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The “Perfect” Draft for Your Traditional, Non-PPR Fantasy Football Formats

You know that feeling when you finish a draft and can’t find any mistakes? Everything just falls in place perfectly in line with your plan and you just feel perfect. Today, we’ll kick of the series with the OG league – 12-team, non-PPR scoring. While it’s no longer the standard for some of the primary fantasy outlets, plenty of leagues still run the traditional format.

A few rules for my Perfect Draft:

  • I can reach for players early, but I can only assume a player will be available if their Average Draft Position is within two spots of the selection.
  • ADP will come from Fantasy Football Calculator.
  • The team format will be 1-QB, 2-RB, 2-WR, 1-TE, 1-Flex, DST, K, and 6 bench spots.
  • My draft spot will be pick 7 as selected by fellow writer, Jeremy Marin.
  • I’ll be using the Draft Dashboard tool to test out the potential for this outcome.

So with all of that in mind, let’s kick this perfect draft off.

Round 1

Nick Chubb, RB, Cleveland

I’m not a proponent of Zero RB in non-PPR format 1 because top end RBs in this format traditionally score more than even the top WRs. With that in mind, I’m selecting a RB who broke out as a rookie.

Chubb took over the starting job in Week 7, but it was the firing of Hue Jackson and installation of Freddie Kitchens as the offensive coordinator that sparked his second-half run.

The extrapolated 16-game total of 247 fantasy points would have ranked as RB6 in 2018. With an improved overall offense, Chubb should be positioned for additional scoring opportunities. Chubb may be a good pick in this range even in PPR and is positioned for a secondary breakout.

Alternate Option: Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay. 

Touchdowns are king in non-PPR scoring, and Adams has 10 or more TDs each of the last three seasons. While TD production can be a little fluky, he’s proven to be the primary option in the red zone in Green Bay and should be one of the league leaders in targets.

Round 2

Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay

I passed on Adams in Round 1 because I knew that my WR options in Round 2 would give similar TD upside while RB would dry up more than I was comfortable with. Evans’ 2018 season finished with him as the WR5 despite not reaching double-digit TDs.

His 2014 and 2016 campaigns with 12 TDs each prove that there’s even more potential growth for Evans following a season with his best catch rate and highest average yards per reception. With Bruce Arians leading the offense, Evan has overall WR1 potential in standard scoring leagues.

Alternate Option: Travis Kelce, TE, Kansas City

My strategy for the TE position is to either select the top overall TE or punt the position until the late rounds. Kelce led the most explosive offense in the league in targets and also had 10 TDs. At the TE position, he’s in a tier of his own.

Round 3

Devonta Freeman, RB, Atlanta

Freeman’s injury concerns drop him to RB18 in ADP despite the positive off-season. He’s proven that with volume he can be a highly productive fantasy back. With Tevin Coleman off to San Francisco, Freeman faces the weakest competition for usage of his career. And with potential RB1 upside, his discounted price could prove to be league winning.

I still believe that Ito Smith has Zero RB value and Brian Hill has shown promise in the preseason, but Freeman has his clearest path to a heavy workload.

Alternate Option: Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee

Over the last five weeks of the season, Derrick Henry was the top scoring RB with 113.4 points. My only concern with Henry is that the last five weeks accounted for 60% of his season total and that stretch included a monstrous 238-yard, four-TD performance against a bad Jaguars run defense.

Draft Dashboard Update: Through three rounds,  I have my three top picks. I would have selected Kerryon Johnson, who fell to me in the Dashboard scenario, but that probably qualifies as too-good-to-be-true with his ADP of 3.01. 

Round 4

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle

Lockett is one of my favorite targets in all formats, because of the retirement of Doug Baldwin and his proven elite efficiency in all areas, especially deep.

Lockett’s additional 2019 volume gives him a ceiling only surpassed by the truly elite.

Alternate Option: Phillip Lindsay, RB, Denver

The signing of Theo Riddick initially caused some concerns about the potential reduction to Lindsay’s receiving volume, but the subsequent injury to Riddick has mostly alleviated them.

Round 5

Tyler Boyd, WR, Cincinnati

Boyd finished as the WR17 with A.J. Green missing half the season. With Green set to miss a meaningful portion of 2019, the opportunity to become a target hog is there.  After signing a new contract extension worth more than $10 million annually, this could be the start of Boyd’s run as the WR1 in Cincinnati.

Alternate Option: Derrius Guice, RB, Washington

Adrian Peterson is coming off of a productive season, but we’re only one year removed from Washington using a high draft selection on Guice. My expectation is that Guice will eventually take over as the full-time back.

