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Draft Strategy

Perfect Draft: 12-Team Non-PPR (Updated Sept. 3)

By Jared Smola 11:09am EDT 9/3/21


You should go into every fantasy draft with a general plan of attack.

Of course, you’ll need to be able to adjust throughout the draft and pounce on value wherever it presents itself. That’s where the brand new Draft War Room with customized, dynamic rankings comes into play.

But building a round-by-round strategy beforehand certainly helps. That’s exactly what we’re doing with the Perfect Draft series — using the Draft War Room and ADP to get an idea of where the value will be in each round.

This is the 12-Team Non-PPR Perfect Draft. Each strategy guide assumes 16-round drafts and starting lineups of 1 QB, 2 RBs, 2 WRs, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 K and 1 DEF. The Draft War Room will help you adjust your strategy if your league settings are different.

Note: Sept. 3 updates in bold.


Pick 1, 2, 3 or 4

Round 1

RB: Christian McCaffrey, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott

You’re going RB here. McCaffrey is the clear top choice. About 10 projected points separate Cook from Henry and Henry from Elliott.


Round 2

RB: Joe Mixon, Clyde Edwards-Helaire

WR: A.J. Brown, Justin Jefferson

TE: Darren Waller

Expect to see RBs topping your rankings again here -- especially if Mixon is still available.

If Mixon and Edwards-Helaire are gone, consider pivoting to Brown, Jefferson or Waller.


Round 3

RB: Chris Carson, James Robinson, David Montgomery

WR: A.J. Brown, Justin Jefferson

TE: Darren Waller

The WRs and Waller look good again here.

If you have just 1 RB at this point, Carson and Dobbins are worth a look.

J.K. Dobbins was removed from consideration here. Robinson and Montgomery added. Aim to have 2 RBs plus a WR or TE through 3 rounds.


Round 4

WR: Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, Tyler Lockett, Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper

Henderson’s ADP is still sitting in the 6th round. But we’ve seen him go much higher, and he’s a fine value in the late 4th.

That said, WR looks like your best route here -- especially if you already have 2 or 3 RBs.

Darrell Henderson is no longer worth a 4th-rounder with Sony Michel joining the backfield. Plan on going WR in the 4th.


Round 5

QB: Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson

RB: Gus Edwards, Damien Harris

WR: Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, Tyler Lockett

TE: Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson

This is where you can start to consider a QB if Murray or Jackson are still hanging around.

It’s also a fine spot to lock up a strong TE1 in Andrews or Hockenson.

Prioritize Andrews or Hockenson here if you don't have a TE yet.

Edwards and Harris are also fine values -- and are unlikely to make it back to you in the 6th.


Round 6

RB: Trey Sermon

WR: Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy

Higgins and Claypool are strong values in the late 6th. We’d target 1 of them assuming you already have at least 2 RBs.

This looks like another spot to target WR. Jeudy's ADP is on the rise, so grab him here if you want to make sure you land him.


Round 7

QB: Tom Brady

RB: Trey Sermon, Leonard Fournette

WR: Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Robby Anderson

This is a fine time to secure your RB3 if you don’t have 1 yet. Note that ADP says Sermon has a chance to make it back to you in the 8th.

The projections show a tier drop at QB behind Brady, so he’s worth a look here.

Note that Sermon's ADP has climbed to the mid 7th round.


Round 8

QB: Jalen Hurts

RB: Jamaal Williams, Sony Michel

WR: D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Antonio Brown

TE: Noah Fant, Dallas Goedert

Anderson and Jeudy are big values if they’re still hanging around at this point.

Hurts is riskier than the few QBs directly ahead of him in ADP -- but has the upside to out-score them all.

Rising WR ADPs have a new list of targets in Round 8.

Michel's upside is worth taking a shot on starting here.


Round 9

RB: Jamaal Williams, Sony Michel

WR: Mike Williams, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Brandin Cooks, Tyler Boyd

TE: Noah Fant, Tyler Higbee, Dallas Goedert

Lots of solid WRs to pick from here.

The 3 TE options are at the end of a tier, although ADP says they might still be available at your next pick.

This remains a good time to grab a TE if you don't have one yet.


Round 10

QB: Joe Burrow

RB: Sony Michel, Tony Pollard

WR: Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Will Fuller, Marvin Jones, Darnell Mooney

TE: Tyler Higbee, Mike Gesicki

Higbee, Gesicki and Fant are nice values if still hanging around in the late 10th round.

Williams and Murray should have some standalone value, while Pollard figures to need an Ezekiel Elliott injury to hit your starting lineup (but would be a top-12 option in that case).

