After Round 6, there's not really such a thing as a risky or safe pick. Everybody here comes with doubt. You need to aim for upside. There's no point drafting a guy that you know is reliable for 100 points. On a week to week basis, he's unusable. It's much better to draft somebody that has a 90% chance of completely busting just for that 10% chance that they blow up and become a fantasy stud.
High Upside Sleepers
Nelson Agholor, WR (75)
Jeremy Maclin had 182 fantasy points (9th among WRs) as the lead receiver in the high-octane Eagles offense. We assume that Matthews will take over as the WR1 but Agholor is more similar to Maclin. In fact, he's almost exactly the same height, weight, and speed as Maclin. Even if Matthews does inherit Maclin's role, you'd think that Agholor could get the 128 points that Matthews did last year.
Doug Martin, RB (79)
You can't rely on Doug Martin for anything. But you wont have to because he's currently being drafted in the 7th round which is a reasonable place to pick him up as a lottery ticket. With the most favorable schedule in 2015, it's not impossible to see him approach the production of his rookie year.
Tevin Coleman (82)
Out of all the rookie RBs, Melvin Gordon, Todd Gurley, T.J. Yeldon, and Tevin Coleman, I'm most inclined to take a chance on Coleman. At the end of round 7, he is by far the best value:
- Kyle Shanahan is the new offensive coordinator for the Falcons. Shanahan got his first job as offensive coordinator in 2008 with the Houston Texans. That year, rookie Steve Slaton ran for 1,282 yards and 9 touchdowns. In 2011, Shanahan took the Redskins from 30th worst in rushing to 25th with a hodge podge commitee consisting of Ryan Torain, Evan Royster, and Tim Hightower. Who? Exactly. Then, in 2012, the Redskins finished 1st in rushing with rookie Alfred Morris finishing 2nd in the league in yards (this was the year Adrian Peterson finished 1st with 2,097 yards). The next year, the Redskins finished 5th in rushing and Alfred Morris finished 4th among running backs. In 2014, his first year as the offensive coordinator in Cleveland, the Browns improved from 27th in rushing to 17th with rookie RBs Terrance West and Isaiah Crowell as well as free agent signee Ben Tate who was released mid-season. Maybe Shanahan doesn't deserve all the credit but he's known for producing effective rushing offenses everywhere he has gone regardless of who the running back is, whether they are unknowns (Steve Slaton and Ryan Torain) or rookies (Steve Slaton, Alfred Morris, Isaiah Crowell, Terrance West).
- Tevin Coleman was hand-picked by Shanahan and seems to be a good fit for his zone-blocking scheme as opposed to RB Devonta Freeman who is left over from the last regime. Coleman is blazing fast, hits the hole hard, and is a decisive north-south, one-cut runner- traits that Shanahan values for the running back in his offense.
- The Atlanta Falcons' offensive line is considerably improved from last year and Shanahan even brought in 2 of the starting linemen (RG Chris Chester and RT Tyler Polumbus) that had career years running the zone-blocking scheme while he was in Washington.
- Tevin Coleman has one the most favorable schedules for running backs this year.
- Matt Ryan has had no problem moving the ball as the Falcons have been consistently above average since Ryan entered the league. This means that Coleman will receive less defensive attention and there will be plenty of scoring opportunities.
Michael Floyd, WR (84)
Floyd scored 134 points in 2013. Everybody expected the former first round pick to take the next step in 2014. Alas, Floyd was limited by the QBs (Drew Stanton, Ryan Lindley, and Logan Thomas) that were throwing to him. With Carson Palmer back healthy (for now) and Larry Fitzgerald continuing to decline, Floyd has mid-WR2 upside. The ESPN rankers think that John Brown is the Arizona receiver to own because they are attracted to his big-play ability in an offense that likes to throw deep. But Floyd is a much bigger target compared to Brown (6'3", 225 pounds) and he's plenty fast (4.47-40) even if he's not quite as fast as Brown. Plus, the Cardinals showed a willingness to throw deep to Floyd as he led the league in average depth of target in 2014.
