If you take a player that is otherwise not considered a producer at a later stage in the draft (past the 2nd round), you potentially could have found a diamond in the rough and have a team that is more likely to win. Doug Martin and Steph Curry are perfect examples. One an unproven rookie, the other an injury risk. Both being drafted in the second or third round of drafts and producing at top 3 levels in their respective positions. If you had either on your team last year, you probably fared well in your league, if not won outright.
If you want to take flyers on players you need to make sure you have a panoramic view of the situation surrounding the athlete and ask yourself hard questions.
A few good questions to ask yourself are (this applies to football and basketball):
- What is the offensive philosophy of the team? Do they like to spread the ball around or do they have that dude?
- Injuries. What kind of injuries has they player you are targeting had? Are they recurring (bad sign)? Or have they been freak accidents on different areas of the body?
- Is the athlete in a contract year (2013 hint: this guy)? One of my favorites. Underperforming players in contract years LOVE to perform for one year and ride into the sunset with their paycheck.
- Your position in the draft. If you are on the edges of the draft (1-4 or 9-12), do you reach for a player that likely won't make it back to you? Or if you are in the middle do you take a risk and hope that player makes it back around to you?
- Video. Watch highlights of a player. Is this player an under utilized hustle guy who will produce if given the chance? How athletically gifted is he?
- Does the player have a handcuff I can protect my investment with? Will I be able to trade him later down the road?
These are just a couple things you can take into consideration. There are many more factors that go into making decisions like where the athlete plays, keeping tabs with the local beat, etc. In the end, go with your gut and ignore all the noise. Don't be afraid to pull the trigger on someone people are overlooking. Ask yourself the question "Who will I have been most pissed off about that I didn't draft?".