5 Late Round Targets For Your Fantasy Football Drafts

  • Jake Ciely, RotoExperts Senior Writer
ben roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 25 TDs per year since his third season. Photo Credit: blacroc

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How do you win your league? It’s simple. Don’t screw up the early rounds, draft your defense and kicker in the last two rounds and find value in the late rounds. The last factor is crucial, as you not only return value much higher than the draft cost, but you can also open yourself to trades and/or help overcome poor injury luck and bye weeks. How late is late? Anything after your first nine players is a late pick, and you could argue a few before that can slip into the debate as well. But for now, we’ll only look at players outside of the Top 100 ADP on myfantasyleague.com.

ADP and My (current) Ranking in parenthesis.

Golden Tate, Lions (102/81) – Tate is the 44th receiver off the board currently, and I am more than shocked. Tate finished 29th last year, playing for the Seahawks. You know, the team that finished 26th in passing offense compared to third for the Lions. The Seahawks were also the second lowest team in pass attempts, finishing 214 behind the Lions (fifth most). Tate now plays across from Calvin Johnson and finally gives the Lions, and Matthew Stafford, the legitimate No. 2 receiver they have long desired. Tate should easily replicate his 2013 numbers, if not improve on them.

Pierre Thomas (117/93) – Even with Darren Sproles in the mix last year (now in Philly), Thomas finished as the 23rd best running back – in standard leagues mind you. Move Thomas all the way up to RB16 in PPR leagues; Sproles was just 23rd. With Sproles gone, Thomas has a chance to eclipse last year’s value and is a lock to top 1,000 total yards again. Oh, and worthy of noting, Thomas is the 37th running back off the board in PPR leagues! 37th! Guys, he finished 16th with Sproles last year.

Ben Roethlisberger (136/109) – Without looking, take a guess where Big Ben finished at quarterback last year. I guarantee that nearly none of you said eighth… unless you’re a Steelers fan. Since his third season, Roethlisberger has averaged 249 passing yards and 1.6 touchdowns per game, or 3,984 and 25 per season… or a lock for the Top 10. Are you that concerned over the loss of Emmanuel Sanders? Okay, sure, Markus Wheaton, Lance Moore and/or Martavis Bryant have to step up, but Big Ben is the 19th QB off the board. I would take him as a high-end QB2 and be thrilled. One injury or quarterback disappointment elsewhere in your league, and you have the best trade chip possible – or the best backup plan if you suffer the bad luck.

James Jones (154/117) – James Jones finished at the 41st best receiver last year in just 14 games. Before you say, “but it was Green Bay,” remember that he played without Aaron Rodgers for much of the season. Matt Schaub is not Rodgers, but he’s still shown himself capable. As the top option in Oakland, Jones will see over a 100 targets, which gives him WR4 potential. That 154th ADP makes him the 65th receiver taken. Value.

Doug Baldwin (191/141) – Baldwin had 73 targets, 50 receptions, 778 yards and five touchdowns last year. Those were all second best for the Seahawks (touchdowns actually tied for first) with Tate as the No. 1 option. For all the comparisons I made for Tate, don’t take them as pure negatives for Baldwin. Tate is not a true NFL No. 1 receiver, but Percy Harvin can be with a good complimentary receiver and offense. Baldwin is the complimentary weapon in the passing game, and Harvin will draw more attention than Tate did. If Harvin can’t stay healthy – hey, he’s done it once – guess who steps up as the team’s top option? There is no reason Baldwin can’t put up the same numbers from 2013 or even better, and he finished 37th last year. For reference, he’s the 71st receiver in ADP right now. SEVENTY FIRST! UNDRAFTED!