Unlike last season, #85 on the Patriots will put up huge numbers.
There are a number of factors which may dictate or influence someone’s value in a fantasy football draft.
For example, league size (usually between 10-15 teams unless you’re on an FX show) and roster size (usually anywhere from 10-20 draft picks per team) will go a long way towards making your final decisions on who you'll want to draft onto your roster.
You also have to strongly consider the makeup of your roster when drafting. While you may be willing to wait on drafting your quarterback in a one-QB league, you certainly would be less likely to do so if you are in a two-QB league, or in a league where you can use a QB in your flex spot.
Another factor you must strongly consider is your league’s scoring system. In leagues where passing touchdowns are only awarded three or four points, the impact of running quarterbacks like Cam Newton and Robert Griffin III is greater than in leagues where all touchdowns are treated equally.
This list is my own personal list of players whom I feel are either being drafted too early or too late, on a round by round basis. I’m using average draft position data from six different sites as accumulated by fantasypros.com.
For the purposes of this exercise, I will be using a hypothetical 12-team league with 15 players per roster using standard scoring. In each round I will highlight players who I believe are being drafted either too early (“overvalued”) or too late (“undervalued”) based on the data gathered.
Hopefully this exercise will make me look smart, but the truth is that most of the players on my “undervalued” list will be lucky to make it through Week 1 without suffering a debilitating injury.
Aaron Rodgers is the reigning and defending champion in the eyes of fantasy owners.
I feel the need to preface this by saying that we all can agree that Aaron Rodgers is a fantasy stud. In fact, nobody selected in Round 1 of a fantasy football draft is going to truly be undervalued. If a player is being selected this early, it's clearly for a very good reason.
Aaron Rodgers is currently going off the board at No. 2 in most drafts. I'd pick him No. 1. I realize that's hardly a stretch, but I feel the need to point out a couple of things.
In fact, all three of those quarterbacks totaled more than 100 passes thrown than Rodgers.
The Packers were No. 27 in rushing last year, and that was with Ryan Grant. Without him, I’m sure Mike McCarthy is perfectly content to let Rodgers air it out a few more times per game. I don't see Cedric Benson suddenly getting 20 touches per game.
Also, last season saw the Packers steamroll their way to a 15-1 regular season record, including nine wins by at least two scores. As a result, Rodgers attempted only 114 fourth quarter passes. The Packers will likely play in some closer contests this year, meaning Rodgers may have to throw the ball more.
I'd expect a 10 percent increase in pass attempts for Rodgers this season. While that may not necessarily correlate to a 10 percent increase in production, it doesn't have to. Rodgers was No. 1 last year and he'll be No. 1 again this year.
If you're feeling lucky, draft McFadden in Round 1.
Having McFadden on this list is all about risk management. Run DMC is an other-worldly talent and he may very well justify a first-round fantasy pick.
Over the first six games of the 2011 season, he averaged more than 125 all-purpose yards per game. If he stays healthy this season, he could eclipse the 2,000 total yard mark. But therein lies the problem. He never stays healthy.
He has yet to play in more than 13 games in a season during his four years in the NFL.
What's worse is that his injuries never seem to be of the cut and dried variety. If a player tears his ACL, we know to cut bait and move on. But that is hardly ever the case with McFadden.
Last season, he was diagnosed with a foot sprain after Week 7. All signs pointed to a return in a couple of weeks. Then a couple of weeks turned into a couple more weeks. This pattern repeated itself until McFadden was finally shut down for the season.
By then it was too late for many McFadden owners. The DeMarco Murrays of the world had already been snatched up, and McFadden owners were left holding the bag.
If you want to take McFadden in round 1, be my guest. One of these years he'll play all 16 games and prove worthy of an owner's faith. But don't be surprised when you're clawing for a playoff spot and Run DMC is MIA. Talk about "Hard Times"...
Matt Forte is a rock solid RB1 to build your roster around.
There are many different directions you can choose to go in round 2. There are multiple tight ends, multiple running backs coming off ACL tears, multiple running backs who have been slowed by preseason injuries and multiple wide receiver studs.
Then there's Matt Forte.
Forte has averaged more than 100 yards per game over his four year NFL career. He had played in every game before missing the final four games of the 2011 season.
