Perfect Draft Series: Drafting 9th in a 12 Team Standard ESPN League
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In this article, I'll be describing my perfect draft from the 4th spot in a 12 team ESPN league, which uses standard (non-PPR) scoring. The league starts 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 kicker and 1 defense. Each team has a total of 16 roster spots.
Compared to some other league settings, WRs are not as important in an ESPN league. With no points for receptions, the dropoff in projected points between early- and late-round WRs is not as large, and the dropoff between early- and late-round RBs is larger. Likewise, only having two required roster spots for WRs makes it less important to build depth at that position.
Overall, these scoring settings are fairly balanced between the various positions, which means that I will likely need to have quality across all the positions in order for my roster to finish on top.
Although Draft Analyzer allows you to customize your strategy in many ways, such as by picking specific players to target, I'm entering this draft with a blank slate. I just want to score as many points as possible.
Draft Analyzer in Action
Round 1, Pick 9 – Lamar Miller, RB, HOU
In a standard (non-PPR) scoring league, the RB position is not very deep, which is especially problematic given the large number of injuries that occur at the position every year. As a result, I go into the draft aiming to build up significant depth at RB.
With my first pick in this draft, I took Lamar Miller, one of my favorite RBs this season. Last year, Miller ran for 4.5 yards per carry, matching Adrian Peterson. Even though the Dolphins did not seem to value his talents, giving him only 194 carries on the season, Miller finished as the RB6. This season, we are his projecting his carries to increase almost 50 percent to go along with more receptions than Jamaal Charles. Overall, we have Miller projected at RB3, just a few points behind Peterson. Should Miller score a few more touchdowns than expected, he could easily end up as the RB1.
Round 2, Pick 4 – LeSean McCoy, RB, BUF
In the second round, I grabbed another top RB, LeSean McCoy. We have him in our projections at RB6, only one point behind Ezekiel Elliot who was taken with the pick just after Miller in the first round. Like Miller, McCoy is another stud RB with a high floor, as he plays for a run-heavy Bills team and is the clear workhorse back. His only downside compared to Miller is that QB Tyrod Taylor will take some rushes away from him, which is why he ends up at RB6 in our projections. Still, I'm very happy coming away with two top-6 RBs with my first two picks.
Round 3, Pick 9 – Randall Cobb, WR, GB
While depth at RB remains a concern, the most pressing need at this point is to fill in my starting wide receivers. I start by picking up Randall Cobb in the third round.
I'm expecting a bounce-back season not only from Cobb but from the entire Green Bay offense. Last season, with Jordy Nelson injured and Eddie Lacy struggling, defenses were able to focus their efforts on shutting down Cobb. Now that Nelson is back and Lacy is returning to form (in every sense), Cobb should have more room to operate. In addition, the Packers have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL this season, so I am expecting a big jump from the whole offense, including Cobb.
Round 4, Pick 4 – Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC
With my next pick, I grabbed another solid WR in Jeremy Maclin. He sits in our projections at WR20, only a few points behind Cobb at WR18. While the Chiefs do not have a large passing volume offense, Maclin, as the clear number one WR, still gets a solid floor of targets. He finished last season as the WR17, and I'm expecting similar production this year.
Continue reading for round-by-round analysis.