By Derek Brown and Bobby Amarelo
Every year it is important to consider each individual position before heading into your draft. Last season I wrote about Tight End’s prior to the season and advocated staying away from the top guys, instead focusing on the bargains that could be had in the later rounds. I never envisioned the massive breakout season. The point was that there was value in waiting to take value tight ends in later rounds and use up early rounds at other positions – and it paid off!
This season the tight end position is top-heavy and there is obvious value in drafting one of the top three guys, but expect to pay a steep price. If you miss on one of these players I advocate for again waiting until near the end of the draft to grab a player. Targeting Vernon Davis or Jermicheal Finley will yield you a solid player, but it will also burn a valuable mid-round pick when you could be adding running back depth. Instead, sit out until near the end and grab a high upside player like Jacob Tamme (playing with Manning), Greg Olsen (playing without Shockey, splitting touches), or Martellus Bennett (playing in the Giants offense that features the TE). These players will give solid production and more importantly give just as much chance for a breakout season as any of the mid-round tight ends do.
This season your strategy should focus on the incredible depth at wide receiver. The pool of elite players legitimately goes XX players deep. This means that very valuable receivers are being passed up until the middle-late rounds, guys who look primed to produce enough to be weekly starters. It would not be a bad strategy this year to avoid receiver all together in the first 3-4 rounds and instead build with a QB and RB and possibly one of the top TE options. You will miss out on Julio Jones and Victor Cruz but very valuable receivers will still be available. If you have the choice of drafting an RB2 or a very enticing receiver like Wes Welker in round three you may be better off going with the unspectacular running back. The choice does not seem exciting, but your team will likely benefit in the long run.
Here is a list of players that are falling much too far in fantasy draft’s. Pay attention to these players and allow them to alter your draft strategy early knowing you will have the chance to draft them late:
Pierre Garcon – After signing a big offseason contract he is primed to be the #1 receiver in Washington. He has already developed some chemistry and there is no one on the Redskins roster who appears capable of challenging his position. Currently being drafted in the late 6 early 7th round in many drafts.
Torrey Smith – Smith is this year’s big breakout candidate. He has been a monster in the preseason because he has become more than just a vertical threat, and has shown good hands on his intermediate routes. I question how much Baltimore really will open up the offense, but regardless Smith is now the clear #1 target and should crack 1,000 yards for the first time in his career. Current ADP is the 6th round
Steve Smith – Steve Smith is here because of value – currently he isn’t even being drafted in many drafts. The receiver situation is St. Louis is murky at best, but the reason for that is because there is a severe lack of talent. Smith, when healthy, is easily the best wide-out the Rams have on their squad. He has shown he is back in playing shape this offseason and I expect his talent to win out and for Smith to emerge as the #1 target in St. Louis.
DeAngelo Williams RB (CAR) – Very crowed backfield in Carolina with the addition on of fullback, Mike Tolbert, but no worries. Jonathan Stewart just signed a big contract and injured his ankle in preseason so if history repeats itself Stewart will most likely get hurt again in the regular season, DeAngelo has a chance to show that he can be the every-down back. Look for Carolina to use Tolbert as a more conventional full back lead blocking and opening up holes for their running backs. Williams will be a nice stash for bye weeks, and if Stewart goes down he’ll be upgraded to RB1 status. Williams ADP is falling to the 10th round and even later in some drafts, scope him while you can.
Jonathan Dwyer – Talent always wins out. Jonathan Dwyer is a talent with unique abilities. Issac Redman is a dependable veteran with plodding speed and average talent. Expect Dwyer to get the bulk of the carriers for the Steelers. Currently going undrafted in most leagues pick him up while you can…but you can wait a bit.
Shonne Greene RB (NYJ)– A lot of writers in fantasy-land are putting Greene down for his lack of burst and his poor production. Since he’s been in the NFL he’s always been running in a committee backfield with the likes of Thomas Jones and LaDainian Tomlinson. This year he is the lead back and with the Jet’s running “Ground and Pound” look for him to get the ball early and often. Currently his ADP is in the 6th round. At this point in your draft this is great value. Don’t ignore Willis McGahee’s stats from last year either. If Tebow takes over at quarterback Greene could become a top 10 fantasy back because it is much easier to find running lanes playing with a running QB.
David Wilson – First rounders don’t get drafted to sit on the bench. Wilson has always had all the speed in the world, but what he has shown this particular off-season is that he has the ability to run between the tackles. Starter Ahmad Bradshaw has had too many injuries in the last few years that have eroded his ability. Wilson is already the better back and the only thing that can hold him back is the Giant’s coaching staff. Current ADP is the 9th round, this is great value especially in dynasty leagues.
Martellus Bennett – Eli Manning loves to throw to his tight ends. Martellus Bennett is the undisputed #1 option in New York this year, and considering how successful the QB-TE relationship is in NYG camp, consider Bennett’s potential. Currently Bennett is not even getting drafted in most leagues.
Reggie Wayne – New year, new Quarterback, and new Offensive Coordinator might be some of the reasons why his ADP has fallen, but look for another 1,000-plus year from Wayne. Last year he had over 900 yards with Curtis Painter throwing to him so the addition of rookie Quarterback Andrew Luck is a huge plus. Over the preseason they’ve connected on 9 passes for 115 yards – not mind-blowing numbers, but it shows that they’re starting to build rapport amongst themselves. Currently being draft in the 6th and is another great example of how you can draft a reliable receiver option who has a strong chance for 1,000 yards in the middle rounds of the draft.
There you have it – a look at players you should definitely consider, but can afford to wait on.
Feel free to post comments below, as well as players you feel can afford to wait until late in drafts. If you any questions, feel free to email us – [email protected]