How to Attack Your Large-League Non-PPR Draft - Footballguys

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 (Point Per Reception) scoring. We will examine strategies specially designed for the larger leagues 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 league, 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 any given week. 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 during a standard twelve-team draft 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 extensive and those left out are in even worse shape than in the smaller leagues.

Since most larger leagues have fewer roster spots per team roster, 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-versus-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 Round 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. The depth at quarterback will allow owners to wait longer than usual at the position.  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 the result is 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 others 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 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. The principle is true for defenses as well.  This should make your list very short for both positions.

When we look at the VBD (Value Based Drafting) application, we quickly realize how the running backs are valued 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 the top 12 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 two 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 taking 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. This represents the top 10 rounds according to VBD.  Notice how the VBD drops way off after the top three 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
Pos Rank
Player
Points
VBD
1
RB
1
272
201
2
RB
2
265
194
3
RB
3
250
179
4
RB
4
244
173
5
RB
5
225
154
6
RB
6
211
140
7
RB
7
204
133
8
RB
8
203
132
9
RB
9
202
131
10
RB
10
192
121
11
RB
11
182
111
12
RB
12
179
108
13
WR
1
197
103
14
WR
2
193
99
15
RB
13
166
94
16
RB
14
165
94
17
RB
15
161
90
18
RB
16
154
83
19
RB
17
152
81
20
RB
18
151
80
21
RB
19
148
77
22
RB
20
144
73
23
WR
3
165
71
24
RB
21
142
71
25
TE
1
151
67
26
WR
4
160
66
27
RB
22
135
64
28
QB
1
369
58
29
RB
23
129
58
30
RB
24
127
56
31
RB
25
127
56
32
WR
5
150
56
33
WR
6
149
55
34
RB
26
126
55
35
WR
7
148
53
36
RB
27
124
53
37
RB
28
123
52
38
WR
8
146
51
39
RB
29
122
51
40
RB
30
121
50
41
WR
9
143
49
42
WR
10
142
48
43
RB
31
118
47
44
WR
11
141
46
45
RB
32
117
46
46
RB
33
116
45
47
WR
12
139
45
48
QB
2
356
44
49
WR
13
138
44
50
RB
34
115
44
51
WR
14
137
43
52
TE
2
127
42
53
WR
15
134
40
54
WR
16
133
39
55
WR
17
131
37
56
QB
3
347
36
57
WR
18
130
35
58
WR
19
128
34
59
QB
4
345
33
60
RB
35
104
33
61
RB
36
103
32
62
QB
5
343
31
63
WR
20
126
31
64
RB
37
102
31
65
QB
6
341
30
66
WR
21
123
29
67
WR
22
123
29
68
WR
23
123
28
69
RB
38
99
28
70
QB
7
337
25
71
TE
3
110
25
72
RB
39
95
24
73
RB
40
94
23
74
TE
4
108
23
75
WR
24
117
23
76
WR
25
117
22
77
WR
26
116
22
78
TE
5
106
21
79
WR
27
115
21
80
RB
41
91
20
81
WR
28
114
19
82
DEF
1
Jacksonville
158
18
83
WR
29
111
17
84
RB
42
88
17
85
RB
43
88
17
86
RB
44
87
16
87
RB
45
85
14
88
RB
46
85
14
89
WR
30
108
14
90
TE
6
98
13
91
WR
31
108
13
92
WR
32
106
12
93
DEF
2
Minnesota
150
12
94
WR
33
105
11
95
QB
8
322
11
96
PK
1
157
10
97
WR
34
104
10
98
RB
47
80
9
99
WR
35
104
9
100
RB
48
80
9
101
QB
9
320
8
102
RB
49
79
8
103
WR
36
102
8
104
WR
37
101
7
105
QB
10
318
7
106
QB
11
318
7
107
WR
38
101
7
108
WR
39
101
7
109
RB
50
78
7
110
TE
7
91
6
111
DEF
3
Philadelphia
143
6
112
RB
51
77
6
113
QB
12
317
5
114
QB
13
316
5
115
WR
40
99
5
116
WR
41
99
4
117
RB
52
75
4
118
WR
42
97
3
119
WR
43
97
2
120
RB
53
73
2
121
PK
2
147
2
122
WR
44
95
1
123
WR
45
95
1
124
PK
3
145
0
125
RB
54
71
0
126
RB
55
71
0
127
PK
4
144
0
128
WR
46
94
0
129
WR
47
94
0
130
TE
8
84
0
131
RB
56
71
-1
132
QB
14
311
-1
133
DEF
4
Baltimore
135
-1
134
QB
15
310
-1
135
PK
5
143
-1
136
DEF
5
LA Rams
134
-1
137
WR
48
93
-1
138
RB
57
69
-2
139
WR
49
92
-2
140
DEF
6
Houston
132
-3
141
RB
58
68
-3
142
DEF
7
Seattle
132
-3
143
TE
9
81
-3
144
WR
50
91
-3
145
RB
59
67
-4
146
WR
51
90
-4
147
WR
52
90
-5
148
PK
6
138
-5
149
WR
53
89
-5
150
PK
7
138
-5
151
RB
60
66
-5
152
PK
8
137
-5
153
DEF
8
Pittsburgh
129
-6
154
DEF
9
Denver
129
-6
155
WR
54
89
-6
156
RB
61
65
-6
157
DEF
10
LA Chargers
128
-6
158
DEF
11
Carolina
128
-6
159
PK
9
135
-7
160
QB
16
304
-7

With 34 running backs showing up in the Top 50, the position slows down as only 14 of the next 50 are backs.  But, still, ball carriers occupy 48 of the Top 100 overall.  Think about that for a moment.  The VBD has 48 ball carriers ranked in the top 100 players overall.  It is best to come out of the first three rounds with two running backs and one quarterback or three backs picked consecutively. The depth at the wide receiver position allows an owner to wait until the fourth round – or later - to address the position.  It is not until the fifth round that the receivers begin to catch up to the backs in terms of value.  With the ability to start three running backs (including one in the flex), taking another rusher before the fifth round may be the best move.  It will also add the advantage of creating 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 even if you can get Rob Gronkowski at a huge value.

Feel free to (email me) with feedback.  Also, I am on Twitter (www.Twitter.com/JeffTefertiller), \LinkedIn, and Google+, so you can ask me questions on one of these as well.