Much of the skill required to put together a sound fantasy football roster is finding bargain buys that will outperform their ranking.
It is not a matter of just finding a player who will play well in a few spot starts. A bargain bin player is someone who will come in at a cheap price and eventually force their way into the starting fantasy lineup.
While those are extreme cases, both players came at a cheap price a year ago and helped win leagues. The following players are by no means as sexy, but they embody everything smart drafting is about—players who score well enough to start in standard leagues but come at a cheap price.
Note: All fantasy rankings courtesy of FantasyPros.com.
Zach Sudfeld, TE, New England Patriots
Player Ranking: 16 TE, 163rd Overall
Many focused on the wrong names in New England once the tight end position became a bit muddled. It was easy to fall in love with Jake Ballard or Daniel Fells, but it is Zach Sudfeld who has emerged as the tight end to own.
Sudfeld has shined through three preseason games, catching six passes for 90 yards and one touchdown.
Not only has Sudfeld been one of Tom Brady's top weapons, Erik Frenz of The Boston Globe describes Sudfeld as a lock to be the No. 1 tight end on the depth chart come Week 1 thanks to Rob Gronkowski's injury woes.
If that weren't enough, Jeff Howe of The Boston Herald says Sudfeld will play an Aaron Hernandez-type role next season. In other words, Sudfeld will remain on the field when Gronkowski returns. Doug Kyed of NESN pointed out even more positive things about Sudfeld:
Zach Sudfeld had one dropped pass as a senior at Nevada, allowed one pressure, no sacks, was lead blocker on 24 TDs: http://t.co/l266UeX43g— Doug Kyed (@DougKyedNESN) August 21, 2013
Right now, Sudfeld's rank is still low. Tight end is a horrible position overall, but landing Brady's No. 1 target at the spot and eventual No. 2 after 150 picks have passed is a heck of a deal.
Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins
Player Ranking 53rd WR, 131st Overall
While it may not sound like fantasy owners are getting a great bargain in the 130 range with a No. 2 wide receiver, Miami's Brian Hartline is the exception.
Owners saw what Hartline was capable of last season when he caught 74 passes for 1,083 yards and a touchdown—with a rookie quarterback.
The big story in Miami this offseason has been the addition of former Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace. He will act as the No. 1 in spirit, but that will not hurt Hartline's production in any way.
In fact, the addition of Wallace may help Hartline. Hartline already has a good rapport with Ryan Tannehill, who is now entering his second season. With Wallace taking the top off defenses with his elite speed, he could actually be a decoy who helps Hartline's production rather than hurt it.
Last year, Antonio Brown was the second receiver behind Wallace, and he managed to scrap together 66 receptions for 787 yards and five touchdowns in just 13 games.
That's not a horrible outlook for Hartline. He should easily make his way back to 1,000 yards and score more touchdowns with defenses focused on Wallace. Not bad for a receiver outside of the top 50.
Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans
Player Ranking: 22nd QB, 145th Overall
Matt Schaub is the perfect example of why the quarterback position in fantasy football is both misunderstood and overvalued.
Schaub is by no means in the "elite" tier of top quarterbacks. That perception actually hurts his fake football rankings despite it not being something that should come into play at all.
Fantasy at the quarterback position is about volume. Schaub threw the ball 544 times last season. It's easy to assume he throws less than a guy like Aaron Rodgers because of a star back like Arian Foster, but in reality Rodgers only attempted eight more passes.
Granted, Schaub does different things with the football, but the point stands. Schaub threw for 4,008 yards last season and 22 touchdowns. According to ESPN he was the No. 16 scoring quarterback in 2012.
So why in the world is he coming off the board as the 22nd-best quarterback?
There is no easy answer, but Schaub is a heck of a bargain where he's being selected. He can come in on bye weeks and win games, or even act as a starter all year if an injury occurs. Not bad for a player flirting with falling out of the top 150.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling.