Many of us are getting ready to put our fantasy teams together while some are tinkering with their keeper teams to make them better. There are a lot of players that simply must be chosen if you can but, a lot of the times, those players that we covet are unavailable by the time we get to pick. With the clock running, you need to have an alternative plan in place. You might miss out on the elite player but that doesn’t mean that you are doomed to have a dud. Here is a list of players that you might want to consider should you find yourself scrambling for a productive pick.
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The quarterback is one of the more critical positions in football and it is no different in fantasy football. For the past several years, fantasy players have swooned over the likes of Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers while Matt Ryan, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger have garnered a lot of love. What do you do when you are trying to draft a quarterback and those guys are off the board? Well, guys like Kirk Cousins, Matt Stafford, and Andrew Luck have been pretty good producers.
There are a few other budding quarterbacks that are going to be popular fantasy picks this year. Dak Prescott, Derek Carr, and Jameis Winston are three young guns that can be expected to be even better than last year. Let’s look at a few other good quarterbacks that you might not otherwise consider.
The veteran Giants quarterback’s stock has dropped a bit in the past couple of years and is seen as a second-rate player compared to some of his counterparts. He doesn’t really get the respect he deserves despite not missing a game in 12 straight seasons, winning a couple Super Bowls, and consistently putting up over 4,000 yards and a bunch of touchdowns.
With Odell Beckham and the newly acquired Brandon Marshall to throw to, Eli has some pretty good options. Add Sterling Shepard and quite possibly Evan Engram to the mix and there’s a very good possibility that Eli eclipses 4,000 yards once again. He might even crack the 30 TD mark.
This guy is looking to keep improving and he has the weapons to do so. Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis, Eric Decker, and tight end Delanie Walker are reliable targets. He’s coming off a season in which he threw for nearly 3,500 yards and 26 touchdowns while tossing 9 picks. He plays behind a respectable line and has the ability to scramble for modest gains. Fantasy managers might not get 4,000 yards out of him but they might get 30 touchdowns.
Cam Newton had a very rough 2016 season in which he passed for 3,509 yards and tossed 19 TDs against 14 interceptions. That’s a significant drop from the 3,817 yards, 35 touchdown, and 10 interceptions in 2015. This year he is healthy, has a decent set of receivers, and a favorable schedule. 4,000 passing yards and 30 touchdowns is not out of reach. Don’t forget about those 500 rushing yards and a handful of rushing TDs.
If All Else Fails – Blake Bortles
If things get desperate then you might want to consider this guy who had a pretty rough 2016 and is out to prove something as his contract nears its end. Consider that he threw 35 TD passes against 18 interceptions while racking up 4,428 yards in 2015. Also, consider that the Jags are mildly better this year and a bounce back season isn’t out of the question for Bortles. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that the 4th-year quarterback gets you over 4,000 yards and 30 TDs. You just better pray that he doesn’t get picked off as much.
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This position is probably more important the quarterback position when it comes to fantasy football. Ezekiel Elliot, Jordan Howard, DeMarco Murray, and Le’Veon Bell are going to be drafted early and you can expect that Jay Ajayi, LeSean McCoy, David Johnson, Spencer Ware will also be heavily targeted. Those guys should rack up the fantasy points. Here are a couple other guys that you might have forgotten about.
People might not give this guy consideration simply because he plays for such a terrible team but Isaiah Crowell might surprise a few people this year. He started all 16 games last year and fell just short of 1,000 yards while scoring 7 touchdowns. At 24 years old, Crowell the 4th-year speedster could be in for a breakout season. If he can increase his touchdown total then he might net you some points. He ranked 15th among running backs with 4.8 yards per carry and is pretty much the only bright spot on an otherwise dull offense.
Perkins will be getting the bulk of the work for the New York Giants who had a brutal ground attack last year. The problem with picking this guy up is that he is largely untested but for a guy that will be generally overlooked, he has a whole lot of upside. He’ll come at a decent price too.
