Perfect Draft: 9th in a 12-Team Yahoo Half-PPR League
The ninth spot represents the first pick of what I consider to be the back end of the draft. I consider picks 1-3 to be the front, with 4-8 representing the middle. If I’m not picking in the top-three this year, I want to pick somewhere in the back. The middle picks leave a bit too much space between my first and second picks, and I like to double up on running backs this year to take advantage of the bevy of mid-round wide receiver options. The ninth pick is where some owners might see elite quarterbacks and tight ends go off the board, but I recommend letting other owners take that approach, giving you an opportunity to find value at those positions late.
Zero-RB isn’t a strategy I use often, but I see the value in it from the middle of the first round, where you can grab Michael Thomas and an elite wide receiver or tight end in the second round. If Thomas is off the board at nine however, I liked my rosters much better through the countless simulations I did when I was able to lock up two running backs early.
In this article, I will walk through a perfect draft with the ninth pick 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: 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex (WR/RB/TE), 1 Kicker, 1 DEF, six bench spots
- No QB until the 10th Round (sort of): I honestly don’t even want to look at a QB until round five or so, and I usually don’t take one until round eight or later. Draft Hero allows me to de-select positions in individual rounds to improve the options presented to me each round. In my first Perfect Draft article, I set it to ignore QB until the eighth round, while leaving just the fifth round open. This time, I set it to the 10th round, after seeing the kind of talent available at the position in the double-digit rounds. In the fifth round, I’ll consider one of the elite ones if they fall there, so I leave that open for a quarterback, just in case there’s someone I love available. But I’m typically waiting. I’ll also pull Dak Prescott if he’s there in the sixth.
- No Kicker or D/ST until the last two rounds: I usually stream both these positions, so there’s no reason to draft one earlier than I absolutely have to. Choosing not to draft either, if your league allows, is also a viable strategy I will sometimes use in order to keep an upside RB or WR on my roster a little longer before I have to make final cuts before Week 1.
- Targets: There are always guys I like and guys I don’t going into a draft, and I love that I can set Draft Hero to remind me to take some of my targets when I need to grab them. This year, I like D.J. Chark a ton, so I marked him as a target, knowing Draft Hero would alert me when I needed to take him.
- Players to Avoid: There are also guys I don’t want on my roster, or at least that I don’t want to draft at ADP, and Draft Hero allows me to remove them from my list. This year, those players are Tyreek Hill and Rob Gronkowski, for wildly different reasons. While I understand fantasy football is supposed to be objective and stat-based, it’s also supposed to be fun, and I quite simply don’t want Tyreek Hill on my roster. Especially not at his fringe-first round ADP. Gronk is a different story. I don’t have a problem with rooting for him, but his ADP in this format is seventh round, where I have no interest in considering a recently retired player with a long injury history who looked like a shell of himself in 2018. Gronk is going to have some good games, but I’m not investing significant draft capital for the right to roster him.
It seems like Henry has been in the league longer than he has, but last season was just his fourth in the league. With Tennessee’s ground and pound attack, Henry carried the ball 303 times for a league-leading 1,540 yards last year. He scored 18 touchdowns and added 206 receiving yards on 18 catches. Henry loses some value in PPR formats because of his limited work in the passing game—his 24 targets last year were a career-high—but his role as the key cog in the Titans’ offense gives him a high floor in all formats. While workload and long-term durability may be concerning with Henry due to his physical running style, there’s been no indication that the Titans will reduce his role heading into a contract year, and no indication he’s slowing down yet. The Titans are expected to continue to lean on him, and I’ll happily grab him any time he’s available at the back end of the first round.
Draft Hero suggested Travis Kelce, George Kittle, Julio Jones and Joe Mixon. I thought about Mixon, but I would also consider Josh Jacobs here. As I mentioned, of all the simulations I ran, I liked the ones where I doubled up on the running back position early on. Henry seems like a much safer option than Mixon, who isn’t happy about his contract and has a rookie quarterback with a questionable offensive line. However, if Henry isn't here, I'm still taking the best available running back.
My Top Alternative: Joe Mixon
We covered Jacobs vs. Nick Chubb in a player debate, and I found Eric Moody’s stance extremely compelling. Jacobs runs hard and should be the primary ball-carrier for a head coach who likes to run the ball. Jacobs and Henry both represent players with lower ceilings than some of their counterparts because of less projected work in the passing game, but they also represent exactly the type of running back I love to target early in fantasy drafts. They both are primary backs in run-friendly schemes. Jacobs averaged 18.6 carries per game as a rookie, and the Raiders look like they’ll have an improved offense going into 2020. Plus, Justin Edwards ranks them sixth among offensive lines. Barring injury, I should get consistent production from Jacobs every week, and my lineup decisions at running back should be simple all season.
If Jacobs wasn’t here, I would’ve happily taken Nick Chubb, or perhaps even Aaron Jones, but either way, I would’ve gone running back. Michael Thomas is the only receiver I would consider here and he wasn’t even available with my first pick in this case. Chubb falls in line with Jacobs and Henry in that he’s unlikely to catch many passes, but he should be a steady player with double-digit touches each week for a run-oriented offense. The presence of Kareem Hunt helps me lean towards Jacobs, but I like both options.
My Top Alternative: Nick Chubb
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