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Draft Analysis

Live Blog: 12-Team PPR Draft

by Evan Silva
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

The fifth-annual APEX Industry Draft began on Monday afternoon. This is a 12-team PPR league where we start one quarterback, two running backs, three receivers, one tight end, one flex (RB/WR/TE), one defense, and one kicker. Here's a link to the official scoring of APEX fantasy leagues. With an ability to start four wide receivers and PPR scoring, the league format is highly conducive to a Zero RB approach, which many past owners in this league have taken with successful results.

I thought Rotoworld readers might enjoy it if I used this page to live blog the draft. I'll post each pick and offer up some commentary on the opening eight rounds of this eighteen-round draft. Here's a link to the full draft page.

First Round

1.01. Evan Silva – Todd Gurley (RB1)
1.02. Mike Braude – Antonio Brown (WR1)
1.03. Graham Barfield -- Le’Veon Bell (RB2)

1.04. Rich Hribar – David Johnson (RB3)
1.05. Denny Carter – Odell Beckham (WR2)
1.06. Sigmund Bloom – Ezekiel Elliott (RB4)
1.07. Josh Hermsmeyer – Julio Jones (WR3)
1.08. Matt Harmon – Alvin Kamara (RB5)
1.09. Shawn Siegele – DeAndre Hopkins (WR4)
1.10. Matt Kelley – Saquon Barkley (RB6)
1.11. Mike Clay – Keenan Allen (WR5)
1.12. JJ Zachariason – Melvin Gordon (RB7)

Comments: I went with Gurley at No. 1 because I believe he is the safest of the first-tier running backs, particularly after Sean McVay committed to Gurley as a featured component of the Rams’ passing game. This is a full-point PPR league, and among running backs only Kamara logged more receiving yards than Gurley last year. All five Rams offensive line starters return. As mentioned above, this league’s scoring enhances wide receiver value, justifying Braude’s selection of Brown over the other top backs. Braude, Carter, and Siegele are among the staunchest Zero RB proponents in the industry. Siegele – a high-stakes season-long champion -- famously penned fantasy football’s signature piece on Zero RB strategy. Bloom benefited from two wide receivers going in the top-five picks by landing Elliott at 1.06, two to three spots below Zeke’s ADP. Dallas’ offensive line returns at full health, and Elliott arguably has the highest workload projection in football. Three wide receivers in the top seven allowed Harmon to nab Kamara at 1.08. Kamara drew 100 targets as a rookie and is a candidate for 100 catches in year two with Adrian Peterson long gone and Mark Ingram beginning the season on suspension.

Second Round

2.01. JJ Zachariason -- Leonard Fournette (RB8)
2.02. Mike Clay – Kareem Hunt (RB9)
2.03. Matt Kelley – Michael Thomas (WR6)
2.04. Shawn Siegele – Rob Gronkowski (TE1)
2.05. Matt Harmon – Dalvin Cook (RB10)
2.06. Josh Hermsmeyer – A.J. Green (WR7)
2.07. Sigmund Bloom – T.Y. Hilton (WR8)
2.08. Denny Carter – Mike Evans (WR9)
2.09. Rich Hribar – Davante Adams (WR10)
2.10. Graham Barfield – Devonta Freeman (RB11)
2.11. Mike Braude – Stefon Diggs (WR11)
2.12. Evan Silva – Christian McCaffrey (RB12)

Comments: I think drafting at the back-turn is one of this year's toughest first-round slots, but Zachariason did well to secure two high-ceiling bellcows at 1.12 and 2.01. Gordon has finished top three in carries inside the five-yard line in consecutive seasons. Including playoffs, Fournette scored 14 TDs in 16 games as a rookie. Kelley started strong with Barkley toward the end of round one and Drew Brees' No. 1 receiver near the beginning of round two. Gronk is the only tight end off the board through two rounds. Hermsmeyer opened with a Julio-Green WR-WR combo. Bloom is bullish on Andrew Luck's return considering his selection of Hilton over Evans and Adams. It's easy to forget Hilton is just one season removed from leading the league in receiving yards. 1.04 is my favorite draft slot this year, and Hribar capitalized with an impressive David Johnson-Davante Adams opening. Zachariason, Harmon, Barfield, and I all started RB-RB. In PPR, I was happy to take McCaffrey at 2.12 after he led all running backs in targets as a rookie, and has received highly aggressive workload projections from multiple Panthers coaches.

