How to Dominate Your 2017 ESPN Fantasy Football PPR Draft

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When drafting your fantasy team, the default settings on the site you use can frequently influence drafters. If you can look past the default rankings and simply choose the best player available, you will dominate your draft! ESPN made point per reception (PPR) leagues their standard league this season. Below, you will find my PPR rankings for the top 12 rounds as well as ESPN’s default ranking of that player.

You will also see a column labeled +/-. When you see a positive number in that column, it means I believe the player is undervalued by ESPN. When you see a negative number, it means I believe the player is overvalued. While drafting, avoid players with negative +/- numbers (unless they fall significantly during the draft) and select players with positive +/- numbers (as long as you don’t reach for them).

*Both sets of rankings are as of 8/14/2017 at 4:45 ET

Round 1

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
1David JohnsonARIRB21
2Le'Veon BellPITRB1-1
3Antonio BrownPITWR30
4Odell Beckham Jr.NYGWR51
5Julio JonesATLWR4-1
6A.J. GreenCINWR82
7LeSean McCoyBUFRB70
8Mike EvansTBWR6-2
9Melvin GordonLACRB123
10Devonta FreemanATLRB100
11Jordy NelsonGBWR9-2
12Michael ThomasNOWR131

Analysis

ESPN did a good job ranking players in the first round. I don’t have many arguments. Melvin Gordon is the player I think they undervalued slightly. He should continue to see a high volume of touches in what should be an improved offense and an improved team.

Round 2

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
13DeMarco MurrayTENRB152
14T.Y. HiltonINDWR11-3
15Doug BaldwinSEAWR183
16Keenan AllenLACWR3216
17Amari CooperOAKWR214
18DeAndre HopkinsHOUWR257
19Rob GronkowskiNETE190
20Jay AjayiMIARB16-4
21Ezekiel ElliottDALRB276
22Jordan HowardCHIRB14-8
23Demaryius ThomasDENWR13-10
24Golden TateDETWR3511

Analysis

ESPN has switched to PPR settings for their default, but haven’t seemed to upgrade some receivers who thrive in PPR settings. Doug Baldwin was WR8 in PPR leagues last season while scoring just seven touchdowns. His 94 receptions helped his cause, and he should approach that reception total again this season.

Keenan Allen has been a PPR monster when healthy. I think ESPN has built the injury risk into Allen’s ranking a bit more than I have. I’m no injury expert, but Allen’s injury history seems to be freak injuries rather than chronic issues. For that reason, I’m more optimistic on Allen than ESPN for 2017.

Round 3

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
25Larry FitzgeraldARIWR4419
26Dez BryantDALWR17-9
27Terrelle PryorWASWR303
28Alshon JefferyPHIWR26-2
29Julian EdelmanNEWR389
30Lamar MillerHOURB23-7
31Brandin CooksNEWR28-3
32Leonard FournetteJACRB22-10
33Todd GurleyLARRB24-9
34Michael CrabtreeOAKWR33-1
35Jarvis LandryMIAWR372
36Allen RobinsonJACWR415

Analysis

Larry Fitzgerald stands out as incredibly undervalued by ESPN in PPR drafts. He has 109 and 107 receptions in his past two seasons and has finished as a top 11 PPR WR in each of those years. Outside of David Johnson and potentially John Brown, there isn’t much competition for targets in the Cardinals offense. Fitzgerald offers a high floor and enough PPR upside to justify a third round pick.

Dez Bryant stands out as an overvalued player. I wrote an entire article on my thoughts about Bryant this season. You can view it on my Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/fantasybeast15

Round 4

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
37Davante AdamsGBWR469
38Emmanuel SandersDENWR457
39Travis KelceKCTE489
40Jordan ReedWASTE34-6
41Martavis BryantPITWR6625
42Stefon DiggsMINWR6018
43Isaiah CrowellCLERB31-12
44Willie SneadNOWR6319
45Tyreek HillKCWR5813
46Ty MontgomeryGBRB39-7
47Aaron RodgersGBQB40-7
48Jamison CrowderWASWR535

Analysis

In round four, there are a pair of wide receivers who I seem to love compared to ESPN. Assuming Martavis Bryant is reinstated, he should beat his 6th round rank by ESPN. I have Bryant as a 4th round pick and wonder if ESPN is being cautious due to his off-field history. He may not catch as many passes as other top PPR WRs, but his upside is worth the risk in the fourth round. He has top 10 WR upside this season if he can stay on the field.

