News & Analysis

Fantasy football mock drafts: The different approach to a 0.5 PPR

Dec 24, 2017; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon (28) carries the ball against the Detroit Lions in the first half at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Half-point PPR might be one of the less-used scoring systems, but it can be a great way to split the baby when it comes to standard and PPR enthusiasts. You still need to account for receptions but not nearly as much as you would in a typical PPR league. The PFF Fantasy staff took a crack at just such a mock draft. This one was a 12-team, 16-rounder. What transpired may look surprising but actually shouldn’t be.

The first round

Drafter Player Position
1 Jeff Ratcliffe Le'Veon Bell RB
2 Curtis Patrick Todd Gurley RB
3 Scott Spratt David Johnson RB
4 Daniel Kelley Ezekiel Elliott RB
5 Walton Spurlin Antonio Brown WR
6 Mike Castiglione Saquon Barkley RB
7 Scott Barrett DeAndre Hopkins WR
8 Dan Schneier Alvin Kamara RB
9 Tyler Buecher Kareem Hunt RB
10 Dan Clasgens Dalvin Cook RB
11 Michael Moore Odell Beckham WR
12 Tyler Loechner Julio Jones WR

At first glance, the presence of so many running backs stick out despite the scoring not being a full point-per-reception league. Eight of the 12 picks in the first were running backs including the first four. However, if you go back to see which positions scored the most points using these settings last year, it’s not that surprising at all.

1 Todd Gurley RB
2 Le'Veon Bell RB
3 Alvin Kamara RB
4 Kareem Hunt RB
5 DeAndre Hopkins WR
6 Melvin Gordon RB
7 Antonio Brown WR
8 Mark Ingram RB
9 LeSean McCoy RB
10 Keenan Allen WR
11 Larry Fitzgerald WR
12 Jarvis Landry WR

Position-wise, the list is remarkably similar to the first round of our mock draft. Literally each position when it comes to top scorers correlate to the picks in our first round except for one. But it also reinforces the notion that running backs have made a strong comeback when it comes to building your fantasy team.

Get your running backs early

In addition to the eight teams that went running back first, running backs were the first two picks for three teams, and the first three picks for one team.

Jeff Ratcliffe Mike Castiglione Tyler Buecher
1.1 Le'Veon Bell 1.6 Saquon Barkley 1.9 Kareem Hunt
2.12 Jerick McKinnon 2.7 Joe Mixon 2.4 Leonard Fournette
3.1 LeSean McCoy

All of these running backs saw significant targets last year, with only Mixon not seeing at least 48. That’s expected to change as Mixon will start from the very beginning. But if you’re going to use both early picks on running back, you need to mitigate the risk by drafting running backs that will contribute receptions in addition to rushing apparel.

In all, between these three teams, the five teams that took a running back in the first, and the three teams that took one with their second-round pick, 14 running backs were taken in the first two rounds.

There are of course running backs every year who rise into the upper tiers despite a late pick — it’s not impossible to nab a No. 1 RB in Round 3 or later — but the odds are diminished.

Only one team (yours truly) went receiver/receiver and would, hypothetically, test this strategy.

Michael Moore
1.11 Odell Beckham
2.2 Michael Thomas

It certainly wasn’t intentional but with how the draft board was falling, I couldn’t pass on two (what I consider) top-tier options at receiver. Besides, I made sure to make up for it by filling my running back position with mid-tier values like Kenyan Drake, Jay Ajayi, and Dion Lewis.

Where are the tight ends?

Pick Team Player
2.5 Dan Schneier Rob Gronkowski
3.4 Daniel Kelley Travis Kelce
3.10 Dan Clasgens Zach Ertz

At first glance, this may seem reasonable. The top-tier of tight ends is gone by the fourth without another picked for two rounds until the end of the sixth. The lesson here is if you don’t grab an elite tight end, you can certainly wait on the next tier.

However, I would argue that you should choose either Gronk or certainly Kelce before they were drafted here. Using the 0.5 PPR scoring, both Gronk and Kelce would be mid-to-low WR1s. Yet they occupy a position that just doesn’t have as many elite options as either running back or receiver. Especially when you consider the abundance of WR1s last year that were originally drafted outside the top-15 of the position including Tyreek Hill, Larry Fitzgerald, Jarvis Landry and more.

QB or not to QB

Unlike tight ends, quarterback is still a position where taking one early isn’t necessary. Why? Last year’s QB1 (Russell Wilson) scored only 35 percent more fantasy points than the QB12 (Jared Goff). Meanwhile, the TE1 last year (Travis Kelce) scored 76 percent more fantasy points than the TE12 (Jared Cook). The position is just flatter and this mock draft showed it, as the first (Aaron Rodgers) went in the fourth round and only three went in the first seven rounds overall (Tom Brady in the fifth, Wilson in the sixth).

The scraps

Take a kicker and defense with your last two picks. Please, I'm begging you. I know you might think the Chargers defense looks really good but it can wait.

If you choose not to heed this advice, you should know that the running back well has more than dried up by the time we get to the end of drafts. For example, only nine running backs were taken in the last five rounds of this 16-round draft. Meanwhile, there were 15 receivers. At first, you may think it’s because teams naturally are able to support more fantasy relevant players at receiver than running back. However, while there were four teams that had two top-24 fantasy receivers on their team last year (PIT, DET, PHI, MIN) while there were three teams that had two top-24 fantasy running backs (MIN, ATL, NO). The point is running backs can be just as good lottery tickets as receivers even if they play on the same team as a back drafted much higher.

To view the complete draft, click here: http://www56.myfantasyleague.com/2018/options?L=70295&O=17&DISPLAY=LEAGUE

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