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News-Herald Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Kleps doesn’t just write headlines and stories. He also checks on his fantasy sports teams. A lot. See if the moves and news from the world of sports affect your fantasy teams.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Fantasy football: Trying the new draft approach

In my fantasy football preview column for The News-Herald on Aug. 18, I wrote about the declining emphasis of the running backs.

A few of my conclusions as we entered the 2012 season:

-- Unless a premier player fell, Don't be Two Running Backs In The First Two Rounds Guy.

-- Don't be afraid to select a quarterback in the first round.

-- I would take Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski with the first pick in the second round of a 12-team league.

As it turned out, I drew the No. 12 and No. 11 picks in two of the leagues in which I participate. In the first -- the News-Herald's 12-team point-per-reception league -- my theories didn't come into play for the first two rounds because two running backs I have ranked in the top six at their position (Chris Johnson and Matt Forte) were available at Nos. 12 and 13 overall.

Tuesday night, in a 12-team PPR league in which I compete with two of my brothers and a few of my cousins, I certainly put my findings to the test.

When the No. 11 pick rolled around, seven running backs were off the board, but Drew Brees -- who was No. 6 in my top 100 overall (the pre-Maurice Jones-Drew holdout edition) -- was not.

Thus, I was very happy to select Brees.

Then it got a little crazy, at least by my past reliance on running backs standards.

At No. 14 overall, I narrowed my choices to two players -- Jones-Drew and Gronkowski. Since it's a PPR league and since Jones-Drew, who just reported to the Jaguars and won't be a starter this week as Jacksonville eases him into the lineup, scares me, I went with Gronkowski.

Yes, I love having Brees and Gronkowski on my team.

The negative in that, however, is by the time my third-round selection, No. 35 overall, arrived, 15 running backs were off the board.

I was surprised the Bills' Fred Jackson, whom I had No. 13 at running back, was there, so he, like Brees, was an easy choice.

At No. 38, I went out of my comfort zone yet again. There, I selected Steelers wide receiver Mike Wallace for two reasons: 1. Twelve receivers were off the board, and my No. 9 wideout was available. 2. If I didn't take a receiver here, the first wideout on my roster would have to wait until at least No. 59.

So I went with Wallace at No. 38 and the Broncos' Demaryius Thomas (my No. 18 receiver) at No. 59.

Instead of taking running backs in each of the first two rounds, which had been one of my draft-day staples, I selected one back in the first five rounds.

That left me with Shonn Greene (No. 62 overall in Round 6) as my No. 2 running back.

It also left me feeling very uneasy, since this wasn't a method with which I was familiar.

My final 16-player roster from Tuesday night:

QBs: Drew Brees, Andrew Luck (Round 12)

RBs: Fred Jackson, Shonn Greene, Isaac Redman (Round 7), Evan Royster (Round 10), Daniel Thomas (Round 13)

WRs: Mike Wallace, Demaryius Thomas, Anquan Boldin (Round 8), Malcom Floyd (Round 9), Santana Moss (Round 11), Jon Baldwin (Round 14)

TE: Gronkowski

K: Alex Henery (Round 16)

D/ST: N.Y. Giants (Round 15)

If Fred Jackson stays healthy, I like my chances.

If he doesn't, I'll be kicking myself for believing I should stray from something that had worked quite well in the past.

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