Willie Snead is one of my favorite picks in PPR drafts this year. I’m trying to draft him everywhere I can for a few reasons. He’s underrated as a receiver. In fact, according to NFL.com’s Matt Harmon, a wide receiver guru, Snead was the only wide receiver he charted “with an above average success rate on all routes.” Harmon’s Reception Perception methodology loves Willie Snead, and I believe this could be a true breakout season for Snead in PPR leagues.

Round 5

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
49Bilal PowellNYJRB490
50Joe MixonCINRB511
51Danny WoodheadBALRB43-8
52Tom BradyNEQB47-5
53Carlos HydeSFRB36-17
54Greg OlsenCARTE52-2
55Dalvin CookMINRB550
56Mark IngramNORB54-2
57Christian McCaffreyCARRB42-15
58Sammy WatkinsLARWR50-8
59Marshawn LynchOAKRB29-30
60C.J. AndersonDENRB7313

Analysis

Christian McCaffery is certainly a hot name in fantasy football and one of my favorite dynasty picks, but for 2017 redraft leagues, I have concerns. While he receives a boost in PPR leagues due to his receiving ability, Cam Newton simply hasn’t thrown to running backs in the past. While that might change this season, it’s possible Newton still prefers to scramble rather than check down to his running backs. I also question McCaffery’s scoring abilities. Both Newton and Jonathan Stewart are superior goal-line options, so McCaffery’s scoring upside is limited.

Round 6

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
61Theo RiddickDETRB709
62Drew BreesNOQB56-6
63Mike GillisleeNERB685
64Spencer WareKCRB673
65Kelvin BenjaminCARWR57-8
66Donte MoncriefINDWR7610
67Pierre GarconSFWR61-6
68Frank GoreINDRB59-9
69Adrian PetersonNORB789
70Randall CobbGBWR11444
71Cameron MeredithCHIWR8918
72Russell WilsonSEAQB8311

Analysis

Adrian Peterson stands out in the sixth round. This is likely the best offense he’s ever played in, and he won’t see as many stacked boxes with Drew Brees under center. There will be a clear committee at running back, but Peterson should have plenty of opportunities to score. Even with a crowded backfield, I think Peterson provides enough upside to be worth a sixth or seventh round pick, rather than the 9th round where he’s ranked by ESPN.

Round 7

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
73Tevin ColemanATLRB796
74Jeremy MaclinBALWR740
75DeSean JacksonTBWR772
76Brandon MarshallNYGWR69-7
77Eric DeckerTENWR825
78Paul PerkinsNYGRB65-13
79Ameer AbdullahDETRB801
80Andrew LuckINDQB71-9
81LeGarrette BlountPHIRB75-6
82Tyrell WilliamsLACWR842
83Eddie LacySEARB62-21
84Kenny BrittCLEWR928

Analysis

Eddie Lacy suddenly stands out as overvalued by ESPN. The Seahawks have a crowded backfield after signing Lacy this offseason, and their practice and preseason reps have me concerned about Lacy. Thomas Rawls is taking many of the first team reps in both practice and preseason. While I think both backs, as well as C.J. Prosise will be involved, I expected Lacy to be the starter. However, if Rawls wins the starting job, Lacy is incredibly overvalued.

Round 8

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
85Jimmy GrahamSEATE949
86Terrance WestBALRB871
87Adam ThielenMINWR936
88Jordan MatthewsBUFWR10921
89Devante ParkerMIAWR10617
90Kyle RudolphMINTE81-9
91Robert KelleyWASRB910
92John BrownARIWR975
93Darren McFaddenDALRB952
94Delanie WalkerTENTE72-22
95Marvin JonesDETWR13338
96Tyler EifertCINTE88-8

Analysis

In round 8, Delanie Walker stands out as overvalued. There are plenty of tight ends I like in fantasy drafts this season, but Walker is one I’m avoiding. The Titans likely will remain a run-first offense, and have a plethora of talented pass catchers. They drafted Corey Davis in the first round and signed Eric Decker, likely taking away some of Walker’s volume in the passing game. Additionally, Decker has always been involved in the red zone, and I’m worried he could take Walker’s looks in that area of the field. For all of these reasons, I’m avoiding Walker where ESPN has him ranked.

