For years I’ve stated the Fantasy Football is 60% luck. And no Andrews. In the past few years that number has dropped to about 50%, but it really doesn’t matter. The point is massive amount of luck goes into fantasy football, because the value of the draft is immensely greater than that of other sports. Go ahead…try winning your league without your 1st round pick. Sure, it’s possible, but you’re also in deep trouble if they go down early (see: Jordy Nelson owners in 2015). There are so many things that are out of your hands, even beyond the draft. Take WR, for instance. The most talented WR may not have much fantasy relevance, because their production is fully tethered to the talent of the QB. There are few other positions anywhere in fantasy sports that are so driven by the production of another person. Baseball? It’s a 1 vs. 1 sport, essentially. Basketball? Even if everyone else is firing up bricks faster than a Habitat for Humanity build, someone can start cooking and shoot 70% for a week and carry your team. Football? I mean, the RB needs a good line, but they can overcome (see: Todd Gurley in 2015). WR? Nope…you need a QB. That is unless you’re Josh Gordon back in 2013. Goodness.
But due to the Gordon’s of the world, and so many last year, my penchant for labeling it luck is diminishing. Maybe 2015 was the outlier, but if you wanted to win your league last year you had to scour, sift and stream through the wire. Nope, not Kanye’s breakout song from the oh, so good The College Dropout album. We’re talkin’ about working the waviest of waivers here.
I could probably continue rallying off names, but the point is all of these players began the year largely undrafted, yet all of them played crucial roles on Championship teams in 2015. Bottom line: working the wire is vital to competing in fantasy football! And you can take a lot of the luck away when it comes to this. So…we’ll have a weekly series about working the wire where you can find players owned in less than 25% of leagues that are worthy of a pickup.
(Quick note: the 25% threshold is for either Yahoo or ESPN. If a player is owned at 40% in one, but under the quarter-century benchmark in another he could find his way into the article.)
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Next week we’ll actually be able to discuss some of the waiver options, but for now here are a few names to keep an eye on that are largely being undrafted:
Dion Lewis, RB – NE (FantasyPros ADP: 112) – I know at 112 that means Lewis is largely being drafted, but I’ve seen some where he’s left off due to the injury. I imagine the ADP here doesn’t reflect the IR designation that came well into the preseason. I love Lewis as a stash, but only if you have a deeper bench. He’s the top IR option, and if you can wait until Week 8-10 when he should return there is incredible value with him. In a .5PPR or full PPR league Lewis has RB1 upside. If you don’t have an IR slot or have a shallow bench he’s someone to monitor closely as we approach mid October. He’ll most likely end up in this series again as the colors turn on the leaves.
Dwayne Allen, TE – IND (FantasyPros ADP: 148) – If you’re simply looking for a bench TE or flier option, you can do much worse than Allen, currently the 15th TE being taken. With Coby Fleener now out of town, and the Colts choosing the re-up on Allen, all signs point towards a potential breakout. Andrew Luck’s smart enough to find the open receiver, and All proved in 2014 that he’s already a great redone target with his 8 TDs in only 50 targets. He should reach a career high in targets (66 in 2012), which would lead to career highs across the board. Allen’s an undrafted option that could end up Top 10 at the position.
Devontae Booker, RB – DEN (FantasyPros ADP: 152) – Do you really trust C.J. Anderson? After last season I have serious hesitations that he’s fully locked in as the #1 bell cow for Denver. Anderson should get every opportunity, especially early, but Booker’s a rookie with enough talent to emerge as a legit dark horse for carries in the Broncos backfield. He already took backup Ronnie Hillman’s spot on the roster, and now his jersey number (Boom!), and don’t be surprised if he ends up with 10 touches per game through the first half of the year before pushing for 15+ come the end of October. He has a higher potential ceiling than other RB taken to fill a bench like Darren Sproles, James Starks or Alfred Morris, something I always look for in my final bench spots.
Mohamed Sanu, WR – ATL (FantasyPros ADP: 163) – Roddy White. Remember him? Now, Sanu is no Roddy White (a should-be Hall of Famer), but he’s proven before that he can bring some solid production if given targets. In 2014 when A.J. Green and Marvin Jones were both out in Cincy Sanu stepped in effectively as Andy Dalton’s go-to. Matt Ryan’s on a similar plan to Dalton, Julio Jones will receive the attention of everyone in the secondary, and Atlanta loves to pass. All of that spells the potential for Sanu to approach 1000 yards this year. From an undrafted option that’s a great value. Let’s go crazy: 70/1000/6 isn’t out of the picture.
Sammie Coates, WR – PIT (FantasyPros ADP: 200) – A true homer run option this late, Sammie Coates has the potential to step in as the true replacement for Martinis Bryant (sorry Markus Wheaton). Teammate Wheaton is going higher than Coates in drafts, but we’ve already seen him with an opportunity as a WR2 in this offense last season. And he did nothing. Coates has legit deep threat speed, is a huge target, and can stretch the defense for Antonio Brown to do his all-world magic across the middle. I don’t think he’ll be a voluminous target, but has the potential to be DeSean Jackson-lite…120 picks later. Great value, and a potential top pickup target after Week 1.
A little something like that. Go ‘head and DROP THOSE COMMENTS! Let me know your questions, pushback and other targets I’m missing. Looking forward to this series with you all year!