Fantasy Football Mailbag: Thursday 7/14/16
Fantasy football research never stops, and offseason news can really complicate things, especially when coaches talk up second- and third-string players. That's why we're starting up a fantasy football mailbag.
Have a question about a certain player, team, draft strategy, or anything football? Shoot us a question on Twitter or send an email to Brandon.Gdula@FanDuel.com, and we can talk anything fantasy football related -- even daily fantasy football.
Now, let's answer some questions.
@numberFire @LateRoundQB favorite #MFL10 value right now? (Other than Marvin Jones lol)
— Jay Bird (@jaykinney) July 13, 2016
While it's true that Marvin Jones is wildly undervalued right now, Jay already knows that. So we have to look elsewhere. And for those who don't know what MFL10s are, they're best-ball leagues hosted by MyFantasyLeague.com. The best-ball format requires you to draft but not manage a team during the season, and your highest scorers are automatically compiled to be your week's starting lineup. You don't have to pinpoint when to start a boom-or-bust player. If he goes off, he's in your lineup. If he posts a dud, hopefully you have another player at that position who fared better.
With that in mind, according to ADP data, a few players stand out.
Smith is being drafted 81st overall (7.09), on average. Decker at 5.01 is going much earlier, but he's being valued as the WR29 in this format. He finished as the WR13 in PPR formats last season, and he has excelled in his career regardless of his quarterback.
Sanu, the WR55 by ADP, has some upside playing opposite Julio Jones in an offense that used to produce two productive fantasy receivers. Sanu's metrics were average at best last year, but in this format, he's worth a flier.
A few tight ends emerge as great values, also. Antonio Gates (TE12, 10.03), Dwayne Allen (TE14, 10.05), and Jason Witten (TE18, 12.02) are useful options, given the PPR format. Our projections peg Gates and Witten as top-seven tight ends in PPR scoring this year, and with Allen's touchdown upside, he's a great best-ball option.
Two potential first-string rushers -- Ameer Abdullah (RB30, 7.06) and Melvin Gordon (RB32, 8.01) -- can be had at discounts. We peg Abdullah to finish as the RB19 in PPR and Gordon to wind up as the RB27. Gordon's hit-or-miss touchdown potential with Danny Woodhead around is less maddening given the format, too.
Perhaps the top quarterback option is Tyrod Taylor (QB19, 13.01). Our projections see Taylor as a top-10 quarterback this season.
@numberFire outside of Gronk, who's the safest tight end? And where is an okay spot to draft Jimmy
— Benjamin Fuchs (@benfuchs2) July 14, 2016
You're right. After Rob Gronkowski, there really aren't many safe tight ends even if it feels like there are. According to Fantasy Football Calculator's ADP, each of the guys going after Gronk have question marks.
Jordan Reed has struggled to stay on the field in his career. Greg Olsen's offense is getting Kelvin Benjamin back, has an elite red zone rushing quarterback, and was the second-most run-heavy in the NFL last year. Tyler Eifert is already hurt, relied on touchdowns at an absurd rate last year, and is in an offense that boasts other playmakers.
Travis Kelce plays with the conservative Alex Smith, the volume-dependent Delanie Walker's offense is now going to be an "exotic smashmouth" style, Coby Fleener joins a new offense that typically spreads the ball around, and Ladarius Green will be an afterthought of sorts behind Antonio Brown and Le'Veon Bell. Gary Barnidge came out of nowhere and was great last season but plays on an inept offense and has no track record on which to rely. The list keeps going.
So what are we to do? Well, the best bet with so much uncertainty is to wait on the position and take a chance on one of these uncertain players rather than spend an early-round pick on a less uncertain player.
If you want safety in terms of overall production, don't overlook Jason Witten, who has had at least 64 catches in every season since 2004. We actually peg him as the TE5 in PPR formats this year, and he's lasting until the end of the 13th round despite the return of Tony Romo. Speaking of older players, you can also target Antonio Gates, who is going two rounds earlier than Witten, for his reliable output year over year.
But if waiting that long isn't your thing, then Olsen or Kelce, both of whom should have minimal concerns with volume and market shares on their teams, fit the bill. Reed, Eifert, Walker, Barnidge, and Fleener all have upside, but they've got more question marks than Witten, Gates, Kelce, and Olsen.
As for Jimmy Graham, he can be had in the end of the ninth round in PPR drafts right now as the TE11. Our projections think that's pretty accurate, as we see him as the TE10 in PPR scoring for 2016. If you want to take a chance on his upside, the ninth round makes it worth it, but if you draft him and he doesn't pan out, Witten or even Gates could be on the waiver wire to start the season.
Want to have your questions answered in our mailbag? Submit your questions by tweeting @numberFire or sending an email to Brandon.Gdula@FanDuel.com.