Fantasy football players you're drafting too late: Marlon Mack

So you're about to have your fantasy draft. Or you're thinking about doing a fantasy draft. If you already had your draft, sorry 'bout your luck. You shoulda hit me up sooner to do this. Not that I would have ... but at least you would've asked. And that would have been nice. Sorry, where was I?

Right ... drafts. Anyway, when you're prepping for your upcoming leagues, there are probably more than a few players that you're considering adding to your board. I'm here to tell you that you might be doing it wrong. That's okay, no judgment. We've all been there. Allow me to offer some constructive criticism. Over the next few days I'm serving up a few players that you're probably waiting too long to draft. They might not be league winners but by the end of the season, you'll be glad you have 'em. No need to thank me. Just doing my job.

Let's get started.

ADPs taken from Fantasy Football Calculator.

Marlon Mack (RB16, ADP: 3.07)

Last summer, Colts owner Jim Irsay had the nerve to say out loud in front of reporters that he believed that running back Marlon Mack could approach 1,500 yards for the season. And it was printed ... on Al Gore's Internet, even. In response, the Internet made jokes. That part was probably to be expected. The Internet hates everything.

Then a funny thing happened … Mack turned out to be pretty good. Maybe he didn't approach 1,500 yards but let's do a little #maths (I promise it won't be complicated). Mack's 1,011 scrimmage yards over 12 games works out to a little more than 84 yards per game. Stretch that across a full 16 games and Mack is right around 1,350 yards -- quite a bit closer to Irsay's preseason prediction. So maybe we should cut the old man some slack.

(Narrator: The Internet rarely ever cuts anyone some slack.)

If there was a knock on Mack last season, it was a lack of consistency. That Week 7 and 8 run with more than 60 combined fantasy points sure was nice. That stretch from Weeks 10 through 14 when he posted a total of 46.9 points? Not so much.

Cut through the noise to find the signal. When the Colts were winning, Mack was better. I know that's not a novel concept, but it is important. In Indy's 10 wins when Mack was healthy, he averaged 37 snaps, 19 touches, and 88.5 yards per game. In the two losses he played in, those numbers dropped to 25 snaps, 11 touches, and 63 yards.

And before the analytics crowd accuses me of suggesting something untoward, I'm not saying the Colts were winning BECAUSE they were giving Mack the ball. Rather, when the Colts are winning, they WILL give Mack the ball. Then again, that's also the point. For a player on a team expected to win 10 games for the second straight year, it's encouraging to know that the opportunity will again be there.

Alas, because fantasy managers can never know pure happiness, there's the matter of Frank Reich reminding everyone that Nyheim Hines still exists. Yep, Hines will still occupy space in Indy's (likely) prolific passing game although that role might not be as great as it was last season. Yet the important part is that Mack remains "the main guy" on a team that professes to want to run more this year.

(Narrator: Most coaches profess a desire to run more in August.)

Through it all, Mack averaged 17.7 touches per game -- slightly less than Alvin Kamara and more than Dalvin Cook and Aaron Jones. He's also projected to be the "closer" on a team that should post more wins than Leonard Fournette and the Jaguars (which sounds like a pretty cool garage rock band, btw). Marlon Mack might not be the fantasy hero you want but he's the fantasy hero you deserve.

Marcas Grant is a fantasy analyst for NFL.com and a man who is thankful for the selective amnesia that allows you to forget the confusion of infancy. Send him your parenting insights or fantasy question on Twitter @MarcasG.

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