He's available in many drafts in round 2. This isn''t rocket science. This is a steal, folks.
The reason Forte is available so late is because fantasy players realize that you need to have an elite QB on your roster because many NFL offenses are now geared towards the passing game. As a result, there are five quarterbacks currently being selected in round 1, much more than in any other year.
Forte is currently the seventh running back being taken off the board, which isn't too out of line with his expected production at the position.
Some people may worry that Michael Bush will cut into Forte's production, but I don't buy it. Bush will vulture the occasional touchdown, but Forte will still rack up 20-25 touches every week as the focal point of the Chicago offense.
Also don't forget, in all the points Forte had last season, not one of them came from a goal-to-go touchdown run.
If you find yourself at the wraparound position (spots 12 & 13 in a 12 team draft), don't worry about missing out on the stud wide receivers in rounds 1 and 2. That position is so deep and there will be plenty of opportunities to draft players who will provide you with solid production.
Julio Jones should have a big season, but the hype's gone too far.
As fantasy owners, we always feel the need to be ahead of the curve. We want to be the one who 'discovers' a sleeper or breakout player. The problem with this, of course, is that there really isn't a such thing as a sleeper because information is so prevalent nowadays.
The reaction, therefore, seems to be being reaching for players whom we feel are going to take the next step towards greatness. Exhibit A this season is Julio Jones.
Julio Jones is going to be a great receiver someday. He may even be a great player in 2012. But he is currently being drafted in the second round as the fourth wide receiver being taken off the board.
Could he live up to that expectation? Sure. But I just can't sit here and guarantee that a wide receiver who has yet to record a 1,000 yard season is going to have a better season in 2012 than Greg Jennings, Roddy White, Wes Welker, etc.
I certainly understand the appeal of selecting Jones given his vast potential, and if you're picking in the middle of round 2 and you want Jones, you may have to take him given that he likely won't be around in round 3. But personally I'd rather have a proven commodity, like his teammate, in round 2.
White has had at least 150 fantasy points in five straight seasons.
On the other hand, Roddy White is money in the bank. He's had at least 1,153 receiving yards in each of the past five seasons, has not missed a single game in his NFL career and is showing no signs of slowing down.
Last season, four of White's five 100-yard games took place in November and December, so it's not as if the emergence of Jones is going to relegate "Rowdy" Roddy to fantasy also-ran status. If I had to bet, I'd still say White ends up the season as the Falcons' No. 1 fantasy receiver.
While Jones' star is no doubt on the rise, White is the safer bet for consistent production week in and week out. Draft White and you'll sleep easy on Saturday nights.
Frank Gore will see more time on the sidelines in 2012 than in previous years.
Frank Gore has been a great player for the 49ers for many years, but the writing is on the wall.
After averaging more than 20 touches per season in each year from 2006-2010, Gore touched the ball less than 16 times per game over the second half of last season.
During that time, Gore did not record a single 100-yard game on the ground. He also averaged four yards per carry just once over those eight games. He also caught only four passes during that span, a far cry from the 3.64 receptions per game that he had averaged from 2006-2010.
In addition to a decline in production, there are now more mouths to feed in the 49er backfield. Kendall Hunter is expected to see more playing time, and San Francisco signed Brandon Jacobs, who may be in line to carry the bulk of the carries near the goal line.
Personally, I would rather have Ahmad Bradshaw, Darren Sproles or Doug Martin (all of whom should be available in round 4) than take Gore in the third.
Percy Harvin is a weapon as a runner, receiver and return man.
Percy Harvin was a top-10 wide receiver in 2011, and yet he's not being drafted as such going into 2012. There are reasons for this. As a 2010 Harvin owner, I can attest to the frustration that goes along with monitoring Harvin's litany of day-to-day injuries.
However, he did play in all 16 games last season, and he's only missed three games during his three years in the NFL. So perhaps labeling him as "injury prone" is a bit undeserved.
Harvin is a rare weapon in the NFL in that he lines up in the backfield with relative frequency. He led all wide receivers in touches last season and may very well repeat that in 2012. He may even see some additional work early on as Adrian Peterson rounds into form while recovering from a torn ACL.
