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.

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