By JEFF PAUR
Sr Fantasy Writer
RealTime Fantasy Sports
Murray lands in first round
RealTime Fantasy Sports is proud to present you the results of our "Champions Draft." The draft this season once again consists of the top rated fantasy players on our site. We invited players rated in the Top 15 in our Top Fantasy Players report. So this is the best of the best on our site.
In this column, we'll give you a round-by-round look at the draft, going over our favorite and least favorite picks in each round as well as giving you some insight into my picks.
Before we get to that, here is a quick overview of the league format. We used the same rules as we do for the "All-Pro" fantasy leagues on our site. So you can view the entire set of rules on our main page for that game. But here is a brief look. Each team starts a quarterback, two running backs, two receivers, a tight end, a defensive/special teams, a kicker and a flex player (RB, WR or TE). Scoring is pretty standard. Touchdowns are worth six except for passing touchdowns, which are worth four. And it is a points per reception league, giving every player a point per reception. Defenses get points for sacks, interceptions and fumble recoveries. The rules are pretty standard with how many leagues operate these days.
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Arian Foster RB, HOU
- ? - LeSean McCoy RB, PHI
- Brians Team - Ray Rice RB, BAL
- Azzurri - Calvin Johnson WR, DET
- Romeo's Team - Ryan Mathews RB, SDG
- icon - Chris Johnson RB, TEN
- Tims Team - Darren McFadden RB, OAK
- Smart Alex Select - Maurice Jones-Drew RB, JAC
- JW - Bull Rush - DeMarco Murray RB, DAL
- ZILLA-TIME - Aaron Rodgers QB, GNB
- Jeff P's Team - Larry Fitzgerald WR, ARI
- The Calipari Way Will - Matt Forte RB, CHI
Best Pick: Ryan Mathews. Mathews probably goes in the right spot but you still have to love his upside at five for the coming season. He can lead all running backs in fantasy scoring. Mathews should get more receptions and touchdowns with Mike Tolbert gone. Romeo probably was happy to get either Calvin Johnson or Mathews with this pick but Mathews might provide him more value in the long run.
Biggest Reach: DeMarco Murray. I actually like his pick as Murray has a ton of upside and potential for the coming season. But it is tough to consider Murray a first-round pick just yet. He still has something to prove. This could be an early make or break pick for JW - Bll Rush. He might have been better served going with an elite receiver in this PPR format.
My pick: Larry Fitzgerald. With the elite running backs gone, I felt I had to take the best receiver on the board. I had Fitzgerald rated second on my board at receiver. He is as consistent as any receiver in the game and I expect his numbers to get even better this year with improved quarterback play and a better surrounding cast at receiver.
- The Calipari Way Will - Adrian Peterson RB, MIN
- Jeff P's Team - Trent Richardson RB, CLE
- ZILLA-TIME - Andre Johnson WR, HOU
- JW - Bull Rush - Jamaal Charles RB, KAN
- Smart Alex Select - Jimmy Graham TE, NOR
- Tims Team - Rob Gronkowski TE, NWE
- icon - Wes Welker WR, NWE
- Romeo's Team - Victor Cruz WR, NYG
- Azzurri - Greg Jennings WR, GNB
- Brians Team - Tom Brady QB, NWE
- ? - Darren Sproles RB, NOR
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Roddy White WR, ATL
Best Pick: Wes Welker. Sure, Welker lacks scores and his yardage totals normally aren't off the charts but getting him in the middle of the second round in a PPR format is nice value for icon. He is about a sure thing to get 100-plus receptions, meaning he'll score as high as almost any receiver in this format.
Biggest Reach: Victor Cruz. Cruz is coming off a breakout season and looks to have star written all over him. But not sure he is worth of being the fifth overall receiver off the board. Going with more proven options like Greg Jennings or Roddy White would have been the safer move but Romeo decided to take a little bit of a gamble.
