Who are your underrated/sleeper FF picks

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Who are your underrated/sleeper FF picks
Wed Jun 04, 2014 12:26 pm
  • Kendall Wright - Wright stepped up his 2nd year in the league - 1,079 yards, but only 2 TDs. IF Locker can stay healthy, I expect his TD numbers will see a big jump heading into his 3rd year.

    Cordarrelle Patterson - Not many receivers in the NFL have the physical upside like Patterson. A raw receiver coming out of Tennessee, Patterson could be looking at a Josh Gordan-like breakout season.

    DeAngelo Williams - Without a solid group of receivers and a below average Oline, DW could see a lot of all-purpose yards as Cam's check-down receiving option.

    Toby Gerhart - Playing backup most his career, Gerhart should be healthy enough to play as a 3 down back and a similar workhorse for Gus Bradley that Beast mode is to Pete Carroll. A RB looking at 250+ carries w/ goal-line production should be going earlier than his average draft position.

    Markus Wheaton - Outside of Antonio Brown, the Steelers don't have much for receivers. Weaton is in line to be the #2 guy in an offense that play much of their games from behind, relying on Big Ben and stat-padding numbers. Upside is worth a late rd pick.
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  • I'm a big fan of Andre Ellington in AZ. He's ranked fairly low right now but I think he could explode this year with more touches and their improved OL.
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  • Jordan Matthews
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  • I don't think Patterson is a sleeper at all. I pick WRs early so he won't be on my team, but he's a solid mid/late round pickup.

    Locker won't be healthy and I don't see the Titans scoring a lot of touchdowns. I like him as a player though and if he ever played with a real QB he'd be a threat.

    No thanks on Carolina RBs.

    I like Gerhart, but that team will once again be playing from behind early on and I don't know if I trust a guy who only has 1.3k career yards to do anything.

    I would say Andre Ellington, but he's not a sleeper either. With the majority of carries now going to him he's a legit top 8 RB.

    I think a true sleeper is Bishop Sankey, he's going to get a ton of carries and if the past few years have showed us anything it's rookie QBs do work. I'm also going to put my eggs in Tavon Austin's basket. I think they gave him a y ear to figure it out and he figure the game out, but that guy has too much talent to not be a true threat. Worried about his TD numbers though (like Patterson).
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  • If you're starting Jordan Mathews at any point next year your team is terrible.

    Here are some guys who look like values currently: Corderralle Patterson, Ellington, Bernard, Stacey, Monte Ball, Spiller, Richardson and Sankey. A lot depends on who gets hyped in the preseason and who doesn't.
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  • EverydayImRusselin wrote:I'm a big fan of Andre Ellington in AZ. He's ranked fairly low right now but I think he could explode this year with more touches and their improved OL.

    Good choice. It was pretty obviously Ellington was a better back than Mendenhall last year. This season he should have a good opportunity to take over the starting role. I'm also going to keep a close eye on Stepfan Taylor, the other 2nd year rb with Arizona. He didn't do much last year, but there was some talk of coaches really liking him. Could be a round 14 player I take a chance on.

    SacHawk2.0 wrote:Jordan Matthews

    I could see it. Matthews is one of the most NFL ready rookie receivers and in Philiy's system, its receivers score TDs, similar to Green Bay's system. Problem is, they spread the ball around so much it's hard to predict who/when.

    SonicHawk wrote:I don't think Patterson is a sleeper at all. I pick WRs early so he won't be on my team, but he's a solid mid/late round pickup.

    Locker won't be healthy and I don't see the Titans scoring a lot of touchdowns. I like him as a player though and if he ever played with a real QB he'd be a threat.

    No thanks on Carolina RBs.

    I like Gerhart, but that team will once again be playing from behind early on and I don't know if I trust a guy who only has 1.3k career yards to do anything.

    I would say Andre Ellington, but he's not a sleeper either. With the majority of carries now going to him he's a legit top 8 RB.

    I think a true sleeper is Bishop Sankey, he's going to get a ton of carries and if the past few years have showed us anything it's rookie QBs do work. I'm also going to put my eggs in Tavon Austin's basket. I think they gave him a y ear to figure it out and he figure the game out, but that guy has too much talent to not be a true threat. Worried about his TD numbers though (like Patterson).


    So Patterson isn't a sleeper cause you don't think he's that good or everyone knows about him? His average ranking I've seen is #20-24. He's a threat to break the top-15, even with a rookie QB. He doesn't need a downfield passing offense. Just put the ball in his hands and let him work.

    I like Sankey a lot, but don't be surprised when Shonn Green is stealing goaline carries.
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  • austinslater25 wrote:If you're starting Jordan Mathews at any point next year your team is terrible.

    Here are some guys who look like values currently: Corderralle Patterson, Ellington, Bernard, Stacey, Monte Ball, Spiller, Richardson and Sankey. A lot depends on who gets hyped in the preseason and who doesn't.


    Good list. I'm hesitant on Spiller and Bernard's average draft position. Spiller continues to get hurt and split carries with Fred Jackson and Bernard has a bit of a running back by committee going on there, too. They got Green-Ellis and drafted a good rookie in Jeremy Hill. Trent Richardson burned me big time last year. Ok he got a year to learn the playbook, but is it really just the playbook? He wouldn't be the first great college RB who busted at the next level.
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  • I admit it's tough putting TRich on there because he burned me too but I think he could bounce back in a bad way. The price will have to be really good for me to jump. I play PPR so guys like Spiller and Bernard are a little less risky in those types of leagues. This is the first year I haven't really done any research at this point. I need to start doing some research.
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  • Recon_Hawk wrote:Kendall Wright - Wright stepped up his 2nd year in the league - 1,079 yards, but only 2 TDs. IF Locker can stay healthy, I expect his TD numbers will see a big jump heading into his 3rd year.

    Cordarrelle Patterson - Not many receivers in the NFL have the physical upside like Patterson. A raw receiver coming out of Tennessee, Patterson could be looking at a Josh Gordan-like breakout season.

    DeAngelo Williams - Without a solid group of receivers and a below average Oline, DW could see a lot of all-purpose yards as Cam's check-down receiving option.

    Toby Gerhart - Playing backup most his career, Gerhart should be healthy enough to play as a 3 down back and a similar workhorse for Gus Bradley that Beast mode is to Pete Carroll. A RB looking at 250+ carries w/ goal-line production should be going earlier than his average draft position.

