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How To Attack Large Non-PPR Leagues

Strategy on Attacking Your Large Non-PPR League Draft

Large leagues are a lot of fun. The size makes them much different than the standard twelve teamers. It is a losing proposition to use standard draft strategies in the bigger leagues. An entirely different strategy is required to make the most of the draft. This article will look at sixteen-team leagues using non-PPR scoring. We will examine strategies specially designed for the larger leagues in order to best attack the draft and get the most from the roster. These will help you form a new strategy for your larger league.

Down to basics, what are the differences I should know about the larger leagues?

In general, the larger the leagues, the more positional scarcity comes into play. In twelve-team leagues, there might be twelve starting quarterbacks you would be fine with as your starter. But, when the number of teams bumps up to sixteen, there will be a few fantasy squads with poor quarterback play. This is true at the running back position as well. There are not many at the position you want to rely on each and every week as a fantasy starter.

 Anyone who has been caught in a position run in a standard twelve-team league knows how hopeless and frustrating it can be knowing there is nothing you can do now to help the situation. These runs at a specific position, especially quarterback, running back, and tight end are even more important in the larger leagues. The extra teams mean the runs can be longer and those left out are in even worse shape than in the smaller leagues.

 Since most larger leagues have fewer roster spots per team, each one is important. Knowing how to strike the best balance is the key. This involves the tight end, kicker, and team defense positions as well as finding depth at running back and wide receiver.

 Knowing when to take a kicker or defense is a bigger issue in the larger leagues because of the risk-and-return decision for the pick used compared to the scarcity of few good options at either position.

How do I best address these issues above?

Due to fewer desirable alternatives at the quarterback and running back positions, expect to select your starters earlier than in twelve teamers. While it seems crazy for most fantasy owners, it might be best to draft a starting quarterback in the first two rounds, especially if you are picking at the end of the first round. There are two reasons for this strategy. In all league sizes, if you are drafting at the end of round one, you need to have positions of strength in order to make up the sizable deficit at the running back and wide receiver positions. So, selecting a quarterback at the 1/2 turn helps get a stud at the position. The other aspect to think about is how many at the position could be gone before your third-round pick. You could take QB3 in the early part of the second round or the QB10 at the end of the third round. There is a huge difference in the predictability of future production as well as the certainty of the situation in the elite passer. Since the scoring is non-PPR, the value favors the running backs and quarterbacks, but especially the ball carriers. The depth at the quarterback position may allow an owner to risk the position longer, especially if for adding running backs.  For this reason, you may need to have your starters at both positions before moving on to wide receiver or tight end. Your leaguemates know the scarcity is coming, too, so they will load up on the two positions accordingly. When this happens, you must be proactive and stay the course. Many think they can find value at other positions, but there will be nothing left but dregs at quarterback and running back. At that point, who cares what you have at wide receiver. The league does not reward you with PPR (Points Per Reception) so the stud receivers you covet in other leagues are not enough of an advantage in bigger leagues not rewarding PPR.

 Positional runs are brutal. You need to plan ahead and be proactive. Stay ahead of the runs by picking your core positions early. This means, as stated above, loading up on starters at quarterback and running back with the thought that there are plenty of options at wide receiver which provide similar production to those selected earlier. As you move to the middle rounds of your draft, start keeping tabs on the tight end, kicker, and team defense positions. Make a list of players you will be happy with as fantasy starters at those positions and be proactive as your list gets smaller and smaller.

 Roster management is very important in the larger leagues. Many times, it is best to select only one kicker and one team defense. Make sure to draft those with late byes. By midseason, there will be plenty of options available on the waiver wire. The key is finding starters at those positions with a late bye so you will not need to use an extra roster spot early in the season. At the tight end position, there are differing opinions as to the need for rostering a backup. If you have a stud at the position, meaning you have one of the better starters in expected production, then it is best not to roster a backup. You invested a quality pick at the position. There is no need to use two roster spots, too. But, it is best to have a quality reserve tight end if you do not have a top tight end. That is one position where players emerge and disappoint every year. As far as how to best manage your depth roster spots, think about what your league rewards compared to the strengths (and weaknesses) of your starting lineup. In the non-PPR leagues, running back play is rewarded. It might be best to stash an upside back or handcuff of a starter. Since the wide receiver position is likely a point of weakness, and there are plenty of very good receiver prospects for this season, rostering a few additional pass catchers is a good idea. This extra quantity balances the perceived lack of quality.

