As Fantasy Draft Week continues, we all are thinking about Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson and Dez Bryant, and we are praying to the Fantasy Football Gods, “Please, do not allow them to pull a Jordy Nelson!” Every year, we have sleepers and bust come to either save our fantasy season or demolish it. Like a shining brand new car with that wonderful new car smell, we have a brand new team with hopes and dreams of Fantasy Football Glory – unless you are in a keeper league, and even then you do have some fresh shiny new faces. We are not thinking about that 3rd string running back that just struggled to make the 53 man roster. Well, I am here to introduce some known and unknown possible fantasy players that could be making an impact in the not to distant future. Injury and bad play can make these guys very valuable as the season goes along. Without further ado, here is my list of low-end (or even lower than that) fantasy players that could make an impact on fantasy teams as the season moves along.
(All rankings and draft positions are from FantasyPros.com)
Tom Salvage Houston Texans #68 QB and ADP ND
Salvage is in his 2nd season out of the University of Pittsburgh. According to his draft analysis coming out of college, Savage has terrific size at 6′ 4″ and 225 pounds. He has great arm strength, throws a nice catchable ball, and can hit a target from 60 yards out. I watched him at his short time for the Panthers and the kid can sling a football. Critics know Savage is not fleet of foot and he can stare down receivers. Savage is 3rd or 2nd string depending if Ryan Mallett sets his alarm clock or not. Savage has the potential to be very good quarterback in the league; he just needs the reps. With Brian Hoyer and Mallett ahead of him, Savage has a great chance to play some this season. He could be a huge surprise to the fantasy world if he has the chance to play catch with DeAndre Hopkins.
Mike Glennon Tampa Bay Buccaneers #47 QB and ADP ND
Glennon has been the forgotten man when it comes to chances in the NFL. He got a chance to play his rookie season and he had 19 touchdown passes with 9 interceptions in 13 games – not bad stats for a rookie. He played 6 games last year and had 10 touchdown passes with 6 interceptions. He is not stellar but at 6′ 6″ and 225, he is a big kid with a big arm that can make every throw. Tampa has been looking to replace him for 2 years since Lovie Smith has taken over as head coach. First with Josh McCown and now Jameis Winston, Glennon keeps getting overlooked.
Two potential possibilities for Glennon getting playing time would be: Winston might get hurt which could give Glennon some playing time with Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson or (the logical scenario) is that Glennon is traded to another team. If the trade happens, and depending on the team, Glennon has a chance to shoot up the rankings as the season progresses.
Lance Dunbar Dallas Cowboys #58 RB and ADP 81st drafted RB
Dunbar is a poor man’s version of Shane Vereen. He has the speed (4.47 40) and the Cowboys feel he is a mismatch for the defenses. He has receiving skills and he is great in space. Dunbar is the 3rd string back behind Darren McFadden and Joseph Randle. McFadden is an injury waiting to happen and Randle is a pair of underwear and cologne away from losing his job. McFadden has been suffering with a hamstring injury and Randle is playing with an oblique injury, so the running back position for the Cowboys is up in the air. Dunbar will play and he has a shot to be the 3rd down back, and as the season goes on, he could end up being a spot starter or even the permanent starter. Clearly, he is a guy to keep an eye and a nice waiver wire pickup.
Javorius “Buck” Allen Baltimore Ravens # 61 RB and ADP 86th drafted RB
The rookie out of Southern Cal is a big back at 6’0″- 220. The issue with Allen coming out of college: he has good speed but he tends to be too patient and not use that size to his advantage. Allen has the potential to be a good fantasy sleeper. He is behind the 30-year-old journeyman Justin Forsett on the depth chart. Forsett had a great season last year, but he is hitting the age for running backs that usually see their product start to taper off. Also, Allen is in competition for the backup role with Lorenzo Taliaferro who has a sprained MCL and could miss a couple of games to start the season – Taliaferro also missed games last year due to a foot injury. Allen has great potential and could be shooting up the rankings as the season moves on. He would be a great handcuff for Forsett owners to own.
Matt Jones Washington Redskins #52 RB and ADP # 64th drafted RB
The rookie out of Florida is a big back at 6′ 2″- 231. Jones is stuck behind a consistent Alfred Morris. The one thing the Redskins did well with last year was throwing to the running backs; Washington was 9th with 84 receptions by running backs last season. The one thing that Morris does not do well is catch the football; he only had 17 receptions last season. Jones could end up being their 3rd down back, and due to the Skins being behind in most games in the upcoming season, Jones’ role could increase dramatically. If Morris becomes injured or struggles Jones could move into the starting role during the season, but he could be the goal line back from the start. Jones is a guy to keep tabs on and could be a steal during the season.
