Fantasy Football Mailbag: Friday 7/22/16

Which late-round quarterbacks could be pleasant surprises in 2016?

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.

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Now, let's answer some questions.

Such a great question year in and year out. Two guys who have average draft positions (ADP) that are very much sniffing the top 12, per Fantasy Football Calculator, to target are Tony Romo (10.01, QB13) and Kirk Cousins (10.04, QB14), who is a perfect late-round target.

But if we're digging deeper, Matt Ryan (11.04, QB16) and Matthew Stafford (12.01, QB18) are projected to finish as top-14 fantasy passers, and Tyrod Taylor (11.06, QB17) is pegged as our QB9 entering the season.

A dark horse option is Jameis Winston, who actually played really well in 2015 as a rookie, per our analytics. He ranked 15th in passing efficiency on a per-drop back basis, and he posted at least 12 fantasy points in all 16 games last year, en route to finishing as the QB13. He's being drafted in the 12th round (12.03) as the QB19.

He doesn't get the Saints until Weeks 14 and 16, but he showed a usable floor all season as a rookie and is worth a chance that late.

Email submission from Takuma Easland:

Based purely on talent and opportunity (not my own team needs), where would you draft guys like Sammie Coates and Chris Hogan in a dynasty rookie draft? It's an FA draft too and I expect these guys to be the highest FAs drafted.

Starting requirements are 1QB, 2RB, 3WR, 1TE, 2FLEX


Working under the assumption that Sammie Coates and Chris Hogan are the best free agents available, this really boils down to how many rookies are better investments than these two free agents, which is what Takuma is asking.

According to MyFantasyLeague average draft position (ADP) data in keeper league drafts, Hogan is the 115th player off the board, on average. Coates is going 119th.

About 34 rookies are going before these two to give you a sense of how long people are waiting in rookie drafts to snag these two, so somewhere around the third-to-fourth-round turn would be roughly when you had to grab them.

Now the question is -- should you wait that long?

Some rookies going in this range are Tyler Higbee and Michael Thomas, a tight end and receiver on a run-first Rams team, at 107th and 116th, respectively, overall.

Alex Collins, the third banana running back in a best-case-scenario right now on a Seahawks team, is going 111th. Tyler Ervin, a fourth-round investment in the draft for the Texans, could emerge as Lamar Miller's backup or could be mired in a backfield that isn't short on replacement-level talent but costs the 112th pick on average.

But the upside that Hogan and Coates possess in 2016 is hard to pass up for some in the "what-if" range of rookies. Hogan has impressed in the offseason for the Patriots but posted league-average efficiency according to our per-target metrics in 2015. Coates saw just two targets for the Steelers as a rookie last year, but they'll be playing without the big-bodied Martavis Bryant this year.

Each plays in one of the best passing offenses the NFL has to offer, and it's looking like the middle of the third round of the rookie draft is the highest you should go. If you're a believer in their chance to carve out a role, it's looking like a justifiable move.

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