Lets face it, the studs get all the love. All summer long you’ll be reading articles about David Johnson vs. LeVeon Bell vs. Ezekiel Elliott or Antonio Brown vs. Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Julio Jones. These type of articles are necessary for the average fantasy player but frankly they bore me. We are Sharks – we are not average fantasy football players – and if you are reading this, neither are you! This summer, I’ll be taking a look deep down the depth chart of each NFL team identifying great draft day values and potential diamonds in the rough. I must preface I tend to play in deeper leagues (12-32 teams, yes 32 …) so many of these guys may not need to be rostered in 10-team leagues. Nevertheless, they should remain on your radar at all times. Let’s dive into it one division at a time!
Dallas – WR Cole Beasley (Current average draft position: 154)
It would have been easy to put Dak Prescott here but his current average draft position is somewhere in the fifth round, which is simply too high to take a quarterback south of Andrew Luck (in my opinion). So, I went with the guy who led the team in targets (98), receptions (75) and receiving yards (833) in 2016. Granted, Dez Bryant missed three games last season but it’s clear that Beasley is Prescott’s security blanket and has his trust. As Jason Witten continues to age, Beasley could eat into that short yardage target share more and more. At his current average draft position he makes a fine WR3 especially in points per reception formats. You could do far worse in the 12th-15th round range.
New York Giants – RB Shane Vereen (Current average draft position: Undrafted)
The Giants certainly sought out some weapons this past offseason with the addition of Brandon Marshall, Evan Engram and Wayne Gallman but I’m sticking with Vereen here. The Giants ranked an abysmal 29th in the NFL in rushing last season and didn’t exactly find a world-beater to bolster their ground attack in Gallman (with his “blazing” 4.6 speed). I think Vereen will be able to retain a decent role for one big reason -– pass protection. He is from the school of Bill Belichick where protecting the quarterback is everything. Paul Perkins, the heir apparent to the RB1 slot, isn’t exactly renowned for his pass blocking so the door is open for Vereen to have a nice role in 2017. Despite missing most of 2016 with a triceps injury, Vereen is ready for organized team activities and should be kept in mind for your 2017 fantasy football draft strategy as a stash play.
Philadelphia – QB Carson Wentz (Current average draft position: 138)
When I look at the roster, Wentz is the only name that really catches my eye (aside from Alshon Jeffery). Philadelphia did everything it could this offseason to bring in weapons for the young signal caller with the addition of the aforementioned Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, LeGarrette Blount and Donnel Pumphrey (think young Darren Sproles with less juice). He also still has the benefit of 2016 holdovers Jordan Matthews, Zach Ertz, Darren Sproles, Wendell Smallwood and Dorial Green-Beckham. Given the fact that all aside from Blount contribute in the passing game, it’s safe to say the tools are in place for a second-year leap. Currently going in the 11th round of mock drafts, Carson Wentz could be a great draft day value. Just be sure to pair him with a solid QB2!
Washington – WR Jamison Crowder (Current average daft position: 67)
OK, so this one is a bit of a no brainer but I wasn’t going to recommend Crowder here until I saw that Terrelle Pryor is currently going 12 picks ahead of him in current mock drafts! The value isn’t amazing at 67 but with Desean Jackson out of the picture the door is open for Crowder to have an even bigger role in this offense. Having posted 67 receptions on 99 targets in 2016 (both of which are tops among returning Washington pass catchers), it’s safe to say Crowder has a strong rapport with Kirk Cousins. I realize Jordan Reed is the top target in Washington but Crowder definitely has a defined role. While Terrelle Pryor is an exciting addition, I’m waiting another round and taking Crowder – he is simply a better value.