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Editor's note: Our latest pick-by-pick series was done prior to the third preseason games when season-ending knee injuries to Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware and Cameron Meredith occurred. The goal of this series is to show you positions to draft in these spots as much as the players selected so take that into account if those injured guys are listed here.
Antonio Brown is the easy choice if you pick at No. 3 overall in a PPR league. He might have even slipped in this format.
While it's hard to pass on David Johnson or Le'Veon Bell with the top two selections, Brown has been a monster in PPR and should once again dominate. He's been the No. 1 PPR receiver for three years in a row, including the No. 1 non-quarterback in this format twice over that span in 2014 and 2015.
After taking Brown, you'll have some tough choices in Round 2. One of them could be deciding to draft Ezekiel Elliott at No. 22 overall, which I did with this team.
I explained why I drafted Elliott in the second round of a standard league and paired him with Brown, which. The gist of it is I want to win, and I expect a marriage of Brown and Elliott to steamroll the league starting in Week 8 if Elliott's suspension holds up for six games. That duo could be even better if the suspension is reduced on appeal, which will be heard Aug. 29.
Most likely, you'll be looking to pair Brown with a receiver in either the second or third rounds, and you can clearly dominate the position if you get the right guys. If I passed on Elliott then I would have drafted Keenan Allen, and that might be a better start in PPR given Allen's upside when healthy.
I took Terrelle Pryor here in Round 3, and I still got quality receivers later with Kelvin Benjamin, Jeremy Maclin and Josh Doctson. I have no problem starting Brown and Pryor at receiver and Benjamin in the flex, and that gives me plenty of options at running back until Elliott returns.
Here's my team at No. 3 overall:
- 1.3 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
- 2.10 Ezekiel Elliott, RB, DAL
- 3.3 Terrelle Pryor, WR, WAS
- 4.10 C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN
- 5.3 Danny Woodhead, RB, LAC
- 6.10 Kelvin Benjamin, WR, CAR
- 7.3 Darren McFadden, RB, DAL
- 8.10 Jeremy Maclin, WR BAL
- 9.3 Hunter Henry, TE, LAC
- 10.10 Kirk Cousins, QB, WAS
- 11.3 Jonathan Williams, RB, BUF
- 12.10 Josh Doctson, WR, WAS
- 13.3 Philip Rivers, QB, LAC
- 14.10 Rams DST
Maclin makes for a solid No. 4 Fantasy receiver, and he is extremely underrated with his move to Baltimore. He should be the No. 1 receiver for the Ravens, who have to replace more than 300 targets from 2016 with Steve Smith, Dennis Pitta, Kamar Aiken and Kyle Juszczyk all gone.
Woodhead will definitely help with that, and he's a stud in PPR when healthy. Here, he's potentially my No. 2 running back or flex until Elliott is back, and then I have tremendous options along with Anderson. It will all come down to how often I want to start McFadden while he's the starter in Dallas.
I love waiting on quarterback and tight end whenever it makes sense, which happened here with Henry in Round 9 and Cousins in Round 10. I also took Rivers in Round 13 because he was the best player on the board.
Henry isn't the ideal tight end in PPR, but if his catches (36) and yards (478) improve as expected from 2016, as well as staying around the same touchdown total (eight), he should remain a top-10 Fantasy option.
Favorite pick: Kirk Cousins
Cousins was the No. 5 Fantasy quarterback in 2016 and No. 9 in 2015. He might not be an elite franchise quarterback in the NFL, but he is a standout Fantasy option. And when you get that kind of production in Round 10 at No. 122 overall it should give you a chance to be competitive in your league if you had a good draft through the first nine rounds. I feel like I did that here, and if Cousins falters, Rivers should pick up the slack.
Pick I might regret: C.J. Anderson
Anderson is one of my favorite bounce-back candidates this year, and I like what Denver did to improve the offensive line, which should help tremendously. The reason I might regret this pick has to do with Elliott since I panicked a little to draft a running back in this spot. Guys like Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Reed were on the board, and they might have been smarter selections in this format despite my need for a top-15 caliber running back. As long I can manage my roster until Elliott returns, I should be OK, but more talent at receiver in PPR is never a bad thing.
Player who could make or break my team: Ezekiel Elliott
As stated in the story about Elliott in the standard league, my hope is to have my record around 3-4 come Week 8 if the suspension holds for Elliott. I truly believe that a PPR team led by Brown, Elliott, Pryor, Anderson, Woodhead and Benjamin can dominate this league, and that's the chance I'm willing to take by drafting Elliott in Round 2. But should my team really struggle to start the season without Elliott, it will be a long year. I'm counting on having enough quality players to cover myself without Elliott, including McFadden, but clearly there's a risk.