When drafting, your late-round picks are important–select players who have a chance to help you later in the season. Despite being terrible to watch, injuries need to be accounted for because they create opportunities.
There are players we expect to shine when given the opportunity. Ideally it will require a single injury to expose these potential lottery tickets. A little foresight and these cheap lottery tickets can become extremely valuable assets.
Note that all these players are part of a strong offense. When all else is equal, it is a good strategy to own the player on the better offense. It is a cheap approach to potentially owning a significant part of a dominant offense.
The following are players that are currently undrafted in Fantasy Football Calculator mock drafts that are potential game-changers to occupy for your bench – at least at the beginning of the season.
Few are buzzing in training camp quite like James White. Before the draft, Shawn Siegele likened him to a Discount Gio Bernard. Before camp we thought he was just a passing back, but Bill Belichick cleared that up by saying “He does a good job in the passing game and in the running game — both inside and outside . . . I think he has the ability to compete on all three downs.”
Currently shaping up as the backup to Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, White has many opportunities for playing time. If either Ridley or Vereen underwhelms, suffers an injury, or fumbles, White would be the perfect zero running back RB2. It doesn’t matter if he’s the big back, getting 15 carries per game on a dominant offense OR playing third-downs and catching passes (as Vereen did last season or Danny Woodhead and Kevin Faulk in years gone by). Either way, White is a great lottery ticket investment in the later rounds.
Here’s what beat writer Mike Reiss wrote about White on ESPN Boston, “Has opened eyes with how many quality reps he’s getting and looks like he’ll be a significant part of the team’s attack — on all three downs.”
In his most recent article Reiss wrote: “Starting to wonder if White might cut into some of Ridley’s early-down workload, as it’s been notable how many repetitions he’s seeing in practice, especially on the goal line.” Perhaps he doesn’t even need an injury or mistake to get on the field.
As Rich Hribar points out, Ka’Deem Carey’s potential workload makes him a valuable handcuff. Few offensive players have better situations than Matt Forte. The Bears finished second in points scored last season and Marc Trestman loves to throw to his RB, as evidenced by Forte’s 74 catches for 594 receiving yards. While a very good player, Forte turns 29 in December and father time catches up with RBs very quickly.
Despite a disappointing combine, Carey had extraordinary college production. Over his last two seasons at the University of Arizona, he compiled 4,290 yards and 44 total touchdowns. Carey was also an effective receiver. Currently undrafted on Fantasy Football Calculator, Carey is a cheap investment that could yield tremendous results.
Backing up LeSean McCoy on one of the league’s best offenses, Chris Polk has tons of potential value. The Eagles finished fourth in scoring last season and have arguably the best RB situation in football.
Playing for the Eagles gives Polk an opportunity to play with Chip Kelly’s scheme behind the Eagles’ elite offensive line. Darren Sproles may become a little more involved in the event of a McCoy injury, but Polk would likely hover around 15 carries per game. Polk was extremely efficient in limited touches last year. It is also fair to conclude that the Eagles liked Polk enough to make Bryce Brown expendable. As an essentially free player who is typically undrafted in most leagues, Polk is a worthy lottery ticket.
If you’re a frequent follower of RotoViz, you already know that we love Davante Adams. He’s dominant in the red zone, had college production that compares favorably to Michael Crabtree, and has extremely favorable comparables. When Ted Thompson selected Adams 53rd overall, he confirmed our beliefs.
We’re confident that Adams will reward fantasy owners if given the opportunity. Playing with Aaron Rodgers only improves his potential to score fantasy points. Currently Adams sits behind Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb, and Jarrett Boykin on the Packers depth chart. An injury to one of those receivers is all Adams needs to become 2014’s Keenan Allen. He’s also more talented than Boykin and could win the WR3 role outright.
Using the College Career Graphs App on RotoViz, we can see that he compares favorably to Cobb and is on par with Nelson’s third year.
One of the most undervalued players in fantasy football, Starks backs up Eddie Lacy on the Packers dynamic offense. Starks was featured in Shawn Siegele’s Top 20 Deep Sleepers for 2014. When adjusting for the opponent, Starks was the most effective Packers RB per opportunity.
Lacy’s ferocious rushing style makes him a prime candidate for injury and therefore makes Starks an elite handcuff. He should be owned in all deep leagues as a lottery ticket.When he’s not searching for ways to defeat his opponents, Mike Braude spends his time finding ways to remove the randomness of fantasy football and reward the most skilled fantasy owners. He has remedied this issue by creating Apex Fantasy Football Money Leagues.