Pick-by-Pick Strategy Drafting from the 1-Spot in an Apex PPR League
Last year went smoothly, so my buddy (Joe) and I joined another league at Apex Fantasy Football this year. They host a variety of money leagues at a number of different price levels. Joe and I elected to enter a Rookie league, which is code for a league with a $125 entry fee.
Starting lineup requirements are 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 RB/WR/TE, 1 K and 1 DT. Scoring is fairly standard (4 point per pass TD), but it is a PPR league. If you’d like to follow along on the draft grid, click here.
We drew the 1-spot, so Antonio Brown immediately jumped out as the safest and most consistent option. There’s no such thing as true safety in fantasy football (as Jordy Nelson showed us yesterday, sigh), but Brown is about as dependable as they come. Why didn’t we take a running back? Because we really like the players – Justin Forsett, Frank Gore and Lamar Miller – typically available at the next turn.
Well would you look at that? Jeremy Hill and Forsett slipped to the turn. I actually have Frank Gore ranked ahead of Hill in PPR, but I own so much Gore and so little Hill that I didn’t argue when Joe said he wanted Hill instead. It was a good time to diversify and give my co-owner a win.
We can start three running backs, so it was tough to pass up on C.J. Spiller at the next turn. The knee scope is a mild concern but it sounds like he’ll be ready Week 1 and I think he’s going to catch a ton of passes in that offense.
None of the receivers were really jumping out here, though we debated about Martavis Bryant for a bit. Now that Nelson is (likely) out for the year, Davante Adams is now worth consideration at this point in the draft. I think he’s going to post solid WR2 numbers in both formats as he sees a big jump in targets.
We ended up with Travis Kelce, who is a threat to crack the top 2 at his position this season. From Week 11 on, he played 86 percent of the snaps and posted an average of 4.7 catches for 61 yards per game. His touchdowns (.14) in that span dropped from his Week 1 to Week 10 rate (0.44), but I think that will correct itself in 2015.
There were 33 receivers drafted by our 6.12 pick, so wideouts were going pretty fast and furious. We settled on Roddy White (pre-elbow surgery) and Larry Fitzgerald, who is one of my favorite middle round values this year. It sounds like White will be fine for Week 1, so let’s hope he’s good to go.
Wright is getting a QB upgrade in Marcus Mariota and should continue to produce WR3/WR4 numbers as long as he’s healthy. He set a career high in touchdowns (6) in his first season under Ken Whisenhunt. Too bad his catches were down.
The Angry Tom Strategy was foiled in the 8th round, so we waited on QB and were rewarded with Eli Manning at 10.12. Manning finished the season as the #10 fantasy quarterback, but was #2 over the final six weeks, when OC Ben McAdoo said that the team finally played the way it wanted to play. He has a stud receiver in Odell Beckham, and Victor Cruz is back from injury. Rueben Randle, James Jones, Larry Donnell and Shane Vereen give Eli a plethora of weapons to utilize.
Our receiving corps felt a tad shaky, so we added Stevie Johnson at 11.01. He has been looking great in camp and Philip Rivers is excited about the addition. Remember, Johnson posted at least 76 catches, 1,004 yards and six touchdowns in three straight seasons before the Bills got rid of him, and he’s never played with a quarterback as good as Bolo Tie.
It was Reggie Bush and Sam Bradford at this turn. Bush is a real threat to Carlos Hyde’s workload, provided he can stay healthy. (I know, that’s a big “provided.”) We wouldn’t normally draft a backup QB this early, but Bradford has top 12 upside, so maybe we can trade him if both he and Eli start the season well.
We nabbed the Dolphins defense at the 14/15 turn. Ndamukong Suh should be able to take this unit to the next level and the opening schedule is very favorable. We added a couple of upside receivers (Allen Hurns, who appears to be starting ahead of Marqise Lee, along with Jaelen Strong) and an upside tight end (Ladarius Green). Backup tight ends are generally a poor use of a roster spot, but I do like upside on my bench, whatever the position.
That about wraps it up. Here’s our final roster:
QB – Eli Manning, Sam Bradford
RB – Justin Forsett, Jeremy Hill, C.J. Spiller, Chris Ivory, Reggie Bush
WR – Antonio Brown, Roddy White, Larry Fitzgerald, Kendall Wright, Stevie Johnson, Allen Hurns, Jaelen Strong
TE – Travis Kelce, Ladarius Green
K – Dan “The Man” Bailey
DT – Dolphins
Once again, the draft was held at Apex, so if you’re looking to join an online money league, check out their offerings.