Guys like Moore, Mooney and Jones might be topping your WR rankings here -- but 1 or more should still be available in Round 11.

Lawrence is an OK value here, but there will be better options at the position with your next few picks.

Fant will be long gone by now.

Grab Michel if he's still available at this point.

Plenty of strong WR options.


Round 11

QB: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance

WR: Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Marvin Jones, Darnell Mooney

TE: Mike Gesicki

Lance and Fields are worth taking a shot on here as guys with easy top 10 upside at the position.

All 4 WRs listed above have the potential to emerge as every-week starters.


Rounds 12 and 13

QB: Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa, Baker Mayfield

RB: Tevin Coleman, Phillip Lindsay, Rhamondre Stevenson, Ty'Son Williams

WR: Elijah Moore, Curtis Samuel, Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Bryan Edwards, Terrace Marshall

TE: Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry

You should be prioritizing upside at this point of your draft. The new “Upside Mode” on the Draft War Room will help highlight guys with the highest ceilings.


Rounds 14, 15 and 16

QB: Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa

RB: Rhamondre Stevenson, Darrel Williams, Darrynton Evans, Salvon Ahmed, Tony Jones, Ty'Son Williams, Damien Williams

WR: Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Bryan Edwards, Terrace Marshall, Emmanuel Sanders

TE: Gerald Everett, Blake Jarwin, Austin Hooper

Take 1 more upside shot and then fill your K and DST spots.

If you plan on streaming at DST (you should), here are a few DSTs with favorable Week 1 matchups:

49ers (at Lions)

Broncos (at Giants)

Patriots (vs. Dolphins)

Jaguars (at Texans)



Pick 5, 6, 7 or 8

Round 1

RB: Derrick Henry, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones

WR: Tyreek Hill

TE: Travis Kelce

The only guarantee here is that Christian McCaffrey and Dalvin Cook will be gone. So we’ve listed the rest of the potential RBs here above in the order we have them ranked.

If you’re not going RB, it should be to grab 1 of the Chiefs’ top 2 weapons.


Round 2

RB: Joe Mixon, Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, Austin Ekeler

TE: Darren Waller

Plan on going RB here -- unless Tyreek Hill, Davante Adams or Travis Kelce drops to you.

We like starting RB-RB from this spot in non-PPR drafts.

We've added Waller as an option here because of how thin TE has gotten over the last few weeks.


Round 3

RB: Chris Carson, James Robinson, David Montgomery

WR: Allen Robinson, Keenan Allen, Mike Evans, Robert Woods, CeeDee Lamb

TE: Darren Waller, George Kittle

The WRs look best here and would all make solid WR1s for your squad.

Don’t expect Waller to make it to the middle of the 3rd round -- but he’s a nice value if he does.

Robinson and Montgomery are now options here if you're still looking for your 2nd RB.


Round 4

WR: Robert Woods, Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, Tyler Lockett, Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper

This looks like another spot to go WR. Robinson is a ridiculous value if he’s still there. Woods, Thielen, Kupp and Godwin are all excellent WR2s.

Henderson will likely top your RB rankings, but there’s a good chance you can get him in Round 5.

Darrell Henderson is no longer worth a 4th-rounder with Sony Michel joining the backfield. Plan on going WR in the 4th.


Round 5

QB: Kyler Murray, Lamar Jackson

RB: Gus Edwards, Damien Harris

WR: Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, Tyler Lockett

TE: Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson

This is where you can start to consider a QB if Murray or Jackson are still hanging around.

It’s also a fine spot to lock up a strong TE1 in Andrews or Hockenson.

Prioritize Andrews or Hockenson here if you don't have a TE yet.

Edwards and Harris are also fine values -- although both have a chance to make it back to you in the 6th.


Round 6

QB: Dak Prescott

RB: Gus Edwards, Damien Harris, Trey Sermon

WR: Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy

Higgins and Claypool are strong values in the late 6th. We’d target 1 of them assuming you already have at least 2 RBs.

This looks like another spot to target WR. Jeudy's ADP is on the rise, so grab him here if you want to make sure you land him.


Round 7

QB: Tom Brady

RB: Trey Sermon, Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones

WR: Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Odell Beckham, Robby Anderson

This is a fine time to secure your RB3 if you don’t have 1 yet. Note that ADP says Sermon has a chance to make it back to you in the 8th.

The projections show a tier drop at QB behind Brady, so he’s worth a look here.

Note that Sermon's ADP has climbed to the mid 7th round.