 As touched on a little earlier, it might be best to address the kicker and team defense positions a little earlier in larger leagues than in twelve-team leagues. Each year, there are multiple factors which minimize the number of desirable options. Just think how few kickers and team defenses have late bye weeks (as discussed above), good strength of schedules for matchup purposes since we are only carrying one at each position, and have solid kicking jobs settled. This should make your list very short for both positions.

When we look at the VBD (Value Based Drafting) application, we quickly realize how valued the running backs are when compared to the other positions. The VBD accounts for positional scarcity and available options at other positions using the Footballguys.com projections. It is amazing that seven of the first ten players, listed in order of value, are running backs. The league variables used were sixteen teams, sixteen roster spots, non-PPR scoring, and starting requirements of 1 Quarterback, 2 Running Backs, 3 Wide Receivers, 1 Tight End, 1 Flex, 1 Kicker, and 1 Team Defense. Only five receivers made the top 16 picks (representing the first round) and even that number seems high. The number of high-value ball carriers in relation to available starting spots for the position is small when compared to the wide receiver and quarterback positions. There will be many teams who have poor starting running backs. A fantasy team with two Top 10 running backs has a huge advantage over the competition. Yes, the VBD suggests to take a few running backs before any other position, but knowing your leaguemates will take the passers early and often should bring the position into consideration.

 Below is a table with the Top 160 players from the Footballguys projections. Notice how the VBD drops way off after the top few running backs compared to the other positions. This is very important since it illustrates how valuable those top ball carriers are when compared to the lesser options at the position. The wide receivers and quarterbacks are tightly bunched in comparison.

 

