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In this article I highlight some players that I THINK you should target in the late rounds of your drafts in order to add value and have the potential for some great seasons.
Qaurterbacks: The Position is very deep this year, so you will be able to draft these very capable backups late in the draft, ready to jump into action should your starter miss time.
Andy Dalton (QB) - Dalton had a terrific campaign as a rookie and should be able to build on that success with the help of AJ Green and the other talented players around him such as the returning Jordan Shipley and TE Jermaine Gresham.
Matt Hasselbeck (TEN) – Hasselbeck us currently battling 2nd year QB JAke locker for the starting job, but is rumoured to be the favorite to win the position due to his experience. MAtt is an above average QB who helps his eam win games and has one of the leagues best pass catching RBs in Chris Johnson. He also has 2 terrific receiving weapons in Kenny Britt and TE Jared Cook Jr.
Matt Moore (MIA) – Moore is still battling David Garrard for the starting position in Miami, but should get the starting nod due to his success and experience from 2011. Moore had quite a few 300 yards / multi TD games in 2011, but also lost elite level WR Brandon Marshall; it won’t be easy but Moore should still be able to produce some decent fantasy numbers on weeks when it is needed, and when playing good matchups.
Sam Bradford (STL) – Bradford regressed from his rookie season, but obviously has the skill and potential to return to that form, if not improve on it. The Rams are still anchored behind a great RB in Steven Jackson, and Bradford gained a talented new WR in rookie Brian Quick.
Carson Palmer (OAK) – Palmers downfall last year was turnovers, something he should be able to control in his second season with the team and with the proper time to prepare for the season and the playbook. He also has the services of some very fast, explosive young WRs in Denarius Moore, Darrius Heyward-Bey and Jacoby Ford.
Running Backs: RB isn’t the break and butter position it used to be. If you play in a 2 RB league these players will likely be drafted at some point for the bench but have potential to crack the starting line.
Michael Bush (OAK) - Bush is playing a backup role once again in Chicago, despite showing he has the capabilities of being a starting RB for many other rosters. Forte is the clear cut #1 RB in Chicago, but is also coming off season ending knee surgery when he sprained ih ACL late in the season (week 12). Forte may not be ready to play week 1, and even if he is, Chicago may not trust to use him as heavily as they did last year.
Tim Hightower (WAS) – Many people are geting rather high on Roy Helu this season after the talented pass-catching RB gained several 100 yard games towards the end of the season. The team has however drafted RGIII to go with some free agent WRs, and also has veteran Tim Hightower to leach carries. Hightower is a powerful downhill runner who just seems to lack that X-factor to become a viable fantasy starter. Helu could end up being a bust while Hightower provides decent value for those who select him late in the draft.
Donald Brown (IND) - Brown should act as the primary ball carrier for the Colts this year, who will desperately need some production of their RBs in order to take some of the pressure off of #1 overall draft pick Andrew Luck. Brown will have some competition for the starting job, but the former first round draft pick should have the initial opportunity to show he is capable fo starting for an NFL team.
Steven Ridley (NE) – With Ben-Jarvis Green-Ellis gone to Cincinnati to be a Bengal, the Patriots will need someone to step up and take over the roll ans ball carrier; the top options this offseason are Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen. Despite being drafted a round later than Vereen in the 2011 draft, Ridley ended up getting more carries, finishing the season with more than 400 yards and a TD in a fairly limite role. This year most are expecting Ridley will take over the majority of ball carrier duties. Both have the pleasure of playing for New England, who routinely have defences scared of the pass, resulting in some good running lanes.
Jonathan Stewart / DeAngelo Williams (CAR) – It’s hard to predict what is going to happen with these two once again this year, and we also have Mike Tolbert added to the mix, though it has been rumoured he will be acting as a FB. Stewart is entering a contract year and should have lots of motivation to have a big year. The RBs should also have more room to run with teams trying to figure out ways to stop Cam Newton.
Honorable Mention – Mike Goodson (OAK) - Goodson won’t get a whole lot of touches playing second fiddle to Darren McFadden, but should DMC get injured, something he seems to do every year, then Goodson could end up being th Michael Bush of 2012 along with Taiwan Jones.
Wide Receivers: There are soo many WRs to choose from this year, but I believe grabbing a few of these will help ensure your depth at the position.
Titus Young (DET) – Young has the luxury of playing second fiddle to Calvin Johnson who will see countless double teams roll his way. Young didn’t have an explosive 2011 campaign, but is committed to improving his skill set and role with the team. Young is a player I would love to have as a backup on my roster.
Davone Bess / Brian Hartline (MIA) - Bess and Hartline are the #1 and #2 WRs for the Dolphins… scary (I am a depressed Fins fan myself =/). While neither are extreme talents, they are in a position to succeed, in line to see solid targets totals. Chad Ochocinco has been signed to the team but I have to wait to see what kind of an impact he will be able to have. Bess is the top ranked of the 2 with EXTREMELY sure hands and 3rd down talent. Hartine is more explosive but has a penchant for drops.
Santonio Holmes (NYJ) – Holmes didn’t have a great 2011, caching under 700 yards despite playing in all 16 games, he did however grab 8 TDs. Plaxico Burress is yet to be resigned to the squad, boosting the value of Holmes, who will be hands down the most talented pair of hands available to Sanchez (or Tebow…) downfield.
Mike Williams (TB) - Williams to a major step back last year, catching 8 less TDs than he did in his rookie year. While I don’t think it is very likely he grabs double-digit touchdowns, he still has the potential to be a solid option at WR, and is currently not being talked about due his extremely disappointing 2011 year.
David Nelson (BUF) – After Stevie Johnson, the Bills really don’t have a clear cut WR hierarchy. David Nelson and Donald Jones are the 2 players currently fighting for the #2 and #3 spots respectively. Nelson however is coming off the better year, playing in all 16 games and reeling in 61 catchs for 5 TDs. Jones on the other hand was lost to an injury after catching 44 passes to go with his 1 TD. As the Bills continue to take steps forward, so should Nelson and Jones.
Malcom Floyd (SD) – Floyd will once again be playing second fiddle, this year it will be to Robert Meachem, who has been brought in by the Chargers to presumably be the #1 WR. over the last 2 seasons Floyd has over 1500 yards and 11 TDs despite missing 9 games over that span. Health can be a concern when it comes to Floyd but he has the ability to be quality member of your fantasy football team.
Rueben Randle (NYG) – The defending Lombardi trophy boast of the best young tandems at WR in the league with Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz; defences are going to be pulling their hair out this year trying to figure out way to stop the uber talented Nicks and highly explosive Cruz. With all this attention an Nicks and Cruz, it is quite possible that #3 WR Rueben Randle could end up seeing some open field and benefiting from teams having to focus their attention elsewhere.
Alshon Jeffery (CHI) – Jeffery may not see a whole lot of targets on a weekly basis, playing behind Marshall, Bennett and possibly Knox, but Jeffery should be a dangerous red zone target. Marshall is already one of the hardest WRs to guard in the red zone, and adding a 6’3, 220 pound Jeffery will make the Bears even harder to stop once they get inside the 20-yard line.
Brian Quick (STL) – The Rams have a rather underwhelming and crowded list of WRs with names like Denario Alexander, Danny Amendola (Great in PPR leagues) and former Giant Steve Smith. The Rams did however draft a very talented young WR in Brian Quick. Quick, whom was at one point called “the next T.O.” will start for the Rams right away and could help QB Sam Bradford get back to the his rookie form (3,500 yards 18 TD).
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