It’s draft weekend for millions of NFL fantasy owners around the world. To prove it’s never too late to look for draft bargains, here is one from each NFC team that you could put into play at every level of your draft board.
Dallas Cowboys: Cole Beasley, WR
Dez Bryant is back and healthy. Apparently, that means Dak Prescott is supposed to throw every pass to him and only him. Meanwhile, Beasley, a favorite target of Prescott’s last season is relegated to a 13th round WR66 status. It makes no sense. Beasley will be on the field for as many plays and brings a 70% catch percentage with him. He should be a consideration at about WR45.
New York Giants: Shane Vereen, RB
Paul Perkins was handed the starting running back job before training camp began. He is being touted as a potential sleeper by many prognosticators even though Orleans Darkwa outperformed him throughout the preseason. But that’s not important. What’s important is that Shane Vereen is healthy and handling third down and passing situations. He is certainly a top-20 PPR value and I will consider him in my standard league around RB42. You should, too.
Philadelphia Eagles: Darren Sproles, RB
Whether or not LeGarrette Blount gets it together in Philadelphia, Darren Sproles will be their most important running back. On the same level as the Giants’ Vereen, Sproles will be the passing and third-down back in Philly’s offense. BONUS: Wendell Smallwood is looking more like a worthy handcuff to Blount every minute.
Washington Redskins: Josh Doctson, WR
When a team passes as much as the Redskins do, the third wide receiver has to be considered in your draft. In this case, I am also considering Kirk Cousins’ joy at throwing deep, where Terrelle Pryor will run with double coverage on one side and Josh Doctson will go one-on-one on the other. I am as down on Pryor as I am high on Doctson. The three receivers (Jamison Crowder is the WR2) will finish bunched up in the WR30-40 range, making Pryor a bust and Doctson a bargain at his current WR60 ADP.
Arizona Cardinals: Jaron Brown, WR
That’s right. His name is Jaron, not to be confused with John. The two Browns are duking it out for the WR2/3 position for the Cardinals. Both will get ample targets to break the top 50, but since Jaron is not on most draft boards, that makes him the sleeper for your team.
Los Angeles Rams: Jared Goff, QB
Okay! Okay! He won’t be challenging Rogers, Brees, and Brady for the QB1 crown anytime soon. But surrounded by offensive geniuses on the coaching staff and a revamped collection of receivers, Goff will be a trendy streaming option soon enough. Besides, Todd Gurley already guaranteed Goff his first 1,000 passing yards. Don’t draft him, but be ready to jump on the Goff bandwagon soon.
San Francisco 49ers: Matt Breida, RB
Remember all the talk about Joe Williams and how he was the new top back in San Francisco? He will likely start 2017 as the fourth option behind incumbent Carlos Hyde, Raheem Mostert, and fellow rookie Matt Breida. Breida outshined everyone in camp. We know Hyde will be the workhorse, but Shanahan wants to infuse youth, too. Look for Breida to rack up some yards in the number two role in San Francisco.
Seattle Seahawks: Christopher Carson, RB
It seems like every Seattle player is listed as a possible sleeper. From the running back competition between Eddy Lacy, Thomas Rawls, and C. J. Prosise emerges Chris Carson. Lacy and Rawls might get first shot at it, and it looks like the hot hand will prevail, but Carson outplayed everyone and coach Pete Carroll noticed. Don’t be surprised if Carson handles third downs and passing situations as the season wears on. Worth a stash until we see what transpires.
Chicago Bears: Markus Wheaton, WR
Wheaton will start the season inactive with a broken pinky finger. When he comes back, he will provide the spark the Bears need in a passing game now in the hands of Mike Glennon and receivers Kevin White and Kendall Wright. If Wheaton can stay on the field, his superior breakaway skills will make him the favorite target of whatever quarterback is behind center. Stash him away with your last pick.
Detroit Lions: Kenny Golladay, WR
Golladay will be the Lions third receiver behind Marvin Jones and Golden Tate. In a team that just paid what the Lions paid Matthew Stafford to throw passes, that’s a pretty good spot to pick up some targets as a rookie. What’s more, the kid is a player. He catches everything he can reach. Jones and Tate have both raved about their new teammates’ instincts and ability. All three Detroit receivers are undervalued, but Golladay is the true sleeper at WR56.
Green Bay Packers: Ty Montgomery, RB
Montgomery put all the talk about whether Jamaal Williams was going to put him out of work to rest with a stellar performance in the Packers’ third preseason game. Montgomery will be the workhorse back as Williams did not prove himself to be an upgrade over the incumbent in any aspect of the game. By all means, take Williams as a handcuff, but more importantly, reach beyond Montgomery’s current RB19 ADP and pick him ahead of all the rookies ahead up front and Lamar Miller.
Minnesota Vikings: Adam Thielen, WR
Simply put, Adam Thielen outgained and out-caught Stefon Diggs over the second half of last year. Expect that to continue. Laquon Treadwell will steal some targets, but mostly from Diggs, who will draw the best cornerback for a while until the rest of the league realizes what is happening in Minnesota. Thielen and Diggs will be neck and neck in the WR32-34 range, making Thielen the bargain of the pair.
Atlanta Falcons: Mohamed Sanu, WR
Last season, I gambled and lost on Atlanta needing to share the wide receiver load with somebody other than Julio Jones. But that’s not stopping me from going to that well again. Besides, everyone else on their roster seems to be appropriately located on NFL fantasy draft boards. Sanu is also more comfortable with the Falcons’ game plan and Matt Ryan’s tendencies, which could give him a boost. At the very least, he is Jones’ handcuff. So that’s worth something.
Carolina Panthers: Curtis Samuel, WR
Samuel fell off a lot of draft boards when he missed time with a hamstring issue. He incurred a minor ankle injury in the final preseason game but is expected back for the season opener. He provides a speedy underneath receiver and occasional deep threat in the Panthers’ new offense. He is also next in line if WR2 Devin Funchess doesn’t pick up his game soon. Look for Samuel to add on some fantasy rushing points as the receiver most likely to run Coach Ron Rivera’s favorite play, the end-around. Pick him up in the late 40s as a good bet to see increased time early in the season.
New Orleans Saints: Ted Ginn, Jr, WR
Even before the league announced they suspended the Saints’ Willie Snead for three games, I thought Ginn was being overlooked. The savvy veteran will be the WR2 to start the season and will remain a favorite target of Drew Brees all season long. With plenty of work to go around in New Orleans, Ginn’s ADP of WR61 is way too low. Pick him up in the 40s as a bargain.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Cameron Brate, TE
In a sad case of being dumped for a younger tight end, last season’s touchdown leader has been pushed to the curb. Well, at least as far as fantasy drafts go. Rookie O. J. Howard is drafting ahead of last year’s breakout TE despite less-than-stellar play in the preseason. Given that tight ends usually don’t thrive in their first season and Winston has a trusted connection in Brate, expect Brate to return as a top-ten TE in 2017.
You can bet on all these guys making an unexpected fantasy impact. Don’t forget them in your NFL fantasy draft plans. And don’t forget to come back to RealSport for season-long updates and advice on all things NFL fantasy!
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