Fantasy Football Draft Strategy

Is preparing for the draft killing you? Power up here and never look back! Scroll down for our most recent draft strategies and advice.

If you're lazy and looking for a simple to follow draft strategy here's a 50,000 foot view. Fill up your starting RB and WR slots then worry about QB and be the last person to fill their TE spot unless that TE is Gronkowski. Plenty of TE depth and QB depth in a 12 team league. A general strategy that works in most leagues for your first pick is to draft one of the following in this order: one of the top-3 backs, then the top-1 TE, and then one of the top-3 WRs. This covers your first pick if you have the first through seventh pick. Use our cheat sheet from there.

You MUST have a cheat sheet customized to your league settings. Knowing Average Draft Position (ADP), Strength of Schedule and value is always smart when drafting so ensure your cheat sheet includes lots of relevant metrics (like ours).

Last but not least (probably the most important), know your stuff. Have a strategy, know your upside picks, who not to draft due to risk etc. basically, read the articles below.

Pete’s Top 5 Under Drafted Value Picks

Chris Ivory #33 of the New York Jets rushes after evading tackle attempts by T.J. Carrie #38 and Sio Moore #55 of the Oakland Raiders during the third quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium on September 7, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)
Chris Ivory #33 of the New York Jets rushes after evading tackle attempts by T.J. Carrie #38 and Sio Moore #55 of the Oakland Raiders during the third quarter of a game at MetLife Stadium on September 7, 2014 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

Last week we covered the over drafted players list, or “DND” list, complete with an amazing image of Gandalf and a troll lining up to take a snap. Now, just like the wizard in white, I have returned at the turn of the tide with another list! A good way to think of the following Under Drafted Value Picks piece is “Hey Pete, can you make a Value All-Star team for me?” Think of this like the NBA All-Star game: a top five of value guys who I think will end up on a lot of my rosters based on where they are currently being taken in drafts. The five names below are all players I believe will out-perform their current expectations and ADP.

Again, for those of you who missed last week, a player’s average draft position is different than their overall rank among all players. “Overall” denotes where their ADP places them if you were to arrange every player in order according to their ADP. I have also tried to arrange this list in order from “least egregiously under-drafted” to “most egregiously under-drafted.”

INJURY NOTE: I am staying away from the obvious D. Adams (WR-GB) and D. Funchess (WR-CAR) as their situations have drastically changed with injuries to J. Nelson and K. Benjamin, respectively. I expect both of their ADPs to rise rapidly this week.

Under-Drafted Value Pick No. 5: Jeremy Maclin, WR, PHI ADP: 66 Overall: 60

Apparently, many of you read last week’s article and acted on it, as I advocated taking Maclin higher. And he has risen from an ADP of 69.3 to 66.0. Great! Now keep the needle moving. Last year’s Kansas City WR numbers mean nothing. Nothing. Maclin is a legit number one, Andy Reid loves him, he’s looked good in the preseason, he’s better than where he’s going at WR24. Keep reading, keep acting, and keep the needle moving!

Under-Drafted Value Pick No. 4: Christopher Ivory RB, NYJ ADP: 81.3 Overall: 76

I know, I know.. there are no sexy Jets. Similar to 2014, the fewer Jets I have on my fantasy roster the happier I am. Nevertheless, Ivory is currently being drafted as RB 31. Let me say that again: RB 31?!?! Are you people insane? There are only 32 NFL teams! And the job is all his! And it’s not like he’s talent-less! He’s actually looked pretty good in the preseason! Should I stop using exclamation points now(!)? Ok. I will stop exclamation points now.

Under-Drafted Value Pick No. 3: Charles Johnson WR, MIN ADP: 104.3 Overall: 98

Who’s your guy in Minnesota, Johnson or Mike Wallace? Whoever it is should be going in the top-25 at WRs and both Wallace (WR28) and Johnson (WR36) currently aren’t. I know the Vikings brought in Wallace to contribute and like him a lot, but it’s not like Johnson is yesterday’s bacon. Wallace is a well-known commodity: he’ll be a boom-or-bust, take-the-top-off-the-defense sort of guy. Do I think Norv Turner will trust Bridgewater enough on deeper throws to help Wallace achieve consistent production? Actually, yes. I think I do. But Johnson will get more than enough looks (if I had to bet on it today, I’d say he gets more 2015 targets than Wallace) and, honestly, in my opinion is the better player. Move him on up!

