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Scratch-Off TIme - Unexciting Lotto Tickets that Could Pay Off


When you get into the latter stages of your draft, I know what you want to do. Don't lie to me. You want the young guys, you want rookies, you want super athletes. You want to take shots on the hype guys and "sleepers."

That's all well and good, and you're not wrong to target those attributes. Sometimes, though, you need to take a look at some of the boring guys; the ones that aren't getting all the buzz. These usually are players that don't have a ton of talent but have the situation and the opportunity to pay dividends.

For the purposes of the term "lotto ticket," I am limiting this to players with double-digit round ADPs. Now, let's look at some less exciting players that could still pay dividends in 2019 fantasy football leagues.

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Carlos Hyde (RB, KC)

Remember when Carlos Hyde was a three-down workhorse on the 49ers? Could you believe that was a mere two seasons ago? He spent the first four years of his career on one team and in 365 days has managed to wear three different teams' jerseys.

Hyde's talent doesn't even really matter in this analysis. He is the backup to Damien Williams on the league's best offense. Any replacement level running back can be an RB1 on the Chiefs. Hyde is one injury away from being that guy. And even if he ends up in a timeshare with Darwin Thompson or someone else, Hyde will have value if Williams isn't on the field. That is as good of a reason as any to take a shot on him in the 10th round.

 

Adrian Peterson (RB, WAS)

How the mighty has fallen... and risen. If any player were going to rise from the dead, it would be Purple Jesus. Adrian Peterson was once one of the most exciting players in the league. He's one of the most exciting players in NFL history. Playing well past his prime and being one of those guys that refuses to go away, Peterson is now nothing more than a plodder. But plod away he will on the Redskins low volume offense.

While his ceiling his low, AP's ADP does not accurately reflect his role. He is the starting running back for an NFL team. He's the definition of unexciting, but as we saw in 2018, he can volume his way to RB2 numbers when the game script allows for it. Derrius Guice is still not fully recovered from multiple surgeries to repair his torn ACL. Given how early in the preseason he sustained the injury, there should be no concerns about his availability for the 2019 regular season. Yet, concerns persist. Even if Guice is able to play, I expect at the very least a timeshare with Peterson. If Guice suffers a setback or reinjures himself, then its 2018 all over again for AP, which is worth at least a 10th round pick.

 

Peyton Barber (RB, TB)

Another plodder with very little athletic ability is Peyton Barber. He is here due to circumstance. He is the starting running back for what projects to be one of the league's better offenses, and he is the favorite for goal-line carries. He was 10th in the league in red-zone touches in 2018. Most importantly, he has one of the least talented running backs in the NFL behind him in Ronald Jones.

Barber's receiving upside is capped by the presence of Bruce Arians darling, Andre Ellington, but Barber wasn't relevant much in the receiving game last year anyway. Barber has a 12th-round ADP and should be safe to project for over 200 touches. I do not buy the Ronald Jones hype, because to put it as simply as I can, Jones is terrible at football and shouldn't be in the NFL. He is that bad. Barber is nothing special, but he's at least replacement level, and that is good enough if he is getting the volume.

 

Mike Davis (RB, CHI)

The forgotten man in the Bears backfield. Tarik Cohen is the exciting playmaker. David Montgomery is the exciting rookie. Mike Davis is just some guy the team signed that no one cares about. Davis is actually a very solid player. He has a three-down skill set and is no lock to cede his role to the rookie. I do think Montgomery will usurp Davis in short order, but what if he doesn't or suffers injury?

Davis is literally going undrafted right now. If Davis ends up with even a 40% opportunity share and goal-line work for an offense that has 250 carries vacated by Jordan Howard's departure, he will have fantasy value. If either Montgomery or Cohen was to get hurt, Davis could step in for either of them. Sure, there would be a drop off in productivity, especially if he was replacing Cohen, but the opportunity would be there. You can put Davis on your bench, see how the first couple weeks play out, and either you have something, or you drop him at the cost of nothing.

 

Donte Moncrief (WR, PIT)

I hesitate to say anything positive about Donte Moncrief because it pains me to do so. I do not think he is particularly good at football. However, we have seen him excel in the red zone before, catching seven touchdowns in nine games with Andrew Luck in 2016. The Steelers have a huge vacancy at the WR2 position. It could be James Washington, Diontae Johnson, or Donte Moncrief. The Steelers WR2 will have fantasy value. It may be a week to week thing. It may be one guy that takes the job.

The reason Moncrief is the one on this list is that there is nothing exciting about Moncrief. Washington is entering his second season and was the presumed player to hype up once Antonio Brown was traded. Johnson is a rookie, and everyone loves rookies. Moncrief kind of gets lost in the shuffle. We should have more clarity on this as draft day nears, but, for now, Moncrief belongs in the conversation just as much as anyone. If he could somehow find his way to 90 Ben Roethlisberger targets, he would be sure to shatter his 11th round ADP value.

 

Dak Prescott (QB, DAL)

Last, but certainly not least, is a quarterback. When you hear the name Dak Prescott, you don't get excited. I mean, I do, because I'm a Cowboys fan, but from a fantasy perspective, Prescott really doesn't move the needle. Except, he should. Prescott's currently ADP is the QB17. That's absolutely ridiculous.

Prescott has been in the NFL for three seasons. Here are his seasonal finishes: QB7, QB10, QB17. But that QB17 finish last season is misleading as Prescott's performance significantly improved with the arrival of Amari Cooper. Depending on what quarterbacks you think qualify, Prescott was about the QB10 from Weeks 8-16, when he had Cooper.

The Cowboys have been a low volume passing offense, and Prescott has always found a way to be a QB1. He has the rushing cheat code. What if the Cowboys decide to throw a little more? What if Prescott is a little more efficient in scoring touchdowns? Prescott has a safe floor, and his ceiling is what we saw during his first seven weeks in 2017 when he was the overall QB1. Prescott's 11th round ADP isn't even entirely accurate. As the QB17, he can likely be had even later. He's not exciting, but he has a very high ceiling at very little cost.

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