A couple of years ago, the New York Giants brought in a rookie placekicker to challenge incumbent Josh Brown. The kid did great, but not good enough for coach Tom Coughlin to make the change. Instead, the newbie was traded right before cut day to the Denver Broncos. So, there was a kicker who kicked great in the swirling winds of Giants Stadium now kicking in the rarified air at Mile-High.
With the last pick of my NFL fantasy draft, I selected Brandon McManus. His name did not appear on the list of players available to be drafted. They had to verify his roster status before allowing the selection. I felt smart, even though McManus didn’t work out as well as I hoped in his rookie season. (I waived him in week 4). But here are two guys who might work out better. Look them up and dazzle your draft manager.
Jaron Brown, wide receiver, Arizona Cardinals
No, that is not a typo. We did not mean to say, John Brown. We would like to select Jaron Brown, the best fifth-year wide receiver no one (outside of Arizona) ever heard of. Brown was an undrafted free agent who worked hard enough and was just good enough to be un-cuttable through his first three seasons. Then last year, he turned a corner. He became a favorite preseason target of quarterback Carson Palmer and appeared set to start opposite Larry Fitzgerald. He beat out Michael Floyd, among others.
Unfortunately, his year ended before the season began with a torn ACL, but Jaron is back and looks just as good as ever. He could be the starter in the Cardinals’ season opener, ahead of John Brown. At worst, he is the number three. A heavy dose of David Johnson and an aging quarterback could hold down Arizona’s receiving fantasy points. But with John Brown’s injury history and Jaron Brown’s work ethic, I might take Jaron ahead of some other late-round receivers in my NFL fantasy draft.
Aldrick Rosas, kicker, New York Giants
They did it again. The Giants brought in a rookie kicker from out of nowhere to compete for a roster spot. Only this time, there was no incumbent. The team brought in veteran Mike Nugent to make it a contest. In fact, if Tom Coughlin was still the head coach, Rosas might have been cut right after Nugent hit two 50+ yarders against the Jets last week.
But there’s a new sheriff in town in head coach Ben McAdoo. If Nugent made it a difficult decision with his game against the Jets, Rosas’ last-second 48-yard game winner against New England last night ended the debate.
One thing that hasn’t changed much between McAdoo and Coughlin is their trust in the defense to protect a slight lead. They will always take the points and that makes any Giants kicker top-ten fantasy-worthy. Rosas, out of NAIA’s Frontier Conference and the pride of the Southern Oregon Raiders, is no exception.
Of course, you don’t want to waste a pick in your NFL fantasy draft. But if you are pretty happy with your roster heading into the last round, why not dazzle your league-mates with a name they have to look up? They will make you look like a genius if things come together. Or they could provide you with an easy waiver option when the season starts.
Which players most wouldn’t know might you pick in your draft? Comment below!
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