The first four to five rounds of drafts can be relatively easy- nearly every player has either a nice floor, nice ceiling, or a combination of both. But once you get into the later rounds…that’s what separates the winners from the losers in fantasy football leagues. Everyone has injuries and bye weeks, and having a solid bench of upside guys is what is going to get you through the adversity suffered by fantasy owners every year. Using ADP from Fantasy Football Calculator, let’s explore some options:
Draft Duke Johnson (8.10 as RB39), Not Tre Mason (8.03 as RB37)
Let’s start with reasons to simply not draft Tre Mason. While he could start out the year hot, the Rams didn’t draft superior prospect Todd Gurley 10th overall to have him share carries with Mason. When Gurley is healthy, they are going to ride him as a bellcow even if they ease him in.
Even when Gurley is out, Mason is unlikely to be a PPR difference-maker. Third-down back Benny Cunningham is back to steal receptions (7th most RB receptions last year) while Mason had 16 catches total.
Mason was solid, but didn’t exactly light the world on fire as a featured player. When he had double digit carries (10 games), Mason only averaged over 4 YPC in three of those contests. Stuck on an average (at best) offense, he is going to struggle for scoring value while not even catching passes.
Johnson, on the other hand, is at least going to catch some passes. Miami spent a 3rd round pick on Johnson this spring, who has more draft pedigree than starter Isaiah Crowell (undrafted). While Terrance West was last year’s 3rd round pick, he spent most of 2014 in the coaches’ dog house, while Crowell spent some time there as well.
A favorite of many draftniks, Johnson is probably already better in the pass game than his backfield mates, and was an explosive runner at Miami. He is going to see the field early in the season- that could translate to often if he holds his own. It is clear the coaches aren’t in love with his competition.
Draft Roy Helu (12.05 as RB52), Not Jonas Gray (12.04 as RB51)
Similar to the above argument, Helu has passing game chops while Jonas Gray doesn’t. Helu was an incredibly efficient receiver last year, and the Raiders signed him for his pass-protecting chops.
Gray is famous for one game: his 37-201-4 thrashing of the Colts last year. Other than that, he hasn’t had a game over 86 yards in his career, and saw a grand total of three targets in 2014. Blount is back and locked into an early-down role while Gray is going to fight for scraps along with James White and Brandon Bolden.
With only Latavius Murray in the way of Helu becoming a workhorse, let’s harken back to when Helu saw a big workload in 2011 when thrust into every-down duty:
Keep in mind Latavius is going into an every-down role- something he hasn’t done before. If he flops or gets hurt, Helu is in for a lot of work. Gray simply has no upside.
Draft Brian Quick (10.06 as WR48), Not Terrance Williams (11.02 as WR49)
This one simply goes into opportunity and past production. Williams, although on a lovely offense, mustered exactly zero games over 77 yards last year, with only three games over 3 receptions. He is simply fighting to be the 3rd/4th option on the offense, and is barely even worth a redraft pick as potential WR3 if Dez Bryant goes down. He doesn’t have better pedigree than Quick either (courtesy of PlayerProfiler.com):
|Player||Draft Pick||Height-Adjusted Speed Score||College Dominator||Breakout Age||SPARQ|
Quick, on the other hand finally showed his potential early last season in his first four games: 7-99-0, 7-74-0, 2-62-1, 5-87-2. He suffered a debilitating shoulder injury during the season, but he’s back with a quarterback who isn’t afraid to target his favorite receiver downfield (see Jeremy Maclin’s stats with Foles last year). This pick is an absolute no brainer.