SHOCK AND AWE
There are players every year in Fantasy that are undervalued on draft day and become the biggest values of the draft. If you were lucky enough to draft one of these players, or picked them up early off of waivers, then you probably enjoyed a nice regular season and could still be alive for your league’s championship game. These players range from those that were top-notch talents that regained form, to veterans who finally broke out and some stellar rookies, but the common denominator is that they were all steals on draft day or off the waiver wire.
In this article I am going to examine these players from where their average draft position (from FFToolbox) was to how they produced and won games for their owners in Fantasy. The scoring system that I am using in this article is the standard scoring system from ESPN. Hopefully in this discussion of these players it will shed some light on how you view players like this in next year’s draft.
RG III (ADP 84) – What can you say about RG III and the season he has had other than it has been an amazing ride for the rookie. RG III is the 4th highest scoring quarterback on the season and he wasted no time in letting the world know he was taking it by storm. RG III began the season scoring at least 20 points in 6 of his first 7 games. RG III finished the season to this point with 8 games over 20 points, including 3 games in which he scored over 30 points. For a quarterback that was going in the middle of the 8th round in drafts he was able to catapult those teams to fast starts with his amazing performance out of the gate. RG III showed everyone that he can throw and run the ball with extreme effectiveness and showed the poise of a veteran with the performances he had in weeks 11-12 where he posted 32 and 28 points respectively. The only problem that RG III had was no being on the field for his owners in week 15, which is disappointing, but the fact is you would not have gotten that far if it was not for RG III.
Peyton Manning (ADP 59.5) – Manning made everyone who passed him over on draft day pay the price in a big way. Peyton Manning had not been drafted this low in a draft (when healthy) since his rookie season. Manning had 7 games on the year where he posted more than 20 points. Manning seemed to falter in week 2 where he scored 7 points, but he followed that up with 5 straight games over 20 points. Manning had 7 games on the season where he threw for 3 TD passes and only had 3 games in which he threw for only 1 TD. Manning was also a model of consistency for his owners with only one week in which he failed to score double digits and that was back in week 2. Manning has let his owners down a bit here in the playoffs as his Broncos have mounted nice leads and the team was leaning on the run, but you had to be a happy owner if you had Peyton this season.
Adrian Peterson (ADP 21.6) – It is fitting that I discuss AP after Manning, as they will be duking it out for the MVP and Comeback Player of the Year awards. Peterson was going in the early 3rd round and was the 9th running back taken based on ADP. Peterson was coming off a bad injury and there was concern that he would have lost a step, and he may have for his first 5 games. He averaged 10 points a game and had a high game of 20 points, which came in week 1. Over his last 9 games Peterson has been insane with 6 games over 20 points and averaged 22 points a game during that span. Then there is the fact that he has dominated the Fantasy playoffs with 83 points over his last 3 games. He has scored 28, 28 and 27 points!!! Peterson has been more dominant than he has ever been and still has a chance to get to 2,000 yards so expect him to close out strong in your Championship game.
Doug Martin (ADP 42.8) – The Muscle Hamster was the second running back taken in the NFL draft this season and in many rookie dynasty drafts, which just proves sometimes it is better to not have to make the tough decision. Martin had a slow stat, which can now be attributed to his team figuring out their identity and finally realizing that LeGarrette Blount has no business carrying the ball. Martin made his impact on the season in week 6, which started a 7-week double-digit scoring streak. During that streak Martin flat out won you weeks 8 and 9 when he torched the Vikings for 32 points and the Raiders for 51 points. Although, as happens to some rookies, he slowed down when you have needed him the most. Over the past 3 weeks he has totaled 29 points with a 9, 18 and a 2 point performance, which was the only downside to this rookies impressive season.
Alfred Morris (ADP Undrafted) – That brings us to the most consistent rookie to tote the rock this year. Alfred Morris truly beat all odds to become the 7th ranked Running Back this season. Morris started the season behind Roy Helu and Evan Royster and with the fickle Mike Shanahan, most people in our business were warning against any of these running backs. Then Roy Helu and went down with a season ending injury and Royster was not 100% and Morris took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back. Morris has had 10 double-digit games on the season and had 2 games with more than 20 points. The most impressive thing that Morris has done this year is avoid hitting the rookie wall and he looks even stronger now than he did at the beginning of the season. Morris has not had less than 22 carries a game over his last 4 and has responded by scoring 63 points during that time. Morris was undrafted and helped stabilize any team that picked him up.