Third Round

3.01. Evan Silva – Larry Fitzgerald (WR12)
3.02. Mike Braude – Adam Thielen (WR13)
3.03. Graham Barfield – Jerick McKinnon (RB13)
3.04. Rich Hribar – Joe Mixon (RB14)
3.05. Denny Carter – Tyreek Hill (WR14)
3.06. Sigmund Bloom – Jordan Howard (RB15)
3.07. Josh Hermsmeyer – Travis Kelce (TE2)
3.08. Matt Harmon – Allen Robinson (WR15)
3.09. Shawn Siegele – Jarvis Landry (WR16)
3.10. Matt Kelley – Amari Cooper (WR17)
3.11. Mike Clay – LeSean McCoy (RB16)
3.12. JJ Zachariason – Demaryius Thomas (WR18)

Comments: The best way to create a competitive advantage in fantasy football is to simply understand scoring rules better than your opponent. Team owners in this league know the scoring system very well and realize the value of wide receivers when you can start four and get full-point PPR credit. Thus, we're about to embark on a major receiver run. Seven go off the board here, including my WR1 Fitzgerald, who has cleared 100 receptions in three straight years and has minimal target competition in Arizona. If not for Doug Baldwin's knee injury, Baldwin would have been a cinch pick for me at 3.01. My other consideration was Thielen, who went to Braude as his third straight receiver following Antonio Brown and Stefon Diggs. Braude is the only participant in this league to make the playoffs all four years, so he knows exactly what he's doing and was unfazed by drafting two wideouts on the same team. Clay, who has won the league twice, took the late-third-round plunge on McCoy to team with first- and second-rounders Keenan Allen and Kareem Hunt. If not for an off-field concern, McCoy likely would have gone closer to the 2.12/3.01 turn. Harmon, a longtime Robinson truther, made A-Rob his WR1 after drafting Alvin Kamara and Dalvin Cook. The Browns' trade of Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon's uncertain availability have elevated Landry's stock. Siegele made Landry his WR2 to go with DeAndre Hopkins and Rob Gronkowski. Barfield executed the rare RB-RB-RB start with Le'Veon Bell, Devonta Freeman, and McKinnon.

Fourth Round

4.01. JJ Zachariason -- Doug Baldwin (WR19)
4.02. Mike Clay – Golden Tate (WR20)
4.03. Matt Kelley – Alshon Jeffery (WR21)
4.04. Shawn Siegele – JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR22)
4.05. Matt Harmon – Zach Ertz (TE3)
4.06. Josh Hermsmeyer – Derrius Guice (RB17)
4.07. Sigmund Bloom – Alex Collins (RB18)
4.08. Denny Carter – Jay Ajayi (RB19)
4.09. Rich Hribar – Brandin Cooks (WR23)
4.10. Graham Barfield – Marvin Jones (WR24)
4.11. Mike Braude – Chris Hogan (WR25)
4.12. Evan Silva – Sammy Watkins (WR26)

Comments: After seven wideouts went off the third-round board, we see eight go in round four. This will push down some intriguing fourth- and fifth-tier running backs to team owners that stayed true to their early-wideout principles. My hope was to land two of Cooks, Jones, and Hogan at the fourth-/fifth-round turn. I have all three in my third tier of wide receivers, so I was frustrated when all three went right before me. Watkins was my last-available wideout in that tier. At the opposite end of the round, Zachariason's team is shaping up as balanced and strong. He started with consecutive high-volume running backs Melvin Gordon and Leonard Fournette, then went back-to-back wideout with Demaryius Thomas and Baldwin. Baldwin was my overall WR9 before his knee injury and likely would have been a second-round pick in this format at full health. After beginning Odell Beckham-Mike Evans-Tyreek Hill, Carter takes his first running back in Ajayi. Hermsmeyer opened with Julio Jones-A.J. Green-Travis Kelce, and here dives into the running back pool with Guice. Annual playoff qualifier Braude is the lone team owner to start WRx4. Barfield made Jones his WR1 after an RBx3 beginning. Unsurprisingly, zero quarterbacks have been taken. My guess is we won't see one in the fifth round, either.

