Coupon Clipping: The Top 10 Initial Draft Bargains

Ken KellyContributor IIIMay 23, 2010

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 27:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants passes against the Carolina Panthers at Giants Stadium on December 27, 2009 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

As I’ve combed around some dynasty ADP rankings and drafts lately, I’ve been startled by some players being drafted incredibly late.  All good coaches want to find a bargain in their initial dynasty league drafts, so here are some players who are falling, but really shouldn’t be.  

If you’re patient, you may be able to find some real steals out there in your draft, or find a willing trade partner who undervalues some players in your league.  With that in mind, here’s a top-10 list of players being undervalued in league drafts and circles right now:


1. Eli Manning, QB, NYG

Manning threw for 4,021 yards and 27 TDs last year, but had 23 turnovers (14 INTs and 9 fumbles).  Perhaps the turnover numbers are what’s scaring people away, but it really shouldn’t. Manning was left with an inexperienced group of WRs and the Giants defense left him in some very tough spots.  We have Manning ranked as the No. 10 QB for a rebuilding team and he’s been going as high as No. 15 for QBs—after unproven players like Stafford, Sanchez, and Kolb. His receiving corps is growing and he’s primed for a great season.


2. LeSean McCoy, RB, PHI

Sure, I get the Eagles don’t run the ball much. Thing is, they still utilize their RBs a ton. How many dynasty championships did Brian Westbrook win for coaches this decade? McCoy is being taken in the fourth round or later.  I believe that’s a full round later than where he should be taken.  Mike Bell and Charles Scott are no real threat to him. They’re going to be about as valuable as Leonard Weaver was at best.


3. Pierre Thomas, RB, NO

Thomas has a clear path to a great season.  Reggie Bush is Reggie Bush, and Lynell Hamilton isn’t going to take much away from Thomas.  I believe Pierre has a great chance at over 200 carries this season and should be a third-round selection in initial drafts.


4. Joe Flacco, QB, BAL

This should be the season where Joe Flacco finally breaks out.  With Anquan Boldin on board to join Ray Rice, he has the weapons to be very successful. We have Flacco as the 12th best QB for a rebuilding or newly drafting team, but I’m seeing lots of players like McNabb, Whitehurst, Palmer, and even Vince Young being taken ahead of him.


5. Felix Jones, RB, DAL

Jones is going to start in Dallas this year. I know Marion Barber and Tashard Choice are in the mix, but Jones has to give the team a reason to get them on the field.  He’s young, explosive, and planted in a dynamic offense.  What’s not to love?  Problem is, he’s going in the fifth round.  Again, that’s a full round late to me.


6. Jerome Harrison, RB, CLE

I’m on record saying Harrison isn’t going to start in Cleveland. Thing is, his value hasn’t been destroyed completely.  I know the Cleveland staff likes Montario Hardesty, but his injury history leads you to believe Harrison will have his opportunities. The guy had 561 yards in the last three games of 2009.  That should merit him being taken ahead of guys like Dexter McCluster, Zach Miller, Mohammed Massaquoi, and an aging Fred Jackson. Problem is, he’s not.


7. Miles Austin, WR, DAL

Austin should be taken in the late second or early third round in a 12-team league. I know Dez Bryant is there now, but Austin has done more than enough to prove he’s a legitimate big-time player. The guy was the fourth-best WR in fantasy last year, even after riding the bench for the first few games. There’s no reason guys like Jeremy Maclin, Michael Crabtree, or Sidney Rice should be taken ahead of him.


8. DeSean Jackson, WR, PHI

We have Jackson as the sixth-best WR for a newly drafting or a rebuilding team. Amazingly, there are guys like Hakeem Nicks, Dwayne Bowe, and Percy Harvin being taken ahead of him in some drafts.  If the Kevin Kolb QB change is concerning owners, consider he had 250 yards and two TDs in two games with Kolb at the helm. I’m not saying he’s going to go for an average of 125 yards per game (2,000 in a season), but there’s no dropoff coming.


9. Eddie Royal, WR, DEN

We haven’t seen the last of Royal.  I know he was dreadful last season, but he’s only a year removed from a 91-catch year and the Broncos staff seems dedicated to getting him back in the gameplan.  He’s a great value in the ninth or 10th round of drafts.  I’ve been seeing him go in the 12th or 13th round in some cases, even after many defenses have been selected.


10. Marshawn Lynch, RB, BUF

I’d be the first to say stay away this next year, but I don’t believe we’ve seen the end of Lynch, either.  I’d actually rather have him in the eighth round than an aging RB who I’ll likely never get into my lineup.  He’s a good stash in a dynasty league as he’s destined to get an opportunity again.


These are just 10 guys who seem to be undervalued right now.  If you have one of them on your radar, chances are many other coaches don’t.  It’s up to you if you want to gamble, but chances are you may be able to get any one of these players a full round or two later than you should.

Happy hunting!