I find that a points per reception (PPR) draft in fantasy football is always a nice way to shake things up a bit late in the preseason after spending the past few weeks preparing for standard leagues.
The typical order of running backs—usually Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster and Chris Johnson this year—gets switched around a bit when you add receptions into the mix and then possession receivers rise up the board as well.
So less than two weeks before we kick off the season, here's my mock draft for the first 30 picks in a PPR League. I'll give a quick note as to why I like each guy in that spot, as well as a word of warning for each player.
1. Arian Foster, Houston, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: I'm buying last year as not a fluke, he had multiple catches in each of his final seven games including a nine-catch performance, and I don't think there is any threat on the roster to take away playing time.
WHY I'M SCARED: Hamstring injuries in the preseason are never good news for a running back.
2. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Maybe the best receiver among the top running backs in the NFL.
WHY I'M SCARED: Still a worry that he won't get a full workload because Thomas Jones is around.
3. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Not as valuable in PPR, but he's as reliable as any back and at the top of the draft, and that is important in any format.
WHY I'M SCARED: Only six catches in the final seven weeks last year, but maybe Donovan McNabb can find him more often.
4. LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: During breakout season last year, he had 12 catches for 110 yards in a single game.
WHY I'M SCARED: Tough to go so early on a guy with just over 1,700 rushing yards in two full seasons.
5. Ray Rice, Baltimore, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Nearly 25 touches per game for a guy who can break a long run every time he touches the ball.
WHY I'M SCARED: Not as many all-around games as you might think; when he ran a lot, he didn't catch a lot of passes and vice versa.
6. Michael Vick, Philadelphia, QB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Exceeded 20 points nearly every week last year, went over 30 three times and hit 49 once.
WHY I'M SCARED: Legitimate worries about injury and the fact that teams may be more prepared for him this season.
7. Chris Johnson, Tennessee, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Came on as a receiver late last year with six or more catches in two of final four games, and Matt Hasselbeck likes a short passing game.
WHY I'M SCARED: I think his holdout could last into the season.
8. Andre Johnson, Houston, WR
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Tough to wait any longer for a stud in his prime who averaged more than six catches and nearly 100 yards per game.
WHY I'M SCARED: Missed three games due to injury last year and already battling injuries in the preseason.
9. Roddy White, Atlanta, WR
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: 115 catches last year, 'nuff said.
WHY I'M SCARED: Just how many of those catches will go to Julio Jones this year?.
10. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: I think Blaine Gabbert will be the quarterback soon, and the rookie will look to handoff and throw short to Jones-Drew more often. .
WHY I'M SCARED: As always, injuries scare many owners away as much as he and the team deny any major concerns.
11. Darren McFadden, Oakland, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Tempted to move him up this list because I think his talent and opportunities make him a prime candidate to move into the top 10.
WHY I'M SCARED: Like so many other running backs, has missed games due to injury in the past and hurt again this preseason.
12. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay, QB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Thrown 28 touchdowns or more in each of last three years and no reason to expect anything less this year.
WHY I'M SCARED: Green Bay could run more with Ryan Grant back this season, and James Starks is no longer a rookie.
13. Tom Brady, New England, QB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Threw 36 touchdowns last year and gets to add Chad Ochocinco.
WHY I'M SCARED: He's 34 and entering his 12th season in the league, so as hard as seems to believe, could we see him start to fall back a bit?
14. Tony Romo, Dallas, QB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: I'm higher on him than most, but I think a full year with Dez Bryant and Miles Austin plus Felix Jones as a receiver out of the backfield could make him a top four quarterback.
WHY I'M SCARED: Cowboys always seem so fragile that a couple early-season losses like last year could make it tough for Romo to reach his potential even if he stays healthy all year.
15. Frank Gore, San Francisco, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Caught more than four passes per game and averaged nearly 10 yards per catch in addition to a heavy workload on the ground.
WHY I'M SCARED: Not only could his holdout carry into the season, he may be traded and spend the first few weeks adjusting to a new team.
16. Phillip Rivers, San Diego, QB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: His passing attempts and yards have increased in each of the past four seasons, and the return of Vincent Jackson means that should happen again.
WHY I'M SCARED: Relied so much on Antonio Gates last year, so if he battles injuries this season, Rivers will suffer.
17. Drew Brees, New Orleans, QB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: At least 4,300 passing yards and 33 touchdowns for three straight seasons.
WHY I'M SCARED: Just wish he had a more reliable No. 1 receiver.
18. Calvin Johnson, Detroit, WR
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Another guy I like more than most because I think he takes off with a full season playing with Matthew Stafford.
WHY I'M SCARED: If Stafford gets hurt again, Johnson likely takes a big hit.
19. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona, WR
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Ignore last year's stats, Kevin Kolb will bring a return to Fitzgerald's numbers from the Kurt Warner era.
WHY I'M SCARED: What if Kolb isn't any better than Derek Anderson and the rest of Arizona's quarterbacks from last season.
20. Steven Jackson, St. Louis, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: You forget he may be as good of an all-around back as there is when he's healthy.
WHY I'M SCARED: Is he healthy?
21. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons before he was 24 years old.
WHY I'M SCARED: Roethlisberger never seems to look for him in the passing game.
22. Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants, WR.
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Stats increased by nearly 30 percent last year and at age 23, he could do that again.
WHY I'M SCARED: Only 79 catches last year, so you want to see that number increase for your No. 1 wide receiver.
23. Greg Jennings, Green Bay, WR.
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: At least four catches in final 11 games last season and more than 100 yards receiving in five of those games.
WHY I'M SCARED: His best season was 2008, and that was followed by a drop in 2009, so you have to hope 2010 isn't followed by another down season.
24. Matt Forte, Chicago, RB.
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: One of only five running backs to surpass 1,000 yards rushing and 500 receiving last year.
WHY I'M SCARED: Worried that Marion Barber could cut into his carries.
25. Michael Turner, Atlanta, RB.
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Double-digit touchdowns in each season since joining the Falcons.
WHY I'M SCARED: Coming off a career-low 4.1 yards per game and nearing the dangerous age of 30 for a running back.
26. Felix Jones, Dallas, RB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: This is admittedly early, but a full workload at running back and his receiving ability means he could prove worthy of going much higher than here.
WHY I'M SCARED: Only had more than 15 carries once last year, so will the heavier workload slow him down?
27. Miles Austin, Dallas, WR.
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Romo's return could lead to 2009 numbers for Austin.
WHY I'M SCARED: Dez Bryant wasn't around in 2009, so he could cut into Austin's targets.
28. Peyton Hillis, Cleveland, RB.
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: You think of him as a bruising runner, but he had six or more catches in five games last year.
WHY I'M SCARED: Heavy workload really seemed to slow him down late last year.
29. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis, WR.
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Been a top 10 receiver for five straight seasons and still has big-game ability as he had 14 or more catches twice and exceeded 195 yards receiving twice last year.
WHY I'M SCARED: You have to take him and trust Manning is ready for the season.
30. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis. QB
WHY I'M TAKING HIM: Tough to let him drop any lower than this.
WHY I'M SCARED: That neck injury, obviously.
If you liked this, there's plenty more in The Fantasy Fix's 2011 Fantasy Football Draft Guide.
Written by Steve Mims exclusively for the The Fantasy Fix.
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