Two weeks ago I published an article detailing my strategy for 12 team mixed leagues depending on draft position in the first round. The article came with a flow chart similar to the one above which is a tool you can use on draft day. It turned out to be the most popular article I have ever written.
I got a lot of comments from people who had used the strategy in which they listed their team and asked me to evaluate their draft. But I also got lots of people wondering how the strategy would change for different league formats. Primarily, people wanted to know how the strategy would change for ten-team leagues, PPR leagues, and two quarterback leagues. So I created flow charts for those people, which you can see above. I also did a chart based on Yahoo’s standard rosters since the original chart was more based off ESPN’s set up. So below you’ll find some commentary to go along with each prong of the picture above.
Please feel free to ask me questions in the comment section. You can ask specific questions, or you can just list your entire roster if you would like my opinion on it. And you can also ask me questions on Twitter throughout the season @TheRealTAL.
10-Team League Strategy
Roster type: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, FLEX, TE, K, D, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN
Based on: ESPN
If you read my initial article detailing my strategy for 12-team leagues, you will see a lot of similarities between the left-most prong of the chart above and the chart in the original article. The general idea is to load up on RB and WR early and grab one of the QBs going at the back end of the top ten at that position. In a ten-team league, there’s not too much risk of not being able to take a running back in round one. Here are my top ten backs: Peterson, Martin, Spiller, Rice, Foster, Charles, McCoy, Richardson, Morris, Jones-Drew. Take whoever you like in round one, but there’s no reason not to go RB first.
In the second, I’ll leave it up to you. Want to go RB again and take someone like MJD or Stevan Ridley? I’m not a big fan of Matt Forte or Steven Jackson, so if MJD or Ridley were not available at my second pick, I would go elsewhere. At WR I like Green, Bryant or Marshall in the second round. Or if you like Jimmy Graham, I’m perfectly fine taking him toward the back of the second. And if Graham falls to you in the third, the value on him gets even better. Personally, I’d go RB (MJD) or WR in the second and hope for Graham in the third.
In rounds three through six, assuming you don’t take Graham in the third, you’ll be loading up on RB and WR. Here are the guys going in that range whose ADP I’m OK with: Demaryius Thomas, Roddy White, Victor Cruz, Darren Sproles, Reggie Bush, Dwayne Bowe, Chris Ivory, Jordy Nelson, Ahmad Bradshaw.
In round seven, grab your quarterback. Russell Wilson, Tony Romo or Matthew Stafford should be your guy (in that order).
From there on out, it’s just a bunch of backs and receivers unless you didn’t end up with Graham. Here are the guys going in rounds 8-13 whose ADP I’m OK with: Pierre Garcon, DeAngelo Williams, Cecil Shorts, Rashard Mendenhall, Stevie Johnson, Miles Austin, Daryl Richardson, Mike Williams, Lance Moore, Emmanuel Sanders, Ben Tate, Bryce Brown, Fred Jackson, Bernard Pierce, Ronnie Hillman, Reuben Randle.
And if you didn’t end up with Graham, just take a shot on one of the many flier-type tight ends available this year in round 14 right before you pick your kicker and your defense. If the one you draft doesn’t pan out, don’t worry. There will be usable options on the waiver wire. Here are the TEs going around the 14th or later on average in the order I would select them: Fred Davis, Jordan Cameron, Zach Sudfeld, Rob Housler.
Yahoo! 12-Team Strategy
Roster type: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, WR, TE, K, D, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN
Based on: Yahoo, obviously
The main difference between the standard rosters on ESPN and Yahoo is that Yahoo has a third receiver slot and no flex whereas ESPN has two receiver slots and the flex option. This obviously means you need to focus a little more on WR depth and not quite as much on RB depth since you can play a max of two backs each week. I still think it’s important to fill your two RB positions early if possible, and you should still be going RB in the first no matter what. But if you’re picking at the back end of the second round, you may not be able to go RB-RB to start. If that turns out to be the case, don’t panic. There are a lot of starting running backs going in the 6th-8th round range on Yahoo like Ivory, Mendenhall and Williams. And there are other guys going there or a little later that I like such as Hillman and Richardson.
Because of the three starting WR slots, WRs go a little quicker on Yahoo than they do on ESPN. So you have to have those three slots filled by the sixth round at the latest. The strange thing is that QBs also go a little quicker than they do on ESPN. That’s also helping provide a lot of RB value late. I’d prefer to wait until at least the sixth pick to take a QB in a 12-team league, but it may not be an option on Yahoo. If Cam Newton falls to the 4th round, I’d absolutely grab him. But if you miss him, take Wilson, Romo or Stafford on the 5th because I’m afraid they won’t make it back to you in the 6th.
Two Quarterback Strategy
Roster Type: QB, QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, FLEX, TE, K, D, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN
Based on: ESPN ADP
Full disclosure: I don’t play in any two quarterback leagues, so it’s not my forte. But I have played in a few in the past, so I’m somewhat familiar with the format. As you might expect, quarterbacks tend to be drafted much earlier given the premium placed on the position. It’s hard to say for sure how QB crazy your league will go early on, so I’ve tried to construct that chart in a way that gives you some flexibility depending on how your draft unfolds.
Up top, I think it’s still a good idea to target RBs, especially since people will presumably be taking the QBs earlier than normal and providing some unusual value on RBs which are still almost as scarce as QBs. So I’d start RB-RB. In the third, I’d jump on a QB if any of Rodgers, Bress, Manning, Newton, Kaepernick, or Brady are still there. If they aren’t, I’d hope for Ryan, RG3, Stafford, Wilson or Romo in the 4th.
Then I would go back and grab my second QB in the 8th if any of Manning, Roethlisberger or Vick were available. I’m kind of guessing they won’t be, so I’d wait a round and grab someone like Cutler, Palmer, Rivers, Freeman or Tannehill (in that order) in the 9th. And it also might not be a terrible idea to “handcuff” one of your QBs with their backup in the 14th round.
12-Team PPR Strategy
Roster Type: QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, FLEX, TE, K, D, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN, BN
Based on: ESPN
Like the Yahoo standard leagues that have a third receiver slot as opposed to a flex, PPR leagues obviously make receivers more valuable. Because of the scoring system, the flex spot might as well just be a third receiver slot. In fact, check out Mike Clay’s excellent piece on what position you should use to fill your flex spot in various types of leagues here.
The basic idea of getting running backs up top is not changed in this format. But you don’t need as much depth. Get two backs in the first three rounds, first four rounds at the latest. But take your fourth receiver before you take your third back.
Again, Graham is an option in the second, even more so since it’s PPR. If you like him, don’t hesitate to get him. And you’ll also be taking a QB in the 6th again. So other than building receiver depth prior to running back depth, this strategy isn’t too different from the rest. As for players who should get a big boost in PPR, let me refer you to Matthew Berry’s 10 lists of 10 in which he names some guys who should get a big bump in PPR.