    Markus Wheaton - Outside of Antonio Brown, the Steelers don't have much for receivers. Weaton is in line to be the #2 guy in an offense that play much of their games from behind, relying on Big Ben and stat-padding numbers. Upside is worth a late rd pick.


    Agree on Patterson, I consider him unproven at least in fantasy, but to me bench spots should be used on "breakout" candidates like him. Good #4 or #5 WR option (I always load up on WR early in part so that I have the luxury of getting pretty good bench receivers. Last year Vincent Jackson and Andre Johnson ended up being my #3 and #4 guys after I took Calvin Johnson in the first and Josh Gordon in the eighth).

    Same thing with Gerhart. I bet he reaches the late rounds or waivers in some 10 man leagues. He's unproven, but he has a chance to be a 250+ carry back in Jacksonville and that alone makes him a valuable commodity.

    Wright I can't sign off on, if you want an empty 1000 yard receiver on the cheap you can get Brian Hartline with a 14th round pick, or on waivers. To me guys like Wright and Hartline are okay, but usually can be found on waivers any time you need them.

    I love Williams but he's 31 years old, and plays for a posterchild team for RBBC. Stewart is 100% healthy right now and is 27. I wouldn't draft either guy but if I did, I'd probably pick Stewart first. Now, if one of those two guys gets hurt, I would snatch the other guy off of waivers immediately. But I wouldn't hold either of them on my bench waiting for injury, not with mid-late round options out there who would make awesome bench players like Rashad Jennings and Toby Gerhart.

    Wheaton was a good player in college, but he is totally unproven. There are a lot of WRs in the NFL who were studs in college but did nothing in the pros. The reason I bought into Josh Gordon last year wasn't just because I thought he was a stud at Baylor, it was because he put up 800+ yards as an NFL rookie catching passes from terrible QBs. Patterson, who I like this year, had similarly good production as a rookie catching passes from terrible QBs.

    Wheaton had a good QB throwing to him with very little WR competition last year. He had 6 catches for 54 yards. He would probably need to have three 100 yard games in a row before I'd take him off waivers, and even then odds are it would just be a fluke.
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  • As far as under-rated guys, 2014 is tough. 2013 had some obvious ones. I banged the drum for Josh Gordon, Carolina's defense, Reggie Bush, Jordy Nelson, whoever Denver's starting RB would be, and Giovanni Bernard.

    This year, it's so much tougher. All the breakout candidate guys showed their hands at the end of the 2013 season, so your dime a dozen FF analysts are already singing their praises and hyping them to the moon. I mean, I love Gio Bernard, but I would NOT take him with a 3rd round pick, and that's what it would probably take at this point since he's been hyped so much as a "sleeper", deservedly so. He's a riser for sure, but you can't say he's under the radar or a sleeper anymore. Zac Stacy and is another such player.

    It's so much harder to see the under the radar picks this year, but here are the best guesses I can offer:

    Quarterbacks:

    Andrew Luck

    Luck was fifth place in Fantasy last season with sub-median efficiency numbers and with a somewhat depleted arsenal to throw to. He has the most room to improve of all the top 10 fantasy QBs. Catching Manning/Brees/Rodgers will be tough, but he could easily end up as a very solid 4th place and figures to be a mid round pick.

    Cam Newton

    Extremely consistent fantasy QB who will probably see a spike in his rushing numbers next season (his WRs are mostly terrible). I think the anti-hype for Newton will cause him to slide some in drafts, but Newton always finds a way every year to end up one of the better fantasy QBs.

    Matt Stafford

    Always under the radar in fantasy. I really like the addition of Golden Tate to that offense.

    Andy Dalton and Tony Romo

    Surprisingly good fantasy QBs who might be had on waivers.

    Colin Kaepernick

    I think 2014 will be his breakout season (in fantasy football) if his WRs stay healthy.

    RG3

    He's going to be playing from behind a lot, and will be 100% healthy at the start of the season. Massive fantasy potential if he learns to slide.

    Running backs:

    Montee Ball

    I think Ball is a very average RB who's only real gift is his short area burst. But, Manning will audible into run plays when the defense is vulnerable to them and in general defenses will be much more worried about Manning than the running game. Even a very average RB could be a top 5 fantasy RB for Denver. Ball's backup RBs all suck and so I wouldn't worry about competition or RBBC.

    I wouldn't take ball in the first round, but by the third round I would consider him a value pick despite the lack of track record. He is definitely not an under the radar player in a general sense, but he will slip to the 3rd or 4th round in some leagues and if I was drafting in one of those leagues, I'd take advantage of it.

    Giovanni Bernard

    Another guy that isn't under the radar nationally, but might slip in a few leagues. Definitely worth a 5th rounder, he would have been a star last season if the Bengals had given him full reps, and they've gone on record saying the Bernard will get full reps in 2014. In terms of talent, Bernard is the new Ray Rice.

    Zac Stacy

    Last season Zac Stacy was Eddie Lacy lite. Good buy in the fifth round if you can get him there.

    Arian Foster / Dennis Johnson

    Arian Foster looked old last season, but that just means he's probably going to slide into the 5th or 6th round range. He's worth a gamble there and even if he's mediocre again, a RB who can give you 250+ carries is worth something. Dennis Johnson is short but does not play small. He was a real talent for Arkansas and has looked good in limited looks for the Texans. Might be worth a late pick as a foil for Foster.

    Steven Jackson

    The Falcons are still betting on Jackson for 2014. For as old as Jackson is, he actually played very well in 2013, though he did miss a ton of reps from injury. If Jackson stays healthy he could be a surprise top 10 RB. Jackson is probably going to be a late rounder, not a bad gamble on the bench.

    Bishop Sankey

    Sankey compares very well to Giovanni Bernard, and looks to be a bell-cow back on day one for Tennessee. Could be a top 15 RB and will likely be a mid-round pick.

    Toby Gerhart

    Not sure how good he'll be, but he's going to get carries. Even if he's mediocre, a guy with 250+ touches has a lot of value on the bench. If he's good, he'll be a steal. Career 4.7 YPC average as a backup.

    Rashad Jennings

    Quietly one of the best RBs per carry in the NFL last year. He's changing teams, but David Wilson blows so I wouldn't expect RBBC in New York. Could be a viable #2 RB for the price of a mid-rounder.