My pick: Trent Richardson. My pick might be the biggest reach of this round. I love his upside, getting about all the carries and the goal-line work in what should be a run-heavy offense but his lack of receptions hurts his value some in this format. I'm overlooking that, though, in hopes his yardage and touchdown totals will be good enough to overcome that.
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Marshawn Lynch RB, SEA
- ? - Brandon Marshall WR, CHI
- Brians Team - A.J. Green WR, CIN
- Azzurri - Julio Jones WR, ATL
- Romeo's Team - Drew Brees QB, NOR
- icon - Cam Newton QB, CAR
- Tims Team - Jordy Nelson WR, GNB
- Smart Alex Select - Steven Jackson RB, STL
- JW - Bull Rush - Hakeem Nicks WR, NYG
- ZILLA-TIME - Fred Jackson RB, BUF
- Jeff P's Team - Ahmad Bradshaw RB, NYG
- The Calipari Way Will - Mike Wallace WR, PIT
Best Pick: Hakeem Nicks. Nicks was the 12th receiver off the board, which is great value for JW - Bull Rush. He is capable of being a top-five fantasy receiver. Owners probably were a little scared off because of his offseason injury but he'll be ready for the start of the season and shouldn't be slowed by the foot injury to open the year.
Biggest Reach: Steven Jackson. The top running backs are few and far between this season, which is why a guy like Jackson goes in the third round. He probably isn't worth this high of a draft selection at this stage of his career. He has battled some injury issues the last few seasons and is approaching that magical age of 30. He is on the downswing of his career.
My pick: Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw is going to miss a few games like he does every season but I love his production when playing. He is normally good for double-digit scores and high total yardage totals. He'll be a great No. 2 back for me. Let's just hope he can play 90 percent of the games this year.
- The Calipari Way Will - Eric Decker WR, DEN
- Jeff P's Team - Steve Smith WR, CAR
- ZILLA-TIME - Michael Turner RB, ATL
- JW - Bull Rush - Dez Bryant WR, DAL
- Smart Alex Select - Doug Martin RB, TAM
- Tims Team - Percy Harvin WR, MIN
- icon - Roy Helu RB, WAS
- Romeo's Team - Miles Austin WR, DAL
- Azzurri - Reggie Bush RB, MIA
- Brians Team - Jeremy Maclin WR, PHI
- ? - Demaryius Thomas WR, DEN
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Matthew Stafford QB, DET
Best Pick: Percy Harvin. Harvin was an elite fantasy receiver down the stretch last season, proving he can be big time for fantasy owners. With receivers flying off the board, it was a bit of a surprise to still seem him available at this point of the draft. Tim did well to snatch him up in the middle of the fourth round. He has huge upside in an offense that should have a more consistent passing attack.
Biggest Reach: Eric Decker. You have to like Decker's potential with Peyton Manning throwing him passes. He has a chance to really break out in 2012. But taking him ahead of guys like Percy Harvin, Miles Austin and Steve Smith is a bit of a stretch. He probably could have been had a few rounds later but Calipari Way didn't want to wait around to find out. He knew what he wanted and pounced early. This could be a make or break pick for this team.
My pick: Steve Smith. Smith had a big season with Cam Newton throwing him passes last year. I'm hoping he'll at least match that, making him a top No. 2 receiver for my team. Smith can be a little boom or bust but his big games can carry a fantasy team any given week. I also thought about taking Jeremy Maclin or Miles Austin here but felt Smith would finish with slightly better numbers than those two.
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Kenny Britt WR, TEN
- ? - Antonio Brown WR, PIT
- Brians Team - Frank Gore RB, SFO
- Azzurri - Michael Vick QB, PHI
- Romeo's Team - Dwayne Bowe WR, KAN
- icon - Vincent Jackson WR, TAM
- Tims Team - Brandon Lloyd WR, NWE
- Smart Alex Select - Chris Wells RB, ARI
- JW - Bull Rush - Jahvid Best RB, DET
- ZILLA-TIME - Marques Colston WR, NOR
- Jeff P's Team - Steve Johnson WR, BUF
- The Calipari Way Will - Isaac Redman RB, PIT
Best Pick: Marques Colston. Colston has some concerns (injury) but he is the No. 1 receiver in an explosive passing attack, so ZILLA did well to get Colston this late in the draft. He can be a top-15 fantasy receiver in this offense. His numbers aren't off the charts but consistent. You know what you will get with Colston, which is usually 1,000-plus yards and eight touchdowns.
