3 Players Who Could Be Fantasy Football Draft Steals In 2017

A successful fantasy football draft is about two things – getting lucky and value. Finding players in the mid to late rounds who become every week starters gives you a huge advantage over your league. Of course the hard part is finding these values. There is certainly a lot of luck involved but there are also some key elements we can target to help us find these hidden gems.

Here are some of the key elements to look for when searching for value:

  1. A player who was highly regarded the year before but underperformed and is coming into the season with the same opportunity that existed the year before.
  2. A player who suffered bad luck. This usually involves a player who had a good year but underachieved in the touchdown department.
  3. A player who suffered an early injury but should be healthy and is entering a good situation.
  4. A player who was in a bad situation the year before but is now going into a better situation.

A great example of this in 2016 was DeMarco Murray. In 2014 Murray had a career year totaling 2261 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns with the Cowboys. Going into 2015 Murray signed with the Eagles but was still drafted as a late first rounder and a top 5 running back in most fantasy drafts. In an offense that was ill suited for his strengths he fell flat totaling just 1024 yards from scrimmage and 7 touchdowns. He also saw far less opportunity as his touches dropped from 449 to 237. After the 2015 season Murray was traded to Tennessee. This presented a much better opportunity for him as the Titans run a style of offense that is much better suited for his game. Still drafters were skeptical and he had an ADP of 47 and was the 19th running back selected. He paid off for drafters who took a chance as he finished 2016 as RB5 in both standard and PPR leagues.

Who Will Be 2017’s Value Picks?

Let’s look at some players who fit the criteria needed to be draft day values:

Todd Gurley, RB, LAR
Key Elements: Highly regarded but underperformed, bad luck, better situation

Gurley was coming off a rookie season that saw him total 1294 yards and 10 touchdowns in just 13 games. He had an ADP of 3 in 2016 and was the top running back drafted in most leagues. His season was a disappointment as he finished as RB21 in standard and RB18 in PPR. One of the major differences in production was his touchdowns. Despite seeing more opportunity in 2016 versus 2015 (20 carries inside the 10 compared to 14) he scored 4 less touchdowns. Four more touchdowns would have elevated Todd Gurley to RB13 in standard leagues and RB11 in PPR. The Rams offense also has to improve as it can’t get much worse than it was in 2016. The hiring of Sean McVay should help as he was a big part of the improvement in Washington’s offense. Gurley will likely be drafted outside of the top 10 running backs in 2017 but could easily turn in a top 10, even a top 5, season.

Allen Robinson, WR, JAC
Key Elements: Highly regarded but underperformed, bad luck, better situation

Robinson broke out in a big way in 2015 and seemed poised to build on that in 2016. Unfortunately that did not happen and he ended up as one of the biggest busts of the season. Not only did he see a huge reduction in touchdowns but also yards. In 2015 he totaled 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns. In 2016 those numbers dipped to 883 and 6. Playing in the same offense with the same quarterback, Robinson saw basically the same opportunity as he received 152 targets in 2015 and 159 in 2016 and saw 22 red zone targets in 2016 versus 21 in 2015. Give Robinson just 4 more touchdowns and 100 more yards and he suddenly jumps to WR9. Many people will look at this team and see that Blake Bortles is still there and automatically think Robinson’s situation can’t improve. But in the 2 games Doug Marrone coached Robinson had 14 catches for 229 yards. More importantly Bortles had 2 of his best games of the season throwing for over 300 yards in both with 2 touchdowns and no interceptions. Robinson could easily fall outside the top 10 wide receivers drafted in 2017 but return to his dominant ways.

Keenan Allen, WR, SD
Key Elements: Highly regarded, suffered an early injury

In four seasons Allen has yet to play all 16 games and has gone on IR in 3 straight years. Due to this drafters will likely be scared off of him and rightfully so. Still when he is on the field he is Phillip Rivers’ top option. Prior to his injury in 2015 he was on pace for 189 targets, 142 receptions, 1,540 yards and 8 touchdowns. He was drafted as WR11 in 2016 but suffered an ACL injury in week 1 and missed the entire season. It doesn’t seem unrealistic that he could fall outside the top 20 wide receivers next year. Still only 25 years old you have to hope his body can still recover fully. Players coming back successfully from ACL surgery is getting more common as medical advancements continue. When healthy he has top 10 upside and could be a draft day steal for owners willing to take the risk on his health.

Disagree with my choices? A player I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

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2 thoughts on “3 Players Who Could Be Fantasy Football Draft Steals In 2017

  1. Brandon Marshall? Finished 3rd in points scored in 2015. Was horrendous in 2016 and now going to the Giants who have a better QB throwing the ball and better pieces around him.

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