Fantasy Football Draft Targets: Ranking the Best No-Hype Veterans to Draft and Build a Championship Team

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Every year fantasy players get hyped about the rookies, second-year breakouts, and young stars that they hope will propel their team to a fantasy championship.  But sometimes, it’s the “old” guys who come up big for you…the veterans who may seem like they are past their prime but somehow produce year in and year out.

Building a championship team always involves some risk-taking, but if you really want a shot at glory you should mix in a few proven veterans who will provide your team with consistency.

In this article, we will discuss some of the no-hype veterans going later in drafts that should help you in your quest to build a championship team.

ADPs come from our 12-team PPR ADP .  Stats come from Pro Football Reference .

David Johnson – Houston Texans (ADP 7.11, RB36)

Oh, David Johnson.  Every year I hope he returns to the 2016 form where he rushed/caught over 2000 yards total.  But every year I end up disappointed.  Injuries have unfortunately derailed the Johnson hype train many times, and although he has glimpses of greatness, he still hasn’t impressed.

Now the Texans are in turmoil, thanks to allegations made on starting Quarterback Deshaun Watson, and new Head Coach Dave Culley has stated he wants to focus on the run game.  They are trying to improve their offensive line as well, bringing in veterans like Center Justin Britt in hopes of supporting the new game plan.

The Texans also parted ways with pass-catching back Duke Johnson, which should open up some more targets for David Johnson, who already was targeted 46 times in 2020.

If the Texans truly rely on the run game in 2021, Johnson has a good shot at reaching 1000 yards rushing, if he stays healthy.  His pass-catching ability is well known, so he should see plenty of targets as well.  He may not reach the 2016 levels, but he has every chance to be a top-24 Running Back in 2021.

Note that Tyrod Taylor may be the starter come September, and a quick history check showed he targeted his Running Back LeSean McCoy 77 times in 2017 (the last time Tyrod was a full-time starter).  That bodes well for Johnson’s receiving stats.

Tevin Coleman – New York Jets (ADP 11.08, RB50)

Tevin Coleman is another veteran Running Back who was hyped early in his career, but never really produced thanks to multiple injuries.  His best seasons were in Atlanta as a tandem backfield with Devonta Freeman.  Once Freeman left, everyone expected Coleman to be a huge fantasy producer.  Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, and after a relatively disappointing season, Coleman left Atlanta to reunite with Kyle Shanahan as a 49er.

It didn’t get much better there.   Coleman spent two seasons in San Francisco and barely played in 2020.  He finished with 28 carries for 53 yards…ouch.

So you may be asking at this point why the heck I’m including Coleman on this list.  Well, Running Backs are a rare commodity and people are rushing to draft rookie Michael Carter, who the Jets drafted in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.  It seems as though fantasy players have decided already who will win the starting role, since Carter is going in the sixth round, compared to the 11 th round for Coleman.

Coleman is a solid rusher with good pass-catching abilities.  If he can stay healthy, he should compete rather well with the fourth-round rookie.  The Jets are also rid of Adam Gase, so it’ll be interesting to see if their offense can flourish.  In the 11 th round, Coleman is a solid veteran pick that doesn’t hurt you too badly if he himself gets injured.  Otherwise, he could be a solid performer as your third or fourth fantasy Running Back.

T.Y. Hilton – Indianapolis Colts (ADP 12.06, WR55)

I still have faith in T.Y. Hilton going into 2021, even with the very recent news of Quarterback Carson Wentz’s foot injury.  Hilton has struggled the past two seasons, but you could place some blame on the inconsistent Quarterbacks position.

Hilton’s last productive season came in 2018, where he caught 76 passes for 1270 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Over the last two seasons, he’s combined for 1263 yards and 10 touchdowns.  His touchdowns are actually very consistent, going from a low of four to a high of seven throughout his entire nine-year career.

Hilton is a veteran presence on a young offense that just got younger (unless the Colts trade for a veteran Quarterback), and he will get Wentz back at some point this season.  Fellow Wide Receivers Zach Pascal and Michael Pittman Jr didn’t really wow either, so it still is Hilton’s chance to command more targets.

A previous 1000-yard, pro-bowl receiver on a decent team is worth a shot this late in drafts.

Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers (ADP 14.02, WR60)

Randall Cobb’s ADP is probably going to skyrocket with the trade back to Green Bay (per Aaron Rodger’s demand), and rightfully so.  Now I can’t promise he will leapfrog Allen Lazard in terms of depth chart, but there is a reason Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wanted his buddy back in Green Bay.

Cobb was a key piece in the Green Bay offense from 2011 to 2018, but was plagued by injuries in the last few seasons…and that includes one season where Rodgers was lost due to a broken collarbone.

Cobb went to the Cowboys in 2019 and had a relatively productive fantasy year, catching 55 passes for 828 yards and 3 touchdowns.  In 2020 with the Texans, he didn’t really produce at all, ending his season on IR.

Now Cobb is back in Green Bay and reunited with his friend Aaron Rodgers.  If Cobb can win a spot on the field in August, he could be Rodger’s number two target behind Devante Adams.  Whatever the drama is, it seems like Rodgers is trying to bring the “squad” back together for one last Superbowl push.  If he plays better (or even the same) as last year, Rodgers will easily handle two 1000-yard receivers.

Cobb is a bit of a high-risk, high-reward veteran here thanks to his age and injury history, but with how crazy this offseason has been for the Packers, I’d venture to say it’s worth a shot.

John Brown – Las Vegas Raiders (ADP 14.08, WR68)

John Brown is another veteran Wide Receiver who was injured last year, making his ADP sink quite heavily this offseason.  He only played in 9 games in 2020 and managed 33 catches for 458 yards 3 touchdowns.  When he was healthy in 2019, he caught 72 passes for 1060 yards and 6 touchdowns, so you know he is capable of putting up solid receiving numbers.

Now Brown has gone to the Raiders, who lost leading Wide Receiver Nelson Agholor to free agency.  Obviously Tight End Darren Waller is still there, but Brown should easily replace Agholor, and you could argue that he is a better receiving option as well.

Quarterback Derek Carr has slowly improved in his passing, and if opposing defenses start clamping down on Waller he will have to look elsewhere to throw the ball.  Brown brings a veteran presence to a young receiving corps and is being drafted at the very backend of fantasy drafts.  Once again people are hyping up the young guys like Henry Ruggs, who really didn’t impress in his rookie season.  If you want a potential WR1 for an NFL team, Brown is not a bad option at his current ADP.

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