I enjoy going to them gym and lifting weights, and that might be putting it lightly. After work it’s where I go to relieve stress, push myself, and do things I never thought I could. Just as much as the workout itself I enjoy the preparation. Not just putting together and planning the workout. I enjoy everything down to packing my gym bag.
More than just shorts and a shirt. I come prepared. Lifting straps, chalk, my notebook with the day’s workout so I can track results, a towel for the sauna, a pre-workout drink and a post-workout protein shake. I have absolutely zero wasted space in my bag when I leave, and it’s why I have zero wasted moments in the gym. I could go on with more examples, but my point is, to really get the most out of something you have to be properly prepare for it.
Fantasy drafts are no different. We prepare with rankings. A person’s particular ranking If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Every pick really does matter. And in recent years those mid to late round picks can offer quite a lot of value to owners who have been seeking out the right players.
Wide receivers offer the most difficult to predict position group in fantasy football, especially in those rounds when there seems to be a whole lot of, “sameness” in the available players. But really, how often can we gamble on a late pick and have it pay off?
Since 2012 there have been a total of 37 wide receivers who had consensus rankings outside the top 24 at their position, who then went on to finish inside the top 24. Of those 37, 23 were ranked outside the top 36. And in 9 instances players that were ranked outside the top 24 finished with a top 12 season.
Many of these once ADP steals are now some of the heavy hitters in fantasy football today with names including: TY Hilton, Randall Cobb, and Alshon Jeffery.
So now that we know it can be done, and how often it can happen, we need to look at why. How do we not see the potential playmakers out there on draft boards? Sure, there are cases of rookies stepping in and changing the game, but more often than not it is 2nd and 3rd year players, guys returning from injury, and players who carve a role for themselves in the gameplan or a clear path to a starting spot. With all of this knowledge here, I have two players who are being drafted outside the top 50 at their position, who have the best shot at finishing inside the top 24.
Marvin Jones – Rank: WR58 ADP: WR66 – After spending last year injured, Marvin Jones is flying well under the radar this year. But let’s take a look back to 2013 and see just how well Jones played. By the end of the 2013 NFL season Marvin Jones finished with a 14.2 grade from PFF on passing plays. To put that in perspective, another Jones (Julio), finished last year with passing play score of 14.8. Yes, Jones caught 10 TDs and that certainly gave a boost to his numbers but in an offense where he’ll see the #2CB on any team he faces, he certainly will have the opportunity to win his matchup.
Jones has a rather interesting spot on the field where Andy Dalton likes throwing to him as well. 20+ yards down the field outside the numbers on his left. In 2013 Dalton slung 27 balls in that area, 10 of those were targeted to Marvin Jones. Now this is where it gets interesting, Jones caught 7 of those targets for 193 yards and 2 scores. And you can look at those numbers and say, “yeah sure but that far down the field it was probably a catch and run” however Jones’ YAC in that area of the field? 10. That’s right. 10 yards after the catch when being targeted 20+ yards down the field on the left. The stats speak to the type of plays these had to be. Jones had to have a defender in the area and whether he worked back to the ball, outjumped a DB to high point it, or just plain beat the coverage with a shake, he reeled in what came his way. Oh and without Jones on the field last year, in that same spot of the field, Dalton threw 14 passes, connected on 3, for 111 yards 2 scores and a pick. Mohamed Sanu might be a fine replacement in Madden, but in the NFL, Marvin Jones is the best man for the #2 job in Cincy.
Brian Quick – Rank: WR55 ADP: WR56 – Pulling in 99 yards in week 1 last year, Brian Quick became a hot waiver wire add early in the season. He even began to pay off dividends until a brutal injury in week 8 ended his season. Quick dislocated his shoulder and tore his rotator cuff in the 2nd quarter of the Rams game against the Chiefs. The injury was severe and Quick has not participated in any contact drills yet and could very well see limited, if any, preseason action. This is where things get interesting. The Rams have their BYE in week 6, which means Quick might not see a full slate of snaps until week 7. That’s a fair amount of time for a player to sit on the end of someone’s bench, but for those who draft and keep Quick, he will help guide teams to the playoffs.
Volume is key for players looking to produce at the WR position in both fantasy and the actual NFL. Quick is without question the top WR on the Rams and if we were positive he could enter the season healthy he would see a good percentage of targets straight from the get go. You just don’t find many team’s top WRs going in the 50s at his position, and this is only where his value begins.
In the limited time he was on the field last year, Brian Quick did most of his damage 10-19 yards downfield, catching 13 of 17 targets for 202 and 2 TDs. It should be noted that this was Shaun Hill and Austin Davis throwing him the ball. Now we look at new Rams QB Nick Foles, a bit of a letdown last year for fantasy people who thought he would only throw 3 INTs in a 16 game season. Sure, Foles got on a hot streak in an insanely QB friendly system back in 2013. But during that great stretch, where on the gridiron did Foles prove to be most effective? You guessed it, 10-19 yards down the field where Foles threw 77 passes for a pretty 52-890-7 statline. Sure the Rams system is different, but Foles still has to be the one to make the reads and deliver the ball in the right place.
All of his is a long, drawn out way of saying that both Brian Quick and Nick Foles make their money in the same part of the field. If we could guarantee that Quick plays 16 games this season I would have no problem saying he could end up in the top 24. Being picked as a WR5/6 if drafted at all, Quick provides higher upside than guys like Charles Johnson, Donte Moncrief, Kendall Wright, and Pierre Garcon, all being drafted well ahead of him.
Preparing for a fantasy draft is key to winning your league. And as you hoist your trophy and hear your league mates say you got lucky with a pick in the 16th round, you can tell them it wasn’t luck, you just came prepared.