Fantasy Football: Our first PPR mock draft for 2018 leans toward receiver in early rounds

We recently held our first 12-team standard mock draft for the upcoming season, and running backs were prominently featured in the early rounds of that format. That's expected.

We followed that up with a 12-team PPR mock draft, and there was more of an emphasis on pass catchers in this league. Again, no surprise.

It's obvious that when you get rewarded for receptions, you want as many players as possible who are going to catch the ball.

There were only four receivers drafted in the first round of the standard league and a combination of 10 receivers and tight ends drafted in the first two rounds. By Round 3, 17 receivers and tight ends were drafted out of 36 players, while the other 19 guys were running backs.

In the PPR mock draft, we had six receivers drafted in Round 1, 12 receivers and tight ends selected through Round 2 and 19 of those guys drafted through Round 3. It flipped from the standard format, as only 17 running backs were selected in the first 36 picks in this league.

Some players who saw a boost in value in PPR were Alvin Kamara, Keenan Allen, Christian McCaffrey and Jarvis Landry. Kamara and Allen went from Round 2 in standard to Round 1 in PPR; McCaffery went from Round 3 to Round 2; Landry went from Round 4 to Round 3.

We also saw a change at the top of the draft with the switch in formats. In the standard league, the first four picks were, in order: Todd Gurley, Le'Veon Bell, Ezekiel Elliott and David Johnson. Antonio Brown and DeAndre Hopkins were next, followed by more running backs with Leonard Fournette and Kareem Hunt before Odell Beckham went at No. 9 overall.

In the PPR mock draft, Gurley and Bell were still first, but Brown came in at No. 3. I took Johnson at No. 4 before Hopkins, and Elliott fell to No. 6. 

I intended to draft Brown at No. 4, but I was thrilled to get Johnson in that spot. He's expected to be fine after last year's wrist injury, and he should continue to be a dominant Fantasy running back. In 2016, Johnson had more than 2,100 total yards with 20 total touchdowns and 80 receptions.

My second-round pick was Davante Adams, and I drafted Travis Kelce in Round 3. It's a good start when you can get three difference makers on your roster, and I was still able to do that here while still getting other quality starters in Josh Gordon (Round 4), Carlos Hyde (Round 5) and Russell Wilson (Round 6). Hyde's a free agent, so where he ends up playing in 2018 will be a big key for my team.

I'm not a big fan of filling out my starting roster right away, but it just happened to work out this way with Kelce and Wilson being the best value picks on the board. It might have cost me some depth at running back and receiver, but I still managed good talent with later picks.

Marshawn Lynch (Round 7) is my first option at flex, and we'll see if he remains in a featured role with the Raiders under new coach Jon Gruden. One possible replacement for Lynch could be free agent Jerick McKinnon, who I drafted in Round 8. McKinnon could be a steal in this spot if he lands a starting job on a new team.

I also have Matt Breida (Round 10) as a reserve running back, and he could be the starter in San Francisco if Hyde doesn't return. At reserve receiver, I have Will Fuller (Round 9), Quincy Enunwa (Round 11), Dede Westbrook (Round 12) and Corey Coleman (Round 13). 

Fuller played great last season when Deshaun Watson (torn ACL) was healthy, and he's a third-year receiver, along with Coleman. Both could step up in a big way in 2018, and Enunwa might be the No. 1 receiver for the Jets now that he's healthy after last year's neck injury. Westbrook also should be a prominent weapon for the Jaguars, especially if either Allen Robinson or Marqise Lee leave Jacksonville as free agents.

I like this team a lot in this format, and we'll see what happens with these players over the next few weeks. We did not include the upcoming rookies for this mock draft, and we are well aware a lot will change with free agency and the NFL Draft. As such, we will do multiple mock drafts in the coming months. 

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. Dave Richard, Senior Fantasy Writer
  2. Meron Berkson, Video Producer
  3. Michael Kiser, Director of Video Production
  4. Jamey Eisenberg, Senior Fantasy Writer
  5. Matthew Coca, Video Producer
  6. Heath Cummings, Senior Fantasy Writer
  7. Chris Towers, Senior Editor, Fantasy
  8. George Maselli, Fantasy Editor
  9. Will Brinson, NFL Editor
  10. Scott White, Senior Fantasy Writer
  11. Adam Aizer, Podcast Host
  12. R.J. White, NFL Editor
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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