Fantasy Football Value Picks in the Mid to Late Rounds

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Draft season is upon us. As are the smoke screens from our league mates and the reminders that you do not win your fantasy league in the draft. You might not win your league, but it certainly helps to start things off by finding fantasy football value picks in the mid to late rounds.

Here is a list of players that can be found after starting lineups in twelve man league have theoretically filled out.

(All ADP information can be found at FantasyPros)

Fantasy Football Value Picks in the Mid to Late Rounds

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger

ADP: Quarterback 13, pick 94

Yes, the home/road splits have been an issue. And yes, durability is a question mark going into the season. However, it’s hard to see the bad outweighing the good here. First, Roethlisberger gets to throw to Le’Veon Bell, one of the premier pass catching backs in league. Then you add the incredibly gifted Antonio Brown and the reinstated Martavis Bryant into the mix, and the possibilities look promising. Or as Mitchell Renz noted, Roethlisberger has averaged 336 yards and 2.2 touchdowns in games that Bryant has played. It also does not hurt that Warren Sharp has the team pegged as having the fifth easiest passing efficiency schedule.

Philip Rivers  

ADP: Quarterback 15, pick 115

This is hardly a selling point, but the first thing that stands out about Rivers this season is his tough early schedule. In the first eight weeks, he will have to face the following secondary ranks (according to Pro Football Focus): fourth ranked twice Denver Broncos, tenth ranked Kansas City Chiefs, first ranked New York Giants, and second ranked New England Patriots. There’s likely a lot of angry, yelling Rivers faces in our near future. The good news is that Rivers has good receiving options this year. Keenan Allen is healthy and Tyrell Williams is an impressive athleteAntonio Gates is still around, and Hunter Henry adds another problem for defenses. Additionally the Chargers have Melvin Gordon as a threat coming out of the backfield. Even if Mike Williams doesn’t play at all this year, we are still talking about a quarterback that finished in the top ten last year despite not having Allen around.      

Eli Manning  

ADP: Quarterback 16, pick 136

This is fantasy football and not the prom. Sometimes you can win by bringing the mouth breather to the party.  And besides, Eli only looks like that when he’s thinking; he needs to keep his mouth open to let all the good ideas in. The good news is that he should have more open options to throw to this season. After signing Brandon Marshall, the Giants decided to draft Evan Engram. While historic trends suggest that Engram won’t be a huge factor, Manning still has Odell Beckham Jr., Sterling Shepard, and the aforementioned Marshall. In short, Manning has finished in the top ten in two of the last three years, and has the supporting cast to make that a reality again. Not bad for the sixteenth quarterback off the board.

Andy Dalton

ADP: Quarterback 19, pick 145

Dalton’s picture at PlayerProfiler.com looks like an older Proto-Joker. This has nothing to do with him as a fantasy asset, but there you have it. Currently, Dalton is a value pick. He finished as the fifth best quarterback in 2013, and has finished in the top 12 three times in the last five years. One of the reasons people may be waiting to take him is the low amount of touchdowns (18) and his low touchdown rate (3.2%). When you compare that to his career rate (4.6%), it suggests that Dalton is a prime candidate to improve. Add that improvement with a healthy A.J. Green, Tyler Eifert, and the recently drafted John Ross and there is more reason to like Dalton in 2017.

Carson Palmer

ADP: Quarterback 20, pick 156

Carson Palmer is the Saturn vehicle of quarterbacks; some people like him for nostalgic reasons, but they are hesitant to believe he still runs. Despite the hesitation, Palmer still has a big arm and he’s getting John Brown back this season (assuming Brown can stay healthy). The last time Palmer had the whole gang–Larry Fitzgerald, David Johnson, and Brown–together for a full season was in 2015. Palmer also finished in the top five at the position, which is, you know, good. Palmer should not be your first option, but his early schedule does present an opportunity to support quarterbacks who have rough early matchups (e.g. Rivers).

