Drafting In Reverse 2011 Pt. 1
Trolling the Depths
Welcome to part one of Drafting In Reverse. This is year third year that I’ve written this article and I must say that this has been the toughest one to date. It’s been dicey determining just what the heck is happening out there as far as ADP goes. The numbers vary so much from source-to-source that we just aren’t trusting the numbers as much as we usually do.
ADP data is always relative to the site folks are drafting on, and player rankings in the respective draft rooms play a role in the outcomes. This year is far worse as a lot of players changed teams very quickly, and the reaction has been slow as far as updating rankings (by the way, this is not the case at Rotobahn).
So here’s how we’re rolling. First, I am looking at a bunch of different sources and I am not using any specific ADP to defend my assessments. For what it’s worth, the best data I am finding now is at Fantasy Football Calculator. Check their site out for the most up-to-date numbers.
The other sources we are looking at are CBS, ESPN, Yahoo and Mock Draft Central.
If you are interested in the backdrop and methodology for this piece, feel free to read last year’s edition, where I explain it in detail. The basic concept is that we approach the draft backwards to determine where the depth of the talent pool is and to make sure we are giving appropriate attention to the lesser known players. When we finally draft for real, we want to have a real understanding of what we can and can't get in the second half of the draft. Ideally, we can construct a draft plan that takes full advantage of the more valuable talent at the end of a given draft. We've found this exercise to be useful. We hope you agree.
In this initial installment, we look at the players who are going very late or who are not getting taken at all. In the simplest possible terms, these players are usually on the board after 200 players are gone, and are getting taken in the last few rounds of really deep leagues.
For those of you in leagues that roster under 200 players, this will represent the best of the free agent shopping, as well as a few guys who should be getting drafted but who are not.
Here are some of our bull's eyes from last year's Trolling the Depths segment...
- Michael Vick
- Steve Johnson
- Ryan Torain
- BenJarvus Green-Ellis
- Rob Gronkowski
- LeGarrette Blount
- Jimmy Graham
- Mario Manningham
- Mike Thomas
With that, here are the really deep targets. Some of whom should be getting drafted consistently and are not.
|1||Denarius Moore||WR||OAK||We understand that he’s not yet starting, but that should change. We think Moore is a heckuva a player and we expect the kind of results we saw from Jacoby Ford in 2010. We’ve gotten him late in most of our drafts and you should too.||Flex/upside|
|2||Delone Carter||RB||IND||This guy could easily be the goal line back on one of the more prolific offenses around. He has got to be taken before 200 guys are gone--and he’s not in most cases. Take advantage of this and nab Carter as a reserve once you nail down a solid lineup and a game-ready back up or two.||Flex Option|
|3||Eric Decker||WR||DEN||This guy could be a WR3 by the end of the year. We think he’ll be rostered in all formats eventually. Get him late and he’s got nice upside.||Flex/upside|
|9||Brandon LaFell||WR||CAR||He’s going to be a good player and people are sleeping on him. He’s a great way to add depth late in the game, especially in large leagues. We think he will be a WR4 or better once Newton gets settled.||Flex/upside|
|8||Arrelious Benn||WR||TB||He should be their #2 at some point and he has nice upside. He should be taken in most leagues.||Flex/upside|
|6||Kendall Hunter||RB||SF||This is a crime. Kendall Hunter should be rostered. We think he’ll climb up into most drafts, but based on what Mock Draft Central and others are saying, he is being taken at least fifty picks too late. More if you ask us. If you take Gore early, we see rostering Hunter as a mandatory act. We’d take no chances and do it as soon as we have our starters and a key reserve or two. Even if I don’t have Gore, I’m looking at this guy in rounds 12-15.||Handcuff/Upside|
|7||Cecil Shorts||WR||JAC||Maybe only in large leagues, but we are drafting this kid if we can find a spot for him. He could be the best receiver in Jacksonville soon and he has upside if Gabbert gets in there.||Flex option|
|5||Cam Newton||QB||CAR||Yes, it makes sense to wait a long time to take Newton in a redraft league, but not THIS long. He’s often being left to the waiver wire in large 12-team leagues and that’s a mistake. His upside is just too big.||Upside|
|23||John Beck||QB||WAS||Yeah, he’s unappealing in many ways, but he’s running Shanahan’s offense and that means he has some upside. The old coach did not commit to the kid for no reason at all. He thinks Beck can run his offense. He’s worth a look late in deep 12-team and 14-team leagues. Roster him as a QB3 or even a QB2.||QB3/Upside|
|10||Bernard Scott||RB||CIN||The Bengals may not be sexy, but they will not abandon the run with a kid under center. Starter Cedric Benson is on shaky ground these days and we’d be sure to back him up with Scott if we drafted him as a RB2 or RB3. It appears that many GMs are failing to do that. In large leagues, it’s a must.||Handcuff|
|11||Jason Snelling||RB||ATL||He may lose some of his role to Jacquizz Rodgers, but he is the guy to own if you draft Michael Turner. Snelling is a damn good back and plays every down if need be. He should be owned as a handcuff in leagues with sufficient roster space.||Handcuff/Upside|
|12||Leon Washington||RB||SEA||This baffles us. Leon is a player and he has a chance at being flex-worthy in big leagues. Take him late and see what happens.||Handcuff/Upside|
|13||Carnell Williams||RB||STL||The Caddy can still play and he is a good handcuff for S-Jax owners. He’s also got some flex appeal and is more valuable in PPR.||Handcuff/Upside|
|14||LaRod Stephens-Howling||RB||ARI||For now, this is best guy to draft if are relying heavily on Beanie Wells as your RB2. They may upgrade and bring in another back, but Howling has some potential from scrimmage. We’re using a deep pick on him if we own Wells.||Handcuff/Upside|
|15||Stevan Ridley||RB||NE||Right now, he is the most likely player to take the goal line away from BenJarvus Green-Ellis. Ridley has had a strong camp and looks like a factor. If you roster Green-Ellis in a deep league, this is the guy to nab later on as his handcuff.||Handcuff/Upside|
|16||Lance Kendricks||TE||STL||This kid is not being taken much at all in most formats and we’re a bit baffled. We actually think he has TE1 upside though we project a bit less than that. St. Louis needs targets and Josh McDaniels likes to toss the ball. This kid should be rostered. He’s a high quality sleeper in big leagues.||Upside|
|17||Todd Heap||TE||ARI||Heap has a chance to have a nice season as the 2nd option in the ‘Zona attack. He’s a great way to fill your TE spot late in a big league. You can actually start him if you needed to. He probably won’t last the season, but he should provide good numbers for as long as he is healthy. Heap can still get it done.||TE2|
|18||Fred Davis||TE||WAS||We think Davis is a sleeper even if Chris Cooley stays somewhat healthy, but Cooley looks weak right now. Davis has really big upside. Grab him late.||Upside|
|19||Jonathan Baldwin||WR||KC||Yes, he is a little bi***. He’s also a very large receiver with big talent. He’s worth a look this late for sure.||Upside|
|20||Riley Cooper||WR||PHI||Maclin’s status makes Cooper an intriguing player. He’s got starter’s skills and he’s the lone big target in Philly apart from the tight ends. Coop is a nice deep sleeper in big leagues and a very smart way to limit the risk of taking Maclin in just about any league. If Maclin comes out strong, you can lose Cooper.||Upside|
|21||Brandon Gibson||WR||STL||He’s not being drafted at all. He might start and he’s capable of posting some numbers. We’d be willing to take him late in a large format.||Flex Option|
|22||Dallas Cowboys||DEF||DAL||We love what Rob Ryan might do for the Dallas D and we think they have to be drafted in all leagues, especially large ones.||DEF1|
|4||Alex Green||RB||GB||This kid has way too much upside to be undrafted in big leagues. If I own Grant or Starks, I certainly will try to roster Green, who is probably the most talented back in GB. Additionally, I am looking to add this kid as a late flier even I don't own a Packers back. This is a very underrated player in our view.||Upside/Flex potential|
|24||Matt Hasselbeck||QB||TEN||Yeah, he’s past his prime, but he’s got some nice talent to work with, especially if they get CJ signed. He’s a reasonable bye-week fill-in and he’s practically free.||QB2 potential|
|25||Jason Campbell||QB||OAK||Oakland may pass a lot, and though their line is shaky, they have some great young targets...and Campbell can get the ball to them.||QB2 potential|
|26||Chad Henne||QB||MIA||With all the offensive talent in Miami, Henne is a hit or miss. Now we understand why folks fear the “miss”, but drafters are ignoring the other outcome. Henne has a shot to be pretty good for fantasy if he settle in. Worth a shot as a QB3 with upside.||QB2 potential|
|27||Shane Vereen||RB||NE||He’s probably just a candidate in really deep leagues, but he is a very talented back and once he gets healthy, he could start turning heads. He just returned to practice, so the buzz could start picking up soon. We’d roster both Vereen and Ridley in large leagues if we were leveraged with BJGE as a starter. We also like either player as a deep flier in big leagues.||Upside|
|28||Bilal Powell||RB||NYJ||We know the Jets like to talk about LT, but if Greene goes down, our money is on Powell as the most valuable Jets back.||Handcuff/Upside|
|29||Edmund Gates||WR||MIA||Large leagues are ignoring him and we understand why. Our take on him is that he is better than Hartline and he will get in there at some point. We’ve been getting him late in big leagues that draft 240 or more.||Upside|
|30||Jacquizz Rodgers||RB||ATL||Speaking of Thomas Edison, Rodgers has eye-popping skills and we’d be scooping him up late if we had the space on our roster.||Upside|
|31||Tashard Choice||RB||DAL||He’s back practicing and he’s playing behind two very injury-prone backs. As usual, Choice is worth a late choice. Sorry.||Handcuff|
|32||Earnest Graham||RB||TB||He’s the best all-around back they have and he has a chance at flex-appeal during the bye weeks. He’s a good plan-ahead pick.||Handcuff|
|33||Vince Young||QB||PHI||If you take Vick, you ought to roster VY just in case. Apparently, people are not doing this.||Handcuff|
|34||Randall Cobb||WR||GB||We’d draft him late just in case he ends up being involved. He’s electric.||Upside|
|35||Early Doucet||WR||ARI||He could end up starting. He’s worth a roster spot in really deep formats.||Upside|
|36||Jerricho Cotchery||WR||PIT||He’s probably not going to do that much early, but look out for him once he gets in the groove. Cotchery is a GREAT fit for Big Ben because he improvises well and finds open space when things break down. He’s a deep sleeper and a great add by the Steelers. We might not draft him depending on who else is still out there, but he is a player to watch early in the year.||Long term upside|
|37||Armond Smith||RB||CLE||This kid has some very special ability, but he is not a lock to make the team. Cleveland blocks it so well, that we'd be excited about Smith if he had a role. He's a guy to watch. He has some ball security issues, especially in the open field, but we think they can be coached away in time. He's a target in really deep leagues and keeper formats. Remember the name.||Upside|
|38||Devin Aromashodu||WR||MIN||He’s a longshot, but there’s daylight on his depth chart and he might pair well with a smaller guy like Harvin. Call this one a hunch.||Upside|
|39||Houston Texans||DEF||HOU||Wade Phillips might just get this unit going. Worth a late look at a DEF2 if you don’t have a top DEF1.||Upside|
So, what did we learn?
- You can get a backup QB late.
- You can still get quality RB sleepers late.
- You can still get quality WRs that can start for you in a pinch.
- Rookies are slipping due to lack of hype and no OTAs.
- You can land your starting defense with a very deep pick.
Seems sort of bland, right? Still, we can learn a lot from this. There are no positions that you need to reach for to fill as far as reserve players go. In fact, you can even nab a starting receiver late if you have to. This is a year to keep taking the best available players as long as is possible. Use the very late picks to fill needs in deep leagues. The talent will be there. Don't get caught up in runs. Follow your draft board and draft value.
We'll be posting Part Two of this series later tonight or early tomorrow.
- In Crabtree’s Wake
- The Argument for C.J. Spiller
- “Hello Cleveland!”
- Reasons to Believe in Chris Johnson
- Triangulating Manning’s Targets
- NFL Draft Day Three
- Rotobahn’s Guys
- 2013 NFL Mock Draft
- Respect the Blog
- Post Season Rankings & Cheat Sheets