Who are your fantasy steals and why?

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Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Sat Aug 09, 2014 1:34 am
  • Jordy Nelson.

    Nelson had 8 games with Aaron Rodgers last season. If you prorate Nelson's numbers in those games over a full season, Nelson finishes as the #1 WR in all of fantasy football with a good margin to spare. Currently just the 7th highest drafted WR in fantasy.

    Michael Crabtree.

    Thanks in large part to the aftermath of the NFCCG, Crabtree's reputation is not on par with his fantasy production. When Crabtree returned in 2013, the 49ers offense immediately took off. When he was paired with Kaepernick in 2012, his production over those starts would have ranked 3rd in the league at WR that year if prorated over 16 games.

    Crabtree is not an amazing talent, but you know how Kaep loves his first read, and Crabtree is usually the first guy Kaep looks to. I think he has a real shot at 1300 yards and 10 TDs, and could be a sixth or seventh round pick.

    Golden Tate.

    Very good receiver with WAY more targets, while drawing #2 CBs. Now playing indoors on turf in his home games. Great red zone target. Feels like a safe bet to finish in the top 20 for fantasy, and should be a mid rounder.

    Cordarrelle Patterson.

    The #1 WR in fantasy over the last 4 weeks of 2013, as a rookie. He got an upgrade at QB, coached by Norv Turner. WRs tend to make big strides in year two. Lots of room for improvement from a scouting perspective despite production. Not saying he's the next Josh Gordon but he's following the same recipe.

    Of course, Patterson has bust potential but as a mid-5th round pick it's something that can be easily survived especially if you go deep at WR in your draft. Just make sure those depth WRs are high percentage players (like say Michael Crabtree or Larry Fitzgerald) and not players you liked in college and hope will break out this year. It's okay to take a hack swing with Patterson and it's kinda okay to take a hack swing with random haven't-done-anything-yet young WRs, just don't do both or you'll end up magnifying your risk.

    Josh Gordon.

    Take him with a 10th rounder if you have to, maybe even a little earlier depending on where he's going. There is serious talk that he might have his suspension reduced to 8 games, which means you'll have him on your team for almost half the fantasy season. It also means you'll have one of the elite WRs in the game for the fantasy playoffs. Think of this pick as the equivalent of an elite baseball team trading for an ace at the July 31st trade deadline. It's not just about value, it's about playoff value.

    Marshawn Lynch.

    Lynch is falling into the late 1st or early 2nd currently. Even with terrible run blocking and playing half the season with maybe the league's least effective fullback (Coleman), Lynch still finished as the #4 RB in fantasy last season. With Harvin opening up the offense and Seattle's line being healthy, I think Lynch's arrow is pointing up, not down.

    Another thing I love about Lynch in fantasy, he's consistent. Every year he gets his TDs, every year he gets his carries, every year he looks faster and more agile than before in spite of some extremely high workloads, which is incredible considering the punishing style Lynch has. Most top RBs are inconsistent year to year so to me this gives Lynch a bit of extra value because he's less likely to sink your draft than a guy like Jamaal Charles or DeMarco Murray.

    DeMarco Murray.

    When Murray is healthy he is one of the best backs in the game. As mentioned before, this is a very risky pick but is worth considering in maybe the early 3rd round if you already have a low risk RB locked in as your #1 back. Load up on bench RBs and the odds are that even if Murray busts, you might still have a top 25 RB to plug into his spot if you use your bench to maximum effect. Similar to Patterson, if you take Murray as a starter then you would need to run your bench is a relatively risk averse way to compensate.

    The Gronk.

    Everyone knows how good he is when healthy, and Brady's alternative targets still suck. He's risky but in the 4th round this is a pick that could win your league. Just make sure you draft another TE in the mid rounds somewhere as insurance.

    Peyton Manning.

    Nobody expects Manning to repeat last year's numbers. But that said, if you did a redraft today for the 2013 season based on how much value each player had above baseline, Peyton Manning would have been the #3 overall pick, just barely behind 2013 LeSean McCoy. Even though the "average" fantasy QB is really good, Manning is such an incredible point Machine that he still rose above that bench mark with the same potency as an uber-elite RB.

    Will he do that again? Probably not. But remember, you aren't drafting Manning 3rd overall. You're probably drafting him 13th overall, maybe a little earlier. And as said before, if you are picking a player really early, it's better to take a player worth 9/10ths as much if he's twice as safe.

    The only way you shouldn't take Manning this early is if you think he will revert to his 2012 numbers. But remember, 2012 was his first year in Denver's offense, the first year with his weapons, he had less arm strength that year, and he was also without Wes Welker and Julius Thomas that year.

    55 TDs is outrageous, but 5500 yards is less so in the current league environment. He will regress some on TDs, but I could see him more or less maintaining his yardage.

