By Eric McClung, Player Profiler
Special to Yahoo Sports
Using a mix of Yahoo’s average draft position (ADP), the staff rankings that create a composite score among five Yahoo analysts, plus PlayerProfiler.com’s advanced stats and metrics, we present a road map through the first 100 picks to come off the board in a typical Fantasy Football draft.
By breaking things down into segments of 10 picks at a time to highlight the safest bet, plus an underrated and overrated player, you are sure to come away with a more streamlined and less overwhelming way to plot out a course for a successful draft. While unexpected twists and turns develop in any draft, walking in prepared is the best way to come out with a competitive squad.
Here is Part 3 of our three-part series pinpointing the best and worst picks at every ADP level (picks 61-100) .
Safest bet: Marvin Jones – ADP 65.4, Staff Composite Ranking: 58 (WR25)
If the safe floor of Golden Tate isn’t your style, his teammate Marvin Jones is another bankable receiver to target in drafts. Second-year wideout Kenny Golladay deserves the hype he’s getting, but the Detroit Lions utilized 11 personnel (one running back, one tight end, three wide receivers) at the third-highest rate last year, per Sports Info Solutions. In other words, all three of these receivers will be on the field a lot, though Jones has established himself as the Lions’ true No. 1 receiver after leading the league in completed Air Yards and ranking sixth in Fantasy Points Per Target on PlayerProfiler.com last season. He is the safest Lions to receiver in fantasy drafts.
Underrated: Lamar Miller – ADP 67.8, Staff Composite Ranking: 53 (RB22)
Fantasy gamers have become so fatigued from Miller being overhyped each and every year that now he’s actually become a value. In his only five starts, Deshaun Watson helped lead the Houston Texans to score a minimum of 33 points in each game. And during that time Miller scored four of his six touchdowns. Despite playing in all 16 games, Miller’s best rushing performance was only 75 yards. Although when factoring in receiving work, Miller exceeded 80 yards of offense 50 percent of the time. Miller probably isn’t going to turn into a league winner, but he’s a decent player on an explosive offense and will rack up enough yards on the ground and via the pass to get into your lineup most weeks.
Overrated: Jacksonville Defense/Special Teams – ADP 63, Staff Composite Ranking: 110 (D/ST1)
Assuming you’ve been playing fantasy football for a decent amount of time you probably don’t need to be told there’s no point in drafting a defense until the final round or two in your draft. Yet every year the temptation to take the latest elite defense is just too great for some players. Jacksonville averaged 12.7 fantasy points per game last year, and that’s really good. But it’s also impossible to expect that to happen again. In 2017, the top-six defenses averaged 10.0 to 10.9 points per game. In 2015, eight averaged double-digit points. If needed, use the waiver wire to find a decent matchup in a given week. Seek out sacks and turnovers, rather than points allowed, and you’ll land on a double-digit performance with a surprisingly amount of consistency.
Safest bet: Matthew Stafford – ADP 79.1, Staff Composite Ranking: 67 (QB9)
If I’m going to recommend Golden Tate and Marvin Jones as receivers to strongly consider targeting their quarterback as well. Despite rarely being taken as a QB1 in drafts, Stafford routinely finds himself finishing inside the top 10 at the position on a nearly annual basis. Even though last year’s 565 pass attempts were the fewest for any season in which he’s played all 16 games — something Stafford has done for seven years in a row — the career-high 7.9 yards per attempt makes up for it. While he won’t add many additional points on the ground, Stafford hasn’t done much to hurt owners with only 10 interceptions each of the last two years. Detroit will also benefit from the easiest first half schedule against the pass, according to Sharp Football Stats.
Underrated: Royce Freeman – ADP 79.4, Staff Composite Ranking: 49 (RB20)
OK, I’m cheating a little bit here because Freeman is right on the fringe of the top-80 selections, but his ADP is on the rise. And for very good reason. Freeman — who was taken in the early third round of the NFL Draft — features a 229-pound frame, and a posted video game numbers during his four years at Oregon.
The presence of Devontae Booker might cost Freeman receptions, but make no mistake as to the back that will see the bulk of the carries in Denver. While the Broncos offense isn’t the most tantalizing, Freeman can certainly play a part in pushing it above the league average.
