Fantasy Football: Players to Love

Fantasy Football

By Guest Writer Jack Concannon:


With all of the players that are going to be taken in fantasy drafts this year it’s only natural there are some values people are going to love and others people are going to hate. I’m going to try and find players that I love for based on where they are going in mock drafts and players that I hate for where they are being drafted in current ESPN mock drafts (special thanks to ESPN for supplying the mock drafts for me to analyze).

I’m going to re-state that last bit because it is extremely important. I love and hate these players based off of value, not performance. When I say that I love Danny Woodhead and hate Doug Martin that does not mean that I think Danny Woodhead will have a better year than Martin. All it means is that Martin is being drafted too high and Woodhead is being drafted too low.

I have decided to make the love and hate sections of this into separate articles. Let’s start with the good news. These are some players organized by position whose value I love for next season. All of the round indications are for ten team leagues since that is the number most leagues play with.


Quarterbacks That I Love    

The 2014 off-season has brought up some questions about how valuable Cam Newton is.

Cam Newton (Currently going in the 5th round, Should go in 4th)

Cam Newton was the third ranked fantasy quarterback last season but is slipping in drafts because his weapons are significantly depleted from last year. The wide receiver currently on their roster with the most receptions in the NFL last year was Jerricho Cotchery (a whopping forty-six catches). This doesn’t concern me as much as it concerns some because it might give Cam a little more room to start running if his receivers can’t get open down the field. He might have an even bigger fantasy year than ever before if he starts tucking the ball and running more often and that’s exactly what he is going to do next season.

Matt Ryan (Currently going in the 10th/11th round, should go in 8th)

Everyone seems to think Matt Ryan had some kind of huge regression year last year but I’m not buying it. He did finish fourteenth among quarterbacks in points but considering that Julio Jones and Roddy White both missed significant time and they had little run game to set up the passing finishing fourteenth doesn’t seem so bad. Jones and White are by all reports healthy and ready to have big seasons so draft Ryan with that in mind. Here’s another way to look at it: Matty Ice is currently being drafted behind Ravens backup running back Bernard Pierce right now. Don’t be the guy that drafts Bernard Pierce before Matt Ryan.

Tony Romo (Currently going in the 12th round, should go in 9th)

Three years in a row Tony Romo has finished the year top ten in fantasy points among quarterbacks yet every year he is drafted outside of the top ten fantasy quarterbacks. Romo puts up enough points to be a fantasy starter and should be drafted like one. Romo is an excellent value for anyone using the “wait until late” strategy when it comes to drafting a quarterback.


Running Backs That I Love

Arian Foster (Currently Going in Late 1st/Early 2nd round, should go in mid 1st)

People are sleeping on Foster because he sustained a season-ending injury Week 7 last year but he is ready to go this year and is prime to make his return to form as a top five fantasy running back. I have him at six in my personal running back rankings and seventh on my overall rankings so drafts that allow him to slip into the second round confuse me. Take him in the first round because if he stays healthy (which he should since a season-ending injury doesn’t necessarily mean he is injury-prone) he will put up big numbers.

Reggie Bush (Currently going in 3rd, should go in 2nd)    

Reggie Bush was the twelfth running back in fantasy football last year despite missing two games due to injury. He is still the main running back on what figures to be a high powered Detroit Lions offense this season. All of this should point to a big fantasy projection yet ESPN has him at fifteen in their running back rankings behind Alfred Morris and Montee Ball. Every year Reggie Bush slips and every year the owner who gets him doesn’t regret it. Be that owner this year and get him in the late second round. He will probably be available and will definitely be worth it.

Bishop Sankey (Currently going in 5th, should go in 4th)

As I said in my previous article, I love rookies that get drafted to be unquestioned starters. Eddie Lacy and Le’Veon Bell both had huge workloads last year and put up big numbers. I expect Sankey to do the same. Definitely target Sankey in the high fourth round. For more in depth analysis of Sankey’s value, check out my previous article: Analyzing Rookie Fantasy Values.