Fifth Round

5.01. Evan Silva – Emmanuel Sanders (WR27)
5.02. Mike Braude – Rex Burkhead (RB20)
5.03. Graham Barfield – Rashaad Penny (RB21)
5.04. Rich Hribar – Michael Crabtree (WR28)
5.05. Denny Carter – Lamar Miller (RB22)
5.06. Sigmund Bloom – Julian Edelman (WR29)
5.07. Josh Hermsmeyer – Ronald Jones (RB23)
5.08. Matt Harmon – Josh Gordon (WR30)
5.09. Shawn Siegele – Tevin Coleman (RB24)
5.10. Matt Kelley – Royce Freeman (RB25)
5.11. Mike Clay – Kenyan Drake (RB26)
5.12. JJ Zachariason – Corey Davis (WR31)

Comments: Team owners resume drafting running backs in round five, with seven coming off the board. Barfield stays bullish on first-round pick Penny despite word from Seahawks camp that Chris Carson could enter the season as Seattle's starter. Essentially zigging while others zag, Barfield now has four backs (Le'Veon Bell-Devonta Freeman-Jerick McKinnon-Penny) rostered with Marvin Jones as his lone wideout. Clay stays true to his value board by snagging a falling Drake as his RB3 behind Kareem Hunt and LeSean McCoy. If the assumption of rational coaching holds (credit: Bloom) and the Dolphins don't force Drake into a near-even timeshare with Frank Gore, Clay will have secured three feature backs in the first five rounds. Braude -- the lone team owner to begin WRx4 -- selects pop sleeper Burkhead as his RB1. Harmon takes the plunge on M.I.A.-from-camp Gordon to be his WR2 behind Allen Robinson. Coleman is Siegele's first running back pick after a DeAndre Hopkins-Rob Gronkowski-Jarvis Landry-JuJu Smith-Schuster start. Bloom accepts the discount on Edelman's four-game suspension to be his WR2 after beginning Ezekiel Elliott-Hilton-Jordan Howard-Alex Collins. My roster stands at Todd Gurley-Christian McCaffrey-Larry Fitzgerald-Sammy Watkins-Sanders. Over his debilitating 2017 high ankle sprain, I like Sanders' fit with Case Keenum and believe he can outscore higher-drafted teammate Demaryius Thomas in PPR.

Sixth Round

6.01. JJ Zachariason -- Randall Cobb (WR32)
6.02. Mike Clay – Derrick Henry (RB27)
6.03. Matt Kelley – Marlon Mack (RB28)
6.04. Shawn Siegele – Kerryon Johnson (RB29)
6.05. Matt Harmon – Marquise Goodwin (WR33)
6.06. Josh Hermsmeyer – Jordy Nelson (WR34)
6.07. Sigmund Bloom – Mark Ingram (RB30)
6.08. Denny Carter – Pierre Garcon (WR35)
6.09. Rich Hribar – Dion Lewis (RB31)
6.10. Graham Barfield – Will Fuller (WR36)
6.11. Mike Braude – Tarik Cohen (RB32)
6.12. Evan Silva – Robby Anderson (WR37)

Comments: Six running backs and six wide receivers. Still no quarterbacks taken in the entire draft. Three tight ends have gone. A devout Mack proponent, Kelley made the Colts' projected lead back his RB3 behind Saquon Barkley and Royce Freeman. Kelley's wideouts are Michael Thomas-Amari Cooper-Alshon Jeffery, so he has taken a fairly balanced approach. Carter made Garcon his WR4 after taking a two-round break to draft Jay Ajayi and Lamar Miller behind a WRx3 start. Hermsmeyer has banged the Jordy-isn't-done drum all offseason, and backed it up by selecting the Raiders' top red-zone weapon in the sixth round, well ahead of Nelson's ADP. Jordy is Josh's WR3 behind Julio Jones and A.J. Green with rookies Derrius Guice and Ronald Jones at running back, and Travis Kelce at tight end. Word out of Niners camp is Jimmy Garoppolo has shown superior chemistry with Goodwin than Garcon, and that is reflected in this draft. Never a producer in college or the pros, track-star Goodwin exploded with Garoppolo under center down last year's stretch. Hribar's draft begins with three backs (David Johnson-Joe Mixon-Lewis) and three receivers (Davante Adams-Brandin Cooks-Michael Crabtree). I think my favorite pick of this round was Derrick Henry by Clay. If Lewis goes down -- a regular occurrence before last year -- Henry offers league-winning upside regardless of scoring format. Anderson is my WR4 behind Larry Fitzgerald, Sammy Watkins, and Emmanuel Sanders. Anderson was a top-15 fantasy receiver before Josh McCown went down last Week 14, and I explained in my Jets Preview why I believe Anderson has room for growth.