Biggest Reach: Jahvid Best. This pick probably isn't a reach as you will need to take Best at about this spot but the pick probably carries the most risk of any in this round. Best was a huge point producer when playing last season but didn't last all season and carries big injury concenrs heading into this season. Plus, he has two other quality backs to compete with for playing time. He is going to be a boom or bust player this season. He has obvious upside when playing, though.
My pick: Steve Johnson. I was hoping to see Colston slide to me here but he goes the pick before. I'm find with Johnson, though. He is a young player in an emerging passing attack. Plus, he is the clear No. 1 for the Bills. I'm really happy getting him as my third receiver in a PPR league.
- The Calipari Way Will - Pierre Garcon WR, WAS
- Jeff P's Team - Shonn Greene RB, NYJ
- ZILLA-TIME - Antonio Gates TE, SDG
- JW - Bull Rush - DeSean Jackson WR, PHI
- Smart Alex Select - Aaron Hernandez TE, NWE
- Tims Team - BenJarvus Green-Ellis RB, CIN
- icon - Jermichael Finley TE, GNB
- Romeo's Team - Jason Witten TE, DAL
- Azzurri - Vernon Davis TE, SFO
- Brians Team - C.J. Spiller RB, BUF
- ? - James Starks RB, GNB
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Willis McGahee RB, DEN
Best Pick: DeSean Jackson. Jackson was a bit of a bust last season but he has shown in the past he is capable of producing big for fantasy teams. And even in a down year, Jackson still had 1,000 total yards. He is primed for a bounce-back season and could be very good value for JW in the sixth round.
Biggest Reach: Pierre Garcon. Garcon moves to a new team and could be the No. 1 for a passing attack that is intriguing. But he carries some risk, heading to a new offense with a rookie quarterback throwing him passes. With so many great tight ends still left on the board, that might have been the better pick for Calipari here instead of Garcon, who carries similar value to several receivers still left on the board at this point.
My pick: Shonn Greene. Greene gives me a little insurance at running back. While he isn't a great PPR back, his reception totals were way up last season and could improve a little more with Tomlinson gone. Greene is the clear No. 1 back in a run-heavy scheme, so I like his chances for his best season to date.
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Ronnie Hillman RB, DEN
- ? - Peyton Manning QB, DEN
- Brians Team - Ben Tate RB, HOU
- Azzurri - Peyton Hillis RB, KAN
- Romeo's Team - Donald Brown RB, IND
- icon - Torrey Smith WR, BAL
- Tims Team - Michael Bush RB, CHI
- Smart Alex Select - Denarius Moore WR, OAK
- JW - Bull Rush - DeAngelo Williams RB, CAR
- ZILLA-TIME - LeGarrette Blount RB, TAM
- Jeff P's Team - Philip Rivers QB, SDG
- The Calipari Way Will - Jacob Tamme TE, DEN
Best Pick: Donald Brown. The scarcity at running back continues to be a theme but it is the truth. So Romeo should be thrilled to get a No. 1 back in the seventh round. Brown has a chance to dominate carries for the Colts and could be a capable No. 2 back for fantasy teams. He is good value at this point of the draft, especially if you look at some of the players picked before him.
Biggest Reach: Ronnie Hillman. As mentioned, the running back spot is thin this year but getting Hillman in the seventh was a bit of a stretch for GoodFellas. He isn't guaranteed anything when it comes to playing time this year and could be extremely hit or miss early in the year as he gets his feet wet. He could emerge at some point but taking him ahead of guys like DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart and Donald Brown probably wasn't the way to go.
