We’re getting close! With training camps in full swing and preseason games firing up, we’re that much closer to the NFL’s regular season. And with the regular season starting comes fantasy football. In today’s article, I’m not going to get into my rankings although those will be coming shortly. What I want to look at today are some players who are getting drafted in later rounds that are hopefully going to provide value to your team. Hitting on players in the late rounds is what will separate your team from the rest of your league-mates and hopefully get you that ‘ship. For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to name some players who aren’t being drafted to be your fantasy starters, for the most part (QB’s and TE’s vary). We’ll also assume that you’re playing in a 12 team league with .5 PPR (points per reception) scoring. I will also be listing their ADP (Average Draft Position) and what that ADP represents in terms of where they fall relative to their positional peers.
Josh Allen QB (Bills)
If you’ve never read anything I’ve written before, well welcome to the fuckin’ show. If you have read some of my pieces for the boys @BlitzedFootball then you know that I did an early QB rankings back in May. And in those rankings, I listed Josh Allen at QB11. After having a little time to think, it might’ve been a little ambitious, but I still love this guy’s value. My strategy with QB in fantasy is to wait, and if you wait, you can end up with some incredible value. Allen represents that to me for a couple of reasons. First of all, he can throw a football a damn quarter mile. And that skill should bode well with what the Bills have done in the offseason as they added speedster John Brown as well as Cole Beasley to work the slot. But the thing that appeals to me the most about Allen is his rushing ability. After returning from injury in Week 12 last year, Allen put together 3 games in a row of 99, 135 and 101 rushing yards while adding some TD runs. Add in his passing totals and that’s just icing on the cake. The dude led the Bills in rushing last year with 631 yards and 8 TDs. If he can take even a minor leap forward in his passing while maintaining some of the rushing value, the big QB from Wyoming has a chance to be a QB1.
Miles Sanders RB (Eagles)
This young RB out of Penn State’s stock is rising and should only continue to go up after hearing some of the reports out of training camp from the Eagles’ beat writers. Now, you should be cautious about training camp reports, but there’s a lot to like about this player and his situation with Philly. Playing behind Saquon Barkley for several years at Penn State, Sanders had to wait to make an impact for the Nittany Lions, but once he got his opportunity he ran with it, literally. Get it, because he’s a running back? Nevermind. His success led him to being drafted by the Eagles in the 2nd round and has fallen into a pretty good opportunity with the Birds. Jordan Howard was brought in from Chicago to help stabilize Philly’s rushing attack and while he is a competent runner, he doesn’t provide the same skill set that Sanders can bring to the offense. I expect Carson Wentz and the Eagles to be an absolute wagon this year on offense, and if Sanders can overtake Howard for the lead in the committee while gaining Doug Pedersen’s trust (Sanders fumbled 5 times last season), he is going to be one hell of a contributor to your fantasy team. Go get the talented rookie. I just wish his last name was Davis…
Matt Breida RB (Niners)
Last year’s RB25 is being drafted at RB55? Da fuck? I understand that the 49ers brought in Tevin Coleman and that Breida seems to gets hurt almost every play, but RB55 is just absurd for this talented player. Last season, despite only playing on 35% of offensive snaps for the season, Breida turned in over 1000 yards from scrimmage and 5 touchdowns. 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan is regarded as a very impressive play caller and I’m just going to go on a hunch, that he’s not a total frickin’ idiot. He’s going to find ways to get his skilled players the ball and Breida certainly fits that label. I’m not worried about Jerick McKinnon and Tevin Coleman taking away too many touches, because that could end up being a good thing for the diminutive runner. If Breida gets less touches, let’s say 10/game that decreases his chances for injury but will still provide the value that we’re seeking here in the later rounds. I don’t understand the super low ADP, but if you can snag him as a depth RB, then you’re going to be quite pleased with the results.
Donte Moncrief WR (Steelers)
Yes, I am a Steelers fan. No, this is not a homer pick. Donte Moncrief has the inside track to take over the #2 WR position in Pittsburgh over James Washington and should find himself in a position to succeed with Antonio “Mr. Big Chest” Brown’s departure from the Steel City. Brown leaves behind 167 vacated targets and while I wouldn’t expect the Steelers to throw as much as they did last year, that is still a significant target share (26%) that is no longer in the offense. Last season, Moncrief served as Jacksonville’s big play guy while playing with Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler as his QBs. Yeah, they #suckbutts. Now, Moncrief gets to play with Big Ben Roethlisberger, who is obviously an enormous upgrade over those 2 “passers.” And Moncrief provides something that Ben has wanted for a long time, a big bodied target in the red zone. Standing at 6’2 and with good speed to go with it, Moncrief should find himself enough opportunities to outproduce his current ADP. I’m hoping he gets in the endzone a lot just so we can see his patented TD celebrations, one of the best in the league.
Devante Parker WR (Dolphins)
When you get this late down the rankings, you’re just looking for upside. And the former first rounder out of Louisville provides just that. I don’t like to try and predict how teams will do that often in fantasy because the NFL is crazy. But it sure feels and looks like the Dolphins are going to be pretty shitty this year, right? Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like he’ll be the team’s starter to begin the season and that’s good news for Parker. If you watched any of the Bucs last year, you know that can be a good thing and a bad thing for fantasy. He’s certainly not afraid to take chances to tall and talented receivers, and Parker fits that bill. He’s also not afraid to throw into triple coverage, which will probably lead to him getting benched eventually and give way to Josh Rosen. That could hurt Parker. He’s a low risk, high reward kind of pick and when you get to the end of the draft, just say fuck it. Take those kinds of players.
Hank Mardukus is a Fantasy Expert and writer for Blitzed Football. You can follow him on Twitter here.