Draft Strategy

The (Way Too Early) 2018 First-Round PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft

The following is Zach Greubel’s early take on a 2018 PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft. Zach was the 16th most accurate expert at FantasyPros in 2017, ranking top 13th in RB, WR, and TE.

2018 PPR Fantasy Football Mock Draft

Fantasy Football TargetsAlas, like a junior-high crush, the 2017 fantasy football season is over after four months. The trash-talking, trading, waiver pickups, lineup-setting and Sunday/Monday sweating are all over. And while it may only be January, what better way to fill the chasm left behind by the 2017 season than to start looking ahead to the 2018 season? This is also your first annual reminder to not draft a quarterback in the first round of traditional leagues.

So without further ado, here is my personal (way too early) 2018 point-per-reception mock draft. Some mock draft musings follow. Feel free to pitch in thoughts and opinions.

  1. RB Le’Veon Bell | PIT
  2. RB Todd Gurley | LAR
  3. WR Antonio Brown | PIT
  4. RB David Johnson | ARZ
  5. RB Ezekiel Elliott | DAL
  6. RB Kareem Hunt | KC
  7. WR DeAndre Hopkins | HOU
  8. RB Alvin Kamara | NO
  9. RB Melvin Gordon | SD
  10. WR Odell Beckham Jr. | NYG
  11. RB Leonard Fournette | JAC
  12. RB Dalvin Cook | MIN

My Thoughts:

  • Gurley and Bell are essentially interchangeable at 1.01 heading into 2018 fantasy drafts (PPR or standard). When Bell is healthy and not serving a suspension, he’s arguably the best football-playing human on this planet. Not enough can be said about Gurley, though, who is seemingly already in his prime at age 23. An underrated MVP candidate, Gurley paced the league with 2,093 total yards and 19 total touchdowns. Bell was right behind him at 1,946 total yards, but “only” managed 11 total touchdowns. Flip a coin if you’re picking at 1.01 in redraft leagues.
  • DeAndre Hopkins Fantasy FootballHopkins may be too low; I’d draft him as high as 1.04, right behind Antonio Brown. Just as Gurley and Bell are undeniably the top two running backs, Brown and Hopkins are just as clearly the top two wide receivers — the only receivers who are locks to be drafted in the first round. Oddly enough, Hopkins performed just as well with Deshaun Watson as he did without Watson (21.06 PPR points per game to 20.55 PPR points per game). Hopkins is quarterback proof, at least with quarterbacks not named Brock Osweiler.
  • The 2017 running back draft class was good. Really good. One-third of this list consists of 2018 sophomore running backs in Hunt, Kamara, Fournette and Cook. Christian McCaffrey, who finished in the Top 10 in PPR scoring among running backs, isn’t even included. Joe Mixon deserves a mention, too, as he could be the most talented running back in last year’s class. He’s more of a second- to third-round selection.
  • Admittedly, Fournette has more appeal in standard leagues. What he lacks in receptions he makes up for in touchdowns, but his 36 receptions in his rookie year weren’t exactly infinitesimal. With another offseason under his belt, he’s a lock for top-tier RB1 status, assuming he plays a full complement of games. After all, he finished as the PPR RB10 in 2017 despite playing just 13 games.
  • Kamara’s rookie production is unsustainable, especially with how involved in the offense Mark Ingram is. We can’t help but marvel, though, at the consistency and efficiency of Kamara’s first professional football campaign. He scored eight times on the ground on just 120 carries, averaging 6.1 yards per tote. His five receiving touchdowns were tied for the team lead with Michael Thomas and his 81 catches for 826 yards were both second on the team behind Thomas. To boot, his 101 targets were third among running backs in the NFL. The 13 total touchdowns he tallied may result in a career high when all is said and done, but Kamara is already a legitimate first-round pick with added value in PPR formats.
  • Beckham’s value is somewhat mysterious since we don’t know if Eli Manning will be returning, but Manning has been among the cellar dwellers of fantasy quarterbacks anyway. Beckham won’t have the rapport he had with Manning if a new quarterback starts, but he has the skills and talent to thrive with or without him if health is not an issue.
  • The final pick of the first round is a toss-up between Cook and LeSean McCoy, among others. ¬†Both 1.01 and 1.12 can be decided by the flip of a coin. McCoy will pass the feared running back age threshold of 30 years this offseason, but that may scare some fantasy owners away, potentially giving him more value. As for Cook, he didn’t show us much in 2017, but he showed us enough. In four games before tearing his ACL Cook averaged 111 total yards per game and scored twice while averaging 4.8 yards per carry on 74 carries. That was behind a below average run blocking offensive line, too. If Minnesota can improve said offensive line and if Cook can stay on the field, he’ll reward those who take him this early.

Let me know what you think, please leave me a comment below.

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