Perfect Draft: 10th in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League

Perfect Draft: 10th in a 12-Team ESPN PPR League

The backend of drafts gives strategic flexibility to fantasy managers. By the 10th spot, the first tier of both running backs and wide receivers is drafted alleviating the need to force a draft plan. Available starting combinations in the first and second round are appealing given ADP in this range. While players like Christina McCaffrey or DeAndre Hopkins will be selected, the quick turn of the snake draft will help create an optimal start from a late position. From this pick, players that may be available in the 2nd round should be as much of a part of the process as the first-round pick. So by using our ranks and tiers, you can determine a draft strategy that best matches your style of play.


Editor's Note: Click here to read all the perfect draft series


In this edition of the Perfect Draft Series, I'll be walking through a perfect draft from the 10th slot in a 12-team PPR league. Each pick was optimized using projections and value-based rankings from the 4for4 Draft Analyzer tool.

Draft Analyzer Settings

  • Roster settings: 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, K, DEF, seven bench spots.
  • No QBs before the seventh round: Past ADP compared with points per game show us the value of waiting on quarterback. The 7th round is the earliest position where opportunity cost has been sufficiently reduced and quarterbacks can be drafted. I personally prefer to wait, but comparing the draft pick across multiple positions is ideal in order to maintain a flexible strategy.
  • No TEs before the fifth round: The fifth round is the earliest I would consider a TE, and that is only if one of the top guys behind Travis Kelce is still sitting there. If I’m pleased with my first four RB or WRs, and I see George Kittle or Zach Ertz sitting there, I’ll go ahead and draft them, as long as their potential point output is greater than the top WR or RB still on the board.
  • No DST OR K before the fifteenth round: Past defensive performance isn’t predictive of future performance and they can be effectively streamed negating the need for drafting them early. I use a similar approach for kickers as we’re just looking for volume each week. It allows me to continue adding other core players and build a stronger roster.

Jump to Pick 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16

Round 1, Pick 10 – Michael Thomas, Saints

Michael Thomas as the best player on the board and he sits in the first tier of wide receivers

His projected 315 points on the season are significantly greater than any of the recommended receivers on the board. Thomas’ usage as both an interior and boundary receiver speaks to the +144 VBD which was at least 19 points greater than the next player recommended. This decision was more straightforward with only receivers recommended for this pick. The data provided by the Draft Analyzer allowed me to easily compare the players from both a statistical and value-based standpoint making Thomas the logical selection. The only other thing to consider here being so close to the turn is who will be available once the second round begins.

‘Zero-RB’ or wide receiver heavy strategies are likely to be used from this position given the receivers still on the board. However, positional scarcity should always be considered throughout the draft. A combination of Michael Thomas with any of the suggested alternatives (except for Antonio Brown) would be a strong start to any PPR draft. However, that would leave me weak at the running back position and waiting until the end of the third round to draft one. I’d be forced to consider all options at the beginning of the second round.

Each round, Draft Analyzer suggests the top available suggestion along with four alternatives, as shown at the top of this section. Throughout the rest of the article, I will note those suggestions as well as my top alternative to the player that I actually selected.

My Top Alternative:  Odell Beckham

Round 2, Pick 3 – Nick Chubb, Browns

All the suggested alternatives from the first round were taken by the time my pick came up at 2.03. This was somewhat expected given their level of talent and provided much-needed flexibility to my draft. The Draft Analyzer’s recommendations were four wide receivers and one running back. It’s here where tiers become critical in drafts. DA projected that my next available running back in the third round (34th overall) would be Marlon Mack. That’s a drop from the eighth-ranked running back to the 17th and a 36 total point drop over the season. Mack and Chubb share similar skillsets, but the recent trade leaves Chubb atop the depth chart for most of the regular season.

To solidify my choice, I looked at the receivers projected to be available at my next pick (3.10). Julian Edelman (WR10) and Stefon Diggs (WR14) weren’t as steep of a drop than the running backs being drafted at the same time. Keenan Allen is projected to score 260 points with an ADP of 26th overall. Edelman is projected to score 259 points and selected nearly a full round later.  With that knowledge, I could take Chubb understanding a wide receiver of similar value could be acquired after the next 18 picks.

Suggested Alternatives: Tyreek Hill, Amari Cooper, Keenan Allen, Antonio Brown

My Top Alternative:  Tyreek Hill

Round 3, Pick 10 – Julian Edelman, Patriots

The Draft Analyzer aligned with my expectations at the 33rd overall pick. Running backs of value had already been depleted leaving five receivers to select. Planning ahead and identifying logical targets during the pick proved useful as Julian Edelman was still available. His VBD of +85 was an excellent complement to Michael Thomas given the PPR-scoring format. He’s projected to have the second-most receptions in the league which comes at a value compared to Stefon Diggs, Brandin Cooks, Chris Godwin, or Allen Robinson.

My only concern was looking towards the fourth round. Nick Chubb was a value at 2.03, but his passing-down work is still capped with the receiving options in Cleveland. Looking at the board, there were two options left going into the 3-4 turn (Marlon Mack and Josh Jacobs). By taking a second wide receiver, I was gambling at least one making it back to me in the fourth.

Suggested Alternatives: Stefon Diggs, Brandin Cooks, Chris Godwin, Allen Robinson

My Top Alternative:  Stefon Diggs

Round 4, Pick 3 – Chris Godwin, Buccaneers

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