Rank

Pos

Player

Team

Pts

ADP

VBD

1

RB1

Todd Gurley

LA/8

240

1

144

2

WR1

Antonio Brown

PIT/8

233

2

137

3

RB2

David Johnson

ARI/9

232

3

136

4

WR2

Julio Jones

ATL/11

224

5

128

5

WR3

Odell Beckham Jr

NYG/8

223

4

128

6

RB3

Ezekiel Elliott

DAL/7

221

6

125

7

RB4

Adrian Peterson

MIN/6

212

7

116

8

RB5

Jamaal Charles

KC/5

206

11

110

9

RB6

Lamar Miller

HOU/9

204

10

108

10

RB7

Devonta Freeman

ATL/11

203

9

107

11

WR4

A.J. Green

CIN/9

199

12

103

12

WR5

DeAndre Hopkins

HOU/9

197

8

102

13

RB8

Mark Ingram

NO/5

192

16

96

14

RB9

Doug Martin

TB/6

191

14

95

15

TE1

Rob Gronkowski

NE/9

180

15

92

16

RB10

LeVeon Bell

PIT/8

185

13

89

17

WR6

Jordy Nelson

GB/4

183

18

87

18

WR7

Allen Robinson

JAX/5

181

17

86

19

WR8

Dez Bryant

DAL/7

180

19

85

20

RB11

LeSean McCoy

BUF/10

180

21

84

21

RB12

Eddie Lacy

GB/4

177

20

81

22

RB13

C.J. Anderson

DEN/11

177

25

81

23

WR9

Brandon Marshall

NYJ/11

175

22

80

24

RB14

Thomas Rawls

SEA/5

174

26

78

25

QB1

Cam Newton

CAR/7

389

23

77

26

WR10

Alshon Jeffery

CHI/9

172

24

76

27

WR11

T.Y. Hilton

IND/10

171

29

76

28

RB15

Latavius Murray

OAK/10

170

31

74

29

RB16

Matt Forte

NYJ/11

170

27

74

30

WR12

Mike Evans

TB/6

167

28

71

31

WR13

Amari Cooper

OAK/10

165

30

70

32

WR14

Demaryius Thomas

DEN/11

164

33

69

33

RB17

Carlos Hyde

SF/8

165

34

69

34

WR15

Sammy Watkins

BUF/10

164

32

68

35

WR16

Brandin Cooks

NO/5

159

36

63

36

QB2

Aaron Rodgers

GB/4

375

37

63

37

WR17

Keenan Allen

SD/11

158

35

62

38

RB18

Jeremy Hill

CIN/9

155

38

59

39

WR18

Jeremy Maclin

KC/5

153

40

58

40

RB19

Ryan Mathews

PHI/4

153

42

57

41

WR19

Randall Cobb

GB/4

150

41

54

42

QB3

Russell Wilson

SEA/5

366

47

54

43

RB20

Matt Jones

WAS/9

150

46

54

44

RB21

Dion Lewis

NE/9

150

39

54

45

RB22

Duke Johnson

CLE/13

150

51

54

46

WR20

Jarvis Landry

MIA/8

147

45

52

47

RB23

Frank Gore

IND/10

147

61

51

48

RB24

Jonathan Stewart

CAR/7

146

54

50

49

RB25

Giovani Bernard

CIN/9

146

58

50

50

WR21

Eric Decker

NYJ/11

144

55

48

51

QB4

Andrew Luck

IND/10

360

50

48

52

RB26

Jeremy Langford

CHI/9

144

53

48

53

WR22

Doug Baldwin

SEA/5

143

48

48

54

RB27

DeMarco Murray

TEN/13

144

44

47

55

WR23

Larry Fitzgerald

ARI/9

140

59

45

56

WR24

Kelvin Benjamin

CAR/7

139

49

43

57

WR25

Michael Floyd

ARI/9

139

56

43

58

WR26

Golden Tate

DET/10

138

57

43

59

WR27

Donte Moncrief

IND/10

138

63

42

60

QB5

Drew Brees

NO/5

354

60

42

61

TE2

Greg Olsen

CAR/7

131

52

44

62

TE3

Jordan Reed

WAS/9

131

43

43

63

WR28

Jordan Matthews

PHI/4

134

64

38

64

RB28

Ameer Abdullah

DET/10

134

68

38

65

WR29

DeVante Parker

MIA/8

133

67

37

66

WR30

Allen Hurns

JAX/5

132

70

37

67

RB29

Melvin Gordon

SD/11

133

69

37

68

WR31

Julian Edelman

NE/9

132

62

36

69

QB6

Ben Roethlisberger

PIT/8

347

66

35

70

WR32

DeSean Jackson

WAS/9

131

73

35

71

WR33

John Brown

ARI/9

129

76

34

72

WR34

Michael Crabtree

OAK/10

129

74

33

73

RB30

Rashad Jennings

NYG/8

130

84

34

74

RB31

Arian Foster

MIA/8

129

81

33

75

TE4

Travis Kelce

KC/5

122

65

35

76

RB32

DeAngelo Williams

PIT/8

129

77

32

77

WR35

Emmanuel Sanders

DEN/11

128

71

32

78

RB33

Danny Woodhead

SD/11

128

72

32

79

RB34

Isaiah Crowell

CLE/13

128

96

32

80

WR36

Tyler Lockett

SEA/5

126

80

31

81

RB35

T.J. Yeldon

JAX/5

124

79

28

82

WR37

Tavon Austin

LA/8

122

97

26

83

TE5

Coby Fleener

NO/5

116

75

29

84

RB36

Jay Ajayi

MIA/8

121

82

25

85

TE6

Delanie Walker

TEN/13

113

78

25

86

QB7

Blake Bortles

JAX/5

335

87

23

87

QB8

Carson Palmer

ARI/9

335

85

23

88

WR38

Torrey Smith

SF/8

117

102

22

89

WR39

Kevin White

CHI/9

117

88

22

90

TE7

Tyler Eifert

CIN/9

111

83

24

91

QB9

Eli Manning

NYG/8

333

89

21

92

RB37

Chris Ivory

JAX/5

116

86

20

93

WR40

Josh Gordon

CLE/13

115

98

20

94

TE8

Gary Barnidge

CLE/13

109

90

22

