revolutionary tools.  groundbreaking articles.  proven results.

Where the Draft Is Won: 15 Middle Round Targets

There’s no question that staying healthy is a key to fantasy success, and that timely free agent pickups can occasionally be worth as much or more than a first round pick. But consistent fantasy champions have one characteristic in common. They dominate their leaguemates in Rounds 6 through 10. To win these all-important stanzas, you must have the courage to take swings at Breakout RBs and Breakout WRs, or the discipline to load up on undervalued veterans who have been cast aside for trendier players.

If you’re a Zero RB skeptic, 11 of my 15 targets are receivers, and nine are established veterans who offer a safe way to cobble together an elite lineup.

In order to put together the list of 15 Middle Round Targets, I’ve used the Game Splits app, the AYA app, the NFL Career Graphs app, and in each case provided our consensus RotoViz projection.  (Each team has been projected by 15 or more writers using information gathered from the Data Explorer. Our staff projections do not necessarily agree with my “target” label in every case.) You can find these projections along with helpful ADP tools by clicking on the Cheatsheet Calculator. Or you can create your own using the public version of the Projection Machine.

Jonathan Stewart ADP 61

Before his decline, DeAngelo Williams was one of the best backs in the NFL. When not forced to share carries, Stewart’s pace is 273-1370-5.

J Stewart splits

We have him for 231-1010-4, in part because we agree with Sports Injury Predictor that “his injury risk rockets proportionate to the amount of touches he gets in a game and at this stage of his career it is unlikely that he will be able to maintain health for the full year.” Of course, even our conservative projection makes him a wild bargain at his ADP. Anthony Amico expects him to see more of the high value situational touches, and Mike Braude makes him a foundation piece in the wildly popular Mock Madness: Using Zero RB to Build a Monster.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP ruATTS ruYDS ruYPC ruTDS TRGS RECS recYDS
Stewart, Jonathan 23 13.5 199.4 231.68 1010.57 4.4 5.65 42.62 32.52 262.81

Brandon Marshall ADP 64

We have Marshall for 125 targets and 74 receptions. He’s only been under 140 targets once in the last eight years and managed 100-plus receptions six times in that span. Of course, 2014 was his year of injury and/or decline, so that obviously factors into the price for a 31-year-old receiver.

Marshall may have been handicapped by Jay Cutler’s epic incompetence. The mercurial wideout recently claimed Kyle Orton was the best quarterback he’s ever played with, and despite a generally bizarre and revisionist take on Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2014 from the fantasy community – he was justifiably benched at one point for Ryan Mallett – the Amish Rifle probably represents an upgrade on Matt Moore and Josh McCown.

B Marshall AYA

14Team Mocker uses four different projection systems to show why you should take the recency bias discount on Marshall.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Marshall, Brandon 26.5 25 210.7 125.27 74.46 954.07 12.82 6.56

DeSean Jackson ADP 66

Considering the quality of the Washington offense in 2014, Jackson is coming off of his most impressive season.

DJax AYA

The small sample stuff in here with Colt McCoy, Vince Young, and Matt Barkley is pretty hilarious. But I do think this should assuage worries about the signal-caller in Washington. The above visualization reinforces the notion that DJax can put up big numbers in the face of terrible QB play.

Can barely throw it across the line off scrimmage? Colt McCoy 16.4. Check. Have a cannon but don’t know the plays, your progressions, or what the opposing defense is doing? Robert Griffin III 11.4. Check. Elite at throwing the Hail Mary but with Jake Delhomme-ish accuracy? Michael Vick 10.6. Check.

I think the other actionable info from this article is that you should draft Alex Smith wherever you would draft Donovan McNabb if he had Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley, and Travis Kelce. McNabb threw 204 passes in the direction of DJax and averaged 7.2 AYA.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Jackson, DeSean 29 20 217.9 114.63 68.04 1099.15 16.33 6.21

Mike Wallace ADP 76

Wallace is a difficult man to support as a reality player,1 but he’s also a freakish talent with beyond blazing speed who’s managed at least 8 touchdowns in four of his six seasons. Wallace embodied the good and the bad last season, playing so poorly that the Dolphins couldn’t wait to get rid of him and yet posting 10 touchdowns on 67 receptions. As the No. 2 in a Norv Turner-coordinated offense opposite Charles Johnson and catching passes from rising star Teddy Bridgewater, Wallace is being priced at his healthy floor with plenty of room to deliver value to those willing to stomach his inconsistent weekly scores. Our projections look conservative.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Wallace, Mike 32 42 182.4 104.4 59.26 864.11 14.65 5.64