Harvin is also a rare breed in that he is also the team's primary kick returner. Obviously the odds of Harvin returning a kick for a TD are quite long in a given week, but it's something to keep in mind, particularly in yardage leagues.
Reggie Bush gained 1,086 on the ground last season, obliterating his previous career high of 581 yards. Will we see a repeat performance in 2012?
I suppose it's possible, but I remain skeptical. Bush did seem to gain confidence as the season wore on, recording four straight 100 yard games down the stretch.
But it's difficult to endorse Bush as a top-tier running back when his durability has been such an issue throughout his career.
Bush should be the Dolphins' lead back at the beginning of the season, but it's hard to envision another 1,000 yard season given his injury history.
He's also proven to be more effective throughout his career when used as a complimentary piece in a running game instead of the focal point. I believe Miami will limit Bush's touches, and thus his fantasy impact as well.
Brandon Lloyd's upgrade at QB should lead to an uptick in production as well.
Brandon Lloyd is now a New England Patriot, where he will be reunited with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Lloyd has played 23 games under McDaniels while formerly a member of the Denver Broncos and St. Louis Rams.
In those 23 games, he has 111 catches, 1,836 yards and 14 TD. If you average those numbers out over the course of a 16 game season, it would add up to about 77 catches, 1,277 yards and 10 TD, numbers which would make Lloyd a borderline top=five wide receiver.
For all of the hype Demaryius Thomas seems to be getting based on his upgrade at QB, Lloyd's similar path seems to have gone relatively unnoticed by comparison.
Don’t worry about New England having too many mouths to feed. Lloyd is their best deep/outside threat and he will have plenty of opportunities to amass huge numbers. Lloyd could easily bring back round 2-3 value.
Fantasy owners are betting on a breakout from Demaryius Thomas in 2012.
I understand why Demaryius Thomas is getting so much hype. He's a freakish athlete. Once he rounded into form after rupturing his Achilles, he averaged 90 yards per game over his last five games.
Then, he torched the Steelers for 204 yards in the playoffs. Oh yeah, and he just went from the outhouse (Tim Tebow) to the penthouse (Peyton Manning)
But that last point might not work out as well in Thomas' favor as it would seem on the surface. For one, fantasy owners are expecting big things from Thomas based solely on the Broncos' change at QB. I'm fine with taking Thomas in round 6 or 7, but round 4 is too much of a stretch for me.
Also, keep in mind Manning's reputation as a stickler for precision and timing, as well as the fact that Thomas' route running skills still leave a little to be desired. Manning may find more compatibility with Eric Decker or perhaps even Brandon Stokley, at least early on in the season.
If I was taking a wideout in the fifth, I would much rather have Brandon Lloyd or Jeremy Maclin than Demaryius Thomas.
Antonio Brown should score more than two TDs in 2012. Let's just hope he sticks the landings.
Over the last ten games of the 2011 season, Antonio Brown was Pittsburgh's best wide receiver, averaging 85 yards per game.
With Mike Wallace keeping defenses occupied across the field, and with a running game riddled with question marks, I expect Brown to maintain and quite possibly surpass that production this season.
Furthermore, it’s practically a given that Brown will increase his scoring output in 2012. Last season, Brown managed just two touchdowns. Assuming he scores more touchdowns, his fantasy production should increase even with a possible drop in yardage.
Given these factors, Brown's status as a solid No. 2 fantasy receiver should remain intact.
If you plan on drafting a defense in Round 6, please let me know so I can join your league.
OK, I’m only going to rant about fantasy defenses once, because the truth is that I can probably go through the next eight rounds of this hypothetical draft and pick five or six defenses for my “overvalued" pick, so let me get this disclaimer out of the way… picking defenses is a complete and total crap shoot.
First of all, there’s hardly any consistency year to year with regard to how defenses rank in terms of fantasy. Furthermore, the difference between a “great” fantasy defense and an “average” fantasy defense (meaning one you can likely stream off the waiver wire in a given week) is negligible at best.
The gap between the “elites” and the “averages-above averages” is much greater at the offensive positions than it is with fantasy defenses.
