Final Thoughts for the Last Draft Weekend
A few thoughts before the final draft weekend…
Well, Tom Brady isn’t suspended anymore. (Even though he was never proved to be guilty, it’s important that Patriots fans understand that he wasn’t found innocent, merely that Roger Goodell overstepped his bounds in punishing the strikingly handsome QB.) Those owners who went with our “Angry Tom Strategy” were able to secure a top 5 quarterback at a two- to three-round discount. Heading into the final weekend of fantasy drafts, I’d expect his ADP to rise into the QB5-QB6 range, which is typically the 5th/6th round.
I moved him up to #5 on Thursday morning, and he went in the 7th round in my 14-team Fantasy Crossover Challenge draft, one pick after I took Russell Wilson. Brady got off to a slow start in 2014, averaging just 198 yards and 1.0 TD through the first four games. But over the next 11 weeks, he averaged the 3rd-most fantasy points (21.5) at his position, trailing only Aaron Rodgers and Wilson in that span. The size of that chip on his shoulder may be smaller, but methinks he’ll still play like he has something to prove in 2015.
His return boosts the value of all New England skill players, particularly Rob Gronkowski, who becomes a safer 1st round pick for those owners who want to go TE-early. Julian Edelman now holds 3rd-round value in PPR formats, as I’d draft him once the #10-#15 receiver group is off the board, but he should continue to be available in the 4th round.
It sounds like Randall Cobb (shoulder) is on track to play Week 1, so I didn’t adjust his draft ranking downward much after the injury.
Alshon Jeffery was seen on the field with gloves on, which passes for good news in Chicago. The Bears’ handling of the Kevin White injury has me worried about Jeffery’s early-season availability and his ranking has fallen as a result.
Mike Evans said he could have played in the third preseason games, so I’m fairly confident he’ll be ready to go Week 1.
Brandon LaFell is now going near the 10/11 turn. He was going in the mid-8th for the first half of August. The Patriots have until Saturday to place him on PUP (keeping him out the first six games), so the fact that they haven’t done it yet is somewhat encouraging. A late-round pick seems like a decent investment here, especially if the deadline passes, because that means the Pats expect him to play at some point early in the season. The Reggie Wayne signing does complicate matters, but remember, LaFell racked up 87 catches for 1,072 yards and nine touchdowns in his last 16 games, including the postseason.
It doesn't appear that Victor Cruz (calf) is on track to play Week 1. The good news is that it's his calf and not his knee that's bothering him. If he can get healthy, he could play the Randall Cobb role in Ben McAdoo's offense, though that seems like a very big "if" right now.
Darren McFadden is now going in the middle of the 9th round. It looks like he’ll be in a legitimate committee with Joseph Randle. I still think Randle is the back to own since I’m not confident McFadden will stay healthy, but McFadden looks like the better value at his current price.
If Montee Ball ends up in Dallas, he’s worth a buck or two in FAAB leagues, but don’t go overboard. He hasn’t looked good in a while. I wouldn’t cut anyone valuable for him.
Late-Risers / Late-Fallers
Last Friday, I examined several late-risers and thought I’d run the numbers again before the final draft weekend. I compared ADP from the last week (8/28-9/4) with the previous two weeks (8/14-8/27) to see who’s still rising up the draft board.
- Davante Adams (pick #48) is still going around the 4/5 turn in 12-team PPR leagues.
- Markus Wheaton (#111) is going in the 10th round, which sounds like a steep price to pay for a player who’s likely to lose much of his value when Martavis Bryant returns.
- Speaking of Martavis Bryant (#73), he’s going in the early 7th round. I think he’ll come back to a big role in Week 5. (The suspension actually makes me feel better about Ben Roethlisberger talking Wheaton up. He probably knew the suspension was coming and wanted to give Wheaton some confidence since he’ll be playing a big role in September.)
- Devin Funchess (#97) is going in the early 9th round. He should see 120-140 targets, so this seems like a fair price to pay.
- Ronnie Hillman (#143) is going at the end of the 12th round. I doubt he takes over as the bellcow in the event of a injury to C.J. Anderson, but he’s the best Plan B since it appears that Montee Ball is on the outs.
- Arian Foster (#49) is going around the 4/5 turn. I’d pull the trigger as early as the 4th (12-team) and wouldn’t blame anyone for drafting him in the late 3rd given the drop off at RB at that point in the draft. It looks like he’ll be back at the end of September. It’s a risk, but he could pay off in a big way if he comes back healthy or close to it.
- Jeff Janis (#173) and Ty Montgomery (#164) are going in the 15th and 14th rounds, respectively. There may not be a clear winner here for a while. The Packers may use both players based on their relative strengths.
- Brandon Coleman (#157) is going in the early 14th, but if you want him, feel free to take him in the 12th or 13th. He’s on the rise.
- Coming off a strong preseason performance, Sam Bradford is (#114) is being drafted in the mid-10th.
- Chris Ivory (#57) has locked up the Jets’ RB1 role and it looks like he may play on three downs. He’s now going in the late 5th round.
- Allen Hurns (#174) is one of my favorite late-round picks. His ADP is in the 15th round, but you may need to nab him a round or two earlier to be sure.
- A strong preseason has Jeremy Maclin (#53) now going in the middle of the 5th instead of in the early 6th.
- Doug Martin (#51) is an early 5th-round pick. I’ve seen him go in the late-3rd/early 4th.
- Stevie Johnson (#115), Kendall Wright (#96) and Eddie Royal (#105) have all risen nearly a round in the last week. They are good targets in the 8th-10th range.
- Greg Olsen (#51) is going about a half-round earlier after the Kelvin Benjamin injury. I took him at pick #51 in the aforementioned 14-team PPR draft yesterday.
- Breshad Perriman (#123) is falling and will fall further on the report that he may be out until October. But he’s an interesting stash as a WR5/WR6-type. Once healthy, there isn’t much standing in the way of a big role in an offense that needs him.
- C.J. Spiller (#46) is going around the 4/5 turn due to the knee scope and an unsubstantiated report/rumor that he’ll miss the first two games. He’s a nice value there. I’m not really worried about the knee.