Perfect Draft: 11th in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League
Facing drafts this season, I feel confident drafting from one of the first six spots as I'm likely to get an elite player I can build my team around: There are four clear RB workhorses (Todd Gurley, LeVeon Bell, David Johnson, and Ezekiel Elliot) and two stand-out difference makers at WR (Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins). In the seventh or eighth spot, there's a good chance that one of those players falls to me as the other drafters reach for running backs like Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley. But late in the first round, there's little hope of getting one of those top players, so I'll need to develop a new strategy.
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In this article, I'll see how the situation looks drafting from the 11th spot. I'm hoping Draft Analyzer can help me solve the puzzle of how to build a team from this draft spot that leaves me confident going into Week 1. Let's see how it goes.
Draft Analyzer Settings
- Roster settings: QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, TE, K, DEF, 1 Flex, 6 bench spots.
- No additional restrictions. Any draft strategy is on the table for me.
Given the drop-off in quality at the RB position, I need to come out of the first two rounds with at least one stud RB. The alternatives are starting RB-WR, WR-RB, or RB-RB. Draft Analyzer allows me to test out these different options by running the draft multiple times.
The best RB option likely available at the 11th spot is Melvin Gordon. (Kareem Hunt is another option, but with an ADP of nine, he's less likely to be available here.) While I'm not sold that Gordon is as talented as the other top RBs, he is almost certainly going to see workhorse volume this season.
The problem with taking Gordon shows up in the second round. There are no other RBs available who I feel are worth a pick this early, which strikes the RB-RB option off the table. Of the WRs available to me, the one who stands out to me is Keenan Allen. However, I am loathed to take two players from the same team with my first two picks. That leaves WR-RB as the option that appeals to me best.
Julio Jones is a very safe WR choice option in this place. There is little question about his workload. But there is also a strong possibility that he ends up as a top-three WR again. His disappointing performance last season was down to unlucky TD scoring, and that is likely to regress positively this year. This is a pick I can feel good about.
After playing with Draft Analyzer multiple times, it seems likely that either Dalvin Cook or Leonard Fournette will be available at 2.02. (If neither is available, then someone even better like Odell Beckham, Melvin Gordon, or Kareem Hunt would have to fall to me.) Cook and Fournette are both safe choices for your RB1, each projected to see workhorse volume.
Of the two, I think Cook is most likely to be there in real drafts because he's not the known commodity that Fournette is. Yet, of the two, Cook has the most upside, as he is clearly a better pass-catcher than Fournette. Due to that upside, I have even seen Cook taken as the 1.01 in an actual draft (the Scott Fish Bowl). That said, Cook also has more downside potential than Fournette due to competition for goal-line carries from Latavius Murray.
Either of these two is a fine choice, but since both are available to me, I'll take the higher upside play with Cook. I've already got Julio Jones as the anchor of my team, so I feel comfortable taking on a bit more risk in the second round.
I would normally loathe taking a QB in the third round, but Draft Analyzer has a point here. The options at RB are not great, and all of them are likely to be available at my next pick. Likewise, the options at WR are not great, and the options at TE are entirely off the table in the third round. Given that we have Rodgers projected almost 30 points above the next best option (Russell Wilson), there is a substantial advantage to be obtained by taking a QB here. On the other hand, there is also a 20+ point drop-off coming after the next two RBs.
Given those facts, the options for me with the next two picks are either taking two RBs or an RB and a QB (Rodgers). Noting the huge drop-off coming at RB in the next round, I'm going to grab a couple of RBs even though I'm not in love with them.
Alex Collins has a high floor, with no real competition for early-down work. Even his competition from pass-catching backs, Javorius Allen and Kenneth Dixon, is fairly weak, so I can feel good about this pick here.
Following the strategy outlined above, I'll grab the other top RB here in Jay Ajayi. While the Eagles had a murky RBBC last season, Ajayi has little competition for the early-down work this year, with LeGarrette Blount out of the picture. I would not expect him to dominate third down work, but goal-line carries are a strong possibility. While not quite as safe as Collins, I can feel confident in Ajayi as a high-floor player.
With three safe RBs now on my roster, that gives me both my starting RBs and either an injury fill-in or a flex player. I will likely want to grab another two RBs, but some of my favorite options are available quite late, so I can turn my attention to the other positions until then.
Continue reading to see how the rest of Kevin's roster shakes out and to see which picks he deemed to be the best and worst values of the draft, as well as any final takeaways that may help you on draft day...
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