The 13 Best Values in Fantasy Football Drafts
Marvin Jones, WR, Detroit Lions
I'll keep it hunnit with you: earlier in the summer, Marvin Jones was easily the best value in fantasy football. Like, the best. But over the last couple of weeks, according to FantasyFootballCalculator.com, Jones' average draft position has risen two full rounds.
Now he's just a value.
The first reason to be into Jones this year is his ability in the red zone. Over the last three years, among players with 20 or more red zone targets, only Tyler Eifert, Allen Robinson, Rob Gronkowski, Julius Thomas, and Dez Bryant have better touchdown-per-target rates in the red zone. That's it. And while you may think the sample is too small, it's the first step in telling us that, hey, this Marvin Jones guy isn't all that bad.
The Lions have been one of the most pass-heavy teams in football during this Matthew Stafford era, never falling below a drop-back-per-run ratio of 1.48 since 2011. Meanwhile, three of their last five years have seen ratios of 1.97, 1.97, and 1.91. For reference, only three teams since 2000 have hit the 2.00 mark.
Detroit's going to throw the ball. The question is, how many of those tosses are going to go Jones' way?
Well, making the assumption that the Lions will throw roughly 600 attempts this year (Stafford hit 602 in 2014 and 592 last year), Jones would only need to maintain a 16.67% market share in an offense that lacks star weapons in order to hit 100 targets. A 20% market share -- a low-ball number considering Jones has been talked about as the team's top wideout this year -- would yield 120 targets.
And those 120 targets aren't going to be the same type of looks someone like Golden Tate will see in the offense. Last year, Tate's receiving yards at the catch was what you'd see from a running back, while his yards per target was bottom seven in the league. Jones will take the intermediate and deep routes, meaning he'll give you bigger chunks of fantasy points with each target.
So you have a player who will see good volume in a pass-heavy offense all while playing the type of role we want from a fantasy football wideout. And he'll be the primary red zone option on the outside for Detroit, not just because of his historical red zone numbers, but because Golden Tate isn't a traditional red zone threat. He, Tate, scored six times last year, where four of them came from two yards out or fewer. This is a perfect example -- from last year -- of how they use Tate close to the goal line in a non-traditional way:
Seriously. Draft Marvin Jones.