 Charles Johnson ADP 79

As the No. 1 in a Norv Turner-coordinated offense . . . I really don’t understand Johnson’s ADP, which is why he’s probably the one guy from The 8 Breakout Wide Receivers You Must Own I would make sure to get on every single roster.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Johnson, Charles 33 39 185.1 106.55 61.51 876.04 14.32 5.87

Shane Vereen ADP 84

Andre Williams is one of the headliners for my RB Breakout article. I’m selecting him over the safer veteran members of this committee, but Vereen will be the better target for most owners. He probably won’t win your league on his own, but there is upside in the range of a Darren Sproles (early Saints version). In Kevin Cole’s projection of the Tier 3 RBs, he found Vereen to be significantly undervalued.

tier_3_rb_2015_2

If the Giants struggle on defense, it’s easy to see Vereen blowing by our projection of 119 carries and 50 receptions.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP ruATTS ruYDS ruYPC ruTDS TRGS RECS recYDS
Vereen, Shane 30 31 170.3 118.98 498.45 4.2 3.17 70.88 49.87 417.72

Jordan Cameron ADP 90

While it seems likely that the Dolphins WR corps will cannibalize each other’s value, Cameron looks like the straightforward way to play this passing game. He finished as the No. 5 overall TE in 2013 with the three-headed monster of Brian Hoyer, Brandon Weeden, and Jason Campbell throwing to him. Keeping in mind that he posted a 4.50 forty, 6.82 three-cone, and 37.5-inch vertical at the 2011 Combine and has averaged 9.5 AYA with Hoyer at the helm, it’s easy to make the case for his freakish upside. Injuries remain a huge red flag, but you’re receiving a significant discount here on a player who should otherwise be drafted alongside Travis Kelce.

J Cameron Location

While almost all of the players on this list are RotoViz consensus favorites, we look to be too low on Cameron.

PLAYER ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Cameron, Jordan 8 9 160 91.82 59.55 703.62 11.9 5.02

Torrey Smith ADP 93

Smith came out of the gates pretty fast as professional with back-to-back 800-plus yard, 7-plus touchdown seasons. In 2013 he broke out to 1,128 yards, and in 2014 he broke out with 11 touchdowns. Unfortunately for Smith fans, he didn’t match the 2013 yardage with scores or the 2014 scores with yardage. Add in a slightly boom-or-bust profile which burned 2014 owners who suffered through a flurry of zeroes early in 2014 only to have him on the bench when he blew up later on . . . and you have the perfect recipe for a player who is dramatically undervalued for 2015.

Will we finally see the Torrey Smith breakout RotoViz writers have been hoping for? It’s certainly possible. The 49ers project to play almost the entire season from behind, and San Francisco looks like a team that should rely heavily on their top two receivers in the target department. We also have plenty of circumstantial evidence that Colin Kaepernick will be an upgrade for Smith in the same way he was for teammate Anquan Boldin.

Boldin AYA

Joe Flacco may be a winner, but he’s probably not someone you want throwing to your fantasy receivers. Of course, Flacco’s offensive coordinators have been Cam Cameron, Jim Caldwell, and Gary Kubiak, so it may not be all his fault.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Smith, Torrey 40 26 210.3 121.09 66.94 1018.14 15.31 6.69

Larry Fitzgerald ADP 91

Fitzgerald AYA

It’s a little difficult to tell if Fitzgerald entered his decline phase earlier than similar stars of his ilk. He’s been targeted over 700 times by Kevin Kolb, Josh McCown, Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, John Skelton, and Ryan Lindley. And if that’s not bad enough, the playcaller in many of these situations has either been Ken Whisenhunt or Bruce Arians. It would be comical if it weren’t so sad. Fitzgerald might be the second best receiver to ever play in the NFL, and we’ll never know.

