We’re moving on to the 4th through 5th rounds here with picks 41 to 60. Some of these guys will finish in the top 10 at their position. Others will end up starting 2 games for you and then ride the pine. These high variance picks are every bit as vital to your team as the first round, don’t get lazy!
You can’t win your league via the draft, but you can give yourself an inside track. Rounds 5-10 are the rounds where you can really build a juggernaut, or ensure you’ll be spending that free agent budget early.
41) Lamar Miller, RB, Mia (5)
Miller finished as RB9 for the Lazor guided Dolphins last year. Miller is a polarizing figure in 2015, a figure that will likely not end up on many of my rosters. I couldn’t bring myself to rank him any lower as he is a starting back in a decent offense.
Miller had his shot and showed us what he was. He’s a capable back but that is as flattering as I can go. I think Ajayi comes in and surprises down in Miami, relegating Miller to just a bit more than an average second string RB.
42) Alfred Morris, RB, Was (8)
Morris is perhaps the biggest loser when it comes to PPR. Whether Alf can catch or not is of little consequence as Washington has decided he cannot. This limit’s Morris’ upside in PPR despite his talent as a runner.
When I think about the upcoming season and countless permutations of how it might end up, I never think: "boy, Washington really turned it around and looked great". Instead I usually I end up wondering if Washington will spend their top 5 pick in 2016 on another O-lineman.
43) Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG (11)
Jennings was clearly the best back in New York last year, and despite the addition of Shane Vereen, he is still the best all-around back on the Giants. I expect the Giants to take a big step forward this year on offense, and I expect Jennings to get a big piece of that scoring.
44) Jordan Matthews, WR, Phi (8)
Matthews had a great rookie year for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. With Maclin gone, Matthews’ toughest competition comes from rookie Nelson Agholor. There are plenty of points to go around in Philly even though Chip prefers to lean on the run game.
I’m expecting a strong sophomore season out of Jordan despite his fairly pedestrian measurables. At this spot, you’re usually drafting upside or a solid floor. With Matthews, I think we saw his floor last year, and I’ll buy that production at this draft slot.
45) Golden Tate, WR, Det (9)
It’s a shame Tate was not valued more in Seattle if you’re a Russell Wilson fan. Tate moving on to Detroit was a blessing if you root for Stafford. Tate showed last year that while he is a little undersized, he can either carry the load or play a great second fiddle to Megatron. Detroit has been looking for a solid second receiver for years, and with Tate, they’ve found it. While his upside is limited playing next to one of the greatest receivers of the decade, he plays with a quarterback that rarely sees a throw he doesn’t like. Tate will give you solid production this year.
46) Julian Edelman, WR, NE (4)
Edelman has had a very solid couple of years filling the big shoes left by little Wes Welker. When Gronk was out last year, you were hard pressed to see receptions from any of the other Patriot wide receivers. Now that Vereen has moved on, Edelman has a chance to replace what he lost once Gronk hit his stride.
I buy in to the angry Brady narrative. The Pats have no problems running up the score and Edelman is the real WR1 in New England, even if he doesn’t play the X that often. Edelman is that US Treasury note, he’s likely won’t make you rich, but he will ensure you don’t go broke.
47) Martavis Bryant, WR, Pit (11)
It is really hard to bet on Bryant managing to repeat his efficiency numbers from last year. It seemed like every time he was on the field he was hauling in a long TD pass. He would have likely garnered much more attention were it not for the unbelievable numbers posted by fellow rookies Mike Evans and Odell Beckham.
Bryant is, at best, the 3rd option for Roethlisberger. That could be a blessing or a curse depending on how you think Pittsburgh does this year on O. With defenses concentrating on stopping Bell and Brown, Bryant may see a lot of favorable coverage. His measurables set his potential at pretty much limitless, but those expectations are brought back to earth by the talent surrounding him.
48) Travis Kelce, TE, KCC (9)
Kelce looked great last year in a severely limited role. Reports after the 2014 season indicated that Andy Reid was intentionally slow-playing his hand, wanting Kelce fully recovered before saddling him with a heavy workload.
With Maclin now in town, KC has a few very nice options. Smith can loosen up a bit with better talent, I think. Kelce was the next big thing last year, and he finished the year at TE8. If he can cut it loose this year, he has a chance help combat the Gronk owner.
49) TJ Yeldon, RB, Jax (8)
I really liked Yeldon coming out of Alabama, now he is the starting running back on the Jags. Jacksonville has a bad team with a whole lot of question marks. It’s also a team that appears to be moving in the right direction. They have a young QB that may lean on a workhorse back and target him heavily coming out of the backfield. A leading, starting gig at RB gets you in to my 5th round this early in the draft season.
While I don’t think TJ has set the league on fire potential, I think he has more than enough to finish in the top 20.