    Wide Receivers:

    Golden Tate

    One of the league's best YPT players goes to an offense that will give him a crapload of targets. I bet he goes undrafted in a lot of leagues, and ends up a top 15 WR.

    Roddy White

    Very consistent player before 2013. If Atlanta bounces back on offense like people expect White will be the same guy he was pre-2013.

    Julio Jones

    Second round pick caliber WR, might go a few rounds later due to injury concerns with his foot. If you can get Jones in the 4th, definitely worth the gamble.

    Vincent Jackson

    McCown put up fantastic numbers last year throwing to big WRs. He'll have lots of big targets in Tampa, but only one of them isn't a rookie: Jackson. Even with poor QB play at times Jackson has been a very consistent fantasy performer. I think he's this year's Jordy Nelson, a fringe elite fantasy player who might slip to the 5th round.

    Cordarrelle Patterson

    Very good production by rookie standards, and there's a very decent chance he got an upgrade at QB too. I don't think he's in for a Josh Gordon breakout, but of all the 2nd year WRs he's the one who's situation has the most similarities to Gordon's.

    Riley Cooper

    The Eagles offense is going to rack up yards and TDs, and without DeSean Jackson Cooper suddenly becomes the best veteran WR on that team by a good margin. He was a bit of a TD machine last year, all the signs point to him being the new Eric Decker. Steal in the 5th round if he's there.

    Tight ends:

    The Gronk

    Recovering from injuries, risky. But when he plays, he's one of the very best. You might need to carry two TEs if you have Gronk, but if he plays so much as half a season, he's worth it.

    Dennis Pitta

    Joe Flacco loves throwing to TEs, and even a less than 100% Pitta was getting five catches a game at the end of the 2013 season. A fully healed Pitta is a strong candidate for top 5 TE production.

    Kyle Rudolph

    I don't know if I believe in this guy, but he's getting a nice upgrade at QB and might be a value buy after a disappointing 2013.

    Greg Olsen / Jason Witten

    These guys put up top five numbers almost every year, and are often slightly overlooked, drafted about a round or two later than they should be because fans take them for granted.

    Defense:

    Any NFC West defense

    All four NFC West defenses finished in the top seven for fantasy last season. I'd probably stay away from Arizona with the losses they've had at LB, though their DC is a brilliant guy so who knows.

    Giants

    Quietly one of the rising defenses in the NFL. They are projected to be the 4th best fantasy defense in 2014.

    Eagles

    The Eagles are a good example of how sometimes even a below average defense can be a good fantasy defense. The Eagles are projected to be the 6th best fantasy defense next season, but are going undrafted in most leagues right now.

    Cleveland

    Not projected to be a top fantasy defense, but that said this defense has quietly been one of the AFC's best for years and now adds a head coach who turned the Bills into a 57 sack team in year one. I won't go so far as to say they are this year's Carolina for defense, but they are the closest thing in 2014 to that.

    Kickers:

    Stephen Gostkowski

    If there is a kicker worth drafting before the late rounds, it's this guy. Ultra-consistent and among the league leaders each of the last few years.

    Matt Praeter

    Another consistent kicker who has been near the top every year for a while now. His kicking at mile high elevation for half his games really helps him rack up 50+ yarders, and the offense in Denver helps him score points too. That, plus he's just a really, really good kicker.

    Steven Hauschka

    Not on the same level as those two, but Hauschka is one of the most consistent kickers in the league. Not just year to year, but even week to week his point totals are very steady, which is really handy for head to head leagues where consistency equals more wins. Hauschka has been available with late round picks the last several years. If that continues this year once again, he'd be a great pick if you like taking kickers very late.
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  • Great post Kearly. You brought up some good points, especially on Steven Jackson and then Vincent Jackson who's playing with McCown, now. I hadn't really considered that aspect.

    I play mostly 12-man team leagues, so I know the grading doesn't match if you're playing 8-10 man, but a few of the guys you mentioned are going higher than you might think in the ESPN mock drafts I've been running, specifically Stacy and Foster (top 2 rounds), Tate (round 8-9), and V. Jackson (rd 3-4).

    Also good call on S. Jackson and Rashad Jennings. Both the guys could have surprise seasons.

    To add two more name to keep an eye on, both from the eagles: Zach Ertz and Jeremy Maclin. Ertz the #2 TE with the Eagles, but he ended the season as Foles' go-to-guy the last few games. I wouldn't draft him as of today, but he's got a chance to win out the starter spot, so I'd keep an eye on him in their training camp.

    With Maclin, he's now the main speed receiver. With D. Jackson leaving, Maclin has the chance to fill that down the field, big-play threat that Jackson thrived in. He's probably mostly a bench player, but could be a goof flex option.
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  • Khiry Robinson - The reason I see Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram's touches dropping this year is because of this guy. He was an animal for the Saints at the end of lastseason. Premier back type of ability. The Saints have to use this guy more.
    Markus Wheaton - Has a huge opportunity and the ability to put up big numbers for the Steelers with Antonio Brown drawing the majority of the attention.
    Kelvin Benjamin - Steve Smith is gone and great reports are coming out of OTAs on this guy. Likely #1 or #2 target for Cam Newton in a receiving corp. that doesn't have a lot of options. OROY Candidate
    Knile Davis - A brutal between the tackle runner for the Chiefs the last couple of games they played last season... I think he gets a lot more carries this year and the Chiefs lighten the load for Jamaal Charles a little.
    Keep an eye on Green Bay's receiving battles this preseason... It's wide open with James Jones and Finley gone.
    Eric Ebron - Many think he'll be starting over Pettigrew in Detroit. If his hands are reliable, he could get a lot of targets with Megatron, Tate and Bush drawing most of the attention.
    Brandin Cooks - With Lance Moore out, him and Kenny Stills are likely splitting time between the X and Slot position opposite of Colston with Graham at TE and Brees at QB. OROY Candidate.
    Biship Sankey - Look for him to split time with Shonn Greene and possibly overtake Shonn Greene for the Titans at RB.
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  • AFC Underrated and sleepers:

    AFC East-
    Bills
    EJ Manuel. The Bills do not have a lot of weapons outside of CJ Spiller, but Manuel showed he could be valuable in fantasy-land when healthy. The Bills o-line was a shambles last season, but due to EJ's mobility he was able to make plays. The Bills have made strides to improve through the draft and free agency to help buy EJ some more time. He's worth a grab in the later rounds as a backup or spot-start QB. Also, his best games came against division opponents (Jets twice, Pats once) in which he averaged over 20 fantasy points a game, and he had 6/10 games in which he scored at least 15.
    Fins
    Lamar Miller. Yes, Moreno is there but he's not looking good. Thomas is still there but in 3 seasons he has failed to eclipse more than 3.7 ypc on average. Last year's hype around Miller came a year too early.
    Mike Wallace. Could become a very reliable Flex option or WR2. Reports from MIA state Wallace will be used for more than just a deep threat this year, and the team lacks a reliable #2 receiver (outside of TE Clay). Worth a look as your 3rd or 4th WR.
    Pats
    Shane Vereen. Could be a great value, especially in PPR. In only 8 games last year he tallied 47 receptions at 9.1 yards per reception. If he can stay healthy he could be a high end RB2 in PPR as he remains Brady's security blanket on a Patriots squad that's short on WR talent. Interesting Note*: His worst production of the season (wks 15-17) happened to be the same three week span that Gronk sat out at the end of the season. Conclusion: Vereens numbers rely on Gronk's presence.
    Jets
    Jace Amaro. Another team with little to nothing to offer. The Jets lack viable receiving threats (yes, even Decker) which make this rookie TE worth a late-round look. Guaranteed to start, Amaro's sure hands, good size, and route running skills make him Geno Smith's/Michael Vick's best security blanket.

    AFC North-
    Ravens
    Bernard Pierce. With the anemic Ray Rice facing anywhere from a 4-6 game suspension, Pierce is in line to be the lead back during that span, and if he can show the Pierce we all came to know during their Super Bowl run, it will be Rice that will play second fiddle. Definitely worth a grab in the later rounds with Flex starter potential.
    Dennis Pitta A talented TE that has a lot of upside. He missed most of last season to an injury but he clearly has a terrific rapport with Flacco. Ravens staff has expressed a desire to use Pitta in a "swiss army knife" role, to give Flacco plenty of opportunities to get rid of the football fast behind a suspect o-line.
    Bengals
    Tyler Eifert. He was a little over-hyped last year as a rookie TE but as the Bengals offense looks to take a safer, possession controlling approach, Eifert could definitely help the Red Rifle if he improves his route running. There is little chance that Eifert regresses and he should ascend the fantasy TE ranks to be a top 10 player at the position.
    Browns
    Andrew Hawkins. It's difficult to know who will step up during Gordon's suspension, but the Browns don't have a lot of options outside of TE Jordan Cameron. Yes they have .Net favorite Nate Burleson, who is entering his 13th season. They signed one year wonder Miles Aus...oh crap, he just injured his hammy. By default this leaves former Bengal Andrew Hawkins, whose small size and terrific speed make him a threat in the open field. If Hoyer is as good as people in Cleveland think he is, and can play like he did last season before the injury, any one of the Browns receivers could put up WR3/Flex numbers, but for now it's Hawkins.
    Some of you might be looking for Johnny Football on this list. Wrong! He's on my "Over-drafted and Overrated" list.
    Steelers
    Martavis Bryant. Yes, he's a rookie. Yes, he's only a 4th round pick. Yes, he's on a Steelers squad lacking proven WRs...wait, that's a good thing for Bryant. Probably a deep sleeper and therefore a better pick for dynasty league formats, Bryant has impressed this offseason as he continues to learn the offense. But at 6'4" and 215 lbs, Bryant could well be the red zone threat Big Ben needs. His competition for playing time includes, Markus Wheaton, and 30 year old former Saint, Lance Moore. Bryant has a good chance to see around 50-70 passes thrown in his direction, with a good chunk of those coming in the red zone. Did I mention he ran a 4.42 40 at the combine?
    Dri Archer. 3rd rounder Dri Archer is fast, really fast. 4.26 40 at the combine fast. Steelers are looking to employ his speed at several different positions. Despite being listed as a HB, he will see a lot of time split out wide and even returning kicks and punts. His role will resemble that of Gio Bernard and Dexter McCluster, which means he'll have more value in PPR leagues. Bell owners should not fret, as Archer's size will limit how much he cuts into Bell's workload.

    AFC West
    Broncos
    Emmanuel Sanders. It's very difficult to find any player on this offense that would be considered a sleeper or underrated. So I'll go with Emmanuel Sanders, who will fill the void left by Eric Decker. Currently going in rounds 8-10 in 10-team mocks, Sanders is a candidate for ~1000 yards and 8-10 TDs as long as Peyton is at the helm. He could easily become a WR2.
    Montee Ball. Mark the calendar, it's July 17. Ball is currently being drafted in the late 2nd round-early 3rd round. By late August (when you should be drafting for reals) you'll see him sneak into the late 1st-early 2nd round. The hype around Ball is growing, and if your league drafts early you should take advantage of his current ADP because if you wait you may end up paying too much for an unproven RB that struggles to block the pass rush and benefits from having greatness in front of him.
    Chargers
    Danny Woodhead. PPR only. Woodhead was second among RBs in receptions last season with 76. Unfortunately, his fantasy value is restricted to PPR as he does not see the lions share of carries, which are sure to dwindle with the arrival of Donald Brown. His value remains in PPR though as a potential Flex starter.
    Ladarius Green. Trapped in the shadow of one of the greatest TEs of his generation, Green has the size, speed, and skills to be an elite fantasy TE. His production is limited, however, by an aging Antonio Gates. Green should see an uptick in balls thrown his way as Rivers learns to trust the young TE and is worth a late round pick with top 10 TE potential.
    Chiefs
    Travis Kelce I'm continuing my fantasy sleeper crush on Kelce for another year. Hampered by injuries all last season, Kelce is healthy and ready to shine. The Chiefs receiving corps is one of the weakest in the league and the Chiefs look to combat that shortcoming by employing 2-tight end sets constantly. Kelce also benefits from QB Alex Smith, whose love of throwing to TEs is well documented. Kelce is a high end #2TE with low #1 TE potential in fantasy.
    DeAnthony Thomas He will likely be listed as an RB in Fantasy, but the Chiefs will look to use him in multiple roles, just as they did with Dexter McCluster. Add in the lack of depth at WR and Thomas has some value in PPR leagues, and added value for leagues that reward points for returns.
    Raiders
    Rod Streater. It's hard to find dependable talent on this Raiders squad, and looking at their '14 schedule it'll be a rough go of it again. Streater, one of the few bright spots on the offense last season, is primed to be the #1 receiver on a team that figures to play catch up often. If Schaub can regain some of his former self, Streater could be in line for solid WR2 fantasy numbers.