Under-Drafted Value Pick No. 2: Alshon Jeffery WR, CHI ADP: 25.0 Overall: 23

Currently going as WR10 and I’ve got him at WR6. Yes, at this point I’d take him over Calvin Johnson, TY HIlton, AJ Green and mayyybbbee Randall Cobb but that last one is extremely close after the aforementioned injury to Nelson. I think he’s a target monster this year and for all the hype about Odell Beckham Jr’s insane catches was anyone watching Jeffery’s 2013 season? Seriously, the dude plays with superglue on his gloves. For those of you worried about his calf injury don't fret, he will be fine.

Under-Drafted Value Pick No. 1: Jeremy Hill RB, CIN ADP: 14.7 Overall: 16

Name one guy currently going outside the top-10 who could finish at number one overall fantasy scoring among non-quarterbacks. How many of you just said “Jeremy Hill?” Answer: not enough. If the cookie crumbles the right way I could see Hill as an absolute year-winner, and he’s currently going in the back-half of the second round and ninth among running backs. I put him more in the Eddie Lacy/Marshawn Lynch/Matt Forte tier, and I think between all those guys it’s a wash.

Best of luck. As always you can tweet me rants, dissertations, and random nonsense:

 

Rob Gronkowski With The #1 Pick?

Who should be the number one overall pick? A curious question entering the home stretch, the final two weeks of drafting. This week and last, I’ve examined mainly value- first, players who I felt were over-drafted, being taken well above where I think they should fall. Second, I looked at the opposite side of the coin - players who were well under-drafted and offered serious value at their current ADP. But one question I haven’t tackled is the strategy of the top pick. Can you really have “value” at #1 overall?

I’ve often found the best snake draft strategy is simply to take the best player available at any given moment (similar to the real NFL, eh?), and that applies even to the first pick. So who’s the best available player with the whole board in play?

The Weekly Advantage Argument

For some time, I strongly considered the theory of taking Rob Gronkowski at number 1 overall in 2015. I still consider him a top-10 pick and currently have him at seven. But why not one? And why did I think of grabbing him numero uno? The argument is rather simplistic (and, unfortunately, it is in its simplicity where it ultimately falls short).The difference between Gronk and every other TE on the board is more dramatic than the difference between player 1 at any other position and player 2 at said position. Just think of it logically for a second, position by position, looking at the 2014 totals for 1st and 2nd per position:

  1. QB: 1. Aaron Rodgers 342  2. Andrew Luck 336, difference: 6 points
  2. RB: 1. DeMarco Murray 282 2. Le’Veon Bell 272, difference: 10 points
  3. WR: 1. Antonio Brown 251 2. Demaryius Thomas 223, difference: 28 points
  4. TE: 1. Rob Gronkowski 178 2. Antonio Gates 148 3. Jimmy Graham 137, difference: 30 points

Keep in mind, Gronk was a little banged up early on and also didn’t play week 17. So, Gates played an extra week, had a freak 3-touchdown day in week 2, and still was outscored by five touchdowns. I also included Jimmy Graham’s (the concensus 2015 number 2!) 2014 numbers -- when he was with Drew Brees, remember-- to illustrate the difference. Gates likely wouldn’t come close to repeating his 2014 even if he hadn’t been suspended four games and Graham is on a much more run-oriented offense. Sketchy math indicates he’s good for a minimum of 2 points-per-game better than the next best TE. Only Antonio Brown comes close to replicating that performance over the next best competition, and there’s a solid argument to be made for at least a tiny regression- or the catching up of the WR field.

So, what’s not to love?

The problem comes in when you actually do it. Not taking a WR or RB until pick 20 (or pick 24 in a 12-team league) typically kills the look of your team. Even if you go RB/WR at 20/21, you don’t get to do it again until the 30s. In general, I’ve found my Gronk-at-1 mock draft teams don’t look very thrilling. Missing out on that early opportunity to grab value really hurts.

Another issue: the weekly advantage theory strangely conflicts with mathematics. Personally, I’m really not sold on the idea of Value-based-drafting (VBD) which is for lack of a better description similar in some ways to real-life-WAR (wins above replacement) in that it seeks to create a measurable “generic” player-x per each position that one can then measure other players against. The problem is, every league is different. And replacement-level vs. performance is not really a good way to evaluate decisions in a fantasy setting where every game/point is vital and the season is remarkably short and often matchup-based. (Though perhaps that’s an interesting argument in Gronk’s favor by itself: he’s matchup proof!)