50) CJ Spiller, RB, NO (11)
The reports of the Saints’ death was an exaggeration. I buy the Peyton / Brees brain trust righting the ship 2015. Even if you think the Saints are done for, they still put up numbers last year. Everyone will bring up Darren Sproles here, and I don’t blame them. I think, like Sproles, Spiller has unique talent that Brees can take advantage of.
Spiller has looked amazing in the not too distant past. But, since his break out season, Spiller has been a willing, if ineffective pound it between the tackles running back. You should not try to pound the middle with Spiller, why would you?
The Saints will need a few guys to steps up and fill the void. CJ has a chance to put up some great PPR numbers and I’ll take my chances on him here.
51) Greg Olsen, TE, Car (5)
Greg Olsen is the new Heath Miller. He’s consistent, a favorite target of his quarterback, and a very capable wide receiver. Olsen is limited by Carolina’s lack of scoring punch, but if Cam and Benjamin both continue to improve, Olsen’s stat line still has room to grow.
With so few high quality tight ends, Olsen might be your last shot to get steady production from the tight end spot.
52) Isaiah Crowell, RB, Cle (11)
This ranking continues my love affair with Isaiah Crowell. While Cleveland is not a bastion of offensive potency, I think they’ll run a lot this year, and Crowell will lead the way. I loved Duke Johnson coming out of Miami and he is far and away the main weight pulling down Crowell’s ranking here.
53) Sammy Watkins, WR, Buf (8)
Last year’s and this year’s first round pick for the Buffalo Bills is, unfortunately, stuck in Buffalo. He had a good year last year despite several nagging injuries, showing his toughness and fairly remarkable ability. Unfortunately, he is now playing for Rex Ryan and catching passes from one of 3 QBs. When you have 2 QBs you have 0 QBs. When you have 3 quarterbacks, you’re in a world of hurt.
Watkins abilities and position atop the depth chart in Buffalo make it hard to get away from him. His QB and coaching situation make it hard to select him. Buffalo may surprise us and have a pretty decent year, but I just can’t bet on it.
54) Roddy White, WR, Atl (10)
White benefits from playing alongside Julio Jones. White still has enough to beat almost and 2nd corner in the league, and that is who he is going to line up against most of the time. Matt Ryan has shown he is at least good enough to support 2 viable fantasy wide receivers. Roddy has been so consistent for so long. Eventually, time conquers all foes. But, I think Roddy holds him off for 1 more year at least.
55) Mike Wallace, WR, Min (5)
Wallace is moving on from Miami and now we’ll see if his drop in performance (he still finished WR18 last year) was due to a bad fit in Miami, or a sign of decline. I think Bridgewater is a very solid, young quarterback. With Wallace, Teddy will have a speed demon deep threat to go along with the best running back in the game.
With the attention Adrian Petersen demands, Bridgewater and his receivers have a great opportunity. If Wallace still has it, he may help the Vikings push back in to the playoffs.
56) DeSean Jackson, WR, Was (8)
Jackson is a talented but languishing in Washington. He doesn’t look like he’s lost a step, but Jackson does need a talented quarterback to get him the ball. There is a lot riding on RGIII’s knee this year, Jackson only being one of them.
DeSean is really at a cross roads in his career and that can mean great value or swing and a miss pick in the middle rounds.
57) Jarvis Landry, WR, Mia (5)
Landry is still the best receiver in Miami, Tannehill knows him, and he had a pretty good rookie campaign. Landry looked like he belonged in the NFL last year, after somehow managing to look talented playing with Odell Beckham Junior in college. I was really high on Landry before he was drafted and Landry is on the path to prove believers right.
I think Landry continues to play security blanket for Tannehill while I think the Dolphins put up more points. Landry
58) Amari Cooper, WR, Oak (6)
Oakland should be horrible again, but maybe not quite as horrible as we’ve grown accustom to. The air attack they do manage should go through Cooper. I think that volume alone will push Cooper’s value up even though it’s generally a bad idea to bet on rookie wide receivers. Car seems like a bright guy, and so I expect he’ll relentlessly feed Cooper.
There isn’t much to say about Cooper’s other than he looked like a pro receiver against collegiate talent last year. I am a big believer in what he can do, but I wonder if he has the gravity to escape the black hole.
59) Torrey Smith, WR, SF (10)
Torrey Smith takes a downgrade at quarterback to try his luck out west. Smith is sort of a 1 trick pony but he does that 1 thing really well. Smith does enough to give defenses pause, and if he’s even he’s leavin’ most the corners in the league. I’ll take another chance on Smith here. If Kaepernick turns it around, Torrey could be a really nice WR2 on a lot of solid fantasy teams out there.
60) Russell Wilson, QB, Sea (9)
The Seahawks will expect more out of Wilson this year, and Wilson has never done anything except exceed expectations. It’s tough to tell if we’ll be able to count on those rushing yards so vital to Wilson’s success, but we know he has all the tools to put up another great season.
It’s hard to put Wilson ahead of some of the old guard NFL QB masters, but I have a feeling Carol asks more of him and he delivers this year.