One of the best ways to get a feel for this years player pool and current average draft positions is by doing mock drafts. Almost every seasoned fantasy football player will do a handful of mock drafts prior to their live draft. Don’t fall behind the curve. There are mock drafts available on all of your standard fantasy football sites and platforms (ie. ESPN, Yahoo, CBS Sports, FantasyPros etc.). Two of my fellow league mates and I teamed up to do a 10 team PPR mock draft on ESPN.com. Team 1 was drafted by Ross Insalaco (@rinsalac on Twitter) he selected from the 2 slot. Team 2 was drafted by Will Jones (@William_Jones9) and he had the 5th pick overall. I drafted Team 3 from the 9 spot. Let’s look at overall team outlook and if a specific strategy was used.
Team 1: Ross @rinsalac Pick 2
QB: Aaron Rodgers – Round 4
RB: Le’Veon Bell – Round 1
RB: Jordan Howard – Round 2
WR: Demaryius Thomas – Round 3
WR: Larry Fitzgerald – Round 5
TE: Tyler Eifert – Round 9
Flex: Jamison Crowder – Round 6
D/ST: New England Patriots – Round 15
K: Stephen Gostkowski – Round 14
Bench: RB Spencer Ware- Round 7
Bench: WR Donte Moncrief – Round 8
Bench: RB Doug Martin – Round 10
Bench: WR Jordan Mathews – Round 11
Bench: RB Latavius Murray – Round 12
Bench: RB Jeremy Hill – Round 13
Bench: WR Robert Woods – Round 16
Draft Notes –
After finding out his draft spot, Ross wanted to have two running backs he would feel confident in week to week. So going back to back RB to start the draft was his intention and I would say the strategy was executed properly. He had Jordan Howard fall to him a little later than his current ADP at 19 overall. That gave him the start he wanted and he was confident in the depth of the wide receiver position to fill out his roster with some mid and late round guys with upside.
Aaron Rodgers at 39 overall was a value at the end of the 4th round. This may be what some consider a dead zone for players with a lot of draft appeal. So I guess going with the best fantasy QB over the last decade was a no brainer.
Tyler Eifert in round 9 may be possible if your league mates are concerned with his overall health or his ability to stay healthy in general. This is a good spot to grab the Bengals tight end strictly based on his top 5 upside.
Overall a good looking squad from the 2 spot and a great example of why going RB-RB isn’t as bad of a move as some make it out to be. Especially when picking at the back end of the 2nd round where we see a drop-off at the receiver position.
Team 2: Will @William_Jones9 Pick 5
QB: Marcus Mariota – Round 13
RB: Leonard Fournette – Round 2
RB: Ty Montgomery – Round 5
WR: Odell Beckham Jr. – Round 1
WR: Terrelle Pryor Sr. – Round 3
TE: Delanie Walker – Round 7
Flex: Allen Robinson – Round 4
D/ST: Carolina Panthers – Round 15
K: Justin Tucker – Round 14
Bench: WR Kelvin Benjamin – Round 6
Bench: RB Adrian Peterson – Round 8
Bench: WR Kenny Britt – Round 9
Bench: RB Matt Forte – Round 10
Bench: WR Randall Cobb – Round 11
Bench: WR Zay Jones – Round 12
Bench: RB T.J. Yeldon – Round 16
Draft Notes –
Unlike the first team, Will decided to take the wide receiver heavy approach to start out his draft with three of his first four picks being wide receivers. It doesn’t exactly qualify as a zero RB strategy as he still got what he considers a stud running back in the second round with Leonard Fournette and a guy in Ty Montgomery that he is high on as his RB2.
Stockpiling wide receivers is never a bad idea. If at least one of his bench receivers pan out to produce WR2 value, he can always trade a wide receiver to upgrade his running back group. This brings up a good point. If there are players you are higher on then most of your league mates and you believe in their upside, target them at the point where you see them as a value. You can never have too much talent.
Will also decide to take the opposite approach of Team 1 when it came to the quarterback position. He waited until round 13 to draft his starter in Marcus Mariota. This is the perfect example of why waiting for a late round quarterback is effective. Mariota was the single best QB in fantasy points from weeks 5-12 of last season. Read that sentence again. The leader in fantasy points for 8 weeks of the fantasy regular season, in the 13th round.
Team 2 has huge upside with guys like Allen Robinson who was a first round pick in a lot of leagues going into last season and Terrelle Pryor who has the potential to be a top 10 wide receiver in his new offense. These two high upside guys starting alongside the dominance of Odell Beckham Jr. is the way to go if you want to lean receiver heavy in your fantasy draft.
Team 3: Me @AlCalo28 Pick 9
QB: Derek Carr – Round 11
RB: Melvin Gordon – Round 1
RB: Marshawn Lynch – Round 4
WR: Michael Thomas – Round 2
WR: Brandin Cooks – Round 3
TE: Martellus Bennett – Round 12
Flex: Danny Woodhead – Round 5
D/ST: Arizona Cardinals – Round 15
K: Dustin Hopkins – Round 16
Bench: WR Tyreek Hill – Round 6
Bench: RB Paul Perkins – Round 7
Bench: WR Willie Snead – Round 8
Bench: WR Cameron Meredith – Round 9
Bench: RB Terrance West – Round 10
Bench: QB Ben Roethlisberger – Round 13
Bench: RB Samaje Perine – Round 14
Draft Notes –
With the 9th pick in a 10 team draft, I knew I would have one of the top picks coming back in the second round. I chose the traditional two running back two wide receiver approach to start my draft. Which is very easy to do if you are picking around the turn. The RBs and WRs around the round 1-2 turn are chosen strictly based on personal preference, as right around pick 8 or 9 is where most expert rankings start to show some differences.
My main goal during this draft was to build depth at running back and wide receiver. As you can see, these are the only two positions I selected until round 11. I am very confident that in a 10 team league I can get a top 10 tight end and quarterback late in the draft. Depth at QB is something you hear over and over again amongst fantasy analysts. Take their advice.
Pairing together Danny Woodhead and Terrance West was something I had in mind when I saw Woodhead at the top of the board in the 5th round of a PPR league. Woodhead was a top 12 running back in PPR leagues in 2015. After playing just 2 games in 2016, the former Charger looks poised to be a focal point in an already depleted backfield after losing Kenneth Dixon for the season to a knee injury. This also gives me the flexibility to start whichever running back earns the most touches throughout the season from the Ravens back field. I have no problem investing a 5th and a 10th round pick in a backfield that will be valuable in a PPR format.
Side Notes –
Not waiting on QB is not a bad strategy – There are few players as steady and dominant as Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Drew Brees. Take top tier QB’s where you think they are at a value. Don’t take a wide receiver or running back that you don’t really like over a stud QB just to be like everyone else who is waiting on quarterback. Be different. It works.
Don’t be in a rush to fill your starting lineup – Having depth is one of the most important things in fantasy football. As we all know injuries happen way too often, and having good depth is the only way to overcome big injuries.
Know your league – Know your fellow league mates and how they like to draft. This will help you plan ahead in the mid to late rounds.
Lastly, DO MOCK DRAFTS! There is no better way to prepare then to actually draft and get a feel for current ADP.