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Fantasy Football: Brandon Marshall And The All-Equity Score Team

C.D. Carter identifies his top fantasy football draft targets who are most likely to provide more production than their ADP suggests.

Brandon Marshall
Brandon Marshall

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There’s a small but growing faction of fantasy football players who, for better or worse, are somewhat serious about what we’ll call the Late Round Everything approach.

Think of it as the ideological opposite of the summertime fixation on who we’re going to draft in the first and second rounds of our upcoming fantasy drafts. I’d say 90 percent of Twitter chatter in the weeks and months before real drafts really get underway revolve around the top-10 running backs, wide receivers, and, of course, Jimmy Graham.

Remember the flame wars about whether Brandon Marshall or A.J. Green was the superior option at the end of the first round or early second round of drafts? Well, five fantasy points separated the two pass catchers at year’s end. That’s the difference of .3 fantasy points per week.

The Late Round Everything acolyte has an unspoken desire to trade down in their various snake drafts, collecting ammunition for a middle-rounds blitz on value plays. That’s where I found myself in composing my Green Light Equity Score team, just weeks after creating my Red Flag Equity Score team. That team included the likes of Randall Cobb, Robert Griffin III, and Ladarius Green.

As a Late Round Everything-er, I had to force myself to focus on snagging safe guys in the first couple rounds of my drafts. The most equity, quite naturally, can be found in the middle and late rounds, where guys can far exceed their average draft positions (ADPs).

Below are the players I’m going to target throughout the 2014 draft season, barring injury or some unforeseen major spike in ADP. It’s not that I’ll sell my fake football soul to grab these guys — if a league mate wants them a round earlier than they’re going, that’s fine — but if they fall to me at reasonable prices, I shall invest, posthaste.

Player ADP Median equity score High equity score
Carson Palmer QB21 8 (QB13) 16 (QB5)
Rashad Jennings RB21 4 (RB17) 12 (RB9)
Ben Tate RB26 5 (RB21) 12 (RB14)
Brandon Marshall WR6 1 (WR5) 4 (WR2)
Jordy Nelson WR8 2 (WR6) 3 (WR5)
Michael Floyd WR23 6 (WR17) 11 (WR12)
Zach Ertz TE12 1 (TE11) 5 (TE7)

 

  • I’ve spilled a lot of digital ink this summer on Palmer, fantasy’s eighth highest scoring signal caller during the second half of the 2013 season. The wily veteran assimilated into Bruce Arians’ offense and excelled during a stretch that included all three brutal NFC West defenses. Palmer is almost free in re-draft, so I’m not taking him as an unquestioned every week starter (I also don’t think his high equity score is realistic, but it reflects a great range of outcomes). He’s a streamer — a foundational streaming asset. Andre Ellington‘s rise to Arizona starter is a not-insignificant boon for Palmer. Opposing defenses have a little more reason to be frightened of the electric Ellington than they did the King of Plodders, Rashard Mendenhall.
  • Tate, even if he falls into a fairly even timeshare with Terrance West, can easily justify his draft day price. The Browns will run and run and run some more in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, meaning Tate can still grab 250 touches if he’s used evenly with West. I think that’s a bigger if than most believe. Tate, for his part, seems determined to seize the starter’s role in Cleveland, and with decent per-touch efficiency, I have no doubt he can be a top-14 running back. My inclusion of Tate on this equity score all-star squad means I don’t think you’re going to get the same production from West, who’s being drafted two rounds later than Tate.
  • Marshall and Nelson are as safe as safe can get outside Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Alshon Jeffery is not primed to take over Marshall’s role as Jay Cutler‘s No. 1 guy in Marc Trestman’s offense. Marshall, while Cutler was under center in 2013, out-targeted Alshon by 14 and proved more efficient, scoring 1.9 fantasy points per target to Jeffery’s 1.6 points per target. I think Marshall’s high equity score is perfectly reasonable. Jordy was fantasy’s No. 5 wide receiver before Aaron Rodgers went down to injury last year. He cracked that first half top-5 with a mere 7.4 targets per game. Nelson is efficient and incredibly safe at his current ADP.
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