Danny Woodhead (Currently going in 9th, should go in 7th)

Woodhead was nineteenth in points last year in standard leagues and deserves flex status at the very least. He is a good play in standard leagues but it is in PPR leagues where he becomes a steal. If you play in PPR formats this is a pick that can win you your league. He had 208 points last year in PPR formats. Adrian Peterson, who did miss two games with an injury) had 223. In a standard league Woodhead is worth a look, but for PPR he is worth getting as high as the third or fourth round.


Wide Receivers That I Love     

Julio Jones (Currently going in 2nd/3rd, should go in high 2nd)

I am huge on Julio Jones. He is second in my personal wide receiver rankings only below Calvin Johnson. The reason he is this high is because of one simple but crucial trend I noticed looking at his injury-abbreviated season last year: he was constantly getting the football. He averaged just over eight catches per game over the five games with his lowest number of catches being week four in a game where he logged 108 yards to go along with the six catches. He has such a big role in the Falcons’ offense he has to be the second best wideout in fantasy and he should be drafted as such.

Wes Welker (Currently going in 5th round, should go in 4th)

Welker averaged ten points per game last year when healthy. This is the mark of a solid WR2 in any fantasy league and he should be getting drafted higher. People are probably scared to draft him over wide receivers who are number ones in their team’s respective passing games. While that role in the Broncos’ offense is filled by Demaryius Thomas that is not a valid reason to avoid Welker considering how much John Fox’s Broncos throw the football (second in the league with 675 passing attempts last season). 

Golden Tate (Currently Going in 8th/9th round, should go in 7th)

This is the first time in Stafford’s career he’s had a second wide receiver that can really make plays and he’s going to use this new addition to his full advantage. Tate was never really used to his potential in the Seahawks’ offense but that is likely going to change in Detroit. While Reggie Bush and Calvin Johnson will take potential targets away, the amount of passing Jim Caldwell did in his days with Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts makes me think that the ball will find its way into Tate’s hands plenty of times.

Hakeem Nicks (Currently going in 11th round, should go in 9th)

The Colts made it a priority to go out and get an impact wide receiver for Andrew Luck to have this season after Reggie Wayne’s injury and T.Y. Hilton’s inconsistency. They didn’t exactly get Jerry Rice but Hakeem Nicks has shown that he can play well if given the chance. The Colts didn’t go out and give Nicks a 3.5 million dollar deal so he could have a small role in the offense. He will get the ball and he is definitely being undervalued.


Tight Ends That I Love

Jason Witten (Currently Going in 8th Round, should go in 6th)

The Redskins fan in me cringes as a second Cowboy makes the list but he is well deserving of his spot. Jason Witten is a huge part of the Cowboys offense and when drafting tight ends that is especially critical to look at. Witten is ranked between Emmanuel Sanders and Kendall Wright on ESPN for fantasy. Sanders is the Broncos’ third receiving option and Kendall Wright’s QB is Jake Locker. It’s pretty clear that Witten is a man among boys in the eighth round and fantasy players should start targeting him around round six.

Kyle Rudolph (Currently going in 14th, should go in 9th)

When Norv Turner was the head coach of the Chargers from 2007-2012 Antonio Gates routinely posted elite tight end fantasy numbers. After his firing as head coach he spent last year as the Cleveland Browns offensive coordinator and turned Jordan Cameron into a star overnight. Now Turner heads to Minnesota as offensive coordinator and it could be time for Kyle Rudolph to have his big breakout year. He did go to the pro bowl in 2012 but I’m talking about a huge breakout year. A breakout year that puts him into the tier 2 of fantasy tight ends (tier 1 is reserved for Jimmy Graham, sorry Norv). A breakout year that makes him worthy of being drafted a lot higher than the fourteenth round. Get him in the mid rounds and you will not regret it.



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