The Universal Draft Coefficient

A much more scientific idea I have come across was developed by the folks over at Pro Football Focus called the Universal Draft Coefficient, or UDC.

Editors note: UDC is very similar to the value column and next value column within our cheat sheets - we may be able to add the UDC this week since it's only one extra mathematical step (RPPG) over our value number and I feel it makes it easier to spot variations (it's a smaller number) over what we already provide.

What I like about UDC is PFF’s development of a three-pronged axis of sorts to measure a player’s impact compared to every player in the league’s placement on that axis: that is, it’s value measured among the performance of their peers without the pesky semi-arbitrary “baseline” VBD concept. As the folks at PFF explain, the three lines of the axis are “Positional Starting Slots” (many people unwisely apply general rankings to leagues with specific starter rules that would affect the value of each player), “Real Points Per Game” (PPG calculated using games where the player doesn’t play or plays only a partial game as a replacement for an injured player really can affect general understanding of value), and “Positional Starter Average” which helps create a more mathematical arena in which to place and understand a player’s performance. It’s a long read, but check out the article, Gronk, even in leagues that allow TE’s in the flex spot, still only checks in at number 14 (in 2013) and number 20 (in 2014) overall. Strangely here, the numbers also tell a different story in regards to Gronkowski’s performance over other tight ends: Graham’s UDC places him much closer than his point differential would suggest: at number 15 overall, only one spot behind, in 2013 and 25 overall in 2014. Interesting.

So, is the monkey-wrench thrown? Are we kaput for this whole crazy notion?

Position Scarcity

So you may say, well wait, there’s so few good tight ends! Yeah, but most leagues only play one tight end, and there’s the rub: you have to play two running backs. Now, a look back at the 2014 scoring leaders suddenly tells a different story. The number one RB, Murray, put up 282 fantasy points in 2014. But the #20 RB (who was started in 10-team leagues with two RB slots, mind you!) was Andre Ellington, who put up only 122 fantasy points- that’s a whole ten points per game less than Murray. Suddenly, Gronk’s two-per-game over Gates doesn’t look so impressive! But for fairness, let’s compare Gronkowski only to the number 10 scoring tight end, who would have also been started in our theoretical vacuum 10-team league. J. Witten landed there in 2014, scoring a total of 93 points to Gronkowski’s 178, for an 85 point difference, or about a 5.3-fantasy-point-per-game difference, which still pales in comparison to the 10-per-game difference at the RB position.

Gronkowski NOT The #1 Pick

Ultimately, the numbers just don’t bore out: Gronkowski at one makes sense on some surface levels but it’s not a feasible plan. But this numerical exploration does give rise to one interesting notion: forget snake drafts, in auctions, the “Studs and Duds” method is clearly the way to go! Nabbing the top guy on a points-per-game basis and a replacement level (21st or below in RB rankings, 11th or below in TE) would theoretically score higher than two mid-tier options almost regardless of the positional combination you select. Quite curious!

So Who Do I Love?

Honestly it’s a toss-up. I included Eddie Lacy in my overdrafted list, but after the Jordy Nelson injury, I have to elevate all of my remaining healthy Packers. Le’Veon Bell could be docked for his suspension, but he was lights out when he played in 2015. Adrian Peterson? Oh, he’s now playing for a guy who has coached the NFL’s leading rusher 5 times in Norv Turner, and he’ll likely get all the passing down work, too. That’s my top tier, and Jamaal Charles is a very close 4th. I think an argument could be made for any of the top-three but ask yourself: who’s the one you don’t want the other guy to have in week 17, for the Superbowl game? My gut says it’s Bell, so act accordingly.

Best of luck. As always you can tweet me @pkaragianis

1st Pick 12 Team Standard League Draft Strategy

Okay knuckleheads we're drafting out of the 1 spot (we've got the first pick) in a 12 team standard scoring league. Your draft strategy is usually based on who's available but this year I'm really digging taking a late quarterback. Staying true to my philosophy I drafted quarterback toward the end of the middle rounds. While diving into my Standard League Draft Strategy I'll explain why I drafted Lacy as the first pick in the draft as well as the reasoning behind my overall strategy.

