Back for Round 2! Earlier this week, I went through Rounds 1-8 of fantasy drafts and fleshed out what players I believe are representing the best values based on their current ADP (Average Draft Position). I also talked about the importance of doing mock drafts leading up to your actual fantasy drafts (pretty sure that's an oxymoron, but I digress), which is also an important part of the evaluations for these selections. I say again, if you haven't done so, get started on some mocks ASAP!
As with Part 1, these stats are being pulled from fantasypros.com, which uses a consensus of six different sites' ADP. Now, let's get down to business and take a look at the best current values in the second half of drafts.
Josh Gordon WR CLE - 9.08, #102 Overall, WR #40
What is there to say? You all know Gordon's story. The guy was a Top-2 WR in fantasy in 2013 in just 14 games, putting up 87 catches on 159 targets for 1646 yards and 9 TDs. The problem has always been off the field for Gordon, as he's only played in 5 total games over the past two seasons due to suspensions for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Gordon has been reinstated for this season, but must serve a 4-game suspension to start the season. That being said, the guy is still only 25 years old and we saw him miss 2 games in 2013 and still put up amazing numbers on the season. I know there's an entirely new coaching staff in Cleveland and RG3 is now the QB, but who else can you get in the 9th round who could turn into a option Top-10 at this position? I just can't pass on a guy with this much talent and upside when he's going this late in drafts and I've been drafting him in this range consistently in mocks.
Antonio Gates TE SD - 10.05, #111 Overall, TE #13
I told you you'd see Gates later on! He's the first tight-end on this list and he's also probably the oldest guy here as well at 36 years old. But Gates managed to finish as around the #11 TE in fantasy last year, despite only playing in 11 games and he's only finished outside the Top-10 two other times in his 13-year career: in his 2003 rookie season and in 2012, when he finished at #13. He's a touchdown machine and he and QB Philip Rivers have been playing together for literally forever, he just knows where Gates is going to be and is able to find him. Obviously guys like Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed and Greg Olsen belong ahead of Gates in rankings, but I don't see a lot of separation between him and the next tier of guys like Travis Kelce and Coby Fleener. And those two guys are going about 6-7 rounds ahead of him, not to mention the rest of the guys at the position going in between them. I just see a lot of value here and he's another one of those guys who isn't sexy, but he'll get the job done.
Isaiah Crowell RB CLE - 11.02, #120 Overall, RB #42
That's right! Not one, but TWO Browns are on this list! I realize that Cleveland is a perennially terrible team, but they're still going to have guys with some fantasy value. Look at last year, when Travis Benjamin and Gary Barnidge were both useful to fantasy players. Coming over from Cincinnati, new Head Coach Hue Jackson is going to want to run the ball and Crowell should get a good amount of touches, specifically on 1st and 2nd down. Pass-catching back Duke Johnson will spell him and will definitely get more receptions in a 3rd-down role, but he's going at #76 Overall, almost 50 picks higher than Crowell. There's no way I can see that much difference in their values by the end of the season. Look at it this way: Crowell should inherit the "Jeremy Hill role" in the Hue Jackson system, who was a major disappointment for fantasy owners last season and still finished right outside of RB1 territory as the #13 RB. I won't say Crowell is as good or as talented as Hill, but you could get a RB2 in the 11th round here. Not bad.
Matthew Stafford QB DET - 12.05, #135 Overall, QB #18
Here's the other guy I said you'd see later in the list. I know, I know. Stafford has never consistently lived up to his enormous potential and he lost a Hall of Fame WR in Calvin Johnson to retirement this offseason. Here's the thing though. Stafford looked really good at the end of last season. After the Lions' Week 9 bye, when Jim Bob Cooter took over as Offensive Coordinator, Stafford threw 19 TDs to just 2 INTs in Weeks 10-17 and scored at least 20 fantasy points in each of those games. Again, I know Calvin Johnson was still there, but I think the Lions have enough weapons to pick up the slack with Golden Tate already on hand, the additions of Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin and the hopeful maturation of TE Eric Ebron. Stafford is going as the 18th QB off the board and he's a guy that I'm really comfortable targeting at this point in the draft to be my starter, as I believe he has definite Top-10 upside. I mean, what are the Lions gonna do, run it with Ameer Abdullah, Theo Riddick, Zach Zenner and Stevan Ridley? I'll take my chances with Stafford.
Rounds 13 and Later
Sammie Coates WR PIT - 14.02, #156 Overall, WR #54
Remember that last guy who played for Pittsburgh who was an amazing combination of size, speed and athleticism? That would be Martavis Bryant, who has shown what kind of impact a player like that can make on this team's offense, which is already really good. Bryant put up 76 receptions for 1314 yards and 14 TDs in his first two seasons, when he played sparingly as a rookie in 2014 and missed the first 5 games of 2015 (4 due to suspension and 1 due to injury), averaging 17.3 yards per catch during that time. Now Bryant is serving a yearlong suspension for another violation of the league's substance abuse policy, leaving a large role to fill in Pittsburgh's potent offense...a perfect time and place for Coates to take up the deep-threat mantle. Markus Wheaton is technically the #2 WR, but he doesn't have near the upside of Coates and you can get him in the 14th round, which is basically free. There's also been reports in camp that he's improved dramatically and has looked really good. Why not take a shot the potential?
Dwayne Allen TE IND - 15.08, #174 Overall, TE #17
This is the other tight-end I'm targeting late, along with Gates. Allen has always been a touchdown scorer for Indianapolis, but his upside was always capped by the presence of former teammate Coby Fleener (another guy I like this season), who signed with New Orleans during the offseason. Allen's other problem has been staying healthy, but when you can get a guy with what I think could be Top-5 upside, where's the risk? Tight-end is a position where there's going to be several guys who pop up throughout the season as starter-types, so you can just drop him if it doesn't work out. Andrew Luck has always used the TE and Allen could see a huge jump in his production as the only game in town. The value here could be amazing.
Terrance West RB BAL - #194 Overall, RB #61
There's been all kinds of good press on West out of Ravens' camp and he scored 2 TDs in Baltimore's first preseason game. There's a ton of competition for touches in this backfield, the full list of which includes last year's starter Justin Forsett, Javorius Allen, Lorenzo Taliaferro and rookie Kenneth Dixon. But if West really does look that good in training camp and he carries that momentum throughout the preseason and into the regular season, there's at least a chance he's the primary back in an offense that I believe will be better than most people think. Again, all you're looking for at the end of the draft is upside and potential and West could pay dividends as your last pick.
Shaun Draughn RB SF - #263 Overall, RB #79
Yeah, you read the name right! Another guy that has reportedly looked like the best player in training camp and is also going undrafted most of the time. San Fran is going to need a back to catch passes, a service that Draughn can provide. I'm not among the Carlos Hyde believers this season, both because I'm not sure he can stay healthy and because I don't think the 49ers are a very good team, putting the running game in a bad position. If that's the case, Draughn could see more of the field than most expect. I've been making him my last pick in many mocks and I think you could definitely do worse at the end of your draft.