Well folks, it’s been a long offseason. We’ve seen many faces go to new places, retirements, and a walked back retirement (sorry NFC South). We can now see the Fantasy Football season on the horizon. Today, you’re going to get the scoop on how to automatically get all the best players in your draft!
We all know fantasy is a fickle beast. How many times have we streamed a good defense against a horrid offense and still ended up getting that dreaded goose egg? How about starting a lineup stacked with #1’s only for your opponent to nullify it all because their flex play randomly went off for 50 points? Ok I’ll drop the traumatizing memories, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make you better.
Where does this success come from? I’ll tell you now, it’s not about who you’re picking in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, or even 5th rounds (but they’ll help). The key lies in the later rounds, where you’ll find players in new places, unheralded rookies, comeback player candidates, and more. These guys at face value might not look like winners, but therein lies the allure. Hopefully your league mates feel the same way, so you can highlight the VALUE players you feel will guide you to victory. A deep team is a team that overcomes injuries, gives you options with bad matchups/bye weeks, and gives you trade pieces to shore up any weaknesses you encounter later on.
Definition of value in fantasy: players that will outperform their ADP (average draft position).
Finding 1’s and 2’s in a gaggle of 3’s, 4’s, and 5’s won’t guarantee your title, but it will (again) provide valuable piece of mind in the face of injuries and bad matchups that arise throughout the season and give you leverage in trade negotiations. Imagine being the one who rosters guys like Derrick Henry and Deebo Samuel AND finding the 2022 version of Cordarrelle Patterson or Cooper Kupp in the 6th round or later?! Yeah, I’d like my trophy now!
*Let’s start with the Wide Receiver position*
Check out some players I’ve identified as value plays in later rounds that should outperform their ADP. Could some of them just as easily be banished to your waivers by week 4? Sure, and that’s why they are later round guys, BUT they can also become that extra WR1 or WR2 that can save you from that (hope not) torn ACL your starters could suffer midseason. Happy hunting!
Note: This is based on 10 team PPR leagues.
WR Value Players:
Allen Robinson: it’s a sexy name but being drafted at an unsexy WR32 in the 6th round. I find it hard to believe that a #2 WR on one of the league’s most powerful offenses will finish in the WR4 realm (this isn’t Chicago anymore, guys). Mix this in with expected regression to the mean for Cooper Kupp plus a great QB in a winning environment and you have a potential steal here.
Adam Thielen: I feel this man gets disrespected frequently. His only real enemies have been a run 1st offense and some injuries. Despite all this, he outperforms his ADP each year and he keeps finding the end zone. He might be going into his age 32 season, but with no competition for targets outside of Jefferson and now in a pass 1st offense, he looks like a safe bet to exceed his WR33 in the 6th round projection.
Drake London: I don’t see France, but I see London, a 2022 1st round WR on an offense starving for WR production to be much better than a WR34 6th rounder in fantasy. The Falcons will be behind early and often, so that should lead to many targets and some TDs for the former USC Trojan big man.
Rashod Bateman: a very popular breakout candidate. He may be on a run 1st offense, but the 2021 1st rounder has a QB looking to get paid along with no real WR competition for targets (Hollywood Brown was shipped out west) and that should lead to a better finish than his projected WR37 6th rounder status.
Allen Lazard: As we get deeper down the list, we have a WR who’s slated to go in the 9th round as WR44. Last I checked, Aaron Rodgers is his QB and Devante Adams is no longer in town. If there’s one thing we have learned about Rodgers, he likes to throw to WRs he trusts regardless of pedigree or potential. Lazard has been that guy when Adams wasn’t an option. Sure, the Pack used a 2nd rounder this year on Christian Watson, but he’s on the PUP list and losing valuable trust building reps with Rodgers as a result. Also, no way Sammy Watkins magically becomes healthy and productive. Lazard is sneaky good.
Mecole Hardman: Hardman, once drafted as Tyreek Hill’s replacement when Hill’s Kansas City future was in jeopardy after Hill’s familial abuse accusations surfaced but was relegated to the shadows when Hill was cleared. With Hill taking his talents to South Beach, this is Hardman’s final chance to shine on the Chiefs (it’s also his contract year). Yes, he has lots of WR competition for the top WR billing, but he has the advantage of familiarity to his QB and has been historically healthier than his competition as well. At WR58 going late in the 12th round, he’s more than worth a flier when pickings are slim.
Jalen Tolbert: he’s a fast/young WR freshly drafted by “Dem Boyz” and his team needs a #2 WR to step up with Gallup likely out the 1st month of the season and James Washington out with a broken foot. Tolbert at WR66 in the 16th round can exceed his projection easily if he secures the WR2 job, especially if Gallup hits any recovery roadblocks.
Stay tuned for the next edition of the series: Running Backs!