Fournette went 4th overall in this year’s draft and he will be immediately inserted as the number one running back in Jacksonville. It’s always a gamble picking rookies but, like the above-mentioned Paul Perkins, Fournette is being given the opportunity and he comes with a lot of potential at what should be a pretty good price.
If All Else Fails – Carlos Hyde
Hyde did a pretty good job last year considering his team was awful. He is projected to be the main running back in San Francisco where he ran for 988 yards and scored 6 touchdowns in 13 games. He also caught 3 TD passes. If healthy, you should be able to squeeze 1,000 yards and 9 or 10 touchdowns out of him at least.
Tight ends can be a difference maker in fantasy leagues. A few years ago, Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were producing at an incredible rate when they were healthy. These days, while Gronk and Graham are still pretty attractive options, managers are giving guys like Travis Kelce, Delanie Walker, Kyle Rudolph, and Jordan Reed some serious consideration as well as Martellus Bennett, Greg Olsen, Zach Ertz, and the ageless Antonio Gates. Let’s see who else you can grab if you miss out on those guys.
It looks like Fleener will enter the 2017 season as the number one tight end in New Orleans. His last season wasn’t spectacular by any means but he caught 50 passes for 631 yards and 3 scores. There is a good chance that Drew Brees will continue to target him fairly often and managers that draft him can expect a few more touchdowns out of him.
Thomas has been a bust over the past couple of seasons but he is looking at a fresh start in Miami. His health is the biggest concern but if he can stay in the lineup then he makes for a great target for Ryan Tannehill. We’ve seen him score bunches of touchdowns so it’s not like he doesn’t have the ability. It’s a gamble that shouldn’t cost too much and has the potential to pay off nicely.
This guy isn’t exactly a sleeper after having a breakout season last year that saw him gain 660 yards and scored 8 touchdowns. He was an integral part of Tampa’s rise last year and is poised to have another great year.
If All Else Fails – Austin Hooper
Hooper has worked his way into the number one tight end on Atlanta’s depth chart and we can expect that Matt Ryan will give him a lot of looks. The Falcons don’t have the deepest set of receivers after you get past Julio Jones. There’s a good chance that if you are unfamiliar with Hooper right now, you will know his name after the season.
There aren’t too many wideouts that can consistently pile up the points like Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, or Jordy Nelson. Odell Beckham, Mike Evans, and Davante Adams each had over 10 touchdowns last year and piled up the points but you need to have a plan B in case those guys are off the board when it’s your turn to snap up a wide receiver.
This 6’4” 28-year-old put up 1,007 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in Cleveland last year. He now finds himself in Washington where he will be one of the top options for Kirk Cousins. Changing from a quarterback into a wide receiver was a great decision on his behalf and having him on your fantasy roster will be a great decision on your behalf.
Moncrief was given a good opportunity last year but his season was derailed by injuries. He played in 9 games and collected just 307 yards although he scored 7 touchdowns which shows that he can pile up the fantasy points if he stays healthy. He joins T.Y Hilton as a viable threat.
Despite having some mediocre quarterbacks over the past few years, Brandon Marshall has been a pretty steady producer. Last year saw his production tail off as he wallowed on a bad New York Jets team but he now finds himself on the Giants with Eli Manning throwing to him. While Odell Beckham gets all the love, Marshall will get his share of looks and Eli won’t have a hard time connecting with the 6’4” wideout. He is primed for a renaissance year that should see him exceed 1,000 yards and 7-10 touchdowns at least.
If All Else Fails – Corey Davis
Corey Davis was the 5th overall pick in this year’s draft and he will be immediately slotted in at the WR2 position in Tennessee. Both the Titans and fantasy managers that draft him hope that he can live up to the hype. He should get a lot of work and has the potential to be a household name by season’s end. Having him on your fantasy roster is a small gamble that has a potentially good upside.