Perfect Draft Series: Drafting 3rd in 12 Team PPR League
For my first Perfect Draft article, I was very self-serving, using a standard 10 team league with ESPN ADP settings to help me in one of my personal drafts. With my second article, I wanted to do something a little different. Because Draft Analyzer, free with your 4for4 subscription can be tailored to any league format, I was able to easily create a new 12-team league with PPR settings. I went with Yahoo scoring and 4for4’s default ADP rankings.
PPR leagues are becoming more and more the norm, and they can change how you approach your early picks as well as how valuable some of the middle-tier RBs can be. Guys like Duke Johnson, Danny Woodhead, and Charles Sims all have extra value in PPR formats and can be consistent RB2 starters.
As always, I have rules and guidelines I like to follow and for this draft, I wanted to try to stick to my strategies a little more. The first go around, I bit on a QB earlier than I like to, and took a TE before the tenth round. This time, I wanted to stick to my guns and wait on both positions, a strategy that I think is a great idea with the depth at both positions. As a result, I went with the following rules:
Quarterbacks – No QBs until the tenth round, at least. With guys like Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, Kirk Cousins, and Jameis Winston available late in most drafts, there’s no reason I need to pass up on a quality RB or WR in the early rounds to nab a top passer.
Tight Ends – No TEs until the tenth round at least. I set Draft Analyzer not to bother me with a TE until late. This way I wouldn’t be tempted by guys like Greg Olsen or Travis Kelce in that fifth round range. This time, I’m waiting. After all the simulations I’ve been running and the drafts I’ve been participating in, I know that there are quality players available late at the position, and I plan to capitalize on it.
Kickers – Always in the last round. I like that Draft Analyzer allows me to remove the kicker as a suggestion anywhere before the final round.
Targets/Players to Avoid – I didn’t want to take all the same players as in my other perfect draft, so I avoided some of the mid-round guys that I like such as Matt Jones, Allen Hurns, and Kirk Cousins. I like all of these players, but I wanted to mix it up a bit. That doesn’t mean there are no similarities, but I made an effort. I also wanted to avoid Dion Lewis because I’m too scared of his injury. Conversely, I wanted to target Tyrod Taylor, Bruce Ellington, and LeGarrette Blount as players with high upside that I can get late in the draft, so I asked Draft Analyzer to remind me when it was time to draft them.
Draft Analyzer in Action
I wanted to do the third pick because I’ve seen a lot of questions on the Discuss Your Team Forum regarding draft slot selection. Because there are three elite receivers this year – Antonio Brown, Julio Jones, and Odell Beckham Jr. – the question has been whether dropping to the third spot puts the owner in a better position for the second round vs. taking Antonio Brown first overall. I thought picking third would give me an idea of what that would look like.
Round 1, Pick 3 – Odell Beckham Jr., WR, New York Giants
As I expected in a PPR league, the first two picks were Antonio Brown and Julio Jones. That left me with a pretty awesome consolation prize in OBJ, who has averaged 6.9 catches, 102 yards, and 0.9 touchdowns per game since he came into the league two years ago. While it’s hard to imagine he’ll keep up such a staggering pace of almost a touchdown per game, OBJ should still be an elite option in an offense that emphasizes quick passing that takes advantage of his run-after-the-catch ability. I feel confident going into this season with OBJ as my top pick, and he’ll anchor my team all year.
Round 2, Pick 10 – Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Jets
I took Marshall in my other perfect draft as well, and I think he’s excellent value with the eighth pick in the second round, especially in a PPR. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back at QB, I expect Marshall to have another quality season with the Jets. Marshall was fourth in the league in yards last year, and tied for first with 14 receiving touchdowns. While it’s possible he won’t repeat his career-year of 2015, he should still wind up one of the most targeted players in football and I like his track record of production a little more than Mike Evans and Amari Cooper, the next best receivers available in this spot.
Round 3, Pick 3 – LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo
Draft Analyzer wanted me to draft McCoy or Doug Martin in the second round, so I was happy to see both still on the board when it came back to me in the third. Draft Analyzer recommended McCoy with Martin as a close second, and I would’ve been happy with either player. Both have a level of risk associated with them, but McCoy seems healthy right now and should get a lot of carries in Buffalo this year under offensive coordinator Greg Roman and head coach Rex Ryan. McCoy is also an accomplished receiver out of the backfield, which gives him a little more value in a PPR.
Round 4, Pick 10 – Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle
I’ve been one of the few advocates for Doug Baldwin this offseason. While it’s hard to imagine he’ll repeat his 14 touchdowns from a year ago, Baldwin plays in a Seattle offense that’s emerging as a more pass-based attack. QB Russell Wilson set career highs across the board in 2015 and now, with Marshawn Lynch retired, it seems to me the offense should continue to progress in the same direction. Baldwin in the fourth round in a PPR as my third WR gives me more confidence than the other available players at this spot. Draft Analyzer recommended Eric Decker here, but since I already have Marshall, I wanted to diversify my lineup a little more. Both players would be quality options here in the fourth round.
Continue reading for round-by-round analysis.