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Fantasy Players to Watch (Steal your League)

When it comes to fantasy you can never go wrong with Beyoncé or Kate Upton. “What? (Hold on, Are you sure? Oh. Fantasy Football) Draft Diamonds needs to be more specific next time. Fortunately, this is a topic that I have some knowledge of cause this could of got embarrassing. Anyway, here we go …

Every year millions of people play fantasy football. Whether it’s for money or just for bragging rights, they play to win the game, Hello ! As the Seahawks showed us all last season, Championships are won by success with the later round draft picks. Well at SportsRuckus “All we do is win”, so while your blockheaded friends are celebrating their choice of McCoy, Peterson, or Charles you will be lying in the weeds waiting for the later rounds to stomp him out and as he is using the auto pick to pick an injured or suspended player to go with his choices of Tebow and Ocho Cinco you will be grabbing guys who will contribute to your championship run.

Quarterbacks

While everyone is fighting over Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees you just sit there and keep grabbing RBs and WRs. Then in the mid to late rounds you have the option of choosing 1 of these 3 QBs.

Tony Romo – We can all sit and argue about how clutch he is or isn’t and how many playoff games he has not won (which isn’t his fault I may add) but Romo puts up numbers. Last year he threw for 31 Tds in 15 games and with an improved offensive line, a more focused Dez Bryant, and a new offensive coordinator expect Tony to have his best year yet. Also the fact they will be involved ins some epic shootouts because of Dallas’s inept defense which will probably end with Tony making some colossal error but who cares you got your fantasy points.

Cam Newton- The man with the million dollar smile gets another chance to prove that he belongs to mentioned in the upper tier of QBs. The Panthers lost all of their WRs from last year along with the retirement LT Jordan Gross. So their is panic in the Fantasy world as to what he can do this season. Since Cam has been in the NFL he has had success with very little help and this year will be no different. He is a multi- dimensional playmaker who will get you rushing Tds as well as passing Tds. The Panthers may have a keeper in rookie WR Kelvin Benjamin, who is a big target and should be Cams top option to go with TE Greg Olsen, plus Cams ability to extend plays which will allow the other receivers time to get open.
Jay Cutler- Cutler is another one of America’s favorite whipping boys. But after watching what Josh McCown did with those weapons while Cutler was injured, I can only imagine what someone with the arm talent and no fear of launching the ball up deep can do with Brandpn Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, and Martellus Bennett. Not to mention one of the best all around RBs in the NFL Matt Forte.

Now if you are feeling risky you may wait even longer and then go after one of these guys. You gotta believe if you want to achieve! You are talking to a guy that won a championship with Kyle Orton as his QB. Preferably you would wait and end up with one of these guys as your second QB though.

Robert Griffin III – The Redskins have surrounded RG3 with a dangerous supporting cast of pass catchers in Pierre Garçon, DeSean Jackson, Andre Roberts, and Jordan Reed to go with a strong run game led by Alfred Morris. Pair that with his mobility, and you have fantasy gold. If someone doesn’t teach this man how to slide, starting immediately, he may not make 16 games. But otherwise, he is worth the risk.

Ryan Tannehill- While you were looking at his wife, Mr. Tannehill messed around and became a solid QB. Ryan threw for just under 4,000 yds and 24 Tds. He looks to take the next step this season. The fact that he made it through last season in one piece (sacked 58 times) and put up numbers with the chaos surrounding him speaks to his character. Deep threat Mike Wallace stretches the field while WR Brian Hartline, TE Charles Clay, and sure handed rookie WR Jarvis Landry should reap the benefits. Tannehill also has above average mobility so he should get you some rushing yards and a few Tds as well. He has started all 16 games in both of his seasons as a pro.

Sam Bradford- The Rams look like a team that could surprise this season and for that to happen Bradford will have to play at a high level. Bradford looked like he was starting to really figure it out last season as he threw 14 Tds and 4 ints in seven games before a season ending injury. While he was out RB Zack Stacy provided a strong running presence which should only help Bradford this season. If coach Fischer can get Kenny Britt to play like he did when he played for him in Tennessee mixed with Tavon Austin’s ability to make plays with the ball in his hands and a quality TE in Jared Cook the Rams can give Bradford a supporting cast he has never had in the NFL. Bradford is capable of winning you some games but he is more of a #2 option in fantasy.

Running Backs

Running Backs usually go early and often so if you can get a few early do so but if the main guys are gone and you just don’t feel like having your playoffs hopes resting on the shoulders of Knowshon Moreno or Toby Gerhart. You can just wait and let SportsRuckus bring you home. RB is a high demand position, so we will speak of sleepers as 3rd round and beyond. Some earlier round guys that I see having big seasons beside the obvious 4 are Demarco Murray, Eddie Lacy, and Alfred Morris. If I could get 2 of these guys I would be ecstatic. But for 3rd round and beyond here’s our list.

Zack Stacy- Once Stacy took over the main RB job, he was a workhorse for St.Louis. As the focal point of an offense that lacked a passing game he almost eclipsed 1000 yds and added 8 Tds. Stacy is a downhill runner who is tough for defenders to bring down. With what should be an improved offense with the drafting of mauler Greg Robinson and return of a healthy Sam Bradford at QB there should be more running lanes for Stacy. I am expecting a really good season from Zack so if you can get him in rounds 3-4 you won’t be sorry.

