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Planning Your First Two Draft Picks In A PPR League
David Dorey
August 13, 2013
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This is the companion piece to Planning Your First Two Draft Picks but considers a league that awards one point per reception.

Let's apply this to a draft that has standard performance scoring and reception points. I will use The Huddle rankings.

Pick Pick Who's available and what do I do?
1 RB Adrian Peterson

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Adrian Peterson, WR Calvin Johnson, TE Jimmy Graham

No matter that there is a reception point involved, running backs continue to be not only valuable, but decline in value much faster than wide receiver. The top three running backs continue to be the first three picks.

2 RB Doug Martin

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Doug Martin, WR Calvin Johnson, TE Jimmy Graham

And again.

3 RB Jamaal Charles

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Jamaal Charles, WR Calvin Johnson, TE Jimmy Graham

And again. Plus Charles being the new LeSean McCoy is downright exciting.

4 WR Calvin Johnson

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Trent Richardson, WR Calvin Johnson, TE Jimmy Graham

This is the first variation because of the reception point. You could argue another running back here but once the top tier is gone, that point means the elite receiver comes into play. Johnson is a lock to be a top wideout if not the top wideout. Again. This is early but it makes sense knowing that I am probably going RB-RB with my next two picks. Unless another top wideout really falls but that is unlikely.

5 RB Trent Richardson

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Trent Richardson, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Jimmy Graham

This point is where you have to evaluate your options closely. Take a RB which is safe and makes some sense since WR is so deep. Take a WR or even take Graham who has added value from that reception point. I am opting for the next best back because of the decline in value for their position. I'll want to take a WR in the coming rounds to be sure but for now, even with a reception point, I like that running back.

6 RB Ray Rice

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Ray Rice, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Jimmy Graham

And again with the RB.

7 RB C.J. Spiller

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB C.J. Spiller, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Jimmy Graham

Top talent in RB is thinning quickly.

8 RB Arian Foster

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Arian Foster, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Jimmy Graham

Foster at the #8 is probably a steal that cannot be passed by. But any of the previously drafted RBs deserve to have been taken by now as well. Any of them may end up top three.

9 WR Brandon Marshall

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Matt Forte, WR Brandon Marshall, TE Jimmy Graham

Here is where I opt for the next WR. Any of the first seven running backs taken could end up as a top three and no one would be surprised. They are all safe picks with some upside. Marshall comes in as Mr. 100+ catches in a new offense that will use him at least as much as last season. There are six more picks here but I have secured a super consistent wideout in this scoring format.

10 RB Matt Forte

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Matt Forte, WR Dez Bryant, TE Jimmy Graham

By this point anything goes. I am taking Forte because I have to assume that the next two teams will each take a running back and Forte is slated to get more receptions this year. I know I can access a top QB or WR with my next pick.

11 TE Jimmy Graham

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Dez Bryant, TE Jimmy Graham

Why not? He could go earlier than this in a reception point league. Graham is the only no-risk, big production tight end now that Hernandez is learning lock-up lingo and Gronkowski may or may not be healthy at all this year. This is a big advantage but will hurt since either RB or WR will be weaker from starting later. If I take Graham, I go RB next because WR is just much deeper.

12 WR Dez Bryant

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Dez Bryant, TE Jimmy Graham

I love this pick. This rounds out the top tier of elite wide receivers and gets me an advantage at a position that should score as well as running backs thanks to that reception point.

Even in a PPR league, it is highly advised to end with two running backs in your first three picks. With a reception point, you'll probably want to be RB-WR after two rounds unless you have a top QB or Jimmy Graham along with your RB. Receivers are deeper to be sure and more valuable with that point.

Round Two

Pick Already have Taking Considerations
1 WR Dez Bryant RB Marshawn Lynch

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Marshawn Lynch, WR Julio Jones, TE Jason Witten

In years past, I would have taken Julio Jones here for a terrific start on my WR1 and WR2. But I have to respect the decline in RBs and how quickly they are taken. I can get me a decent WR at my #3 for sure but not so certain about a RB. Lynch doesn't catch the ball much but he is rock solid consistent every week and that always helps a fantasy team. I would look at another RB at the #3 spot to be sure along with either a QB or WR.

2 TE Jimmy Graham RB LeSean McCoy

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB LeSean McCoy, WR Julio Jones, TE Jason Witten

Love Graham in a PPR league but I won't go again for a long time. I am not going to risk building my RBs out of scraps. I don't like feeling I have to take a RB here but McCoy could easily be top ten and maybe even top 5 in the new offense by Chip Kelly. My next two picks? Definitely RB and WR.

3 RB Matt Forte WR Julio Jones

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Chris Johnson, WR Julio Jones, TE Jason Witten

This is a hard pick. It will definitely determine what #3 and #4 will be. I have my RB and I could match him up with Chris Johnson for a solid RB-RB configuration. Solid. Then hunt value for WR the next couple of rounds and accept a late TE and QB. Or take Jones as a top WR and get my RB2 in the third. I will do that but mainly because I see Jones as a top 5 pick for WR. I like that consistency and upper end scoring and I just might be looking for high upside RBs next pick.

4 WR Brandon Marshall RB Chris Johnson

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Chris Johnson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, TE Jason Witten

Mighty tempting to take Fitzgerald here but Johnson has fallen too far in drafts this year and I don't want scraps for RBs. I'll be looking at RB very strongly again with my third pick unless someone really falls in WR.

5 RB Aaron Foster QB Drew Brees

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Steven Jackson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, TE Jason Witten

I could wait on QB but right now I own the top RB and QB from last year. Foster is a little risky maybe but I will grab Tate in the 7th or so to insure that pick. Brees has been incredible the last few years and gives me the best QB on the board. My WRs are going to have to wait until the fourth round probably but they are deep.

