Drafting from the 12th spot really isn’t so bad …
So, you landed the last pick in your fantasy football draft. At first thought, you may be disappointed and discouraged to be put in this situation. While everyone else is picking the likes of Justin Jefferson and Christian McCaffrey, you’re patiently sitting there waiting your turn.
After what seems to be an eternity, you’re finally up. When you see who is available, you realize the 12th spot is not so bad. Let me give you a breakdown of how to take advantage of the 12th spot and what strategies to consider.
Go get your guys
We all understand the long wait that is attached the having the 12th pick. After your second pick, you have to wait 22 picks until you are up again. Knowing this, make sure you GO GET YOUR GUYS. I’m not saying to reach for Kendre Miller in the 3rd round if you believe he is going to have a breakout rookie season, but it is important to understand you don’t necessarily need to follow ADP.
Any player you are thinking about taking with your current pick likely won’t make it back to you in the following round. Don’t be afraid to take the leap of faith in the guys you believe in. In my experience, I’d rather go down in flames with the guys I like versus the guys I don’t.
According to an algorithm run by DraftSharks, drafting from the 12th spot gives you a middle-of-the-road chance of winning your league. They base this on what they call the Dynamic Most Valuable Player (DMVP) tool. Variables that go into this are player projections, high ceiling potential, and likelihood of hitting their floor.
We have all been told that you don’t win your league at the draft, but you could certainly lose it there. Be strategic with your back-to-back picks at you’ll be sitting just fine by the end of the draft. At the end of the day, fantasy football is all about projected numbers. The chart below, created by DraftSharks, does just that.
12-team mock analysis
While the long wait is tough, you get the perk of having back-to-back picks. I like to compare this to getting a BOGO for one of my favorite bags of chips at the grocery store (Doritos Sweet Spicy Chili and Krunchers Mesquite BBQ for those who are curious).
The double pick makes it easier to structure your team the way you see fit. If you decided you want to go wide receiver heavy in the beginning, you have a good idea what tier of running backs will be available when it’s your turn again. Make sure you have a group of guys you are interested in a tier, as it is hard to rely on an individual to make it back to you.
The following is a 12-team half-PPR mock draft I did on Sleeper, with the roster format below:
- Quarterback – 1
- Wide Receiver – 3
- Running Back – 2
- Tight End – 1
- Flex -1
- Defense – 1
- Kicker – 1
- Bench -6
Since we have three wide receivers in our starting lineup, I wanted to make sure to hit them early and lock in one of the better wide receiver groups of the draft. AJ Brown should continue the tear he left off on last year and Davante Adams should have no problem commanding targets on a Raiders team that has very few options. I prefer these guys over the likes of Garrett Wilson and CeeDee Lamb, but I have no issue with anyone who decides to go that route.
From there I took two name-brand vets along with two guys with some upside this year. Make sure to get in on Jahan Dotson’s value while you can. Below are some head-to-head stats between him and fellow sophomore wide receiver, Christian Watson:
Very similar stats for Dotson who appeared in two fewer games than Watson in 2022 and who you can get 2 rounds later in 2023 drafts.
Given the situation you are in, I wouldn’t recommend going in early on quarterback AND tight end. The long wait for your next pick will give you a severe disadvantage at the other position. Trevor Lawrence has usually been my cut-off for quarterbacks in the top half of rankings.
The others I have above him are Mahomes, Allen, Hurts, Jackson, Fields, Herbert, and Burrow. If I’m not getting one of those guys, I’m waiting until later in the draft to grab Anthony Richardson and a steady option like Geno Smith or Jared Goff.
In a 12-team league, I always find it hard to justify taking a tight end early. I usually feel more comfortable stocking up on my wide receivers and running backs. Some late-round options I like are Chigoziem Okonkwo, Cole Kmet, and Tyler Higbee.
Don’t bother grabbing a second tight end as there will always be options on the waiver wire for you. Kmet just signed a long-term deal with the Bears and was sneakily Fields’ number 1 weapon last year. He’s clearly in line to be a featured part of the offense.
Unfortunately, running back is a very volatile position. I’m going back-to-back wide receivers if I’m not getting Christian McCaffrey or Austin Ekeler. With that being said, make sure you have running backs with potential high upside on your team. Injuries are a large part of the game and most leagues are won by individuals who got that diamond in the rough that went from undrafted to a top-fourth-round pick the next year.
Subscribe to our newsletter on Substack to get full access to 5th Down Fantasy’s award-winning fantasy football player rankings and our weekly playbook email packed with everything you need to win big on Sunday. Your subscription will also help keep 5thDownFantasy.com the best FREE fantasy football advice website on the planet. Learn more.