Perfect Draft: 4th in a 10-Team Yahoo! Half-PPR League
The fourth spot in fantasy football drafts is the first major inflection point that will occur in most leagues this year. Most of the time, the big three running backs—Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, and Ezekiel Elliot—will be the first three players off the board, in some order. There was a clear number four in Dalvin Cook, but with a potential holdout looming, there could be a ton of variance at this point in drafts. In half-PPR leagues, such as Yahoo! Pro Leagues, the fourth pick figures to be another running back, but who that is will surely fluctuate.
From a macro standpoint, there are pros and cons to drafting from the four-hole in a 10-teamer. On one hand, fantasy managers with picks in the middle of the round will rarely have their hand forced by positional runs since their wait between picks is never too long. On the other hand, the middle portion of drafts leaves little room for game theory, or the ability to predict which positions will be drafted before your next pick based on the roster builds of your opponents.
In this article, I will walk through a perfect draft with the fourth pick in a 10-team Yahoo half-PPR league. Each pick was optimized using projections and value-based rankings from the 4for4 Draft Analyzer tool.
Draft Analyzer Settings
- Roster Settings: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (WR/RB/TE), 1 Kicker, 1 DEF, six bench spots
- 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 at a skill position in the last two rounds far outweighs any benefit of drafting a kicker or defense. For this exercise, we’ll assume everyone must fill out their roster.
- Limit 1 QB, TE, K, DEF: Using Draft Analyzer repeatedly throughout the offseason allows users to get familiar with the nuances of the software. One way to simulate a league full of advanced owners is to go to the League Settings from the Home page and manipulate the maximum number of players at each position under the Rosters tab. By capping the “onesie” positions at one, mock drafts become much more challenging and realistic, especially in leagues like this one where there are only 15 roster spots.
- Side note: Keeping kickers in your leagues is usually a profitable decision.
- Targets: Robert Woods and Christian Kirk. 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, assuming I am able to land them. You can also avoid players, but I usually opt against this feature since every player is a value at some point.
- ADP Settings: Another great feature of Draft Analyzer is the ability to choose which ADP you use. In most cases, choosing the site ADP of your hosting site will lead to the most optimal drafting strategy. You can also upload custom ADP, which I did here since most platforms are still relying on mock draft data rather than paid leagues.
For a comprehensive tutorial on setting up Draft Analyzer for your league, read our Draft Analyzer Walkthrough.
If Dalvin Cook locks up a deal before your draft, he’s the clear 1.04 but as the situation stands, there’s enough uncertainty to consider other options. This doesn’t even consider Cook’s significant injury history. John Paulsen has Cook, Alvin Kamara, and Derrick Henry all projected within seven points of each other so the pick comes down to risk.
We’ve laid out the concerns surrounding Cook and even in half-PPR leagues, I’m hesitant to spend this much draft capital on a running back that is used as little in the passing game as Derrick Henry. With Kamara’s game-breaking ability and versatility in an offense that is still one of the best in the league, he’s my preferred pick here.
It should be noted that Draft Analyzer mixed in two wide receiver suggestions in their top five, so there are multiple options here for managers that have different preferences in roster construction.
Each round, Draft Analyzer suggests the top available suggestion along with four alternatives, as shown at the top of this section. Throughout the rest of the article, I will note those suggestions as well as my top alternative to the player that I actually selected.
My Top Alternative: Dalvin Cook
With nine running backs off the board in the first 14 picks, it’s not surprising that Draft Analyzer favored the wide receiver value available at this point of the draft, but I’m not particularly excited about the asking price for the Buccaneers top receivers. Neither Chris Godwin nor Mike Evans eclipsed 20% of team targets last season. Now they will be catching balls from Tom Brady, who has recently favored his running backs and also has his old buddy Rob Gronkowski to throw to. Additionally, this offense simply won’t be the one we saw in 2019.
Allen Robinson, however, is a target magnet and was the top suggested alternative to Godwin. Only Michael Thomas and Julio Jones had more balls thrown their way than Robinson last season and now A-Rob is likely to get an upgrade at quarterback, assuming that Nick Foles beats out Mitchell Tribuisky for the starting job in Chicago. Robinson has virtually no competition for targets and his red-zone prowess gives him sufficient upside.
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