Our Can’t-Miss 2012 Fantasy Football Draft Board

Interested in paying off all of your unsubsidized student loans?  We’d recommend taking Jim Jividen’s can’t-miss fantasy football advice.


I’ve had one IRS…issue…in my life. That was an alleged failure to report fantasy sports income.

Without making an admission against interest, the result was I wrote the IRS a check. I am missing a couple hundred million dollars and a couple hundred electoral votes to be able to successfully shield income.

I’m in 3 leagues this year, each drafting after the third preseason game, so my personal ranks will be modified following this week’s games. But you – yes, you! – may be drafting this weekend and I wouldn’t want to leave you without a resource. ‘Cause where else could you possibly go for your fantasy drafting needs?


This is standard scoring/12 team/with a flex/14 round draft. Within each tier, I’d mildly suggest drafting in the order I have the players listed, but you can do whatever the hell you want, I don’t know your life.

Tier One: RRice RB, AFoster RB
-You’ve heard that this is finally the year you don’t pick a running back first; that’s not true if you are at the top of your draft. The watering down of the RB position puts every down backs who get goal line touches at a premium. Rice/Foster are 2/1 ADP and 3/1 ESPN. Take either one you want.

T2: TBrady QB, LMcCoy RB, ARodgers QB, DBrees QB
-Here’s the most valuable thing you’ve heard me say so far (outside of correctly booking the Hunter/Lesnar SummerSlam match): these are the top 6 players on your draft board; I’ve got them separated into tiers and then ordered within those tiers, but if you were to draft these 6 guys in any order no one will laugh at you. Absent something dramatic between my writing this and your draft, there is not a circumstance where you should move anyone else up into the top 6. They’re ESPNs top 6. Brees’s ADP is 9, so you might have a chance to see him slip a tick in your league. You need one of these guys in 2012.

T3: CJohnson WR, MJD RB, CNewton QB
-It starts to get a little weird here; WR is deep and I’m having you take one in the first round; MJD as of this writing isn’t in camp yet; and Newton’s a second year player about whom you have a not unreasonable injury concern. After the top 6, this is a really difficult season to forecast – but you know Calvin produces, you assume MJD is there week one and gives you what he always gives you, and there are already 3 QB off the board; if you don’t get Newton, I’m going to tell you to wait until the 4th round to get one. MJD’s ADP (that’s average draft position; I should have mentioned that earlier, my apologies) is 13th and Newton’s is 19th, so you have a good chance of getting those guys at the back of round one. The longer it goes before Drew gets into camp the more he’s going to slip; if I’m drafting at the back of round one today, I take him.

T4: CJohnson RB
-One dude is not a tier, but I’ve got the Titans’ Johnson lower than his ADP and ESPN; this is the latest you can get him.

T5: DMcFadden RB, RWhite WR, WWelker WR, GJennings WR
-These are the wraparound picks, 11-14. McFadden’s ADP is 8th; if you’re picking 11th and have your choice of all 4, take him and then whichever WR is still available when it comes back around. I’m a good 15 spots ahead of the ADP for any of these receivers, so you should find all of them on your board at this point. If you were lucky enough to have a top 6 pick, you’ll probably be able to pick up one with your round 2 (or maybe 2 of them, with your 2nd and 3rd).

T6: LFitzgerald WR, RGronkowski TE , RMathews RB, MLynch RB, JGraham TE
-Tight Ends! Tight Ends in Round 2! With the injury, Mathews’s ESPN rank is now down to 37, so if you wanted to see if he’d float to you in round 3 because you picked up a back in round one, and are just aching for a TE, I’d understand.

T7: VCruz, WR DMurray RB
-Cruz is your 20th ranked player. Lot of receiver value in the draft; if you want to pass on Calvin in round one and take MJD, you can get good number one type receivers in rounds 2 and 3. Murray’s ADP is 11th, but don’t reach a single spot above this.

