As I mentioned in part one, this group I focus on today will have a lower hit rate and less upside. While that doesn’t sound appealing, they also come at a fraction of the price, so it evens out. In short, these are some of the players you may want to draft in rounds 8 to 14. These aren’t the type of players you should be counting on at all. However, second tier values are nice to have in your pocket and can be a pleasant surprise, just like when you forget money in your jeans and randomly find it one day – that’s the mentality you should have, draft them and be willing to wait. As you’ll see, there aren’t many veterans on this list.
With that mentality understood, now you’re ready… it’s time.
Ryan Tannehill, MIA
Tannehill has everything you want in a fantasy quarterback. He has a big arm, solid rushing ability and solid progression (I would argue) from year one to year two. Things will go a lot smoother with Mike Wallace in their second year together and I also love the emergence of Charles Clay as a safety valve who can also spring the big play. Tannehill may never be an elite QB1, but he presents a ton of value considering his ADP. He’s a perfect player to draft and wait on as your backup quarterback.
E.J. Manuel, BUF
I’m not Manuel’s biggest fan, even when he was coming out. I am, however, a fan of grabbing him in the 13th, 14th or even 15th rounds ($3-4 = auction translation). Everyone progresses differently and there’s really no way to know after one year if a player’s career is destined for failure or not. Manuel has some pieces to work with in Buffalo, namely CJ Spiller and Robert Woods. If they can add a big target receiver or tight end in the draft, I think Manuel could surprise a lot of people in 2014.
Tom Brady, NE
He’s an old man, we all know this. I still think he has two or three years left and a ton more fantasy production than he had in 2013. Looking back, there’s nothing that could’ve gone worse for Brady last season. The Patriots offense collapsed on him with injury after injury until he was left with a few rookies and a Hawaiian blocking tight end (of course he had Julian Edelman, but it makes it sound much worse if I left him out). Before last season, Brady had put together three straight 34+ touchdown seasons, I fully expect that pre-2013 production to come back and for that to last the next 2-3 years – this makes him an incredible value in the 8th-10th round, where you may be able to get him.
Bernard Pierce, RB BAL
I had high expectations for Pierce heading into last year, but his 2.9 yards per carry average didn’t cut it, to say the least. While that type of performance is almost unforgivable, I’m giving everyone on the Ravens a mulligan. Ray Rice, Joe Flacco, Bernard Pierce, Anquan Bold… wait, what? They traded Boldin for nothing and it killed their offense? Oh, that’s right. Long story short, Baltimore has been one of the best organizations of the past 15 years and I expect them to figure something out in 2014. Pierce fits in perfectly as an undervalued misfit that nobody wants and while he may never become anything, I can’t forget the rumbling, stumbling mammoth he was as a rookie. I’m not as high on him as I was going into last off-season, but he’s still a great value in the 10th-12th rounds.
Knile Davis, KC
Davis has talent, but he is also playing for a conservative, run first team. He didn’t post an impressive rookie year, but there were glimpses of potential. He’s at least a year or two from being given a a significant role, but he’s only one Jamaal Charles injury away from saving your fantasy season. Davis is far from a perfect asset as injuries and fumbling issues could derail his career and put him out of the league in two years. However, the potential makes him more than worthy of your roster, especially if you only have to spend a 13th-15th rounder.
Jonathan Franklin, GB
Franklin’s fantasy value was already on life support before the re-signing of James Starks – it’s now officially non-existent. You know what that means? Yup, time to buy. Franklin is probably the least likely to provide value on this list, but the cost is intriguing. There’s a reason why people liked Franklin last year before the draft. There’s a reason why people were picking him around 1.5 in rookie drafts before the draft. Have we completely lost perspective? Nothing has changed about Franklin as a player, other than his situation and perception. It’s hardly an investment (maybe a 20th rounder), so do the right thing.
Robert Woods, BUF
Woods was the last cut from part one. He has everything I look for in an undervalued dynasty asset. First, he had an explosive college career which waned at the end and got picked apart. Second, he was a second round pick who showed major flashes in year one (he combined that with injuries and a bad situation) which shielded him from the public eye. Finally, no alarms go off on any H/W/S model. Woods is fantasy football paradise, someone get me a margarita. He didn’t make the first cut because he doesn’t have the same upside, but I could see Woods taking over Stevie Johnson’s role and being better. I believe 1,100 yards and five-to-seven touchdowns in year two isn’t out of the question.
Marvin Jones, CIN
I won’t lie to you and say I was hot on the Marvin Jones trail before he blew up in the middle of last season, but I’m here now and surprised more aren’t. An 11th-13th round pick for Jones is stealing. He has not only shown flashes, he’s shown consistent flashes every time he touched the ball. Sure, he’s held back by his current offense and quarterback, but these are the players who make you profit long term. Jones is entering his third year in the league and has already broken out. His 51 catches on 81 targets for 712 yards and ten touchdowns made for a fantastic season – imagine if he had 20-30 more targets. While the touchdowns will go down and second year tight end Tyler Eifert will command more of a role, Jones is a great buy low. He’ll be a WR3 now and could be a fantasy goldmine in a few years when he hits free agency.
Stedman Bailey, STL
Never have I been more excited by a Rams draft pick. It probably evened out against how sad I was when they picked Lance Kendricks over Greg Little in 2011, but that’s a story for another time. Bailey was my WR4 in the 2013 class and I’m far from giving up. While 17 catches on 25 targets seems like nothing special, it’s worth noting all but three of Bailey’s targets came in week 13 or later. From week 13-17 Stedman averaged around 4.5 targets a game and it became clear the Rams finally had confidence in him on a weekly basis. Next year with Sam Bradford back, I expect Bailey to keep progressing like he did his rookie year. He may not become a weekly starter for you until the end of 2014, or maybe even 2015, but he’s worth targeting now before he puts up significant stats.
Mike Wallace, MIA
We meet again, Mike Wallace. We meet again.
After a two year retreat to fantasy purgatory, Wallace is ready to regain some of that spark we saw in Pittsburgh. As I mentioned earlier with Tannehill, year two will be a much smoother process and I expect much more efficient results. Even with what most consider a down year, Wallace was still the WR27 in PPR scoring last season. Miami treats Wallace like a true WR1 and while I may disagree with putting him in that role, nobody can deny the stats he has potential for with 140 targets. He’s right there with Woods in terms of value picks in the 8th-10th round. I would feel comfortable going into this season with Wallace as my third receiver and wouldn’t even hate him as my second heading into week one.
Martellus Bennett, CHI
In games started (and finished ) by Jay Cutler, Martellus Bennett averaged 12 ppg (11.99 to be exact). With Josh McCown? Just 8.5. In case you didn’t know, a difference in 3.5 fantasy points per week is a lot. Before Cutler’s first injury (week seven) Bennett was the TE7. Fast forward through the season to now, Martellus is an afterthought in the fantasy world, going in the late rounds of drafts and being tossed around in dynasty trades like a throw in. With Cutler back in 2014, I see no reason why Bennett wouldn’t return to pre-Jay Cutler injury production or at least what he did when Cutler came back in week 15. The Bears offense is a well oiled machine under Marc Trestman and I see Bennett’s seasonal totals being even higher the next couple of years if Cutler can keep himself together (no guarantee).