While preparing for my first 16 team draft ever, my strategy was uncertain. Once it was known that my first pick was no. 16, my plan was set. Drafting the best two running backs on the board was a must. With two rounds between my picks, my team needed two starting running backs due to lack of top-end depth.
Rounds 1&2: DeMarco Murray, Todd Gurley
The other running backs available at picks 16 & 17 was Lamar Miller and Leonard Fournette. Murray and Gurley offered the most upside and gave my team a good foundation to build on.
Rounds 3&4: Pierre Garçon, Tyreek Hill
With two running backs on my team, it was time to grab some receivers. With this being a PPR league, Pierre Garçon was an obvious choice. Garçon will lead the 49ers in targets by a wide margain. As a possession receiver with a quarterback who can’t throw a real deep ball, Garcon will see a ton of targets.
Tyreek Hill offers someone who can score every time he touches the ball. His role will be expanded this year in Kansas City with Jeremy Maclin gone. The high number of screens Hill will see, makes him a potential PPR stud.
Round 5&6 : Kyle Rudolph, Cam Newton
Kyle Rudolph thrived with Sam Bradford playing quarterback last season. Bradford completes a high percentage of throws, which is perfect for Rudolph. Finishing the year as TE2 in PPR, Rudolph should be in for another big year.
Cam Newton is a year removed from being the NFL MVP. In a league with 16 teams, strong quarterback play is key. With the 81st pick, someone of Newton’s ability is great value.
Rounds 7&8: Kelvin Benjamin, Kareem Hunt
Benjamin had a down year following his ACL injury. While his value is lower in PPR, at pick 112 he’s worth the shot. Having someone in your FLEX position who’s seen 37 red zone targets in two years has potential to produce. Plus, I get that Newton-Benjamin stack.
Due to the lack of running backs available, depth is tough to find. Hunt is the backup to Spencer Ware but offers PPR value initially as the passing down back. With Ware’s injuries last year, Hunt has potential to steal the job if Ware goes down.
Best of the Rest: Running Backs
Jamaal Charles has only played in eight games during the past two seasons. You need to find anyone that can provide potential starting ability in a league this size. Charles could fill that role.
C.J. Anderson has had injury difficulty and Devontae Booker struggled in his rookie season. If Charles stays healthy he could provide value as a FLEX.
With the drafting of Joe Mixon, Jeremy Hill is radioactive to fantasy owners. But at pick 208, Hill was the only back on the board with potential to see carries. Handcuffing Mixon with someone who’s been a top 20 back is worth a shot.
Best of the Rest: Wide Receivers
Kevin White hasn’t lived up to his draft position. While he hasn’t been productive yet, the potential is there. With Alshon Jeffrey gone, White is the Bears most talented receiver. The Bears will be losing a lot this season, which means garbage time points for White.
Torrey Smith had been a top 30 receiver in fantasy while in Baltimore. After signing with the 49ers, things fell apart. Now in Philadelphia, Smith will be their deep threat. While he doesn’t offer consistency, at pick 240 no one really does.
D/ST & Kicker:
There aren’t 16 defenses and kickers worth starting in fantasy. Grabbing a top 10 option at both position was essential.
The Patriots added Kony Ealy and Stephon Gilmore to a solid defense. The elite defenses went too early for my taste so the Patriots were the strongest option at pick 145.
Everyone will laugh at the first person to draft a kicker, but they’re wrong. Don’t draft one in round five but getting an elite kicker is key. Matt Bryant fell to pick 209 which was great for me. As the kicker for one of the NFL’s best teams, Bryant has great upside.