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Planning Your First Two Picks in a Points Per Reception (PPR) League - 2010
David Dorey
August 19, 2010
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This is the companion piece to Planning Your First Two 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 Player Why and What's My Plan?
1 RB Chris Johnson

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Chris Johnson , WR Andre Johnson

WHY?: What's not to like about getting the guy who just became the 6th player in history to rush for over 2000 yards. Sure he will fall back from that mark but he's still a good risk to be a top running back if not the top running back. His receptions moves him in front of Peterson for this scoring system.

THE PLAN: No doubt that I look at WR at my next pick but we'll see what exists 22 picks from now.

2 RB Adrian Peterson

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Adrian Peterson , WR Andre Johnson

WHY?: Not only is Peterson probably the best pure runner in the NFL, but he had more receptions last year and cannot be considered "just a runner". I've struck gold so far with a guy who could have gone #1 just as easily.

THE PLAN: Great start means my 2 / 3 swing can go anywhere. Definitely will be looking at WR and maybe QB but too far away to worry about it.

3 RB M. Jones-Drew

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Maurice Jones-Drew, WR Andre Johnson

WHY?: A top three running back is always hard to beat and Jones-Drew did not disappoint in 2009 when he became one of the rare backs who never shared the ball. Jones-Drew was able to carry a full load without Fred Taylor - no reason why he won't repeat. He did drop from 62 to only 53 catches last year but so what, he went from 197 to 312 carries. MJD is always a solid pick with no Fred Taylor around to hawk carries and catches.

THE PLAN: Nice start means I can value pick with my second and third picks. Still too far away to worry much.

4 RB Ray Rice

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Ray Rice, WR Andre Johnson

WHY?: I love Rice this year and he's a proven commodity as a receiver as well which means nice points no matter what is happening in his game. The Ravens took off the training wheels last year with great results and I can feel confident I am going to have a difference making running back. Reception points boost the WR's but Rice is more consistent and productive than probably any WR.

THE PLAN: Probably will be looking for at least one WR in the next two picks and maybe a QB since I feel so good about my RB crew already.

5 WR Andre Johnson

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Frank Gore, WR Andre Johnson

WHY?: This is the point were the strength and consistency of the RB's gets over-run by the sheer hitting power of Andre Johnson who has been the #1 WR for the last two seasons. I am sacrificing RB1 to be sure, but I have the top WR in the draft for a league with reception points. I want to have studs and now I have a big dog in Johnson.

THE PLAN: I will certainly consider RB in the second round but in a reception points league I am not going to get too tied up in what I will do in 14 picks from now. I may be starting a "hit 'em where they ain't" strategy that sacrifices RB and features stars at all the other positions.

6 RB Frank Gore

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Frank Gore, WR Randy Moss

WHY?: I could certainly go with Randy Moss and get those reception points and touchdowns. I could grab Rodgers for the best QB in the draft. Nothing wrong with those moves but I am going to fall back to Frank Gore who should be a force this year and a consistent scorer. It is a safe pick I suppose but why shouldn't the first pick be a safe one? I'll start looking for risk later on in the draft. Give me Frank.

THE PLAN: I now have no real advantage at RB1 and my second pick is going to need to be either a great WR that fell or a top tier QB. Otherwise, I'm going to end up with that very average team that middle round draft picks so often create.

7 WR Randy Moss

QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Jamaal Charles, WR Randy Moss

WHY?: The temptation here was to grab a QB and start that run but I love Randy Moss and his ability to catch touchdowns. With Wes Welker probably less than 100% and the rushing game stocked with the best runners of any convalescent home anywhere, I think Moss should post some big numbers in a contract year. He always has touchdowns and I think his receptions could turn higher this year.

THE PLAN: With ten picks before I go again, I'm not going to worry too much until I see what is there. I may go in any direction.

8 QB Aaron Rodgers

Options: QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Jamaal Charles, WR Reggie Wayne

WHY?: Charles would be interesting since he has upside but he also has risk with Thomas Jones there. I always like Wayne because he is so solid every season. But man - I gotta get me someone who can spark an advantage and that is easily Aaron Rodgers for me. Both Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are probably a little less risky than Rodgers, but no one at the top of QB's can also run it like Rodgers.

THE PLAN: I know that in the coming rounds the other teams will be looking to QB and that only helps leave me other players to take. I love picking 8th and yet being able to have the best QB in the league. I can go anywhere else next pick.

9 WR Reggie Wayne

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Jamaal Charles, WR Reggie Wayne

WHY?: The way I see it, I can either chase RBs and get no bang or grab Wayne as my final tier 1 wide receiver for a nice advantage in a reception points league. Wayne is a no-brainer really since he's never worse than very good and often has a great game. He may be the lowest risk wideout there is.

