For the year-round thrill ride that is fantasy football, here's a dry run of draft expectations when holding the No. 4 slot in 12-team leagues (standard scoring), working exclusively off MockDraftCentral.com's current Average Draft Position (ADP) rankings.
Round 1, Pick 4 overall: Motive—Best overall player
First option: QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
Second option: WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
Third option: RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
Round 2, Pick 21 overall: Motive—Best player available, preferably tailback
First option: RB Darren McFadden, Raiders
Second option: RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs
Third option: RB Fred Jackson, Bills
Round 3, Pick 38 overall: Motive—Best running back or receiver
First option: WR Mike Wallace, Steelers
Second option: RB Roy Helu, Redskins
Third option: WR Steve Smith, Panthers
Round 4, Pick 45 overall: Motive—Best receiver or running back
First option: RB Roy Helu, Redskins
Second option: WR Steve Smith, Panthers
Third option: WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
Round 5, Pick 62: Motive—Best player available
First option: RB Shonn Greene, Jets
Second option: RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Bengals
Third option: TE Aaron Hernandez, Patriots
Round 6, Pick 69 overall: Motive—Best wide receiver available
First option: WR DeSean Jackson, Eagles
Second option: WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
Third option: WR Kenny Britt, Titans
Round 7, Pick 86 overall: Motive—Best player available
First option: RB Jahvid Best, Lions
Second option: TE Vernon Davis, 49ers
Third option: WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
Round 8, Pick 93 overall: Motive—Best high-end talent available
First option: WR Laurent Robinson, Jaguars
Second option: WR Mario Manningham, 49ers
Third option: WR Malcom Floyd, Chargers
Round 9, Pick 110 overall: Motive—Best quarterback or receiver
First option: WR Nate Washington, Titans
Second option: WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, Raiders
Third option: QB Andrew Luck, Colts
Round 10, Pick 117 overall: Motive—Best tight end available
First option: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions
Second option: TE Dustin Keller, Jets
Third option: TE Brent Celek, Eagles
Round 11, Pick 134: Motive—Best player available
First option: QB Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
Second option: RB Evan Royster, Redskins
Third option: WR Titus Young, Lions
Round 12, Pick 141: Motive—Best running back available
First option: RB Evan Royster, Redskins
Second option: RB Ryan Williams, Cardinals
Third option: RB LeGarrette Blount, Buccaneers
Round 13, Pick 158: Motive—Best tight end or quarterback
First option: PK Matt Prater, Broncos
Second option: PK Rob Bironas, Titans
Third option: PK Mike Nugent, Bengals
Round 14, Pick 165: Motive—Best wide receiver available
First option: WR Austin Collie, Colts
Second option: WR Kendall Wright, Titans
Third option: WR Donald Jones, Bills
Round 16, Pick 189: Motive—Best tight end available
First option: TE Coby Fleener, Colts
Second option: TE Kellen Winslow, Seahawks
Third option: TE Jacob Tamme, Broncos
- It's quite surreal to endorse Aaron Rodgers high in Round 1; that's the perfect time to capitalize on a top-four running back or high-end receiver (like Calvin Johnson). But then again, Rodgers (4,643 yards passing, 48 total TDs last year) is virtually guaranteed to be the overall points leader by season's end, barring injury. He may only need 14-15 starts to earn that distinction.
- Jahvid Best secured a top-21 slot in my most recent running back rankings. But don't let the middling status fool you. If healthy (and yes, that's always a concern), Best is a lock for 1,200 total yards.
- Living in fear of DeSean Jackson ending up as my WR1 in Round 5 or 6, I prioritized the drafting of Pittsburgh's Mike Wallace at the 38th pick (Round 3). If Wallace is truly serious about wanting/getting Larry Fitzgerald-type money as an unrestricted free agent in 2013, he'll have to do better than last year's respectable but hardly all-world numbers (72 catches, 1,193 yards, eight TDs). He also needs to reverse a deflating trend of catching less than 50 percent of his targets once every three Sundays.
- The fastest riser throughout the ADP rankings was Browns tailback Trent Richardson. The last time I did a mock simulation with the No. 4 slot, Richardson was available around the 62nd pick. Fast forward to the present, where Richardson (2,017 total yards, 24 TDs last year with Alabama) sits at No. 16 overall. Whoa! That's a big risk to take on a can't-miss rookie.
- Landing Brandon Pettigrew (83 catches, 777 yards, five TDs) at 117 was a nice coup. When healthy, he's a lock for 75 catches and 110 targets. In a Points Per Reception setting, Pettigrew would never squeeze past the 70th pick.
- I couldn't have asked for a better backup QB from Round 11 than Josh Freeman. The kid has immense talent, a new toy at running back (rookie Doug Martin) and the No. 11 trio of wide receivers (thanks to Vincent Jackson's arrival). For good measure, Freeman is also my No. 1 super-sleeper.
- Just a hunch, but the Seahawks will yield top-10 production for defense and special teams by season's end.
Jay Clemons can be reached on Twitter, day or night, at @ATL_JayClemons.
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