29 Draft Targets from High Volume High Stakes Players

This article is an update to the piece I posted a few weeks ago about which players were ending up on a lot of teams of high volume high stakes owners.

My assumptions for the article are simple – a fantasy owner that has multiple entries on a high stakes platform like FFPC (and in this case I’m using owners with at least four teams as the cutoff) has probably done a reasonable amount of homework and it might make sense to look over their shoulder to see if they know something you don’t know.

In this iteration I’ve improved the methodology a little. Instead of just looking for duplicate entries, I also went through a step to try to identify franchises that might give their teams sequential names – like Taste Dwayne Bowe #13. I also only looked at drafts that started this month. So I’ve thrown out the pre-training camp drafts.

I look at these lists to see if there are any names where I might be overlooking something about the player. But I don’t just look at the list and go “hey, I’ll just follow these guys.”  For me it’s an exercise that introduces a new idea; I then have to work through the idea and decide for myself whether it has merits. Some comments on whether these names have merit (where I’ve also tried to look at them in a new light).

  • Virgil Green is super cheap and will be catching passes from Peyton Manning. It’s just a low stakes bet that Manning isn’t done, but Owen Daniels is done. This is an example of what I’m talking about when I say looking for ideas I wasn’t focused on before. I’ve been pretty focused on Gronk/Kelce this year, so I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about Green. I just kind of chalked him up as a potential hit and then moved on. I’m probably a lot more likely to scan for his name in the later rounds of drafts now.
  • We’ve been on Jordan Matthews for a while.
  • I can see the argument for Antonio Gates. I just don’t think I agree with it. There could be an argument for his selection based on the idea that you’re maxing out your starting lineup through the playoff weeks. But that still doesn’t make very much sense to me. Gates is getting older, should probably be cheaper just based on age, and is going to miss a good amount of the FFPC season. I don’t like this pick very much and even viewing it through the prism of knowing that smart fantasy players are probably targeting him, I don’t like it any more than I did before.
  • Randall Cobb looks genius now. I don’t think that’s really a judgment on whether or not he was a good pick before. But if you have Cobb on teams you have a first round value that you took in the second round.
  • Gio Bernard is a name where the hate probably has gone too far. Keep in mind that Shane Vereen probably played a similar role in the NE offense last year and was going in the third and fourth round. You can get Bernard in the early sixth this year.
  • Cameron Artis-Payne is a name I’ve been trying to look for late in drafts lately. I honestly haven’t gotten him as much as I’d like. But I feel like betting against Jonathan Stewart staying healthy, when the cost is really low, is a decent bet.
  • Doug Martin has been getting more expensive lately. We like him though.
  • LeGarrette Blount’s name is going to appear on an article I’m working on that identifies the most common targets of Zero RB teams.
  • David Cobb is really interesting and illustrates what a puzzle it is to wade through preseason noise. Here’s what we’ve gotten out of Tennessee in August: just a week ago the beat reporters were saying that Bishop Sankey was the most impressive back and that Cobb was struggling. But all it took was a handful of preseason carries for the beat reporters to jump ship on Sankey and promote the idea that David Cobb would lead the team in carries. In fact this news accompanied other news that said that Cobb would get a sustained look in preseason Week 2. But then last night Sankey started again and had a couple of long runs. Guess whether there’s now optimism as it relates to Sankey? In terms of whether the Cobb pick is a good one or not, I really don’t know. It’s one of those situations that seems like the answer will seem obvious in hindsight, but is really a toss up at this point. For what it’s worth, Antonio Andrews also looked like instead of being a third down option, he had been relegated to the third team. I have him as a really late round pick in a couple of leagues where he’s now an option to go to the waiver wire.
  • Pierre Garcon is pretty cheap, but also requires an avalanche of targets to score. I haven’t ended up with him on a team, and seeing that some high stakes players are targeting him doesn’t really change that for me. It’s just a combination of competing draft options, and a low upside as long as DeSean Jackson is on the field, that keeps me from targeting Garcon.
  • Lance Dunbar fits my heuristic of finding the cheapest guy in a really uncertain situation. He seems like he’s close to free.
  • You can see that the shares of Devin Funchess were acquired when he was really cheap. Funchess is now going in the eighth and ninth rounds. I still haven’t really made up my mind on whether I should be taking him there. On one hand he has the inside track to be the WR1 in that offense. On the other, he’s hurt right now and who knows how damaging that will be?
  • Let me know in the comments whether seeing any of these names on the list has changed your thinking or made you see the player in a new light.
Virgil Green TE     180.19 37
Jordan Matthews WR        34.41 37
Antonio Gates TE     117.67 36
Randall Cobb WR        18.17 36
Giovani Bernard RB        63.74 35
Cameron Artis-Payne RB     177.47 34
Roy Helu RB     133.03 34
Doug Martin RB        67.38 34
Antonio Brown WR          2.47 34
Sam Bradford QB     153.73 33
LeGarrette Blount RB        81.91 33
Jarvis Landry WR        60.79 33
David Cobb RB     121.25 32
Victor Cruz WR        95.44 32
Mike Wallace WR        78.47 32
Brandin Cooks WR        28.47 32
Pierre Garcon WR     109.84 31
Justin Forsett RB        22.13 31
Cody Parkey PK     208.10 30
Terrance Williams WR     144.17 30
Matt Ryan QB        97.07 30
Joe Flacco QB     179.17 29
Lance Dunbar RB     177.76 29
Mark Ingram RB        41.45 29
Travis Kelce TE        31.86 29
Nick Toon WR     199.29 28
Javorius Allen RB     184.25 28
Devin Funchess WR     166.00 28
Cody Latimer WR     155.50 28