Marshawn Lynch (ADP 26.3) – Lynch was amazing down the stretch last season as he was in BEAST mode. Then as this season approached there was a potential suspension for a DUI he was facing and was dealing with some minor injuries, but he slid all the down to the 12th running back taken according to ADP. Lynch got off to a slow start with only 2 double-digit games in his 6. Then Lynch hit his stride and has had double-digit points in 7 of his last 8 games. Lynch has paid huge dividends for his owners over the past 3 weeks where he has posted 13, 30 and 18 points. Lynch signed a big contract in the offseason and after a slow start he has not disappointed and it is clear that he will be on people’s radar next season.
Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis (ADP 66.7) – The Law Firm was not high on anyone’s draft sheet this season and with good reason, as he had not had a 100-yard rushing game in his career with Patriots. Green-Ellis was the 22nd running back taken according to ADP and is the 13th ranked running back at this time. The Law Firm had a strong start to the season with a 15 and 10 point performance the first 2 weeks, but followed that up with a mere 27 points over his next 5 games. The Law Firm has collected double-digit points in 5 of his last 7 games and has managed to have four 100-yard rushing games this season. While he was not as dominant as the other running backs on this list, The Law Firm has made me and many others pay attention and he will not slip this far next season.
Brandon Marshall (ADP 30.9) – Marshall was one of our big predictions heading into this season and Marshall did not disappoint. Marshall has 9 double-digit point games on the season and topped 20 points 3 times on the year. Marshall caught a TD in 8 games this season and scored even more points in PPR leagues. Still in the standard format, with no bonus for receptions, Marshall is the #1 receiver on the year. Marshall had some monster games this season with 4 games with 10 catches or more and 4 games with over 138 yards receiving. Marshall was the most consistent receiver on the season from start to finish.
Vincent Jackson (ADP 59.7) – Vincent Jackson was one of the biggest surprises this season. Jackson went from San Diego to Tampa Bay to a situation that most thought was going to be a Fantasy nightmare in the run happy and quarterback weak offense of the Buccaneers. Instead, Jackson is having his best season as professional and already has surpassed his previous career high yardage total and is within 8 catches of reaching 70 for the first time in his career. Jackson has had 7 games with double-digit games and is the 4th ranked wide receiver, although he has faltered down the stretch with 3 of his last 4 games going for less than 10 points. Jackson has still truly outperformed his ADP and has made a believer out of me.
Reggie Wayne (ADP 77.9) – Wayne was high on our draft boards this year and he backed us up and benefited his owners who grabbed him in the 8th round. Wayne started the season very strong scoring 61 points in the first 4 games with a low score of 13. Wayne was as hot as he could be and then he cooled off. The problem for Wayne was the emergence of T.Y. Hilton, the development of Andrew Luck and seeing more double coverage after his fast start. Wayne has had 2 double-digit games in his last 4, but laid a 1-point stinker in week 15. The wide receiver position is one that is not a consistent point producer and Wayne produced more than he didn’t.
Randall Cobb (ADP 144.2) – Cobb was a true draft steal going early in the 15th round of drafts. Cobb truly led many teams to the playoffs after a slow start. The first 5 weeks of the season Cobb only scored 25 points and had a high game of 13 points in week 1. Then Cobb was discovered in the Green Bay offense and he was dominating as a receiver posting 5 double-digit games in his next 6 totaling 70 points. Cobb has posted 100-yard games the last 2 weeks. Cobb has become the favorite target of Aaron Rodgers and is going to be a hot commodity next season.
Cecil Shorts (ADP Undrafted) – Shorts was undrafted in most leagues and was proving to be a boom or bust guy early in the season. Shorts went for 13, 0, 14, 0 and 4 points in his first 5 games. Shorts then had double-digit points in 7 of his next 9 games with 96 points scored. Shorts was the only effective receiver in the first half of the season and he produced even better once Blaine Gabbert was replaced. Shorts is the 17th ranked receiver on the season was a steady producer all season on a horrible team. It will be interesting to see how well he performs next season with a healthy MJD and a quarterback who can throw the ball.
