Perfect Draft Series: Drafting 12th in a 12 Team PPR League
Is there anything more of a buzzkill in fantasy football drafts than finding out you pulled unlucky #12 in the draft order? All that excitement of a new season, then boom. S*** just got real. You better be on your game, because you are getting the leftovers of every odd-numbered round and have to choose the best player out of twenty in even-numbered rounds, because at least that many will be off the board by the time it gets back around to you.
That’s where 4for4 comes in to get that draft buzz going again, like a shot and a brew in the stadium after knocking a few back in the parking lot but having a long walk to your seat.
One of the most powerful tools at the disposal of 4for4 subscribers is the Draft Analyzer Software, which allows you to input every pick in your draft to optimize your team to have either the strongest starters, deepest team, or some combination of both, based on your preferences.
It allows you to input your league’s scoring settings, adjust for keeper leagues, warn you when you are reaching to early for a player, and when to target a handcuff RB if you so choose. In other words, the Draft Analyzer is incredible.
For this exercise in the perfect draft for the 12th pick in a 12-team PPR, I chose to set up some parameters for my draft plan designed specifically for teams picking at the end of the first round.
- Quarterbacks: None until at least the 7th round. The only exception to this rule would be if Russell Wilson falls to the 5th round, as he is projected for one point fewer than our top QB Cam Newton. I will also only draft one unless there is a QB with great upside in the final round. Picking 12th to me means I need maximum RB/WR depth.
- Running Backs: Do not draft two RBs in the first four rounds. I love the value of RB2 options after the 4th round this season. Picking at the turn, I feel the need to load up on WRs to outgun teams who land one of the WR studs at the top of the first round.
- Tight Ends: None until at least the 6th round, and whichever position I choose first between QB and TE, the other I will be waiting to select until a double-digit round. I will also not draft a second TE if I draft a TE in a single-digit round.
- Note: Unless otherwise stated, the players considered in each round below were among the top-five recommended picks by the Draft Analyzer, another great feature.
- Players to Avoid: Rob Gronkowski, who is the most popular pick at the 1-2 turn I’ve seen this year. You can read more about why I will not be drafting Gronk in the 1st round in my How Not To Lose Your Draft in the 1st Round article from earlier this offseason. Long story short: TE is wonderfully deep this season. Therefore, I choose to make sure I have three reliable WRs to start the season in PPR leagues.
- Players To Target: Danny Woodhead, Giovani Bernard, and Duke Johnson. If I am only taking one RB in the first four rounds, I really need to land one of these players as my RB2. Each is solidly inside the top-20 PPR RBs on 4for4.
- Optimize Entire Team: This is a setting you can choose by clicking on the gear wheel inside the Draft Analyzer. Picking late in the 1st round makes it extremely difficult to optimize core starters to come out with the #1 projected starting lineup, but teams picking late can dominate still by drafting the strongest overall team. It’s a long season. Draft for depth.
Round 1-2 Turn - WR Allen Robinson/WR Brandon Marshall
It’s splitting hairs between these two, so I decided to just take both. Robinson and Marshall are 6th and 7th in our PPR draft rankings, respectively. Choose whichever one of the two you prefer if you would rather opt to pick RB Lamar Miller here, but I felt comfortable with my RB options (in a PPR league only) to wait until the next turn to select an RB. I’m more comfortable drafting Robinson entering his third season than getting Marshall on the wrong side of 30, but you can go either way here. Will Robinson repeat his 14 touchdowns? Probably not, but I believe his receptions and yardage (80 receptions, 1,400 yards in 2015) are safe, based on the fact that he was eighth in the NFL in targets and 12th in red zone targets.
Marshall was the #3 WR in PPR last year and didn’t have a single game below 10 PPR points. Not even Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, or DeAndre Hopkins could claim that last year. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back, Marshall should be a top-10 WR lock again in 2016.
Round 3-4 Turn - WR Randall Cobb/RB Danny Woodhead
Cobb was a disappointment last season, but there is plenty of reason to be optimistic in 2016. For one, Cobb struggled because he played injured last season. He also missed Jordy Nelson. Do we really believe this Packers offense will look so lost again with Aaron Rodgers in 2016? Cobb was WR8 in PPR in 2014. Even if he’s a top-15 WR, I could very easily be the only team in this league with three top-15 WRs in a PPR league. That’s huge.
Woodhead was the #3 RB in PPR last year, and I believe talk of Melvin Gordon usurping Woodhead's value is much to do about nothing. That's because with Ken Whisenhunt back as offensive coordinator, Woodhead is reunited with the OC who made him RB12 in PPR that season despite Ryan Mathews rushing for 1,300+ yards and finishing as RB17. Woodhead is not lasting until the end of the 5th round in PPR. So, take him here and don't mess around. Woodhead has the same upside as a healthy Dion Lewis would have had.
Continue reading round-by-round analysis.