In ESPN leagues, the 49ers scored 169 fantasy points. Cincinnati was ninth with 133 points. That is a difference of 36 points, or roughly three points per week. To put that into perspective, let's compare defense to quarterback and tight end, the other positions where most leagues use one starter.
In 2011, Aaron Rodgers outscored Philip Rivers (last year’s #9 QB) by 139 points, and Rob Gronkowski outscored Brent Celek by 128 points.
As such, you'd be much better off taking a third or fourth running back or wide receiver and bolstering your depth and potentially catching lightning in a bottle as opposed to selecting a defense this early. I believe you should take a defense with your penultimate pick and a kicker in the last round. The middle rounds are the time to stockpile depth at the skill positions, particularly at running back and wide receiver.
Peyton Hillis may not reach his 2010 output, but he's still a good value in Round 7.
There's a certain school of thought that the best way to extract value from a fantasy draft is to pick the biggest underachievers from the prior season. Because we're all prone to recency bias, many fantasy owners tend to put way too much stock (good or bad) in a player's most recent performance.
Peyton Hillis' value over the past two seasons is a prime example of this on both sides.
In 2010, he emerged seemingly out of nowhere (in most leagues he was either a late round flier or waiver wire pickup) to win many a fantasy title by virtue of his 1,654 all-purpose yards and 13 touchdowns.
In 2011, the hype machine was in full gear - Madden cover, early round fantasy pick - and Hillis let everyone down, ending the season with just 587 rushing yards and three touchdowns while battling injuries and rumors of contract disputes and concerns regarding his dedication and work ethic.
In 2012, Hillis is on a new team and is behind Jamaal Charles on the Chiefs' depth chart at running back. This has caused Hillis to be available anywhere from Round 7 to Round 10 in most drafts. Which is an excellent value, in my opinion.
Even if Charles regains his 2010 form (which is no guarantee, of course) that doesn't mean that Hillis will simply become an afterthought in Kansas City's offensive attack.
While Charles was setting the world on fire in 2010, Thomas Jones quietly racked up more than 1,000 yards and 6 touchdowns in his own right. Considering that Jones was 32 at the time (Hillis is still just 26) and Kansas City's ever-improving offensive line, I see Jones' 2010 season as Hillis' baseline.
Hillis should also be the short-yardage and goal line back, and should receive double digit touches every week. At the very least he should provide the same output as Shonn Greeene, and he's available a full round later.
The crowded Carolina backfield makes it difficult to endorse any individual Panther RB.
I took Jonathan Stewart in a draft right around this spot a few weeks ago. I do like him from a skills standpoint. But I have to admit that right now I'm not exactly thrilled having drafted him here.
First of all, Stewart carried the ball less than nine times per game on average in 2011. So right there, he becomes someone you're not thrilled about starting on a weekly basis.You simply can't bank on 15-20 touches in a given week.
In previous seasons, he had been splitting carries with DeAngelo Williams. But last year, he essentially split carries with both Williams and Cam Newton. In fact, Newton was basically Carolina's goal-line running back last season.
Perhaps in an effort to lighten the load on their star QB, Carolina acquired Mike Tolbert in the off-season. While I don't expect many carries from Tolbert, he is somewhat likely to steal the bulk of the goal-line work in 2012.
Stewart also just suffered a sprained ankle, and his Week 1 status is in question. With so many options running the football, Carolina will certainly not be rushing Stewart back anytime soon.
Kevin Smith is not spectacular, but he's steady and provides good value.
Kevin Smith is not going to set the world on fire. He’s not a home run hitter and he has had durability issues. But in round 8, Kevin Smith is the definition of a value pick.
Jahvid Best will start the year on the PUP list, and there's no guarantee of him returning at all. Mikel Leshoure could receive more carries as the season continues, but Smith should start the season as the lead dog in a high-powered offense.
Last season, Smith had more than 500 total yards and seven touchdowns in just seven games. Health is always a concern, of course, but if Smith holds off Leshoure, we should expect a reasonably similar performance over a full season. He's also the Lions' best pass-blocking back, so he will likely be a three down running back, a rarity in today's NFL.
If your other RB/flex spots are solid and you want to swing for the fences in round 8, I'd suggest taking a look at either Ben Tate or C.J. Spiller. But if you're looking for a steady RB2/flex option, there's nothing wrong with selecting Smith here.
