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Smola's Pros vs. Joes Draft Recap

By Jared Smola | Updated on Thu, 13 Jul 2023 . 2:28 PM EDT

There are a few distinct features of the Pros vs. Joes League that influence my draft strategy:

  1. It’s an FFPC league. That means 2 flex spots and 1.5 PPR for TEs. The MVP Board takes care of this, providing rankings customized to this format.
  2. It’s best ball. No waiver-wire additions or trades. And each team’s optimal starting lineup is used each week.
  3. It’s winner take all. First place wins a free 2020 FFPC Main Event entry. Second place: nothing. That makes me more willing to gamble on riskier players in this draft.

And gamble I did. Here’s a pick-by-pick recap of my draft.

View the full draft board here.

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1.08 - Joe Mixon, RB, Bengals

The 8 spot is tough this year. There’s no clear-cut best available player after the top 5 RBs and Travis Kelce (in the FFPC) are off the board. And while there are plenty of other guys I like, it feels like they all have a decent shot to make it back to the 2nd round.

Mixon was the guy I didn’t want to risk missing out on: an uber-talented 3-down workhorse who ranked 9th among RBs in PPR points per game last year. The 23-year-old is capable of even more in 2019.

2.05 - Melvin Gordon, RB, Chargers

Let’s roll the dice!

There’s certainly a chance Gordon’s holdout extends into the regular season — but I still don’t think that’s very likely. And if Gordon shows up before Week 1, I got almost a full round of value on him here. He’s finished 5th, 6th and 5th in PPR points per game among RBs over the last 3 seasons.

3.08 - Aaron Jones, RB, Packers

I love the value at RB in the 3rd round this year: Devonta Freeman, Kerryon Johnson, Leonard Fournette and Jones.

The Packer is a prime breakout candidate. His 5.5 yards per carry is tops among all 45 RBs with 200+ carries over the last 2 seasons. If the Packers commit to him — and early signs are that they will — Jones is capable of posting RB1 numbers this year.

4.05 - Julian Edelman, WR, Patriots

Both Vikings WRs got snapped up right ahead of me here. But Edelman isn’t a bad consolation prize. He finished 13th among WRs in fantasy points per game in this scoring system last year. His broken thumb shouldn’t be an issue by the time Week 1 rolls around.

5.08 - Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs

I wasn’t expecting to leave this draft with Mahomes. But I also wasn’t expecting him to still be hanging around in the late 5th. In the other 3 Pros vs. Joes drafts that have finished, Mahomes went at 4.10, 4.01 and 3.08.

The MVP Board was screaming at me to take the Chief here — and nothing excited me at the other positions.

I had planned on taking 3 QBs in this draft. But an added benefit of grabbing an elite QB is that you can roll with 2 and use that extra spot to build more depth at another position.

6.05 - Alshon Jeffery, WR, Eagles

I strongly considered Tyler Boyd here but didn’t love the idea of taking 2 Bengals with my first 6 picks.

Jeffery ranked 23rd among WRs in PPR points in his first season with the Eagles in 2017 and finished 23rd in PPR points per game last year. I got him here as the 26th WR off the board.

7.08 - Austin Hooper, TE, Falcons

Hooper ranked 6th among TEs with 196.5 points in the FFPC last year. To put that in perspective, only 22 WRs tallied more points.

Hooper’s volume should stay steady from his 88 targets from a year ago. And he’s a candidate for a TD spike after scoring on just 4 of his 71 catches in 2018.

8.05 - David Njoku, TE, Browns

Here’s a pick I’d take back if I had a chance. I wanted to lock up a pair of top-14 TEs and expected there to be a run between my 8th and 9th picks. Just 3 TEs came off the board in that span, though, and I could have nabbed Kyle Rudolph in the 9th.

At least Njoku is more exciting than Rudolph. He’s a former 1st-rounder with elite athleticism in what should be a high-powered Browns offense this season. And his 56 catches and 639 yards last year were both top 10 marks in NFL history by a TE age-22 or younger.

9.08 - Marquez Valdes-Scantling, WR, Packers

The 2nd-year speedster is the favorite to open the year as Green Bay’s #2 WR. The Packers have produced a pair of top 36 PPR WRs in 6 of the last 8 seasons.

10.05 - Derrius Guice, RB, Redskins

I’ve drafted a lot of Guice already this year. I don’t want to draft so much Guice. But if he’s going to be available in Round 10 with 41 RBs already off the board, I can’t help myself. He remains a big talent who should emerge as Washington’s lead back if healthy.

