Who to draft: Longshots
Who do you draft in those last few rounds - Rounds 13-16? Do you simply wait and watch how your draft unfolds and have a wish list for the last several picks? I suggest thinking about your draft as a short-term effort for long-term results. We all get wrapped up in the hype of draft day shuffles, picking order, etc. This year, spend the time doing your homework and prepare for each round of your draft and consider all potential outcomes. What if you do not get your anticipated running back pick or have an opportunity to grab a key wide out earlier than you would have hoped or he would be gone? Learning to adjust your strategy, trusting your instincts and research will lead to draft day success. When you get into the later rounds they can be just as important, if not more important than the early round picks. Think about which players have recently changed teams, fallen from graces with fantasy owners or just seem to stick with you season after season. I think your last four rounds should be spent on taking some calculated risks. Here are some Longshots to draft in those rounds.
The following players are respectively picked based upon their Average Draft Position (ADP) and appear to be falling to rounds 13-16 of most 12 team leagues (ADP greater than 144 using High Stakes ADP). If a player appears with an ADP inside the top 13 rounds the caveat would be that he has the potential of falling to the last four rounds in non-traditional 10 team formats or maybe in leagues where multiple QBs are utilized and running backs/wide outs might fall in draft position. Such will be noted with the player analysis.
QB Josh Freeman, MIN - Quality Backup
Josh Freeman is a quality back-up QB who could end up starting on your fantasy roster before the end of the season. His No. 15 QB rank should not fool anyone. Freeman has weapons at his disposal in Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin, not to mention a supporting cast that is still being built. If you look at Freeman's stats from last season, he was quite impressive with a QB rating of nearly 82, over 4,000 passing yards and 27 TDs. I have watched Freeman fall to the 14th and 15th rounds in expert drafts this summer. If he is there late in your draft, he is a must grab. If you get him, he is worth a hold for your bye week and then maybe a start or trade. Consider his current ADP of 157 and he could be a great steal if he sits there or lower.
RB Knile Davis, KC - Sleeper (undervalued)
Davis' No. 60 RB ranking could prove to be way off target. The former Arkansas Razorback might see more action than anticipated and move up depth charts if Jamaal Charles does not return soon. Kansas City team reports show Charles has a foot strain and x-rays were negative. This is good news for Charles and the team, but foot injuries in running backs are always worriesome. Shaun Draughn is the only other back of significance here and Davis is already listed as RB2, but Draughn has experience. Davis has speed and should be a great rookie option should Charles return be delayed or if Charles is injured again. This draft recommendation is contingent upon the return of Charles in short order. If he lingers out and injury reports continue, Davis will become a target of many fantasy owners and he will go much earlier than his HSADP of 233.
RB Mike Gillislee, MIA - Sleeper (undervalued)
Mike Gillislee sits third on the Miami depth chart behind Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas. Fantasy owners should not read into this as a permanent situation. Thomas is constantly losing fantasy value and position. Miller is being priased by coaches and fans, but is basically untested with 51 NFL carries. Gillislee appears to be a consistently well-rounded back who can play a solid role in the passing game. His 10 TDs and over 1,000 rushing yards at the University of Florida in 2012 make him an interesting addition to the roster. If Thomas and Miller are unsuccessful in their roles or have injuries, Gillislee could see action. I think he is a back that could work for the Miami offense and your fantasy roster if you are willing to take a chance on him, especially with his HSADP of 205.
RB Shonn Greene, TEN - Quality Backup
Shonn Greene's move to Tennessee has not really put him on anyone's radar. Greene is that running back that most fanatsy owners have taken a gamble on over the years and he has not paid many dividends. You might argue that his past two seasons have produced some solid stats with over 1,000 yards rushing each season, but for most of us, the new team scenario is not that appealing. With Chris Johnson in the starting role, Greene needs to wait for some slip-ups before he really gets a shot this season. Jonhson has not been great of late and his goal line work is negligible. Therefore, I am going to back Greene as a later round pick-up which might just surprise us this season. Tennessee will be looking to take advantage of some of the offensive line additions they have made this off-season and come out of the gates with a steady running game. Greene could finally make some fantasy owners happy, especially if he gets goal line duty and can grab carries when it matters. I think Greene will end up being selected as a back-up option this season on most rosters given his HSADP of 172.
RB Marcel Reece, OAK - Bye Week Fill-in
Marcel Reece has shown his ability to perform as a starting RB in place of Darren McFadden. This season, Reece should have the opportunity to continue his contribution in the passing game where he was targeted 73 times and caught 52 passes for 496 yards. These are decent numbers out of the backfield. We all know that McFadden is injury prone and is likely to miss playing time. The hard part is knowing when Reece could be valuable. It is unlikely that he will be valuable fantasy-wise each week, but could be a well-selected bye week fill-in or possible flex in the right week. Reports state that Reece might assume third down responsibilities this season and that further boosts his value. Reece's current HSADP sits at 177, so he could be a great pick-up in your last two rounds, yet someone else might take him earlier and leave you with another great pick.