Perfect Draft: 1st in a 10-Team Yahoo Standard League
When drawing for draft position, the first overall pick is usually the most coveted and recent data has proven the top of the draft to be the most profitable. Rostering a premier running back gives owners a significant advantage over their league mates, even in today’s pass-first NFL—the benefit in standard-scoring leagues is especially exaggerated. Drafting at the turn leaves owners vulnerable to positional runs since there is such a long wait between picks but that inconvenience is somewhat mitigated in a 10-team league.
Editor's Note: Click here to see all our Perfect Draft series entries.
In this article, I will walk through a perfect draft from the one-hole in a 10-team Yahoo Standard league. Each pick was optimized using projections and value-based rankings from the 4for4 Draft Analyzer (DA) tool.
Draft Analyzer Settings
- Roster Settings: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 1K, 1DST, six bench spots (No Flex).
- No restrictions on when to draft positional players: In most standard-sized leagues, I’m often the last player to take a quarterback or tight end but I still want to at least know when values present themselves. For that reason, I don’t want to limit one of Draft Analyzer’s most important features and that’s the ability to notify me when a player is falling in my draft.
- No Kicker or D/ST until the last two rounds: If my league allows for it, I forego these positions altogether and just pick up an option off the waiver wire before Week 1 starts—the upside of a lottery ticket in the last two rounds far outweighs any benefit of drafting a kicker or defense. For this exercise, we’ll assume that everyone must fill out their roster.
- Side note: Keeping kickers in your leagues is usually a profitable decision.
- Targets: Randall Cobb, Rishard Matthews, Matt Breida, Cameron Meredith. My favorite feature of Draft Analyzer is the option to target specific players. The software allows you to select players before your draft and DA will suggest your targets over the software’s top recommendation when it gets close to your targets’ ADP. I’ll explain why I like these specific targets in their respective draft rounds.
Whether in a Standard or PPR league, the debate for almost anyone with a top-four pick in fantasy drafts is which of the big four running backs to take—Todd Gurley is the safest. LeVeon Bell is likely to miss the entire preseason because of his contract and he’s started slowly before after missing camp. David Johnson hasn’t played football in almost a year and is on a mediocre offense that might face serious game script concerns with little touchdown equity. Ezekiel Elliott doesn’t have as much involvement in the passing game as any of these options, making him a bit less game-script proof than the others.
Last season, Gurley led the league in Red Zone Expected Value and touchdown equity is paramount in standard leagues. The Rams ranked second in percentage of drives that made it to the red zone last season and offensive efficiency is a relatively stable year-to-year offensive stat.
Sticking to the theme of touchdown equity, there are few players with more scoring upside than an Aaron Rodgers primary pass-catcher. Since 2010, eight Packers have scored double-digit touchdowns. Davante Adams has ranked in the top three in red zone targets in consecutive seasons—only five other players in the last 10 years have ranked in the top five in red zone targets in back-to-back years—and a full season with Rodgers under center means Adams could outperform his ADP even as the eighth player off the board at his position.
Round three is the first time I stray from Draft Analyzer's suggestion. While the software offers picks that might optimize your team there’s also a top-five option that helps guide other draft strategies anyone might have. Because of supply and demand, I’m more confident in my ability to replace tight end points than find a quality running back or wide receiver later in the draft or midseason on the waiver wire. In Draft Analyzer’s top five was a running back but not the one that I’m usually looking for here.
Jerick McKinnon has 300 touches well within his range of outcomes in an offense that offered its backfield nearly 500 touches a season ago. Kyle Shanahan has generally ranked near the top of the league in terms of running back touch share and the 49ers figure to offer favorable game script much more consistently than they did in 2017.
While this league doesn’t implement a flex spot, there are three wide receiver spots to fill and Draft Analyzer is pushing for a quality receiver here before waiting for 18 picks until it gets back to the turn.
Philadelphia’s offense is due for major regression, especially in the passing game, so I’m lower on Alshon Jeffery than the software. Detroit, on the other hand, is the most pass-heavy offense in the league, regardless of the situation. In a standard format, Marvin Jones’ touchdown upside makes him my favorite Lions pass-catcher.
Continue reading to see how the rest of TJ'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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