FFL: Engel's Round One Guide

If you're still unsure about who to take with your first round draft pick, we'll ease all of your concerns. This is a quick-hitting look at the ideal choices at each spot in the first round if you're drafting late in August or early in September. My view of how the first round should shake out has changed considerably in recent weeks, so here is a revised and updated glance at what each owner will be considering in the first 12 slots.

Pick One: While Larry Johnson has been the "chic" pick, Shaun Alexander is clearly the safest choice here. No one compares to Alexander for annually excellent production and durability. Even if he doesn't approach last year's record-setting touchdown numbers, he'll clearly be in the neighborhood of 20 overall scores. Yes, the 'Hawks have lost Steve Hutchinson, but Walter Jones still leads the left side of the line, and he's the best offensive tackle in the NFL. Alexander makes people miss, preserves himself well, and should be the first player to evade the "Madden Jinx". Ideal Pick: Shaun Alexander Top Alternatives: LaDainian Tomlinson, Larry Johnson

Pick Two: While Larry Johnson has tremendous upside, LaDainian Tomlinson is more proven and versatile. Worries about Tomlinson playing with an inexperienced quarterback have started to fade, as Philip Rivers has already demonstrated that he can at least manage a game respectably enough. He should keep defenses from stacking their fronts against Tomlinson, and will also use him often as a receiver when he is pressured. In leagues that award points for receptions, Tomlinson should be considered first overall. But in standard leagues, Alexander should outscore him and I expect him to end up with more touchdowns. Ideal Pick: LaDainian Tomlinson Top Alternative: Larry Johnson