The writers at SB Nation got together for our first PPR mock of 2015. First, a special thanks to MyFantasyLeague.com for hosting our draft! Full draft results can be seen here. Now, down to business.
This draft was a 12 team, PPR format (4 points per passing touchdown) with the following roster construction: QB, 2RB, 3WR, TE, Flex (WR/RB/TE) K, DST. We had a great mix of strategies with one owner waiting until round five before selecting their first running back, mixed in with a few folks like me that go running back early and often. There were four big takeaways for this draft for me. I'll go through them below.
Quarterback is getting deeper and deeper.
This is not breaking news, but it does merit a little ink. Last year in 4 point per passing touchdown leagues, Russel Wilson finished as QB6 with 374.7 points, 23.4 points per game (PPG) in 16 games. QB1 Andrew Luck finished with a 27.6 PPG; QB12 Jay Cutler put up 22.3 PPG in 15 games. The trend for the past few years shows that getting a stud like Rodgers or Luck early can give you a nice edge at quarterback, but if you miss out on those two guys, or just can't pay the iron price for them, waiting is the way to go.
Say you're convinced that getting a rock-star quarterback is the way to go, consider this: Would you rather have Ryan Tannehill and Jordan Matthews, or Andrew Luck and Devin Funchess? Would you rather have Tony Romo and Melvin Gordon, or Russell Wilson and David Cobb? David Cobb and others like him (guys that in the right situation, if the stars align, they could really hit) do have a chance to burst on to the scene. However, they also have a great chance to end up being dropped early in the season. While anyone can bust or get injured, are we really worried about Tony Romo or Joe Flacco turning in to pumpkins? Everyone says it, and everyone is right, wait on your quarterback. Take the 12th guy off the board at the back end of your draft, you'll thank me later.
Picking late in the first round is where you want to be.
There is much debate this year about who the overall RB1 should be, and for good reason. Arguments can be made for Adrian Peterson, Le'Veon Bell, Jamaal Charles, and a few others. I have a group of ten running backs that I'm happy to have as my RB1 in a PPR league, and then, of course, we have Rob Gronkowski (Gronk SMASH), Antonio Brown, Dez Bryant, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, Calvin Johnson... So many great options.
From the seven or eight slot on, you're guaranteed two lights-out players. Looking at our mock, Matt Forte was selected 2.06, CJ Anderson 2.03, Odell Beckham Jr. 2.02 and Jordy Nelson 2.01 (earlier than he is usually drafted, but I like Jordy a lot). It is hard to bet against a team that starts with Demaryius and Forte.
From the third round on, there is great wide receiver value to be had.
If you drafted running backs early (like you should have), in the third round you'll have a plenty of great options at wide out. In this draft, Brandin Cooks, TY Hilton, DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen, Jordan Matthews, all these guys are their team's number one option. With the exception of Hopkins, all these guys are on offenses that should put up big points. In the fourth round, Jarvis Landry, Andre Johnson, Julian Edelman are waiting for you. These guys have really nice floors and potential for much more.
As the draft goes on, the running backs thin out quick. Sure, a few running backs drafted after the first five or so rounds will hit, but good luck guessing on that. Instead of playing that high volatility running back by committee guessing game, you can get someone that is solid starter week in and week out early, then fill in your receivers.
I gotta fever, and the only prescription, is more running backs!
After six rounds, I had four running backs. We know that turnover at running back is high, but the odds are against getting a workhorse back late in the draft. Do you want to hope that you're in the cat-bird's seat when this year's Justin Forsett is claimed off of waivers? Or, would you rather try and make up ground playing matchups and the waiver wire for at wide receiver?
The NFL is increasingly a passing league. This dilutes the value of wide receiver after you get through the first ten or so guys. No team in the NFL had two backs rush for thousand yards. Four teams (Tampa Bay, Detroit, Denver and Green Bay) supported two, one thousand yard receivers. WR50 (Reggie Wayne) scored 153.9 points in PPR last year. Compare that against the RB50 in PPR, Latavius Murray, who scored 85.7 points.
The value in the middle rounds is at wide receiver. Get your backs early. If you end up hitting on your early running back picks, you'll have no problems dealing a back to pick up a top-notch receiver later.