Off-the-radar players

We are getting really close to all hell breaking loose, and while I am talking about the upcoming season and the start of the preseason, let me mention that we have a lot of really cool things coming down the pike very soon in terms of our offerings. I wish we were rolling with them all now, but at least we are poised to roll out some cool stuff.

Anyway, I felt the need to whip up a quick little blog post today on some under-the-radar players. I’ve done a few drafts lately, and hosting the radio show I’m seeing some guys who are TOTALLY off the radar, and I think they’re worth mentioning.

I have to say, the fantasy landscape right now is pretty precarious in that there are a ton of guys who could make major impacts, yet they could also do nothing. That complicates matters for this year, but it also means these under-the-radar players need to be on the radar. Of course, I’m only listing the players who are in fact under the radar but have a legit chance to do something this year.

  • Matt Cassel (QB, KC) – I know we ripped him pretty hard last year and rightfully so, but there’s definitely some potential here. The OL has been upgraded a little, the addition of Thomas Jones will help take some pressure off him, and do-it-all player Dexter McCluster is special. Plus, we like rookie TE Tony Moeaki and WR Jerheme Urban should help. I don’t think he’s a very good passer in the grand scheme of things, but if new OC Charlie Weiss is able to get him on the shotgun a lot, healthy fantasy digits could follow.
  • Matt Moore (QB, Car) – He’s totally off the radar, but as we enter camp it doesn’t appear rookie Jimmy Clausen is anywhere near challenging him for the starting job. In fact, Clausen may not even be the #2 (Hunter Cantwell). Moore doesn’t have much upside, but he did show an ability to get the ball down the field to WR Steve Smith, and that’s a start.

  • Clinton Portis (RB, Was) – Advocating aging backs on the downside isn’t exactly my style, but Portis really is flying too far under the radar. When you look at the stable of backs here, is there any reason to believe Portis shouldn’t be carrying the load? He’s handled a massive workload, but as I write this the guy is still only 28 (29 in early September). He may break down again, but with an ADP of about 100, he’s worth a shot. We know Mike Shanahan will look to run the ball, and the OL is improved, plus the Donovan McNabb factor will help. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if fantasy players are tickled to have him as their flex starter – for at least the first two months of the season.

  • Marion Barber (RB, Dal) – I love Felix Jones, but the fact is Barber’s the value between the two. I spoke with Todd Archer of Dallascowboys.com yesterday and he said Barber’s looking quicker than usual (he should be, he weighs less than Jones). Felix should be good for 10 carries most weeks – and that might be all he needs to average about 60-70 rushing yards a game – but Barber’s not going away. He’s a better 3rd down back, a better goal line back, and a better option when they are looking for a finisher.

  • Steve Slaton (RB, Hou) – The Houston backfield might be confusing all year, but this I know: Slaton will have a pretty large role as a pass-catcher and changeup. It’s also possible that he’s ultimately the main guy in terms of his role being larger than anyone else. People aren’t recognizing him as such as of right now.

  • Derrick Ward (RB, TB) – He’s fallen so far off the radar that some fantasy players literally forgot he exists. But the plan is for him to get about 10 carries a game, and it would take only an injury to Cadillac Williams for Ward to have a huge role in this backfield. Don’t forget this guy’s a solid player. He has the size to bang it inside, and he’s very versatile. I got him in the 15th round of the NFL.com draft last week. Wow, that is value.

    The Bucs report to camp on July 30th, and the first thing we'll be checking on is to see if Derrick Ward is still among the living. You wouldn't know he was based on his fantasy status right now

    The Bucs report to camp on July 30th and one of the first things we're going to do is confirn that Derrick Ward is still among the living. You wouldn't know he was based on his fantasy status right now

  • Leon Washington (RB, Sea) – I love Justin Forsett like it seems everyone does, but I also love Washington. I really screwed up in that NFL.com draft not taking him in the 14th round. Granted, he’s down for a reason (injury, RBBC, etc.), but at that late stage, why not take a chance on a damn good player? Washington is really dynamic.

  • Lee Evans (WR, Buf) – I know the QB situation is brutal, but Evans is still a pretty good receiver, and he’s the feature guy. There’s something to be said for that. He looks like a nice value as your #4 WR because he could easily be worth plugging in each week as your #3. In that role, he won’t be as maddening with his inconsistency – and he’ll likely carry you a few weeks this year due to some huge games.
  • Mohamed Massaquoi (WR, Cle) – People just don’t seem to care that he’s the #1 WR in Cleveland. But again, he’s a pretty good player who should be much more comfortable in his second season. And I actually think Jake Delhomme is an upgrade at QB. I interviewed Massaquoi last year and that dude really takes his football seriously, which is good.
  • Zach Miller (TE, Oak) – As usual, this guy gets no love. I’m predicting 75 catches this year if he plays all 16 games and Jason Campbell plays at least 12 games.
  • John Carlson (TE, Sea) – We pimped him big time last year, and after that Week One performance (6/95/2), we looked like geniuses. Ultimately, we felt like chumps, but no one said boo because they realized Carlson was a victim of circumstances. Those circumstances are still questionable, but they should be better this year, and Carlson’s tumbled mightily down draft boards. You may actually get a “who?” from the draft crowd if you take him in the 14th round as your backup. Yet, Carlson could actually be worth starting this year.

