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Editor's note: Our latest pick-by-pick series was done prior to the third preseason games, when season-ending knee injuries to Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith occurred. The goal of this series is to show you positions to draft in these spots as much as the players selected, so take that into account if those injured guys are listed here.
If you're picking 11th, the only pre-draft strategy you need for your first two picks is rank the top 14 players in the NFL. You're guaranteed two of them.
My top 14 features six running backs and eight receivers. I would have been fine with two receivers, but given the free fall the running back depth takes in drafts, I was hoping for at least one rusher. I got one in Devonta Freeman, then came up big with Michael Thomas in Round 2. It's about a good of a start as you could ask for.
Hold up. It was a good start until Tom Brady landed in my lap in Round 3. That's ridiculous value in a non-PPR format. THAT is as good of a start as you could ask for.
Feeling great with my top three picks opened the door to take some chances, such as Joe Mixon in Round 4, Tyler Eifert in Round 6 and Robby Anderson in Round 10. There were definitely some safe picks too -- Jarvis Landry had decent value in Round 5, Brandon Marshall was fair to take in late Round 7 and even Eddie Lacy and Jeremy Hill weren't total disasters in Rounds 8 and 11.
The team is loaded with older players and a couple of high-risk, high-reward types, but it's about as good as it gets when you pick in the 11 slot.
Here is my team at No. 11 overall:
- 1.11 Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
- 2.2 Michael Thomas, WR, NO
- 3.11 Tom Brady, QB, NE
- 4.2 Joe Mixon, RB, CIN
- 5.11 Jarvis Landry, WR, MIA
- 6.2 Tyler Eifert, TE, CIN
- 7.11 Danny Woodhead, RB, BAL
- 8.2 Brandon Marshall, WR, NYG
- 9.11 Eddie Lacy, RB, SEA
- 10.2 Robby Anderson, WR, NYJ
- 11.11 Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN
- 12.2 Eric Ebron, TE, DET
- 13.11 Chiefs DST
- 14.2 Joe Williams, RB, SF
Favorite pick: Tom Brady
With an ADP in the middle of Round 2, Brady was a downright bargain in late Round 3. Taking him felt like a steal. I also knew he wouldn't have made it back to me in Round 4 because Heath Cummings in the No. 12 draft slot loves Brady. Given the improvements made to the Patriots offense, along with Rob Gronkowski healthy after missing so much time last season, the potential is there for Brady to throw for over 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns. That's what puts him in the top tier of Fantasy quarterbacks.
Pick you might regret: Jarvis Landry
Expect to see Landry slide in drafts, especially in formats that don't dole out points for catches. There's no question Landry benefited from Ryan Tannehill's cautious nature, helping him get over 90 catches and 1,100 yards each of the last two seasons. With Cutler in town, though, expect the passing offense to look different. Cutler is more willing to take chances with the football downfield and has experienced plenty of success with outside receivers, not slot guys. I don't dislike taking him in Round 5, but counting on him to be a potential No. 2 receiver to begin the year is very dicey.
Player who could make or break your team: Joe Mixon
There's no denying Mixon's talent, but the Bengals coaches could deny Mixon playing time. Coach Marvin Lewis' track record of letting rookie running backs play right away isn't very promising, nor are the early preseason results. The rookie has looked OK, but hasn't had many big flashes to make the coaching staff want to put him on the field more. Drafting him in early Round 4 made Mixon a good value, but I -- and everyone else who takes him -- will have to be very patient with him this season. He might not land a 15-touch game until Week 4 or 5.