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Fri, August 29, 2014

Planning Pickups, Throwing Darts

By this time of year and with information so widely available, finding an ACTUAL sleeper in fantasy can be daunting.  Most “sleepers” are the guys people have been talking about for months like Carlos Hyde, Brandin Cooks, Zack Ertz, Cordarelle Patterson, etc. who have been so hyped that virtually all of their potential season-changing value is stripped away that they merely live up to their draft slot and at worst become a complete bust. 

So here are some deeper players you need to actually consider drafting for the back end of your roster or have in the back of your mind for pickups if you are comfortable with how quickly you can snag them if the season’s early events break their way.  Look for a fair number of these to pop up on the fantasy show as Papa Murphy’s pickups at some point!

John Brown has been THE big name of the preseason, but unlike David Wilson from 2013 (2nd round, remember THAT one people???)  nobody is drafting him.  He’s in the Bruce Arians offense which likes to throw downfield, and Brown’s name has been thrown out as the hands down favorite for that role in 3 receiver sets. 

Remember when people were drafting Ben Tate in the 6th round because of his apparent role in the offense and the injury risk to Foster?  Well, now that Tate is gone, no one is applying the same logic to the new backups Alfred Blue and Jonathan Grimes.  Let that oversight be your gain, as the chance of Foster going down at some point is large and the talk around the talent of Blue and Grimes is bordering on the Tate hype.  The best part, you don’t have to pay anything for it. 

At the end of last season, it appeared that Ladarius Green was heading for a massive breakout in 2014.  Now that drafts are here, no one is treating him that way, yet if Gates suffers and injury or continues to slow down as we saw last year, Green has top 7 or 8 potential at the TE position.  I LOVE him as a backup to your injury-prone TE like Reed, Gronk, Rudolph, or Thomas.

Travis Kelce looks like the potential #3 target in Andy Reid’s offense.  That hasn’t amounted to much in the past, but Kelce’s big preseason plays may be an indicator that he’ll be the guy to pick up for your bye-weeks.  I don't expect consistency, but there will be big weeks along the way if you can crack the code on when those are coming...

A recent Peter King appearance on ESPN’s fantasy focus indicated BIG things for Seattle’s Paul Richardson in the (likely) event that Percy Harvin again sustains an injury.  Richardson is a rookie, so that comes with caveats, but the role is undeniably valuable given how thin their receiving core is on speedy playmakers.  He’s not worth drafting, but definitely keep an eye on him as word from camp has been glowing on his raw ability.

Dwayne Allen and Tyler Eiffert both have a similar story.  Highly hyped coming out of the draft, but depth at their position has kept either from producing reliably for their fantasy owners.  With Allen back healthy in a pass-first offense playing catch-up with TE guru Chudzinski, stranger things have happened.  And Eiffert has the pedigree as a big-bodied first rounder and now perhaps the opportunity with Marvin Jones recovering from the broken bone for at least 6 weeks.

Jonathon Stewart.  Yep, I said it.  After years of eating your team’s fourth round pick, he now comes for free.  I mean, in a running-back hungry game, why not take a starting running back with goal-line chops and pass-catching ability.  Why the heck not???  Well, the last 4 years of injury and disappointment would be why not, but now he’s going undrafted in an offense that seems to be lacking pass-catching weapons.   Stewart if healthy is the THIRD pass catching offense in that offense.  THIRD.  He may be the top waiver pickup coming off of week 1, why not beat people to the punch?

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