My pick: Philip Rivers. Rivers is falling in drafts, which is fine by me. He remains an elite fantasy quarterback, capable of being top five when the season is out. He had a down year last season but still finished ninth overall in quarterback scoring. He'll be better this year as he is healthy as well as Antonio Gates. Plus, he has a few more weapons at receiver with Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal on board.
- The Calipari Way Will - Coby Fleener TE, IND
- Jeff P's Team - Brandon Pettigrew TE, DET
- ZILLA-TIME - Randy Moss WR, SFO
- JW - Bull Rush - Eli Manning QB, NYG
- Smart Alex Select - Daniel Thomas RB, MIA
- Tims Team - Tony Romo QB, DAL
- icon - Stevan Ridley RB, NWE
- Romeo's Team - Jonathan Stewart RB, CAR
- Azzurri - David Wilson RB, NYG
- Brians Team - Fred Davis TE, WAS
- ? - Tony Gonzalez TE, ATL
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Reggie Wayne WR, IND
Best Pick: Jonathan Stewart. In a day and age where the running back spot is very thin, you would think Stewart might go a little higher. Sure, he shares work and battles injury at times, but he produces when playing. And he could have a bigger role in the offense with DeAngelo Williams getting older. Stewart had nearly 1,200 total yards last season and is the 40th running back off the board. That is some good value for Romeo right there.
Biggest Reach: Stevan Ridley. Ridley is another risk/reward pick and probably isn't too big of a reach here but there looked to be better value on the board in Round 8. Guys like Fred Davis, Jonathan Stewart and Reggie Wayne seem to carry more value at this point than Ridley, who is competing with a host of backs for playing time in a pass-first offense.
My pick: Brandon Pettigrew. I waited on tight end after the elite guys were gone. I was surprised to see Pettigrew still there with nine tight ends off the board. Pettigrew had 83 receptions and was sixth in tight end scoring last season. I think his fantasy numbers can improve because he'll find the end zone more this season. His career high in scores is just five but he has the makeup to improve on that in this great offense.
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Robert Meachem WR, SDG
- ? - Sidney Rice WR, SEA
- Brians Team - San Francisco 49ers Def/ST, SFO
- Azzurri - Felix Jones RB, DAL
- Romeo's Team - Darrius Heyward-Bey WR, OAK
- icon - Mark Ingram RB, NOR
- Tims Team - Ryan Williams RB, ARI
- Smart Alex Select - Justin Blackmon WR, JAC
- JW - Bull Rush - Nate Washington WR, TEN
- ZILLA-TIME - Jared Cook TE, TEN
- Jeff P's Team - Greg Little WR, CLE
- The Calipari Way Will - Jay Cutler QB, CHI
Best Pick: Jared Cook. Cook had a great finish to last season and is poised to be a legit fantasy starter from day one in 2012. With so many tight ends already off the board (12), ZILLA should be excited to get Cook for his top backup. He is great insurance for Antonio Gates and could be worth using in the flex spot.
Biggest Reach: 49ers defense/special teams. This clearly is the best defense/special teams unit so Brian did well to take them first off the board. But the scoring in this format isn't too favorable for defenses/special teams so this pick might have been a bit too soon, especially if you look after the draft and see the next defense picked came in Round 13.
My pick: Greg Little. Someone has to catch passes in Cleveland, right? I think Little has a chance for a big season as the No. 1 receiver in a passing game that should be better this season. Little was really raw last year, so the year of experience under his belt should help. I think he can get 1,000 yards and eight or so scores. I like the value here at this point of the draft.
- The Calipari Way Will - Robert Griffin QB, WAS
- Jeff P's Team - Mikel Leshoure RB, DET
- ZILLA-TIME - Delone Carter RB, IND
- JW - Bull Rush - Owen Daniels TE, HOU
- Smart Alex Select - Matt Ryan QB, ATL
- Tims Team - Toby Gerhart RB, MIN
- icon - Shane Vereen RB, NWE
- Romeo's Team - Michael Crabtree WR, SFO
- Azzurri - Lance Moore WR, NOR
- Brians Team - Ben Roethlisberger QB, PIT
- ? - Pierre Thomas RB, NOR
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Jermaine Gresham TE, CIN
Best Pick: Ben Roethlisberger. Roethlisberger is a borderline No. 1 for fantasy teams, so getting him in Round 10 is nice value for Brian. He can be a nice spot starter if needed or trade bait. Big Ben could be setup for his best season to date with an emerging receiving corps and new offense in place.
