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USATSI

Picking at the end of one round and the beginning of another is a mixed bag. On one hand, it's cool to know that you're promised two of your top-13 players (and four of your top-37). And it's fun to take two players at a time. But on the other hand, you have to wait for-eve-rrrr to make your picks and can't reasonably expect anybody to "make it back to you." You're pretty much forced to take the best-available players two at a time.

Knowing that, I made a clear rank list of my 13 favorite players and committed to taking the two highest-ranked guys. And that's what I did when I took Najee Harris and D'Andre Swift. I felt like both running backs were just too good to pass up. I could have had Davante Adams and Stefon Diggs, but felt like I'd be happy with the receivers that would make it back to me in Round 3/4.

Pick-by-pick 0.5-PPR strategy1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12

As it turned out, Allen Robinson and Terry McLaurin came back to me in Rounds 3 and 4. Both are decidedly No. 2 receivers, but I'm fine with that trade-off because I have two No. 1 rushers.

Had I taken Adams and Diggs first, I would have taken David Montgomery and Travis Etienne in Rounds 3 and 4 instead. I would have probably made the same picks in Rounds 5 and 6, too.

Here's the team from the 12-hole:

1.12: Najee Harris, RB, Steelers
2.01: D'Andre Swift, RB, Lions
3.12: Allen Robinson, WR, Rams
4.01: Terry McLaurin, WR, Commanders
5.12: Jalen Hurts, QB, Eagles
6.01: Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
7.12: DeVonta Smith, WR, Eagles
8.01: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Lions
9.12: Kenneth Walker, RB, Seahawks
10.01: Skyy Moore, WR, Chiefs
11.12: Tyler Allgeier, RB, Falcons
12.01: K.J. Osborn, WR, Vikings
13.12: David Njoku, TE, Browns
14.01: Derek Carr, QB, Raiders
15.12: Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants

It's standard for me to be thin at receiver on Draft Day -- that's the position I think I can build on the fastest off the waiver wire as the season unfolds. I have enough talent for my starting lineup and I'm hopeful the other receivers I have can morph into something.

I feel great about my team otherwise. Excellent running back depth with plenty of long-term potential in the rookie runners I have. A pair of good-enough-to-start tight ends with the hope they both exceed expectations so I could trade one (or flex one). Even Derek Carr offers some serious upside, and he was my second-to-last pick because quarterbacks are constantly undervalued in our analyst drafts.

There's one last point I'd like to make specifically to you if you're picking 12th and 13th: It's OK to take two non-running backs. I proved there are two clear paths you can take where you can still land good running back starters at 36th and 37th overall, or you could blow off the position for four rounds and still come away with a nice group to pick from each week. 

Favorite pick

Najee Harris
PIT • RB • #22
Att307
Yds1200
TD7
FL0
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I may have soured on Harris as a top-five choice because of the report about his Lisfranc sprain and because of how the Steelers' offensive line has played for the last month (and the last 13 months). But Harris remains a top-10 Fantasy running back on the strength of his workload, his ability to catch passes in the Steelers offense and his talent profile. He certainly has the upside of finishing north of 1,500 total yards and 10 touchdowns. Finding a player like that at 12th overall made the start of my draft an easy one.

Pick I might regret

Josh Jacobs
LV • RB • #28
Att217
Yds872
TD9
FL2
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I've operated like Jacobs will be the primary rusher for the Raiders. I recognize he's unlikely to be in on many plays where it's obvious the Raiders will throw (those will go to Ameer Abdullah), and I know he's on the last year of his deal and figures to be on a new team in 2023. But I don't think Zamir White has done enough to take a sizable chunk of work away from Jacobs -- at least until Jacobs fumbles once or twice. The Raiders are expected to be a high-scoring offense; I want running backs from high-scoring offenses on my Fantasy team.

Make or break player

D'Andre Swift
DET • RB • #32
Att151
Yds617
TD5
FL1
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When he's on the field and getting touches, Swift is a Fantasy stud. He averaged 17.6 full-PPR points in his first 10 games last year. If he misses a lot of time, then he's a problem not only in terms of being out of my lineup but in potentially sabotaging my team when he returns. In 2021 he was barely used when he came back late from an injury. On the plus side, the Lions know how to leverage Swift against opponents -- here's hoping they do it smartly.