12 Team Standard League Draft Results

The below image is the rating FantasyPros gave my team after the draft. As you can see, I have the #1 overall team,#3 ranked group of starters and #1 ranked bench. When you have the #1 pick you're forced to wait a long time before your next draft pick, it can really suck! Typically what happens is by the time your 2nd and 3rd pick roles around the best value is in wide receiver so my strategy typically involves drafting RB, WR, WR.

draft-results-standard-draft

Round by Round Strategy

Insight into my positional concepts:

  1. RB - Running back is very important, especially in standard leagues, and always when you have the first pick in your draft.
  2. WR - Historical touchdown consistency is the key and you clearly want to target the large and or faster guys not always the possession receivers.
  3. TE - There are several late round tight ends with plenty of upside, draft two of them.
  4. QB - I like waiting it out at QB. Cheap guys like Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers are decent picks and Eli could really surprise this year.
  5. DEF - When you have the first pick it always seems to make sense to wait on picking your team defense. Target them based on strength of schedule.
  6. Kicker - Use you last pick and draft a kicker on a high powered offense.

Round by round analysis:

Eddie Lacy is my number 1 pick this year.
Eddie Lacy is my number 1 pick this year.

I had the 1st pick in a 12 team standard league, here's how my draft strategy played out.

  • 1.1 Eddie Lacy, GB - With my first pick I snatched up Lacy. The news of Jordy's ACL tear solidifies Lacy as this year #1 draft pick.
  • 2.12 Randall Cobb, GB - Okay so Nelson's ACL tear also boost Cobb up, or so we hope.
  • 3.1 Alshon Jeffery, CHI - Taking Jeffery was the obvious choice. I felt good about my chances at running back later and wanted a dominate WR core.
  • 4.12 Keenan Allen, SD - Keenan is a 3rd year wide receiver and I firmly believe he's going to net us 10 touchdowns this year.
  • 5.1 T.J. Yeldon, JAC - Remember MJD? Yes you can get solid production out of the running back position on a less than dominate team. Was I targeting Yeldon this year, no, but he'll do... for now.
  • 6.12 C.J. Spiller, NO - Yes it's a standard league but 8 total touch downs isn't out of the question. New Orleans will run the ball more this year and Spiller should benefit from the new scenery.
  • 7.1 Ameer Abdullah, DET - Do you think Bell will stay healthy? I don't. Ameer was my version of "wishing on a star" in this draft. He could be an expensive bust, or a home run pick.
  • 8.12 Davante Adams, GB - Man I love me some Green Bay Packers! Adams will see an uptick in snaps due to Nelsons unfortunate injury and folks haven't caught on yet.
  • 9.1 Eli Manning, NYG - Beckham and Cruz on the field on the same time with no clear number 1 running back, Eli better have his arm ready because they are going to be throwing it a bunch.
  • 10.12 Devin Funchess, CAR - Kelvin is out for the season, another ACL victim, and Funchess will be tossed into the fire. He's a low risk high upside pick and I couldn't be happier.
  • 11.1 Philip Rivers, SD - Because Eli isn't that sexy.
  • 12.12 Tyler Eifert, CIN - He's been untouchable in camp and did well in the pre-season footage I've watched. At 6'6' 250 pounds the kid has a shot at being a top 5 TE.
  • 13.1 Dwayne Allen, IND - In case Eifert doesn't pan out Allen will serve as a more than viable starter and he only cost me a late pick. Waiting for TE seems like the strategy to use this year.
  • 14.12 Baltimore Ravens, Bal
  • 15.1 Stephen Gostkowski, NE - High power offense and a history of being reliable.

What This Team Lacks

I'm clearly lacking RB depth, typically you'll want to roster four backs due to the nature of injuries in the NFL. I'll certainly be a waiver wire hawk and by week 4 I'll have another running back on my bench. Every single year a 2 or 3 running backs emerge that are worthy of starting or at least keeping on your bench. I'm sure you've got an opinion and I'd love to here it so don't be shy.

Top Over-drafted Players: 2015 Fantasy Football Draft Prep

The Contrarian Candidate or a Brief and Pessimistic Over-Drafted List. Over-drafting will get you ridiculed and mocked on draft day so one could say this is a do-not-draft list. For the past two to three years on pretty much every single Fantasy Knuckleheads podcast I have been a part of, show host Mark Milano and site owner Kurt Turner know where they can turn when they need someone to disagree or, as my favorite Aunt Vicki would say, be a “Negative Nancy.”

