Obviously I could write this entire article about the top 10 guys going in drafts. However, for this article I’m looking past ESPN’s top 70 ranked players. This is closer to a sleeper article in that respect, but since the guys here start going around round 7 of mocks these are my guys to keep an eye on. For ease of use I’ve isolated three players out of every set of 10. Think I missed anyone? Don’t like my choices? Comment below!
70-79 Kendall Wright (74), Emmanuel Sanders (76), Mike Wallace (78)
- Wright: There’s good news all over the Titans offense. The offensive line is improved and now younger with Schwenke, Warmack, and Lewan. Sankey looks like he’s the heir apparent to the starting running gig. And Titans WRs are undervaled in fantasy! Wright will be PPR gold in Ken Wisenhunt’s aerial attack, and will be a solid WR 3 in standard formats.
- Sanders: Eric Decker was a top 10 WR last season. While Sanders isn’t as big (5’11 to Decker’s 6’3) all we’ve heard is that he’s faster and a far superior wideout by comparison. Denver let Decker walk without even a lowball offer.
- Wallace: Bill Lazor, who helped Chip Kelly craft his attack for the pros is now in Miami. So you’re telling me that after what you saw from Desean Jackson last season you’re not the least bit intrigued by the deep threat in a Bill Lazor offense? With an upgraded offensive line? And no competition for those deep routes? I thought so…
80-89 Toby Gerhart (80), Terrance Williams (83), Fred Jackson (86)
- Gerhart: Warning, you probably won’t get Gerhart in the 9th round by August. but in a fantasy world where RB 2 is an overvalued position Toby will provide legitimate value. The line in Jacksonville is largely unproven, but Gus Bradley seems to be getting his guys to play at a high level. No matter who is under center for the Jags, Gerhart will be the focal point of the offense. I’d take that even out of a 6th rounder.
- Williams: Tony Romo liked throwing to Williams. During his productive stint last year Romo looked at him early and often. Plus Miles Austin is gone. Combine all of this with the fact that he is on a team with a complete offense. A bona fide #1 for opposing defenses to key on, and being on a Scott Linehan offense doesn’t hurt starting WRs. The upside is downright tasty.
- Jackson: Every year they say it’s the end. Every year is the year of the Spiller takeover. And every year Fred Jackson provides fantasy value way beyond his draft spot. Just like I said about Frank Gore, I’m not going to say Fred Jackson is done until he retires.
90-99 Deangelo Williams (91), DeAndre Hopkins (94), Jordan Cameron (96)
- Williams: Yes he’s in a timeshare and his TD production isn’t ideally where you want it to be. But he’s a starter and a stable piece on an evolving offense. Williams will get to tote the rock a fair share in Carolina. Getting him in the 10th round means he’s most likely sitting on your bench, able to give you safe production in the event of an injury or an early BYE week for one of your RBs.
- Hopkins: In the event that anything happens with Andre Johnson and the Texans Hopkins jumps into the #1 role. But that not all there is to like. His 15.4 YPC shows that he knows how to get open and make big plays. Certainly Bill O’Brien will be showing his picture around the QB room so whoever starts knows who to look for.
- Cameron: Amazingly Cameron has been dropping to the 9th round in fantasy drafts. Which is pretty low for a guy that was recently deemed, “uncoverable.” He’s one of two TEs going outside the top 5 at his position with the shot to crack the top 3. Josh Gordon will certainly miss some time (if not the entire season) and in his absence Cameron will dominate. His stock grows higher is Brian Hoyer is the quarterback of the Browns.
100-109 Dwayne Bowe (101), Shonn Greene (105), Lamar Miller (108)
- Bowe: I know, I know, I know. Believe me I got burned by him on nearly every team last season. Due to this gigantic disappointment he’s now falling so low in drafts that it’s not hard to draft him anymore. He’s in the 40s at WR with a QB that wants a legitimate deal, and a head coach who has historically drawn elite production out of his #1 WR. Hard to do better for upside out of your 5th wideout on your team.
- Greene: I just mentioned that Sankey looks like he’s the “bell cow to be” in Tennessee (inadvertent rhyme there but I left it in) but lets entertain a crazy thought. What if Sankey is a bust? Really, what if his first year is a total flop? Or what if Greene plays like a man possessed? Sankey hasn’t played an NFL down and people are already calling him a starter? Wouldn’t that get to you if you were a vet who used to have his own starting gig? Call it hedging my bets, call it a lack of faith in an unproven rookie, call it what you like, but taking Greene on a late pick isn’t as crazy as it sounds.
- Miller: Knowshon Moreno was apparently disappointing in camp. Lamar Miller was a popular sleeper last season and seemed to get caught up in the disappointment that was the Dolphins offense last season. The line is rebuilt with Brandon Albert, and Ja’Wuan James and there’s the previously mentioned Bill Lazor offensive gameplan. I’m not saying that Miller will be Shady McCoy, but if he starts he’ll produce.
110-119 Dennis Pitta (110), Jeremy Hill (116), Jay Cutler (119)
- Pitta: The Ravens TE is already one of Joe Flacco’s favorite targets. He’s athletic and big enough to be a redzone difference maker. The Ravens run game will certainly be in shambles regardless of when Ray Rice returns. Put all this together with Gary Kubiak as the OC in Baltimore and his success with Owen Daniels and it’s not hard to see why he’s getting love as a low to mid TE1.
- Hill: The Law Firm looked dreadfully slow last season and still ranked 30th at RB. Hill has fresh legs and is in the makings of a brand new smash and dash in Cincy with Giovani Bernard. A BYE week/handcuff/injury fill in who becomes much more in case of injury is certainly worth a 12 round stash.
- Cutler: Time for what may be my top favorite stat this offseason: Jay Cutler and Josh McCown combined to be the #3 QB in fantasy football last year. I’ll follow that up with another stat i’m fond of: the Bears allowed the 4th fewest sacks last year in the NFL. Marc Trestman says Cutler looks better than he’s ever seen him. Now either I can keep going or you can pencil in Jay Cutler as your starting QB after nabbing top RBs and WRs.
120-125 Justin Hunter (120), Latavius Murray (124) Kenny Stills (NR)
- Hunter: Remember way back at the start of this article where I talked about Kendall Wright? You can go back, I’ll wait. Take all of that and now apply it to a 6’4 WR who ran a 4.36 40 yard dash, who won a state title in the high jump when he was in high school, and had 4 TD catches on only 18 grabs last season. If you thought getting Keenan Allen was great last year just wait until you have Hunter.
- Murray: I have less doubts about MJD and Run DMC than most, but should both disappoint in camp, preseason, or early in the season Murray is ready for his shot. 6’3 230 and a 4.38 40 time can give even the most cautious of fantasy owners reason to be excited.
- Stills: Outside the top 125 but anyone who reads the articles here, checks my twitter (@TheFantasyForce), or listens to my podcast knows I’m about as big a Kenny Stills fan as anyone who isn’t directly related to him by blood. The catch rate, the average depth of target, the veteran departures, I’ve talked about Kenny Stills so much that if I don’t get him on just about every team I own this year I will be severely disappointed. You should be too.