6 RB C.J. Spiller QB Aaron Rodgers

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Steven Jackson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, TE Jason Witten

Well... tough call. Getting close enough to going again to entertain anything here knowing I can get a decent RB in the third or at least something at RB in the fourth. WR have been raided and TE has to wait. Rodgers this late just seems like the right value. He carries almost no risk at all so why not? A difference maker at a top scoring position. When I finish the next two rounds, I will have another RB and a WR.

7 RB Ray Rice WR Larry Fitzgerald

Options: QB Peyton Manning, RB Steven Jackson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, TE Jason Witten

Rice is solid enough to make me feel comfortable. Could go with Manning to strip out the top QBs but he is still a small leap of faith and might still be there later. Fitzgerald has a decent QB again finally and should do at least this well and probably better. I have to figure that at least four or five WR are going to be taken before my third pick so I would rather control who my WR is and take a RB or a QB in the third.

8 RB Trent Richardson WR AJ Green

Options: QB Peyton Manning, RB Steven Jackson, WR AJ Green, TE Jason Witten

I know that a run on WR is looming and we all want another RB. But with probably four WR taken before I go again, I rather control that than the RB I might get here. Green is probably taken far lower than this pick in most drafts and it would instead be considering Fitzgerald here instead which I would still do. Looking at RB in the third round.

9 WR Calvin Johnson RB Steven Jackson

Options: QB Peyton Manning, RB Steven Jackson, WR Larry Fitzgerald, TE Jason Witten

Now is when taking a WR so early seems to hurt the most. I have to get a RB here and probably in the third round too unless someone really falls to me. Grabbing Jackson is a nice move considering he should be decent and actually has some upside this year from going to ATL. I may consider WR in the third but I'll be swinging for the fence on my RBs from there on out if I did.

10 RB Jamaal Charles WR Demaryius Thomas

Options: QB Peyton Manning, RB Alfred Morris, WR Demaryius Thomas, TE Jason Witten

I am close enough to the end to be able to do what I want with this pick and still access good players in the third with only four picks to happen. The reception point makes me want a WR and I see Thomas as a slam dunk here. Will strongly consider RB in the third round.

11 RB Doug Martin RB Alfred Morris

Options: QB Peyton Manning, RB Alfred Morris, WR Andre Johnson, TE Jason Witten

Love Martin on my team and there are only two picks to go before my #3 happens. I think I'll take Morris here which is a very safe play and does not pay much attention to the reception point factor since he is no receiver. But a solid base then lets me mine WR for the next couple of rounds and on my board, I see McFadden is up after Morris. This is the safest move.

12 RB Adrian Peterson QB Peyton Manning

Options: QB Peyton Manning, RB Darren McFadden, WR Andre Johnson, TE Jason Witten

This is sort of like it was a decade ago. I have the best RB in the league and I can still get a great QB in Manning for an advantage at another high scoring position. Maybe I should then look for a RB but we just clipped into a tier I do not like. Murray, McFadden, etc.. I feel so strongly about owning Peterson that I would start out with Andre Johnson next pick and then look at RB in the fourth.

Finally, let's revisit the "first two picks" matrix with PPR considered.

Remember, different tactics take on different results depending on the draft slot used

Strategy What it means
RB - RB This used to seem sort of weaker in a PPR league but not really this year. It is absolutely still the safest play you can make and a solid base. You just need to use the next few rounds to hit some upside players and not get any busts. Starting like this says you probably won't have a bad team and mid-draft will define the level of your success.
RB - QB Not a bad play with a top 3 QB but it does ignore the reception point. You can get away with that more this year with a deeper set of WR. This makes sense if you get six point passing touchdowns the most. Can certainly work out okay but you need to be good cherry picking receivers.
RB - WR This is probably the standard ploy in a PPR league. Get that solid RB1 and then get a solid WR1. Always a good start in this sort of league but you probably want to strongly consider RB next up.
RB - TE You get Graham and NO ONE ELSE. Not bad as you have a big advantage at TE but you will have slightly weaker WR unless you can pick wisely which of course you always think you can. This year in a PPR league, not a bad play.
QB - RB I would not do this. If you do start at QB, you have to go to RB next in my opinion. if you are getting six point passing touchdowns and you draft last in the first round, you can maybe make this work. But this year it does not seem nearly so advantageous.
QB - WR Yeesh. Not for me. Your RB's are going to be weak and even your WRs will be substandard outside your WR1. Not the year for this one.
QB - TE You have a top QB. You have Graham. And you probably have RB and WR problems all year long.
WR - RB Long as the WR is top three, no problem here. Snap up a great WR in a PPR league and follow it up with a decent RB. Always a nice start in PPR and more so this year.
WR - QB Yeah, no different than QB-WR. Don't do it unless six point pass TDs and you score Calvin Johnson. Hard to make this one work.
WR - WR Years past this was a great start, particularly at the end of the first round. That is the only place to try it again but you are really going to feel the pinch in RB with this one. You'll have to hit some lucky sleepers and use your #3 and #4 picks to go RB. Doesn't feel very good when you get to the third round.
WR - TE No different than WR-WR except you took Graham. Doesn't work as well this year and you'll be scrambling on the waiver wire hoping some RB gets injured and needs to be replaced.
TE - RB In a PPR league, this is okay. You start out with a nice advantage in Graham and some decent RB in the second round. You are delaying on WR and QB but those are the deepest two positions. Still - would not try this unless I was starting out drafting about 8th or later.

There's some flavor for how a PPR league will work differently than a non-PPR league. You just need to address RB and WR in an optimal fashion and that will change for teams because each draft position will have a unique set of players taken and available to them. The bottom line in all scoring scenarios is that you simply need to field a set of starters that offer the optimal amount of weekly points.


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