Can you tell these Redskins RBs apart? Because Mike Shanahan can't seem to.
Where to begin with Roy Helu... well we can start with the fact that he's a Mike Shanahan running back, meaning all bets are off when it comes to projections. He could gain 150 yards one week and see three carries the next, with seemingly no rhyme or reason. These are the types of players I hate to own.
If you draft Helu, you may very well look at his numbers at the end of the season and be satisfied. However, on a weekly basis, he will drive you nuts. You will never know when to start him and when to bench him.
I would not feel comfortable given Shanny's propensity for changing featured running backs at the drop of a hat. We've heard that Helu, Evan Royster, Tim Hightower and now Alfred Morris may all see various levels of playing time. It's simply not worth the trouble.
Besides, Helu has already had issues with soreness in both of his Achilles’ tendons this preseason. There’s no reason for Helu to be drafted this high. There are plenty of safer options, and there are also plenty of better fliers at this point in the draft. Let someone else deal with this headache.
Malcom Floyd could be a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners in 2012.
You may see Malcom Floyd on this list, take a gander at his career numbers and think to yourself, "self, I have zero interest in drafting a WR who has never eclipsed a) 45 catches, b) 856 yards and c) six touchdowns. Why am I reading this?"
To that I respond with the following... for the past several seasons Malcom Floyd has been a serviceable (real-life, not fantasy) No. 2 wide receiver for the Chargers behind Vincent Jackson. This season, the Chargers essentially replaced V-Jax with Robert Meachem.
But guess who has never eclipsed 45 catches or 722 yards himself?
So who's to say Malcom Floyd isn't the Chargers' new No. 1 receiver?
Think that's far fetched? Well think about this - in Floyd's last eight games in 2011, he surpassed the 90 yard mark six times. In five of those games, he also scored a TD. In other words, Floyd scored 15 fantasy points in five of his last eight games last season. Calvin Johnson had nine such games last season.
OK, OK, comparing Floyd to Megatron is a bit much. I'll concede that. But would you be completely shocked if Floyd ends 2012 with 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns? Oh, you would? Still? I tried...
"I'm going in the ninth round? Woohoo!"
Remember my theory about drafting a defense too early? That goes double for kickers. Picking a kicker is a much greater crap shoot than picking a defense. I always wait until the last round to take a kicker in any draft, regardless of format.
Last season, David Akers broke the single-season record for field goals made in a season. And yet he still only outscored the #9 kicker by a mere 43 points, or less than three points per week.
If we consider Akers an outlier, given the fact that the NFL record for field goals does not get broken every year, let's consider this - the difference between the No. 2 K (John Kasay) and the No. 17 K (Alex Henery) was just 29 points, or less than two per week.
In other words, kickers are kickers are kickers. You're much better off loading up on offensive players and simply releasing your kicker during his bye week.
Ryan Williams will have the starting job when Beanie Wells either gets hurt or proves himself ineffective. In other words, very soon.
Truth be told, I see good values all over the place in Round 10. Titus Young and Lance Moore are a couple favorites of mine.
Also, Toby Gerhart can be a sneaky early season value. But Ryan Williams might have more upside than any of those players.
It should be noted that Williams is probably less safe than those players as well. Williams is one year removed from major knee surgery and is no lock to take the starting gig away from incumbent Beanie Wells.
But Wells is less than 100 percent physically in his own right. Plus, Wells is pretty one-dimensional and certainly less explosive than Williams. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt will look to use Williams as more of a change of pace back early, but Williams may very well earn the lion's share of the work later in the season.
I'm fine with drafting Young or Moore if you need a wide receiver here, but if you're looking to speculate on a runner who may be his team's starter sooner rather than later, Ryan Williams makes an excellent selection here.
Will Michael Crabtree have enough opportunities to make big plays in 2012?
Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
It wasn't very long ago that Crabtree was a very popular fantasy pick. Now, he's not even going in the top 100 in any of the six sites I'm using as the basis for this article. Yet he's still only 24 years old. So what gives?
Well, certainly there is the owner who is gun shy about getting burned by Crabtree again, as many of us were in 2010. Still, he wasn't that bad, nor was he last year. He was certainly serviceable.
