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Picking fifth, if anything, is convenient. In Round 1, there are three great running backs and three great receivers who will kick off every Fantasy draft. You're guaranteed one of them! Just take the best of what's left.
Then when you're up in Round 2, you're promised a top-20 stud. In Round 3 you'll get a top-30 player. And it just so happens that there are just enough quality players to make your choices in Rounds 3 and 4 satisfying.
Julio Jones was real obvious at fifth overall, especially for a PPR. DeMarco Murray was easily the best PPR rusher left on the board in Round 2, so I took him with the quickness. I had no problem spending back-to-back picks on receivers Terrelle Pryor and Brandin Cooks in Rounds 3 and 4.
What happened next was extremely satisfying, though I'm not sure something similar will happen to you.
Hunting for running backs, I landed Carlos Hyde and Marshawn Lynch in consecutive rounds. Now I know these two aren't the ballyhooed stud rushers they once were, but it's not like they're crumbs, either. Hyde, for now, has the lead running back job in San Francisco and could be in line for a big year in Kyle Shanahan's offense. Lynch has the lead job for the Raiders run game wrapped up -- it's just a matter of seeing how effective he'll be or how often he'll get more than 15 touches in a game.
Regardless, both are treasures at 53rd and 68th overall. If you get one of them, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise, expect to see rushers like Ameer Abdullah, Paul Perkins, C.J. Anderson and Danny Woodhead available in Rounds 5 and 6 of your PPR drafts.
I splurged in Round 7 with Kareem Hunt, who I like a lot as a rookie sensation in Kansas City (note that I took him over Spencer Ware). In Round 8 the value was too good to pass on Jameis Winston, especially since none of the teams in the first four slots had a quarterback yet.
Friendly reminder: Keep track of what those owners need because it'll help you make some decisions in the middle rounds. I am positive I wouldn't have had Winston fall to me in Round 9.
I was a responsible drafter in the late rounds, picking up Joe Williams in Round 10 and DeAndre Washington in Round 13 as handcuffs. I also fired a sleeper dart at Breshad Perriman, who I still view as the Ravens receiver with the most upside.
Here is my team at No. 5 overall:
- 1.5 Julio Jones
- 2.20 DeMarco Murray
- 3.29 Terrelle Pryor
- 4.44 Brandin Cooks
- 5.53 Carlos Hyde
- 6.68 Marshawn Lynch
- 7.77 Kareem Hunt
- 8.92 Jameis Winston
- 9.101 Delanie Walker
- 10.116 Joe Williams
- 11.125 Breshad Perriman
- 12.140 Broncos DST
- 13.149 DeAndre Washington
- 14.164 Dustin Hopkins
The secret to my success? Taking advantage of other owners' hesitations. A lot of the players on my roster -- Murray, Pryor, Cooks, Hyde, Lynch and Delanie Walker -- won't win many popularity contests. But all of them were taken at either fair or exceptional values. I don't care about fame, I care about stats. So long as the majority of these guys pan out, I'm a happy camper.
Favorite pick: Carlos Hyde
How could it not be? Maybe Hyde isn't your favorite choice as a No. 2 Fantasy running back, but if we're in Round 5 and you only have one rusher and he's still there, he's beautiful.
Hyde averaged 4.6 yards per carry and caught a personal-best 27 passes last year, totaling nine touchdowns in 13 games. Averaging 13.9 Fantasy points per game in PPR leagues, he barely finished outside of the top 12 overall and in consistency. He's a good player who has to quickly master the Niners' new offense -- that's what training camp is for.
Pick you might regret: Brandin Cooks
I don't regret the value as much as the decision to take him over Jordan Reed. It was a tough call, but Cooks' availability won out. Most people expect a player's stats to rise when he lands with the Patriots, but Cooks' numbers are expected to slide.
The Patriots have such a varied group of pass catchers that they don't have to lean on Cooks as the Saints did. It will mean fewer targets and potentially under 1,000 yards on the season. Getting him in Round 4 made everything easier, but what I really had hoped for was Golden Tate or Julian Edelman making their way back to me. Didn't happen, so Cooks was the consolation.
Player who could make or break your team: Marshawn Lynch
Drafting him in Round 6 definitely lowered the risk in taking a 31-year-old rusher who was retired in 2016 and miserable in 2015. The good news is that Lynch is my third running back, so there could be some weekly instances where I just won't find a lineup spot for him. Then again, if he returns to full Beast Mode form, then I'll have to bump someone else. Can that happen?
Lynch will run behind a very good offensive line and mesh well with an aggressive passing offense that has a number of receiving threats. At the goal line, Lynch will get work. It's the other 99 yards on the field where Lynch's touches could be limited based on his own health and the Raiders' philosophy of using multiple backs. If he ends up stinking, my depth at running back will take a pretty big hit.