You know the feeling you have after the perfect fantasy draft? The one where your draft slot allowed you to grab a personal favorite in Round 1 and then back it up with your favorite strategic approach? It’s the reason fantasy football is so much fun and the reason drafting is often the best part. This is my perfect draft.
Let’s dive into my perfect fantasy draft. It’s a standard 12-team PPR draft with in-season roster management, 16 rounds, starting 1 QB, 2 RB, 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 Flex, 1 D/ST, 1 K. Ideally, I’d get randomized into the 10-hole, so that’s where I’m going to draft from. Unlike the two previous drafts from this series, I’m using a smaller roster in a non-Best Ball format so I’m unlikely to carry multiple-single starter positions.
ROUND 1: A.J. Green
Overall Pick 9, ADP 7.77
This might seem like cheating right away, however the ninth spot is within Green’s normal range of outcomes and in my perfect draft, he’d fall to me here.
RotoViz staff projections and Josh Hermsmeyer’s air yards model currently have Green ranked at the number-four WR . With my first pick, I’m locking in a starting WR who was on pace for 176 targets prior to his injury in week 11.
Other options: Jordy Nelson
ROUND 2: Demarco Murray
Overall Pick 16, ADP 16.5
I’m a fan of a full ZeroRB draft strategy in leagues where I can start up to four WRs on a weekly basis, as recommended by Shawn, but for a shorter starting roster, I like to leave my draft with a quality RB1 and Murray is among my favorites from my rushing data analysis.
As compared to data since 2009, Murray is better than league average at creating plays over three yards and ranks behind only LeSean McCoy and Ezekiel Elliott among the RBs being drafted before him in PPR leagues. Murray came at a hefty discount in 2016 after his disastrous 2015 campaign in Philadelphia. However, that season appears to be the clear outlier for fantasy purposes, as the only season in which Murray posted a negative FPOEPA.
And lastly, I’ll mention that Murray’s 3.1% TD rate from 2016 is inline with his career average and is also the league average since 2009, indicating a higher likelihood of it continuing.
Other options: Jay Ajayi
ROUND 3: Terrelle Pryor
Overall Pick 33, ADP 34.4
Pryor was one of the early stars in the air yards and WOPR movement of 2016 and that shows in the 2017 model ranking as the WR18. Pryor’s move to Washington could be seen as a negative; however, he is joining an offense that ranked seventh in the NFL in total pass attempts, as compared to the Browns’ rank of 19. And while Kessler is a RotoViz favorite, Pryor is moving to a QB that has finished each of the last two seasons within the top ten for passing yards.
Other options: Keenan Allen
ROUND 4: Stefon Diggs
Overall Pick 40, ADP 50.4
Diggs averaged over eight targets per game and remains the top target entering the 2017 season. Using the RotoViz Screener, I did a similarity search for Diggs’ production and it compiled an intriguing list.
Other options: Jarvis Landry
ROUND 5: Bilal Powell
Overall Pick 57, ADP 68.8
Powell and Matt Forte are expected to share the workload in New York, and with the injury to expected lead WR, Quincy Enunwa, the offense is likely to lean heavily on the running game. In games where Powell has received at least 10 rushing attempts, he’s been an effective fantasy asset, averaging more than 13 points per game.
Other options: C. J. Anderson
ROUND 6: Pierre Garcon
Overall Pick 64, ADP 69.6
Someone has to lead San Francisco in targets, right? And while you might feel a strong case of deja vu to the 2016 season and Torrey Smith, new head coach, Kyle Shannahan can ease some of those concerns. In 2013, in a Shannahan offense, Garcon finished the season as WR11 with 113 receptions and 1,346 yards.
Other options: Tyler Eifert
ROUND 7: Kyle Rudolph
Overall Pick 81, ADP 82.7
The addition of Sam Bradford in 2016 proved to be a beneficial one for Rudolph’s fantasy value. If Rudolph remains one of the top targeted TEs in the league, he’s likely to outperform his current ADP. His 209 PPR points were good enough for a TE2 finish in 2016.
Other options: Jeremy Maclin 1
ROUND 8: Theo Riddick
Overall Pick 88, ADP 86.4
In my fantasy face-off article for Riddick, I used the Sim Scores app to look at potential outcomes for his 2017. It gave the following possible outcomes:
His median score would be 206 points and would have equated to RB15 as compared to 2016 finishes, and his high outcome projection would be 288 points and RB6. As the RB33 in current ADP, he’s a must buy as a possible weekly starter.
Other options: Frank Gore
ROUND 9: Kenny Britt
Overall Pick 105, ADP 106.5
Other options: Jordan Matthews
ROUND 10: Thomas Rawls
Overall Pick 112, ADP 120.9
Unless information significantly changes between now and the start of the regular season, Rawls is operating as the lead back for the Seahawks offense. While the backfield will likely split the full workload, finding potential lead RB volume in the tenth round is too good to pass on.
Other options: James White
ROUND 11: Darren McFadden
Overall Pick 129, ADP 128.9
As it currently stands, Elliott is suspended for six games. During those games, McFadden is the most likely candidate to lead the Cowboys in rushing attempts. And during his last run as the lead back, McFadden eclipsed 1000 rushing yards for only the second time in his career. Assuming the suspension isn’t reduced, McFadden holds six games of likely RB2-level value.
Other options: Tyrod Taylor
ROUND 12: Carson Palmer
Overall Pick 136, ADP 138.7
Depending on the league, there may be other QB options available at pick 136. In the Best Ball ADP app, Palmer is the QB20, but he finished as QB17 in 2016 and QB5 in 2015. He’ll act as a streaming option throughout the season with potential to remain the starter if he exceeds projections.
Other options: Giovani Bernard
ROUND 13: D’Onta Foreman
Overall Pick 153, ADP 175.2
Foreman was a RotoViz favorite as a prospect. He scored the highest among any prospects in the Prospect Lab App and was the top RB in RotoDoc’s model. The Texans offense ranked sixth in total rush attempts, so there should be an opportunity for Foreman to see the field as an ancillary piece to Lamar Miller. And if Miller is injured or significantly underperforming, Foreman is a prime candidate to succeed.
Other options: Taylor Gabriel
ROUND 14: Kenny Golladay
Overall Pick 160, ADP 171.4
For the record, I was a fan of Golladay before the preseason game hype, but it sure did help solidify the confidence that he’ll have a clear role in the offense.
Other options: Chris Thompson
Defense that I’ll likely drop before week 2 in favor of a better matchup 2
Kicker because I have to3
MY PERFECT TEAM
QB: Carson Palmer
RB: Demarco Murray, Bilal Powell, Theo Riddick, Thomas Rawls, Darren McFadden, D’Onta Foreman
WR: A.J. Green, Terrelle Pryor, Stefon Diggs, Pierre Garcon, Kenny Britt, Kenny Golladay
TE: Kyle Rudolph
D/ST: Whoever is playing the Jets or a rookie QB Week 1
K: Zane Gonzalez
- This is the pick if Eifert were selected in Round 6 (back)
- Streaming defenses always feels like an inconvenience during the draft, but can be the best way to optimize your scoring. Keep an eye out for RotoViz’s weekly article with streaming options. (back)
- If you’re allowed to leave your draft without a kicker and you can pick one up just before kickoff, go for it. This can just as easily be a WR or RB who you’re waiting on a preseason report for. (back)