    AFC South
    Colts
    Trent Richardson. I've flip-flopped on Richardson this off season more than I care to admit. There weren't many players I was lower on last year than T-Rich, so why am I targeting him this year (for now)? Low-risk, high reward. Richardson is set to be the feature back with little competition for carries. Not only that, but his ADP is low enough to come off the board as your 3rd, or maybe even 4th RB. That's tremendous value if he can put up similar numbers to his rookie campaign. But if you draft him as your RB2, you've done something wrong.
    Jaguars
    Cecil Shorts. Shorts had his struggles with injuries, inconsistent performance, and poor QB play. It's likely that the Jag's QB situation will continue to dampen his fantasy value, but considering where he is going in drafts it's hard not to like his upside as your WR3/4 that can put up high end WR2 numbers. If the Jags find some sort of consistency at QB then Shorts can easily be a weekly starter, and when you look at the secondaries he'll be facing, life could get even sweeter for his fantasy owners.
    Texans
    DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had a strong showing in his rookie campaign considering how abysmal the offense was last season. He only caught 2 TD passes, which shouldn't be hard to improve on, but like fellow AFC South counterpart Cecil Shorts III, his production will surely be limited by QB play. He's a value pick as your WR3/4.
    Garrett Graham. The Texans top TE will benefit from the arrival of new head coach Bill O'Brien, the man behind the Gronk/Hernandez duo. Only time will tell how often the Texans will use a 2-tight end formation (early reports indicate a prominent role in the offense). If you want to wait on a TE or grab a backup, Graham is one to target near the end of your draft.
    Titans
    Bishop Sankey. I'm on the bandwagon. After watching plenty of Sankey play at UW it's hard to avoid the talented RB in drafts. Slated to be the team's leading ball carrier, Sankey has added value as a pass catcher and is therefore a little more valuable in PPR formats. I expect his ADP to rise as the season nears, and will likely have to be taken as your RB2 come late August, but if you can draft him as your RB3, then congratulations, you've got yourself one helluva deal.

    Finishing up NFC soon
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  • Quarterbacks make wide receivers. Going out on a limb on a guy with great talent and a crappy QB is just a wasted pick (unless it's Patterson who will be a centerpiece/behind Peterson of the offense),.
    I enjoy ruining threads by making them about personal attacks and then commenting about how personal attacks make the other person's argument invalid.

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  • SonicHawk wrote:Quarterbacks make wide receivers. Going out on a limb on a guy with great talent and a crappy QB is just a wasted pick (unless it's Patterson who will be a centerpiece/behind Peterson of the offense),.

    Well, you just said it yourself about Patterson, and you should have told the same thing to owners of Josh Gordon, Andre Johnson, and Vincent Jackson last year (just a few that come to mind right away).
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  • HAWKAMANIA wrote:AFC Underrated and sleepers:

    AFC East-
    Bills
    EJ Manuel. The Bills do not have a lot of weapons outside of CJ Spiller, but Manuel showed he could be valuable in fantasy-land when healthy. The Bills o-line was a shambles last season, but due to EJ's mobility he was able to make plays. The Bills have made strides to improve through the draft and free agency to help buy EJ some more time. He's worth a grab in the later rounds as a backup or spot-start QB. Also, his best games came against division opponents (Jets twice, Pats once) in which he averaged over 20 fantasy points a game, and he had 6/10 games in which he scored at least 15.
    Fins
    Lamar Miller. Yes, Moreno is there but he's not looking good. Thomas is still there but in 3 seasons he has failed to eclipse more than 3.7 ypc on average. Last year's hype around Miller came a year too early.
    Mike Wallace. Could become a very reliable Flex option or WR2. Reports from MIA state Wallace will be used for more than just a deep threat this year, and the team lacks a reliable #2 receiver (outside of TE Clay). Worth a look as your 3rd or 4th WR.
    Pats
    Shane Vereen. Could be a great value, especially in PPR. In only 8 games last year he tallied 47 receptions at 9.1 yards per reception. If he can stay healthy he could be a high end RB2 in PPR as he remains Brady's security blanket on a Patriots squad that's short on WR talent. Interesting Note*: His worst production of the season (wks 15-17) happened to be the same three week span that Gronk sat out at the end of the season. Conclusion: Vereens numbers rely on Gronk's presence.
    Jets
    Jace Amaro. Another team with little to nothing to offer. The Jets lack viable receiving threats (yes, even Decker) which make this rookie TE worth a late-round look. Guaranteed to start, Amaro's sure hands, good size, and route running skills make him Geno Smith's/Michael Vick's best security blanket.