Biggest Reach: Robert Griffin. This actually probably isn't a reach at this point but I have a hard time taking Griffin over Matt Ryan and Ben Roethlisberger, which is what Calipari did by using the first pick in Round 10 on Griffin. He is hoping Griffin is the Cam Newton of this season.
My pick: Mikel Leshoure. Just taking a chance here. Leshoure could get the goal-line work even if Jahvid Best stays healthy. He has a lot of talent and ability but is returning from a major injury and has a lot of competition for playing.
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Jacquizz Rodgers RB, ATL
- ? - Anquan Boldin WR, BAL
- Brians Team - Brian Quick WR, STL
- Azzurri - Kevin Smith RB, DET
- Romeo's Team - Evan Royster RB, WAS
- icon - Malcom Floyd WR, SDG
- Tims Team - Santonio Holmes WR, NYJ
- Smart Alex Select - Rashad Jennings RB, JAC
- JW - Bull Rush - Isaiah Pead RB, STL
- ZILLA-TIME - Mike Williams WR, TAM
- Jeff P's Team - Brent Celek TE, PHI
- The Calipari Way Will - Mike Tolbert RB, CAR
Best Pick: Mike Williams. Williams is a great buy-low player and ZILLA certainly got him for a good price near the end of the draft. He is in just his third season and has less pressure with Vincent Jackson serving as the No. 1 for the Bucs. It wouldn't surprise to see Williams have a nice bounce-back season.
Biggest Reach: Mike Tolbert. It is tough to call anything a reach at this point of the draft. Tolbert gets the nod in this round as you just don't know how many touches he'll get. He has two better backs ahead of him on the depth chart and will serve as a fullback much of the season. It is doubtful he produces near his level of the past few seasons.
My pick: Brent Celek. I think Celek can serve as a No. 1 tight end but I get him for the price of a backup. I'll take that. Celek had a great finish to last season and is healthy coming into this year, which are two pluses for him. I like him as insurance for Pettirgrew, who has struggled to score touchdowns since entering the league.
- The Calipari Way Will - Mike Goodson RB, OAK
- Jeff P's Team - Matt Schaub QB, HOU
- ZILLA-TIME - David Akers K, SFO
- JW - Bull Rush - Mario Manningham WR, SFO
- Smart Alex Select - Alex Henery K, PHI
- Tims Team - Josh Freeman QB, TAM
- icon - Titus Young WR, DET
- Romeo's Team - Bernard Scott RB, CIN
- Azzurri - Dustin Keller TE, NYJ
- Brians Team - Brandon LaFell WR, CAR
- ? - Greg Olsen TE, CAR
- GoodFellas, Inc. - Vincent Brown WR, SDG
Best Pick: Brandon LaFell. Lots of good late-round picks here but I'll go with LaFell. He is slated to start in an up and coming passing game. He could take a big step forward this season and be worth using as a No. 3 or flex option for fantasy teams. He is a good late-round grab.
Biggest Reach: Alex Henery. Again, tough to call any pick a reach at this point but I'll give the second kicker selected the nod. Henery is capable of a big season but isn't as sure of a thing as some of the other top-rated kickers, so he might be a bit of a reach with two rounds still left in the draft.
My pick: Matt Schaub. Schaub was taken as a fantasy starter last season but falls all the way to me in the 12th round as a backup. I think this is great value for me as while I think the Texans will still run a lot this season, Schaub is capable of the huge game any given week. I could use him as a spot starter in the right matchup and do very well.
If you have any questions or comments, please email Jeff Paur at firstname.lastname@example.org