T.Y. Hilton (ADP Undrafted) – Hilton falls into 2 categories as an undrafted rookie who burst on the scene and helped owners steal some victories this season. Hilton is the 25th ranked receiver on the season and he did most of his damage from week 9 on. Hilton had to work his way into more playing time early with the Colts and was making some early splashes, but was not heavily targeted. Hilton then blew up with 5 double-digit games in his last 7. The biggest improvement in Hilton’s performance was the fact that he was being targeted for TD passes as he has had 5 in his last 7 games, including one last week in the all important semi-final games. Hilton is a receiver that I am really a big fan of and is the new prototypical slot receiver who can be moved all over the field and can stretch the defense as well. He could break out even more next year.
Heath Miller (ADP Undrafted) – Miller is the 3rd ranked tight end in standard scoring leagues and he went undrafted in most drafts. It is not surprising that he went undrafted as the tight end position has gotten better and better over the years and Miller seemed to have already hit his ceiling and then he bursts back onto the scene this year in a big way. Miller has been a streaky player with flashes of greatness, like his first 3 weeks scoring 36 points, and streaks of shit, like weeks 9-12 scoring 16 points. If you were smart enough to ride out that poor streak then you benefited over the last 3 weeks with 36 points including a 15-point performance in weeks 13 and 15. It will be interesting to see how this year’s performance effects his draft position next season.
Tony Gonzalez (ADP 96.8) – The ageless one, Tony G, continues to impress and is just a flat out old school football player. Gonzalez is the #1 ranked tight end on the season because he can stay healthy and puts up points at home and on the road. Gonzalez started out the season with 4 double-digit games in his first 5 scoring 62 points. Then Gonzalez went into a funk with only 1 double-digit game in his next 6, but he did probably win you week 10 when he put up 24 points. Down the stretch when you need him he has not let you down with 27 points over the last 3 weeks and double-digit games in weeks 13 and 15.
Brandon Myers (ADP Undrafted) – Myers is the 9th ranked tight end on the season and he did it by being a consistent threat throughout the year. Myers was making a steady 5 catches for about 65 yards through the first 7 weeks, but he was not finding the endzone. Then Myers and Palmer seemed to be in each other’s heads for the next five games where he posted 4 TD catches. The problem for Myers was the inconsistent offense of the Raiders and he really let his owners down the last 2 weeks posting 1 measly point. You have to remember that he was undrafted and he really helped your team if you picked him up, and there is a bright upside for him next season and he will still fall in drafts, is my prediction.
Greg Olsen (ADP 135.3) – Olsen showed everyone this season why he was drafted in the first round by the Bears back in 2007. Olsen is easily enjoying his best season in the NFL and has been a more of a bigger threat this season. Olsen posted 4 double-digit games on the season and each of those happen to be the games in which he caught a TD pass. Those big performances led him to be the 6th ranked tight end on the season. Olsen has the ability to make a game out of one catch, which he did in week 13 with his only catch being a 47-yard TD. Olsen will be moving up draft charts next season and it will be interesting to see if they increase his targets in Cam Newton’s third season.
Dennis Pitta (ADP Undrafted) – Pitta was projected to finish behind Ed Dickson, the other tight end in Baltimore, before the season, but Pitta is the man now. Pitta was undrafted this year and started the season hot with a 13-point game. Those who jumped to picked him up were not burned by the early good game, like those who picked up Kevin Ogletree were, even though it seemed like it from weeks 4-9 when he totaled a mere 11 points. Then when you needed him most he has gotten 4 double-digit games over his last 6, including a 24-point performance last week in your semi-final games, which probably put you over the top, and you have a good match-up for your Championship game against a Giants defense that has had problems against tight ends.
Jason Witten (ADP 77.4) – My final player is one that fell in drafts, which was to be expected, due to having his spleen removed weeks before the season started. Witten weathered the storm of the first 3 weeks, where he posted 6 points before breaking out in week 4 with 17 points against the Chicago Bears. From that point on Witten became his consistent self, getting a lot of targets, receptions and yards; including an 18 catch 167-yard game against the Giants in week 8. The biggest problem for Witten was the lack of TD production with 2 on the year, although he helped you out last week with his second.
All of these players helped you make a big run this year if you were lucky enough to grab one of them. If you grabbed 2 or more then you may just want to contact us about a potential job, unless the league you were in was filled with morons. This is the key to any Fantasy season, and the undrafted players are the reason why your season is never over and you just need to stay active and be ready to make a move. This list included a wide range of players, from young to old and high draft picks to undrafted players, which proves that in order to win in Fantasy you need to have a plan from the start of the draft to the end and then another for when shit goes wrong.