Top 5 (Productive) Forgotten Fantasy Picks
I’ve been in leagues before where guys simply quit after they have the starting lineup. “The rest doesn’t matter!” they say in an entirely non-sarcastic, utterly ridiculous drawl. “I don’t know these guys anyway.” If that’s you, I would like to ask you to kindly have a seat over to the side. You can wait for the next numberFire article about Ray Rice or Aaron Rodgers or some guy you will be somehow shocked isn’t still there in round three. This article isn’t for you.
These are the guys that won’t be high picks, but they could make your fantasy team if chosen at the correct spot, just ahead of where they're currently projected to go. numberFire’s draft formula relies heavily on past trends. And the current trend for these guys is, “Hey, I'm not gone yet!” Here’s some names that you probably already know but need to re-learn come this fantasy season.
Top 5 Forgotten Fantasy Picks
5. QB Ben Roethlisberger - Pittsburgh Steelers
numberFire Projected Rank: #36 (#8 QB in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
ESPN Projected Rank: #79 (#12 QB)
Current Average Draft Position: #102 (#13 QB)
numberFire Projected Fantasy Points: 251.87
Let’s start off with a Barry Bonds-sized asterisk – his best receiver Mike Wallace is currently in a holdout, and it’s unknown when/if he’s going to arrive to Steelers camp. With that said, Antonio Brown and his 1108 receiving yards last season shouldn’t do too badly picking up the slack if needed, especially considering that he’d the new main man in Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger will never get Brees-level touchdowns; he’s only had three of his 8 seasons above 20 throwing scores. But he’s incredibly consistent – he’s never had a season below 17 scores. If you have a QB on your roster that might have a bit of an injury history (Stafford, Vick or Romo, anyone?), I’d pick up Roethlisberger as a backup in a hurry.
4. Chicago Bears D/ST
numberFire Projected Rank: #97 (#1 D/ST in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
ESPN Projected Rank: #124 (#3 D/ST)
Current Average Draft Position: #132 (#6 D/ST)
numberFire Projected Fantasy Points: 125.00
On the scale of fantasy mantras, “Never pick a defense too early” is somewhere up there between “Always get a running back in the first two rounds” and “If somebody for some reason picks Plaxico, make as many gun jokes as possible for the rest of the draft”. However, with that said, the Bears defense seems to be undervalued even in comparison to other defenses around the league. numberFire projects the Bears defense to score more points than DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, and Paris Jackson this season, mostly on the back of an estimated 36.2 sacks and 17.8 interceptions. And don’t forget, especially with Brandon Mashall in Chicago, Devin Hester may be able hone his abilities and utilize his Level 100 Returner skills.
3. WR Santana Moss - Washington Redskins
numberFire Projected Rank: #89 (#31 WR in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
ESPN Projected Rank: #233 (#77 WR)
Current Average Draft Position: #122 (#45 WR)
numberFire Projected Fantasy Points: 120.82
Did Santana Moss pay University of Miami football players too, or is there something I missed? There’s absolutely no reason for Moss to fall outside the top ten rounds, especially with "that guy” RGIII now throwing him the deep ball. The Washington Redskins depth chart still has him starting, and call me a skeptic, but I don’t think Josh Morgan is going to steal that position. If anything, having Pierre Garcon on the other side will help draw constant double-coverage away from him. numberFire has him just shy of 900 yards and 5 TDs, and I think even that may be too low in the Shanahan offense.
2. QB Matt Schaub - Houston Texans
numberFire Projected Rank: #35 (#7 QB in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
ESPN Projected Rank: #86 (#13 QB)
Average Draft Position: #111 (#14 QB)
numberFire Projected Fantasy Points: 252.6
What do Arian Foster (average #1 overall draft pick), Andre Johnson (average #3 drafted WR), and Owen Daniels (numberFire’s #7 TE) all have in common? They’re in an offense that ultimately centered around this guy. Of course he had a foot injury at the end of the season last year, but by all accounts, he’s back healthy. In the previous two seasons, when he started every game in each, he finished with 341 and 298 fantasy points, respectively, and over 4000 yards passing each time. numberFire has him just shy of that mark this time, but if you don’t get one of the top 6 or so QBs in rounds one through four, Schaub’s not a bad guy to take a chance on late.
1. TE Tony Gonzalez - Atlanta Falcons
numberFire Projected Rank: #29 (#3 TE in our Fantasy Draft Kit)
ESPN Projected Rank: #105 (#12 TE)
Current Average Draft Position: #109 (#10 TE)
numberFire Projected Fantasy Points: 131.65
If I told you that there was a pass catcher out there who has had at least 5 receiving touchdowns in 10 of the past 11 seasons, started every game but one since 2000, and hit 100 fantasy points in every single one of those years, what’s the lowest you draft him? Fourth round? Third? The perception exists that Tony Gonzalez is slowing down, but based on what Falcons fans saw last season, that’s simply not true. Gonzalez had his highest yardage total (875) and touchdown total (7) since joining the Atlanta Falcons, and his 130 fantasy points scored was his third-highest mark since the 2004 season where he went off for 1258 yards. He may be 36 years old, but until he has a truly down season, it would be smart for fantasy owners to ride Gonzalez for as long as they can. He may not be Gronkowski or Graham, but if you can pick him up late in the 8th or 9th round, he could be the key to a stable tight end position all year.