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Draft For a Win

The best way to win your fantasy football league is to draft well and get players with significant upside. Here is how you grab players in Rounds 4-6 that should be taken in Rounds 2-3.

Most people are aware of the obvious “sleepers” like Matt Forte. Surprise, the guy was a top 5 runningback going into the 2009 season, but then Jay Cutler started throwing interceptions every other possession and Brian Urlacher wasn’t there to get the offense the ball back. Of course, Mike Martz, who has a track record of getting great production out of runningbacks, is the new offensive coordinator. 

So, if everyone is aware of the same “sleepers,” how do you draft quality guys who can perform in late rounds? The key is to find players with big upside. The potential breakout players are not always easy to find. The upside can come from all over the place, an improved offensive line, a good strength of schedule matchup, an injury to one of the two runningbacks in a committee or maybe Miles Austin is abducted by aliens and all of a sudden he turns into a monster on the field. OK, so you can draft for the alien abduction, but you can recognize some possibilities for upside. Here are a few players who are currently ranked in all different rounds that could end up offering much more value during the season than they appear to in training camp.

Shonn Greene is currently projected to be drafted between the top 10-20 runningbacks in many different rankings, making him likely to go in Rounds 2-3 or later in points-per-reception leagues. With a 31-year-old LaDainian Tomlinson as the other possible runningback for the New York Jets, who rushed a league-high 607 times last year, Green could put up monster numbers. In a scenario where Tomlinson is injured or his performance continues to drop as it has in recent years (yards per carry for the last three years: 4.7, 3.8, and 3.3), Greene could easily have more than 300 carries for 1,400 yards and 15-plus touchdowns. 

Pierre Garcon is what Reggie Wayne was to Marvin Harrison – his replacement. 

Wayne
isn’t on his way out yet, but will turn 32 in November. Garcon is in his third year and his quarterback is Peyton Manning.  Basically, that should be enough said to paint the picture for his upside, but some of the other facts are that Garcon averaged 16.3 yards per reception last year and has Wayne playing on the other side of him, so he will not see double coverage. That, coupled with the fact that he is the only deep threat, makes Garcon a wide receiver that is ranked 80-100 overall and could end up in the Top 25 performers.

These are just some examples of players that have upside. The key to this methodology is for you to evaluate players that you like and have upside from your perspective. You won’t do this with every pick – sometimes you take low risk guys to anchor your team – but if you take five players that have upside, you have a good chance of having some breakout players that will win your week and/or league. 

Kirk Youngwith

kirkyoungwith@yahoo.com

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