Round 9

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
97Jack DoyleINDTE12629
98James WhiteNERB96-2
99Kirk CousinsWASQB1045
100Marcus MariotaTENQB12727
101Corey ColemanCLEWR1109
102Mike WallaceBALWR85-17
103Matt RyanATLQB64-39
104Dak PrescottDALQB11612
105Breshad PerrimanBALWR16358
106Duke JohnsonCLERB86-20
107Matt ForteNYJRB90-17
108C.J. ProsiseSEARB105-3

Analysis

Jack Doyle is my favorite tight end target this season. I’m assuming Andrew Luck will be healthy for the start of the season, but even if he misses a few games, Doyle offers volume and scoring upside. Doyle was TE13 in PPR last season with Dwayne Allen taking 35 catches and 6 touchdowns. Allen is now a Patriot and while the Colts will still involve a second tight end, Doyle is likely to see an increase in targets and touchdowns this season.

Round 10

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
109Zay JonesBUFWR13829
110Ben RoethlisbergerPITQB13424
111Jacquizz RodgersTBRB1121
112Doug MartinTBRB100-12
113Derrick HenryTENRB1218
114Ted GinnNOWR1239
115Kareem HuntKCRB99-16
116Rishard MatthewsTENWR103-13
117Jonathan StewartCARRB101-16
118Thomas RawlsSEARB15739
119Darren SprolesPHIRB102-17
120Devin FunchessCARWR19979

Analysis

Devin Funchess looks like a value in the tenth round. He should see a massive increase in targets this season, as he’s expected to be the Panthers second receiver behind Kelvin Benjamin. Ted Ginn Jr., now with the Saints, held that role last season and received 95 targets. Funchess is superior to Ginn in the red zone, so if he receives a similar target share, I like his upside for a cheap price.

Round 11

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
121Martellus BennettGBTE120-1
122Giovani BernardCINRB108-14
123Derek CarrOAKQB113-10
124Cam NewtonCARQB98-26
125Philip RiversLACQB14520
126Eric EbronDETTE1282
127Josh DoctsonWASWR122-5
128Jameis WinstonTBQB115-13
129Samaje PerineWASRB125-4
130Corey DavisTENWR111-19
131Sterling ShepardNYGWR118-13
132Marqise LeeJACWR16735

Analysis

Philip Rivers gets a healthy Keenan Allen and a healthy Travis Benjamin entering this season. Tyrell Williams and Hunter Henry have full seasons with Rivers now, and Melvin Gordon will be involved in the passing game. Rivers has plenty of weapons this season and provides value at the quarterback position. ESPN ranks Rivers as a 13th round pick which is too low given his talent and the talent of his offense.

Round 12

RankPlayer NameTeamPositionESPN Rank+/-
133Hunter HenryLACTE117-16
134Matthew StaffordDETQB130-4
135Robert WoodsLARWR14611
136Anquan BoldinBUFWR119-17
137Kevin WhiteCHIWR1392
138Alvin KamaraNORB16224
139DeAndre WashingtonOAKRB17334
140Nelson AgholorPHIWR19656
141Zach ErtzPHITE107-34
142Tyler LockettSEAWR17836
143Chris ThompsonWASRB124-19
144Torrey SmithPHIWR22076

Analysis

Tyler Lockett is on many of my dynasty teams and is one of my favorite picks in the late rounds this season. Last season, Lockett had an average draft position of 76th overall according to Fantasy Football Calculator. This season, ESPN has him ranked as their 207th player. While I’m more pessimistic than I was last season, Lockett is a steal in the 12 round. He should be fully recovered from his leg injury and provides a deep threat for the Seahawks.

 

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Quick and accurate fantasy football & baseball advice! Ask questions on Twitter @fantasybeast15 Find content on my website: http://fantasybeast15.com Like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fantasybeast15

FantasyBeast15

Quick and accurate fantasy football & baseball advice! Ask questions on Twitter @fantasybeast15 Find content on my website: http://fantasybeast15.com Like my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/fantasybeast15

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