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 as well as the safest picks, the floor picks. These guys aren’t the ones in your fantasy football draft who are likely to set the world on fire, but they are the ones likely to stick around your roster the longest.
We’ve reached the ending rounds of the draft, so nobody is safe, only safer (a line that has kicked around in my brain for a decade and a half from Max Brooks’ Zombie Survival Guide. These guys can help your roster from falling apart like a decaying zombie if you went upside play after upside play in the first twelve rounds. These guys aren’t likely to make your fantasy football draft room stand up and take notice on draft day, but they could be the difference between a win or a loss in a bye week or if a player goes down with an injury. To be honest, I am not a fan of going safe late in drafts; WR40 hamstrings you to hang onto a guy, but if you go risk-reward late in your fantasy football draft, you can have WR4.
Safest Pick, Round 13 – Jared Goff, L.A. Rams (QB20, #147 overall)
Jared Goff righted the ship last season after a full calendar year of desperately scratching and clawing at trying to have decent, consistent fantasy football production. He’s a boring pick here, a boring quarterback who will boringly provide you with QB10 to QB15 weekly value. He’s a paste you can use to paper mâché over a potentially more inconsistent roster, but he likely isn’t going to have a ton of upside. Goff’s value is suppressed because the Rams desperately tried to square peg-round hole a situation with Brandin Cooks that wasn’t working.
Once the Rams turned to Tyler Higbee last year, Goff took off. Prior to the Rams focusing on Higbee, Goff paced out for 4,356 passing yards, 16 touchdowns and an overwhelming 17 interceptions. That’s unusable in all formats. After Higbee rose to prominence, Goff still threw a lot of picks (four in five games) but paced out for 5,258 passing yards and 35 touchdowns. The constipated Rams offense flowed free in the last five games of the year, and Goff was a major beneficiary. He should be a safe floor play in 2020.
Safest Pick, Round 14 – Jack Doyle, Indianapolis Colts (TE19, #166 overall)
Jack Doyle isn’t exciting like T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, or Mike Gesicki. But man, is Jack Doyle productive. He gets a blanket pardon for 2019 like all Colts do for having Andrew Luck suddenly retire. But, he is getting drafted off of that production. In 2017 and 2018, he was a consistent, weekly backend tight end option for your fantasy football leagues. He’s a tight end version of Jared Goff. He will always provide you with a usable week, and he’s sitting out there, for free, in all leagues.
Doyle is an afterthought in drafts that you can use to pair with one of those upside guys in case they crater. Doyle isn’t exciting, but he will get a lot of production in a Colts offense with a lot of question marks in their pass catchers. He’s about to become a poor man’s Delanie Walker in Walker’s time with Tennessee: annually underdrafted because he just isn’t that exciting.
Safest Pick, Round 15 – Blake Jarwin, Dallas Cowboys (TE20, #172 overall)
Blake Jarwin has the easiest path to 80+ targets out of any tight end going in the back-third of fantasy football drafts. He had 41 last season while playing in Jason Witten’s (83 targets) shadow. If he gets half of those, he’s right above 80 targets. The Cowboys have plenty of targets up for grabs, with Jarwin and CeeDee Lamb primed to be the main beneficiaries. He should have a good PPR floor, with the potential to boom as coverages scramble to cover Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, and CeeDee Lamb. Jarwin isn’t a slouch, either, sitting between Travis Kelce and Mark Andrews in the yards per target rankings for 2019. He is free, and could provide nice, consistent backend TE1 production… or be a weekly slam dunk for you. Either way, he’s safe.