T8: TRichardson RB, FJackson RB, APeterson RB, SJackson RB, AJ Green WR, MColston WR, DBowe WR
-You’re wrapping around the second and moving to mid 3rd (Bowe’s 28th overall) and the question is what do you need? We’re got every down backs here; you’ll be able to get the rookie and at least one of the Jacksons. Peterson’s probably gone; he’s 19th on the ESPN rankings, 14th ADP – all it takes is one dude in your league who can’t help label shopping, so don’t make that you ahead of this tier. Green’s going at about this spot, but not either Colston or Bowe; I’ve got them 27th/28th; Colston’s 46th both ESPN and ADP and Bowe’s about ten spots lower. You shouldn’t feel like you have to draft Colton ahead of the end of the third or Bowe ahead of the end of the 4th.

T9: Matt Ryan
-Ryan’s 48 ADP and 59 ESPN; I’ve got him 29th. It’s really rare when I get a top QB. I tend to let others fight, pick up an extra running back, and get the next best guy. This year – the next best guy is Ryan; my target point for him is going to be the 4th round; if I can get one of the running backs in the first round, come back and get a receiver and a second back in 2/3, I want Ryan (and hopefully Bowe) in rounds 4 and 5.

T10: MForte, RB AJohnson WR
-These are guys you aren’t going to get; Forte’s got a first round ADP; Johnson’s got a first round ESPN; you really shouldn’t think about them above this spot. Let someone else pay for the names.

T11: BMarshall WR, SSmith WR, HNicks WR, J.Charles RB, MWallace WR
That’s 36 picks, Rounds 1-3; Marshall/Nicks/Charles are probably gone – even if Wallace hasn’t signed after the third preseason game, I wouldn’t feel too queasy about getting him here.

T12: MVick QB, EManning QB, MStafford QB
And in that order. This is the 4th round; get your QB. Don’t forget about Ryan. Don’t leave without getting one of those guys as your QB.

T13: MTurner, RB JJones, WR SGreene RB
You won’t get either of the Falcons, and you can wait until the 5th for Greene.

T14 JMaclin WR, DJackson WR, AHernandez TE
-I’m unlikely to get one of those two big tight ends in the second, but come the 5th round I’m staring right at Hernandez – he’s the second best TE on his team and the third on my board.

T15: DMartin RB, JNelson WR, ABrown WR
-That’s 48 picks. Rounds 1-4. Nelson’s probably not there for you.

T16: DThomas WR, JStewart RB, PHarvin WR, SJohnson, MAustin WR
-A good place to get some receivers.

T17: DMoore WR, VJackson WR, FGore RB, AGates TE, BLloydWR, BRoethlisbergerQB, PManningQB
-That’s the top 60. Rounds 1-5. You shouldn’t go into your season starting either of those quarterbacks, but if your body shut down in the 4th round, preventing you from getting Matt Ryan, you can still get Ben and Manning; Ben’s ADP is 108, so you could get him several rounds later. Moore is in the 90s both in ADP and by ESPN, so you can wait another round to pick him up. If the draft falls the way I’d like, I’m looking to make him my second receiver and get him in the 6th.

T18: SRidley RB, DWilliams RB, DSproles RB, RBush RB, EDecker WR, TRomo QB
-Ridley’s the guy, if you can get him in Round 7 as your third RB/Flex, I think you’re in good shape.

T19: DWilson RB, DBrown RB, ABradshaw RB, RFitzpatrick QB, RG3 QB
-72 picks down. Rounds 1-6.

T20: SVereen RB, RWilliams RB, M.Schaub, QB, JLocker QB, JFinley TE, VDavis TE, DBryant WR, DHeyward-Bay WR, PGarcon WR, MIngram RB
-I’m looking at Vereen or Williams in Rnd 8 as the 4th back on the roster. That would leave me in a pretty good WR hole if my draft has lined up like:

Rnd 1: Top RB on board.
Rnd 2-3 Best available WR/RB
Rnd 4: Ryan
Rnd 5: Hernandez
Rnd 6: Moore
Rnd 7-8 Both Patriots backs.

