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Finding 2014 Fantasy Value: QBs And RBs

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At 31 is Frank Gore still worth the risk? Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.
At 31 is Frank Gore still worth the risk? Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images.

A good portion of my articles this offseason have been about players that you shouldn't draft; this article will be exactly the opposite. I'll be highlighting players that I feel can be had for less than their actual value. As in the past, I'll break it up into two slide shows, first addressing quarterbacks and running backs, then in a later piece taking care of the wide receivers and tight ends.

A lot of similar articles tend to focus on "sleepers" like Latavius Murray or Christine Michael. Unfortunately, when everybody is touting the same players as sleepers, they're no longer sleepers and instead they get overdrafted. The benefit of this is that it allows those of us who stay above the fray to scoop up values much later than they should be had.

Ask anyone about their strategy when drafting a quarterback and they'll likely tell you they're going to wait. In practice, most of your league mates will wait while three owners (yes, exactly three) will jump the gun and take Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers early. Then your draft will proceed, and another quarterback won't go until the fifth round or so. Between the start of the fifth and the end of the seventh round, another five to six quarterbacks will go off the board. At this point, you're one of the only teams without a quarterback, and you're in a staring contest with the other stubborn holdouts. Don't blink, hold off for as long as you can. Unless you're in an exceptionally large league or playing in a 2-QB format, there's still no reason to waste a precious pick on a quarterback. The list of quarterbacks that follow should still be available at that point and all represent legitimate every week options.

As far as running backs go, I can only say grab them early and often. Once you get past the fifth round you should take a break and address other needs, returning to running backs later on. Any back you pick here will more than likely be a reach while you leave other more valuable players - wide receivers specifically - on the board. Do you really want to gamble your sixth round pick on Frank Gore? He's been reliable, but even the sturdiest back breaks down sooner or later. At that same pick, you have the chance to grab Rob Gronkowski, T.Y. Hilton, or Roddy White. None without risk, but none with as much as Gore. With that in mind, I'll look at some running backs who can be had several rounds later, and in my mind represent significantly more value while also freeing up some other picks in the preceding rounds.