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 twelve rounds by fantasy football draft average draft position. Now, we get to our extreme boom-bust, late-round fliers with our riskiest picks in rounds 13 through 15.
There are no risky round 13 through 15 picks in any fantasy football draft, since that’s where you take your fliers, so think of these as boom-bust sleepers for the 2020 fantasy season.
Riskiest Pick, Round 13 – Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals (QB18, #145 overall)
There are a lot of guys I like late in drafts, and several of them are in round thirteen (Zack Moss, Jalen Reagor, Duke Johnson, for example). But Burrow gets the nod here because slotting a rookie QB into your starting QB slot without a preseason or a real training camp is bold. Is bold the right word? References to a fourteen-year-old episode of a TV show aside, it would be silly to toss Joe Burrow right into the fire in his first few weeks in the league. If you did it with a WR or an RB, you could bury them as being “passable” as an RB2 or WR3 if they bust out early. You get one QB and a cratering from your QB can bury your whole week.
Then again, it could be the sort of thing that gets your team off to a hot start in a 2QB league. He gets a rough defense in week one (L.A. Chargers), but then gets the Browns, Eagles and Jaguars in weeks two through four. Those are beatable defenses. You’ll know pretty much right away if Burrow’s insane 2019 LSU season can be approximated in the NFL. If he doesn’t get off to a hot start throwing, his legs can give him a nice floor to offset your… bold… choices.
Riskiest Pick, Round 14 – Boston Scott, Philadelphia Eagles (RB52, #162 overall)
There are a few facts that are currently tearing apart the fantasy football community. First, that Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson loves to go running back by committee (RBBC). That one I might have a quibble with. The second fact is that the Eagles don’t have a deep RB with which to enact that RBBC. That isn’t in doubt; there’s Miles Sanders, Boston Scott, and… probably Corey Clement? It falls off a cliff quickly, but Clement is the closest to a good RB3 they have there. The third fact is that Boston Scott played well at the end of the year last year.
So, you put all that together and you have a head coach who wants to use multiple backs. His RB room is thinner than the line between an Eagles fan eating horse poop and not eating horse poop. Also, he has a guy in the room who played well last year when given the opportunity. Those are all true facts… except for the last one.
Boston Scott Truthers like to point out that he only had significant snaps starting in week fourteen. After that point, he paced out for 1,400 total yards and sixteen touchdowns. While this is technically true, they hope that you don’t look much closer than that. Scott had 138 yards in week seventeen, scoring three touchdowns after Miles Sanders went out with an injury. He did this in the second half against a hapless 4-12 Giants team that was just playing out the string at that point. If you pull that game, he still paces out for 1,130 yards, but only five touchdowns. Still a worthy add, but not quite the world-beater his acolytes make him out to be.
Riskiest Pick, Round 15 – Nyheim Hines, Indianapolis Colts (RB56, #177 overall)
This round is full of boom-bust players by ADP, as people stake their claims on guys they want to see early, thus skipping the potential waiver add on them early in the year. This includes Drew Lock, N’Keal Harry, Justin Jackson, Allen Lazard, and Michael Pittman. The guy I want to stake my claim to (other than Harry, Jackson, and Lazard… hmm) is Nyheim Hines. Hines had a down 2019 season, just like every other player who wore an Indianapolis Colts uniform last year. But his rookie year in 2018 showed a lot of signs of life that make me encouraged for him in a third-fiddle role with Jonathan Taylor and Marlon Mack.
In 2018, Hines ranked #22 among RB red zone touches and was a top-35 running back in points per game. Why? He ranked top-ten in targets and receptions that year. He notched just 85 carries, but his target volume ruled the day for his value in PPR and half-PPR leagues. That should be his calling card again in 2020. In no just world should Hines beat out either Mack or Taylor for starting RB duties, but he should have the pass-catching role on lockdown. Philip Rivers gives about 14% of his targets to a running back year over year. This gave guys like Danny Woodhead value. Remember him? That could be Nyheim Hines in 2020, and he’s basically free. That’s his upside.
What’s his downside? Well, if Jonathan Taylor learns to catch, Hines gets buried and you have a free roster spot to play with!