However, the 49ers acquired Randy Moss and Mario Manningham in the off-season, meaning Crabtree will almost certainly see his role within the 49ers' offense diminished. Because San Francisco's offense is conservative as it is, it's hard to have faith in a given week that Crabtree will provide sufficient production.
At the end of the year, Crabtree's numbers may look halfway decent, but I wouldn't ever be truly confident in starting Crabtree, so I'd look elsewhere if I needed an extra wide receiver in round 10.
Rashad Jennings could be a good early season weapon available towards the end of your draft.
We are less than two weeks away from the start of the regular season, and Maurice Jones-Drew's holdout is still ongoing. Should it linger into the season, Rashad Jennings would be the beneficiary. As it is, Jennings is slated to be the Week 1 starter regardless of MJD's contract situation, according to head coach Mike Mularkey.
In two seasons as MJD's primary backup, Jennings has averaged more than five yards per carry, so it's conceivable that Jennings could provide decent value until MJD returns. Despite averaging just eight touches a game in 2010, Jennings still racked up more than 50 yards per game.
If you're weak at quarterback or are in a two-QB league, you may want to take another QB like Joe Flacco, Josh Freeman, Carson Palmer or Andy Dalton. Otherwise, it's worth a shot to take Jennings here and hope that Jones-Drew continues his holdout.
Nate Washington is looking to build on a career-best 2011.
From 2006-2010, Nate Washington played in all 80 games. Yet he never averaged more than three receptions or 45 yards per game in any of those years.
When Kenny Britt got injured in Week 3 last year, Washington stepped up to become Tennessee's No. 1 wideout, finishing the season with career highs across the board. (74 catches, 1,023 yards, seven TD). Even still, he only managed double digit fantasy points on five occasions in 2011.
With Britt back in the fold (though perhaps not still 100% and in line for an NFL suspension) and the Titans' selection of Kendall Wright in the first round of this year's NFL draft, I expect Washington to regress slightly.
While he proved last year that he can handle the extra workload, Washington is still not a true No. 1 NFL wide receiver. I'd split the difference between the last two years and figure Washington for something like 55 catches and 800 yards. Decent numbers, and you could do worse if you're simply looking to add depth. Just don't expect a repeat of last season.
Mike Williams disappointed his owners in 2011, but presents a potentiall opportunity in 2012.
Mike Williams was labeled a bust last season, as he managed just 771 receiving yards and three touchdowns. I was a disgruntled Williams owner myself. But I think the hate has gone a little too far heading into 2012.
I'm not here to tell you that you should draft Williams expecting a repeat of his 2010 rookie campaign, where he had 11 touchdowns to go along with 964 yards. But he does present a good buy-low opportunity.
He's not the kind of receiver who is going to dominate in any particular week. Even in 2010, he only managed one 100-yard game. But he's a skilled receiver who may often see single coverage playing opposite Vincent Jackson.
He's also still just 25 years old, so it's within reason that Williams could learn a couple new tricks of the trade and regain some of that 2010 mojo. I'd much rather have Williams and his potential upside than someone like Nate Washington, and Williams is available 20 picks later.
Has James Starks played his last game in Green Bay?
James Starks split time with Ryan Grant in the Packers' backfield last season. After letting Grant walk, the Packers may cut ties with Starks as well.
Starks is still week-to-week with a nasty turf toe injury, and finds himself in a struggle to maintain his position on Green Bay's roster.
The Pack signed Cedric Benson two weeks ago, but he already seems entrenched as their starting running back. Coach Mike McCarthy seems dedicated to getting Alex Green some reps as well.
This could leave Starks as the odd man out. Most fantasy owners are wise to this situation, as Starks' stock has plummeted quickly in recent weeks. But if you're scrambling towards the end of your draft, don't just blindly abide by some antiquated list of rankings and take Starks.
Ryan Fitzpatrick will have the green light to throw the football plenty in 2012.
If you're the type who feels the need to have a backup quarterback, you could certainly do a lot worse than Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick is the signal caller for a wide open, no-huddle offense. His game might not be aesthetically pleasing, necessarily, but he'll put up numbers. Fitzpatrick's asset is the large volume of passing plays the Bills figure to run.
