Chances are, if you landed here you are A) Kinda, sorta wanting to play fantasy football and B) Toooooo lazy to do actual research.
You’re playing, but thinking, “What in the hell is aDOT and receiver air conversion ratio?”
Now if you know the answer to those questions, good on you — but this column clearly isn’t for you.
This is for my people scanning this on their phones while on the can, trying to squeeze in a little reading time while their next life loads up on Candy Crush.
I’m speaking to the kind of fantasy player that doesn’t care about actually winning their league but would, like any normal person, prefer not taking L’s on the regular.
To recap: Playing fantasy, reruns of Chopped >>> fantasy research, don’t come in last place.
I got you.
I’ll assume you’re playing a typical 10-12 team setup with a snake draft and probably with PPR but most definitely not one of those fancy double-FLEX, quad-WR, points-per-first-down, TE 1.5x PPR, FAAB dynasty leagues. You and I both know that if that was the setup, you’d be entirely too lazy to join it.
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The basic idea here is we’re either going for high projected volume or secondary options attached to plus offenses. The twist is we’re chasing a high floor instead of a high ceiling as well as a roster that also requires minimal management once the season starts. Because, let’s be real, hammering the waiver wire on a weekly basis is going to severely cut into your Fortnite time.
Remember why you’re here in the first place: You. Are. Lazy.
Let the old Koh do the thinking for you, and ride this roster straight to a not-horrible 5th-place finish.
Here’s the TL:DR version for you truly lazy drafters
Round 14: Denver defense, Philadelphia defense, Buffalo defense
ZERO-RB? NAHHH …
You may have heard of this crazy concept from this crazy stupid fantasy writer of going zero running backs to start your draft. While effective, it also requires a ton of in-season management and quite frankly, in the words of the great Sweet Brown, ain’t nobody got time for that.
Spelunking the waiver wire for hot pickups and speculative adds requires time and effort. To avoid that, we need high-volume running backs that also don’t have a notable injury history.
I’ve got Alvin Kamara as my top overall player because we’re talking about a guy who, even in a split role with Mark Ingram and in back-to-back seasons, has gone north of 1,550 total yards, scored 13 or more touchdowns and collected exactly 81 receptions in each of his first two seasons.
With Ingram gone, expect the third-year pro to see at least a slight uptick in volume via the ground game, offering both a higher floor and a higher ceiling. Plus, among the consensus top backs, Kamara is attached to the best offense with Drew Brees and Sean Payton shepherding the attack.
By the way, I’m avoiding Ezekiel Elliott because I want no part of his potential holdout. He almost assuredly will play at some point this year but managing around that roster hole requires a skilled hand and what?? You think that double-crust blueberry pie is going to eat itself?? Nah, let someone else more dedicated to this fake game do that.
Other Round 1 picks: McCaffrey, Barkley, Bell, David Johnson, Chubb, Conner
RB-RB TO START
Obviously, if anyone from the Round 1 pool is around, grab them but if not, Aaron Jones is my favorite second-round RB regardless of being lazy or not.
Todd Gurley has a scary knee condition and Melvin Gordon sounds way too serious about holding out. Joe Mixon is a good player on a potentially horrendous offense and Dalvin Cook has been the exact opposite of durable, having missed 17 games over the last two seasons.
Meanwhile, Jones has been one of the most explosive players in the NFL and a RB I graded out as a top-10 back in 2018. Now without the shackles of Mike McCarthy, Jones has a chance to step forward and produce top-10 RB numbers in what should be a solid offense.
Other Round 2 picks: Gurley, Mixon, Cook
RAISE THE ROOF… ER … FLOOR
Once the third round rolls around we’re going tight end because the three TE’s listed here are head and shoulders ahead of the rest of the pack. We’re grabbing them because they should provide you a very, very stable floor at the position each and every week whereas others at the position could literally give you a zero spot.
If Travis Kelce is there (probably not) that’s an auto-pick in the third. No Kelce, no problem, George Kittle was a monster last year (1,377 yards, 5 TDs on 136 targets) and Zach Ertz is a black hole for targets. Carson Wentz loves him and seems to force the ball his way regardless of personnel or situation.
Ertz’s 156 targets were the most among all tight ends but were the sixth-most in the NFL, just trailing DeAndre Hopkins (163) but ahead of Adam Thielen (150) and Stefon Diggs (149). That is just insane volume.
People keep saying the Eagles will mix it up, but I’ll believe it when I see it.
In the fourth round, it’s finally time to start picking receivers. I could give you a long spiel but just go with it because the siren song of your friend’s Netflix account that you’re “borrowing” is getting stronger and louder.
