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RotoBaller PPR Mock Draft Recap - First Round Recap

With fantasy draft season in full swing, it's time to dive into another one of RotoBaller's mock drafts. It's interesting to see the differences in these results compared to our Way Too Early Mock Draft in March.

The settings for our "Mock Draft 2.0" were pretty straight forward: 12 teams, PPR scoring, QB, RB, RB, WR, WR, TE, K, and DST. You'll find the first round selections below with some analysis to follow. Yours truly had the pleasure of having the first pick. I know, I know, tough gig.

Note: This mock took place prior to Ezekiel Elliott's suspension. So for that reason, I'll exclude him from the write-up.

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RotoBaller PPR Mock 2.0: First Round

1) Le'Veon Bell, RB - Frankie Soler
2) David Johnson, RB - Alex Freylikhman
3) Ezekiel Elliott, RB - Taylor Maxston
4) Antonio Brown, WR - Sam Dupuy
5) Odell Beckham Jr, WR - Steve Halupka
6) Julio Jones, WR - Jacob Valov
7) Melvin Gordon, RB - Chris Moore
8) Mike Evans, WR - Pierre Camus
9) A.J. Green, WR - Chris Mangano
10) LeSean McCoy, RB - Adam Hammer
11) DeMarco Murray, RB - Jason Katz
12) Devonta Freeman, RB - Brittany Smith

The first six picks are pretty much exactly what you'd expect in any draft format this year. Le'Veon Bell at one was a no-brainer for me; he's the most consistent running back there is. There's no reason to worry about his current holdout. Expect a stat line of around 1,400 rushing yards and eight scores on the ground, with 75-80 receptions to boot.

Taking David Johnson second overall isn't exactly rocket science either. Johnson was second in the league last year with 16 touchdowns on the ground, trailing only LeGarrette Blount. Similar to Bell, he's every bit as featured in the passing game with 879 yards via the pass last season. Week 17's injury scare shouldn't factor into DJ's 2017 outlook as a fully healthy 16 games would put him in contention to lead the league in rushing.

This being a PPR league, the top-three receivers could have potentially gone even higher than four, five, and six. Nevertheless, snagging them at their respective prices is a lock. Antonio Brown is basically the safest player in the entire NFL. Odell Beckham and Julio Jones aren't far behind him either. All three are focal points of the offense they play in. Here's a little draft strategy tip for you. The key to winning a PPR league is to target players who are heavily involved within their individual offenses. Someone like DeSean Jackson, for example, isn't as valuable since he's more of a big-play guy. It's a simple, common tip, but one you should keep in mind throughout your draft.

Another plan of attack to consider is to load up on high-floor RBs even if they aren't necessarily the best pass-catchers. You can always find receivers off the waiver wire, so it's easier to replace receptions for PPR purposes. Rushing totals are a whole different animal. Whenever you're looking for a tiebreaker in any sort of draft, lean running back, especially in PPR. You'll probably hear a lot of that from reputable writers. Just because it's repetitive doesn't make it any less true.

That's a nice little segue into the next player taken off the board, Melvin Gordon. Chris actually left a little note about his pick that's worth sharing. Chris said, "Nervous about LeSean McCoy at overall RB4, nervous about Mike Evans at WR4. Fast becoming aware that pick seven is the one I don't want this year." While I myself am a big Shady McCoy fan, I absolutely agree that seven is the worst draft slot this year. Whenever there is a steep drop-off in safety in round one, you run the risk of being the first person to whiff on your first pick. So I understand the aversion to McCoy and Evans, going with an RB that has more upside in Melvin Gordon. Gordon was reliable near the goal-line last year, scoring all 10 of his rushing touchdowns in the red-zone. That total was certainly helped by being fed 50 times near the line, tied for third in the league. Once considered a rookie disappointment, Gordon has turned it around and should get better in year three.

Mike Evans went with the very next pick followed by A.J. Green. Speaking of touchdowns, Evans was hindered significantly back in 2015 when the Buccaneers simply could not get him the ball in the end-zone. That was rectified in 2016 with Evans repeating his rookie total of 12 scores. The yardage was there, the TDs weren't. With quarterback Jameis Winston improving, Evans should have no problem returning his first round draft value.

A.J. Green was hampered by injury last year so his recent stat lines don't help us. What you get with a healthy Green, though, is something I alluded to earlier, consistency. Green will get a healthy dose of targets from Andy Dalton, even if Dalton himself isn't the most reliable guy in the world. The Bengals have an underrated offense that can produce more than just one fantasy relevant piece. The back end of the first round/early second is perfect for A.J.

A trio of running backs rounded out the round with LeSean McCoy, DeMarco Murray, and Devonta Freeman bringing us home. McCoy had his own share of health issues last year, but he's still one of the leagues most reliable rushers in real-life NFL football. The departure of Mike Gillislee should be met with a sigh of a relief since the threat of McCoy losing significant carries no longer looms. You'll want to snag the appropriate handcuff Jonathan Williams just in case. Unfortunately for Hammer, Williams went a few picks before him in round 13.

Between over usage in Dallas, under usage in Philadelphia, and the presence of Derrick Henry in Tennessee, DeMarco Murray has been fairly polarizing the last few seasons. If Murray is able to stay healthy and maintain lead back status he'll be as good as it gets at the RB position. Murray owners need to pony up to make sure they can lock up Derrick Henry.

That brings us to Devonta Freeman, arguably the safest back after the top-three. Freeman's only real drawback is fellow rusher Tevin Coleman, but the Falcons have managed to feature them both. Similar to Murray and Henry, the combo of Freeman and Coleman is one to target when trying to secure a handcuff. I'd even go a step further and say Coleman is the toughest handcuff to own in the NFL. He has solid stand alone value so owners have no issue taking him as a usable asset. I dig Freeman even higher than pick-12 so I'm willing to pencil him in as the best bargain of the draft.

Biggest Reach: Melvin GordonI don't hate the pick at all, and totally get the logic behind it. I just think McCoy, Evans, and Freeman are better players. Doesn't really get much more complicated than that for me.

Best Bargain: Devonta FreemanIt has to be Freeman for me. I think he's this year's RB5 in fantasy so finishing up the round at number 12 overall is basically the best steal, if such a thing is possible in the first round of an experts draft.

Check back for more analysis on the subsequent rounds in the coming days.


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