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The lazy person's guide to 2017 fantasy football drafts

So it's fantasy draft season. Some people are setting up their fancy 14-team, points-per-completion leagues meanwhile you're just sitting there in your skivvies thinking, "Oh man, that Xbox is calling my name right now ... "

You play fantasy casually, mostly so you don't seem like "that guy" at work that doesn't play. Plus, having a fantasy team helps prevent you and your mates from having to talk about your emotions and/or drudging up the same, old, tired stories. Because yes, we remember that one time you saw that one actress at that one gas station three freaking years ago. Dude, no one cares anymore. Literally no one.

So it's either you get some new stories or you play fantasy football. The choice seems clear.

That being said, you're entirely too lazy to actually do research and your draft-day "plan" involves firing up your phone's NFL Fantasy app and picking guys between your trips to the oven to see if the pizza rolls are done or not.

And let's be honest here, if you make nine roster moves all year, that's a win. So you need a low-maintenance lineup that doesn't totally blow. Because, really, who the hell wants to come in last? Definitely not the guy who rules Clash of Clans as hard as you do, that's for sure.

So, no work and don't stink ... it's all good, I got you. I'll help you draft a solid, consistent team. And once the season starts, you don't have to even worry about setting the best lineup. Becasue the NFL Fantasy app has a new lineup optimization tool. Literally, one touch on your phone, and the tool starts the players on your roster who are projected to score the most points that given week. No worrying about bye weeks. No worrying about tracking game day inactives. Seriously, you couldn't be any lazier and still get a win on Sunday. But let's go over some draft day basics first.

Here's your 2017 Lazy Person's Guide to Fantasy Football:


If you're picking early (read: top four), it's real simple. You're going David Johnson, Le'Veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. in that order.


Bruh, calm down.

They're all excellent choices but if we're talking about relative safety and weekly consistency, those are your guys.

But if you're picking anywhere from five on down, you're going RB-RB. Don't get cute and try to go zero RB because you maybe possibly read it on some Buzzfeed article and it sounds super cool. Again, I know you forget sometimes, but remember: YOU. ARE. LAZY.

The key is finding workhorse backs as this will require the least amount of in-season roster management.

Target LeSean McCoy, Jay Ajayi, Devonta Freeman, Melvin Gordon, DeMarco Murray and Jordan Howard somewhere in your first or second rounds. Guys like Leonard Fournette, Isaiah Crowell, Todd Gurley and Marshawn Lynch will be there in the second round as well.


Once you get into the third round, go and get Aaron Rodgers if he's available. He's been unbelievably consistent finishing either first or second in fantasy points among quarterbacks in five out of his past seven seasons. Only injuries to himself or to Jordy Nelson have blocked him from the top.

If Rodgers is not there, and it's entirely possible he's not, Tom Brady should be. The Patriots have surrounded old Tommy with so much additional talent on the offensive side, that even at 40 years of age, TB12 should easily finish as a top-three fantasy quarterback.

Either way, we're talking about consistent scoring each and every week and that will float your team even on weeks where your skill position players don't come through.

I get that this flies in the face of most football strategies that say to wait and wait and wait on quarterback but again doing so means roster management. And brother, that means analyzing FPA on the weekly and honestly there's about a 2.3 percent chance you even know what that means let alone where to look for that data. So let's chill and just take a stud quarterback early.


At this point it's time to fill out your starting roster with running backs and wide receivers who are projected to see tons of work (read: carries and/or targets) in plus offenses. Football is a volatile game but tying yourself to workload is one of the best ways to insulate yourself from those dreaded week-killing games where your guy scores three or less.

By Round 4 it's entirely possible Dalvin Cook is gone but if he's not go get him. Cook is the clear-cut starter and has looked solid running the ball and downright terrific catching it. Regardless of game script, Cook will see touches meaning increased consistency.

If Cook's not there, it's all good. Target some combination of Terrelle Pryor, DeAndre Hopkins or Allen Robinson.

All three are anticipated to see a massive share of their respective passing games and while the latter two had frustrating years last year, in 2017 getting Nuk and/or A-Rob in Round 4/5 is like going to Home Goods and finding that sweet pour-over kettle for $16 which is like less than half of what you could get it for on Amazon!

... Or maybe that's just me.

