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Top Players to Target

Footballguys staff members discuss players they really want to have this season

Welcome to the 2015 Footballguys Discussion series, where we get a few staff members and toss them an open-ended question. Check out their answers.

Name a player in the Top 100 you are willing to overpay to get.

Matt Harmon: Oh, anyone familiar with me knows it is Allen Robinson. I called him out as a value when he had a ninth round ADP earlier this summer, and now that his price rose to the sixth round, I'm still buying. Of course, since I’ve come out as the biggest Robinson booster, a number of fellow drafters take joy in sniping him from me. In many drafts, I’ve had him queued up in the sixth round, and then someone will take him right before me. With everyone hip to his price now, I have to re-evaluate exactly where I stand on him. The verdict: I’m willing to pay the iron price to snag “my guy”. This is a player with a safe target floor and an individual ceiling that can be unlocked if the offense improves at all. As much as I believe in this player, I have to be ready to take a stand and pay up.

Jason Wood: Matty Harmon took a great one, I'm loving Robinson this year and anytime he's been there in the 5th round for me, it feels like I'm hitting the jackpot.

I would happily draft either Jeremy Hill in the late first or Frank Gore in the 2nd round. I'm also willing to draft Ryan Tannehill a few rounds early if he's the last of my Top 10 quarterbacks available.

Chad Parsons: The two players I have been ending up with in a vast majority of drafts are T.J. Yeldon and Todd Gurley. Both are well into the RB2 area of cost and allow for a stud wide receiver plus another running back in the first two rounds ahead of the rookie backs. Yeldon has a three-down skillset and no competition for touches in Jacksonville, giving him an RB2 floor with room to profit. For Todd Gurley, he is an Odell Beckham-like proposition this year. Gurley may not play in the first game or two of the season. He may be slowly integrated into the offense for another few weeks. However, once he gets going Gurley has 20+ PPR PPG upside to tilt fantasy leagues like Beckham a year ago. Gurley is the ideal RB3 in Round 4/5.

Andy Hicks: The player I've been able to get often this year is Mike Wallace in Minnesota.

Every time a player wears a different uniform there is a risk that it doesn't work out. For Mike Wallace that happened in Miami. His skill set did not match what they were doing in the passing game, but he still managed to rank 25th in 2013 and 18th in 2014. In an offense that should utilize his abilities to the full he has the potential to do what he did in Pittsburgh in 2010 and 2011, finish in the top 10 fantasy receivers. With his ADP into the 7th round in most drafts this year I have been able to get him a round or 2 earlier as my 3rd receiver generally and I see little downside in this move. Minnesota lack a game breaking receiver and they should have a dominant running game with the return of Adrian Peterson. Cordarrelle Patterson should be this guy, but Minnesota know he isn't. Charles Johnson should make a good number 2 guy.

Jeff Pasquino: For me the player is Vincent Jackson. He is consistently underrated this year, mostly because people do not like Jamies Winston throwing to him (not sure why) and that he only had two touchdowns last year. Touchdowns are far more random than targets and yardage - both of which Jackson excelled at last season. Jackson has had over 140 targets and over 1,000 yards the past three seasons, yet we are punishing him because he only scored twice instead of the 7-8 times he did in 2013 and 2012. If you only split the difference and give Jackson five touchdowns this year, a 80-1,100-5 stat line is exceptional and makes him a strong WR2.

Daniel Simpkins: I’ve taken a big swig of the Frank Gore Kool-Aid thanks to Mr. Sigmund Bloom. Though Gore is on the downslope of his career, he’s never been with a quarterback and offense of this talent. Indianapolis promises to be in control of many of its contests, so I can see the team using Gore to salt away the game. Even on those rare occasions where they are behind, Gore is also a competent receiver. He hasn’t been asked to do much pass catching in the past few years, but looking back on his career, we can see the ability is there. I look to him to be the primary option and stay relevant, no matter what the game script is on a given week. Those two things are a rare find among backs in the game today. In some instances, I am willing to take Gore in the mid-to-late second round if I feel he won’t last till my pick in the third round.

Phil Alexander: I'm the highest Footballguys ranker on DeAndre Hopkins (WR9), and have routinely picked him near the 2/3 turn all summer. For complete details, check out the spotlight I wrote on Hopkins back in July. The Cliff's Notes version:

  • Hopkins is an ascendant talent, whose first two NFL seasons place him in rare historical company.
  • His quarterbacks were Ryan Fitzpatrick, Ryan Mallett, Case Keenum, and Tom Savage last year, yet he still finished Top-10 in just about any wide receiver efficiency metric you can name. He has proven capable of rising above bad quarterback play.
  • Speaking of bad quarterback play, Brian Hoyer, Jason Campbell, and Brandon Weeden were Josh Gordon's quarterbacks when he finished as the top fantasy wide receiver two years ago. Targets are a great deodorant.
  • Speaking of targets, the 146 looks Andre Johnson saw last year are now up for grabs in Houston. How confident are you Cecil Shorts and Jaelen Strong are going to soak all those up? Hopkins has a great chance to lead the entire league in targets this year.
  • Since I wrote my spotlight article, Arian Foster was injured, which caused many analysts to sour on Hopkins. If anything, Foster's injury only means more targets for Hopkins - either because the Texans are playing from behind and are forced to pass more, or because they have no choice but to run the offense through their best player. And if Foster only misses a few games, any concerns about his impact on Hopkins are minimized.

Hopkins isn't without his warts (sure, the Texans offense can sink him, and he hasn't been productive in the red zone thus far as a pro), but the positives far outweigh the negatives. I'd rather be a year early on Hopkins than a year late.

Chris Feery: I'm enamored with Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense this season, having a hard time bypassing him before the inevitable run on quarterbacks begins. The Steelers offense as whole looks to be top 5 caliber this season and I think Roethlisberger will post career best numbers this year. Look for increased production from both Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton, regardless of how the WR2/WR3 battle shakes out. Antonio Brown and LeVeon Bell will continue their dominant ways and Roethlisbeger has commented that the offensive line is as good as any he has ever played behind. What's not to love?