Fantasy football picks worth reaching for in your draft

Fantasy football picks worth reaching for in your draft

Draft Strategy

Fantasy football picks worth reaching for in your draft

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(Brace Hemmelgarn, USA TODAY Sports)

Everyone loves getting a great product at a bargain price, and no one brags to their friends about overpaying. The same goes in fantasy football. At this stage of the draft season, players are settled into price ranges, and spending up tends to lead to missing value. However, every season we find several players who were standouts at a bargain price. Now and again, reaching for these commodities is justifiable, especially if you’re positioned on the long end of a snake draft’s cycle.

Below are several players with the abilities and situations to outshine their draft prices by a great margin. It’s not advisable to reach round after round, since this eventually will catch up and create talent imbalances on your roster.

Cleveland Browns QB Baker Mayfield

As a firm believer in waiting on quarterbacks in drafts, Mayfield is my exception to the rule. It becomes even more pronounced when I notice the draft room also is waiting longer than usual on the position. This has led me to reach into the late fifth-round a time or two for the young star. His current ADP is 6:05, which is on the early end of what I’ve seen, even lately. I snagged him in a best-ball draft in Round 8 just a few days ago, for example. At any rate, I trust him being a top-three QB more than Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers and Andrew Luck at this point.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Jameis Winston

Round 10, as QB13, Winston is right on the cusp of being drafted as a starter. And that is A-OK, in my book. However, if I have bypassed Mayfield and am waiting on the position, there’s no shame in taking the upside of Winston in Round 9. He has as much or more upside as the dudes going ahead of him (Wentz, Brees, Luck, Newton, Goff, Murray, Wilson) after Matt Ryan usually comes off the board. Studly receivers, a lethal tight end, nothing to write home about at running back, and a defense trying to find its way … all mashed in with Bruce Arians’ burning desire to heave the ball in excess. Winston will make a bunch of mistakes and still can finish as a top-five or -six quarterback.

Chicago Bears RB David Montgomery

Chicago’s coaching staff is enamored with the rookie, and he brings a totally different aspect to the backfield than Tarik Cohen. In fact, it’s probably foolish to assume Cohen’s workload will remain the same as last year, since Montgomery can do everything he does and more, unlike Jordan Howard a season ago. The Bears have a sound offensive line and a talented enough passing game to shield the rookie from burdensome defensive attention. His ADP of 3:09 is behind Josh Jacobs, Aaron Jones, Devonta Freeman, Leonard Fournette, Damien Williams, Joe Mixon … all of these backs are in worse situations or have major question marks of their own. I have no problem reaching into the middle of Round 2 for Monty.

Detroit Lions RB Kerryon Johnson

His ADP has climbed into the tail end of Round 2, which does negate some of the desire to reach much earlier. There’s still room for profit, though, but we’re talking a few picks. This inclusion is more or less just affirmation for gamers on the fence about whether he’s a legit RB2 or even fringe RB1. The offensive line should be improved, and the system is built for fantasy success. Detroit’s offense will look nothing like last year’s dumpster fire, and C.J. Anderson may not even be in the picture if Johnson stands out early.

Seattle Seahawks RB Chris Carson

Rashaad Penny is struggling to assert himself, and Carson has dominated throughout the offseason. Look for this to be much closer to a one-sided affair than a battle for touches. The Seahawks’ lack of talent in the passing game is of concern, but it also works in the favor of Carson seeing a healthy dosage of carries — and he’ll have a more substantial role than before in the aerial game. Carson as RB19 (3:11 ADP) is a joke. He’s a borderline RB1, and there is nothing wrong with drafting him in mid-second round, particularly if you’re concern about missing out on him coming back to you.

Carolina Panthers WR D.J. Moore

So he’s somehow everyone’s favorite breakout wide receiver and also isn’t drafted as one. Moore is going, on average, as WR26 in PPR drafts, which lands him at the turn of Rounds 5 and 6. How is it possible the consensus says Moore — Carolina’s WR1 — is a worse pick than all three primary receivers from the Rams, a second fiddler in Atlanta, another one in Cincy, Cleveland’s No. 2, AND Tampa’s second wideout. That sound you hear is my eyes rolling. I’m taking Moore all day long before every one of those secondary guys, with the occasional exception of Chris Godwin.

Los Angeles Chargers WR Mike Williams

Keenan Allen is already injured. Melvin Gordon’s saga has no end in sight. Hunter Henry has developed a questionable track record in the durability department. Tyrell Williams is gone. The defense could take a step back. How many indicators for a breakout season are needed before the fantasy community gets on board? Mike Williams is worthy of being drafted into the early fifth round.

New York Jets WR Robby Anderson

Major upside in an offense that could take off like, well, a jet (I’ll show myself the door). … Anderson is the WR1 of this lot and no longer has suspension question marks swirling as he did a season ago. The offense is far more potent, and the line is stronger. Sam Darnold should take a significant step in the right direction this season. Round 6, Pick 8 is where Anderson goes, on average, and it’s nice if you can land him there as a WR3, but don’t be afraid to make him a No. 2 should taking a tight end or quarterback alter your draft plans.

Buffalo Bills WR Cole Beasley

He is finally healthy and beginning to sneak his way into the late rounds of PPR drafts. Beasley is developing a rapport with Josh Allen, and the second-year passer looks light years more comfortable than last season. In general, people are sleeping on the Bills offense in fantasy. Nabbing the former Dallas Cowboy as early as Round 12 is perfectly acceptable, so long as your scoring rewards for grabs. If healthy all year, Beasley could approach 90 snares in 2019.

Pittsburgh Steelers TE Vance McDonald

In a draft year full of clear drop-offs at the position, McDonald’s mid-Round 7 ADP offers plenty of meat on the bone for a slight reach — call it a stretch. He is in a position to stand out with the loss of Antonio Brown and no clear competition for tight end chores. His biggest enemy will be staying healthy, so make sure to pair him up with a high-floor option.

Baltimore Ravens TE Mark Andrews

Andrews has drawn nothing but positive reviews all offseason. Quarterback Lamar Jackson remains a work-in-progress as a passer, a reality that tends to favor the tight end position. Look for a true breakout season, even though the Ravens have 2018 first-round tight end Hayden Hurst in the mix. The receiving corps is weak enough to suggest both tight ends can prosper.

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