Perfect Draft: 8th in a 12-Team Yahoo Half-PPR League

Aug 16, 2019
Perfect Draft: 8th in a 12-Team Yahoo Half-PPR League

Drafting from the 8 spot in a Half-PPR league on Yahoo offers the same dilemma experienced by any draft spot outside of the top 5, in that you likely don’t have a shot at one of the consensus top-five group of running backs that consists of Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and David Johnson. The potential benefit of a pick at 1.08 is the opportunity to utilize a zero-RB draft strategy and be virtually guaranteed to start your draft with multiple elite wide receivers.

Editor's Note: Click here to see all our Perfect Draft series entries

In this edition of the Perfect Draft Series, I'll be walking through a perfect draft from the 8th slot in a 12-team Yahoo Half-PPR league. Each pick was optimized using projections and value-based rankings from the 4for4 Draft Hero tool.

Draft Hero Settings

  • Roster Settings: 1QB, 2RB, 2WR, FLEX, TE, K, DEF, six bench spots.
  • RB position enabled for all rounds: While I considered disabling RB recommendations for the first five rounds, I decided to keep them enabled in case a running back fell to me and presented a value that was too great to pass up. It’s useful to have a strategy going into a draft, but it’s always smart to remain available for the unexpected to occur.
  • No QBs before the eighth round: In a Half-PPR Yahoo league in which you start one quarterback, it’s very difficult to justify drafting a quarterback before the eighth round. Not only does the position project to be extremely deep in 2019, but there are many quarterbacks who are undervalued at their ADP.
  • 1 QB, TE, K, D/ST: In any league that requires only one starter at each of the QB, TE, K, and D/ST positions and doesn’t require a backup to be drafted, I tend to forgo drafting backups at these positions in order to build depth at RB and WR. It shouldn’t be difficult to stream starters to cover bye weeks at these positions, and extra ammunition at wide receiver and running back tends to be more valuable.
  • No Kickers Or Defense before the 14th round: Drafting a kicker early is rarely worth the opportunity cost when one considers the week-to-week volatility at the position. As for defense, just looking at last season shows that the D/ST1 (Chicago) had an ADP as the D/ST10, while the consensus D/ST1 by ADP (Jacksonville) finished as the D/ST12. Any edge to be gained by targeting a “top” defense early is likely to be outweighed by the edge lost from foregoing RB/WR depth.

Jump to Pick 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15

Round 1, Pick 8 – WR Davante Adams, Packers

The top five running backs are valued so highly because they are all true dual threat running backs with projected safe, high-volume touches on offenses that should feature the running back. All are projected to have at least 50 receptions, 500 yards receiving and 800 yards rushing. It would be nice to have access to one with a late-first-round pick, but it’s a highly unlikely draft outcome. It might be tempting to target LeVeon Bell here as a running back who has been there before, but his move to a Jets offense with a poor offensive line led by Adam Gase, coupled with his one-year absence from the NFL does not scream safe to me, and safe is what you want in your first-round pick.

Davante Adams is the top available pick according to the Draft Hero, and I’m fully on board. Our projections make Adams the WR2, and with new offensive coordinator Matt LeFleur in Green Bay, an improvement in play-calling efficiency wouldn’t be a surprise. In Half-PPR formats, Adams scored 18.1 points per game, tied for number one alongside Antonio Brown.

Draft Hero suggests the top available player along with four alternatives, as shown in the screenshot above. Throughout the remainder of this article, I will note those suggestions as well as my top alternative choice to the player that I actually selected.

Top Four suggested alternatives: Michael Thomas, LeVeon Bell, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones

My Top Alternative: Michael Thomas

Round 2, Pick 17 – WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers

JuJu Smith-Schuster is a strong candidate to finish as a top-three wide receiver overall, so he’s an excellent value as this team’s WR2. His +75 VBD supports his case as the best available player here. Smith-Schuster averaged 0.31 PPR points per snap to Antonio Brown’s 0.32 in 2018, while Smith-Schuster ended up with a higher target rate. Brown’s 169 targets are up for grabs after he signed with the Raiders in free agency, and Smith-Schuster should absorb a sizeable chunk of them.

It would be easy to panic at this point and draft a running back with decent potential to end up among the top 12, but with running backs being selected with 10 of the first 16 picks, the value of the top-end wide receiver pool here is too strong to forgo. While securing one of the elite tight end options in George Kittle or Zach Ertz is a consideration here, there are a couple of intriguing options that could finish in the top five at the position likely to be available in round five or six.

Top Four suggested alternatives: Damien Williams, Dalvin Cook, Nick Chubb, Tyreek Hill

My Top Alternative: Tyreek Hill

Round 3, Pick 32 – WR Julian Edelman, Patriots

Since I didn’t disable running back suggestions for the first four rounds, Draft Hero recommended all running backs for round three after I started the draft with back-to-back picks at wide receiver. Aaron Jones had the highest VBD among the running back group at +26, but looking at the available wide receivers revealed a +45 VBD for Julian Edelman, a +19 differential over Aaron Jones and a +20 differential over Brandin Cooks.

4for4 projects Julian Edelman as the WR12 with 207 fantasy points, which gives this team a starting wide receiver trio who are all projected as top-12 wide receivers with 200+ fantasy points in Half-PPR leagues. This round is still a bit too early to dip into the second tier of tight ends, as the next three all have sixth-round ADPs. Any of the running backs suggested has potential to finish with a top-12 season, but the bet is that there will still be starter-worthy running backs available in a couple of rounds.

Top Five suggested alternatives: Aaron Jones, Marlon Mack, Kerryon Johnson, Josh Jacobs, Derrick Henry

My Top Alternative: Brandin Cooks

Round 4, Pick 41 – WR Brandin Cooks, Rams

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