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Drafting for value is what it’s all about in fantasy football.  You have to be smart when drafting your team, and one of the smartest strategies is to draft according to Average Draft Position (ADP).  Sit back and watch as other owners over pay for their draft selections while you land the same or better value in later rounds.  Genius, I tell ya.  Sheer genius.  You’re feeling smarter already, aren’t you?  Your fantasy football IQ is increasing by the second.

Here are some players to target in your drafts that have nice value based on their ADP.  ADP statistics are taken from Fantasy Football Calculator (FCC) and Pro Football Focus (PFF).

Matt Ryan (FFC: 79th overall – QB9; PFF: 84th overall – QB11): Ryan now has three legit weapons to throw to after the Falcons traded the farm to select Julio Jones in April’s draft (White, Gonzalez, Jones).  Don’t underestimate the value of fellow rookie Jacquizz Rodgers coming out of the backfield either.  Ryan finished as fantasy football’s 8th scoring QB in 2010, and with these added weapons he can  finish higher than that in 2011.  He also faces the Bears, Seahawks, Titans, Texans, and Jaguars this season, all of whom finished 20th or worse in pass defense in 2010.  Ryan is tremendous value in round 6 or 7 of your fantasy draft.

Eli Manning (FFC: 99th overall – QB13; PFF: 93rd overall – QB14): Eli Manning finished as a top 10 fantasy QB last year.  No seriously, he did.  And that was with Hakeem Nicks missing 3 games, and Steve Smith missing 7 games.  Those clowns should be back, and the Giants start the season playing Washington, St. Louis, Arizona, and Seattle in four of their first five games.  Those teams really suck against the pass.  Drafting a starting fantasy QB in round 8 of your draft as your back up QB is smart fantasy footballing.  Good thinking my friend!

Matt Forte (FFC: 23rd overall – RB14; PFF: 16th overall – RB12) While other owners are drafting 1,200 yard-type wide receivers in the second round, you should take a long look at Forte.  All the guy did was catch over 50 passes and record over 1,600 total yards last season.  The Bears significantly upgraded the offensive line by adding Gabe Carimi in the draft, and they play the NFC South and the AFC West divisions this year.  Both of those divisions have numerous teams with terrible run defenses.  He’s an RB1 going at an RB2 price.

Fred Jackson (FFCC: 74th overall – RB32; PFF: 78th overall – RB31): The threat of C.J. Spiller and the fact that Jackson is 30 years old make drafting Jackson a little scary.  He comes with some risk and I get that.  But for where he’s currently being drafted I think he holds nice value.  Jackson finished as the 21st scoring RB in 2010 and is currently being drafted right around the 31st RB taken.  You can land Jackson cheaply, and his ability in the passing game makes him a decent flex start against any opponent.  I like Jackson at the price he’s going for.

Brandon Lloyd (FFC: 44th overall – WR18; PFF: 44th overall – WR20): I understand why Lloyd is falling in fantasy drafts.  He’s a bit of an unknown commodity since he’s had just one great season.  He also has Tim Tebow as his quarterback, which doesn’t exactly instill confidence that he can repeat his 2010 numbers.  However with Tebow starting, Lloyd still produced to the tune of 14 catches, 263 yards and 2 TDs in three games.  That’s about 75 catches for 1,400 yards and 10 TD’s projected over 16 games.  I think he’s worth the risk for where he’s being drafted.

Mark Clayton (FFC: 127th overall – WR51; PFF: 119th overall – WR50): Before his injury Clayton had a nice rapport with Sam Bradford, recording 22 catches for 300 yards and 2 scores in four games.  That would project to 88 catches, 1,200 yards and 8 scores over a full season.  The Rams added two wide receivers in the draft which doesn’t help, but Clayton should still be Bradford’s main target in an offense expected to improve significantly under new offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.  He’s a bargain in the 10th and 11th rounds of fantasy drafts.

Kellen Winslow (FFC: 136th overall – TE14; PFF: 119th overall – TE13): Winslow finished as the 6th scoring tight end in fantasy football last season, and he’s currently being drafted as the 13th/14th overall tight end in 2011 drafts.  I’m not a big Winslow guy, but that has value written all over it.  Josh Freeman is a legit NFL quarterback, and Winslow will be targeted often since he’s the second option in the Bucs passing game.  Let your fellow owners over pay for a tight end in the middle rounds, and land Winslow later for tremendous value.  He’s definitely a starting TE in all formats.

Why take Josh Freeman or Matt Schaub in the 6th round when you can get similar value like Eli Manning in the 8th round?  Why take Larry Fitzgerald or Miles Austin when you can get similar value like Brandon Lloyd in the 4th round?  It’s all how you draft, peeps.  Draft for value, and draft for depth.  That strategy will go a long way in leading you to fantasy glory.

Before you go, check out my take on the rookie running backs over at You Heard It Here First.

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  1. Rick says:
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    I’m with you on Lloyd. I got him at 6.12 in a ppr where you can start up to 5 receivers. Couldn’t believe it.

  2. Clint

    Clint says:
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    @Rick Wow, great get late in the 6th round. Even if his numbers dip by 15% from last season that would still put him over 1,200 yards and 9 TDs. Nice value for where he’s going, definitely.

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