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The Wire: Constructing the best possible 16-round NFL fantasy draft

If you’ve got your draft this weekend, this might just be the last-minute advice you need.

Can CJ Spiller be the best running back in fantasy football this year?
Can CJ Spiller be the best running back in fantasy football this year?
Image: Bill Wippert/AP/Press Association Images

A HUGE NUMBER of NFL fantasy football leagues will host their drafts this weekend.

Some leagues will have as few as eight members, others as many as 16.

Obviously I don’t know where you’re drafting, so I’m going to pick a player I don’t think will go in the first two or three picks of each round but who, if you were picking in those spots, would still offer you decent value.

I’m also basing this on a 12 team, ESPN standard scoring league. If you’d like advice on any other type of league, feel free to ask in the comments.

Round 1

CJ Spiller, running back, Buffalo Bills
I’m a huge believer in Spiller this year and I’d have no issue drafting him first overall (it helps I’m not so hot on Peterson this season).  Not only is Spiller firmly ensconced as the Bills best tail back, but he also offers a wrinkle in the passing game which can only help his points total at the end of the season.

Round 2

Chris Johnson, running back, Tennessee Titans
You’re going to get to round two and see Dez Bryant is still on the board and you’re going to be very tempted but look at the figures Johnson put up from week six on last season and you’ll see that not selecting an elite RB here will leave you scratching for back-up later on.

Round 3

Jimmy Graham, tight end, New Orlean’s Saints
There’s a slim chance that one of Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees could be available here and, if they are, grab them. If not, get the best (fit) player at his position before someone else has the chance to nab a tight end who will outscore any tight end not named Rob Gronkowski every week.

Round 4
imageRandall Cobb should be the Packers number one receiver this year.
Image: Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP/Press Association Images

Randall Cobb, wide receiver, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers thinks Cobb could be the best receiver he’s ever worked with and could well have a 100+ reception season. If the guy throwing him the ball believes in him that much, you have to trust him.

Round 5

Reggie Wayne, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts
Wayne ranked third in targets last year and while there’s no chance he’ll repeat that production this year, he’ll still be Andrew Luck’s go-to-guy which makes him a pretty potent WR2 for your team.

Round 6

Shane Vereen, running back, New England Patriots
Tom Brady will be without some of his favourite targets this season and, with Danny Woodhead now in San Diego, Vereen’s fantasy fortunes have taken a big upswing, especially for your flex/RB3 spot.

Round 7
imageMatthew Stafford has thrown more than any other quarterback over the past two years.
Image: Bill Wippert/AP/Press Association Images

Matthew Stafford, quarterback, Detroit Lions
Round seven and we’re finally getting around to drafting a quarterback but look at who you’re getting, the league leader in pass attempts the last two seasons and team-mate of the best wide receiver in the game.

Round 8

TY Hilton, wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts
When he wasn’t throwing to Reggie Wayne last year, Hilton was almost inevitability Andrew Luck’s next target. Worth drafting to your bench for that fact alone.

Round 9

Bernard Pierce, running back, Baltimore Ravens
He’s by no means a fantasy starter but Pierce is one of the most valuable back-up running backs in the NFL and could offer you huge trade value if anything happens to Ray Rice.

Round 10

Ryan Broyles, wide receiver, Detroit Lions
The Lions believe that a fit Broyles can take some of the workload away from Megatron but you’re definitely going to have to pick your battles if you choose to start him.

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Round 11

Knile Davis, running back, Kansas City Chiefs
The first rookie in our line-up, Davis is a beast and provides a nice goal-line threat by showing impressive short yardage speed despite weighing 227 pounds.

Round 12
imageBrian Hartline won’t be the Dolphins’ first choice receiver this year but he still offers great value.
Image: Elise Amendola/AP/Press Association Images

Brian Hartline, wide receiver, Miami Dolphins
Remember that time Brian Hartline scored 31 points in a game last year? Well with Miami paying Mike Wallace so much it’s unlikely to happen again but Hartline still has back-up potential.

Round 13

Kenbrell Thompkins, wide receiver, New England Patriots
Thompkins is my sleeper pick for 2013. He’s a starter and Tom Brady will be throwing him the ball. What more do you need to convince you to spend a 13th round pick?

Round 14

Marcel Reece, running back, Oakland Raiders
There’s not a hope that Darren McFadden plays 16 games this season for the Raiders and while Reece is listed as a full back, he has the hands of wide receiver, something that earned him 72 targets last year.

Round 15

Pittsburgh Steelers, defence
People will inevitability have jumped on a defence before now so you won’t get the best but, in the Steelers, at least you’ll get a side that don’t give up much in the way of yardage or points on a weekly basis.

Round 16

Phil Dawson, kicker, San Francisco 49ers
Dawson may not be available here but he’s been there in two leagues I’ve been involved with and I didn’t hesitate to draft him in both. Afterall, it’s a kicker, what’s the worst that can happen?

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Steve O'Rourke

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