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6 Last-Round Fliers (Fantasy Football)

Sep 4, 2015

Tyrod Taylor (QB - BUF)

Tyrod Taylor’s mobility could run him right into a viable fantasy QB option

The last pick in the NFL draft each year gets labeled as “Mr. Irrelevant”. In fantasy football, however, that title can become far less accurate as studs can be found at any point in the draft. Need I remind you that many who drafted Odell Beckham last year, likely got him late and possibly as their final pick.

The point is, this season is no different than the last, and the one before that, and the one before that… with some rookies falling out of favor due to lack of attention and others who have simply not had much of a chance due to various reasons. Mr. Irrelevant in fantasy football can much more easily become a steady contributor to your team. For that reason, we asked our featured pundits to name the players they’ll be targeting at the end of their drafts.

Last-Round Targets

Expert Player Pos Team ECR
Matt Franciscovich – NFL.com Matt Jones RB Redskins 165
Tony Mauriello – ProjectRoto Tyrod Taylor QB Bills 201
Tom Poisal – Top Tier Football Tyler Lockett WR Seahawks 222
Mike Wright – The Fantasy Footballers Jonas Gray RB Patriots 179
Huseyin Aksu – Fantasy Couch Cecil Shorts WR Texans 181
Dennis Esser – Coach Esser Josh Huff WR Eagles 234

Q. Name one player beyond ECR 160 that you will be targeting as a last-round flier and tell us why.

Tyrod Taylor (QB – BUF)
Consensus Overall Ranking: 201
“We all saw what Cam Newton did in his first game four years ago. He was a big, heavy, running signal caller who threw for over 400 yards passing, had two passing TDs and tacked on a rushing TD. Sure, Cam has 5 inches on Taylor, but at 6’1″, 215 lbs, Taylor now has the starting gig with the Bills, per Rex Ryan, and has been described as having “upside”, which is precisely what analysts used to describe Newton before his first NFL game. Now, 128 NFL snaps (with the Baltimore Ravens) later, Taylor will bring a dual-threat game along with pure athleticism, an extremely strong arm and pocket presence to a Bills team that now has an experienced RB in LeSean McCoy and a deep ball threat at WR in Sammy Watkins who both should take defensive focus off of Taylor. You will not draft Taylor as your QB1, but you should take a flier on him in the late rounds of the draft in the case that the “upside” presents itself as it did with Newton in 2011. The Bills offensive line has to show improvement from its 2014 season, but if the line can provide average pass blocking, with his superb ability to scramble in the pocket or take off and run, he should register fantastic fantasy numbers.”
Tony Mauriello (ProjectRoto)

Matt Jones (RB – WAS)
Consensus Overall Ranking: 165
“I’ve scooped up Matt Jones in the latter rounds in most of my drafts this year. He has shown off his tough running style, similar to that of Marshawn Lynch, throughout the preseason and has averaged an incredible 6.95 yards per carry through three preseason games. In that same span, he had piled up six runs of greater than 10 yards — more than any other RB in the preseason through three exhibition games. Jones is projected to get some of the third down work and possibly goal-line carries early on for Washington, and if he keeps running in the regular season like he has during the preseason, it won’t be long before he’s splitting the load with Alfred Morris. He’s well worth stashing on your bench for his late-round asking price.”
Matt Franciscovich (NFL.com)

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA)
Consensus Overall Ranking: 222
“This came down to 3 names for me: Dorial Green-Beckham (athletic freak w/opportunities in TEN), Tyler Lockett, and Virgil Green (great blocker, athletic, battling declining Daniels). I’m going to choose Lockett as a guy that could come out of nowhere this year and his ECR is currently 222. Lockett’s quickness allows him to get off the LOS easily and he runs excellent routes. His hands are outstanding and he high points the ball better than most. NFL.com has him on their preseason All Pro team as a return man. This preseason, his receiving line is 6/129/1 while he’s returned a kickoff 103 yards for a TD and a punt 67 yards for a TD. The Seahawks traded 4 picks for this guy and he only has names like Baldwin, Kearse and Matthews ahead of him.”
Tom Poisal (Top Tier Football)

Jonas Gray (RB – NE)
Consensus Overall Ranking: 179
*Editor’s note: The Patriots released Jonas Gray on Saturday (9/5)
“With my last pick in fantasy drafts I have been targeting Jonas Gray. I know I’m going to get at least one start from him and with the way the Patriots run things, I could get more. LeGarrette Blount has not looked good at all this preseason. On top of looking bad, he was suspiciously put to a decent amount of work in the completely meaningless fourth preseason game. Gray has already shown he can get it done and maybe he can sneak out of the Belichick doghouse.”
Mike Wright (The Fantasy Footballers)

Cecil Shorts (WR – HOU)
Consensus Overall Ranking: 181
“If I had to pick one guy, it would be Cecil Shorts. It was assumed that the Texans didn’t have a quarterback, but in reality, that’s not the case at all. Brian Hoyer is not an elite quarterback by any means, but quite possibly, he is the best quarterback the Texans ever had; including David Carr, Matt Schaub, Case Keenum and Sage Rosenfels. The Texans don’t utilize the tight end position in the pass game, and with DeAndre Hopkins getting extra attention from defenses, Shorts will be able to roam free. This is not a pass-happy team, but Shorts is a safe pick and will make for a nice Bye Week fill in.”
Huseyin Aksu (Fantasy Couch)

Josh Huff (WR – PHI)
Consensus Overall Ranking: 234
“Huff is one of my favorite players to take at the end of fantasy drafts this season. He has a muddied opportunity as the Eagles will depend on Jordan Matthews as their main passing game weapon and then distribute snaps to the rookie Nelson Agholor, tight end Zach Ertz and Chip Kelly favorite Riley Cooper. Huff has his upside in his development and opportunity in a dynamic offense. If Agholor struggles or Matthews or Ertz gets injured, Huff would cost big money on the waiver wire so I would rather stash now and hope he can carve out a role on that offense. He definitely didn’t hurt his cause by buying into Chip Kelly’s strength and conditioning program and coming to camp faster and stronger than last year.”
Dennis Esser (Coach Esser)

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Thank you to the experts for naming their last-round fliers. For more advice, be sure to check out our latest Consensus Rankings.

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