Well, you’ve come this far, so you might as well take the full leap of faith. Part One and Part Two of this series were made of up players who, while undervalued, still have some value, at least in terms of ADP. This group will consist of players who just about everyone has given up on, including myself. From my experiences in the last seven years of dynasty leagues, I’ve learned to never be surprised if, and or when the ‘light turns on’ for a player. Some are stuck with injures and never get a chance, some need multiple years to get a feel for the NFL and some are battling demons (things in their personal life) we have no clue about. These are players who can be had extremely cheap in the 15th-25th rounds of a start-up dynasty draft, or even potentially players sitting on a waiver wire in leagues you’re already in. These are the types of players who you grab in bunches and hope one or two hit. They can sit at the end of your roster and chill out while the rest of the players do the heavy lifting. The goal of late round drafting should be to find players who have a chance for opportunity, or at one point were highly coveted.
First, before I ask you to take the ‘acquire players everyone has given up on’ plunge, I’m going to give you some background in why I believe in this.
Around five years ago, I started delving into the waiver wire and end of the roster players, trying to figure out some way of ‘predicting’ a breakout, or at the very least, finding some value for nothing. I won’t say I found the holy trinity, but I’ve found a way to hedge certain types of players, which will at least increase your odds of hitting it big.
The ‘certain type of player’ is pretty simple. I look for the former first or second round NFL Draft pick – it’s as simple as that.
Some of this is preference, as there will be quite a few options sitting there for you in rounds 15-20 (generally), but the most important part is that you have at least 4-5 of them (preferably 6-8). I’m not saying you can’t grab other players off the grid, but I haven’t found a successful way to hit consistently on players drafted in lower rounds. I know it’s hard to trust the NFL and the way they draft, but, in general, the players picked in the higher rounds have more ‘talent’ (bleh, you know what I mean) and even if they don’t, they will be given many more chances to ‘get it’ than lower drafted players – it’s not rocket science.
If my rambling’s weren’t clear, to be safe, I’m giving you some examples from the past. I did a somewhat broad ADP guess based off dynasty mocks I could find on Myfantasyleague.com and other random drafts to find some previous first or second round picks who broke out later than expected.
Vernon Davis, TE SF
Daft pick: 1st round, pick 6
Breakout Year: 4th (2009)
Dynasty ADP Before: 16th-17th
Dynasty ADP After: 4th-6th
Knowshon Moreno, RB MIA
Draft Pick: 1st round, pick 12
Breakout Year: 5th (2013)
Dynasty ADP Before: 17th-20th
Dynasty ADP After: 8th-10th
Jordy Nelson, WR GB
Draft Pick: 2nd round, pick 5 (#36 overall)
Breakout year: 4th year (2011)
Dynasty ADP Before: 19th-21st
Dynasty ADP After: 2nd-3rd
Vincent Jackson (2008), Roddy White (2007) and Thomas Jones (2004) are all great examples as well, though it’s much more difficult to find specific ADP data from that many years ago. Regardless, those who have played in dynasty leagues for long enough remember patiently waiting or giving up on that set of players. The moral of this story is pretty simple – these things do happen and generally we see one previously highly drafted player surprisingly break out each season. Anything you can do to increase your odds of hitting on one of these players is a good idea. With all that being said, let’s take a look at this island of misfit high picks.
Jake Locker, TEN (4th year)
Donald Brown, SD (6th year)
Mark Ingram, NO (4th year)
Mikel Leshoure, DET (4th year)
Stephen Hill, NYJ (3rd year)
Jon Baldwin SF (4th year)
AJ Jenkins, KC (3rd year)
Brian Quick, STL (3rd year)
Jermaine Gresham, CIN (5th year)
Coby Fleener, IND (3rd year)
There are more players who I left off the list, some for obvious reasons. I didn’t feel the need to put players like Titus Young, Jahvid Best or Blaine Gabbert on here, as their NFL careers are most certainly either over or close to it. Not an exciting list, is it? I don’t have any nice, encouraging things to say, either. However, it’s time to trust the process. Pull up your bootstraps and prepare for battle, or sit in your computer chair, whichever.
Once again, I want to put emphasis on the fact the majority of these players are set to become nothing more than waiver wire fodder. It’s important to not get your hopes high for all of them – the goal is to strike it rich on one player.
Another scenario that’s worth noting is the idea of finding one or two players who provide week-to-week support . A good example of this in the past would be Darius Heyward-Bey (7th pick in the 2009 draft). Heyward-Bey subtly broke out in the second half of 2011 and became a solid WR3 for a bit. He would’ve been found on your waiver wire. Again, you have something for nothing. I’d encourage everyone to take a good look at your waiver wire at this point in time and see if there are some formerly highly regarded players turned busts at this moment of time and see if you have an extra roster spot or two – just don’t roster anyone you’re going to need to cut when your rookie draft starts. If that’s the case, you’ve just turned over a stone for your league mates.
Detach yourself from players, fall in love with value.