor Damien Harris.

The Patriots' third-round pick profiles as Michel's direct backup, with James White playing his usual passing-down role. Harris is a big back with the ability to handle the load if called upon. While we hope that doesn't happen, with both Michel and Harris, we've now secured New England's early-down back throughout the season.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
WR3 Allen Robinson 6th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd
FLEX Curtis Samuel 8th
Bench Rashad Penny 7th
Bench Damien Harris 9th

Others to consider: Cam Newton, Jaylen Samuels, Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Round 10

Picks: 10.09-10.12

With the quarterback talent still running deep, we can continue to fill out our bench. DeSean Jackson earned rave reviews in the offseason and will give the Eagles exactly what they need as a big-play field-stretcher.

The 32-year-old can still fly. He kicked off the 2018 season with three 100-yard games in the first month and was the WR17 in PPR leagues after eight weeks. No one should be surprised if we see a similar start now that he's paired up with a better quarterback in Carson Wentz.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
WR3 Allen Robinson 6th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd
FLEX Curtis Samuel 8th
Bench Rashad Penny 7th
Bench Damien Harris 9th
Bench DeSean Jackson 10th

Others to consider: Donte Moncrief, Keke Coutee, Peyton Barber

Round 11

Picks: 11.01-11.04

We're going to put off drafting a quarterback one more round in favor of taking another player who might not stay at this ADP much longer.

With Jerick McKinnon sidelined indefinitely, Matt Breida is now unchallenged as the 49ers' No. 2 running back. It's a role that could be rewarding after San Francisco's running backs compiled the fifth-most yards from scrimmage during a down 2018 season, according to Rotoworld's Rich Hribar.

Breida has an opportunity to produce RB3/flex stats while also offering significant upside if starter Tevin Coleman gets hurt.

Roster Player Round
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
WR3 Allen Robinson 6th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd
FLEX Curtis Samuel 8th
Bench Rashad Penny 7th
Bench Damien Harris 9th
Bench DeSean Jackson 10th
Bench Matt Breida 11th

Others to consider: Justice Hill, Dion Lewis, John Brown

Round 12

Picks: 12.09-12.12

Finally, we are ready to select our starting quarterback. Even in the 12th round, there are several quality options to choose from.

As Jason Moore of The Fantasy Footballers pointed out on a recent episode of theScore Fantasy Football Podcast, Dak Prescott has been a top-12 quarterback in each of his three seasons as a pro. That makes him less of a late-round upside pick and more of a pure value selection. And after Amari Cooper's arrival halfway through 2018, Prescott was the QB6 in fantasy the rest of the way.

If Prescott has already been taken, you could easily pivot to Mitch Trubisky or Josh Allen, who both possess top-12 upside thanks to their rushing skills.

Roster Player Round
QB1 Dak Prescott 12th
RB1 Christian McCaffrey 1st
RB2 Sony Michel 5th
WR1 Antonio Brown 2nd
WR2 Tyler Lockett 4th
WR3 Allen Robinson 6th
TE1 George Kittle 3rd
FLEX Curtis Samuel 8th
Bench Rashad Penny 7th
Bench Damien Harris 9th
Bench DeSean Jackson 10th
Bench Matt Breida 11th

Others to consider: Josh Gordon, Mitch Trubisky, Josh Allen

Late rounds

The truth is, after the 10th round or so, 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 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: Darwin Thompson, Tony Pollard, Giovani Bernard, Chase Edmonds, Malcolm Brown, Michael Gallup, Kenny Stills, Tre'Quan Smith, Parris Campbell

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Fantasy: Strategy for drafting at the top of the round
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