Round 8

QB: Jalen Hurts

RB: Jamaal Williams, Sony Michel

WR: D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Antonio Brown

TE: Noah Fant, Dallas Goedert

Anderson and Jeudy are big values if they’re still hanging around at this point.

Hurts is riskier than the few QBs directly ahead of him in ADP -- but has the upside to out-score them all.

Rising WR ADPs have a new list of targets in Round 8.

Michel's upside is worth taking a shot on starting here.


Round 9

RB: Jamaal Williams, Sony Michel

WR: Mike Williams, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Brandin Cooks, Tyler Boyd

TE: Noah Fant, Tyler Higbee, Dallas Goedert

Lots of solid WRs to pick from here.

The 3 TE options are at the end of a tier, although ADP says they might still be available at your next pick.

This remains a good time to grab a TE if you don't have one yet.


Round 10

QB: Joe Burrow

RB: Sony Michel, Tony Pollard

WR: Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Will Fuller, Marvin Jones, Darnell Mooney

TE: Tyler Higbee, Mike Gesicki

Higbee, Gesicki and Fant are nice values if still hanging around in the late 10th round.

Williams and Murray should have some standalone value, while Pollard figures to need an Ezekiel Elliott injury to hit your starting lineup (but would be a top-12 option in that case).

Guys like Moore, Mooney and Jones might be topping your WR rankings here -- but 1 or more should still be available in Round 11.

Lawrence is an OK value here, but there will be better options at the position with your next few picks.

Fant will be long gone by now.

Grab Michel if he's still available at this point.

Plenty of strong WR options.


Round 11

QB: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance

WR: Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Marvin Jones, Darnell Mooney

TE: Mike Gesicki

Lance and Fields are worth taking a shot on here as guys with easy top 10 upside at the position.

All 4 WRs listed above have the potential to emerge as every-week starters.


Rounds 12 and 13

QB: Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa, Baker Mayfield

RB: Tevin Coleman, Phillip Lindsay, Rhamondre Stevenson, Ty'Son Williams

WR: Elijah Moore, Curtis Samuel, Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Bryan Edwards, Terrace Marshall

TE: Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry

You should be prioritizing upside at this point of your draft. The new “Upside Mode” on the Draft War Room will help highlight guys with the highest ceilings.


Rounds 14, 15 and 16

QB: Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa

RB: Rhamondre Stevenson, Darrel Williams, Darrynton Evans, Salvon Ahmed, Tony Jones, Ty'Son Williams, Damien Williams

WR: Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Bryan Edwards, Terrace Marshall, Emmanuel Sanders

TE: Gerald Everett, Blake Jarwin, Austin Hooper

Take 1 more upside shot and then fill your K and DST spots.

If you plan on streaming at DST (you should), here are a few DSTs with favorable Week 1 matchups:

49ers (at Lions)

Broncos (at Giants)

Patriots (vs. Dolphins)

Jaguars (at Texans)



Pick 9, 10, 11 or 12

Round 1

RB: Nick Chubb, Aaron Jones, Saquon Barkley, Jonathan Taylor

WR: Tyreek Hill

TE: Travis Kelce

Chubb and Jones, our 6th- and 7th-ranked RBs in non-PPR, will top your rankings if available. If not, it’ll be Kelce.

If all 3 of those guys are gone, I’d lean Hill over Barkley and Taylor -- at least in part because you’ll likely be going RB in Round 2.


Round 2

RB: Joe Mixon, Najee Harris, Antonio Gibson, Austin Ekeler

You can consider WRs like Stefon Diggs and DeAndre Hopkins here. But with no points per reception, the RBs above are the better values.


Round 3

RB: Chris Carson, James Robinson

WR: Allen Robinson, Mike Evans, Robert Woods, CeeDee Lamb

TE: George Kittle

Here’s where the WRs start to look attractive. Robinson, Evans and Allen all sit inside the top 11 in our non-PPR WR rankings.

If you didn’t start RB-RB, you can consider Carson.

There's a small chance Kittle makes it to you here. Grab him if he does.

Robinson is now an option here if you're still looking for your 2nd RB.


Round 4

RB: James Robinson

WR: Allen Robinson, Robert Woods, CeeDee Lamb, Cooper Kupp, Adam Thielen, Tyler Lockett, Chris Godwin, Amari Cooper

Another WR looks like your best bet here, with Woods and Lamb joining Robinson and Evans as options.

2 RBs and 2 WRs through Round 4 is ideal.

WR options abound in early Round 4. Take advantage, especially if you already have 2 or 3 RBs.