Running Backs

Jonathan Stewart

ADP: Running back 38, pick 98

There is no doubt about it; Christian McCaffrey has looked pretty impressive so far this preseason. And while his draft pedigree suggests the Panthers intend to use him, that doesn’t mean Stewart is subsequently worthless. In fact, to suggest he is would mean that you would have to ignore all the coach speak this off-season. And it’s not like coaches have ever lied to us–he says while crying into his keyboard. On the other hand, the Panthers website even states that Stewart will continue to see the bulk of the carries. While he lacks running back one upside, he certainly could fall in the running back two or three range if he maintains his role. If Stewart does see the bulk of the carries, and if the Panthers are serious about cutting back on Cam Newton’s rushing, Stewart will turn out to be quite the value pick.

Darren McFadden

ADP: Running back 39, 117

Unless you have been living under a rock you have heard the news about Ezekiel Elliot and his suspension. You have also likely heard that the Cowboys line is pretty good (number nine according to PFF). While McFadden, who is the primary backup, is currently a value at this current moment (his ADP is rising), his status as a value pick is more tenuous than the others. The main reason for his value’s instability is the state of Elliot’s appeal. Elliot could win, get his suspension reduced, or lose outright. And if Elliot doesn’t like the ruling, he could end up going to court. In short, McFadden could go from starting six games to no games and anything in between.

Duke Johnson

ADP: Running back 47, 131

One year ago drafters were taking Duke Johnson in the seventh round. While you shouldn’t be drafting him in the seventh (Isaiah Crowell should start), Johnson still carries value, especially in PPR leagues. He has averaged 57 receptions in his first two years in the league, and that total could likely grow this year with all the positive coach speak and the opportunity to run routes from the slot. You should not be banking on huge touchdown totals with Johnson (three touchdowns in two years), but he can still score points by spelling Crowell (with an upgraded offensive line) and through the air.

Jamaal Williams

ADP: Running back 49, 142

Handcuffing strategies don’t pave the path to fantasy glory; however, Williams isn’t your typical handcuff. Currently, Ty Montgomery is the Green Bay Packers starter; however, he has dealt with leg issues recently, which has led to less practice with pass protection. Pass protection was the key reason Montgomery lost snaps last year, and Williams has impressed already in this area. If Williams does manage to earn more snaps as the season goes along, he projects to be an early down thumper, who could theoretically do well near the goal line. Just don’t expect him to be a big factor in the passing game; in other words, if he does become the starter, temper your expectations.

Rex Burkhead

ADP: Running back56, 175

No one, outside of the New England Patriot coaches, knows how things will play out with the team’s backfield; however, it’s hard to argue about the cost of the Burkhead lottery ticket. If you look at SPARQ-x scores, he has a better athletic profile than Mike Gillislee, and Burkhead can also help in the passing game. While there are plenty of reasons to like Gillislee, the Patriots have the ability to use their depth to fit any game plan.

Other

C.J. Prosise definitely has enough talent to be a great value pick, but he hasn’t proven he can stay healthy. Thomas Rawls is in the same boat as Prosise. James White is a value pick in PPR leagues. I hate to put this evil out there in the world, but Jeremy Hill has been an effective goal line back in his career. Jacquizz Rodgers will get three starts this year, facing the Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears, and Minnesota Vikings.

Wide Receivers

Pierre Garcon

ADP: Wide receiver 38, 96

The last time Kyle Shanahan and Pierre Garcon connected, Garcon put up 113 receptions and 1,346 yards. That’s what the kids call good. Garcon likely won’t repeat those numbers, but they do represent his familiarity with the offense. The other quiver in Garcon’s bow is the fact that the San Francisco 49ers lack depth at the wide receiver position. Combine those two together and you have a player with past success in the offense with limited competition. It also doesn’t hurt that the team should be playing from behind in a number of games.

Jeremy Maclin

ADP: Wide receiver 40, 98

Maclin was written about extensively here already. The only thing that gives pause right now is Joe Flacco’s health. If Flacco plays a full season, Maclin will outplay his ADP.

