With training camps opening up across the league this week, I started my usual prep for my many fantasy football leagues. I noticed something as I skimmed through the articles looking for rankings and marginal stats. Most draft advice pieces only talk about the top 10 players this year. I was really just seeing the same 10-15 names in different order. I then thought: where is the help for people stuck in the middle of the draft with no idea if they should take the best available or the quarterback they’ve heard of but never really seen play? I did my research and made this list of the players that have a lot of mid to late round draft value and potential.
Matt Stafford: Detroit Lions- This man is the most underrated quarterback in the NFL! He threw for over 4440 yards and 29 touchdowns last season. Stafford has a big arm and has one of the best wide receiver duos in the game! Last season Golden Tate and Marvin Jones combined for 2110 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Lions had a sneaky good defense. The addition of Matt Patricia will only make them better, resulting in more wins and more credibility to the Lions. The Lions drafted Kerryon Johnson in the second round which will hopefully boost their poor run game from years past. Look for Stafford in round five.
Kirk Cousins: Minnesota Vikings- 16 out of his 27 touchdowns last season were in the red zone. The Vikings have a very good receiving core in Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph at tight end. The Vikings will have a solid running duo in Dalvin Cook and Latavius Murray. Cook will be a serious threat in the backfield after coming off ACL surgery his rookie year. The Vikings have pieces to mix things up on the offense. Look for Cousins in round six.
Phillip Rivers: Los Angeles Chargers- After starting the 2017 0-4, the Chargers hit their potential and won nine out of their last 12 games. A lot of the credit goes to Phillip Rivers and his weapons Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon. The loss of Hunter Henry at tight end limits his options a little bit, but veteran Antonio Gates will carry that load. Rivers has a strong arm and a strong attitude that keeps him on the line of elite playmakers in the NFL. Rivers threw for 4500 yards and threw 28 touchdowns last year. The Chargers signed deep ball threat Travis Benjamin. Look for in him in the seventh round.
Dion Lewis: Tennessee Titans- Dion Lewis scored all six of his rushing touchdowns for the Patriots in the red zone, and also caught three touchdowns from the red zone. Lewis will be sharing carries with Derek Henry. Last season Henry only broke 100 yards rushing in a game twice, but in each of those games he had 70 plus yard touchdown runs. Derrick Henry may be the big back coming out of the back field, but look for Lewis to finish the drives in the end zone. Look for Lewis in round seven.
Tarik Cohen: Chicago Bears- Tarik Cohen is the Swiss Army knife for the Bears. His ability to line up anywhere on the field and make big plays makes him the biggest threat on the field. The bears have a promising quarterback in Mitch Trubisky and new addition at wide out with Allen Robinson. Cohen averaged 4.3 yards a carry with 83 touches and had 53 receptions. The Bears’ new offense will focus on giving Cohen more opportunities to make big plays. Look for Cohen in round nine.
D’onta Foreman: Houston Texans- D’onta Foreman is coming off an achilles tear after 10 games last season. In those 10 games he rushed for 327 yards and had two touchdowns. With Lamar Miller coming off a slow season, look for Foreman to take on more of the work load especially in the red zone. Foreman averaged 4.2 yards a carry. He’s a big bruising back that will find his way into the end zone. With a healthy Deshaun Watson, the Texans averaged 145 rushing yards a game. Watson’s versatility will keep defenses on their toes while Foreman will knock them on their butts. Foreman is currently on the PUP list for the start of training camp. Look for him in round 10.
Juju Smith-Schuster: Pittsburgh Steelers- With Antonio Brown being the number one receiver in the league, he’ll get the attention of opposing defenses. JuJu Smith-Schuster has potential to be a solid number one receiver in the league. Now that Martavis Bryant is in Oakland, JuJu wont have to share receptions. JuJu had five red zone touchdowns and seven on the year averaging 15.8 yards a catch. He had 917 yards receiving and averaged four yards after the catch, finishing 15th in the league to cap off an impressive rookie season. Look for him in round four.
Will Fuller V: Houston Texans- I believe that Will Fuller will be the highest scoring wide receiver this season. Fuller missed the first 3 games due to injury, but with only four games playing with Deshaun Watson, he had 13 receptions and seven touchdowns. He averaged 15.1 yards a catch. With all the attention on Deandre Hopkins, Fullers ear pinning speed will take the top off of defenses. With Watsons big arm, Fuller will be deadly. Look for Fuller in round six.
Sterling Sheppard: New York Giants- The Giants may have been the most dysfunctional team last season. As of now, the Giants have the most exciting rookie running back, Saquon Barkley, and signed additional offensive linemen help. Both of Sheppard’s touchdowns came from their own 20-50 yard line. Sheppard has has big play potential every time he touches he ball. Sheppard ended the year with 59 receptions for 731 yards and 12 yards a reception. Sheppard will be playing on a new look Giants with Eli Manning still at the helm. Look for him in round seven.
George Kittle: San Fransisco 49ers- Kittle’s rookie year ended with 43 receptions, 515 yards gained, (265 yards after catch), and averaged 12 yards a catch with two touchdowns. Both of Kittle’s touchdowns came from the red zone and all seven of Jimmy Garoppolo’s touchdowns were in the red zone. With Kyle Shanahan calling the plays, Kittle could be entering into a breakout season. Shanahan is a dynamic play caller, so Kittle will have the opportunity to make some big plays. Look for him in round 11.
David Njoku: Cleveland Browns – The former first round pick had 32 receptions for 386 yards, four touchdowns, and averaged 12 yards a catch. With Tyrod Taylor or Baker Mayfield at quarterback, the Browns will get quality play out of their offense. There are big expectations for Njoku and the Browns this season. Njoku could be one of the most valued tight ends in fantasy football. Look for him in round 13.