2018 Fantasy Football Draft Prep: Picking at No. 1 overall in non-PPR leagues could be fun with Todd Gurley, frustrating with everyone else
Jamey Eisenberg looks at how to build a team from the No. 1 overall spot in non-PPR leagues, and explains why it might make sense to avoid pairing a quarterback and tight end with two early picks.
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Editor's note: Our latest non-PPR pick-by-pick series was done in June and is a three-man draft with Heath Cummings, Jamey Eisenberg and Dave Richard, with each one selecting four teams in this 12-team mock. The goal of this series is to show you positions to draft in these spots as much as the players selected, so take that into account when viewing each team.
Picking at No. 1 overall in any format can be a fun and frustrating experience at the same time. You get the best player on the board, but the talent pool at the end of Round 2 and beginning of Round 3 is less than stellar.
And that can drive you crazy, which happened here.
For this team at No. 1 overall in our latest non-PPR pick-by-pick series, there are a few things to like about this roster -- and several things to hate. I'm curious to see how it all plays out.
Here is my team from No. 1 overall:
- 1.1 Todd Gurley, RB, Rams
- 2.12 Travis Kelce, TE, Chiefs
- 3.1 Tyreek Hill, WR, Chiefs
- 4.12 Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers
- 5.1 Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles
- 6.12 Corey Davis, WR, Titans
- 7.1 Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers
- 8.12 Randall Cobb, WR, Packers
- 9.1 Aaron Jones, RB, Packers
- 10.12 Jordan Wilkins, RB, Colts
- 11.1 Nyheim Hines, RB, Colts
- 12.12 John Kelly, RB, Rams
- 13.1 Vikings DST
- 14.12 Mason Crosby, K, Packers
Let's start with the positives, beginning with taking Gurley at No. 1 overall. Don't get cute and stray from the best Fantasy running back in 2017 - and finalist for the NFL MVP last year - in Gurley. He should have the chance for another dominant campaign.
After Gurley, it's a waiting game. And you're likely not going to be happy with who is available at No. 24 and 25 overall.
From all the mock drafts we've done this offseason, the group of receivers available include Doug Baldwin, T.Y. Hilton and Hill, and the running backs on the board are Devonta Freeman, LeSean McCoy and Jerick McKinnon. Kelce and Zach Ertz are also likely going to be available, as well as all the quarterbacks.
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Granted, these are far from bad players. Quite the opposite. They just don't overwhelm you with excitement.
I settled for Kelce and the best receiver available in Hill (Baldwin was already gone). I'm not sure it's ideal to double down on Chiefs receivers with a new quarterback in Patrick Mahomes, but I'm confident in these players as standalone Fantasy options, so hopefully they'll thrive as a duo.
With my next turn, I started with Rodgers in Round 4, and here's where we'll stop with the positives. Through four rounds, I now have the best preseason Fantasy running back and quarterback and the No. 2 tight end. It's definitely a plus having those three studs coming into the year.
But after those three players, as well as Hill, the question marks begin. Can I count on Williams as a No. 2 running back, even with Jones' two-game suspension? Can Jeffery, Davis or Cobb be a quality No. 2 Fantasy receiver and flex? Did I draft the right Colts backup running backs in Wilkins and Hines?
When you draft a tight end and quarterback with two of your first four picks, you're sacrificing talent at running back and receiver. And that's the trade-off for studs at those positions.
I'm confident Williams can be a No. 2 running back, especially with Jones out for the start of the season, and I have Jones as insurance. And I'm expecting at least one of Jeffery, Davis or Cobb to post quality stats. I also have faith that Wilkins or Hines will have some good if not great moments this year as part of a committee with Marlon Mack.
But none of these are sure things, and that could be a challenge, especially if Gurley, Rodgers or Kelce fail to deliver in a big way. If you like having studs at 3-4 positions and then managing the rest of your roster, then this is the team for you.
However, if you like a more balanced approach, then avoid drafting a quarterback or tight end early, and spend those picks on running back or receiver. It could alleviate some potential headaches, and hopefully you'll still find a standout quarterback or tight end with a later pick.
Favorite pick: Randall Cobb
Cobb hasn't been a good Fantasy receiver since 2015, but he has the chance to rebound in a big way this season. With Jordy Nelson gone, Cobb should be the No. 2 receiver for Rodgers behind Davante Adams. And last year, Cobb might not have been as bad as you think. He played five healthy games with Rodgers in 2017, and he had 30 catches for 302 yards and two touchdowns over that span on 44 targets. Over 16 games, Cobb would have finished with 96 catches for 966 yards and six touchdowns, and hopefully that's the kind of production we'll get this season. He could be a steal in the Round 9-10 range.
Pick I might regret: Aaron Rodgers
It's hard to regret drafting Rodgers, who is healthy after last year's broken collarbone injury that cost him nine games and enters the season as the No. 1 Fantasy quarterback on Draft Day. But drafting a quarterback and tight end together before Round 5 impacts your talent at running back and receiver, which happened here. If I had selected another running back in Round 4 (available options were Mark Ingram, Royce Freeman and Jay Ajayi) or receiver (guys like Jarvis Landry, Golden Tate and Chris Hogan were on the board) then my team might have had more balance. As it stands, however, if Rodgers is back to his usual form, pairing him with Gurley and Kelce could be lethal.
Player who could make or break my team: Jamaal Williams
I'm going to be glued to Green Bay games this season with this roster, especially the backfield. And I'm hopeful Williams will run away with the job now that he gets a two-game lead with Jones out because of his two-game suspension. But if Williams and eventually Jones fall behind Ty Montgomery then I'll be chasing my No. 2 running back spot all season, especially if Wilkins and Hines are duds. I like Williams coming into the season, but it's a good idea to handcuff him with either Jones or Montgomery, especially with a late-round pick. Williams was solid as a rookie in 2017 and should have the chance to play well this year.
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