“So, Pete, what do you think?” one of them will ask.

And let the hate floweth.

I’ve mercilessly ripped apart draft picks, sleeper picks, busts, even made the now oft-referenced claim that I’d take Larry Donnell to get equal or more rushing yards than Trent Richardson in one of last year’s weekly shows. This, I think, turned out to be correct. T-Rich put up a big fat donut and Donnell, oddly, didn’t receive a single carry.

True to form, for this year’s four-round mock draft I arrived late to the party, but nonetheless with a full metal jacket of pre-loaded derogatory remarks regarding questionable over-drafted picks. “Who better,” Kurt thought, “to flesh out a full-on do not draft piece?” Yes, he really went with DND, which I shall henceforth use in place of “Do-not-draft” for the sake of both brevity and die-hard Dungeons and Dragons nerds who may also enjoy fantasy football. Every year I take part in a league with high school buddies, started I believe in 1997, and after a couple Anchor Steams and the obvious first two rounds worth of picks (unless a certain someone with a man-crush takes Tom Brady in round 1… you know who you are, A.G.), it’s always, “Oh man, round three…” then a few groans, then a pick, then, “does Pete approve?”

So here you go, friends, neo-Romans, countrymen. To avoid my unabashed lambasting on draft day, take heed of my official DND list!
So here you go, friends, neo-Romans, countrymen. To avoid my unabashed lambasting on draft day, take heed of my official DND list!

 

I’ve decided to approach my DND list round-by-round, through round 8 in a standard 10-team league. I will present the rounds in inverse order to build suspense and keep you on the page longer. (Diabolical, I know!) I will also offer names for each pick who I would prefer to take instead of the (in my opinion) over-drafted player in question. Obviously, I’m not always right. But I’ll present my case and let you be the judge, jury, and executioner.

A quick explanation of ADP and Overall: ADP is the player’s actual average draft position. “Overall” indicates where that places them overall among all players when you arrange each player in order by their ADP. I think it’s useful to consider both.

Round 8 Over drafted: Matthew Stafford, QB, DET ADP: 81.0 Overall: 76

You might say, 81st overall is not the 8th round in a 10-team league. However an ADP average of 81.0 actually puts him at 76th overall based on average ADP (math is hard) among leagues drafted on all the major sites, and he is actually going most commonly between pick 70 and 85. Putting numbers aside, what’s my reasoning? Simple, a middle-tier QB should not be going ahead of productive position players and there’s an argument to be made that Stafford is no longer even a mid-tier option at quarterback, he might not even be a top-10 guy any more. Look, this is a strategy thing. Unless you’re in a 2-QB league (or maybe a 6 points per pass TD league), there’s no logical strategic argument in favor of taking a quarterback in these middle-to-late-middle rounds. Who would I rather draft? Too many names to mention, so I’ll give you a few: Christopher Ivory (85.8), Roddy White (87.5), Tevin Coleman (89.2), and if you really want another QB I’d wait for Eli Manning (90.5, but you can probably get him even later).

Round 7 Over-Drafted: Joique Bell, RB, DET ADP: 70.8 Overall: 68

So, am I just hating on the Lions? No, just these Lions. If you read my 2015 Rookie Rankings you’ll know I love Ameer Abdullah as do a lot of other fantasy folks. Bell has injury questions and Abdullah just looks really good. Yes, Reggie Bush is gone, but I don’t see that having much impact on Bell’s workload with the arrival of Abdullah. Guys I’d take over Bell? C.J. Spiller (71.0), Ameer Abdullah (81.3), and yeah, even Coleman and Ivory mentioned above. Note: Spiller has a hammy injury.

Round 6 Over-Drafted: Todd Gurley, RB, STL ADP: 52.0 Overall: 51

I was very tempted to name two more quarterbacks here, Matt Ryan (60.5/57) and Tony Romo (62.5/59) but I’ve already laid out my argument above: it’s just a bad strategic move in most leagues. Instead, I’ll go with Gurley who, like many other rookie running backs, is historically over-drafted. Do I think the job in St. Louis belongs to Gurley? Yes, sooner or later. Do I think he has talent? Absolutely. I actually have no problem taking a flier on him at this point in the draft, but I look down at Joseph Randle (56.0/54) and Rashad Jennings (70.3/67) and see two far less sexy names who definitely already have the job and should be plenty productive.

