Fantasy Football: Late Round Targets
For most people drafting the late rounds of the draft are often the most boring. This is about the point when you're fantasy draft buzz is wearing off, and you want to go to a bar to celebrate your the team you drafted. However, for the fans that spend hours crunching numbers, dissecting every player's stats, and creating hundreds of spreadsheets, this is the time to shine. This is where you apply all of your knowledge to acquire sleepers, steals, rookies, and the not so flashy positions like kicker and defense.
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Time To Shine
For most people drafting the late rounds of the draft are often the most boring.
This is about the point when you're fantasy draft buzz is wearing off, and you want to go to a bar to celebrate your the team you drafted. However, for the fans that spend hours crunching numbers, dissecting every player's stats, and creating hundreds of spreadsheets, this is the time to shine. This is where you apply all of your knowledge to acquire sleepers, steals, rookies, and the not so flashy positions like kicker and defense.
The tricky part of drafting in the late rounds, besides trying to stay coherent enough, is deciding which guys are pegged for a breakout year.
Don't Waste It
There are many considerations to factor into each player and team to figure out when to get a player and when not to grab that certain player.
Nothing is worse than wasting an early pick on a guy that would have otherwise been drafted three rounds later. This sensation will leave you kicking yourself the rest of the season, especially when this player is a complete dud! So I want to give a solid breakdown that you can trust on some sleepers, rookies, and breakout players.
Practice Makes Perfect
To breakdown the later parts of drafts the best thing to do is complete as many mock drafts as possible.
These drafts will give you a great sense of when players are being drafted and trends throughout the league.
Be sure to join drafts that have the same league rules as your leagues, and try to draft at the same position(s) as your draft, Join as many drafts, with real people, otherwise you will draft against a computer and they typically take the top ranked guy or a teams needs.
Also, if possible have the draft results emailed to you, or print them out. The results will be an enormous advantage when the time comes to draft in your league.
I have done over 20 mock drafts this year starting in early July, and have recently gone back through them to breakdown trends, certain players draft positions, and guys moving up or down in drafts.
With all of this information I have created a spreadsheet that charts each players movement in the drafts and top athletes to target in each round. To put all of this information into text, I will breakdown each round starting after the 7th round of a 15 round draft. I will not include defenses or kickers in order to give the best indicator of skill players draft positions.
This is a spot where the most movement occurred over the past month of drafts, but saw a few athletes stick around throughout.
When I started drafting back around July 5th, this round had players such as: Mike Wallace, Tannehill, Torrey Smith, Ertz, Landry, Charles Johnson, Fitzgerald, Tevin Coleman, Cameron, Gates, Daniels, and Witten.
Looking at the first few drafts, the major trend seemed to be that this spot is where managers started to look for WR3 and tight-end. By my final draft the players in this round followed as is: Ertz, Maclin, Bernard, Cameron, Eli Manning, Floyd, Wallace, Witten, Tannehill, Steve Smith Sr, and Colston. Similar to the first draft but with more RB's and QB's sprinkled in the mix.
Round 7 (Cont.)
Breaking down this information you can see that some guys are a sure bet to be taken here like, Mike Wallace, Witten, Cameron, and Tannehill.
The trend of this pick looks like managers are grabbing a mid round QB, a starting TE in the middle tier, WR2-3, and a backup RB. Using this information a manager could go with the herd and target one of these positions, or try to beat out other managers by taking one these caliber of players in a previous round.
Top steals of round 7: Ameer Abdullah, Vincent Jackson, LeGarrette Blount, Eli Manning, Matt Ryan, and Martellus Bennett.
Top Sleepers of round 7: Jarvis Landry, Nelson Agholor, Steve Smith Sr, Joseph Randle, and Michael Floyd.
Busts of round 7: Mike Wallace, Cameron, and Tevin Coleman
In all of the drafts that I completed rounds 8-10 were big rounds where managers started to grab defenses and kickers.
You could either follow suit and play keep up with these guys, or decide to wait a few rounds for those positions and capitalize on the skill players. It all depends on your league's scoring system and if you can be patient to wait for kickers and defenses. But if you decide to be aggressive and grab a skill player here are my top steals, sleepers and busts for rounds 8-10:
Top steals: Owen Daniels, Nelson Agholor, LeGarrette Blount, Phillip Rivers, Ryan tannehill, Matthew Stafford, and Steve Smith Sr
Top sleepers: Joseph Randle, Brandon LaFell, Charles Johnson, Kevin White, and Darren McFadden
Busts: Devonta Freeman, Julius Thomas, Garcon, Fitzgerald, Doug Martin, and Shane Vereen
These are the rounds where everyone is beginning to fatigue and will start clicking on the top ranked player at each position.
However, if you have the longevity to stay focused these rounds are the ultimate spots to cleanup and find the best bargains. In one of my leagues last year this is where Odell Beckham, Kelvin Benjamin, and C.J. Andersen where drafted. So take a shot of espresso and bear down for the next three rounds!
Top steals: Kevin White, Marques Colston, Matthew Stafford, Phillip Rivers, Eric Decker, Darren McFadden, and Ryan Matthews
Top sleepers: David Cobb, Teddy Bridgewater, Victor Cruz, Kenny Stills, Josh Hill, and Kyle Rudolph
Top busts: Chris Ivory, Anquan Boldin, Charles Sims, Percy Harvin, and Dwayne Allen
You've finally made it to the light at the end of the tunnel, by this point some managers may have already set their team for auto-draft and left for the bar.
These are the last picks so you should make sure that you have every position filled, if not go ahead and take the best guy you can at that spot. Next make sure you have enough depth at every position, and if not this is where you can find some big steals. In the mock drafts I completed I was able to find tremendous steals at these two picks.
Top steals: DeVante Parker, Antonio Gates, Austin Sefarian-Jenkins, Malcom Floyd, and Breshard Perriman
Top sleepers: Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston, Heath Miller, Eddie Royal, Rueben Randle, Donte Moncrief, and Doug Baldwin
Top busts: Mychal Rivera, Vernon Davis, Coby Fleener, Michael Crabtree, and Dwayne Bowe
Get Out There!
These are my guidelines to consider, as ranking a player can be a very subjective process.
Although, after completing over 20 mock drafts these are proven data from standard league drafts and shouldn't change too much from now until the start of the season. The most important fact to take away from this information is to sign up for as many mock drafts as possible.
There is no other way that you can figure out trends and when players are being taken than to go through a draft. You don't want to wait until the day of your draft to figure out this information, so go out there and draft!