Fantasy football: Round 6 is when the draft really starts

  • By Adrian Mojica NFL.com
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Labor Day weekend is here. It's time to grill, sit by the pool with friends and family and enjoy some of your favorite libations. It's also the last weekend before the NFL and fantasy football seasons begin. Lucky for you, it's not too late to sign up and play fantasy for FREE on NFL.com. OK, so you might be busy enjoying your last days of the summer sun, but we've got a plan of action that will make your fantasy football draft not only easier but less time-consuming.

It's called auto-draft. And it's as easy as sitting back and cracking open your favorite frosty beverage.

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Just hold on and breathe a minute. Yes, it's completely unheard of and you are probably calling fantasy guru Michael Fabiano right now to order a psych evaluation on me, but I say why not? Think people didn't call the Wright brothers nuts at first? Let me plead my case, and then if you want to stick me in a straitjacket, so be it.

You know how it is when you first sit down, the seconds counting down until your fantasy football draft begins? You're jacked up inside, talking trash to your friends over video chat with Google + Hangouts and armed with the latest profiles and projections. The draft starts and you wind up getting stuck with Tom Brady instead of Drew Brees for your first pick.

Boo-hoo!

Let's face it, other than the strategy of deciding in which rounds you want to select a certain position, there really isn't going to be a huge difference in who you wind up with. To put it in perspective, consider the sixth round of the NFL Fantasy Experts League draft. The wideouts selected were Dez Bryant, DeSean Jackson, Torrey Smith, Steve Johnson and Marques Colston. Pretty much what you'd expect right there. Other than Jackson, who has admitted to holding back last year, there was no more than a 30-point difference between the receivers mentioned in 2011. That's realistically only one or two catches that separated them all!

Now let's look at the seventh round of that draft. There was a run on running backs, with Peyton Hillis, Cedric Benson, Jonathan Stewart and Michael Turner being selected. Like DeSean Jackson, we'll leave Hillis out of the equation since he missed six games with injury last year. The difference between the backs was 66 total points. That's far more than just one or two carries. Now you're talking serious numbers that could cost you games.

Of course there are always mitigating circumstances, but you're going to get a player worth starting even if you're blindfolded during the early rounds. Where fantasy championships are won is in those middle-to-late rounds. Just ask the fantasy owners who plucked Victor Cruz, Darren Sproles, Marshawn Lynch, Percy Harvin or Jordy Nelson in later rounds if those guys helped their fantasy teams last year. They weren't considered legitimate studs heading into 2011, but they all wound up as top 10 finishers at their respective positions. That's what will win your fantasy league in 2012.

So think of it this way, instead of getting so pumped up to start off that you fall into the old sixth-round malaise, pace yourself. Michael Jordan, Mariano Rivera and Tom Brady are stars and have multiple championships because they know how to finish. So should you. Just set your top-six targets and go make a sandwich. When those early rounds are over, gear up and let everyone else fall into the funk when you're just getting started. Use the expert analysis in our draft kit to help you land those diamonds in the rough. From sleepers to breakouts, we've got you covered.

So sign up now! Try it out and then let me know if I'm crazy.

Follow Adrian Mojica on Twitter @FFFdaily.

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