Round 5 Over-Drafted: DeSean Jackson, WR, WAS ADP: 50.8 Overall: 46

Honestly, I just don’t see it. Washington will be a run-first team with questions at the Quarterback position namely, what’s up with Robert Griffin III? We just don’t know what to expect. Jackson benefited greatly from Chip Kelly’s offense in 2014 and I think his situation has changed drastically but fantasy players are expecting the same results. There’s plenty of names below him I’d rather have at the position, such as Keenan Allen (57.8/56), Jeremy Maclin (69.3/65), and even right below him, Julian Edelman (51.0/47)

Round 4 Over-Drafted: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU ADP: 36.7 Overall: 37

Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett and Tom Savage are his options at QB, not to mention Arian Foster is out indefinitely. Oh, and Andre Johnson is gone. Houston just doesn’t have any weapons! On one hand, there’s a volume argument to be had, as in, Hopkins is going to get the targets. On the other hand, there’s the classic dumpster fire argument, as in, the Houston offense could be a total dumpster fire. To score fantasy points you gotta score real NFL points. Those might be hard to come by this year for the Texans. Names I’d take over Hopkins? Brandin Cooks (37.8/39) and Jordan Matthews (41.0/40) both fit the bill and are within the same round range.

Round 3 Over-Drafted: Jimmy Graham, TE, SEA ADP: 27.2 Overall: 26

This is where it gets tough because all of the players here are typically strong picks. The wisdom of the masses, alas! But I think there are two arguments to be made here against Graham: first, a strategic argument. Is his value at the TE position really all that higher than a Travis Kelce or Martellus Bennett who can be had much cheaper? Second, a change of scenery argument: how much will the transition from the Saints’ Brees lead pass-first offense to the Seahawks run-first approach? We just don’t know, but I have a hard time believing the switch is at all an upgrade for Graham. A much better selection would be the aforementioned Bennett (67.0/63), which allows you to take an elite level RB or WR in round 3.

Round 2 Over-Drafted: DeMarco Murray, RB, PHI ADP: 13.8 Overall: 15

Ugh, I actually really agree with how round two typically plays out and this feels like a nitpick, but the Eagles do have quite the stable of able running backs. While I think Murray is a fairly safe pick I also think he has the largest potential for downside and almost certainly won’t be able to repeat his 2014 performance. Within the same round, I’d rather take a receiver like Jordy Nelson (19.3/20) or Odell Beckham Jr. (14.0/16).

Round 1 Over-Drafted: Eddie Lacy, RB, GB ADP: 2.5 Overall: 3

Here, I don’t need to nitpick. I actually think there are a quite clear top-3 this season which are, in some order, Le’Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, and Adrian Peterson. I wouldn’t take Lacy above any of those three and, in fact, my draft strategy this year has Rob Gronkowski at 4 overall. Yup. Take Gronk at 4. I’m a big believer this year in the following round 1 approach: take the top-3 backs, the top-1 TE, and then the top-3 WRs. So that puts Lacy at number 8 for me which, if you’re following me still, means I’d take not only the top-3 RB listed and Gronk mentioned above, but also Antonio Brown (6.3/6), Dez Bryant (10.2/8) and Demaryius Thomas (11.7/9) all over Eddie Lacy. Is Lacy still a first round pick to me? Yes, right there at number nine in a near dead heat with Marshawn Lynch.

 

Perfect 12 Team PPR Draft Strategy With Late Quarterback

Due to an early run on the quarterback position, common in 1 and 2 QB leagues, I deployed a late round quarterback draft strategy. It's the perfect PPR draft strategy with a late round quarterback philosophy. You'll need to ignore the early run and stock up on the other skill positions. If this happens in your league I advise you to draft the other skill positions early (bypassing quarterback in this instance) to maximize your total team scoring in-season. The drop off in projected points between the 8th QB drafted and the 12th QB drafted is minimal however, the average draft position for the 12th quarterback off the board is substantial. While diving into my PPR draft strategy I'll explain why I picked this player or that player, hopefully giving you insight into my logic behind each draft choice.

PPR Draft Results

Let's take a look at the draft results. As you can see, the team I drafted is projected for the highest total points both overall and just the starters. The strategy is simple and we will take a look at that later on. Bottom line: don't follow the herd, drafting based on position runs only leaves you at the bottom of the pack. You may feel like you're missing out but in all actuality you're not!

draft-results-ppr-draft
You have got to love these draft results. Not following the herd and sticking to my strategy will net you positive returns once the season starts.