Round 3 picks: Kelce, Kittle, Ertz
Round 4 picks: Stefon Diggs, Amari Cooper, Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks, Chris Godwin
FORGET THE HATERS, TAKE A QB
The number one mantra you’ve likely heard chanted over and over and over again is that you have to wait on drafting a quarterback. And while yes, I wholeheartedly agree that that is the best strategy to win, it again requires you to “stream” the position.
I think we both know that you’re 100 percent not going to look up FPA or heaven forbid DVOA every single grueling week to find the best quarterback matchups. That is not something one just researches while in line waiting to order their nonfat triple-espresso flat-white with extra foam.
What that means is that you need a super solid quarterback that will provide you a super solid floor.
In this fifth round range, I absolutely love Baker Mayfield. With Odell Beckham Jr., Jarvis Landry, Antonio Callaway, and the hyper-athletic David Njoku, Baker may have the best weaponry surrounding him in the league.
Plus, new offensive coordinator Todd Monken has a long history of producing high-octane passing attacks. Most recently as the O.C. for Tampa Bay, Monken helped middling quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston throw for a collective 5,125 yards. I salivate thinking what Baker will do under Monken’s guidance.
Other Round 5 picks: Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan
FILL OUT YOUR STARTERS
At this point you’re thinking, “Good lord, how are we only in the sixth round?!?” It’s all good; see below for the list of players that should see high volume as secondary options. Picks in Rounds 6 and 7 are basically interchangeable but you want some combination of a receiver and a running back.
In Round 8, I want to highlight Josh Gordon. It feels like a bit of a reach but as the clear X receiver in the Patriots offense, Flash feels extremely undervalued right now. Twitter user Fantasy Football Troglodyte has a really good thread on the matter.
I’m not as bullish as the Troglodyte but 100-120 total targets (6-8 targets per game) seems entirely reasonable and a 75-rec/1,100-yard/7-TD slash line seems like a fair, even conservative estimate, should he play all 16 games.
The threat of suspension is always there, which is driving down his price, but at this point in the draft, there isn’t anyone on the board that possesses as much upside.
Round 6: Jarvis Landry, D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson
Round 7: Austin Ekeler, Tarik Cohen, Darrell Henderson
Round 8: Josh Gordon, Marvin Jones, Marquez Valdez-Scantling, Sterling Shepard
MAKE LIKE JUVENILE AND BACK THAT THANG UP
You barely recognize the players left on the board, if at all. Just a few more picks and then you can queue up the rest of your guys, bounce, auto draft, fire up your Xbox and get back to spamming that stiff arm button on Madden.
But before you’re all the way gone, we’re going to reach again and grab a backup quarterback. I can hear the collective howling from seasoned players now but ignore their nonsense. We’re going to grab another potential top-10 signal-caller and not look back. Why? Well, bye weeks for one, but also for a little bit of insurance.
Maybe your starter completely busts out, maybe he gets injured. I’m not freaking Nostradamus over here — sometimes stuff just happens. And should something befall your starter, having another locked-and-loaded top-10 guy waiting in the wings is an awfully nice insurance policy. And who knows, maybe you’ll get frisky one week and actually spot-start the better matchup.
Enter: Jared Goff or Philip Rivers. Two quarterbacks with good coaching and tons of talent surrounding them. Not sexy picks by any stretch of the imagination, but as rock-solid as they come.
Round 9: Jared Goff, Philip Rivers
SLEEPERS, SLEEPERS, SLEEPERS
You want to parachute out of this draft and get back to your 90 Day Fiancé marathon, I get it. So let me throw out a few sleepers and you can get back to trying to figure out why Larissa continues to pronounce that weird guy’s name as “Col-Tee.”
Matt Breida, Donte Moncrief and Duke Johnson will see their fair share of snaps and carry with them tremendous upside. All three would be great picks this late.
If you’re interested, I have a longer explanation on some of the running backs in this tier (at the bottom of the story). I also expound on Moncrief and Buffalo’s John Brown having sleeper appeal.
Before you leave, don’t forget to queue up a high-upside tight end.
Jimmy Graham is aging faster than Matt Damon at the end of Saving Private Ryan but he still has enough juice in a good offense with a great quarterback to earn a fantasy roster spot.
From a defense standpoint, snatch up Denver’s D/ST if possible. Vic Fangio is their new head coach and he is an absolute mastermind when it comes to that side of the ball.
No one really cares about kickers but Justin Tucker is the best in the business. Other than that, just take one that is booting them for a good offensive team.
Round 10-12: Matt Breida, Donte Moncrief, Duke Johnson, Devin Singletary, Alexander Mattison, Damien Harris, John Brown, Darwin Thompson, Tony Pollard
Round 13: Jimmy Graham, Austin Hooper, Mark Andrews
Round 14: Denver defense, Philadelphia defense, Buffalo defense
Round 15: Justin Tucker, Greg Zuerlein, Harrison Butker, Stephen Gostkowski