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Six undervalued for fantasy football 2011

August 29, 2011

There are a lot of really good values in fantasy football this year. Really good running backs are falling into the second and third rounds, top wide receivers are falling to the third round, good quarterbacks abound.

Miles Austin, 28 – Austin managed to finish 13th among receivers in fantasy scoring last year, even though he lost his quarterback a third of the way into the season. But the loss of Romo didn’t hurt Austin much at all, as he put up five double-digit fantasy weeks after Romo’s Week 7 injury. Somehow Austin’s ADP has fallen faster than Obama’s approval rating, into the middle of the third round, behind DeSean Jackson and Mike Wallace – guys who are more reliant on the big play and less reliable on a week-to-week basis in fantasy football. Austin has put up back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons, totaling 18 touchdowns. In those two seasons Austin has more yards, catches and touchdowns than Jackson, and, just as important, had 119 targets in 2010, to Jackson’s 96. I’m a fan of Jackson and will probably roster him sometime this year, but Austin is the safer pick, less likely to be injured and more likely to produce consistently.

Felix Jones, 33 – One of my personal faves this year, along with Kendra Wilkinson and Selena Gomez, Jones finally has the Dallas backfield all to himself – mostly. He’s the No. 1 back in Dallas, but still has a couple guys behind him who could still carries. But Jones was able to showcase his talent in the second half of last season after Jason Garrett replaced Wade Phillips as head coach. In the eight games Garrett was the head man last year Jones averaged four more carries a game than he did in the season’s first half, 98 total yards a game and three catches a game. Against his division Jones averaged 4.7 yards a carry in six games. If Jones doesn’t make any improvements on his second-half numbers from last year and you extrapolate them over a full 16-game schedule Jones will amass almost 1,600 total yards this year. Throw in a few more touchdowns than his lone score last year and you’ve got fantasy gold in the fourth round.

Wes Welker, 41 – This is one of the biggest questions for me: How is Welker going so late in drafts? In his four years in New England Welker’s averaged 1,134 receiving yards and has 22 touchdowns. Welker is Brady’s security blanket and the king of consistency. Last year, in his worst year in New England, Welker had nine game of five or more catches, and eight games of 50 or more receiving yards. He’s not going to score that many touchdowns, but he’s going to be close to the league lead in receptions and maybe even receiving yards. As a third WR on your team he’s going to be great.

Jeremy Maclin, 63 – The 14th-ranked receiver in 2010 is currently going 25th among wideouts, partially, I assume, because of his medical scare earlier in August. But Maclin returned to camp over the weekend and it shouldn’t take long for him to get going in one of the better offenses in the league. The 23-year-old has averaged 55 yards a game in his first two years, and that number went up to 64 in the second half of last year. Maclin had only two clunkers last year while putting up 10 touchdowns and almost 1,000 yards. If it weren’t for DeSean Jackson we’d be talking about Maclin joining the elite group of receivers this year, but Maclin still should be in that group. He should be able to put up 1,000 yards this year, and while his touchdowns might come back to the six to seven range his seventh-round price tag is a great value.

Ben Roethlisberger, 68 – Currently the 10th quarterback drafted, Roethlisberger presents the best quarterback value in 2011. Tom Brady averaged 18 points a game in standard fantasy scoring last year. Roethlisberger averaged 16.75 points a game. Brady’s currently going 50 picks higher than Big Ben, with Rolex going 10 spots later. In the last two years Roeth has thrown 43 touchdowns and only 17 picks. He’s also thrown in four rushing touchdowns and 258 rushing yards. He’s already got a stud WR in Mike Wallace, two young guys in Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, both of whom came on strong late last year. And that’s without mentioning the rugged Hines Ward and Heath Miller. Roethlisberger has plenty of weapons, a great price tag and is only getting better.

Aaron Hernandez, 142 – I’m not sure if I’ll have Hernandez on any teams this year, but his low price tag makes him very appealing. The Patriots love to throw, and even with the surplus of targets at Brady’s disposal Hernandez is still very appealing. He actually out-caught, out-targeted and out-gained teammate Rob Gronkowski last year, even though Gronk was the better fantasy option due to his touchdowns. In seven of his 13 games Hernandez posted 45 or more receiving yards and managed to catch six TDs. Hernandez is able to line up out wide, which makes it more likely that he’ll be on the field for more snaps, thus producing more catches, yards and hopefully touchdowns. I wouldn’t count on A-Her as a No. 1 tight end, but snapping him up at the end of a draft would be a wise move, especially if you can play two tight ends.

 

 

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