2017 Fantasy Football Draft Kit

2017 Fantasy Football 10 Late Round Targets

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I always loved saving the best for last. Give me the bad news first, then leave me with the good. At dinner, I would eat all my vegetables then get to the rice and meat. When I opened up a new pack of Starbursts, I’d take them all out, eat the yellow and orange ones, then chow down on the pink ones.

Thankfully, when it comes to fantasy football drafts, I don’t even have to do anything — the best part for me comes at the end. While I love all of the draft, my favorite part is the tail end of the draft. That’s when months of research, reading, and watching tape comes into play and I get to spend a few precious draft picks on high upside, late round guys that can win me my league. It’s early, but let’s take a look at some late-round targets who could provide some major upside.

2017 Fantasy Football 10 Late Round Targets

I should start by explaining what I consider a “late round” pick. I looked at the Average Draft Position page on FantasyPros.com, and pick 93 is the ADP of the first defense taken off the board (Denver). I’m a big believer in streaming defenses, so to me, that’s a wasted pick. I would rather use that pick on any of these guys who should conceivably be there based on their ADP.

Marcus Mariota, QB, Tennessee Titans (ADP: 120, QB14)

Mariota is coming off a stellar sophomore season which saw him finish as the QB12 and included an eight-week stretch where he was THE best fantasy quarterback in the league. He has as high of an upside as any quarterback in the league. This season, Mariota is going to have another year of experience, another year in this offense, and a massive upgrade in his pass-catching corps. Corey Davis, Eric Decker, and Taywan Taylor should further Mariota’s development and allow him to improve on those 2016 numbers.

He’s currently being drafted as QB14. However, FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings lists him as the QB7, which demonstrates what incredible value you would be getting by drafting him in this spot.

Samaje Perine, RB, Washington Redskins (ADP: 112, RB42) & Kareem Hunt, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (ADP: 116, RB44)

It’s fitting that these two rookies in very similar situations are so close in ADP. Both had significant draft capital spent on them (fourth and third round picks respectively) and have landed in fantasy-friendly offenses with questionably talented incumbent backs in front of them.

Perine is the all-time leading rusher at Oklahoma, the school that has produced Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, and Billy Sims. At 5’11” and 233 pounds, he’s a physical, downhill runner, while also providing some flexibility in the passing game. Incumbent Rob Kelley was serviceable as a starter in 2016, but Perine would add a significant pop to the Redskins’ rushing attack. Grab him at this ADP if you can, because I suspect once preseason rolls around, Perine will have the reins on the starting position in Washington.

Meanwhile, Hunt, who the Chiefs traded up for, finds himself behind a slightly more talented player in Spencer Ware. Ware was dynamic in the first half of the season, but faded significantly in the second half. Over his last eight games, Ware averaged 3.6 YPC, scored only two touchdowns, and never topped 100 yards. Hunt already has a strong hold on the pass catching role in Kansas City, and if he impresses that role could expand.

James White, RB, New England Patriots (ADP: 124, RB45)

At this point in the draft, White is a steal, especially in PPR leagues. A lot of attention has been given to the running back additions made by the Patriots this year, but they also extended White and gave him the most years and dollars.

He has earned the trust of Tom Brady, and maybe more importantly, Bill Belichek. The Super Bowl XLI hero (14 catches, two touchdowns, one two-point conversion) is proven and will dominate passing game snaps. In 2016, only David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell finished with more receptions and receiving yards among running backs.

Jalen Richard, RB, Oakland Raiders (ADP: 187, RB61)

A deep, deep flier, Richard already has a baseline value as the Raiders backup running back. Marshawn Lynch is back, but there’s no guarantee yet about his workload or what kind of shape he’s in. If this turns out to be an Arian Foster-ish situation, Richard could step in. He averaged an impressive 5.7 YPC in 2016 and a great understanding of the Raiders’ zone blocking scheme.