    AFC North-
    Ravens
    Bernard Pierce. With the anemic Ray Rice facing anywhere from a 4-6 game suspension, Pierce is in line to be the lead back during that span, and if he can show the Pierce we all came to know during their Super Bowl run, it will be Rice that will play second fiddle. Definitely worth a grab in the later rounds with Flex starter potential.
    Dennis Pitta A talented TE that has a lot of upside. He missed most of last season to an injury but he clearly has a terrific rapport with Flacco. Ravens staff has expressed a desire to use Pitta in a "swiss army knife" role, to give Flacco plenty of opportunities to get rid of the football fast behind a suspect o-line.
    Bengals
    Tyler Eifert. He was a little over-hyped last year as a rookie TE but as the Bengals offense looks to take a safer, possession controlling approach, Eifert could definitely help the Red Rifle if he improves his route running. There is little chance that Eifert regresses and he should ascend the fantasy TE ranks to be a top 10 player at the position.
    Browns
    Andrew Hawkins. It's difficult to know who will step up during Gordon's suspension, but the Browns don't have a lot of options outside of TE Jordan Cameron. Yes they have .Net favorite Nate Burleson, who is entering his 13th season. They signed one year wonder Miles Aus...oh crap, he just injured his hammy. By default this leaves former Bengal Andrew Hawkins, whose small size and terrific speed make him a threat in the open field. If Hoyer is as good as people in Cleveland think he is, and can play like he did last season before the injury, any one of the Browns receivers could put up WR3/Flex numbers, but for now it's Hawkins.
    Some of you might be looking for Johnny Football on this list. Wrong! He's on my "Over-drafted and Overrated" list.
    Steelers
    Martavis Bryant. Yes, he's a rookie. Yes, he's only a 4th round pick. Yes, he's on a Steelers squad lacking proven WRs...wait, that's a good thing for Bryant. Probably a deep sleeper and therefore a better pick for dynasty league formats, Bryant has impressed this offseason as he continues to learn the offense. But at 6'4" and 215 lbs, Bryant could well be the red zone threat Big Ben needs. His competition for playing time includes, Markus Wheaton, and 30 year old former Saint, Lance Moore. Bryant has a good chance to see around 50-70 passes thrown in his direction, with a good chunk of those coming in the red zone. Did I mention he ran a 4.42 40 at the combine?
    Dri Archer. 3rd rounder Dri Archer is fast, really fast. 4.26 40 at the combine fast. Steelers are looking to employ his speed at several different positions. Despite being listed as a HB, he will see a lot of time split out wide and even returning kicks and punts. His role will resemble that of Gio Bernard and Dexter McCluster, which means he'll have more value in PPR leagues. Bell owners should not fret, as Archer's size will limit how much he cuts into Bell's workload.

    AFC West
    Broncos
    Emmanuel Sanders. It's very difficult to find any player on this offense that would be considered a sleeper or underrated. So I'll go with Emmanuel Sanders, who will fill the void left by Eric Decker. Currently going in rounds 8-10 in 10-team mocks, Sanders is a candidate for ~1000 yards and 8-10 TDs as long as Peyton is at the helm. He could easily become a WR2.
    Montee Ball. Mark the calendar, it's July 17. Ball is currently being drafted in the late 2nd round-early 3rd round. By late August (when you should be drafting for reals) you'll see him sneak into the late 1st-early 2nd round. The hype around Ball is growing, and if your league drafts early you should take advantage of his current ADP because if you wait you may end up paying too much for an unproven RB that struggles to block the pass rush and benefits from having greatness in front of him.
    Chargers
    Danny Woodhead. PPR only. Woodhead was second among RBs in receptions last season with 76. Unfortunately, his fantasy value is restricted to PPR as he does not see the lions share of carries, which are sure to dwindle with the arrival of Donald Brown. His value remains in PPR though as a potential Flex starter.
    Ladarius Green. Trapped in the shadow of one of the greatest TEs of his generation, Green has the size, speed, and skills to be an elite fantasy TE. His production is limited, however, by an aging Antonio Gates. Green should see an uptick in balls thrown his way as Rivers learns to trust the young TE and is worth a late round pick with top 10 TE potential.
    Chiefs
    Travis Kelce I'm continuing my fantasy sleeper crush on Kelce for another year. Hampered by injuries all last season, Kelce is healthy and ready to shine. The Chiefs receiving corps is one of the weakest in the league and the Chiefs look to combat that shortcoming by employing 2-tight end sets constantly. Kelce also benefits from QB Alex Smith, whose love of throwing to TEs is well documented. Kelce is a high end #2TE with low #1 TE potential in fantasy.
    DeAnthony Thomas He will likely be listed as an RB in Fantasy, but the Chiefs will look to use him in multiple roles, just as they did with Dexter McCluster. Add in the lack of depth at WR and Thomas has some value in PPR leagues, and added value for leagues that reward points for returns.
    Raiders
    Rod Streater. It's hard to find dependable talent on this Raiders squad, and looking at their '14 schedule it'll be a rough go of it again. Streater, one of the few bright spots on the offense last season, is primed to be the #1 receiver on a team that figures to play catch up often. If Schaub can regain some of his former self, Streater could be in line for solid WR2 fantasy numbers.

    AFC South
    Colts
    Trent Richardson. I've flip-flopped on Richardson this off season more than I care to admit. There weren't many players I was lower on last year than T-Rich, so why am I targeting him this year (for now)? Low-risk, high reward. Richardson is set to be the feature back with little competition for carries. Not only that, but his ADP is low enough to come off the board as your 3rd, or maybe even 4th RB. That's tremendous value if he can put up similar numbers to his rookie campaign. But if you draft him as your RB2, you've done something wrong.
    Jaguars
    Cecil Shorts. Shorts had his struggles with injuries, inconsistent performance, and poor QB play. It's likely that the Jag's QB situation will continue to dampen his fantasy value, but considering where he is going in drafts it's hard not to like his upside as your WR3/4 that can put up high end WR2 numbers. If the Jags find some sort of consistency at QB then Shorts can easily be a weekly starter, and when you look at the secondaries he'll be facing, life could get even sweeter for his fantasy owners.
    Texans
    DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins had a strong showing in his rookie campaign considering how abysmal the offense was last season. He only caught 2 TD passes, which shouldn't be hard to improve on, but like fellow AFC South counterpart Cecil Shorts III, his production will surely be limited by QB play. He's a value pick as your WR3/4.
    Garrett Graham. The Texans top TE will benefit from the arrival of new head coach Bill O'Brien, the man behind the Gronk/Hernandez duo. Only time will tell how often the Texans will use a 2-tight end formation (early reports indicate a prominent role in the offense). If you want to wait on a TE or grab a backup, Graham is one to target near the end of your draft.
    Titans
    Bishop Sankey. I'm on the bandwagon. After watching plenty of Sankey play at UW it's hard to avoid the talented RB in drafts. Slated to be the team's leading ball carrier, Sankey has added value as a pass catcher and is therefore a little more valuable in PPR formats. I expect his ADP to rise as the season nears, and will likely have to be taken as your RB2 come late August, but if you can draft him as your RB3, then congratulations, you've got yourself one helluva deal.

    Finishing up NFC soon


    Great freakin writeup. I'm cautiously, high on Lamar Miller. I bought the hype last year and took a hit, but a lot of that had to do with Miami's horrible offensive line which has no choice but to improve. My last draft he fell to the late-10th round. Heck of a value for a 3rd year running back with starters upside.

    Looking forward to your NFC piece.
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  • kearly wrote:Wright I can't sign off on, if you want an empty 1000 yard receiver on the cheap you can get Brian Hartline with a 14th round pick, or on waivers. To me guys like Wright and Hartline are okay, but usually can be found on waivers any time you need them.