Round 6

Latavius Murray, RB, New Orleans

I’m continuing to target TD upside and Murray has proven to be a capable red zone runner with 28 scores on 128 rush attempts inside the 20-yard line. And with Mark Ingram’s success as the secondary back to Alvin Kamara over the past two seasons, Murray could be a valuable asset in the middle rounds.

Alternate Option: Austin Ekeler, RB Los Angeles

The potential holdout of Melvin Gordon opens up opportunity for both Ekeler and Justin Jackson. If Gordon misses a few games to start the season, Ekeler will produce more than his RB3 cost.

Round 7

Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago

Despite being considered as a PPR back, Cohen finished as a top-20 RB in standard scoring last year. The addition of David Montgomery likely caps Cohen’s potential for an increased rushing workload, but if he maintains the 15% target share from his rookie season or his 18% share from 2018, Cohen is a strong flex option.

Alternate Option: Darrell Henderson, RB, Los Angeles

Draft Dashboard Update: Cohen went at 6.12 so I couldn’t take him, but my alternate pick from Round 5, Derrius Guice, was still on the board and was the pick. 

Round 8

Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit

Jones represents my first pick where the draft falls in my favor as he has an ADP of 8.05.  I noted recently that Jones’ volume is largely being overlooked in favor of the younger Kenny Golladay so if he falls to me in Round 8, I’m not hesitating to pull the trigger.

Alternate Option: Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina

If you’ve been following Carolina Panthers Twitter this offseason, you’re undoubtedly aware that Samuel has been performing well in camp. Even before the hype, the advanced metrics loved Samuel as a prime third-year WR breakout candidate.

Draft Dashboard Update: And then Marvin Jones went 7.12. I knew that selecting Jones would require a bit of luck, so I’m taking Samuel. Worth noting that Corey Davis has also already been taken, so I’m switching to another alternate.

Round 9

Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee

Davis ranked No. 8 in weighted opportunity rating in 2018. What held him back was an offense that offered fewer TD opportunities – he ranked only 20th in Expected Points – and being one of only three WRs in the volume top 20 to actually underperform that volume (-2.8 reFPOE). He should improve on his 4 TDs, allowing him to finally break out as a top-24 WR following last year’s WR27 campaign.

Alternate Option: Courtland Sutton, WR Denver

Round 10

Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco

Reports that Jerick McKinnon will be unavailable to start the season make the committee in San Francisco slightly more tolerable. Breida averaged over five yards per carry and 9.7 yards per reception during his 2018 campaign that saw him finish as the RB24 in standard scoring. And with reports of Breida being used in a variety of ways, he should have a clear path to opportunity once again.

Alternate Option: Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo

Round 11

Lamar Jackson, QB, Baltimore

I’m a late-round QB guy, so I tend to focus on players who can exploit scoring advantages at a lower cost. In traditional leagues with 4-points per passing TD, rushing QBs earn a slight boost due because of their potential to score a 6-point TD with their legs. No other QB brings the rushing upside of Jackson. He ran the ball 147 times as a rookie which included five scores.

Alternate Option: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh

Round 12

Tony Pollard, RB, Dallas

Pollard’s upside comes from the potential holdout of Ezekiel Elliott. And while I do expect Elliott to return, Pollard offers standalone value while getting to play on one of the more run-centric offenses.

Alternate Option: Mecole Hardman, WR, Kansas City

Round 13

Mark Andrews, TE, Baltimore

By punting the TE position, I made the decision to accept a weaker option in favor of RBs and WRs. Andrews represents a player with growth potential. In games where Lamar Jackson started, Andrews experienced a moderate efficiency bump despite the lowering of total volume.

Alternate Option: Jordan Reed, TE, Washington

Round 14

Dallas Cowboys DST

I mostly stream defenses. The chance to match up against the Giants is one I’ll be targeting.

Round 15

Jason Myers, K, Seattle

Kickers don’t really move the needle, but a match up against Cincinnati could lead to plenty of scoring for Seattle and easy points for Myers.

Final Roster

QB: Lamar Jackson
RB: Nick Chubb
RB: Devonta Freeman
WR: Mike Evans
WR: Tyler Lockett
TE: Mark Andrews
Flex: Tyler Boyd
DST: Dallas DST
K: Jason Myers
Bench: Latavius Murray
Bench: Tarik Cohen
Bench: Marvin Jones
Bench: Corey Davis
Bench: Matt Breida
Bench: Tony Pollard

Using the Draft Dashboard in concert with this exercise, here’s my final alternate roster:

Image Credit: Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Nick Chubb.

  1. Sorry, Shawn! Editor’s Note: Shawn would not recommend Zero RB in this format either!  (back)

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