With our What to Remember, Rookie Roundups, Sleeper Breakout & Bust, and Player Profiles all behind us, it’s time to take a step back and take our foot off the gas… or not. This week is fantasy football draft week, though you could argue that every week is draft week. We start off by taking a look, round-by-round, and sorting out the biggest boom-bust picks (early in your fantasy football draft these are the riskiest picks, but they become the high-upside guys later on) as well as the safest picks, the floor picks. We’ve gone through the risk-reward, boom-bust, low floor-high upside risky fantasy football draft picks in the first six rounds already, so it’s time to take a look at rounds seven through nine. These guys could make your good fantasy football draft into a great fantasy football draft, depending on their outcome.
Riskiest Pick, Round 7 – Derrius Guice, Washington Football Team (RB30, #78 overall)
I am calling this one the “riskiest pick free space” as Derrius Guice is one of the most talented college football running backs in recent memory. Unfortunately, since we last saw him at LSU in 2017, he’s torn an ACL, a knee meniscus, and sprained his MCL. All told, Guice has played five games in his first two years. That’s… not good. He had one good game out of those five, a 137-yard, two-touchdown effort against the Panthers last year. Unfortunately, his one good game came against the league’s worst run defense. Against teams that weren’t the literal worst last year, Guice averaged 3.625 yards per carry on 32 carries. There’s a significant downside to hitching your wagon to Guice, but if he can get back to the player we saw in college, he could be a league winner in the seventh round.
Riskiest Pick, Round 8 – Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TE11, #88 overall)
Rob Gronkowski was out of football entirely last season after medically retiring due to back issues that he could not shake. Prior to that, Gronk missed multiple games in each of the three prior seasons, and after his yards per catch peaked in 2016, it went down each of his last three seasons in the league, as did his catch rate (that’s an easter egg for people who go check out his stats on pro-football-reference). Still, the last time we saw Gronk he was TE8 in fantasy points per game, despite his constant injuries. He was the deepest-targeted tight end back in 2008.
My biggest trepidation with Gronk is that all of that could go out the window; Brady could just decide that Rob Gronkowski is getting the TE touchdown record and angle everything toward that. After all, his big difference between 2017 and 2018 was his touchdowns (3 in 2017 and 8 in 2018), which made the difference between his #24-ranked fantasy points per route run in 2018 and his #2 rank at the same stat in 2017. Gronk could end the year as TE21 or TE1, and neither would surprise me.
Riskiest Pick, Round 9 – Ke’Shawn Vaughn, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (RB40, #104 overall)
If you already read the safest pick version of this article, you saw why Vaughn is now a risky pick. Basically, all the helium balloons that got super inflated and carried his ADP up this draft season this year (better pass blocker than RoJo, better pass catcher than RoJo, etc) are getting popped one-by-one. First we get reports from Bruce Arians that RoJo will start as Tampa Bay’s #1 back, with Vaughn in a backup role. Then, Tampa Bay puts Vaughn on COVID-19 IR. At this point, we don’t know if he caught it, or if this is due to contact tracing. Either way, he starts behind the 8 ball, training camp wise.
This doesn’t even get into the mounting Ronald Jones Hype. He’s worked with a trainer all offseason, adding muscle, and has reportedly spent a lot of time working on his hands. There’s not much room left for Vaughn, a fourth-round pick, to shine his rookie year without some sort of injury.