    I had to come back to this Kearly. I spent some time lately doing some off-season viewing of last season through NFL rewind and watched about 4 games of the Titans. Your comment on him being okay and empty is maybe more a view of his fantasy value, but as pure football talent evaluation, he is much more than that. Watching the Titans offense, he continued to pop off the tape. In many ways, he reminds me a lot of a slower Percy Harvin with his route-running, quickness, and competitiveness. He's a slot guy who can and did play on the outside and even as a 2nd year guy showed a veteran presence. It was pretty obvious he was the Titans go-to #1 receiver for both Locker and Fitzpatrick, so I would think his 140 targets from last year will only increase as he improves.
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  • I had Ellington last year and loved him, but in no way do I agree that he is anywhere near an elite talent. Not as fast as you would like, way smaller than you would like, just never falls forward. I think he is more Danny Woodhead than Darren Sproles.

    I'm also not high at all on Gerhart. That offense isn't going to score any points, and will be playing from behind often. More importantly, I don't think he is all that talented. I'm seeing 3.5 YPC, somewhere around 1,000 yards rushing, single digit TD's. Don't know that I would want him starting for me.
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  • Recon_Hawk wrote:I had to come back to this Kearly. I spent some time lately doing some off-season viewing of last season through NFL rewind and watched about 4 games of the Titans. Your comment on him being okay and empty is maybe more a view of his fantasy value, but as pure football talent evaluation, he is much more than that. Watching the Titans offense, he continued to pop off the tape.


    I like Wright. I would trade a decent draft pick to make him a Seahawk. I just don't think he has much fantasy upside in his current situation.

    Tical21 wrote:I had Ellington last year and loved him, but in no way do I agree that he is anywhere near an elite talent. Not as fast as you would like, way smaller than you would like, just never falls forward. I think he is more Danny Woodhead than Darren Sproles.

    I'm also not high at all on Gerhart. That offense isn't going to score any points, and will be playing from behind often. More importantly, I don't think he is all that talented. I'm seeing 3.5 YPC, somewhere around 1,000 yards rushing, single digit TD's. Don't know that I would want him starting for me.


    Emphatically agree on Ellington.

    With Gerhart, I see Jacksonville's version of Zac Stacy. Gus Bradley is like Pete, he won't abandon the run until he absolutely has to. Stacy isn't very good but gets a ton of reps and ends up being a solid #2 fantasy RB. I see Gerhart the same way. A gimpy MJD still finished as the 19th best RB, and I think Gerhart is probably a sizable upgrade over MJD's 2013 performance.
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  • NFC underrated/sleepers-companion to my AFC list
    NFC WEST
    49ers-
    Carlos Hyde- With the backfield dropping like flies Carlos Hyde is still standing. After a strong showing in preseason he could be a strong pickup in the later rounds as he has a chance to surpass LaMichael James at #2 on the depth chart while James sits out the rest of preseason.

    Cardinals-
    John Carlson-Yes, that John Carlson. TE Jake Ballard announced his retirement last week and current starter Rob Housler has been anything but consistent. I am in no way suggesting that you go out and draft Carlson, just simply keep an eye on him to see what happens in AZ.
    John Brown-With Michael Floyd out with an injury, Brown excelled as the #2 receiver for the Cards. Depending on the extent of Floyd's injury, Brown could be in line for added targets and hype. A small receiver at 5'11' and 175, the 3rd round selection has been turning heads in camp and now nationally. As of now he's probably not being drafted, but if Floyd reaggravates his injury, expect him to crawl into the tail end of your drafts.

    Rams-
    Sam Bradford-Outside of the defense and Zac Stacy, there's not a whole lot to like about this team fantasy-wise. I'm not buying into the Tre Mason hype either. Bradford offers little as your starting QB, but could be a valuable backup based on the matchup.

    Seahawks-
    Doug Baldwin-Arguably Wilson's most trusted (and clutch) receiver, Baldwin is set in the #2 role. He'll be hit and miss all season, putting up big games followed by clunkers as Wilson tends to spread the ball around. He'll likely be available between rounds 12-16 in standard leagues, and may go a little earlier in PPR.

    NFC NORTH
    Bears-
    Zach Miller-No really, there is another. With Martellus Bennett getting on the Bears' bad side with the scuffle and constant reports about lack of motivation and consistency, Miller could see added time if the Bennett issues persist. He is one to keep an eye on for now but could be a decent spot start TE if the Bears continue to employ 2-TE sets.

    Packers-
    Jarrett Boykin- Set to be the team's #3 receiver, which in most cases wouldn't be anything to get too excited about. However, Rodgers is back, James Jones is off to Oakland, there is no clear-cut starter at TE, and Boykin put together some decent stat lines as the team's #4 receiver in '13. He needs to work on his hands a little bit but I expect him to put up borderline WR3/flex numbers, especially in PPR. Look to draft him in the later rounds at a good value from pick 120 and on.
    James Starks- His value is limited to handcuff Lacy, but Starks has shown that he can be a dependable back. I'm not a huge fan of handcuffing, but I am a fan of taking another team's handcuff if they are in the right situation, with the right schedule.

    Lions-
    Eric Ebron-You'll see him lined up everywhere in order to create mismatches and the Lions will look to use 2-TE sets. His upside is limited by Brandon Pettigrew who signed a nice new contract this offseason. He's worth more in a dynasty league and could come on strong at some point this season, but he's worth a a roster spot if you have room for a backup TE that should benefit from the weapons around him.

    Vikings-
    Kyle Rudolph-He's been overdrafted in the past and the disappointment has finally dropped his ADP to a point where I'd take him. The arrival of new OC Norv Turner has to have people drafting Rudolph excited. The Vikes are not going to be an offensive juggernaut, but Rudolph has a lot of upside given Turner's history with TEs.