Overrated: Ronald Jones – ADP 79.9, Staff Composite Ranking: 104 (RB36)
While the stock of the aforementioned Freeman is going up, Jones — taken a full round before Freeman in the NFL Draft – is in freefall. All signs point to Jones being placed behind Peyton Barber — an undrafted free agent from the 2016 class — on the depth chart. In addition to his epic preseason struggles, Jones is on the smaller side at just 205 pounds and was rarely used as a receiver during his three years at USC. The move to make here is very simple: fade Jones and take Barber in the later rounds.
Safest bet: Chris Hogan – ADP 83.0, Staff Composite Ranking: 42 (WR22)
Full stop. Do not expect to get Hogan this late in your drafts. That said, draft Hogan anyway. Prior to monster performance in the Super Bowl, Hogan reached 60 or more receiving yards in six of his nine regular season games. Julian Edelman is suspended for the first four games. He’s also 32 years old coming off a torn ACL. Even if Rob Gronkowski is healthy for all 16 games — that’s a big if — and Edelman is more or less the same guy we’ve seen in the past, Hogan can still put up numbers that will make him a weekly fantasy starter beyond the four-game head start he’ll enjoy to begin the season as Tom Brady’s top wide receiver.
Underrated: Devin Funchess – ADP 87.4, Staff Composite Ranking: 80 (WR35)
Trading away the inefficient Kelvin Benjamin finally unlocked the potential of Funchess. In the five games following the trade – admittedly a small sample, but prior to his shoulder injury – Funchess averaged nearly eight targets, five receptions, and 80 yards per game while scoring a total of four touchdowns. Unfortunately, the Carolina offense is in a bit of a target squeeze right now, especially after drafting wide receiver D.J. Moore in the first round.
Regardless of how many drop backs are called for Cam Newton he can always take off and run, or check down to Christian McCaffrey. There’s also long-time safety valve Greg Olsen, although the tight end is now 33 years old and considered retiring after struggling with a broken foot last year. Still, there’s enough touchdown upside in Funchess to make him a flex-worthy player most weeks.
Overrated: Michael Crabtree – ADP 86.9, Staff Composite Ranking: 76 (WR32)
Even though Crabtree scored eight or more touchdowns in all three of his years spent with the Oakland Raiders he was let go during the offseason and picked up by receiver-needy Baltimore. However, Crabtree only exceed 1,000 yards once (barely) as a Raider. There’s just very little upside for a 31-year-old that’s joining a new team lacking a prolific passer. When it comes to taking a filer on a Ravens receiver, look at John Brown who’s currently ranked 188 on the composite ranks.
Safest bet: Ben Roethlisberger – ADP 98.8, Staff Composite Ranking: 87 (QB12)
Back in 2014, Roethlisberger led the league with 4,952 passing yards. Over the last three years he’s missed five games due to injury — only one since 2015 — but has registered a per-16 game average of over 4,000 yards and 26 touchdowns. Yet Roethlisberger has now become the ideal late-round quarterback even though his targets include an all-time great wide receiver in Antonio Brown, arguably the best all-around running back in football Le’Veon Bell, and phenom JuJu Smith-Schuster. There’s also rookie James Washington, who’s been turning a lot of heads in preseason. And while Roethlisberger has notable home/road splits over his career, several of this year’s away matchups are ones in which you’d probably consider using a streaming option for anyway.
Underrated: Jamison Crowder – ADP 97.8, Staff Composite Ranking: 65 (WR29)
The season-ending knee injury to rookie Derrius Guice means that any plans for Washington to improve upon last year’s bottom-10 finish in total rushing attempts is going to prove difficult. That’s big for Crowder who – after a promising 2016 in which he saw 99 targets and scored seven touchdowns as the team’s third receiver – struggled with hip and hamstring issues most of last year. A healthy Crowder should enjoy plenty of easy grabs running out of the slot for the very efficient Alex Smith.
Overrated: Pierre Garçon – ADP 99.9, Staff Composite Ranking: 88 (WR38)
For those looking to invest in a wide receiver playing in the upcoming-and-coming San Francisco 49ers offense there’s Garçon or Marquise Goodwin. The former is 32 years old and coming off a season-ending neck injury. The latter is 27 years old, competed at the Olympics in track, and – most importantly – has already shown terrific rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo. In addition to beat reporters giving the edge to Goodwin, he averaged 8.6 targets, 5.8 receptions, and 76.8 yards in Garoppolo’s five starts. While Garcon has been a steady fantasy producer at times over his career, there’s simply no reason to take him over Goodwin at a very similar ADP.