Last night I got the opportunity to participate in the 2013 Rant Sports Fantasy Football P.P.R. Mock Draft. PPR is a whole different monster when it comes to drafting, because one point is given for each reception. This increases value for the elite wide receivers, such as Calvin Johnson and A.J. Green, and also running backs who are known as pass catchers, such as Ray Rice and LeSean McCoy.
Even so, I kept my usual strategy heading into every draft: go running back in the first round. Especially this year, I wouldn’t say there are more than 15 every down backs in the league, and it’s important to get guys who dominate the touches, rather than timeshare style running backs.
My theory for 2013 Fantasy Football, is that the difference between the number one and number 15 quarterback is minuscule compared to the difference between the number one and number 15 running back ,so it’s important to go RB early. Apparently everyone else in the league was on board with my theory, because when my pick at number ten arrived, picks 1-9 were all RBs. Here’s the rundown of where I went from there.
Round 1 – RB Steven Jackson – With nine RBs off the board, Jackson was the best available, and I am fairly high on him this year. The Atlanta Falcons run the ball a ton in the red zone, and Jackson is still a big bruising back. He also provides value in the PPR format, with 38 catches last season.
Round 2 – RB Stevan Ridley – Having back-to-back picks is always good, because you don’t have to worry about anyone taking one of your guys. I took advantage of that by snagging up one of the best RBs available. I thought about going Calvin Johnson here, but I decided with the New England Patriots‘ lack of weapons, Ridley should get a ton of touches.
Round 3 – QB Cam Newton – Round three was where some of the top quarterbacks were starting to come off the board, so after falling one pick short of my perennial favorite, QB Tom Brady, I decided to go with Newton here. He came out strong in the second half of last season, and the threat to run from your QB is always an added bonus in fantasy.
Round 4 – WR Larry Fitzgerald – After being a first round lock for the last five years, Fitzgerald has slipped in many people’s eyes, but I consider him a steal here in the fourth round. Carson Palmer, even with his limitations, gives Fitzgerald the most talented QB he has had since Kurt Warner when he would have 90+ catches, 1400+ yards and 10 touchdowns every year.
Round 5 – WR Steve Smith – I am always a fan of drafting the top receiver of the QB on your fantasy team, and I continued that trend by grabbing Smith here. In Newton’s two years, Smith is averaging 76 catches and 1284 yards; pretty good value for a fifth round pick.
Round 6 – RB Eddie Lacy Here is where I started to address my bench and my bye week fillers, as well as potential flex position options; I decided to go with Lacy because of his upside. If he can stay healthy and grab hold of the starting spot at RB, there will plenty of touches for him.
Round 7 – WR Tavon Austin – Another upside pick here. I don’t typically like to go with too many rookies, but Austin has all the tools to put points on the board. Sam Bradford lost Danny Amendola, and Austin could fill in with big play-making ability.
Round 8 – WR Jordy Nelson – Nelson missed four games with injury last season, and will miss the preseason while recovering from knee surgery, but as a backup receiver it’s hard to pass him up in the 8th round. He has big play connection with Aaron Rodgers, with a career 15.1 yards per reception.
Round 9 – RB Mark Ingram – I am buying into the hype here (to an extent). I have Ingram as my fourth running back, so if it doesn’t pan out it isn’t a big loss. With everyone discussing how great he has looked in camp, I figured it was worth a shot in the late rounds.
Round 10 – RB Ben Tate – You can never have enough RBs, and another late round strategy that I have employed is “the handcuff.” Last round with Ingram and this round with Tate, if the starter goes down (in this case Arian Foster) with injury, Tate instantly becomes a top 15 RB.
Round 11 – TE Jared Cook – When it comes to TEs, if you can’t get Jimmy Graham, don’t bother reaching for anyone else. I went with Cook here, because I realistically think he could be a top five TE this year. He showed promise last year, and now I think he is in a better system in St. Louis.
Round 12 – QB Joe Flacco – Already having Newton as my starting QB, realistically my backup QB will only be used once this year, unless there is some sort of injury. But I think with Flacco, I got someone who has the potential to put up numbers on Newton’s bye week, and provide a nice security blanket in case Newton goes down.
Round 13 – D/ST Denver Broncos – Last year the Broncos had the number three ranked fantasy defense. Granted they will have to overcome the absence of Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, but I think where they will be lacking in sacks they will make up for in interceptions, with the addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the secondary.
Round 14 – TE Tyler Eifert – At backup TE I decided to go with my third rookie on my roster in Eifert, because of his versatility. They do have Jermaine Gresham, but Eifert has the ability to line up on the outside as well, which will give him more opportunities. Also, his height makes him the prime option for cheap touchdowns for my squad.
Round 15 – K Garrett Hartley – I owned the last pick in this mock draft, and still needed to fill my roster with a kicker. I decided to go with Hartley because I think the Saints will put up a ton of points this year, motivated by the return of head coach Sean Payton.
Overall, I feel I addressed every need I possibly could with the tenth pick. I was able to get two every down RBs with my first two picks, and an elite fantasy QB in the third round. I was also able to go with the always popular QB/WR connection with Smith and Newton, and the RB handcuff with Tate and Ingram. After filling out the majority of my starting lineup with two WRs, I went mostly upside picks from round six on. It’s risky, but sometimes I’d rather go with a guy who has a chance to produce big than someone who I know is mediocre, at best.
QB – Cam Newton, Joe Flacco
RB – Steven Jackson, Stevan Ridley, Eddie Lacy, Mark Ingram, Ben Tate
WR – Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, Tavon Austin, Jordy Nelson
TE – Jared Cook, Tyler Eifert
D/ST – Denver Broncos
K – Garrett Hartley