Perfect Draft: 9th in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League
Facing drafts this season, I'm most worried about drafting from the late-middle part of the first round. The first six spots look safe: 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). After that, the options become a lot riskier, and it's not clear that there is a lot separating the next half a dozen players available. Given that, if I can't start with a top-six pick, I'd feel safer drafting at the very end of the round, so that I can grab two options of similar quality and feel confident one will be a real stud.
Editor's Note: Click here to see all our Perfect Draft series entries.
For this draft, though, I'm going to face my least favorite scenario. Drafting in the ninth spot leaves me at risk of having none of my top options available but without the extra safety of having two picks back close together. 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.
Round 1, Pick 9 – WR DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
BOOM! One of my top six players (the true studs) falls to me at the ninth pick.
As expected, Alvin Kamara and Saquon Barkley went before my pick. I have them outside of my top six as both have extra risk. Kamara is unlikely to maintain his absurd efficiency this season, and I worry his workload will not increase sufficiently to make up for it. Barkley, while unbelievably talented, hasn't yet played a snap in the NFL. I'm happy to let others take those guys instead of me.
The real surprise here is Odell Beckham being taken before my pick. I'll grab Hopkins now with no hesitation, but if he weren't available, Odell Beckham (or Julio Jones) would be a reasonable backup option.
Round 2, Pick 16 – RB Devonta Freeman, Falcons
Draft Analyzer recommends Devonta Freeman here and I'm happy to follow its suggestion. There are very few truly safe RB options, and I don’t want to go through the first two rounds without taking at least one of them.
Freeman may not be the sexiest pick, and his upside is more limited than the RBs going earlier, but he has a very high floor and is likely to give me an RB1 season.
Unfortunately, Stefon Diggs, another favorite of mine, is taken with the pick before mine, leaving me with a lot of "meh" at all the positions.
Draft Analyzer recommends Zach Ertz and, again, I'm happy to follow the suggestion. My philosophy at TE, particularly this season, is "go big or go home". Go big means taking one of the top three guys: Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce, or Zach Ertz. If I can't get one of those guys, then I'll most likely stream the position because the quality falls off a cliff after Ertz. (The one exception to this might be Delanie Walker. His contract extension gives me some confidence that he will be solid again this year, so I might consider him if he were to drop a bit.)
Given the lack of good options at RB and WR, going big at TE seems the best route.
Round 4, Pick 40 – RB Alex Collins, Ravens
Draft Analyzer gives me another suggestion that I really like here. 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.)
There are only a few RBs left on the table I'd feel comfortable starting week to week (Jay Ajayi and Lamar Miller being the other two). After that, the RB landscape quickly becomes a desert. Given that, I want to take at least a couple of solid RBs in the first five rounds, making Collins a must pick here.
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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