Once the season starts, I will be writing about the hot waiver wire pickups each week. Today’s spotlight is on players who could prove to be some of this year’s premier draft values. We are looking at lottery ticket players that can be had in the final rounds of your 2015 draft, or possibly even off the free agent list.
Using average draft position (ADP) data from fantasypros.com, we will be focusing on players whose ADP is over 150 on either Y! or ESPN. In other words, we are talking about kicker territory in standard 12 team leagues. Without further ado, let’s get to the players!
Here are just a few of many potential QB values.
This is why many experts advise waiting on QBs.
Sam Bradford: Y! ADP of 156
Bradford is as risky as they come, but he has legitimate top 5 QB upside in Chip Kelly’s offense. As a former number 1 overall pick, his talent has never been in question. A dearth of offensive weapons combined with extensive injury history has prevented Bradford from showing what he can really do. It is sink or swim time in Philly, but if Bradford can stay upright he has a chance to emerge as one of the season’s best draft values at any position.
Joe Flacco: Y! ADP of 193
Flacco is never going to blow you away. His upside is somewhat limited, but he has an extremely high floor as well and is a great bet to finish as a top 15. As the 20th ranked QB on Y!’s default rank list, his value is being somewhat overlooked. Marc Trestman knows how to get production out of the QB position, and Flacco is a lot better than what Trestman had to work with in Chicago. He makes the ideal insurance plan as a QB2 for those who decide to pass on the elite options.
Jay Cutler: Y! ADP of undrafted, ESPN ADP of 155
Look, the Cutler hate is fully justified. He is an inefficient QB, a questionable leader and he boasts arguably the worst contract in football today. The new coaching regime in Chicago has also hinted that they will be willing to replace him as the starter if he stumbles early on. That all being said, in a disastrous 2014 campaign, he still finished as the 14th best fantasy QB. If you can nab him in one of the last two rounds of your draft, the risk is a lot less than the potential reward for a gunslinging QB who boasts some high end pass game weapons.
Andy Dalton: Y! ADP of 162, ESPN ADP of 161
Dalton was absolutely miserable last season, but he was the 3rd best fantasy QB in 2013. While I believe he played way above his head that season, he is a lot better than his stat line from 2014 would indicate. Injuries to Tyler Eifert, Marvin Jones and A.J. Green had a lot to do with Dalton’s struggles last year. Expect a bounce back performance and a top 12-15 finish for Andy Dalton.
Tyrod Taylor: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
With all the depth at the QB position, Taylor is probably best left undrafted outside of 2 QB leagues. He has looked the best out of the three QB options in Buffalo this preseason and also offers the most fantasy upside because of his ability to do damage with his legs. If he earns the starting job, he is a great bet to lead all QBs in rushing this season. Keep Taylor on your watch lists and gobble him up in all two QB leagues just in case we wins the job.
These guys will come cheap on draft day
and some may end up being fantasy difference makers.
Ryan Mathews: Y! ADP of 155
Mathews’ ADP is much lower on most sites and frankly this ADP makes little sense to me. Given the Eagles’ high volume, run heavy offense, Matthews figures to get 8-12 touches even when Murray is active, giving him a chance to be a decent weekly flex play. If Murray goes down, Mathews would immediately become an RB1.
Devonta Freeman: Y! ADP of 161
I am not a big Freeman fan and I believe Tevin Coleman will emerge as the back to own in Atlanta. That being said, right now the Falcons view the two backs as members of a fairly equal committee. The value for Freeman looks pretty good here.
Bishop Sankey: Y! ADP of 165
Sankey did not play very well at all last season. He was ineffective running the football and graded out very poorly in pass protection also. Right now he and David Cobb appear likely to form a committee heading up the Titans’ backfield, yet both are being more or less avoided in drafts. One of these men could emerge as an every week starter.
David Cobb: Y! ADP of 171, ESPN ADP of 165
Cobb is my personal pick to be the lead dog in Tennessee. Sankey had his shot last season and never really was able to get things going. The Titans offense is not going to be great, but they have some decent weapons. If Mariota is able to get this offense going, Cobb could be one of the largest beneficiaries. He is already projected as the goal line back and he was far more impressive than Sankey in the preseason opener, running 11 times for 53 yards.
Danny Woodhead: ESPN ADP of 163
Melvin Gordon’s stock is trending down due to his inability in the passing game and a tentative performance during the first preseason game. Enter Woodhead, the pass game specialist and possible goalline vulture. I like Woodhead as a possible flex play in standard leagues and a low end RB2 in PPR. Woodhead is a steal anywhere after round 10.
Chris Johnson: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
Johnson was recently signed by the Cardinals and Bruce Arians has hinted that he will be given the opportunity to earn the lead back role. Of course, he has about an equal chance of not even making the 53 man roster. If you are looking for a lottery ticket, Chris Johnson makes for a nice late round gamble who will make an easy drop if things break the wrong way.
David Johnson: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
In case you can’t tell, I am not convinced that Ellington will last the season. David Johnson was highly impressive in his preseason debut Saturday, and may actually prove to be the superior runner in the Cards’ backfield. Expect Johnson’s ADP to climb aggressively in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, make sure you get a piece of the action.
