The NFC South has some powerhouse fantasy talent with the likes of Drew Brees and Cam Newton highlighting the division. Besides these two big names there are many other household fantasy names that will be drafted in the first 5 rounds such as Jimmy Graham and Julio Jones, but there are also nice options available in the middle to late rounds who can help your fantasy team this season. Following are three names that are great bargains this year and can both help you and also out play their ADP. (All points/ADP’s/analysis use ESPN.com and ESPN standard scoring)
1. Brandon LaFell (ADP, 152.9): Dez Bryant, Victor Cruz, Julio Jones, Jordy Nelson…what do all of these players have in common? They are WR2’s on a team with a 4,000 plus yard passer who are all being selected in the early rounds of fantasy drafts. So where is the love for Brandon LaFell this season? Now I am not saying that LaFell has the upside of any of these players but he certainly has a lot of upside and I think it is outright ridiculous he is being drafted behind the likes of Terrell Owens, Michael Floyd, Randall Cobb and many other WR’s. In limited action last season LaFell posted decent numbers with 613 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 36 catches. LaFell’s 17 average yard per catch last season was the 12th highest in the NFL ahead of big play receivers such as DeSean Jackson, Mike Wallace, and A.J. Green. This season as the number 2 wide-out in Carolina with Steve Smith drawing most of the coverage I feel LaFell has good upside and could easily post 800 plus yards and 5 or more TD’s worthy of a flex play in standard formats. I would not draft him to be my WR3 but as a WR4 or 5 with a lot of upside. Considering his upside and the fact that he can be drafted in the last 2 rounds in drafts make him my top bargain, not only for the NFC South, but for the entire NFL.
2. Doug Martin (ADP, 78.4): New head coach Greg Schiano has said that making Martin the Buccaneers lead back is the plan this season. Though he is still only 2nd on the depth chart it seems as only a matter of time before he surpasses incumbent starter LeGarrette Blount for the starting gig. He is only a rookie but he should see plenty of snaps this season as he is very efficient in both pass blocking and catching out of the backfield, two areas that Blount struggles with. It is always risky drafting a rookie runner in the NFL but considering he is being drafted as the 28th RB off the board toward the end of the 8th round he should be well worth the risk. In a 10 team league I think it is safe to grab martin as early as the 5th or 6th round, and I like him a lot more than players Roy Helu, Stevan Ridley, and Jonathan Stewart who are all being drafted ahead of him. All things considered Martin is capable of 1000 plus APY (all purpose yards) and 5 plus touchdowns making him a low end 2 or solid flex play in standard 10 team leagues.
3. Tony Gonzalez (ADP, 90.2): I still do not understand why so many fantasy players are taking Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski in the 2nd round when you can get a solid TE like Gonzalez 7-8 rounds later. I understand the logic that because they can score points like WR1’s it gives your team an advantage, but in order to get a top 2 TE you will have to forgo a WR1 or solid RB which to me is not worth it. Gonzalez is a lock for the Hall of fame as he is the most decorated TE in NFL history. Since arriving in Atlanta he has posted 867, 656, and 875 yards and 19 total touchdowns. He is a solid TE that you can grab in round 9 that can post just as solid of numbers as many TE’s being selected ahead of him. Atlanta is looking to air it out this season and I think that Gonzalez could have a very successful final season, probably somewhere in the neighborhood of what he did last season 850-900 yards and 7 touchdowns. Once the top TE’s come off the board don’t hesitate to snag the seasoned vet and be happy when he produces similar production. Oh and here’s one last fun fact about Tony Gonzalez…since 1998 he has only missed 2 games due to injury so he should be good for the whole season.
There you have it my top draft bargains for the NFC South. This is a division with a lot of talent in the middle and late rounds so this list was a challenge but I did my best. As always comments are encouraged.