    The best argument against Manning is the schedule. He goes from the NFC East to the NFC West. That's a huge swing, even if it's only four games on the schedule. But considering the emphasis on defensive backfield penalties this year which is expected to be quite severe, don't be surprised if Manning goes through his NFC West schedule while still putting up fairly good production. And then when he faces the other 12 opponents, he'll be facing much weaker defenses while still benefiting from the rule changes. There probably isn't a player in the NFL who benefits from this new emphasis more than Peyton Manning.

    Even with "regression to the mean" with touchdowns, I would not be shocked at all if Manning finished top 10 in value above baseline, while being one of the very safest top picks in the draft. If he's there in the late 1st or early 2nd and your best alternatives are guys like Montee Ball or Giovanni Bernard, draft Manning.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Sat Aug 09, 2014 7:58 am
  • For TEs, Dennis Pitta and Zach Ertz. The latter especially if you draft Gronk.

    De Andre Hopkins is going pretty late, and he could have a pretty good year under a new coach.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Sat Aug 09, 2014 4:29 pm
  • I'm going to avoid SF WR this year. I think there are too many targets and not enough passes to go around. Last year VD and Boldin benefited from Crabtree's absence, but with him back and Johnson now, I just don't see any of them surpassing 1000 yards this season.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Sat Aug 09, 2014 5:42 pm
  • Sarlacc83 wrote:For TEs, Dennis Pitta and Zach Ertz.


    I think Pitta had something like 5 catches a game after coming back late last season. He's Flacco's favorite target, similar to Witten with Romo. I like Pitta a lot, he's the one mid-round TE I'd be tempted to reach for a bit. Olsen too.

    Ertz I loved in college. I'm still a little holdoff-ish on him in 2014. He posted 50 yards or more only 3 times in 16 games last season. Consider that if he had exactly 50 yards 16 times in 16 games that would only get him to 800 yards for the season, which is the kind of production you can take for granted with mid-round guys like Witten, Pitta, or Olsen.

    Ertz is talented enough to be an 800 yard TE but I don't think he has the talent to put up Gronk or Graham numbers. I'm probably going to avoid him this year since his upside is on the same level as several proven players and Ertz is not yet proven. But maybe I'm wrong. Either way, he's still a wait and see guy for me.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:57 am
  • Kearly Great list. My only disagreement is with Manning. I think he could see a 25% drop and with that there is no way his 1st-2nd round price tag would prove to be worth it. I think they ran up scores in an attempt to break records for him and they want to run the ball more this year and slow it down a little bit to help the defense. I think he has a Manning type year but not enough over baseline starters at the position to warrant that high of a pick. But it wouldn't shock me if he had another monster year either and I am completely off base. I'm targeting Ball in all my drafts so that could be fueling my thoughts and cauing me to be a little subjective. LOL. Great list and lots of well thought out points.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:31 pm
  • Thanks.

    With Manning it comes down to how much you like being risk averse early. Manning's take home value, even when factoring regression, will probably be 2nd round level, but the fact that he's so safe is a huge bonus.

    The one thing most league champions have in common is that they avoid busting on their first two picks. So if you want to draft ultra safe in the early rounds Manning could be a preferable option over risky guys like Ball, Bernard, or Murray. And those guys will "probably" be better than Manning in terms of value, but they also are much more likely to be disasters too.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Mon Aug 11, 2014 8:17 pm
  • Actually you bring up a good point. I was talking to a buddy today about it. I think on paper it usually makes sense to wait on a QB but with the bust rates being so high the past couple of years you could do a lot worse than to go safe early. I think this works even better for guys who do their research as they are much more likely to get steals later in the draft while others are just filling out a lineup. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Tue Aug 12, 2014 12:21 pm
  • QB - Romo/Cutler. Not really steals, but why waste a Round 1-3 pick on Manning/Brees/Rodgers when you can get one of these two in 8-10. And I'd argue that who they throw to in Marshall/Jeffery and Dez/Terrance are just as potent combos as anything else

    RB - There's no such thing as a sleeper here, just handcuffs, so I like Hyde and West. Gore won't get injured by they'll wan to relieve him and usher in the next generation. And Tate is a rib away from sitting out 5 games. And I like Foster and Jennings. Why Foster? He could bust, yes, but the Texans just unloaded all of their RBs, so his competition is non-existant, their QB situation is a mess. In short, if he can stay healthy, Foster is going to go nuts on catches and carries. Jennings will be a workhorse. Gerhart is in that same vein actually. I'm staying away from Martin, the Pats RBs (unless it's PPR, then get Vereen) and the Jets. I hate RBBC's under volatile coaches.

    WR - Boykin, Emmanual Sanders, and until he broke his foot Marvin Jones.

