It’s not the first-round picks that win you your fantasy football leagues, although bad or unlucky first-round picks can lose them. It is the unexpected big scores with late-round picks that win fantasy leagues.
Some examples from last year:
- Cam Newton (2011 MFL ADP 155)
- Marshawn Lynch (2011 MFL ADP 82)
- Jordy Nelson (2011 MFL ADP 124)
These are five lottery-ticket players you can grab with late-round picks in your fantasy draft this season who have the upside to win you your leagues:
Kenny Britt (2012 ESPN ADP 92)
Yes, he’s an injury risk. Yes, he’s got off-field issues. Yes, he is suspended for the opener. But in three games before his injury last year, he was averaging 96 yards and a touchdown. Sample size is small, but Britt is a major, major talent. Pierre Garcon (2012 ESPN ADP 84) doesn’t have 1300-yard-and-12-touchdown upside. Britt does.
Toby Gerhart (2012 ESPN ADP 114)
Toby is one ACL setback to Adrian Peterson away from being the Vikings’ featured running back. He’d get to run behind an underrated run-blocking offensive line, and he’s a decent receiver out of the backfield. He’s the one of the premiere RB handcuffs in the NFL this year. If you own Peterson, it’s worth the insurance to reach a round ahead for Toby. If you don’t own Peterson, you can add to Gerhart’s ledger his trade value to the guy who does.
Which of these lottery tickets is most likely to pay off?
Jets DST (2012 ESPN ADP 130)
I know, I know. The common wisdom is to wait on defenses and special teams. But with Tebow (or Sanchez) as the holder on field goals, the Jets are going to lead the league in fake field goals this year. If your league credits special-teams TDs to the special teams, instead of to individual players, reach a little for the Jets. Remember the bump the Bears got in 2006 when Devin Hester had six TD returns in thirteen weeks? That’s why.
Randy Moss (2012 ESPN ADP 132)
He’s not the Randy Moss of old. He never will be again. But Randy is at his best when everyone has given up, and he’s still a tremendous deep threat and red zone target. Sure, he had a year off, but 700 yards and eight touchdowns is possible even after a couple years away. Ask Plaxico Burress. That’s what he did last year.
Brandon Stokley (2012 ESPN ADP 147)
Stokley just won the slot receiver spot in Denver. Sure, he’s 36, but his game has never been about speed, and Peyton Manning knows and trusts him. He is slightly underrated overall, and HUGELY underrated in PPR leagues.