The Perfect 2017 Fantasy Football Draft
Have you ever wondered what the perfect draft would look like? No, I’m not talking about simply going through the highest scoring players at the end of the season and putting them on your team, because that’s unrealistic. What is realistic, is sticking to the ADP (average draft position) from back in August, and selecting one player from each round. No reaching, no waiting, just picking one player who falls in the ADP per round.
We’re always striving to be better, so looking back and dissecting how we could’ve landed on these players is a useful exercise. There were some rounds that had multiple studs hidden in them, but we’re only able to make one pick per round. Let’s go through and do the perfect fantasy football draft from 2017.
Le’Veon Bell (PIT)
This one is tough, because you aren’t guaranteed a top-three pick or anything, but we’re going with the best possible picks. You can say that Antonio Brown deserves to be here, but there’s wide receivers later in the draft who can give us that value. Getting Bell’s ridiculous 27.1 touches per game cannot be underestimated.
Todd Gurley (LAR)
You had to know this one was coming, right? Gurley had an MVP-caliber season and won fantasy titles, totaling 591 yards and scoring eight touchdowns in the fantasy playoffs. On the season, he scored 21.4 or more standard fantasy points on eight different occasions. There’s a case for him to be the No. 1 pick in fantasy drafts next year.
DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)
Another bounce-back player who struggled in 2016, Hopkins may have been the most consistent wide receiver in fantasy football, and that’s despite playing with a combination of DeShaun Watson, Tom Savage, and T.J. Yates under center. There wasn’t a game this year where he didn’t finish with at least 73 yards and/or a touchdown.
Keenan Allen (LAC)
This was a really close one between Allen and Kareem Hunt, but with some of the later round running backs available, Allen won the tie-breaker. He started out the year somewhat weak, finishing with fewer than seven fantasy points in 6-of-9 games, but turned things around, and wound up finishing as the No. 3 wide receiver in both standard and PPR leagues behind only DeAndre Hopkins and Antonio Brown. If you played in leagues with a 100-yard bonus, Allen got that for you seven times.
Larry Fitzgerald (ARI)
This is one that I wouldn’t have expected. While Fitzgerald was never going to completely fall off, nobody could’ve seen another top-10 finish on the horizon, especially if we knew that he’d be catching passes from Blaine Gabbert and Drew Stanton for a majority of the year. He was steady, too, never racking up 150 yards or multiple touchdowns, which makes it all that much more impressive.
Cam Newton (CAR)
This was by far the worst round to pick in last year. This is where we could have reached into the seventh-round to take a player, but that would be breaking the rules. The only other player we’d consider here is Delanie Walker, but that doesn’t make sense seeing as we’re taking a tight end next round. Newton wound up finishing as the No. 2 quarterback behind only Russell Wilson, so I guess we’ll take that here. Don’t worry, we’re going to add a second quarterback.
Zach Ertz (PHI)
Through the first eight weeks of the season, Ertz was the fantasy MVP. You got him in the seventh-round, and he was the best tight end at that point. Yes, better than Rob Gronkowski and Travis Kelce during that time. While he slowed down a bit as the year went on, he still finished No. 3 at the end of the year and was one of the most consistent scorers at the position.
Chris Hogan (NE)
This was another terrible round to pick in last year, as Hogan was the best of the bunch, which is really odd considering he missed half the year. But don’t forget how good he was over the first half of the season, as he was the No. 7 wide receiver after eight weeks of play, finishing with at least 60 yards and/or a touchdown in 6-of-8 games. Just to give you an idea as to how bad the eighth-round was, here’s a list of the remaining players: Jonathan Stewart, Stephen Gostkowski, Thomas Rawls, Broncos defense, Theo Riddick, Matthew Stafford, Justin Tucker, Tyrell Williams, Chiefs defense, Matt Bryant, and Philip Rivers. We likely would’ve gone with Stafford or Rivers if we didn’t have a quarterback.
Adam Thielen (MIN)
One of the best picks of the entire draft. While Stefon Diggs surprised some people, Thielen picked up right where he left off in 2016. Despite scoring just four touchdowns on the season, Thielen snuck into the top-12 wide receivers on the year with his 1,276 yards, which was the fifth-most among wide receivers. In PPR formats, he outscored A.J. Green. Crazy, right?
Marvin Jones (DET)
There were some (me) who were biting on Jones as a top-30 wide receiver back in 2016 drafts, only to be let down as the season went on. It appears we were just a year too early, because Jones finished as the No. 5 wide receiver in standard leagues this year, totaling over 1,100 yards and nine touchdowns. We’re acquiring some great depth at wide receiver.
Rex Burkhead (NE)
Shout-out to those of you who believed in Burkhead on such a limited sample size. Most don’t want to trust Patriots running backs, but this year was different. Once supplanting Mike Gillislee from the active roster, Burkhead racked up 409 total yards and seven touchdowns over the next seven games. In fact, from Week 8 and on, there was just one game in which he didn’t total at least 83 yards and/or score a touchdown.
Robby Anderson (NYJ)
This round was a tough one, as both Anderson and Cooper Kupp were deserving of a pick, so we ultimately went with the one who scored more points. There was a stretch during 2017 where Anderson was one of the top-five wide receivers in fantasy, averaging 85.9 yards and 0.9 touchdowns per game from Week 6 through Week 13. Did you know he finished the season with more fantasy points than Mike Evans?
Jacksonville Jaguars Defense (JAX)
Quite possibly the best fantasy defense that we’ve ever seen. The Jaguars defense gave you an advantage in your matchups every single week, as they allowed opponents just 16.8 points per game (2nd-best), sacking them 3.4 times (2nd-best), and generating 2.1 turnovers per game (NFL-best). The best part is that they’re going to be good for a long time.
Alvin Kamara (NO)
The pick of the year. Raise your hand if you knew Kamara would be a top-three running back in his rookie season. Now put your hand down, liar. While I loved Kamara as a prospect, seeing him buried behind Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson was a tough pill to swallow. From Week 7 and on, Kamara finished with the second-most fantasy points, behind only Todd Gurley. There were just three games all year where he finished with less than 8.7 standard points. Two of them were the first two games of the season, while the third one was when he needed to leave the game with a concussion. What a stud.
Dion Lewis (NE)
Another Patriots running back? Oh yeah. Lewis was as consistent as they come, and that was despite Burkhead stealing all of the goal-line work. After touching the ball just 12 times through the first three games, Lewis came alive and finished as the No. 7 running back from Week 4-17. You really could play Lewis and Burkhead on the same team and be just fine.
Carson Wentz (PHI)
This was where we were able to get creative because it’s essentially the 16th round and beyond, which left open a lot of possibilities. While Jared Goff and JuJu Smith-Schuster got serious consideration, we can’t pass up Wentz, who was likely on his way to an MVP award. Despite having to miss the final three games of the year, he was still able to finish as the No. 5 fantasy quarterback on the season. His 33 passing touchdowns were second to only Russell Wilson.
Wrapping It Up
When looking back at the team we’ve assembled, we thought you might like to see what it looks like together. This is where we get to choose who starts and who goes to the bench:
The next time you complain about your draft-slot, remember that this team could’ve been assembled with no particular draft-slot. While it’s highly unlikely that anyone drafted this exact team, we now know what perfection looks like. During the offseason, I’ll attempt to figure out what the perfect 2018 draft looks like before the season’s played. On a totally unrelated note, let me know when you find the gold at the end of the rainbow.