|Kyle Orton appears to have a lock on the starting job in Denver this season.
The final rounds of a fantasy draft are where legends are born. Swipe this year’s Brandon Lloyd or Peyton Hillis at the end of your draft and your league mates will be talking about your fantasy acumen for years to come. Even more important than your newfound status as a fantasy god, you’ll substantially improve your chances of winning a championship.
In 2010, I pleaded with owners to draft the likes of Matt Cassel (27 TDs), Aaron Hernandez (breakout TE) and, yes, even super sleeper Mike Tolbert at the end of the draft. Sure there were misses (Legadu Naanee and Bernard Berrian) but the science of identifying late-round fliers is not about precision. It’s about upside and opportunity.
So let’s get started. Depending on the size of your league, the last few rounds of your draft probably begin around pick 130. For purposes of this article, I’ve identified players who meet three criteria:
1. Average Draft Position of 130 or higher (as of 8/24).
Favorable opportunity to turn in quality fantasy performances before Week 5.
Upside to become a consistent fantasy contributor.
Kyle Orton, QB, Broncos
Orton was a top 10 fantasy QB over the first half of the 2010 season. Yes, I know that pass-happy head coach Josh McDaniels is no longer calling the shots and new head coach John Fox would like to run more, but let’s not get carried away. Orton has several things working in his favor. First, the offensive coordinator and much of the playbook from 2010 remain in place. Second, Fox’s commitment to the run game didn’t prevent Jake Delhomme from having relevant fantasy seasons in Carolina. Third, as much as the Broncos want to run, they will be forced to pass. This is a team that allowed 23 or more points in 14 of 17 games last year. Denver’s defense is not going to drastically improve overnight. Early accounts suggest their run defense will be as bad or worse. Finally, I like Orton’s chances of starting quickly with home games against the Asomugha-less Raiders and woeful Bengals. He’s not going to lead your club to a championship on his own, but as part of a QB by committee, yeah, Orton is worth a shot.
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