The middle-to-late rounds are usually what separate the pretenders from the contenders in fantasy football.
Everybody knows who the stars are, but it’s finding that hidden gem during the later portion of your draft that can take your team to the next level. Lamar Jackson, Mark Andrews and Terry McLaurin are all excellent examples of players who did just that in 2019.
Using Yahoo fantasy football ADP, here’s a round-by-round look at the value pick in each round of the draft based on a 12-team, half-point PPR league.
For Rounds 1 through 8, click here.
Round 9 - Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions (ADP: 101.8)
In fantasy football drafts, Stafford has been my go-to QB target. People seem to have forgotten just how good he was prior to a back injury which ended his season in Week 9. From Week 1 to 9, he was QB6 in fantasy points. Of qualified passers in 2019, Stafford finished with 8.3 average completed air yards (1st), 10.7 average intended air yards (1st), 23% aggressiveness percentage (1st) and a +3.4 completion percentage above expectation (5th). Stafford was stretching the field while remaining a very accurate passer. Entering 2020 with the same cast of characters in the receiving game and a boost at running back with the addition of D’Andre Swift, Stafford is a locked-in top-10 QB.
Round 10 - CeeDee Lamb, Dallas Cowboys (ADP: 112.0)
Typically rookie wide receivers don’t make much of an impact in the NFL.
Lamb is not your typical rookie wide receiver.
Lamb dominated college supplying a plethora of highlight-reel plays while posting gaudy numbers. This stat may be the most telling in regards to Lamb’s success: In his three years at the University of Oklahoma, he played with two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks (Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray) and one runner-up (Jalen Hurts). Surely it’s an impressive list of QBs, but there’s no doubt having Lamb on the field made each of those Sooners better.
As the Cowboys’ slot receiver and presumed third WR on the depth chart, Lamb projects to be one of the biggest matchup mismatches on a weekly basis. Dallas also has the second-most vacated targets (190) of any team in the NFL.
Round 11 - Mike Gesicki, Miami Dolphins (ADP: 122.0)
If Gesicki is able to put it all together in 2020, he may end up being the biggest steal in fantasy football drafts.
Gesicki is arguably the most athletic tight end in the NFL. He ranks 95th percentile or higher in speed, burst, agility and catch radius, according to Player Profiler. His numbers through the first two years of his career aren’t awe-inspiring, but they’re good enough to have people excited about what he can do in Year 3.
Miami has 176 vacated targets, the fifth-highest total of any team in the NFL. With the Dolphins thin at receiver, Gesicki could also get some playing time out of the slot, Cameron Wolfe of ESPN reported earlier in the offseason. All signs point towards Gesicki being a lock to see an uptick from the 89 targets he saw last year.
Round 12 - Chris Herndon, New York Jets (ADP: 134.6)
The Jets have run into some serious injury troubles at wide receiver this offseason. Rookie Denzel Mims and free-agent acquisition Breshad Perriman have both suffered from injuries and missed significant time at training camp. Mims has returned but Perriman remains sidelined. Their absences, however, seem to have sparked a connection between Sam Darnold and his tight end, according to Connor Hughes of The Athletic.
Herndon served a four-game suspension to begin last season while injuries limited him to appearing in just one game during 2019. He showed enough as a rookie to believe that the 24-year-old still has more to offer in a Jets offense struggling to find pass catchers. If you really want to wait on TE, Herndon is an excellent target who is currently being drafted as TE29 on Yahoo.
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