Skip to main content

2015 fantasy football draft kit: Bargains

Who doesn't like a good deal right? People don't like paying full price for anything, even if that "thing" is pretty awesome.

Case and point, earlier this summer I ponied up and bought myself a monster 65-inch, 4K television. I should be totally stoked right? Well, here's the problem. Summertime is generally known to be a terrrrrrible time to buy televisions, and while I got a few hundred bucks knocked off, for all intents and purposes they got me to pay full fare.

I was happy, obviously. Just not as happy as I would have been if I had the patience to wait six months and had purchased the same set for a grand less.

The point I'm making here is that in fantasy, yes, drafting an Andrew Luck or a Jamaal Charles with a super high pick is nice ... but it's even better if you can find the next Andrew Luck or Jamaal Charles later in drafts.

So with that in mind, here are our top draft bargains for 2015:

David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Don't let the generic name fool you, this dude's game is anything but nondescript. Out of the mighty Missouri Valley Conference, the Northern Iowa product is a physical beast. Standing at 6-foot-1, 225 pounds, Johnson posted stupid combine numbers. A 4.50-second 40-yard dash, 41.5-inch vertical, 10-foot broad jump and 25 reps on the bench. Our resident draft expert, Mike Mayock, loves him. But more importantly, the Arizona Cardinals love him, spending a third-round pick to bring him to their squad.

Now, I know what you're thinking, the Cardinals already have Andre Ellington, dummy! To which I would reply, Jeremy Hill. Remember when Cincinnati already had an emerging star in Gio Bernard and then surprisingly took Hill in the second round? Hill emerged as the workhorse back and the Bengals ended up with an awesome two-back rotation. I see a similar situation developing in the desert. Not only does Johnson have all of the physical characteristics of a stud early-down back, he is a proven and capable receiver as well. I think Johnson will eventually find himself being drafted in Round 10 or later, but given his size, speed, strength and hands, Johnson has first, yes, FIRST-round potential.

Jeremy Hill, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: Look I get it, he's in a timeshare with Gio Bernard but my god, did you see the path of destruction he laid down on defenders last year as a rookie? I'd gladly take Hill over Justin Forsett, Mark Ingram and even Arian Foster. I think Hill's price will vary greatly, but if he's sitting there in Round 3, I don't care if you went RB-RB in Rounds 1 and 2, go and get him and figure out trades later.


Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants: Many forget that Manning posted top-10 fantasy numbers last year, and will overlook him again in 2015. But consider the following: Manning has another year of experience in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo's system (a system he was still adjusting to last year), another year of Odell Beckham Jr., and, oh yeah, he gets his favorite target back from injury in Victor Cruz. His current ranking would suggest he'll be going extremely deep in drafts, but if I could swing him in the 10th, I would think I hit a home run. In my mind, he's a lock to be a top-10 guy again, with the upside of being just outside the top five.

Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons: I don't know how much digital ink I can spill extolling the virtues of Tevin Coleman in a Kyle Shanahan one-cut scheme in Atlanta. So here's some more analysis from Michael Fabiano. I have him rated as a top-15 back, well ahead of Darren McFadden, Frank Gore, LeGarrette Blount, Chris Ivory, Lamar Miller and any running back in a Cleveland uniform. I give him a third-round grade, meaning if you can snake his services in the fifth or sixth, huge dividends could be had.

Chris Conley, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Another diamond in the rough, Conley has a bunch of things going for him. He's a HUGE Star Wars fan, having written and directed a 30-minute fan film dedicated to the light sabers and such. He's also a physical freak. Conley looked liked a kid in a podracer running a 4.35-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. And Conley may have been wearing Boba Fett's jetpack when he flew up and recorded a 45-inch vertical. After 18 reps on the bench to boot, Conley suddenly caught scouts' attention. He wasn't hugely productive at Georgia, which is always cause for concern, but now as a Kansas City Chief, he has to beat out Jason Avant should have a clear path to play opposite Jeremy Maclin in Andy Reid's offense. Despite his SEC credentials, Conley will likely go undrafted in nearly all standard drafts. Taking a 13th-round flyer on a receiver that has high-end WR2 upside? Mmmm, wise it would be.

Latavius Murray, RB, Oakland Raiders: I think the coaching staff will take the reins off with Murray in 2015. If they do, he could provide top-10 running back numbers.

Vincent Jackson, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: I get the age concerns, but Jackson actually did collect 1,000 yards last year with an absolute mess at quarterback. With Jameis Winston back there this year, I can easily see V-Jax getting back to 1,200 yards and six to seven touchdowns. Those are excellent WR2 numbers.

Jaelen Strong, WR, Houston Texans: Perfect fit. He's the big, strong, physical receiver that will pair exquisitely opposite DeAndre Hopkins. Could a challenge be issued on NFL Fantasy LIVE involving women's footwear and Jaelen's production? I'd say there is a STRONG chance of that happening. I can easily see the Arizona State product catching 70 balls for 1,100 yards and five scores. You could do wayyyyy worse at the flex.

Julius Thomas, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars: It's not a huge bargain but still, seeing Thomas ranked behind Greg Olsen and Travis Kelce (of all people) has me scratching my head. Julius didn't lose his athleticism or hands going from the Rockies to the swamps. His new quarterback is a HUUUUUUUUGE downgrade, obviously, but Blake Bortles will need all the reliable targets he can get. For me it's a straight-up volume play. Who else is legitimately going to catch footballs in Jacksonville? Allen Robinson? Marqise Lee?? The fact that Thomas will be a talented safety blanket for a young quarterback means his floor is pretty darn high. I like him this year infinitely more than Olsen and think Thomas is a MUCH more stable play than Kelce.

Jay Ajayi, RB, Miami Dolphins: I get that his medicals came back not so good. Microfracture surgery may be needed in the future according to a couple different reports. But that is down the road. Not something a fantasy manager in a standard league really needs to worry about. He's good to go for this year, apparently, and that spells bad news for Lamar Miller. I've never been impressed with Miller's running style, and can see Ajayi taking over the job later in the season. He's absolutely worth a 13th-round flier and could be a tremendous value.

The NFL Fantasy LIVE podcast has returned! Listen in as our experts discuss 2015 sleepers, bargains, busts, draft strategy and more. Visit the Fantasy Draft Kit for more on what the gang discusses in the latest episode.

James Koh is the host of NFL Fantasy LIVE and an anchor for NFL Network. You can follow him on Twitter for fashion advice or to talk Star Wars @JamesDKoh.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.