Practice Squad Potential Superstars – by Rob Grimwood

Fantasy drafts are over. Phew, that was a tough slog. But, before you get comfy with your cold beverage and cigar ready to watch the frenzy of the regular season unfold whilst flicking between your fantasy teams like you’re swiping right on Tinder; let me draw to your attention some current practice squad members who may not have made their teams’ 53 man roster – but still offer some potential in the future. It may not be this season where you see the following players get an opportunity to plant their flags in the big time, but whenever they do get their chance, you’re going to want to pick them up in your fantasy rosters; dynasty especially.

Dylan Cantrell, Wide Receiver – Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers drafted the former Texas Tech receiver in the 6th round of the 2018 draft (191st overall). Although he is not the quickest wide-out to come through college (4.59 40-yard dash at the combine), he has safe hands and is an intelligent route runner. At 6’3″ and 220lbs, he is of similar stature to the likes of Jordy Nelson, Allen Robinson, and Julio Jones. In fact, if you compare Cantrell’s combine measurables to these NFL superstars, you’ll be surprised to learn just how good Cantrell actually is.

table

The likely reason for Cantrell being cut to the practice squad at the Chargers is down to the depth they possess at receiver and a niggling knee injury he picked up during the pre-season. Despite turning heads throughout training camp and pre-season, he wasn’t able to jump ahead of the likes of Tyrell Williams, Travis Benjamin and J.J Jones. With elite receiver Keenan Allen and last years’ first-round draft pick Mike Williams cemented into that offense, Cantrell is going to have to likely wait for an injury to get his chance to shine.

dylan
Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports

He is definitely the favorite guy on my taxi squad in dynasty formats though, and I firmly believe it’s just a matter of time before the Texas native gets his shot for a breakthrough in the NFL.

Deon Yelder, Tight End – New Orleans Saints

The Saints passed on a number of tight ends in the NFL draft this year (Mike Gesicki, Hayden Hurst, Dallas Goedert, Mark Andrews, and Ian Thomas) as they knew they could pick up a potential superstar that would fly under the radar. In fact, he flew so low they picked him up as an undrafted free agent after the draft had completed.

Despite it being very rare that a UDFA makes it to the NFL, let alone becomes a household name, it’s not impossible – google Adam Theilen, Wes Welker, Kurt Warner, and Antonio Gates if you want some proof. Talking of Gates; you want to know who has the exact measurements of 6’4″/255lbs? You guessed it, Deon Yelder. That isn’t where the comparisons stop either. Yelder has great hands, just like Gates; in his final year with Western Kentucky which ended in a Senior Bowl appearance, he recorded a solid 688 yards with 7 TDs with an impressive 13.2 yards per reception average.

yelder
Photo Credit: Steve Roberts/WKU Athletics

Not only does he possess great pass-catching skills, he’s gained the nickname “Big Thumper’ which will give you some indication that he is also handy on blocking duties. The Saints aren’t exactly loaded at tight end either. Ben Watson is back in NOLA after spending a year in Baltimore, but he will turn 38 years old during the regular season this year so you have to question his longevity as the teams main tight end. Josh Hill is the other guy who seems to be only on the roster for pass-blocking duties which means Yelder may have an opportunity to state his claim sooner rather than later and potentially have an instant impact on fantasy rosters.

Daurice Fountain, Wide Receiver – Indianapolis Colts

This pick is a direct result of opportunity. Fountain was drafted by the Colts 159th overall in the 5th round of the 2018 NFL Draft with owner Jim Irsay knowing the team was skinny at receiver. Fellow rookie Deon Cain has found himself on the IR when unfortunately suffering an all too common torn ACL injury during his impressive training camp/pre-season campaign which would surely mean Fountain would make the final 53 man roster. Well, think again. Indy has decided to go a different route taking Zach Pascal and Marcus Johnson instead. Yes, exactly – who are they?

Northern Iowa Panthers wide receiver Daurice Fountain dives for a first down at the UNI-Dome in Cedar Falls on Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017. (Stephen Mally/The Gazette)
Photo Credit: Stephen Mally/The Gazette

It won’t be long before the Northern Iowa product makes his way on to that roster when the Andrew Luck’s backup brigade inevitably fail and an injection of fresh blood is needed in an attempt to get that offense ticking. Step up Daurice Fountain. So he comes from a small school, coincidentally the same school that superstar running back David Johnson hails from – so there’s the proof that a player from UNI can make it in the big time. His stats from his senior year aren’t to be ignored either. 943 yards saw him outscore the likes of D.J Chark and Christian Kirk, both of whom were second-round draft picks for the Jacksonville Jaguars and Arizona Cardinals respectively and his 12 receiving touchdowns saw him rank within the top 10 in the FCS div 1.

I will not be at all surprised if Fountain gets the call-up in the first half of the season – and the bold take would be to suggest he’s going to be Indy’s second most productive wide receiver this year behind T.Y Hilton.

By Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

For more on the rookie super sleepers, check out @SconnieJosh’s articles from earlier in the off-season here –> https://wordpress.com/post/acrossthefantasypond.com/2138  https://wordpress.com/post/acrossthefantasypond.com/2156

 

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