Cameron Meredith

ADP: Wide receiver 41, 102

When Kevin White was drafted, everyone was focused on his athletic profile. And for good reason; the guy is an athletic freak. Meredith is a decent athlete himself, but the difference is that Meredith has put together a decent season. White, on the other hand, is still trying to live up to his draft status. It’s conceivable that the Chicago Bears could try to force feed White the ball in an attempt to justify the pick, so Meredith isn’t without risk. He will also have Mike Glennon throwing him the ball, which is a step down from Brian Hoyer. On the plus side, Meredith averaged 93 receiving yards in the last four weeks and he no longer has to compete with Alshon Jeffery.   

Adam Thielen

ADP: Wide receiver 49, 134

If you had Thielen in your week sixteen roster last season, congratulations. Not only did the guy tear things up during championship week, he was able to put up nearly 70 receptions and 1,000 yards in only ten games. Yes, you read that right. Only ten games. Diggs is the number one for the Minnesota Vikings, but Thielen had the fifth best catch rate and the seventh best contested catch rate last year. Thielen’s efficiency as a wide receiver is the reason he is one of my favorite value picks this year.

Ted Ginn

ADP: Wide receiver 53, 148

This isn’t exactly breaking news but the New Orleans Saints offense is good. With Drew Brees at the helm, drafters have always had to be aware of his passing options. It’s also well known that Brandin Cooks is no longer a Saint. With Cooks gone, Sean Payton talked about using Ginn in the flanker role, where he will be asked to take the top off of the defense. The other thing to take note of here is that Ginn is currently listed as a starter over Willie Snead in an unofficial depth chart. While the depth chart is unofficial, it still points to a chance that Ginn could see more snaps than Snead this season.

Other

John Brown is a risky pick but if health is on his side, he’ll be one of the biggest value picks by the end of the year. After the Sammy Watkins trade and the Anquan Boldin retirement, Zay Jones has walked into a role where he could be seeing a decent amount of targets. Randall Cobb represents decent value due to Davante Adams having a touchdown rate that is hard to duplicate.

Tight Ends

Coby Fleener

ADP: Tight end 16, 160

It’s pretty safe to say that Fleener didn’t live up the hype last year. If you’re looking for reasons to believe, the argument is pretty much the same as last season. Brees has supported tight end production before, and the Saints, who had the second most pass plays last year, find themselves in the the red zone quite often. The upside here is that Fleener has spent a year in the offense, so in theory, he should understand the offense better. The downside is that he could fall to the fourth or the fifth passing option on the offense.

Austin Hooper

ADP: Tight end 17, 167

Hooper is only in his second year, and this position usually takes more time for a breakout. However, if you’re a believer in his talent, there are reasons to hope for a breakout. First, Jacob Tamme is no longer with the Atlanta Falcons, which will likely lead to more targets for Hooper. Second, Hooper averaged about ten yards per target, which was fifth best in the league last year. Third, Atlanta has one of the better offenses in the league. Regression will hit their offense in some way, but they have too many weapons to fall flat. If you waited tight end, Hooper is definitely worth the dart throw.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins

ADP: Tight end 28, 265

Do not draft Seferian-Jenkins. It’s an odd way to start things off, but it’s true. Don’t draft him unless you’re in a deeper league, because he still has to serve a two game suspension. He is a guy you definitely want to keep tabs on though. Seferian-Jenkins has an unreal agility score given his size, and he has reportedly put his demons behind him. Once he’s back in the lineup, he will have little competition for targets in the New York Jets offense. His team will also be facing a lot of negative game scripts, which will help to pad his fantasy numbers. Seferian-Jenkins could finally be in line for the breakout season we have been waiting for.

Charles Clay

ADP: Tight end 29, 295

Opportunity is king in fantasy football, and Clay should have plenty of opportunities this year. Jordan Matthews and Zay Jones will see targets, but Clay has more experience working with Tyrod Taylor. Last year Clay finished twelfth in receptions and thirteenth in red zone receptions amongst tight ends. The Buffalo Bills, much like the Jets, will likely be facing their fair share of negative game scripts this year, and so it stands to reason that Clay could see an uptick in production this year. He’s worth the dart throw in deeper leagues.

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