11.08 - Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos

He’s made a big move up the WR rankings over the past few weeks. Sanders was surprisingly ready for the start of camp after last December’s torn Achilles and has drawn strong reviews from coaches and media.

Remember that Sanders was sitting 15th among WRs in PPR points before going down last year.

12.05 - Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers

There’s almost always a massive QB run somewhere in the early double-digit rounds in these FFPC best balls. In this case, 10 QBs flew off the board between the 11th and 12th rounds.

So it was time for me to secure a backup to Mahomes. Garoppolo is a bet on 49ers HC Kyle Shanahan’s offense more than anything else. Combine Garoppolo’s, Nick Mullens’ and C.J. Beathard’s numbers from last season and you get the QB15 in FFPC points.

13.08 - Devin Funchess, WR, Colts

Rookie Parris Campbell has been buzzing early in camp, but I still like Funchess to finish 2nd among Colts WRs in targets this season. He’s still just 25 and is making $10 million in 2019 — a top 25 figure at his position.

14.05 - Tyrell Williams, WR, Raiders

Expect to see Williams on every one of my teams if his price stays in this range. The 27-year-old ranks 6th in yards per catch and 5th in yards per target among 68 WRs with 100+ grabs over the past 3 seasons. Now he has a clear path to 100+ targets as the #2 WR in Oakland.

No way he should be 54th WR off the board as he was here.

15.08 - DaeSean Hamilton, WR, Broncos

He serves as a quasi-handcuff to Emmanuel Sanders but could also have standalone fantasy value. Hamilton racked up 25 catches over the final 4 games of last season, with Sanders sidelined.

16.05 - Dion Lewis, RB, Titans

Worst case, Lewis is a high-end handcuff to Derrick Henry (who’s already dealing with a lower-leg injury). But there’s also a chance Lewis still provides standalone value as Tennessee’s primary pass-catching back. He finished top 17 among RBs in targets (67), receptions (59) and receiving yards (400) last year.

17.08 - Mohamed Sanu, WR, Falcons

Perennially undervalued. Sanu has finished 30th and 31st among WRs in PPR points the past 2 seasons. Even if Calvin Ridley steals a few more of his targets this year, Sanu should easily return value on this WR69 price tag.

18.05 - Deebo Samuel, WR, 49ers

The 36th overall pick of this spring’s draft has every chance to capture a top-2 WR job right out of the gate.

19.08 - Jake Elliott, K, Eagles

20.05 - Adam Vinatieri, K, Colts

21.08 - Eagles DST

22.05 - Ben Watson, TE, Patriots

23.08 - Cardinals DST

24.05 - Jets DST

25.08 - Austin Seibert, K, Browns

We’ve reached the K and DST time of the draft. I’m a big believer in grabbing 3 of each in these 28-round best ball drafts, with the rationale being a 3rd K and 3rd DST are more likely to start in any given week than any positional player still available.

Watson will serve a 4-game suspension to open the season but could emerge as New England’s top pass-catching TE after that.

26.05 - C.J. Uzomah, TE, Bengals

He ranked 15th among TEs in fantasy points across 12 games without Tyler Eifert last year. Do you really expect Eifert to stay healthy all season?

27.08 - Cole Beasley, WR, Bills

He has a decent shot to lead his team in targets this year. I’ll take that in Round 27.

28.05 - Theo Riddick, RB, free agent

Riddick was still a Lion when I made this pick. I’d probably still grab him here if given the chance, though. He figures to latch on somewhere before Week 1. And it’s the 28th round for gosh sakes.

Final Roster:


Patrick Mahomes

Jimmy Garoppolo


Joe Mixon

Melvin Gordon

Aaron Jones

Derrius Guice

Dion Lewis

Theo Riddick


Julian Edelman

Alshon Jeffery

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Emmanuel Sanders

Devin Funchess

Tyrell Williams

DaeSean Hamilton

Mohamed Sanu

Deebo Samuel

Cole Beasley


Austin Hooper

David Njoku

Ben Watson

C.J. Uzomah


Jake Elliott

Adam Vinatieri

Austin Seibert





Jared Smola Author Image
Jared Smola, Lead Analyst
Jared has been with Draft Sharks since 2007. He’s now Lead Analyst, heading up the preseason and weekly projections that fuel your Draft War Room and My Team tools. He currently ranks 1st among 133 analysts in draft rankings accuracy.
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