2018 Fantasy Football Offseason: Our latest PPR mock draft highlights need at receiver

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We've discussed quite often this offseason on our Fantasy Football Today podcast that running back appears to be a deeper position than receiver this year when it comes to top-tier talent. And that has put a premium on drafting receivers a little earlier than you might expect.

That happened in our latest 12-team PPR mock draft on CBS Sports. While the elite running backs were still going early -- eight running backs were selected in Round 1 and 15 were taken though Round 3 -- a lot of receivers were pushed up the draft board.

The PPR format could have something to do with it, but there were 18 receivers drafted in the first three rounds, along with three tight ends. By the end of Round 3, only four owners had multiple running backs on their roster, which were Andrew Baumhor, Scott Reilly, R.J. White and Jeremy Bache. 

Baumhor went away from receiver completely at that point with Todd Gurley, LeSean McCoy and Jerick McKinnon as his first three picks. It's hard to argue with the talent he now has at running back and flex, but his top receivers are Golden Tate, Cooper Kupp, Dez Bryant and Robby Anderson. Baumhor might need Bryant to land in the perfect spot (Green Bay, Seattle or New Orleans are rumored destinations) to help this receiving corps go from good to potentially great.

I took a different approach and started my team with DeAndre Hopkins, Davante Adams and Zach Ertz with my first three picks. My next three picks were running backs with Jordan Howard, Rashaad Penny and Marlon Mack, and without being biased, I like this approach better.

The reason why is the talent at receiver with Hopkins and Adams, and I only needed two backup options to make this receiving corps complete with Jamison Crowder and Pierre Garcon. Barring injury, this should be an exceptional group of receivers, and I was able to stockpile running backs with Howard, Penny, Mack, Matt Breida, Jordan Wilkins, Chris Carson and Kalen Ballage

Hopefully, Howard, Penny and Mack are quality starters, but I have handcuff options in Wilkins and Carson, as well as a sleeper in Breida. And Ballage is also worth a late-round flier as the likely backup in Miami behind Kenyan Drake.

You should find that leaning on receiver early will still leave you with quality running back options in the middle rounds. In this draft, the running backs available in Rounds 5-7 included Mark Ingram, Jamaal Williams, Penny, Dion Lewis, Derrius Guice, Jay Ajayi, Royce Freeman, Mack, Lamar Miller, Sony Michel, Kerryon Johnson and Marshawn Lynch. All of those are potential starting Fantasy options in any format.

By comparison, some owners were reaching for receivers, including Michael Crabtree in Round 4, Kupp, Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods in Round 5 and Chris Hogan, Sammy Watkins, Will Fuller, Bryant and Rishard Matthews in Round 6. While several of these receivers could turn out to be great picks, especially in PPR, they were all drafted too soon in my opinion.

We'll see how the Average Draft Position looks for running backs and receivers as we get closer to August, but for now you should plan to gravitate toward receiver early in your league, no matter the format. Your draft slot will likely determine how you start your team in Round 1, but it appears easier to chase running backs this season than it does receiver based on the talent at each position.

In this league, all touchdowns are worth six points, and we award one point for every 10 yards rushing and receiving and one point for every 25 yards passing. We also award one point per reception. We feature a starting lineup of QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, TE, K, DST and a FLEX (RB/WR/TE). There will also be six reserve spots for a 15-round draft.

Our draft order is as follows:

  1. Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer
  2. Andrew Baumhor, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  3. Scott Reilly, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  4. R.J. White, NFL Editor
  5. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
  6. Robert Arciero, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  7. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
  8. Jeremy Bache, Fantasy Sales Coordinator
  9. Matthew Coca, CBS Sports HQ Producer
  10. Will Brinson, NFL Writer
  11. Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
  12. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy
Senior Fantasy Writer

Jamey Eisenberg has been a Senior Fantasy Writer for CBS Sports since 2006 with a focus on Fantasy Football. A University of Florida grad (class of '98), Jamey got his start in the newspaper business and... Full Bio

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