These five could be late steals in fantasy
Most fantasy drafts follow a script. But sometime after the first seven rounds, the draft starts to go rogue.
Last season, players who were taken in the seventh round of ESPN fantasy football leagues had ownership rates ranging from 82 to 91 percent, but one round later, that widened to 42 to 84 percent. And the trend continued from there.
With all the information available today, it’s more difficult to find late-round “sleepers.” But the following five players fit the bill. They are being drafted in the eighth round or later yet their Draft Score — a metric that compares players at their respective position, earning them a rating from 1 to 100 with higher numbers indicating better fantasy players — is well above average for players selected at that point.
Randall Cobb, WR, Packers (Average draft position by round: 8.08; Draft Score: 72)
Cobb didn’t have his most productive season in 2016, but he did catch 60 of 84 targets for 610 yards and four touchdowns.
Cobb’s role as Green Bay’s primary slot receiver gives him the chance to grab short to intermediate passes in high volume, adding to his value in points-per-reception, or PPR, leagues.
Matt Forte, RB, Jets (ADP: 9.07; Draft Score: 57)
Forte had 218 carries for 813 yards and seven TDs in his first season with New York, adding 30 catches for 263 yards and one TD. Knee issues limited him to 14 games, but when healthy he was a consistent fantasy producer, even while contending with Bilal Powell for touches.
Zach Ertz, TE, Eagles (ADP: 10.05; Draft Score: 74)
Ertz was the second-mosttargeted receiver by rookie quarterback Carson Wentz last season, seeing nine fewer passes than the top wideout on the depth chart, Jordan Matthews. And Ertz tied with Nelson Agholor for the most targets on the team in the red zone (14) and finished with 78 catches for 816 yards and four TDs.
Matthew Stafford, QB, Lions (ADP: 11.02; Draft Score: 54)
Stafford completed 65 percent of his passes for 4,327 yards and a 24-to-10 TD-to-interception ratio, finishing with the eighth-highest Total Quarterback Rating per ESPN (70.5) last season.
Mike Wallace, WR, Ravens (ADP: 11.08; Draft Score: 51)
Wallace showed he can be Baltimore’s top receiver as he caught 72 of 116 targets for 1,017 yards and four TDs last season. And now that Steve Smith retired and Kamar Aiken moved on to Indianapolis, his target share could improve, even with Jeremy Maclin and Breshad Perriman in the mix.