Perfect Fantasy Football Draft: 8th in a 12-Team Yahoo! Half-PPR League
There is a lot of hype about drafting at either the beginning (picks 1-3) or the end (picks 10-12) in your fantasy drafts. In the first round at the top, you get either Christian McCaffrey, Jonathan Taylor, or Austin Ekeler while at the bottom you can snag two top running backs, a top 3-5 wide receiver, or a premier tight end like Travis Kelce. Later in drafts, you can dictate when a positional run will happen by drafting a tight end or quarterback you want in the early to mid-rounds. This is probably the downside of drafting in the middle of your draft order as you won’t have the luxury of any of the above options. However, if you secured the eighth pick in your upcoming draft don’t worry, we got you covered.
The biggest pro early on in your drafts when drafting from the eighth spot is you will likely either get your top dark horse RB1 or a difference-making wide receiver. In a lot of Yahoo! half-PPR drafts, picks 1-7 go running back heavy. In some cases, you could see seven running backs taken. In that scenario, you can snag a wide receiver like Cooper Kupp, Ja’Marr Chase, or Justin Jefferson. The more likely scenario is a balance of roughly five running backs and two wide receivers. When that happens, you can typically pull the trigger on your favorite running back. Later in drafts when drafting in the middle you get a unique perspective on how the draft is going.
You can dictate your picks by seeing which teams before and after you have which types of positions. For example, let’s say you’re in Round 7 (pick 79) and teams 8-12 already drafted their tight end. Instead of drafting a Dallas Goedert in that range, you can probably wait until Round 8 since you know in a single tight end league most people will not draft a second tight end that early as a flex. This philosophy could be utilized for any position and will help you get more value in the middle and late rounds.
In this article, I will walk through a perfect draft with the eighth pick in a 12-team Yahoo half-PPR league. Each pick was optimized using projections and value-based rankings from the 4for4 Draft Analyzer 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 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.
- Targets: Allen Lazard and Dameon Pierce. 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.
At 1.08 the draft went pretty much as expected with four running backs and three wide receivers coming off the board in picks 1-7. This brings us to the scenario that we discussed at the top of the article where you have the option of grabbing your favorite late first-round running back with this pick.
It was clear that running back was the way to go here as the draft analyzer offered five options that were all running backs. This included Najee Harris, Joe Mixon, Aaron Jones, Dalvin Cook, and D’Andre Swift. Swift was in consideration here as he had a strong start to 2021. In the first 10 games before his injury, Swift averaged 16-half PPR PPG. That would have made him the RB6 in 2021. The Lions bring back all five of their offensive linemen and currently are ranked as a top-five unit on 4for4.com
The player I went with was Joe Mixon. Mixon is a rock-solid pick in Round 1 as he offers both a safe floor and a newfound ceiling in Cincinnati. His floor comes from his elite usage as he was one of only eight running backs in 2021 to average 20 touches a game. His ceiling comes from being tied to an acceding offense with a generational talent at quarterback behind a revamped Bengals offensive line that added three starters this off-season. All these factors should allow Mixon to build off a very strong second half of 2021 where he averaged 18.3 half-PPR PPG over the final eight games.
In 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: D’Andre Swift
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