Jason Witten, TE (81)
Don't draft a mid-round TE, particularly one who's upside is so low. He scored 93 points last year, 10th among TEs. You can guys with much higher upside for much cheaper.
High Upside Sleepers
Ameer Abdullah, RB (89)
Yahoo has this guy ranked all the way up at 48 (the end of the 4th round). That tells you all you need to know about this guy's upside. I feel Joique Bell is mediocre and Abdullah has a chance to take the starting job for himself considering how good he's looked in camp and in the preseason. He's an absolute steal at this price even for just the chance that he could be the lead back in Detroit. And if Joique Bell doesn't lose the starting job outright, he's had injury problems in the past that could give Bell the opportunity that he needs.
Devonta Freeman, RB (90)
I don't think Freeman is the starter in Atlanta. But if he is, that could be valuable. OC Kyle Shanahan has produced effective run games on every team he's been on.
Arian Foster, RB (92)
Getting a top 10 running back in the 8th round is really valuable, even if it's only for half the season. Snap him up if he's still here.
Duke Johnson, RB (94)
He's been limited in the preseason due to a hamstring injury so that hurts his chances but neither Crowell or West have cemented their position at the top of the depth chart. If Johnson can somehow win the starting job, he will be extremely valuable for fantasy behind one of the best offensive lines in the league on a team that will be forced to run often.
Charles Johnson, WR (85)
The ESPN fantasy football analysts seem to love Charles Johnson but I have yet to hear a good argument for him. One writer even went so far as to say that he's a better receiver than Mike Wallace. I think he's letting his bias against Wallace distort his judgement. Johnson was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the 7th round of the 2013 NFL Draft but never made it onto the roster. The Browns signed him off the practice squad and then the Vikings signed him off the Browns' practice squad. The Browns aren't exactly flush with receiver talent, you know? And yet, he couldn't even make the team. So what about his performance last year is getting everybody so excited? One ranker keeps bringing up the fact that, from week 12-17 Johnson was a top 30 receiver. Ok. Not only is that a very small sample size but that's not even good. I just don't see him getting enough work to be valuable with Mike Wallace as the #1 receiver.
Brandon Lafell, WR (93)
He's currently on the PUP list with a foot injury, has the toughest schedule in the league, and no Brady for the first 4 games. Plus, he was no better than a flex wide receiver last year.
High Upside Sleepers
Breshad Perriman, WR (104)
He could easily be a bust and he's missed large chunk of the preseason with knee injury but he is in, potentially, the most lucrative role of any receiver drafted in the first round. With a blazing fast sub-4.3 40, Perriman is a natural replacement for the departed Torrey Smith who scored 137 points last year (18th among wide receivers). WR Steve Smith Sr. is yet another year older and can no longer be relied on as the deep threat for big-armed Joe Flacco.
Ronnie Hillman, RB (102)
The starting job is Anderson's to lose but the role is lucrative enough that Ronnie Hillman is one of the most valuable handcuffs in fantasy. If Anderson gets hurt or if Hillman is a better fit for Kubiak's zone blocking scheme, we could see a surprise change at the position. Hillman has been one most productive running backs in the preseason.
Andre Williams (96)
He's third on the depth chart behind Jennings and Vereen and I just don't think he's that good. It'll take an injury to Jennings for him to be even relevant and, even then, don't expect big returns.
High Upside Sleepers
Pierre Garcon, WR (114)
In 2013, Garcon led the league in receptions with 113 and finished 13th among wide receivers in fantasy. Last year was terrible but at least we know he's capable of impressive heights.
Davante Adams, WR (118)
If Nelson or Cobb get injured, Adams is a top 15 WR.
Anquan Boldin, WR (113)
Still useful in real life, not in standard fantasy leagues.