Rashad Jennings- Jennings steps in as the lead man for the Giants and he has been impressive in the preseason. The running game is the only place where NY has had any kind of success so far in their new offense. He has been an inside runner but also shown some breakaway ability. Rashad also contributes in the passing game, so he will get you points there as well. Rookie RB Andre Williams has ran well in the preseason as well but it’s Jennings job and Williams lack of experience in the passing game will keep his snaps limited which benefits our guy.

Andre Ellington- Ellington is a versatile big play RB. He can hurt defenses in many different ways. The Cardinals coaching staff has high hopes for Ellington and plans on heavily involving him in the game plan. A big plus is that there is no one on their roster that does anything close to what he does. So he will always get touches, rushing and receiving. With defenses trying to take away the teams top 2 receivers there should be plenty of room to run for Andre and if you can grab in any round after the 3rd you should run up there and make the pick.

Bishop Sankey- I am not usually a fan of rookie backs but I liked Sankey as an all-around back coming out of Washington mixed with there being no real competition for carries on the Titans roster and now I have high hopes. The Titans have a physical offensive line and a young QB still trying to find his way which all sounds like a lot of carries for Bishop and some checkdown passes as well, which is all good with us.

Some even later round sleepers that are worth grabbing on your Championship run because you can never have enough quality RBs are …..

Stevan Ridley- The Pats look to have gone back to their old Super Bowl winning formula of defense and less Brady until it’s crunch time which means they need to rely on the running game. The best running back on this team is Ridley. He is a physically gifted runner who could be a star if he can get his issues with fumbling under control. Bellicheck hates fumblers but they can’t win without him toting the rock so Ridley it is.

Lamar Miller- I know Miller didn’t quite live up to expectations last year as the starter, finishing with just over 700 yds. This year with a more settled offensive line situation, Tannehill a year older, and Miller’s playmaking ability which No-WayShon Moreno lacks. He will take this job and run away with it. Miami’s offense needs big plays and Lamar has that breakaway ability and he has also shown that he won’t turn it over (1 fumble in 177 carries). If he can prove to his coaching staff that he can play more physically he will earn their trust aka more carries. I am expecting a breakout season from Miller with less pressure.

Joique Bell- The Lions have a high priced RB in Reggie Bush but when they get to the goal line they ring the Bell, Joique that is (corny I know). His carries doubled last year from the prior year leading to 8 Tds. Bell also caught over 50 passes, so he will produce for you. Not to mention the possibility of Bush missing some time which isn’t out of the ordinary which will elevate Joique’s value tremendously. Either way he will get his touches and will be a good value pick.

Khiry Robinson- After watching the way he was used by coach Sean Payton at the end of last season I am looking forward to seeing more of this guy. Bill Parcells comparing him to Curtis Martin didn’t hurt either. The scary part is that the Saints have used 3 backs but if he continues to play the way he finished the season he should separate himself as the power back. Robinson could be grabbed very late if not in free agency. As the Saints attempt to become a more balanced team someone has to get the carries, my vote is for Robinson.

With many fantasy commissioners going to PPR leagues the receiver position has become an even more valued in Fantasy Football. It’s not just about yards and touchdowns anymore, receptions have been brought into play. At the end of the day it all comes down to production. With the NFL becoming so reliant on the pass there are many options for your receiver spots and you are probably aware of most of them so we will give you some guys to look at in the middle to later rounds. A big thing is with the position being so deep is not to panic when the big names start to go. The numbers from guys like Jordy Nelson, Alshon Jeffery, and Pierre Garçon are not going to be a whole lot worse than the guys in the top group on a week to week basis. Here’s our list ….

T.Y. Hilton- Hilton ended last season strong and if his performance in the playoffs is a sign of things to come Watch out! He became Andrew Luck’s main and only target after Reggie Wayne’s injury. Boy was he ready and with an improved group around him and a healthy Wayne he should be even better. His ability to put up a 70- 80 yd touchdown at anytime is never bad for a fantasy team. T.Y. had 82 catches for 1083 yards last season.

Kendall Wright – The Titans number 1 receiver actually had his best game of the season matched up against Patrick Peterson. He is an explosive receiver, who does damage after the catch. With a healthy Locker at QB and better weapons around him I expect him to improve on his 94 catches for 1079 yards. Last season he played a lot in the slot, he will be used all over the field which will give him even more opportunities to use his speed to make big plays.

Kelvin Benjamin – While everyone is looking at rookie receivers with either a bad QB or a good QB with tons of options, this is the guy you should be looking at. He is playing with Cam Newton, who is on his way to being one of the leagues top QBs and you can’t even name any of the other receivers on the team (it’s ok). Sure he is the number 1 receiver kind of by default but Benjamin is a big target who runs well for his size and shows the ability to attack the ball and make tough catches. What QB doesn’t like a big receiver down who will fight for the ball, especially down near the endzone? Exactly!!!