Look, what I'm saying is that their services can be had an extreme discount this year. Which is great for two receivers who have a real chance at positive regression in 2017.

Tyreek Hill and Alshon Jeffery are also terrific wide receivers to target in this range. Both should be the clear No. 1 options in their respective passing games and both could go nuts in the touchdown department.


Once we get to Round 7, let's get a good solid tight end. Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce are long gone by now and you're probably struggling to recognize some of these names.

This is the part of the draft where my buddy who knows nothing about football Facetimes me and asks, "Hey you think I should draft J. Reed or G. Olsen?" Not Jordan Reed or Greg Olsen mind you, but first initials only. Why? Because he's hitting me up on his tablet as he's drafting from his damn phone and that's how their names are displayed on his app. BRO, GET OUT OF YOUR DAMN BED AND DRAFT ON AN ACTUAL COMPUTER FOR GOODNESS SAKE.

Anyway ... in the seventh round there are a veritable cornucopia of tight ends you could choose from. To me it's Martellus Bennett all day long (for an extended reason on why, click here. I think the Black Unicorn has top-three positional upside but at a minimum will see 80 targets and easily rack up top-eight tight end production.

If he's gone, Kyle Rudolph isn't the sexiest name out there but he came into his own last year finishing with 840 yards and seven scores, finishing as the third-best tight end in fantasy. Considering the Vikings offense hasn't changed very much at all, there's no reason to think he can't do something somewhat similar this year.


Streaming defenses is the preferred method but again, this requires in-season effort on your end. Think about how much time that will take away from eating canned peaches and watching reruns of Parks and Recreaction. You don't want that in your life.

In Round 10, either Denver's or Houston's defense should be there. Both are fine choices and are safe weekly plays. I particularly love the Texans' D this year with both J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney healthy. And other than a road game in Gillette against the Patriots in Week 3, there are no offenses on the schedule that jump out as particularly difficult matchups.


Grabbing high-upside sleepers is critical to a successful fantasy campaign but what are you going to do? Research??? I mean, let's be real, there's a zero percent chance you're breaking down tape on the New York's 11 personnel and figuring out if Sterling Shepard will see enough targets to be fantasy relevant. Just sit back and let the old Koh do the thinking for you.

Going back, in Rounds 8/9 look at scooping up Danny Woodhead. He's the 1B running back to the team's 1A but could outperform his current draft prices.

If they're not there, I absolutely love Jeremy Maclin and DeVante Parker as high-upside receivers in that range.

Okay, now we're entering the double-digit rounds and for sure you're fading. We're definitely past the point of "who are these guys" and entering the point where auto-drafting is looking more and more appealing. Let's set up your queue and get you back to Netflix-ing, pronto.

Rookie Samaje Perine has had a largely unimpressive preseason thus far but still possesses the athletic profile to snatch the starting running back job at some point in Washington.

If Browns receiver Corey Coleman can stay healthy, it's almost a given he'll see 120 or more targets. That level of targets generally means top 25-ish wideout production. Getting that in the 11th round or later? That's not bad.

Detroit Lions rookie receiver Kenny Golladay is getting mad hype online and for good reason. At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, the former Northern Illinois receiver ran a 4.50 40 yard dash and has shown terrific skills adjusting to contested balls. Golladay, at a minimum, could fill the Anquan Boldin role as a big-bodied goal line receiver. Boldin, who saw a team-leading 28 percent of the Lions' targets inside the 10-yard line, collected eight touchdowns last year. If Golladay is there in Round 11 or later, go for it.

Texans rookie running back D'Onta Foreman has been an absolute beast this preseason for Houston and is at the very least a goal line thumper. But should something happen to Lamar Miller, Foreman could morph into a fantasy game-changer.

Rams rookie receiver Cooper Kupp has been getting pounded with targets in the preseason and I don't see that changing once the games count for real.

And that's it! You're done! Congrats on doing absolutely nothing! You've totally drafted a not-last-place team!

Now you can go back to smashing fools on Overwatch and scarfing down that double-crust blueberry pie you bought to go with your morning coffee that went cold about an hour ago.

  • James D. Koh is an anchor and host for NFL Network. He is also a host of the NFL Fantasy Live Podcast and a guest columnist for the NFL fantasy football editorial staff. Follow him on Twitter @JamesDKoh to tell him how much of an idiot he is for writing this column.*
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