If you have not drafted well through the first four rounds of your fantasy football draft, chances are your team is toast.
Sure, there is plenty of value to be found in the mid-to-late rounds, but you expect your first few picks to be the anchors for your team, bringing in the most points on a weekly basis. How many fantasy owners won their leagues after drafting Adrian Peterson in the first round?
Peterson is a perfect example of how even the surest thing can fall apart and cripple your team.
You want to handle the first few rounds of your draft with the utmost care. Sometimes bad luck happens, but don’t blow your draft because you reached for a star too early. Save those for a little later.
Below is a four-round mock draft, followed by four players who could provide some extra value for your team in the event your top picks are busts.
Value Picks in Later Rounds
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
Amari Cooper will in all likelihood be the first rookie wideout selected in your draft. However, don’t be surprised if Nelson Agholor boasts the better fantasy numbers, at least in 2015.
The Philadelphia Eagles have to compensate for Jeremy Maclin‘s absence this year. That’s 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns they’re not getting back.
While Agholor won’t start the year as Philly’s top target in the passing game, the team didn’t select him in the first round of the draft so he could languish on the bench in his rookie season. It would appear the Eagles firmly view him as a key figure in their offense, per Mike Clay of Pro Football Focus:
In addition, offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has been pleased with Agholor‘s progression in preseason, per the Eagles’ official Twitter account:
Agholor should develop into a fringe WR1/above-average WR2 in his first season.
Jonas Gray, RB, New England Patriots
After nearly eight months, it would seem Jonas Gray is finally out of Bill Belichick‘s doghouse. The New England Patriots running back has 19 carries for 107 yards and a touchdown so far in the preseason.
“I try not to focus on last year,” Gray said in June, per Andy Hart of Patriots Football Weekly. “I did take some things away from it. But I know this is a new year, clean slate. I’m looking forward to the opportunity.“
With LeGarrette Blount suspended for the Patriots’ season opener, Gray should have a great chance to impress Belichick all over again. Even if it isn’t enough to unseat Blount as the top running back on the depth chart, he could prove why he deserves to get consistent touches throughout the year.
Gray could emerge as a solid flex option for your fantasy team.
Torrey Smith, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Torrey Smith is the downfield threat the San Francisco 49ers have needed for years. Unfortunately, he arrives just as a mass exodus of players and personnel leave the 49ers in serious trouble for 2015.
You worry whether Colin Kaepernick‘s erratic nature might hinder Smith’s fantasy value, but Joe Flacco was far from a pillar of consistency, either, and Smith was, for the most part, a solid WR2 for the Baltimore Ravens.
Smith should also have a starring role in San Francisco’s passing game with Michael Crabtree gone and Anquan Boldin turning 35 in October.
Don’t discount the notion the 49ers could be playing from behind a lot this season, either. That would mean taking more risks downfield to score quickly, which could then translate to big points for owners who started Smith.
Derek Carr, QB, Oakland Raiders
In general, it will be a good idea to wait on a quarterback in this year’s draft since you can find really good options in the later rounds, allowing you to land quality players at more scarce positions. If you want to really take a gamble, you can bet on Derek Carr emerging as a QB1 in 2015 and wait really long to draft a quarterback.
Carr was the highest-scoring rookie quarterback last year, which admittedly isn’t saying much. He finished 20th overall on NFL.com.
Carr should naturally progress in Year 2, and he now has a bona fide No. 1 wideout in Cooper. The Oakland Raiders also signed Michael Crabtree, who for all of his faults is still an upgrade over what they had last year.
If Carr was good enough to be a backup last year, he could flirt with QB1 status in 2015 when taking into account the factors listed above.
Potential Team Names
- T.J. Well Done
- Gurley You Can’t Be Serious
- Steve Smith Senior Citizens
- It’s a Traepernick
If you have additional—and likely better—suggestions for team names, leave them in the comment section below.
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