THE PLAN: I liked getting the final tier 1 WR because no way was he making it back to me at the 2.04 pick. I'll look at RB then for sure but I may do just about anything..

10 RB Jamaal Charles

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Jamaal Charles, WR Roddy White

WHY?: I could go get Roddy White and start the second tier WR but I go again in four more picks so there will be a decent WR left for me there or a QB if I want. I'm going to opt for an upside play with Charles. I can't get a tier 1 WR or the best QB so I might as well take a RB that I think can really outperform his draft slot, especially in a league with reception points. Even if Thomas Jones does show up for the Chiefs, Charles is a lock to get the RB receptions.

THE PLAN: No doubt - WR will be my next pick since I can still reach a decent tier 2 player and worry about another RB or a QB later.

11 RB DeAngelo Williams

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB DeAngelo Williams, WR Roddy White

WHY?: The way I look at it, the best QB and WR are gone and yet there are still plenty of decent choices there. I'll take Williams here for a RB1 that should be at least decent and worry about getting difference makers later on. I want to control the RB I get here because I want a top QB with my next pick and there are two I could live with.

THE PLAN: Now that I have half my backfield, I will look for a QB next pick. Roddy White could be a good one at WR but I have nine players in tier 2 for WR and with a little luck I may catch one of them next pick. I know that Manning and Brees will be gone in the third round so I will take whichever one of them that team #12 leaves me.

12 QB Drew Brees

Options: QB Drew Brees, RB Ryan Grant, WR Roddy White

WHY?: Yea! My turn. After the best 11 players on the planet are gone, I get to make a pick. I'm taking Brees because I know he is going to be an advantage at QB and could end up as the #1 in the league. I refuse to build a very average team like the #12 can easily do so I am taking Brees.

THE PLAN: Well, I could play it safe and take a RB - 'yawn'. Or I could take a WR who won;t be tier one but at least I can take the very best WR in tier 2 for a continued advantage there. Yes, my RB's are not going to be the best but then again the same can be said for six to eight of the other teams. I gotta look at difference makers where I can.

Now that all first picks are made, the key #2 pick arrives. What makes it key? No other pick you make will have as big a bearing on your future picks. It will shape where you go next and if you start to develop need picks in a position already picked over or if you can take value picks to build a complete team. Depending on what you do here, you may have no choice in the matter. This is the pick you need to think about and it is only marginally impacted by the first round pick. There are normally about 25 or 30 truly top players in each season and most of them will be drained when this round concludes. Let's be strategic and do some longer range thinking.

Round Two - It's show time...

Pick Already have Taking Player Considerations
1 QB Drew Brees WR Roddy White

Options:QB Peyton Manning, RB Ryan Grant, WR Roddy White

WHY?: Picking last means building a different team and I love getting White who I obviously think will have an even better 2010 season with a healthy team around him and an easier schedule. I am swinging for the fences a bit with these two picks but I have to do something and each year the RBs get weaker and exist deeper.

THE PLAN: I may shoot for a TE on my next pick or another WR. I want a team that really exploits the reception point and I'm giving up on my RB's for the greater good.

2 RB DeAngelo Williams QB Peyton Manning

Options:QB Peyton Manning, RB Ryan Grant, WR Larry Fitzgerald

WHY?: Like I expected, team #12 took Brees and that is fine - I love Peyton "4000+" Manning who is just a given as a top QB every year. I have wrapped up a high scoring position with an almost risk-free pick and a guy capable of throwing up to 49 scores in a year. Manning is a nice fit here.

THE PLAN: The deepest position is WR and I'll look to mine the position probably starting next round unless a RB really falls. I need to make use of the reception point from here on out.

3 RB Jamaal Charles WR Brandon Marshall

Options: QB Tony Romo, RB Ryan Grant, WR Brandon Marshall

WHY?: I'll have a different looking team than those guys going at the first of the round one to be sure. Marshall seems like a fit to me because he is Mr. 100 catches even moving to Miami. Chad Henne is an up and comer and Marshall gives him easily his best weapon. I love the pick because I'm going to look so smart by December and Brees plays home games in sunny Miami then anyway.

THE PLAN: I am building a risky team I guess but one with huge upside. My next pick will be probably either RB or WR and by the 5th round I want 2 RB's and 2 WR's. I should look for less risky players for a few rounds.

4 WR Reggie Wayne WR Larry Fitzgerald

Options: QB Tony Romo, RB Ryan Grant, WR Larry Fitzgerald

WHY?: Hey, let's live life dangerously. Romo is the top of tier 2 QB's but I can absolutely live with any of the next five or so. Grant is solid enough but I want a team with some "oomph" and starting out with Wayne and Fitz seems like a dream team in a reception points league. Fitz may have lost Warner, but even Leinart can and will pepper him with passes every week.

THE PLAN: Feeling good - at least for now - and I will start looking at RB's in the next few rounds with an eye to get a decent QB as late as I can.

