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Get Out of Jail Free Draft Picks
Kevin Ratterree
August 18, 2009
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It happens to all of us. We find ourselves scooping up bargains at our draft, sometimes straying from our draft plan to do so. Suddenly we find ourselves in the later rounds with a glaring hole in our lineup. Panic sets in when we realize that it is the 7th round and we have only drafted one wide receiver. Or it’s the 9th round and we still don’t have quarterback or a tight end. Fear not faithful Huddlers, here are a few players that might get you out of a tight spot.

Quarterback

Matt HasselbeckSeveral options at this position and I would head the list with Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck suffered through an injury riddled Seahawks season last year, and finds himself out of favor with the fantasy crowd. But he returns healthy with the best of crew of receivers he has had in some time (if not ever) and a tasty looking schedule for ‘09, Hasselbeck is a prime comeback candidate. In most drafts he can be had in the 9th round and sometimes much later depending on how quick QBs come off the board, yet has the potential to put up top ten numbers.

Ben Roethlisberger is another guy that can be had later in fantasy drafts. Big Ben is being drafted in the same neighborhood as Hasselbeck. Roethlisberger is not really thought of as a great passer. He doesn’t put up monster numbers on a regular basis, and his team is all about clock control and running the ball. That being said, he ended up about the 15th ranked QB and only about 25 points off the pace set by Tony Romo in ‘08, though Tony Romo was drafted a lot higher than Roethlisberger. The two years previous, Roethlisberger was a top ten quarterback in fantasy football. It is not unreasonable to think that he can get there again, especially with a running game that looks a bit sketchy and a schedule that does not look imposing.

And if you get caught napping past both of those guys as well Kyle Orton is waiting. Granted, Orton doesn’t have the pedigree of the other two guys on this list, but the new head coach thought enough of him to throw away the franchise quarterback in favor of him. Orton has a couple of first class receiver talents to throw to and a brand new first round pass catching running back to dump the ball off to. The Broncos defense doesn’t figure to be shutting anybody down this season so Orton could have some big games out of necessity.

Running Back

Well, you won’t find too many dependable running back options slipping through the cracks. Running back hording is often what leads to you needing the players on this list. That being said, I think there are a couple of guys that might be worth mentioning.

LenDale White is in a contract year and showed up to camp 30 lbs. lighter and probably thinking a bit more clearly after giving up his tequila hobby. While Chris Johnson figures to get the lion’s share of carries, White will be the man at the goal line and will have an excellent chance of scoring on any given week. Probably not a guy you would want to rely on in a PPR league, but if the rest of your lineup is strong, he probably won’t be the kind ta' kill ya' most weeks.  Pun intended.

Justin Fargas keeps getting pushed to the back of the line. While it is hard to get excited about any member of the black and silver, Fargas presents little to no risk being drafted well after his more highly touted teammates McFadden and Bush, and has just as good a chance as either of those guys of leading his team in fantasy rushing relevance. Keep in mind, that even in PPR leagues McFadden only outscored Fargas by 25 points last season. In a recent draft I participated in McFadden went in the 5th round and Fargas in the 14th round. The fantasy community seems to assume that McFadden is going to take a larger share of the workload this season, I’m not so sure that will be the case. Fargas was listed ahead of McFadden on the first team depth chart release for whatever that is worth.

Wide Receiver

Hines Ward is getting up there in age as is Derrick Mason. But both are likely to lead their respective teams in receptions this season, and in PPR leagues consistent possession receivers like this are fine additions to your roster. Though both can be had around the 7th round it would surprise nobody if either of these guys ends up a top 25 receiver in fantasy points. If you can get past their age and odometer readings, these guys are just like your grandpa’s dependable Olds 88. Not real exciting, but they can get you where you want to go.

Nate Burleson looked like a potential stud in the making before his season ending injury last season. All reports are that he is doing well with his recovery and shining in camp. I grabbed Burleson in the 12th round of a recent draft, and though I suspect he will be considerably more expensive in a couple of weeks he will still present possible WR2 value at a WR4 price.

Tight End

I think there are two tight ends that are being drafted around the 10th round or later that have a real good chance of cracking the top ten. Vicente Schiancoe and Zach Miller are certainly not secrets in the fantasy world, most players figure these guys as good sleepers. But the position is fairly deep this season so lesser known players like these can be had particularly cheap in most drafts. I’m not sure I would go into a draft targeting either of these guys, but if the rest of my team is strong I could live with one of these “get out of jail free” options.

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