Chan Gailey will let Fitzpatrick dink and dunk all over the field, often employing four and five wide receiver sets. He attempted at least 39 passes in five of his last seven games, and figures to do the same more often than not in 2012.
I wouldn't trust Fitzpatrick as a fantasy starter over the long haul, but he certainly could make a very worthy bye week fill-in.
Sadly, Jahvid Best's role for the foreseeable future seems to be that of cheerleader.
As was the case with James Starks, Jahvid Best's fantasy stock has dropped precipitously over the past few weeks, culminating with the recent news that the Lions have placed Best on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list.
This means that Best will not be eligible until Week 6 at the earliest. But given his history regarding concussions, it's hard to have any faith that we will see Best at all this season.
It's a truly sad situation at this point. From a football perspective, Best is a dynamic weapon, averaging more than 100 all-purpose yards per game last year. But more importantly, both the Lions and Best himself need to focus on his long-term health as a person. I would not be surprised to see Best sit out the entire season.
Brandon LaFell could see plenty of open space across the field from Steve Smith.
As I stated earlier, I save selecting a defense for the next to last round of pretty much all of my drafts. If you do as well, Dallas (ADP No. 158) seems to be the best bet left on the board. But you can pretty much guarantee that someone will have taken them by now on name value, so I like Denver as a good value.
If you've already taken your defense by now and are simply looking to add players with upside, give Brandon LaFell a long look.
Last year, LaFell and Legedu Naanee split time as Carolina's No. 2 wideout and combined for more than 1,000 yards. LaFell seems to have the role of No. 2 wide receiver all to himself this year and has a very good chance to breakout.
He should see single coverage on virtually every snap, as defenses have to account for Steve Smith as well as the threat of Cam Newton escaping the pocket and taking off. LaFell makes a very sneaky stash at the end of your draft, and may even crack your starting lineup on occasion.
Sam Bradford's supporting cast severely limits his fantasy potential.
There really isn't a "bad" pick you can make at this point in your draft. You only have two picks left, and odds are that these last two picks (unless they're a defense and a kicker as I've suggested) will ever see the light of day on your roster. And it certainly seems strange to have a former No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft in this spot.
But if you're looking at taking a No. 2 quarterback here, I'd rather have the upside of a Russell Wilson than what Bradford provides. The Rams don't have any receiving threats and their offensive line is among the worst in football.
At least with Wilson, there's some potential for big numbers. He had an excellent preseason, and at the very least, he can make plays with his feet. He had 150 rushing yards this season on ten carries. Bradford has 89 rushing yards in two years.
Whenever I'm in a standard scoring league and I have to decide between two quarterbacks, I always like to take the guy who runs, so I'm taking Wilson over Bradford.
"I want you... to take me with your last pick."
If you've already taken a kicker, then I suppose I'm fine with taking a shot on a Santana Moss or an Austin Collie in the hopes that their rookie quarterbacks can rejuvenate them.
But if you're smart, and waiting for a kicker, take Matt Bryant.
He's hit 55 out of 60 field goals over the past two seasons, kicks for a very potent offense, and plays in a dome. Check, check and check.
Here's what Ronnie Hillman looks like, in case you were wondering.
To be honest, I don't know much about Ronnie Hillman, but I feel like I know all I need to know.
He's a rookie, he's at best third on the depth chart, and his quarterback is Peyton Manning.
Last I checked, Peyton Manning doesn't have much patience for young running backs.
Russell Wilson may not be Cam Newton 2.0, but he's worth a look at the end of your draft.
Here are a list of players not in the Top-180 of the list who I feel should at the very least be on a roster:
Russell Wilson (ADP No. 205) - I highlighted him in my Sam Bradford blurb. Could provide a spark or be used as a trade chip in fantasy.
Nate Burleson (ADP No. 209) - Drafters seem convinced that Burleson's best days are behind him, but he did have 110 targets last season and plays on an elite passing offense. He's worth a stash.
Alfred Morris (ADP No. 230) - Could be Mike Shanahan's flavor of the week at any point in the season.
Taiwan Jones (ADP No. 268) - Remember that time Darren McFadden played a full season? Me neither.