Drafting from the 1st Spot in a 12 Team PPR League

Source: USA Today

Fantasy Football Draft Strategy 2023 - Drafting from the First Spot in a 12-Team PPR League – ZERO RB Mode

So starts another round of mock drafting, and this week we take a look at the first spot in a 12-team PPR league. Now I recently have done a few mock drafts at different positions and/or different scoring types, so I decided to take this week’s mock and add a twist.  The good old “0 RB” strategy.  I took a bit of time to mock draft in this spot, and you can see my attempt at 0 RB here.

I’m not necessarily one to say “wait until Round X to start drafting RBs”, so really I just went with when I felt the WRs fell off hard and there were still startable Running Backs available, which was about Round Six for me.  Everyone will be different, but the overall strategy is the same: draft every position except for Running Back until late.

So let’s dive into what I found drafting from the first spot in a 12-team PPR league, with a bit more emphasis on how you can approach 0 RB.

First Pick

Not much advice here.  But if you do know you are drafting first and plan on 0 RB, do some research on which Wide Receiver you trust the most.

Does Justin Jefferson continue his domination?  Does Ja’Marr Chase regress?  Should Tyreek Hill be considered first overall?  What about Cooper Kupp, who missed last season due to injury but was a number one PPR WR before that?

Well that’s what you need to study and decide on.  You know they will all be available, so study up and go into your first pick with the most knowledge you can possibly have.

First Three Rounds – Heavy Pass Catching

Now I considered doing Hero RB here, where you draft one stud RB and then hold off for a long time.  But that’s for a later mock, so bear with me.

I went with Justin Jefferson here, but I think you can’t really go wrong if you go with Chase/Kupp/Hill instead. 

From there, I went with the best available WR/TE, which was a very easy decision to make when I saw Jaylen Waddle and Mark Andrews here. 

Starting with Jefferson, Waddle, and Andrews, I feel like these three could easily win me a week at any time.  Solid start to a PPR league.

Continue with Wide Receivers

The fourth-eighth round is where you should still lean WR, but RBs should start to catch your eye a tad here.

Nabbing the Christians (Kirk and Watson) in rounds four and five was really just to add two more “top” receivers to my group.  If you play three WR spots or a flex spot, you’ll want a few extra big receiver options.

This ended starting in Round 6 for me, as I felt like the WRs left were blech and the Running Backs who actually start were dwindling.

Look for the WR Dropoff

Going off what I just said, you have to look for when the WRs left on the board just aren’t exciting anymore, and that may be your time to start hoarding Running Backs.

Now Alvin Kamara and D’Andre Swift might have been a great draft start the last few seasons, but obviously they both have some issues going into 2023.  That said, I figured these two wouldn’t be the worst to start Week One for my fantasy team.

Kamara is suspended for the first three games but has the chance to at least be somewhat back to his pre-2022 self.  Swift joins a fast-paced Eagles’ team that could utilize him like Miles Sanders was.

Target RBs with High Upside

What do most of the Running Backs I drafted in the middle rounds have in common?  They are sort of high risk, high reward with some questions going into the 2023 season.

Kamara and Swift both fit this bill, as do Damien Harris and Zach Charbonnet.  Harris is on a Bills’ team that doesn’t run often, and Charbonnet will be behind Kenneth Walker, so you could see why neither of these options SEEM good.

But I believe Harris has a good shot at being the guy in Buffalo, and Charbonnet might see a ton of targets and goal line work, so both suddenly become much more interesting.

The same kind of things can be said about most of the backs here.  They aren’t sexy, it doesn’t feel good drafting them, but if you pick the right ones, you will have built a super roster.

Round 10-15 – Rookies/Handcuffs/Free Agents

Depending on how you built your roster, you probably are still in need of a few Running Backs.  Now that most of the good ones are gone, what are you going to add to your team?

This is where the true money in fantasy can be made (and on the WW).  Drafting a rookie who seizes the starting job mid-season or grabbing a handcuff that gets thrust into the starting role could be the actual reason you win a championship.

Jaylen Warren, Elijah Mitchell, Zeke, Zamir White, Leonard Fournette, Chase Edmonds….all examples of solid backups or free agents who could get meaningful playing time in the case the starter gets injured.  Zamir White is a bit intriguing only because Josh Jacobs hasn’t signed yet.  Chase Edmonds could easily steal Rachaad White’s thunder in Tampa Bay.  Fournette could be signed by an RB-needy team and has enough left in the tank to get it done.

Basically, what you want here is high end handcuffs or unproven rookies that have a shot to start.  By now you should have 2-3 weekly startable Running Backs, which will make these late picks a lot less risky and a lot easier to hold onto until they are needed.


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