Players to target in late rounds
In later rounds, Kevin Kolb and Chad Henne are great quarterbacks to target
With Michael Bush hurt, Darren McFadden is going to be fed the rock in Oakland
A hefty number of tight ends will outperform third wide receivers this year
When it comes to the draft, as I explained last week, I like to be aggressive -- go the first five rounds on need and then grab the best players available. I know that those aren't going to be superstars, but I'm not looking for superstars at that point, just solid players.
Why? You win your league with consistent performance down the stretch, and you get that by always putting up some numbers. A superstar might give you great games, but a solid player is going to put up numbers every week, and that's what moves you forward. Plus, superstars can be shut down, because teams gameplan against them. They get double-teamed, shadowed, focused on. Solid players get the opposite. They're No. 2 options that often become the focus when the No. 1 option is taken away. Guys like that are fantasy gold.
So who are these later-round picks that make perfect complements to the stars you get in the early rounds? The quarterbacks I like are Kevin Kolb and Chad Henne. Both Steve Smiths (Panthers and Giants) are worth a pick at wide receiver, as are Mike Wallace of the Steelers and my teammate, tight end Marcedes Lewis. At running back I would consider Cedric Benson, Justin Forsett in Seattle, who's incredibly versatile, and Darren McFadden, since the Raiders are going to have to feed him the rock now that Michael Bush is hurt.
I'd also keep a close eye on the tight ends. There's a large group of them I love: Jermichael Finley, Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, Owen Daniels, Brent Celek, Kevin Boss and Vernon Davis. If I had a chance to grab two of that group as the draft wore on I would, and I'd use the second one in place of a third receiver. These guys can play, and they're often the first or second option on their teams, which means they will regularly put up better numbers than a third receiver.
As far as the guys that are likely to go undrafted, there are a few that I think have potential and will be keeping my eye on. Sticking with the tight ends, I'm interested to see how the two young tight ends in New England perform: Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski. Matt Hasselbeck could really click in that offense they're running in Seattle, and Derek Anderson could be everything Kurt Warner was in Arizona now that they've handed him the keys. I also think whoever the Bills pick as their starter has potential to put up big numbers.
I expect Darren Sproles to bounce back this year, and I think he's a particularly good pickup in PPR leagues. I'll also be watching Bengals tight end Jermaine Gresham, Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd, and Louis Murphy and Chaz Schilens in Oakland. Arrelious Benn and Mike Williams have a chance to make some noise in Tampa, and Julian Edelman is worth a peek as he tries to fill Wes Welker's role in New England. Finally, the Cowboys' Roy Williams won't see as many doubles this year, which could make him an interesting guy down the road.