Perfect Draft Series: Drafting 5th in a 10-Team Standard League
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.
Draft Analyzer 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. It's truly incredible.
For this exercise in the perfect draft for the 5th pick in a 12-team PPR, I chose to set up some parameters for my draft plan designed specifically for teams picking near the end of the first round.
- Quarterbacks: None until at least the 7th round, unless Russell Wilson falls to the 5th round. Wilson is very high in our rankings and just behind Cam Newton for the top spot. I believe Wilson has a great chance to finish as the top-scoring QB if he comes close to the efficiency he showed after the Seahawks bye week last season.
- 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, especially in 10-team leagues. This will also allow me to get high ceiling WRs in PPR leagues early. Some of the WR names in early rounds sure seem like long shots to bust, too.
- Tight Ends: No TE until after I draft at least three WRs and three RBs, and yes that includes Rob Gronkowski. 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. When you see below who is still available late in drafts, you’ll understand why.
- Note: Unless otherwise stated, the players considered in each round below were among the top-5 recommended picks by the Draft Analyzer, another great feature.
- Do Not Draft: There aren’t any players in particular that I avoid going into drafts. However, I am not considering Sammy Watkins in the first three rounds, for the reasons stated in this article.
- Players To Target: If Russell Wilson is there in the 5th round, I’m taking him. I have a lot of faith in my ability to stack up depth at RB and WR in rounds after that, considering I’ll be waiting on my starting TE.
- Draft Analyzer Settings: If you click the yellow gear wheel inside the Draft Analyzer, you can adjust the software to your preferences. I chose to optimize my core starters, and out of 100%, I assigned these weights to each position: RB 35%, WR 35%, QB 20%, TE 10%. I have also chosen the option to hide stretch picks. This is a great feature to keep you from reaching too high for a player based on their ADP.
Round 1, Pick 5 - WR DeAndre Hopkins
The first four picks went as expected: Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, and Todd Gurley. I’ve seen many choosing David Johnson or Adrian Peterson here. Draft Analyzer had D-Hop as the #1 recommendation. I agree. Here’s why: In standard leagues last year, Hopkins outscored every running back except Devonta Freeman and Peterson. He did that with Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer throwing him the ball. Brock Osweiler is under center now, and with how volatile running back has been in recent years, I just feel safer taking a stud WR in the first round. I also believe the drop-off to WR in the 2nd round will be greater than the RB drop-off from the 1st to the 2nd round.
Round 2, Pick 6 - RB LeSean McCoy
McCoy moved up my draft board after the Bills released Karlos Williams. His 11.4 FP/G last season would have made him a top-5 RB if he played 16 games. He missed four. As I mentioned before, the drop-off from a 1st-round RB to a 2nd-round RB looks less severe. The difference between McCoy and Peterson is less than the difference between Hopkins and Jordy Nelson, who would have been the best available WR here. Don’t you feel safer about Hopkins and McCoy versus Peterson and Nelson? I do. A league is not won in the first two rounds, but it can be lost.
Round 3, Pick 5 - WR Alshon Jeffery
Big score here. 4for4 has Jeffery as a low-end WR1/high-end WR2 this season, and I agree. His 11.2 FP/G last season were slightly better than A.J. Green’s per game output. Jeffery should be a target machine again in 2016. If he can stay healthy, you’ve landed two WR1 picks in the first three rounds. I chose Jeffery over T.Y. Hilton, Demaryius Thomas, and Sammy Watkins here. Reminder: no more than one RB in the first four rounds, per my draft plan above.
Round 4, Pick 6 - WR Brandin Cooks
As the top target in what should be a high scoring offense, I was thrilled to land Cooks as my WR3. He was WR12 in 2015, which means I quite possibly could now have three WR1 options in my starting lineup at this point in the draft. I think there’s room for more from Cooks’ 1138 yards last season. We have Cooks as a solid WR2 in 10-team leagues.
Continue reading for round-by-round analysis and to learn why he took a QB early in this draft.