Can you imagine what we’d think of Jordy Nelson or Randall Cobb if they’d switched places with Fitzgerald? Regardless, Palmer is very temporarily healthy, and Fitzgerald’s ADP prices in a lot of incompetence in Arizona.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Fitzgerald, Larry 35 34 192.5 117.24 71.08 879.92 12.46 5.53

John Brown ADP 100

John Brown was one of my 3 Breakout WRs Who Won’t Break Out. But with the disappointing Michael Floyd currently dealing with a gruesome injury, Brown should emerge as one of the top two targets in Arizona. Now you only need to worry about his ability to perform and Carson Palmer‘s health.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Brown, John 39 48 174.9 108.38 59 831.38 14.17 5.25

Brandon LaFell ADP 101

I have to admit to being scared of any non-Gronk pass-catcher on the Patriots as their results seem fragile and contingent.

Edelman v LaFell

In this case, Julian Edelman has emerged as the bigger name, but there’s nothing in their charts, either full-career or 2014, that makes me think the huge gap in their ADPs is justified. Edelman’s 2014 market share was superior, but Danny Amendola should cut into those numbers this season. Load up on the cheaper player. Update: The injury reports on LaFell are scary right now. Probably avoid until we get clarity. Amendola is an intriguing late round pick.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
LaFell, Brandon 37 33 193.9 114.11 68.63 887.67 12.93 6.08

Eric Decker ADP 105

Decker is a starting wideout for Mike Braude’s All-Undervalued Team. When Decker receives decent QB play he’s a dead ringer for Jordy Nelson. Anthony Amico looked at the Jets receivers, explored the value in a Chan Gailey offense, and came to the conclusion that the two star wideouts were undervalued based on their expected target volume.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Decker, Eric 36 38 186.6 108.98 66.47 868.07 13.09 5.54

Kendall Wright ADP 113

In my Top 10 Sleepers piece, I argued that Kendall Wright was Randall Cobb with poor quarterback play, except now he has Marcus Mariota. The other interesting comparison is Emmanuel Sanders.

Wright v SandersWright is off to a faster start in his career, gets to play with his first decent quarterback, and has far less in the way of competition for touches.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Wright, Kendall 47 30 197.6 115.36 72.45 903.48 12.5 5.45

Anquan Boldin ADP 115

You can pretty much just mark Boldin down for 80 catches and 1100 yards. He may be 35, but unlike Frank Gore, Steve Smith, Andre Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, Roddy White, Marques Colston, and other veterans in clear decline, Boldin shows no sign of slowing down. In fact, refer to the AYA chart from the T. Smith blurb, and you find he’s been just as dynamic with Kaepernick as he was during his heyday with Kurt Warner. Of course, age decline frequently comes more in the shape of a Wile E. Coyote plunge, but that potential looks priced in. Ben Gretch explains why Boldin has 2015’s most bewildering ADP.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Boldin, Anquan 43 32 194.1 115.44 72.01 930.27 12.95 4.84

Delanie Walker ADP 117

Last season Walker went for 63-890-4. That’s more yardage than either Graham (889) or Kelce (862), and all of it is despite missing a game and catching passes from Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, and Zach Mettenberger. Walker just turned 31, so it’s likely his athleticism is in decline, but he ran a 4.49 during the run-up to the 2006 Draft. If not for getting buried for most of his career behind one-of-a-kind athletic specimen Vernon Davis, we might be talking about Walker as a TE freak himself. George Fitopolous also recommends him in the tremendous TE Efficiency v. Opportunity Visualization article.

PLAYER
ADP FP.RANK FP TRGS RECS recYDS recYPR recTDS
Walker, Delanie 11 8 160.4 94.82 59.08 718.78 12.13 4.9

 

If you’re looking for other players to target based on the tremendous RotoViz apps, I recommend The Top 10 Sleepers for 2015, The Top 15 Zero RB Candidates, The 8 Breakout WRs You Must Own for 2015, The 7 Breakout RBs to Target, and The Top 15 Deep Sleepers.

  1. Perhaps fairly viewed as a lazy malcontent who runs disinterested routes, he occasionally couldn’t even be bothered to raise his arms to flail at a pass in the end zone last year.  (back)

recent and related...

in case you missed it...

Dynasty Fallout From the End of the Philip Rivers Era

Last week, the quarterback taken by the San Diego Chargers with the first overall selection in the 2004 NFL Draft announced his retirement. On Monday, Jay Glazer reported that the Chargers were set to move on from the QB they got when they traded the first to the New York

Read More
Connect
Support

rotovizmain@gmail.com

Sign-up today for our free Premium Email subscription!

© 2019 RotoViz. All rights Reserved.