Even if Lynch doesn’t go down, Richard will have standalone value. Richard had a clear hold on the passing downs role in Oakland’s running back committee last year. ProFootballFocus named him the NFL’s most elusive back of 2016. The Raiders will look to get such a dynamic playmaker onto the field.

Jeremy Maclin, WR, Baltimore Ravens (ADP: 108, WR43)

Maclin is coming off a down season, but is only two seasons removed from back to back 1,000-yard campaigns. Fully recovered now and not yet 30, Maclin will look to bounce back in a big way, and the Ravens will need him to. Baltimore is desperate for playmakers in the passing game after losing Steve Smith and Dennis Pitta to retirement and Kamar Aiken and Kyle Juszczyk to free agency (a combined 321 targets). All those players did the majority of their damage in the middle of the field, where Maclin is expected to make the biggest impact. ESPN’s Jamison Henley is reporting Maclin will play mostly slot receiver for the Ravens while also working outside as well.

Maclin should benefit from a more aggressive Ravens offense that led the NFL in pass attempts over the last two years. If he is able to regain his field-stretching speed that he showed in Philadelphia, he’ll be a much better fit for Joe Flacco’s big arm compared to Alex Smith.

Kenny Britt, WR, Cleveland Browns (ADP: 134, WR51)

Underrated due to the stink of the Browns, Britt is in a similar position to Maclin. Having parted ways with Terrelle Pryor, Gary Barnidge, and Andrew Hawkins, the Browns will need to replace at least 276 targets. In what should be a better offense from last year, if Britt can take Pryor’s role, he should far outperform his ADP.

There’s a lot of young, unproven talent at the wide receiver position on the Browns, but in the meantime, Britt will be a target monster. And, as Britt proved last year (and in years past), who the quarterback is doesn’t matter. He had Jared Goff and Case Keenum throwing him the ball in 2016 – Deshon Kizer, Brock Osweiler, or Cody Kessler can’t be much worse.

Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions (ADP: 131, WR50)

Jones burst onto the scene in 2016 with an insane 482 yards and four touchdowns over his first four games. However, he crashed back down to Earth just as quickly. Over his last 12 games, he averaged 37 yards per game and scored just one touchdown. However, the talent is there. He flashed it in 2016 and 2014 when he scored 10 touchdowns as the number two receiver in Cincinnati.

With Anquan Boldin and his 95 targets gone, there should be more opportunity coming Jones’ way. I’m betting that his talent and upside will be worth that late round flier.

J.J. Nelson, WR, Arizona Cardinals (ADP: 189, WR66)

Richard Savill, my co-host on the Fantasy Edge, and I both believe John Brown is due for a bounce back year. But I don’t think that comes at the expense of J.J. Nelson. Nelson flashed serious talent in the last three games of the season, totaling 12 catches, 245 yards, and two touchdowns in that span. He’s a big time deep threat in an offense that loves to go vertical.

With Michael Floyd taking his kombucha to Minnesota, Nelson should have an opportunity to seize an opening day job. That role could expand if Fitz loses a step or Brown struggles with injuries again.

Jack Doyle, TE, Indianapolis Colts (ADP: 138, TE13)

Once a fantasy punchline, Doyle has forced his way into low-end TE1, high-end TE2 conversation. He’s a legit pass catcher, finishing 2016 with the highest pass catching % among all non-running backs (78.7%).

With Andrew Luck back close to 100% and no Dwayne Allen to contend with, Doyle will be one of the best bets to score every week. In Luck’s last fully healthy season, he threw a combined 18 touchdowns to his tight ends. If Doyle gets even half of those, he’s a worthy pick here and a comfortable tight end streamer, if not TE1.


For more F6P preseason coverage please visit our 2017 Draft Kit section.

About Kevin Huo

Kevin is a fantasy football writer for Fantasy Six Pack. He considers every angle - whether statistical or theoretical - when weighing his options and isn't afraid to be a contrarian. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinH_F6P

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