5 QB Aaron Rodgers RB Steven Jackson

Options:QB Tony Romo, RB Ryan Grant, WR Miles Austin

WHY?: Jackson is not my next rated RB but I already have Rodgers so adding Grant is just too many Packers to start out with. Miles Austin is tempting but there are other wideouts for later. I want a RB and Jackson could be a gold mine for me. He could also get injured and struggle on a horrible team but I am going to go for broke picking in the middle. Jackson's ability to catch passes should help here as well.

THE PLAN: Man - WR's here I come for a few rounds without any doubt.

6 WR Randy Moss WR Miles Austin

Options:QB Tony Romo, RB Ryan Grant, WR Miles Austin

WHY?: This is going to be a fun year. Why not start out with Moss and Austin? I have two of the most high-powered wideouts to start out in a league that rewards receptions. There is a question if Dez Bryant is going to reduce the action for Austin but he could just as easily help him. I may hate my RB's but I love my WR's.

THE PLAN: Yeah, going to hunt for RB's for the next couple of rounds but hey - look at my WR's man!

7 RB Frank Gore WR Calvin Johnson

Options:QB Tony Romo, RB Ryan Grant, WR Calvin Johnson

WHY?: I played it really safe with my first pick so I am willing to step out with this selection. Grant would almost assure that my team ends up at .500 on the year. Romo is tempting, but Calvin Johnson is the freak and Matt Stafford is more experienced and should get Johnson more action this year. Plus the addition of Nate Burleson should help Johnson. I need some big upside and Johnson has it.

THE PLAN: I feel much more balanced now and can do whatever I want for a few rounds. I am picking in the middle and I have to spend the next two picks grabbing players who fall.

8 WR Andre Johnson RB Ryan Grant

Options:QB Tony Romo, RB Ryan Grant, WR Greg Jennings

WHY?: I have the best WR on the planet and I feel like I should stop here and grab a really solid RB before maybe searching for difference makers in other positions. I am playing it safe but that's okay when I have a star like AJ on my team. Besides, Grant is a lock for a good year with no other players to challenge him on a very productive offense.

THE PLAN: We'll see what falls to me in future rounds but I can go anywhere with a WR-RB start.

9 RB Ray Rice WR Greg Jennings

Options:QB Tony Romo, RB Pierre Thomas, WR Greg Jennings

WHY?: Watching all those wideouts getting drafted has prompted me to join the fray before there are no more decent ones left. I have to assume that the three teams to follow all take at least one. If any double up I could end up with a tier 3 WR being my best receiver. I feel like I need to make this pick.

THE PLAN: Well see what is left after three teams who all have a great RB like me double dip. I may go anywhere with my next pick though I am thinking maybe a RB will be in order.

10 RB M. Jones-Drew RB Pierre Thomas

Options: QB Tony Romo, RB Pierre Thomas, WR Steve Smith NYG

WHY?: I have Thomas as the last RB in tier 2 and there are four WR's that I could live with. I highly doubt that the next two teams both double dip on WR's so I am controlling my RB and will accept whatever WR I get in the third round.

THE PLAN: Starting RB-RB seems anti-productive for a league with reception points but MJD made sense with my first pick and by now there have already been nine wideouts taken. I'll need to look at WR with my next two or three picks most likely. I do have a solid start but I need to start mining the WR's for a while.

11 RB Adrian Peterson WR Steve Smith NYG

Options: QB Tony Romo, RB R. Mendenhall, WR Steve Smith NYG

WHY?: I am sort of pissed because all the tier 2 RB's are gone and the tier 1 QB's are even longer gone. That makes me have to take a WR since a few still remain in tier 2 and at least Steve Smith of the Giants should be a solid pick in a reception points league. Right now I have two very consistent players and will look for more upside in future picks.

THE PLAN: My next pick could be another WR since Marques Colston or DeSean Jackson are likely to be there and they could make my team stronger. I might end up taking a RB though since I have to wait 20 more picks before they come back and by then the pickings will be mighty slim. I have a high scoring, consistent team so far and I love that.

12 RB Chris Johnson RB R. Mendenhall

Options:QB Tony Romo, RB R. Mendenhall, WR Marques Colston

WHY?: Nothing sucks the fun out of the first overall pick than watching the next 22 players get scooped up. But at least I will be getting two of the best 25 players with my next two picks. I have a superstar at RB1 and he counts nearly like a player and a half. So I am taking a RB here for a great set of starters. Mendenhall can catch the ball to get some reception points. Mendenhall is a great pick at this point.

THE PLAN: I have such a strong set of RB's that I am going to use the next three picks for making a splash in other areas. I cannot score a great set of WR's but I can get a very good QB and a great TE soon. I'll look to seed in WR's with an eye to jump to QB and TE when I think it is ripe for picking.