In that scenario, we need to get a couple of receivers along with our defense in the next 3 rounds. In the alternative, consider not taking Hernandez and instead getting your second starting receiver in the 5th (perhaps one of the receivers has fallen, like Bowe). I assume Hernandez doesn’t get to the 6th (but if he does, bonus) and that would allow you to still take Moore, meaning you head to the 9th with 4 backs, 3 receivers and your QB – meaning you’re looking for a TE and a Defense in the next couple of rounds.

Meanwhile, we’re through 82 players on the board, so we have to get through some bodies to get to that 9th round.

T21: PRivers QB, ADalton QB, PThomas RB, TSmith WR, JWitten TE, BPettigrew TE

T22: WMcGahee RB, BGreen-Ellis RB, PHillis RB, KBritt WR, JCutler QB, JFreeman QB, MCassel QB

That’s 95 players.  We’re one pick away from the 9th round. You’ve got 4 running backs. You’ve either got 3 receivers or two and a really good tight end. The worst starting quarterback you should have drafted is Ryan. You have 6 picks left. Except for kickers and defenses, I look to draft from only inside my top 100 players. So my anticipation going into a draft is a Vereen or a Moore is going to fall below where I’m projecting to take them. Look at ADP/ESPN and whatever the preliminary board on your service looks like, but sometimes you have to have some guts and let a guy you have rated high drop a couple of rounds.

T23: RMeachem WR, RWayne WR, MWilliams WR, GLittle WR, JFlacco QB
-That’s your top 100. I bet if you made that Hernandez pick, you can get your third and 4th receiver from inside that top 100 in the 9th and let’s say 11th rounds, with the tenth going to defense.

T24: I Redman RB, JStarks RB, KRudolph TE, SHolmes WR, NWashington WR, MFloyd WR, KRudolph TE, CPalmer QB
-108 players, that’s 9 rounds of a 12 team draft. You get your defense in rnd 10.

T25: Jets, Bears, Packers, Patriots, Bills, TGonzalez TE, FDavis TE, DThomas RB, ABoldin WR, SRice WR, CJ Spiller RB
-119 players. Maybe a backup QB; maybe your kicker in round 12. I’m going to take you up to a top 150.

T26: RGould K, MCrosby K, JHanson K, SGostkowski K, Ravens, NYG, Falcons, LMoore WR, MCrabtree WR, JRodgers RB, MBush RB, JBaldwin WR, BCelek TE
-That’s 132 players, 12 complete rounds. I’m looking at either a kicker or backup QB in round 13, and the best running back on my board in 14. Watch your byes; don’t draft a backup QB with the same bye week as your starter. Look for good matchups that a bye week QB fill in may have. Since I don’t have backup TE, Def, K I’ll be streaming during bye weeks, so don’t have the same bye week for any of those spots. It’ll be that 5th running back who you are adding/dropping all season long.

T27: MBryant K, SJanikowski, RBironas, RSuccup, RLindell, LTynes, DAkers, CPonder QB, Seahawks, Eagles, Lions, KSmith RB, MLeShore RB
-145 players. Gonna give you 5 more.

T28: DKeller TE, CFleener TE, JGresham TE, ODaniels TE, KWright WR

Happy Drafting.



About Jim Jividen

Jim Jividen (@JimJividen) is a lawyer, a professionally produced playwright, a game show winner, and the owner of a 2009 Honda Accord on which he diligently makes payments. He can distinguish among dozens of different suplex variants and may be occasionally read at his two non-revenue producing blogs, Basically Gherkins and What if Steamboat Beat Hogan? Jim’s been a college instructor since the top of 2004 and is currently working in the mist as a Course Mentor for Western Governors University.


  1. What about Bennie Wells? I don’t think I see him on your list. Why come?

  2. very nice draft board info Jim. Thanks.

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