Jeff Janis Green Bay Packers #71 WR and ADP 73rd drafted WR
After Jordy Nelson went down with his season ending knee injury. Randall Cobb (who was already a top 10 receiver) and DeVante Adams stock skyrocketed. I am here to say do not sleep on Mr Janis. He is 6′ 3″ and 219 pounds (which is bigger than Adams) and he runs a 4.42 40 (which is faster than Adams time of 4.56). He is an afterthought in most leagues but could end up being the steal of the draft. Janis has the potential to be better than Adams and could end up being Rodgers favorite target after Cobb. Even before the Nelson injury, head coach Mike McCarthy said, he expects Janis to take Big steps in year two. “He is an extremely physical young man and he’s an Olympian in the weight room.” Janis will start the season as the #3 WR for the Packers and his reps could increase as the season goes along. Keep a watchful eye on this possible sleeper.
Robert Woods Buffalo Bills #99 WR and ADP 92nd drafted WR
Woods is coming into his third year in the league. The third year is generally when most receivers start to figure out their roles and get into a routine. Woods had a pretty good 2nd season with 65 catches, 699 yards and 5 td’s, and that was with a revolving door at quarterback. Also Woods had four double-digit games which was one less than Sammy Watkins whom he will have to compete with for targets along with Percy Harvin and Charles Clay. Woods is not getting drafted in most leagues, but he could be a guy that could make a leap in the rankings during the season because Woods has a lot of talent. Harvin and Watkins have a history of injuries, so this could open the door for Woods to become one of Tyrod Taylor’s main targets. I would suggest putting Woods on your watch list and maybe, get him very cheap and score big.
Stevie Johnson San Diego Chargers #49 WR and ADP 55th drafted WR
Fantasy owners were ready to write off Stevie Johnson. He had two disappointing years with the Bills in 2013 and last year with the 49ers. He is now the 3rd wide receiver for the Chargers. Johnson and Philip Rivers are building a nice rapport and it’s possible he could go back to the days of catching an average of 76 passes, 1,000 yards and 6 td’s – numbers he had for 3 consecutive seasons from 2010 to 2012. The Chargers will be lining him up in the slot, the same spot where Eddie Royal had some productive years. Johnson could easily surpass what Royal did in this offense. He is only being drafted late in deeper leagues. With Antonio Gates suspended for the first 4 games and Malcolm Floyd injury history, Stevie Johnson could have a resurrection in San Diego and be a steal off the waiver wire.
Brandon Coleman New Orleans Saints #65 WR and ADP 72nd drafted WR
At 6′ 6″ – 225, Coleman has the size to become Drew Brees’ go to guy in the red zone. In the preseason, he has been lining up opposite of Brandin Cooks and ahead of the aging Marques Colston. Fantasy owners have been taking a late flyer on him in fantasy drafts, but he has begun to create some buzz in fantasy circles. This could raise his stock some in drafts, but he probably will not get drafted in most leagues. He will be the 3rd receiver behind Cooks and Colston but could leap ahead of Colston as season unfolds. Coleman is another guy that should be on your watch list that could become a very tall and valuable weapon for Drew Brees. With the aging Colston and the often injured C.J. Spiller, the Saints will need Coleman to produce this season to have any shot at a playoff run.
Gavin Escobar Dallas Cowboys #46 TE and ADP 36th drafted TE
Going into his 3rd season, Gavin Escobar will be the number 2 tight end behind future Hall of Famer Jason Witten. He has only 18 career catches and 6 td’s. The key to the Dallas offense is they have plenty of weapons and Escobar will end up as the Cowboys #5 or #6 receiver. The reason why I think Escobar could have value during the season is that the Cowboys in 2014 drew up plays just for him, and they will draw up even more plays for him this season. With Dez Bryant being double teamed, this could open the door for Escobar to have a huge season. He has great hands and is a big target at 6′ 6″- 260. He plays like a wide receiver and the Cowboys love lining him up in the slot to create mismatches with the defense. He is still learning the position and if Witten goes down with an injury, Escobar could be a huge addition to any fantasy team looking to add a tight end in the middle of the season.
Virgil Green Denver Broncos #30 TE and ADP 29th drafted TE
Green is battling Owen Daniels for the starting tight end spot for the Broncos, of course Daniels has the edge due to the fact he knows Gary Kubiak’s offense. Daniels is a better option because of his experience and Green has only 23 catches in 4 seasons. Green is a good athlete that is considered more of a blocker. He is not as athletic as Julius Thomas but he has the potential to become a red zone threat, and as the season goes on he could develop into more of pass catching threat. With Daniels having a history of injuries, this could open the door for Green to get more reps. Not to mention quarterback Peyton Manning can make any receiver look like an All-Pro. Keep an eye on Green because he could be a valuable waiver wire option during the season.
The season is less than a week away and fantasy drafts are taking place on all over the country. I wish everyone good luck in your drafts. May you get the players you wanted and be lucky enough to reach Fantasy Glory! Next week I will start my weekly start and sit column. I can not wait to get that started – That means Football is here! Cheers!
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