Round 5

QB: Dak Prescott

WR: D.J. Moore, Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool

TE: Mark Andrews, T.J. Hockenson

This is where we’d start to consider an elite QB. ADP says Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Kyler Murray, Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson will be gone by now, but we’ve seen them fall to the late 5th in some drafts -- especially Prescott.

Otherwise, there are strong possibilities at the other 3 positions. Andrews and Hockenson present your last chances to get a potential top 4 TE.

Prioritize Andrews or Hockenson here if they're available.


Round 6

QB: Dak Prescott, Russell Wilson

RB: Gus Edwards, Damien Harris

WR: Tee Higgins, Chase Claypool, Jerry Jeudy

TE: T.J. Hockenson

The Rams’ lead back is a screaming value if he’s still available here.

Wilson also makes sense if you didn’t get 1 of those top 5 signal callers.

Edwards and Harris have climbed the rankings and are fine values here.

Jeudy's ADP is on the rise, so grab him here if you want to make sure you land him.


Round 7

QB: Tom Brady

RB: Trey Sermon, Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones

WR: Courtland Sutton, Odell Beckham, Robby Anderson

This is a fine time to secure your RB3 if you don’t have 1 yet. Note that ADP says Sermon has a chance to make it back to you in the 8th.

The projections show a tier drop at QB behind Brady, so he’s worth a look here.

Note that Sermon's ADP has climbed to the mid 7th round.


Round 8

QB: Jalen Hurts

RB: Jamaal Williams, Sony Michel

WR: Courtland Sutton, Robby Anderson, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Antonio Brown

TE: Noah Fant, Dallas Goedert

Anderson and Jeudy are big values if they’re still hanging around at this point.

Hurts is riskier than the few QBs directly ahead of him in ADP -- but has the upside to out-score them all.

Rising WR ADPs have a new list of targets in Round 8.

Michel's upside is worth taking a shot on starting here.


Round 9

RB: Jamaal Williams, Sony Michel

WR: Mike Williams, D.J. Chark, Laviska Shenault, Brandin Cooks, Tyler Boyd

TE: Noah Fant, Tyler Higbee, Dallas Goedert

Lots of solid WRs to pick from here.

The 3 TE options are at the end of a tier, although ADP says they might still be available at your next pick.

This remains a good time to grab a TE if you don't have one yet.


Round 10

QB: Joe Burrow

RB: Sony Michel, Tony Pollard

WR: Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Will Fuller, Marvin Jones, Darnell Mooney

TE: Tyler Higbee, Mike Gesicki

Higbee, Gesicki and Fant are nice values if still hanging around in the late 10th round.

Williams and Murray should have some standalone value, while Pollard figures to need an Ezekiel Elliott injury to hit your starting lineup (but would be a top-12 option in that case).

Guys like Moore, Mooney and Jones might be topping your WR rankings here -- but 1 or more should still be available in Round 11.

Lawrence is an OK value here, but there will be better options at the position with your next few picks.

Fant will be long gone by now.

Grab Michel if he's still available at this point.

Plenty of strong WR options.


Round 11

QB: Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance

WR: Michael Gallup, Elijah Moore, Marvin Jones, Darnell Mooney

TE: Mike Gesicki

Lance and Fields are worth taking a shot on here as guys with easy top 10 upside at the position.

All 4 WRs listed above have the potential to emerge as every-week starters.


Rounds 12 and 13

QB: Kirk Cousins, Justin Fields, Tua Tagovailoa, Baker Mayfield

RB: Tevin Coleman, Phillip Lindsay, Rhamondre Stevenson, Ty'Son Williams

WR: Elijah Moore, Curtis Samuel, Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Bryan Edwards, Terrace Marshall

TE: Jonnu Smith, Hunter Henry

You should be prioritizing upside at this point of your draft. The new “Upside Mode” on the Draft War Room will help highlight guys with the highest ceilings.


Rounds 14, 15 and 16

QB: Kirk Cousins, Tua Tagovailoa

RB: Rhamondre Stevenson, Darrel Williams, Darrynton Evans, Salvon Ahmed, Tony Jones, Ty'Son Williams, Damien Williams

WR: Jakobi Meyers, Rondale Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Bryan Edwards, Terrace Marshall, Emmanuel Sanders

TE: Gerald Everett, Blake Jarwin, Austin Hooper

Take 1 more upside shot and then fill your K and DST spots.

If you plan on streaming at DST (you should), here are a few DSTs with favorable Week 1 matchups:

49ers (at Lions)

Broncos (at Giants)

Patriots (vs. Dolphins)

Jaguars (at Texans)


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