Perfect Draft Series: Drafting 7th in a 12 Team PPR 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.
The Draft Analyzer software 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 seventh pick in a 12-team PPR, I chose to set up some parameters for my draft plan designed specifically for teams picking near the middle of the first round.
Quarterbacks: None until at least the 7th round, unless Russell Wilson falls to the 5th round. Wilson is currently tied for 4for4’s #1 projected QB this season, and the only QB I’m willing to spend an early pick on.
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. This will also allow me to get high ceiling WRs early.
Tight Ends: No TE until after I draft at least three WRs and one RB, 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. Long story short: TE is deep this season. Therefore, I choose to make sure I have three reliable WRs to start the season in PPR leagues. I usually am the last to draft a TE, but I will consider mid-round options if it makes sense.
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.
Players To Target: If Russell Wilson does not fall far enough, I need to zero in on drafting two late options with upside. The three I like most are Philip Rivers, Tyrod Taylor, and Kirk Cousins. I liked Eli Manning before his ADP rose into the 7th round.
Draft Analyzer Settings: If you click the yellow gear wheel inside the Draft Analyzer, you can adjust the software to your preferences, including rankings source (I always use 4for4), ADP source, and draft strategy by position. Because I’m picking in the middle of a PPR league, I feel the need to stock up on the best available WRs and RBs. I have increased my Draft Strategy by Position to weight WRs 20% more and RBs 15% more. 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 7 - WR A.J. Green
The first six picks went to form: the top-4 WRs (Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, DeAndre Hopkins) and top-2 RBs (Todd Gurley and David Johnson). That made my pick here very easy. Green was eighth in the NFL in targets last season, and it’s hard to imagine that number not increasing with the Bengals losing Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Of the three seasons Green has played 16 games, Green’s worst season was a 86-1297-10 season...last year. The others? 97-1350-11 and 98-1426-11. Giddy up. If Green is taken by pick seven in your PPR league, hopefully one of the four WRs mentioned above are still there. If all five top-5 WRs are gone, you’re in a pickle, because I really don’t feel comfortable with David Johnson based on a half season of production (see Jeremy Hill after 2014) or a rookie in Ezekiel Elliot in the 1st round. I would most likely take Allen Robinson (I discuss Robinson in the 1st round here) going into his third season and go WR-WR.
Round 2, Pick 6 - RB Lamar Miller
Frankly, I was shocked Miller fell this far to 18th overall. Miller has a legitimate chance to be the top RB in fantasy in 2016, even more so in PPR leagues. Miller was already the #5 scoring RB in PPR in 2015, and he ranked 18th in carries among backs. The Texans ranked fifth last season and first in 2014 in rushing attempts under head coach Bill O’Brien. Did I mention Miller was also 11th in receptions by RBs in 2015? If Miller is still available here, run to the podium. The other options here were Brandon Marshall or Alshon Jeffery. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back with the Jets, Marshall is a great choice. Marshall was the #3 PPR WR last year, with ZERO games below 10 PPR fantasy points. That’s insane. Jeffery has injury risk, and Marshall feels lock a lock to be a top-10 WR again with Fitzpatrick and Chan Gailey. Get him if Miller is gone.
Round 3, Pick 7 - WR T.Y. Hilton
The choice here was between Hilton and RB LeSean McCoy. I like McCoy this year but went WR since I just drafted a RB. If you went WR-WR though, McCoy is a great choice. Both of these scenarios are why I’m not drafting a RB round one. I would feel 10x more comfortable with Miller or McCoy as my RB1 than Johnson or Elliott, believe it or not. They feel safer. Back to Hilton though: I discussed why I believe Hilton will bounce back to being a top-12 WR in 2015 earlier this offseason.
Round 4, Pick 6 - WR Eric Decker
According to Draft Analyzer, Decker’s ADP was 55 and my next pick after this one was 55th overall. I didn’t want to risk losing Decker, since the other options were Dion Lewis (who has never stayed healthy in his career) and Larry Fitzgerald (who faded last season with a healthy Michael Floyd around). Decker, like Marshall, was one of the most consistent WRs in 2015. With Ryan Fitzpatrick back, Decker should be a lock to be a WR2 again. Decker was WR14 in PPR last year, and posted double-digit points in every single game he played. Not even Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham, Julio Jones, or DeAndre Hopkins could say that last season. He posted 80 yards and/or a touchdown in every game. His 12 touchdowns could regress, but I could see his 1,027 yards increasing.
Continue reading for round-by-round analysis.