There isn’t a draft strategy guaranteed to win you a fantasy football championship. There isn’t a golden rule that you can follow to insure you don’t end up drafting some duds on your team. There isn’t a cheat sheet, algorithm, or fantasy guru out there that can clinch a playoff spot for you. (though some come close) So if after the draft day glow wears off and you find yourself looking at a turd of a line up, it’ll be okay. You see, you have options. You have the wavier wire. That’s what it’s there for. It’s like the extreme makeover for otherwise crappy teams. It’s your Biggest Loser, your Rehab Addict, your Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. It exists, to trim the fat, to give a fresh coat of paint, to throw a hot as hell blazer on your broken little team, and reveal it’s inner beauty. So without further ado, here are some guys you can target, if you’re feeling less than stellar about your draft.
Quarterback Jay Cutler, Bears– owned in 33% of leagues
People, the hate has swung too far. I know that Cutler looks like he’d rather have a profession as a Mad Man as opposed to a quarterback, but the guy isn’t as awful as he’s being painted. This season he should benefit from new offensive coordinator Adam Gase. (former OC for the Denver Broncos, and Peyton Manning) The Bears offensive line looks a lot tighter this year as well. The only thing holding Cutler back is that his receivers are a little banged up right now, but The Bears have a lot of hungry mouths to feed, and they all have good hands. Last season he finished as a top 15 QB. This season there’s no reason to think he can’t break into the top 12 fairly easily. This week they play Green Bay, so you can expect a lot of offense from both teams. If you hate your current quarterback, you could do a lot worse than Cutler.
Week One Prediction: 19 points
Wide Receiver Danny Amendola, Patriots– owned in 13% of leagues
The Patriots have been decimated at wide receiver. Brandon LaFell was just put on the PUP list, Brandon Gibson is on season ending I/R with an ACL tear, and Reggie Wayne just flew the coop for his own personal reasons. This leaves Julian Edelman, Danny Amendola,and Aaron Dobson to carry the load, and Edelman is dealing with his own injuries. A lot of times, waiver pick ups are made based on weekly matchups, or just filling a temporary void, but Amendola can offer you value all season. He’s currently the best back up option in New England. With all of Tom Brady’s preseason woes, you better bet he’s going to come out swinging. If you have a spot on your roster, Amendola is a great player to target.
Week One Prediction: 10 Points
Wide Receiver Ted Ginn Jr, Panthers-owned in 1.4% of leagues
Injuries. Injuries, everywhere. Leading receiver Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season with an ACL tear, and Devin Funchess is a rookie so that leaves us with Ted Ginn. Ginn didn’t exactly impress last season, but his fantasy production came with a lot of militating factors. One, he has a less than desirable quarterback situation. Two, he was buried in the depth chart. It’s worth noting that in his previous season with The Panthers he averaged 15.4 YPC, and had five touchdowns. With Benjamin out Cam Newton is going to need a long ball threat and I think Ginn is just the guy for the job. Funchess could eat into some of Ginn’s production, but the job is Ginn’s until he proves himself. Ginn is another player that offers season long value for your team.
Week One Prediction 9 Points
Tight end Ladarius Green, Chargers– owned in 9.4% of leagues
Green has been vaulted back into fantasy relevancy with the suspension of Antonio Gates. Gates is out for four games, and Green looks to take over his roster spot. Phillip Rivers is a competent quarterback, who likes to target his tight ends in the endzone. There’s every reason to expect that Green will come down with a few TD’s while starting. Though Green is only a viable starter for the first four games of the season, I think he’s worth an add if you want an upgrade at TE. Keep and eye on him throughout the regular season as well. Gates isn’t getting an younger.
Week One Prediction: 8 Points
Running Back Dri Archer, Steelers- owned in .7% of leagues.
This one is more of a reach, but hear me out. After LeVeon Bell serves out his two game suspension, it’s more likely to be Dri Archer on the field backing him up as opposed to DeAngelo Williams. Archer has better hands and more speed. The only thing that Williams has over Archer, is his strength and ability to run through players so this does take away short yardage options, like on 3rd and 1. But if it’s a short yardage situation on the goal line it will be Bell not Williams that gets the carry. Martavius Byrant is also suspended for four games, so having one more guy with soft hands on the field gives a boost to the Pittsburgh offense.This is a highly speculative grab but if you’re in a PPR league, a league that allows return yardage, or a 12-14 man league, Archer may be worth a stash.
Week One Prediction: 7 Points
Running Back Cameron Artis-Payne, Panthers– owned in 15.4% of leagues
Cameron is currently back up to the injury prone Jonathan Stewart. Stewart averaged 9 carries a game last season when he participated in a Running back committee approach with DeAngelo Williams, so I don’t expect him to get a heavy workload, and due to the loss of starter Kelvin Benjamin The Panthers are going to need to get their run game going to open up the field. Artis-Payne looked good all preseason, and I expect him to eat into Stewart’s touches and yardage. Plus last season, Cam Newton scored 5 rushing touchdowns. I don’t expect the same rushing TD production out of Newton this year. Payne will get a few of those TD looks. As far as handcuffs go, there are only a couple I would rather have on my team than Artis-Payne. He’s on a running back hungry team, behind an injury prone starter. For reference, Christine Michael has been a trendy name lately with his trade to the Dallas Cowboys, and is currently owned in 25.4% of leagues. Between these two I’d rather have Payne.
Week One Prediction: 6 Points
*Since it’s week one I tried to list guys that could help your team more than week one. If you’re already looking to tidy up your roster you’re obviously going to need the help. Good luck out there!