Heading into each fantasy football season, owners scour the draft for that hidden gem. You know, that player drafted in the later round that makes a huge impact. Last year, owners who grabbed Gronkowski, Graham, or took a risk on Newton saw it pay off handsomely; but who should everyone be looking for this year? Well I am here to give you a heads up on some lesser known, or lower ranked, players who are likely to have big fantasy years.
Josh Freeman (Tampa Bay): What are a QBs keys for success, of course other than their own skill set? Those keys are; protections, weapons, and a strong run game. Well check off all three because during this off season Freeman got an upgrade at all three of those areas. As far as his protection is concerned, the Bucs picked up one of the best OG in the league in Carl Nicks who has had the pleasure of protecting Drew Brees during his first 4 seasons in the league. Then there are the Freeman’s new weapons in the reliable veteran Dallas Clark at TE and one of the best deep-threats in the game in Vincent Jackson. Finally, we all know that the Bucs have Blount; however with his fumbling problems they went out and drafted Doug Martin, who was of the most sought-out RB in the draft.
Where I would draft: somewhere around 10-11th round if where I have seen him go and where I personally would draft him.
Kevin Smith (Detroit Lions): I am aware he recently injured his ankle, but so what? It isn’t a serious injury, and due to Best being out at least until week 6, and Leshoure being out the first 2 weeks due to suspension, that leaves Smith to bear the brunt of the work. This isn’t a new role for Smith who stepped in last year and put up great fantasy numbers in his 7 games he played in, in which most of those he shared carries. Despite sharing carries, Smith managed three double-digit games, including a 38-point performance. The nice thing is that he did not just compile all of these points via the ground, but instead he did so as a strong dual-threat through the air as well, and with Stafford the one throwing the ball he will do just fine again this year.
Were I would draft: he has been going as late as the 12th and 13th round
Nate Washington (Tennessee Titans): After a 1,000+ yard and 7 TD season, Washington should be on a lot of people’s radars. Especially this year with Locker under center, CJ2k seeming to be back to form, and Britt out for an undetermined time, it seems that it is Washington’s time to shine once more. Expect similar numbers and a great season from him,
Were I would draft: He would be a great 2nd WR and fantastic flex player, who I would have no problem grabbing anywhere between the 6-8th rounds.
Jacob Tamme (Denver Broncos): Whenever Peyton Manning is your QB, your stock as a WR or TE goes up, no doubt. Yet when you already have chemistry with him, that is a huge boost, and that is exactly what Tamme has. In 2010, when Tamme stepped in for the injured Dallas Clark, Tamme had 67 receptions, 631 yards and 4 touchdowns. Since this year he is the only receiver Manning has any previous history with, I am looking for similar, if not better numbers this year.
Were I would draft: 10th round, and that’s a steal.
Connor Barth (Tampa Bay): Perhaps the most overlooked position in fantasy football is the kicker. A position that at ant week can bust out and score over 20 points, or at least consistently on their worst day get you at least 5-7 points. Meanwhile, Barth is coming off his best season as a kicker, connecting on just under 93% of his field goals, hitting 26 of 28. Of those 26, 17 of them came from 40 yards and beyond (3 from 50+). With all of his team’s offense upgrades, Barth could be looking at more FG and PA attempts, making his value higher in fantasy.
Were I would draft: 13th-last round, no need to rush on a kicker since there are plenty available, but he is worth taking.
Buffalo Bills: Plain and simple, the Bills have a defense that is good for fantasy football owners. Last year they had 20 interceptions which resulted in 4 TDs, 17 FF which 11 were recovered and 2 were taken for TDs and 29 sacks. Then they went and added a guy like Mario Williams who can help out everywhere, thus boosting their fantasy stock even higher.
Were I would draft: 15th-last round