    NFC SOUTH
    Falcons
    Harry Douglas- The Falcons are missing Tony Gonzales and lack a decent TE to replace him. To counter his absence, look for Atlanta to utilize more 3-wide sets. Enter, Harry Douglas. Julio Jones is healthy, and Roddy White is more ornery than ever, but with their current ADP I have a hard time drafting either of them. Douglas is coming off a career year in which he benefited from Jones' absence, and I don't expect him to replicate or surpass his 2013 numbers unless something happens to Jones or White, but in a PPR league he's worth the mid-late round flyer as your WR4 with flex starter potential.
    Devonta Freeman- People are starting to realize that SJax probably doesn't have much left in the tank. And Jaquizz wasn't the replacement the Falcons needed last year. This leaves the door open for Freeman, a 4th round pick in this year's draft. You'll need to keep an eye on the depth chart but when the wheels inevitably fall off Jackson and Jaquizz remains unimpressive, Freeman will be there to take the bulk of the workload. He's worth a late-round selection.

    Saints-
    Brandin Cooks- As soon as he was drafted by the Saints I just knew I had to have him. His stock will likely continue its climb as he competes for targets against a slow, aging, Marques Colston and sophomore Kenny Stills. As one of those players that could be listed as an OW, Cooks is slated to take over the role of the departed Darren Sproles, lining up in the slot, outside, and in the backfield. The only thing that limits Cooks' production is his limited rapport with QB Drew Brees. Look for Cooks to slide into the top 100 in drafts which is WR3 territory, which is exactly where I feel comfortable to draft him.
    Pierre Thomas- Amidst the hype of Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson, the long-time veteran Pierre Thomas emerges. Thomas carries added value in PPR leagues after leading all RBs in receptions in 2013, just beating out Danny Woodhead and Darren Sproles with 77 receptions. That number is likely to drop but his late round value remains high. Draft him as your RB4 with RB2 potential in PPR.

    Panthers-
    Greg Olsen-Not so much a sleeper but an undervalued TE imo. The Panthers used a first round pick on Kelvin Benjamin to give Newton another weapon to throw too, and if Benjamin pans out that would bring the number of weapons to 2. Olsen is even more valuable in PPR and borders on the top 5 at his position.

    Buccaneers-
    Austin Sefarian-Jenkins-Incredibly gifted as many of you already know, he is in a favorable position to break out. He's had his share of off-field issues so that is a minor concern. He's one of those TEs that are coveted in the NFL, tall, built, good blocker, and speedy for his size. There is a lot of potential to thrive in Tampa and he's worth a late-round look if you plan on taking 2 TEs.

    NFC EAST
    Cowboys-
    Lance Dunbar- Knowing DeMarco Murray's injury history it makes sense to handcuff him. Dunbar is a little undersized at 5'8'' and 190 but he makes up for it with his quickness and versatility. Dunbar is similar to Gio Bernard in his ability to line up all over the field, which is a good thing if he sees additional time this season, which he likely will. He's a good value at the tail end of drafts and one of the more valuable handcuffs.

    Eagles-
    Jordan Mathews- Yep, I'm on the hype train. Mathews is making waves, even as the #3 WR. His competition is Riley Cooper, a player that benefited from Maclin's injury and DeSean Jackson drawing multiple defenders. Mathews has the size to create mismatches , and it's only a matter of time before he takes over the #2 role.

    Jeremy Maclin-Underrated more than a sleeper. Yes, he's coming off the ACL injury that caused him to sit out all of 2013, but he has proven to be a reliable receiver otherwise. Maclin thrived during the up and down years of the Vick/Reid-Philly era, and should be successful as the team's WR1 in Chip Kelly's offense as long as he stays healthy. He should be drafted as a WR3 with WR2 upside.

    Redskins-
    Roy Helu Jr.- Jay Gruden's offense could present problems for Alfred Morris but should be beneficial for Helu, who is Washington's best pass-catching tailback. Gruden really likes to involve his backs in the passing game, but Helu is also underrated as a runner. There's a strong possibility that the carries are more evenly split, much like Bernard and Green-Ellis under Gruden in Cincy. This elevates Helu's value and drops Morris's. He gets more valuable in ppr leagues and should be drafted as your RB4 with RB2 potential in PPR leagues.

    Giants-
    Reuben Randle-The Giants spent a first round selection on WR Odell Beckham Jr., but Randle remains uncontested for the #2 receiver role as Beckham works his way back from injury. The Giants are changing their scheme to a west-coast offense which will give Cruz and Randle a number of high percentage looks, making each more valuable in PPR than standard. Randle could end up being an every week flex option.
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  • Patterson is overrated, I've seen him regularly taken in the 3rd and 4th round
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  • firebee wrote:Khiry Robinson - The reason I see Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram's touches dropping this year is because of this guy. He was an animal for the Saints at the end of lastseason. Premier back type of ability. The Saints have to use this guy more.
    Markus Wheaton - Has a huge opportunity and the ability to put up big numbers for the Steelers with Antonio Brown drawing the majority of the attention.
    Kelvin Benjamin - Steve Smith is gone and great reports are coming out of OTAs on this guy. Likely #1 or #2 target for Cam Newton in a receiving corp. that doesn't have a lot of options. OROY Candidate
    Knile Davis - A brutal between the tackle runner for the Chiefs the last couple of games they played last season... I think he gets a lot more carries this year and the Chiefs lighten the load for Jamaal Charles a little.
    Keep an eye on Green Bay's receiving battles this preseason... It's wide open with James Jones and Finley gone.
    Eric Ebron - Many think he'll be starting over Pettigrew in Detroit. If his hands are reliable, he could get a lot of targets with Megatron, Tate and Bush drawing most of the attention.
    Brandin Cooks - With Lance Moore out, him and Kenny Stills are likely splitting time between the X and Slot position opposite of Colston with Graham at TE and Brees at QB. OROY Candidate.
    Biship Sankey - Look for him to split time with Shonn Greene and possibly overtake Shonn Greene for the Titans at RB.
    OROY Candidate

    Man, I hope you are right about Khiry. I just picked him up off the player list.
    Also, I am so wishing for Reggie Bush to go down so Joique Bell gets more touches. Overall, he is much better than Bush and will get the goal line carries regardless.
    I am wishing that B. Cooks has a rookie breakout year. He is sitting on my bench in hopes that he does.
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  • Hawkfan77 wrote:Patterson is overrated, I've seen him regularly taken in the 3rd and 4th round


    Patterson and Harvin are a coin flip. Wherever Harvin goes, I expect to see Patterson. The Vikings offense is Peterson and him, that's it.
    I enjoy ruining threads by making them about personal attacks and then commenting about how personal attacks make the other person's argument invalid.

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