    TE - Ertz. All the way. Or, if you don't want to get fancy Greg Olsen. Tried and true, and who else will Cam throw to?
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Sun Aug 17, 2014 2:44 pm
  • austinslater25 wrote:I think this works even better for guys who do their research as they are much more likely to get steals later in the draft while others are just filling out a lineup. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!


    I've been listening to a lot of fantasy podcasts lately and the more intelligent sounding analysts have been saying the same thing, that safety matters with early picks because teams that win championships almost never bust on their first two picks. Also, having a safe starter gives you more freedom to take risks going for steals in the later rounds.

    ManBunts wrote:QB - Romo/Cutler. Not really steals, but why waste a Round 1-3 pick on Manning/Brees/Rodgers when you can get one of these two in 8-10. And I'd argue that who they throw to in Marshall/Jeffery and Dez/Terrance are just as potent combos as anything else

    RB - There's no such thing as a sleeper here, just handcuffs, so I like Hyde and West. Gore won't get injured by they'll wan to relieve him and usher in the next generation. And Tate is a rib away from sitting out 5 games. And I like Foster and Jennings. Why Foster? He could bust, yes, but the Texans just unloaded all of their RBs, so his competition is non-existant, their QB situation is a mess. In short, if he can stay healthy, Foster is going to go nuts on catches and carries. Jennings will be a workhorse. Gerhart is in that same vein actually. I'm staying away from Martin, the Pats RBs (unless it's PPR, then get Vereen) and the Jets. I hate RBBC's under volatile coaches.

    WR - Boykin, Emmanual Sanders, and until he broke his foot Marvin Jones.

    TE - Ertz. All the way. Or, if you don't want to get fancy Greg Olsen. Tried and true, and who else will Cam throw to?


    Good stuff.

    I am buying the Cutler hype. He looks terrific this preseason and we know how Trestman's offense did for fantasy owners last year. The nice thing about the current NFL environment is that you can always find productive fantasy QBs on the waiver wire in a 10 man league, so even if Cutler flops the dropoff in points is not very severe because you can find good alternatives easily.

    I've been a big Romo proponent for years, but I'm a bit gun shy now after hearing some medical opinions on his back, with a medical expert saying "it's the beginning of the end" for Romo, and this has already born fruit in practices where Romo struggles to throw the deep ball.

    Andre Williams, Terrence West, and Christine Michael are my favorite handcuff RBs right now. I think all three will be big time starters down the road.

    Agree on Sanders, really nice low-risk pick as a 4th/5th WR who could blossom into a solid #3 with Manning.

    Olsen is so consistent, and like you say, there aren't many other players Cam can throw to. Olsen is the safest TE in the draft, and his production is not bad either.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Mon Aug 18, 2014 8:32 am
  • Frank Gore-Going between picks 50-60 on most sites, which is really good value for a guy that really hasn't shown signs of slowing down. At his ADP I've been drafting him as my flex.

    Larry Fitzgerald- Being drafted in the 4th round in 12-team leagues, and Palmer will get more time to throw with an improved o-line.

    Jordy Nelson- It's already been said, it's amazing that this guy is teetering on the top 10 WRs in drafts when he should be considered top 5.

    Joique Bell- He's the goal-line back, doesn't have the injury history of Bush, and he has more receptions in the last 2 years than Reggie. And...he's going about 40-50 picks later.

    Jeremy Maclin- His ADP is around 80 but his floor is soooooo high that he's going 2 rounds later than he should. Excluding last season where he missed all of it with the ACL injury in training camp, he's never had a season with less than 770 yards and 56 catches. And now he's the #1 WR in a Chip Kelly offense.

    Emmanuel Sanders- Sanders will take Decker's role, one that made Decker a top 10 WR the last 2 seasons. And he's going between rounds 7 and 8 in 12-team leagues.

    Giovani Bernard- Hue Jackson loves to run the ball and the offense is going to be aimed at taming the Red Rifle, that means plenty of short passes for Gio, who had 69 targets last season and could see more in '14. Currently drafted in the late 2nd through 3rd rounds.

    Julian Edelman- It's hard to ignore 1000 yards and 100+ catches but that's what is happening. Going between picks 70-80, Edelman is Brady's favorite target, which is never a bad thing.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Mon Aug 18, 2014 1:26 pm
  • HAWKAMANIA wrote:Frank Gore-Going between picks 50-60 on most sites, which is really good value for a guy that really hasn't shown signs of slowing down. At his ADP I've been drafting him as my flex.


    Completely agree. If I draft a risky RB in the first two rounds (Charles, McCoy, Murray), then a guy like Frank Gore is a must in the 5th or 6th round as RB #3. He wouldn't make a bad #2 RB either, for teams that wait that long. I agree, I don't see him slowing down and the 49ers offense is probably going to be better this year.

