If you look at who’s currently being drafted in the 10th round, there is a ton of potential, but a lot of uncertainty. At this point in the draft, I start looking for players who have the most upside. I understand there is risk at this point, but since all of them are risky, I usually go for who I think has the highest ceiling. The 10th round actually presents some great options, and embodies the players who have every-week starter potential, but can very well end up being a player who you can’t depend on. I think this round is full of guys who have more reasons to draft them than not, and I will personally have a tough time choosing one out of this group. This is the first of two articles in the Late Round Upside series, where I look at late round value that could possibly turn out to have some serious upside season. I’m using Fantasy Football Calculator as my source for these ADPs.
Jonathan Stewart – 10.01 – Upside: Low-end RB2
Ron Rivera and the coaching staff apparently have said that Jonathan Stewart’s role doesn’t change even with Christian McCaffrey in the fold. Jonathan Stewart also isn’t concerned and has voiced his support for the addition of McCaffrey. With that blurb, I do expect Stewart’s ADP to rise for now since we don’t have anything else to go off of. Not only that, but Stewart did get an extension, and is going to make about $8 million this year. That doesn’t sound like bench warming numbers to me. Ron Rivera also came out and said that they plan on using Cam Newton less as a runner; this means more rushing opportunities for Stewart and more goal line opportunities. Remember last year when Newton got hurt on that goal line carry against the Falcons? They don’t want that to happen again to their franchise QB, and we’ve seen them tone down his runs in the next game after that incident last season. There’s also a possibility of having both McCaffrey and Stewart on the field, with McCaffrey lining up in the slot and possibly being one of the quick-hit receivers that Newton depends on. There are a slew of opportunities for Stewart to keep a very significant role in this offense, and in the 10th round, I would take his low-end RB2 upside.
Corey Coleman – 10.02 – Upside: High-end WR2
Corey Coleman is arguably the most talented wide receiver to come out of last year’s draft. He was hurt for a good part of last season, and when he played he was the second or third option in a bad offense. The Browns still don’t have a good offense, but they also lost their self-proclaimed #1 wide receiver in Terrelle Pryor. Pryor was able to cross the 1000-yard mark on 140 targets. Coleman is much more talented as a wide receiver when it comes to route running, creating separation, and the nuances of the position. He can grab the ball at any point even at his size, and can make acrobatic catches. He’s not a big body like Pryor, but if he can get 120+ targets this year as the new #1, he can provide great value. Coleman is a playmaker and can take it to the house at any point. He has the potential to be a high-end WR2, so I’m willing to take the risk on him in the 10th round. With that said, we have to keep in mind that he currently has a hamstring injury. He needs to come back for training camp and preseason fully healthy before I can gamble on him, because there are a lot of guys I like here in the 10th round.
Marvin Jones – 10.03 – Upside: WR1
We saw what Marvin Jones did at the beginning of last year, and then we saw him crashing back to nothingness. From Weeks 1-4, he had 23 receptions for 482 yards and 2 TDs. He nearly had 21 yards per reception! Ridiculous. We know he has the ability, and Stafford had a real connection with him, and for whatever reason, he had less yards the rest of the season and the same amount amount of TDs than he did in those first 4 weeks; he had 32 receptions for 448 yards with 2 TDs over the remaining 12 games. We see the potential, and if we’re drafting him here, we extrapolate the numbers and hope that he can get it done for longer than 4 weeks. This is Jones’ second year in the offense, second year with Stafford, and I think they will find a way to get him and Golden Tate involved in the offense at the same time. One thing to note was that the Lions had the least amount of offensive drives per game at 156. The Bears were next lowest at 171, so I believe that its an outlier season for them. With more drives comes more opportunity. I wouldn’t mind taking Jones in the 10th because if he maintains similar numbers throughout the season, he could be a WR1.
Zach Ertz – 10.04 – Upside: TE1
Zach Ertz was third in PPR points per game last year behind Jordan Reed and Travis Kelce. He’s being drafted behind a bunch of tight ends, but he can deliver high-end TE1 numbers in PPR. There are more weapons in Philadelphia, and that could take away from his targets, but I think since that offense got better, he will see an improved quality in those targets. He had a nice rapport with Carson Wentz, and I see his receptions and yards remaining very similar. His touchdown number can only go up in my opinion, so we’re looking at a steal in the 10th round. He’s a great late tight end to draft while stocking up on RBs and WRs.
Philip Rivers – 10.05 – Upside: QB1
Rivers has been very consistent over the years. From 2008 and onwards, with the exception of 2012, Rivers has averaged at least 21 FPPG. This year, he has Keenan Allen back, has a big target in Mike Williams, he has built a rapport with Tyrell Williams, Hunter Henry is coming into his second year, and he still has Melvin Gordon to dump the ball off to. I see this offense taking a step forward, and Rivers should throw less interceptions this year. I’m a big fan of waiting on QBs in the draft, stocking up on RBs and WRs, and then drafting a guy like Rivers, who should be a QB1 every year, and has the potential to being a top-5 QB this year with these weapons around him.
Adam Thielen – 10.07 – Upside: WR3
Thielen surprised a lot of people last year; he was actually very fantasy relevant on a team that we didn’t think could support more than one fantasy wide receiver. Thielen has his breakout game Week 5 against the Texans where he had 7 receptions for 127 yards and a TD. From Weeks 10 through 15, he had 36 receptions for 507 yards and 3 TDs. Those are very solid numbers, but this is including a 15-target, 12-reception for 202 yards and 2 TD game against the Packers. We can see his ability when relied upon, and in PPR he can be a great asset in an offense that is improving. In the 10th round, I’m all over him to become a WR3/flex player.
Terrence West – 10.09 – Upside: Low-end RB2
Terrence West is currently the starting running back for the Ravens. Kenneth Dixon isn’t going to be back until Week 5, and it will be West’s job to lose after that. Danny Woodhead has a lot of value in this offense as the primary pass-catching RB, but West will do most of his work on early downs along with goal-line work. West is worth drafting at this spot based on those first four games alone; If you throw him in your flex with the other two better RBs you drafted, you potentially have three workhorses in those first four weeks starting for you, and that gives you a great chance to come out of at least three of those weeks with a win. Dixon has the most to prove in this offense, and when he comes back, I think West still has a big role. We saw last year that West remained the starting RB throughout the year, even while Dixon was completely healthy. Senior offensive assistant and well-respected NFL coach Greg Roman said that he’s “…very excited about Terrance West. I’m looking forward to him toting the rock this year.” That should tell you that they plan on using West heavily. With the type of work that I think is coming West’s way, he could end the year as a RB2.
Tyrell Williams – 10.11 – Upside: WR3
Everyone thinks Tyrell Williams will disappear in this Chargers offense with the addition of rookie WR Mike Williams and with Keenan Allen coming back from injury, which is a totally legitimate thought. When Steve Smith got hurt in 2015, Kamar Aiken became the guy and almost amassed 1000 yards, but disappeared the following season once Smith returned. This could totally happen to Williams, but we have to take into account how Mike Williams comes back from his back injury, whether the rapport Tyrell built with Rivers was only short term, and how the team views Tyrell as a long term player. This pick is obviously a gamble, but Williams made some big plays last year and was one of the most consistent fantasy WRs. According to PFF, he had the second most yards per route run from the slot outside of Jordy Nelson. It’s very possible that Rivers continues to look his way this year. He has the potential to be a WR3/Flex player with upside.