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10 Football Players going way too late in Fantasy Drafts

September 1, 2009

   Okay, so its draft day and you are looking to make a splash in your fantasy football league.  Your goal is to impress your friends, compete and have fun, and win your league.  Also, if you are like me, you are looking to shut up the one guy in your draft that is convinced that he is the best fantasy player ever.  Just like in life, there are a lot of players that everyone likes (Larry Fitzgerald, Maurice Jones-Drew, Tom Brady, etc.), some players than nobody likes (I’ll let you fill this in yourself), and then there are the players in the middle who usually win the fantasy league (except in 2007 when whoever drafted Tom Brady probably won your league).  It is these middle players who go from rounds 3-8 that determine the overall success of a fantasy team.  It is my goal to help you and let you see some players who are being consistently drafted at least a round too late.  So here are 10 players that I see tremendous value in for the 2009 season:

1) Kurt Warner – Anyone who knows me knows that I am a Kurt Warner fan and that I take him in every draft.  I usually go a round early to make sure that I get him.  Last year, I was laughing all the way to the bank.  He put up MVP type numbers and was a top 3 fantasy quarterback.  I got him in the 9th round.  This year he is moving up but not as much as I think is necessary. He is a steal in the 5th round, a bargain in the 4th, and a solid pick in the 3rd.  With his history of injuries you need to spend a 12 round pick on Leinart, but its well worth it because he looks like a new and more focused player this year, even as a backup. 

2) Thomas Jones – Who is the 3rd leading rusher in the NFL over the past four years?  I have no idea.  But I do know that Thomas Jones is number two on that list, just behind LT.  Last year, under a former MVP quarterback, he had over 1300 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns.  This year he will be playing behind talented rookie Mark Sanchez in a system that is sure to be run first.  I know that the ultra talented Leon Washington will steal some touches, but not enough to move Thomas Jones out of the top 10 RBs taken.  If Jones is in your plans, you can grab a top tier WR in the 3rd round and wait for TJ to fall to you in the 4th.

3) Darren Sproles – His 2008 numbers overall are very average.  But let’s look at the last part of the year.  In the last three games (final regular season game and two playoff games) he averaged 130 total yards and had 5 touchdowns.  I know LT was playing sparingly at the time,but whose to say that that trend won’t continue?  They resigned Sproles for this season and I don’t think that they plan on using him as a back-up.  He is going in the 6th round around pick #65 overall in PPR (Points Per Reception) leagues.  That is clearly a round too late and he is a great contingency plan if that QB and WR you loved were available early.

4) Derrick Mason – He decided not to retire after all and draft boards across America are trying to adjust.  They are not moving fast enough.  He is the #1 receiver on a playoff team who has averaged 90 receptions and over 1100 yards the past 7 seasons.  Last year he caught 80 balls for a rookie QB who will have lots more passing attempts this season.  I look for him to push the 100 catch mark this season and go well over 1000 yards with 6-8 TDs.  A steal anytime after the 5th round.

5) Laveranues Coles – He becomes the number two receiver for Carson Palmer in the Cincinatti offense, a role previously filled by TJ Houshmenzadah.  The truth is, the Bengals WRs have always been a two-headed monster much like Boldin and Fitzgerald in Arizona.  There is a great chance for Coles to establish himself as a consistent, quiet, and loyal target unlike his counterpart lined up on the other side (Ocho something or other).  75 catches along with 1000 yards seems more than likely.  He is much more valuable than the 10th round draft pick he has been.

6) Marion Barber – This guy has KILLED me the past few years in fantasy football.  From my perspective, he scores every Dallas touchdown.  Romo throws the ball to him every other pass.  He leads the league in rushing every week.  I know that it is just when he plays me, but someone who does what he does slipping out of the top two tiers of RBs is just wrong.  I know that Felix Jones is there, but he does way too much on a weekly basis to not be a 2nd round pick.  If you play PPR, he needs to be gone by midway through the 2nd round.  If he’s there for you in round three, steal him.

7) Devin Hester – Jay Cutler is now in Chicago.  I cannot name another Bear WR.  Hester has been a consistently improving receiver every season.  Look for him to break out, putting up Bernard Berrian type numbers for the Bears.  

8) Vicente Shiancoe – Do not drink the cool-aid with Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates. They are great players, but they play in systems with too many pass catching options for them to be premium for the whole year.  Wait two or three rounds and get a great value in Mr. Shiancoe.  Brett Favre loves tight ends.  Maybe thats why he does those wrangler jeans commercials.  Seriously though, in the prime fantasy time of Favre’s Packers, Bubba Franks and Mark Chimura were consistent top 5 TEs.  Shiancoe should be that player this year.

9) Hakeem Nix – While most Giant WRs were dropping passes in the battle for New York this past weekend, Hakeem Nix was catching everything thrown to him, running by everyone on the field, and hitting up the end zone with consistency.  In my home draft he wasn’t even drafted in 21 rounds.  He may not be a big number guy right away, but I think that he is the best WR on the Giants and its only a matter of time before they realize that.  

10) Chaz Schilens – This is a super flyer pick who won’t even be ready to play until week 4.  However, if you have room, store him on your bench until he gets a shot.  I watched a Raiders pre-season game the other day (we can have discussions on the sadness of my life later) and 75% of Jamarcus Russell’s balls went to Schilens.  The Raiders will be down often this year so they will be throwing the ball a lot.  He could be in for some big garbage numbers.

    Anyone knows that you are not going to pick Thomas Jones ahead of Michael Turner or hit up Derrick Mason before you go for Reggie Wayne.  However, there are many situations where you can get both of the players if you play your draft board right.  Have a great night and drive home safely.

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