    HAWKAMANIA wrote:Giovani Bernard- Hue Jackson loves to run the ball and the offense is going to be aimed at taming the Red Rifle, that means plenty of short passes for Gio, who had 69 targets last season and could see more in '14. Currently drafted in the late 2nd through 3rd rounds.


    I love Bernard. I did backflips last year when I got him in the 9th round in both my drafts. That pick would have made me look like a genius if Marvin Lewis had given Bernard the carries he deserved. This year, they'd snapped out of their stupidity and will feed Bernard the rock, and the presence of Huge Action will play a big role in that.

    That said, Bernard will still probably have his goal line carries vultured, probably by the new guy the Bengals just spent a shiny draft pick on. Bernard might only have 2-3 goal line area TDs all year. Of all the top backs, he's the one with the longest odds of putting up a 10 TD season. And while I believe in his talent, he's still an unproven commodity in fantasy. I was a big believer in Trent Richardson's and Lamar Miller's talent too.

    Right now Bernard is going end of the 2nd round. That just feels a bit too rich for me. Bernard's value above baseline upside is basically the same as what Julio Jones or AJ Green will provide almost guaranteed, and those players are also going late 2nd. Even though I like Bernard I will probably avoid him this year- there is just too much unknown to take him that early while proven studs are still available.

    HAWKAMANIA wrote:Joique Bell- He's the goal-line back, doesn't have the injury history of Bush, and he has more receptions in the last 2 years than Reggie. And...he's going about 40-50 picks later.


    Bell is a great example of a not-that-great football player who's a secret stud in fantasy. He gets pretty much all the goal line carries and his reception totals are better than people think. His talent and YPC are not very good, but he produces AND HE STAYS HEALTHY, unlike a certain other RB on that team. Thanks in large part to Bush missing time throughout the season, Bell actually finished with more fantasy points than Bush did last year.

    That, plus you don't have to worry about Bush being cleared to play only to sit out the game anyway or leave in the 1st quarter. Bush gave me 3 goose eggs last year despite being initially cleared to play. I ended up winning most of those weeks anyway, but I don't think I'll ever draft Bush again because a badly timed 0 at RB could cost you a fantasy season. With Bell, you don't have to worry about stuff like that.

    Now in comes a new coaching staff that will emphasize "power" running more than before. If Bell can manage to look even decent as a 1st and 2nd down runner it's possible he might relegate Bush to being a 3rd down back, and if that happens Bell is basically a poor man's version of 2013 Knowshon. Not bad for a guy who's ADP is only 90 right now.

    HAWKAMANIA wrote:Julian Edelman- It's hard to ignore 1000 yards and 100+ catches but that's what is happening. Going between picks 70-80, Edelman is Brady's favorite target, which is never a bad thing.


    Edelman is another player I think is garbage but had respectable fantasy numbers. Edelman would not make Seattle's WR corps. Drops too many passes and while he has some polish, he painfully lacks physical talent. His 100+ catches are really just an indictment of how unprepared Belichick was last year for disaster that hit them at TE. I think the only way he puts up numbers like that again is if Gronk is done.

    That said, if you draft Gronk in say the 4th round, Edelman could serve as kind of a bizarro handcuff to stash on your roster. That way, if Gronk goes down at least you'll have the consolation prize of knowing your 5th WR is guaranteed to catch 100 passes.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Mon Aug 18, 2014 6:34 pm
  • It's funny you mention Edelman as a handcuff to Gronk as I have had the same conversation with a handful of people the last few weeks. They've all said they would only draft Edelman if they already had Gronk because Edelman only put up those numbers because Gronk was injured for a good part of last season.

    After hearing this a second time I got curious and I decided to look at Edelman's numbers when Gronk, Amendola, and Vereen were also healthy and playing.

    The only time that all of those 4 top receiving options were playing together were weeks 11-14, so it's just 4 games. But during that time Edelman averaged over 12 ppg in standard leagues and over 16 ppg in PPR leagues, top 10 at WR during that span. Also, from weeks 11-17, Edelman averaged nearly 9 receptions a game and 80 yards, which is ppr gold.

    I'd say Gronk missing time definitely helps Edelman, but Gronk's presence, or anybody else's, doesn't necessarily mean that his numbers will fizzle.
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Re: Who are your fantasy steals and why?
Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:09 pm
  • He had 3 TDs in that sample which skews the fantasy stats (he had 3 TDs in the other 13 games combined).

    That said, post-Gronk, his targets were ridiculous. He had 19 targets against Miami. If for argument's sake Gronk didn't play a down this year, Edelman could easy end up with a Calvin Johnson type target total by the end of the year. Heck of a consolation prize.
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