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

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

Strategy What it means
RB - RB - RB In a PPR league, this makes almost no sense. If you have a flex position that can be a third RB, it almost makes sense but it looks more like an old school FF'er who won't change to fit a new scoring scenario. This might work best at the end of the first round so the #4 pick can go elsewhere early but it looks like an average team to me already.
RB - RB - QB

Normally an okay start - filled the three highest scoring starter slots with your first three picks and likely with great value. But in a PPR league, you still have not addressed what makes it different. This looks more like an average team to to me but not a bad one. Safe and sound, but you will need to land sleepers to make this work. Figure that top WR are the same as top RBs and yet middle tiers for each position probably favor WR thanks to the reception points. This is going to be a hard one to make a champion from.

RB - RB - WR This is probably about the most generic plan discounting what values might drop in your draft. You start out with a solid RB corps which is important but then still reach a decent WR and you will be needing more than one anyway. Not knowing anything about a league or slot, this is the one I would tell a newbie to use since it is the safest one of all. Maybe not most advantageous in all cases, but the safest. This is best used by a team picking at the start of round one who can still snag a decent WR with their third pick. This would be horrible at the end of the first round where you would take two average RBs and then an average WR.
RB - WR - RB With reception points, this makes sense. Plenty of QB's left and you start out solid on RB with a great WR. This seems like a very popular plan for 2010 for teams drafting early to mid-first round. You get the stud RB, you get at least a decent WR1 and still have a shot at a good RB2. You'll see ex-RB Pigs use this now because two RBs in the first three rounds makes them feel safer. Solid opening, maybe not many difference makers other than RB1. In a PPR league, this really needs to be one of the later first round teams to make it work best because you have to access a top WR with that second pick.
RB - WR - WR This is can be deadly effective in a PPR league. You have wrapped up two great starting WR in a position that is the hardest to get right. Good start and you have a shot at a decent RB2 more than any previous season. This year, you could argue this is the best plan for teams drafting early in the first round but only so long as both WR are still good quality and low risk.
RB - WR -QB This works well only when you have top tier players from all the positions. If you do, then you are in a great spot to take the players that fell in the draft. If you got one of these wrong, you can be hurting your chances to compete. This is something best done when RB1 is a big stud like Peterson or Jones-Drew or Johnson. So long as that QB is a top three guy, it can work.
RB - QB - WR Same as RB - WR - QB except this is for a team drafting more in the middle and the QB1 is a top three guy and the WR still can access a top ten player.
RB - QB - RB IN a PPR league, this may look good for three rounds but then backfilling the starters with WR's that make less use of the reception points makes it hard to field a strong team unless you really nail a sleeper wideout. This is better in a league without reception points.
WR - RB - RB Starting with a top tier WR is a decent idea if you draft late in the first round and you can get enough value with RB's to make a solid start that can address value picks later. Normally what works best is to get that Tier 1 WR and then make your RB picks be a mix of one solid guy and one big upside guy. You'll need to go WR in the 4th round but this can build a very nice team so long as the WR1 is a top three player.
WR - RB - QB This only works so long as the QB is a top three player and you do not go early in the first round where you are taking a top wideout too early. The RB2 may be adequate but you are setting yourself up to struggle with RBs if you get one of them wrong - a likelihood this year. Can work but tougher in a PPR league if you draft mid-first round or later.
WR - WR - RB This has turned into the standard for the #12 pick this year in a PPR league. Two of the top wideouts (maybe even top three for both) will be big difference makers. The RB1 in the third won't be a huge help but should be good enough not to be a drag on the team. The only downside to this plan is that if you take cold weather WR's, it can hurt you later in the year when they become less productive.
WR - RB - WR Perfectly fine this year in a PPR league and really can work at any draft position though the WR1 may be taken earlier than he should have been. This builds a decent team usually in a PPR but your 4th pick probably will need to be a RB.
WR - QB - RB This is hard to make work unless your QB gets higher points and you almost have to be drafting in the second half of the first round to access the sort of players to make this work. That means taking a WR earlier than most people would. This team could get ugly later in the draft because you start chasing players out of need instead of the best available.
WR - WR - WR Looks pretty in a reception points league but only until the fourth round starts. The WR3 will be tier 2 or worse and makes little sense while other positions need starters. The way WR are taken this year, it makes this very hard to work well.
QB - anything

. In almost all leagues, you start only QB and I see nine good ones this year. Taking Brees or Rodgers happens in the first round happens occasionally, round two most often and round three rarely. This can work if you are in a league that uses two quarterbacks to start. But particularly this year, you better be towards the end of the first round so you can still get a tier 1 WR or a tier and a tier 1 QB.

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. Pay attention to your draft slot and what you want to do in the first three rounds and you'll already have an advantage over the RB-RB-RB guy sitting next to you.

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