This past Sunday, I drafted my team in my 16-team, keeper league. Yes. 16 teams! Obviously, this isn't a league for the weak of heart. You have to come in prepared and you have to try to anticipate what will go down. But, when it comes to a standard snake draft, you can never fully expect the twists and turns and reaches that occur. But, after fielding a decent (not great) team in this draft, I learned one valuable lesson that I wanted to share.
Despite the fact that the NFL is very much a passing league, DO NOT forget to draft a running back, or rather a slew of running backs. Because the NFL has become more of a passing league, there are plenty of WRs who can put up solid numbers for your team. But, because there are so many running-back-by-committee situations, there are very few elite running backs.
Therefore, if you don't grab a RB in the first round, or the second round at the latest, you WILL regret it, even if your league is a PPR league. Unless you are talking about grabbing an elite WR, and in my opinion that means Andre Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, Roddy White or Calvin Johnson, then go ahead and take a RB. The same rule applies to the QB situation. Do not take a QB early, unless it's late in the first round and Aaron Rodgers or Michael Vick are there. Otherwise, let someone else take Tom Brady, Phillip Rivers or Peyton Manning. Then you take that pick and grab someone like Frank Gore, Darren McFadden, Stephen Jackson or even Michael Turner.
Gore's average draft position (ADP) is 19, which makes him a steal in round 2. Feel free to go up and grab him earlier than that, especially now that he's signed a contract extension. Steven Jackson might not be the elite RB he once was, but he's still the primary cog in the Rams offense. With an ADP of 19.4, he's still a RB1 for your team. Darren McFadden was a stud last year and yet is still going late in the second round of most leagues, or even into the third round of shallower leagues. I would take the Raiders RB over someone like Hakeems Nicks or Greg Jennings or Tony Romo.
When you break down your draft and look at the depth, you'll realize that the RB position is razor thin, but still the most vital position to have dominance and separation for your fantasy team. Pass on those WRs and those top tier QBs, you can still grab difference makers at those positions in the mid to late rounds.
Follow Jimmy Dinsmore on Twitter @wheelseditor