Seventh Round

7.01. Evan Silva – Jimmy Graham (TE4)
7.02. Mike Braude – Evan Engram (TE5)
7.03. Graham Barfield – Aaron Rodgers (QB1)
7.04. Rich Hribar – Jamison Crowder (WR38)
7.05. Denny Carter – Robert Woods (WR39)
7.06. Sigmund Bloom – Jordan Reed (TE6)
7.07. Josh Hermsmeyer – Duke Johnson (RB33)
7.08. Matt Harmon – Kenny Stills (WR40)
7.09. Shawn Siegele – Jamaal Williams (RB34)
7.10. Matt Kelley – Greg Olsen (TE7)
7.11. Mike Clay – Delanie Walker (TE8)
7.12. JJ Zachariason – Cooper Kupp (WR41)

Comments: Bloom -- one of the industry's top analysts but also one of the industry's top players -- has taken a decidedly volatile approach, embracing an extreme amount of risk but clearly gunning for first place. Some fantasy team owners attack drafts conservatively, hoping for a fourth-or-so-place finish to make the playoffs and let the chips fall where they may. Not Sig, whose first-round pick Ezekiel Elliott has been suspended before, enhancing his forward-looking risk. Sig's second-rounder T.Y. Hilton's quarterback missed an entire season in his prime with a severe throwing-shoulder injury. Third-rounder Jordan Howard has been game-flow dependent and is virtually unplayable on passing downs in the NFL. No running back has dropped more passes over the last two seasons. Fourth-round pick Alex Collins has roughly an eight-game sample of positive lead-back production. Fifth- and sixth-rounders Julian Edelman and Mark Ingram will open the season on four-game PEDs bans. And seventh-rounder Reed has a terrifying injury history. I've seen Bloom finish very high and even win large-field fantasy tournaments taking high-volatile approaches like this, however, and it will be fascinating to track which of his risks pay off, and which don't. 

Eighth Round

8.01. JJ Zachariason -- Sony Michel (RB35)
8.02. Mike Clay – Devin Funchess (WR42)
8.03. Matt Kelley – Marshawn Lynch (RB36)
8.04. Shawn Siegele – Deshaun Watson (QB2)
8.05. Matt Harmon – Chris Thompson (RB37)
8.06. Josh Hermsmeyer – Isaiah Crowell (RB38)
8.07. Sigmund Bloom – Tyler Lockett (WR43)
8.08. Denny Carter – Kelvin Benjamin (WR44)
8.09. Rich Hribar – DeVante Parker (WR45)
8.10. Graham Barfield – George Kittle (TE9)
8.11. Mike Braude – Nelson Agholor (WR46)
8.12. Evan Silva – James White (RB39)

Comments: Lockett and Agholor were the two receivers I was targeting at the eighth-/ninth-round turn, but both were snagged just before. I settled on making White my RB3 after Sony Michel's knee injury. Doug Baldwin's bum knee makes Lockett particularly intriguing, and Lockett's stock was already up with Jimmy Graham and Paul Richardson gone from Seattle. I think Agholor has a real chance to overtake Alshon Jeffery as the Eagles' best receiver this year. Siegele is just the second owner to pull the quarterback trigger in this entire draft after Barfield snagged Aaron Rodgers a round before. Carter, who has drafted a league-high six wide receivers, joins Braude as the two team owners with just two running backs on board. Every other team has either three or four RBs. Two-time league winner Clay has four backs, three wideouts, and one tight end. Carter, Hribar, and Zachariason have all drafted only running backs and wide receivers, avoiding "onesie" positions quarterback and tight end to this point.

Evan Silva
Evan Silva is a senior football editor for Rotoworld.com. He can be found on Twitter .