You’ve selected your studs in the first few rounds of the draft. You might have opted for a zero RB strategy, or decided to bulk up on receivers early. Whatever strategy you’ve used, you’re still going to need to bulk up your teams’ depth. Whether you have done extensive research, you simply like a players situation or you like to throw a dart at a potential breakout candidate – these players are key to the success of your fantasy season. I’ve scoured through my rankings and pulled a few players that are potential gems and are available in the late rounds of drafts.
Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns
Yeah, I get it, it’s the 0-16 Browns. Probably why T-Mobile is going undrafted in most mock drafts. Well, forget last season in Cleveland. Focus on what they have done in the off-season to bolster their offense in a desperate attempt to win games. I have to admit, I for one am impressed with their transactions in 2018 so far.
Tyrod is one of them. He joins from a mediocre Buffalo Bills team who somehow managed a playoff berth last season after finishing up 9-7. Probably because this guy was under center calling plays. He’s dynamic with a good arm and great with his legs. Although his passing stats haven’t wowed anybody in his 7 year NFL career – a season-high of 3,035 yards and 20 TD’s in 2015, he still presents plenty of upside for fantasy football owners.
The other major new addition to the Cleveland offense is elite level wide receiver Jarvis Landry who joined from the Miami Dolphins on a monster 5 year/$75.5million contract, making him the 6th highest paid wide-out in the league. Landry joins a receiving troop that will make sure Tyrod has got plenty of options in the passing game. He, along with Josh Gordon, David Njoku, Duke Johnson and Carlos Hyde are all going to want feeding. I can foresee this season being the year that Tyrod breaks his own passing records as this corps present a sizeable upgrade to who he had to work with during his Buffalo tenure.
But even if Taylor doesn’t move mountains through the passing game; you can still rely on his ability to run the ball. We all know that rushing QB’s present higher values in fantasy football. You simply cannot ignore Tyrod’s 525 rushing yard average over the last 3 seasons with just over a 4.5 TD average over the same span resulting in top 16 fantasy finishes in all of them.
Stat Projection: 3,481 yards/24 TD’s/374 rush yds/3 rush TD’s
Jordan Wilkins, Indianapolis Colts
Frank Gore has left the building. He’s still playing of course because the guy is invincible – but it won’t be in a Colts uniform. Marlon Mack failed to really impress in his rookie year only managing a lack-luster 3.8 yards per attempt average on 93 carries (358 yards) and inside runs were often dropped for a loss. He’s also coming off shoulder surgery for a hampering ailment this off-season and is currently sidelined with a hamstring problem.
Wilkins wasn’t the first running back to be drafted into Indianapolis in this year’s draft. That came in the shape of Nyheim Hines with the 4.04 pick. But Hines doesn’t really profile as a bull runner, more of a swiss army knife to be used as a third down guy or a passing option – a Duke Johnson type player if you will.
So that means there is potentially an opening for a starting running back for the Colts this season. After a frustrating college career after having a season ban in 2016, partially thanks to an administrative error – that didn’t seem to phase Wilkins for the 2017 season as he led the backfield for Ole Miss, rushing for 1,011 yards and scoring 10 total touchdowns. This was all on just 155 carries too, equalling a 6.5 yards per carry average which was to be the second best in the SEC.
It may take a few weeks in a committee situation for Wilkins to establish himself within the Colts offense but after a good pre-season week 1 game versus Seattle, he could impress new head coach Frank Reich enough to get the starting job. With a current ADP of 13.09, Wilkins could be a steal for fantasy owners later on in the season.
Stat Projection: 626 yards/5 TD’s/271 rec yards/1 rec TD
John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals
You remember this guy, don’t you? You should, he single-handedly nearly broke Twitter during the 2017 NFL Combine with that eye-popping 4.22sec 40 yard dash time. Ok, so he had a rough start to life as an NFL receiver, in fact, there can’t be many rookie receivers that finish the season with minus fantasy points! But to his defense, he sustained a knee injury putting an end to his rookie campaign. Now he is back and in an offense that has improved significantly in the offseason.
Andy Dalton struggled last season and only managed 3,320 passing yards; second worse in his 7-year career. That was probably likely due to a terrible offensive line that was unable to protect him. With offseason additions Cordy Glenn from Buffalo and 21st overall draft pick Billy Price – Cincinnati’s o-line has been bolstered considerably and the hope will be that Dalton is now given more time in the pocket and get more out of his talented receiving corps.
That group of receivers includes 7-time Pro Bowl wide-out A.J Green who will always draw the opposing defenses main coverage and with the releasing of main WR2 threat Brandon LaFell and with Tyler Boyd taking the slot work; the door is seemingly open for Ross to be fully utilized on the opposite flank to Green.
Stat Projection: 55 receptions/889 yards/5 TD’s
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars
ASJ started his NFL career as a young, promising receiving tight end from the Washington Huskies football program. But off the field issues stunted his potential shining through at Tampa Bay led him to get traded to the New York Jets in the 2017 offseason. During that time, ASJ seemingly sorted his antics off the field and cleared up his act, focusing solely on becoming a better professional. That showed with his performances for the Jets, and although his stat line of 50 receptions for 357 yards and 3 touchdowns didn’t blow anybody away; he proved that he does possess the talent to be a quality tight end in the NFL.
He needed to step up to a more productive team with a stronger offense in order to maximize his potential. I believe his move to Jacksonville this season will provide him just that. Blake Bortles is an upgrade to Josh McCown last season and he’s also got a full ensemble of talent surrounding him which will alleviate defensive coverage.
Last season in Jacksonville, TD’s were spread fairly evenly around the receivers; but do you know who scored the most? Marcedes Lewis (5). Lewis is no longer suiting up for the Jags and ASJ will head into that versatile offense knowing there is a void to be filled as the main red-zone weapon. I’m predicting this year will be the year of ASJ and a big breakout is on the cards.
Stat Projection: 55 receptions/623 yards/6 TD’s
by Rob Grimwood @ FFBritBaller
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