95

TE9

Zach Ertz

PHI/4

109

95

21

96

RB38

Charles Sims

TB/6

114

92

18

97

WR41

Marvin Jones

DET/10

113

93

17

98

WR42

Sterling Shepard

NYG/8

112

99

17

99

QB10

Jameis Winston

TB/6

329

105

17

100

WR43

Willie Snead

NO/5

112

109

16

101

RB39

LeGarrette Blount

NE/9

113

108

17

102

WR44

Stefon Diggs

MIN/6

111

103

15

103

WR45

Corey Coleman

CLE/13

111

100

15

104

WR46

Travis Benjamin

SD/11

109

106

14

105

QB11

Tom Brady

NE/9

325

91

13

106

TE10

Julius Thomas

JAX/5

103

107

15

107

QB12

Philip Rivers

SD/11

325

101

13

108

RB40

Justin Forsett

BAL/8

109

94

12

109

TE11

Antonio Gates

SD/11

102

115

15

110

WR47

Vincent Jackson

TB/6

107

113

11

111

WR48

Laquon Treadwell

MIN/6

106

104

11

112

TE12

Dwayne Allen

IND/10

100

126

12

113

RB41

Theo Riddick

DET/10

105

110

9

114

TE13

Jason Witten

DAL/7

97

134

9

115

WR49

Michael Thomas

NO/5

102

117

7

116

QB13

Marcus Mariota

TEN/13

318

129

6

117

RB42

Bilal Powell

NYJ/11

102

125

6

118

WR50

Markus Wheaton

PIT/8

100

119

5

119

QB14

Matthew Stafford

DET/10

316

120

4

120

QB15

Tyrod Taylor

BUF/10

315

128

3

121

WR51

Devin Funchess

CAR/7

98

124

3

122

RB43

James Starks

GB/4

99

136

2

123

QB16

Kirk Cousins

WAS/9

314

118

2

124

WR52

Rishard Matthews

TEN/13

97

139

1

125

WR53

Phillip Dorsett

IND/10

97

127

1

126

TE14

Martellus Bennett

NE/9

91

130

3

127

TE15

Eric Ebron

DET/10

90

133

3

128

WR54

Dorial Green-Beckham

TEN/13

95

116

0

129

QB17

Ryan Tannehill

MIA/8

311

132

-1

130

RB44

Tevin Coleman

ATL/11

95

122

-1

131

WR55

Steve Smith

BAL/8

95

123

-1

132

TE16

Zach Miller

CHI/9

89

140

1

133

QB18

Ryan Fitzpatrick

NYJ/11

311

131

-1

134

RB45

Derrick Henry

TEN/13

95

111

-2

135

TE17

Jimmy Graham

SEA/5

88

121

0

136

TE18

Ladarius Green

PIT/8

86

112

-1

137

WR56

Terrance Williams

DAL/7

94

137

-2

138

RB46

Shane Vereen

NYG/8

93

141

-3

139

QB19

Derek Carr

OAK/10

309

114

-3

140

WR57

Kenny Britt

LA/8

91

145

-4

141

QB20

Andy Dalton

CIN/9

307

135

-5

142

RB47

Darren Sproles

PHI/4

90

144

-6

143

WR58

Mohamed Sanu

ATL/11

88

143

-8

144

WR59

Robert Woods

BUF/10

87

150

-9

145

RB48

Kenneth Dixon

BAL/8

88

138

-8

146

WR60

Pierre Garcon

WAS/9

86

147

-9

147

RB49

Jordan Howard

CHI/9

87

142

-9

148

TE19

Kyle Rudolph

MIN/6

82

153

-5

149

WR61

Sammie Coates

PIT/8

85

149

-11

150

QB21

Matt Ryan

ATL/11

302

146

-10

151

TE20

Charles Clay

BUF/10

81

155

-6

152

WR62

Kamar Aiken

BAL/8

82

148

-13

153

RB50

Devontae Booker

DEN/11

82

151

-15

154

QB22

Tony Romo

DAL/7

299

152

-13

155

TE21

Jordan Cameron

MIA/8

79

159

-8

156

RB51

Darren McFadden

DAL/7

81

165

-16

157

WR63

Bruce Ellington

SF/8

79

160

-17

158

WR64

Jermaine Kearse

SEA/5

77

156

-18

159

QB23

Alex Smith

KC/5

297

161

-15

160

RB52

Jerick McKinnon

MIN/6

78

154

-18

               

 With 25 running backs showing up in the Top 50, the position slows down as only 13 of the next 50 are backs.  But, still, ball carriers occupy 38 of the Top 100 overall.  It is best to come out of the first three rounds with two running backs and one quarterback.  The depth at the wide receiver position allows an owner to wait until the fourth round to address the position.  It is not until the fifth round that the receivers catch up to the backs in terms of value.  With the ability to start three running backs (with one in the flex), taking another rusher in the fourth or fifth round may be the best move.  It will also create more of a shortage at the position for your leaguemates.  This year has a few viable tight ends so you are encouraged to wait until the first six or eight are off the board before worrying too much about the position unless you can get Rob Gronkowski at a huge value.

Please feel free to email me (Tefertiller@Footballguys.com) with any questions or comments.  Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), LinkedIN, and Google+ so feel free to connect where most convenient.