 

Round by Round Strategy

Insight into my positional concepts:

  1. RB - Running back is very important, even in PPR Drafts, and you obviously target running backs that have a history of gathering receptions.
  2. WR - Consistency is the key and your clear possession wide receivers are your primary objective.
  3. TE - There are several mid-to-late round tight ends with a huge ceiling so wait it out.
  4. QB - Preferably I'll target high upside guys that are cheap like Eli Manning and Phillip Rivers. But I didn't have that luxury this time, more on that later.
  5. DEF - You can go about this 1 of 2 ways: either take the best defense early (round 9 through 11) or wait until much later and draft two based on strength of schedule.
  6. Kicker - Use your last or second to last pick and ensure you grab a guy from a high power offense and tough strength of schedule overall. High powered offenses get into the red-zone more frequently and if they have a tough strength of schedule then you may or may not get more kicker production.

Round by round analysis:

I had the 8th pick in a 12 team PPR league, here's the fallout.

  1. Eddie Lacy, GB -He's a three down back and that's what you want with your first pick in a PPR draft. A running back that catches the ball and gets all three downs is pure gold.
  2. Demaryius Thomas, DEN: Everyone else was hawking quarterback but I didn't panic and took advantage of the position run by not following herd. Thomas in the second round, what a bunch of rookies!
  3. Lamar Miller, MIA -Miller hasn't been a PPR stud but he's a three down back in an improving offense. It doesn't hurt that he's a free agent next season and theoretically playing for a big payday!
  4. Brandin Cooks, NO - Someone has got to pick up the slack now that Jimmy is gone and Cooks should be a very consistent PPR machine.
  5. C.J. Spiller, NO - Spiller could easily surpass 70 receptions and 1,000 overall yards. I usually stray from player switching to a new team but the history of Sean Payton and his ability to turn scat-backs into PPR gold is undeniable.
  6. Julian Edelman, NE - 90 to 110 receptions is well within Edelman's wheelhouse.
  7. Andy Dalton, CIN - I know you hate this pick, but in the grand scheme of things waiting at the quarterback position allowed me to find value at RB/WR and draft a dominate team. Dalton was without his top 2 wide receivers at various points through the season last year. Now that Jones and Green are back at full strength he's a lock to surpass the 33 touchdown ceiling he set in 2013. As a side note Bengals OC Hue Jackson said, "We're going to open it up a little bit more this year and be who I think we can be."
  8. Joique Bell, DET - Slight injury concern here but in the 8th round I couldn't resist. Bush is gone too which helps his early season projections in my book.
  9. Seattle Seahawks, Sea - I drafted them a little earlier than I wanted but I knew the other guys I liked would still be there in the later rounds. When strategizing and making on-the-fly decisions you've got to see past your next move, just like playing chess.
  10. Roddy White, ATL - He was absolutely riddled with injuries last year (which caused him to drop to the 10th round) and if he can return to form this pick is a humdinger or at least a solid bye-week filler.
  11. Pierre Garcon, WAS - This is a pure upside pick, he could find himself on the waiver wire come week four because I need another running back.
  12. Tyler Eifert, CIN - He's been untouchable in camp and did well in the pre-season footage I've watched. At 6'6' 250 pounds the kid has a shot at being a top 5 TE.
  13. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TB - His rookie quarterback should target him frequently (Winston made his TE in college the most targeted TE in college) and having two upside tight-ends is a must for all teams I manage.
  14. Alex Smith, KC - Gotta have a bye-week filler and what the heck, he was the only QB worth 2 beans remaining on the board. Hopefully Maclin helps KC more than we expect.
  15. Connor Barth, DEN - High power offense, check. Last round, check.

What This Team Lacks

Obviously things could be better and in our constant pursuit of perfection lets pick this team apart and figure out how to address it in-season. I'm lacking RB depth, typically you'll want to roster four running backs due to the volatility of the position. Leaning on the waiver wire, by week 4 I'll have another running back on this team, that's a certainly. Every single year a couple running backs emerge (usually by week 4) that are worthy of starting or at least keeping your bench warm. I'm sure you've got an opinion and I'd love to here it so don't be shy.

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