Category: Fantasy Football

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13 Responses

  1. Stretch says:

    I feel there is another player to be added to this list no other than L.Maroney RB. I am aware that F.Taylor, S.Morris, K.Faulk, & B.Green-Ellis are on the depth chart. But Maroney is still the starting RB and had 9-TDs with 757 rushing yards last year. I know he had a few costly fumbles near the goal line which allowed F.Taylor to steal some away from him.

    But you can grab L.Maroney late say around the 9th or 10th round as your 3rd or 4th RB. And he’s the perfect guy flying under the radar that could be your RB2 at the end of year.

  2. Quake says:

    And Thomas jones..I’ve seen him go in the 10th round or later…no way he has no fantasy relevance with two games against the raiders and a Jamal Williams-less chargers I’d take him as my 3rd back who could also give you number 2 stats…

  3. JBeau says:

    I like that list for the most part John. I think Carlson could be a great late round TE if Okung pans out and that line is fixed. Really like Massaquoi with an experienced QB at the helm. Portis slides sooo far in mocks, its crazy. We all know he knows Shanny’s system, so I like that too. Won’t touch Cassell, Leon, or Evans though. Just wont draft them.

  4. Baller says:

    Derrick Ward is still in the NFL? Great call there – he was completely off my radar. Could easily see Caddy getting injured.

  5. Eric says:

    I agree completely with the list, though will NEVER draft Lee Evans (though I am sure he has talent and may be a different stat line on a better team). I really think Carlson and Portis can be had in most drafts incredibly late and would probably represent good backup plans that may pan out to start. I don’t think I’d draft Cassel either with probable better options out there like Henne and Stafford.

  6. Eric says:

    Couple other names to throw out there as late round fliers:

    Anthony Gonzalez
    Chaz Schilens
    Early Doucet (am i the only one that thinks he’ll be the #2 in Arizona? I’m not sold on Breaston in that role and Doucet showed good chemistry with Leinart)

  7. John Hansen says:

    Eric, Doucet has to be in the slot, really, since he’s more of an inside receiver, but he’s pretty tough. Breaston may be ideally suited for that role too, though. But Breaston is better suited to play outside than Doucet.

  8. eric says:

    One guy not talked about much who has done it before is Chris Cooley. McNabb loves the tight end and he is pretty much the number 1 option in Washington. Cooley is certainly getting lost in the love for the guys like Finley/Clark/Witten/Gates, etc.

  9. John Hansen says:

    Not a bad one, Cooley is under the radar.

  10. Former Army Person says:

    Interestingly, in the annual site Analysis Auction (results and analysis coming soon), I picked up three of these players – Cassel (QB2), Ward (RB4/5), Evans (WR3) – for a total of $14 out of a $200 cap.

  11. Scott C says:

    How about C.Buckhalter. I know the name is not glamourous at all, but in back to back years he put up over 100pts in PPR, and he looks to still have a decent percentage of the backfield share this season with no new DEN RB aquisitions. Plus an injury to Moreno….

    Also B.Scott. Benson has his question marks and reminds me of how M.Tuner broke down last year after a ton of carries the year before. Benson had not that amount, but still was overworked. The Bengals are a pretty run heavy team so if he were to get injured, Scott could be a lead fill in like he was at times last year. Plus they might want to use him exclusively as the 3rd down back since CedBen is a questionable receiver.

  12. Burton says:

    I have been on Barber, Slaton, and Z.Miller. Is Cooley an injury concern? (I like him with McNabb) Now, thinking more about Portis & Massaquoi too.

    ditto Eric on Henne and Stafford,
    but I like Campbell probably more than Cassell really late.

    I also like Mason with Boldin drawing coverage as well.

    I also like D.Keller as a later TE.

    Can Gresham produce as a rookie? All the coverage will be on 85 and 81 and Bryant or Shipley.

    I like D.Brown for a keeper.

    What about S.Morris as a late round RB? He was pretty much their starter two years back.

  13. [...] drafts will be filled with players drafted who currently are flying below the radar. Most of these are players most fantasy owners have written off for one reason or another. Make [...]

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