Roy Helu Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
Latavius Murray seems to be trending up while Helu remains stuck in neutral. As an avid Redskins fan, I have watched every Helu touch over the course of his career. He poses absolutely no threat to Murray as an early down workhorse, but may still out touch Murray in games where the Raiders fall behind early. Helu excels in the passing game and he is quite good when able to get the ball in space. He is also worth a late round selection, especially in PPR formats.
Chris Polk: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
Chris Polk is nothing special, but I believe he is the best bet to replace Arian Foster in Houston. My lack of faith in Blue has as much to do with his ADP as it does his lack of talent. I am not willing to invest a top 100 pick in a half season replacement who might not even be the guy. Polk makes a much wiser investment.
Ronnie Hillman/ Juwan Thompson: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
These two men each have the talent to produce if ever handed the reigns in Denver. While C.J. Anderson appears entrenched as the lead back, Thompson and/or Hillman could be an injury away from fantasy stardom. Montee Ball stands in the way to complicate matters, but if you are searching for the next Anderson, Denver may be the best place to look.
Matt Jones: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
I really like Alfred Morris. He certainly is not without limitations, but I think he is one of the best downhill, two-down backs in the league. There are not many better at grinding out tough yards between the tackles. Jay Gruden does not seem to share my love for Alf, however. Morris will be an unrestricted free agent in 2016 and Matt Jones was drafted as the heir apparent. Jones has looked mighty impressive in his first two preseason games and might emerge as more than just a 3rd down back this year. As good as Morris can be, he is a liability in the passing game. Since Gruden favors versatile backs who can play in a fast tempo, Jones may actually be a better fit for the offense.
There are tons of fantasy relevant WRs today. Here are a few unheralded
players who have a good chance to work their way into fantasy lineups.
Devin Funchess: Y! ADP of undrafted, ESPN ADP of 160
The current ADP data for Funchess is pretty much irrelevant now, but I wanted to highlight him in case your league drafts before he gets moved up the rankings. Now that Benjamin is out for the season, Funchess is hands down the most talented receiver on the Panthers’ roster. He should see plenty of targets, and I think he will have a difficult time being less efficient than Kelvin Benjamin was last year. Funchess has a chance to be a WR2 right out of the gate.
Davante Adams: Y! ADP of 179
Adams plays alongside the best QB in the league and figures to find prominent playing time in all 3 wide sets this year. He was one of the standouts during the Packers training camp and appears to be limited only by the presence of two elite receiving options ahead of him on the depth chart. Adams could be in line for a breakout despite somewhat limited playing time. Should Nelson miss significant time, Adams would stand to benefit the most. Adams would be a legitimate top 20 WR if Nelson were out.
Eddie Royal: Y! ADP 192, ESPN ADP 178
Royal’s upside is not as high as many on this list, but now that Kevin White is out of the picture he looks like an every down receiver for the Bears. While Royal lacks a strong red zone presence, he should see a healthy dose of targets and is likely to develop as a quality PPR option.
Markus Wheaton: Y! ADP of 159, ESPN ADP of undrafted
I am all in on the Steelers this season. They have the makings of a truly elite offense and Wheaton is the second WR listed on their depth charts. He does not have as much upside as Martavis Bryant, but with defenses focused on stopping Brown and Bell, any receiver playing 80% or more of the snaps is going to have a chance to produce. That job appears to be Wheaton’s to lose.
Brian Quick: Y! ADP of 195, ESPN ADP of 192
Quick had the look of a breakout player in 2014 before his season was cut short after tearing his rotator cuff in week 8. Quick is a big, fast player who could emerge as a real target hog in the Rams’ offense. Although the Rams are likely to utilize a run heavy approach, Quick is easily the most talented receiver on the roster and could post WR2 numbers.
Marvin Jones: Y! ADP of 188, ESPN ADP of undrafted
Jones missed all of 2014 after his breakout 2013 season where he caught 10 TD passes. Now penciled in as the #2 WR in Cincinnati, Jones is a playmaking wideout capable of big things. There are a lot of mouths to feed in the Bengal offense, so his role may not allow him to reach his full potential, but Marvin Jones is certainly worth rostering to see how the first couple games shake out.
Stevie Johnson: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
Johnson is the forgotten man after languishing in Buffalo for years, but he is still only 29 years old and a move to San Diego could rejuvenate his career. Some think Johnson could emerge as the target leader in the Chargers offense this season. Regardless of whether you believe the hype or not, Johnson is worth a look late in your draft.
Brandon Coleman: Y! and ESPN ADP of undrafted
Coleman is an extremely talented second year player. At 6.6”, 225 in an offense quarterbacked by Drew Brees that is seemingly devoid of quality receiving options, Coleman is a must own in every format. He may end up busting, but his ceiling is far too high to ignore.
There are quite a few viable TE options who will be available late in drafts.
The two players highlighted here are most likely to end up as top 10 options.
Dwayne Allen: Y! ADP 176
Allen is being drafted as a top 10 TE in most formats, but not Y!. He is a potential red zone monster in an offense quarterbacked by Andrew Luck. Need I say more? Allen is a TD only player who rarely produces many yards, but he is capable of busting out a Julius Thomas type stat line this year.
Tyler Eifert: Y! ADP of undrafted, ESPN ADP of 166
Eifert was a popular breakout pick last year before going down in the first quarter of the first game. This year, his ADP is more affordable, but the upside remains the same. Eifert is an outstanding receiving option who is likely to emerge as a featured weapon in the Bengals air attack.
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