Hakeem Nicks- The man with the ridiculously large hands moves on to Indianapolis to play with Andrew Luck. Nicks is a good football player. His time in NY ran its course and I have seen him make too many big plays to think that he is done. When everything is right Nicks is tough for defenses to handle with his combination of speed and power. He also is capable of making tough contested catches on a regular basis. In a down year while dealing with injuries he still was able to put up just under 900 yards. The Colts offense will be dynamic this year and Nicks will be part of the reason. Let’s chalk it up to needing a fresh start. Grab him.

Terrence Williams- Williams had big games in the absence of the often injured ( some would say always injured) Miles Austin. This year with Austin gone and the number 2 spot all his, he looks to have a big season complementing number 1 target Dez Bryant. With a good QB, Dez drawing double coverage, and a defense that will ensure every game is a shootout Williams looks primed for a real breakout season. He has shown the ability to get deep as well as work underneath routes.

Emmanuel Sanders – 2 words sum up this selection Peyton Manning. Should slide right in and take Eric Decker’s looks and Decker put up big numbers last year. He has as much talent and is more elusive with better run after catch skills. So you know what sign him up.

Tight Ends

These new age tight ends are changing the game. They are capable of giving you receiver numbers. That being said Jimmy Graham is putting up numbers that warrant a really high choice and a healthy Gronk is capable of putting up big numbers as well, that separate them from the rest of the group. After those two there are a good number of tight ends that can put up numbers that 5 years ago you would have been ecstatic about. The good thing about these guys is you won’t have to sell the farm to get them. Here’s our list of some guys who you can get a little later and still get good production.

Charles Clay- Clay is a big part of the Dolphins offense because he is a reliable target. With the continued development of QB Ryan Tannehill I don’t see why he can’t improve or at least match his solid numbers from last season, 69 catches for 759 yards and 6 Tds. Not bad for a later round selection.

http://youtu.be/Wt4UIvOLLUE

Jordan Reed- The Redskins offense has the potential to be scary good. To do so they need Reed to continue to play like he did in the 9 games he played in last season. Reed is a tough matchup for defenses because of his quickness and athletic ability. With the speed this team has on the outside he should be able to do big thing in the middle of the field.

Austin Sefarian- Jenkins- ASJ is a huge target for the Buccaneers. With V-Jax drawing attention on the outside he should be able to physically dominate the middle of the field. As a big guy he also shows the ability to get deep as well as catch the ball in traffic. New QB Josh McCown had success throwing the ball to Martellus Bennett last year and it should be no different with Sefarian- Jenkins.

Kickers/Defense

Do we really have to talk about kickers and defense? My advice when it comes to both of these slots is don’t pick one until you have to. I don’t even feel I need to go any further on kickers. As for defenses, If you are in a league and you fear someone is going to take the Seahawks or 49ers defense early, Let them. Unlike real football defense does not win championships. Actually it can help you win but there is no defense worth taking in the first 5 -6 rounds. Many people gave had success figuring out which offenses are inept and them mixing and matching based off of who is playing that team. A quality return man that can take kicks to the house can make an average defense draft worthy. What hurts some of the better defenses is garbage yards or points. When they have a big lead and then go into a prevent defense and allow yards and points which doesn’t hurt them but can cost you a game. For what it’s worth some Defensive Units that I would consider with a later choice are …….

Carolina- Panthers led the league in sacks last season mostly by their front 4. LBs Kuechly and Davis make plays all over the field. This is a disruptive group that stops offenses cold.

Arizona- They were the best in the league vs the run and against the pass they will send pressure with 2 top man to man corners (Peterson and Cromartie) and the Honey Badger behind them. If they let Peterson return punts they could get you some real points.

Patriots- Adding the best CB in the league (Revis) and another physical corner in Browner coach Bellicheck should be able to execute any defense he can think of. OLB Jamie Collins is a star in the making on a defense that is loaded with talent provided they stay healthy. Edelman’s ability in the return game doesn’t hurt either.

Rams- They may have the best front 4 in all of football led by sack champion Robert Quinn. A young and improving secondary mixes with an athletic LB core to make the Rams worth a serious look. They have a few players that could make plays in the return game, would like to see Austin back there.

Browns- Coach Pettine joins an already talented Browns D bringing his aggressive man coverage and blitz packages. Haden is one of the best cbs in the game, teaming with rookie cover man Justin Gilbert should allow them to send all of the pressure they want. The Browns have a solid pass rushers coming off both ends and should be solid vs the run as well.

Chiefs- DeAnthony Thomas’s kick returning ability bears watching along with a talented D led by pass rushers Houston and Hali. Secondary is anchored by one of the best safeties in the game Eric Berry, so they should be able to stop people. Just don’t like the way they faded at the end of last season.

Well that brings our journey to an end. I hope it helps someone somewhere win something. I want to reiterate that picking every one of these guys will likely win you nothing but a few if them at the right time mixed in with some stars could do wonders. In closing someone has to lose but it doesn’t have to be you.

This help comes free of charge cause we just love Football follow us on twitter @SportsRuckus for season long football coverage, feel free to let us know how your draft goes as well.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at nfldraftdiamonds@gmail.com

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