Last week we covered potential fantasy disappointments, this week we examine players to target – some sleepers, some with great value in fantasy drafts and some who will be core parts to fantasy titles.
Sam Bradford (Philadelphia): Bradford is not without risk (two torn ACLs) but winning at fantasy football requires some risk. A composite Mark Sanchez and Nick Foles was the 14th-best fantasy quarterback last year. Bradford, a former Heisman Trophy winner, is a huge upgrade in talent and the Eagles’ offense will remain very fantasy friendly.
Teddy Bridgewater (Minnesota): Bridgewater closed out 2014 with a touchdown pass in 10 straight games and he was the 14th-best fantasy QB over the last five weeks. Bridgewater has stated his goal to achieve a 70 percent completion percentage this year (and he’s been on fire in pre-season, completing 29 of 35 passes).
Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo): With zero passing touchdowns in four NFL seasons, Taylor won’t be heavily-coveted in fantasy drafts but he is a great late-round sleeper – Taylor is a good candidate to lead quarterbacks in rushing this season.
Doug Martin (Tampa Bay): Martin averaged 3.6 yards per carry over the last two seasons as a fantasy bust, but he looks like a new player this year – Martin is healthy, in a contract season and has looked exceptional in pre-season.
Chris Ivory (N.Y. Jets): After averaging 12.3 carries and 1.3 receptions per game in two seasons as a Jet, Ivory is flying under the radar. The Jets have a new coaching staff and that should mean great things for Ivory who should be more of a true “bellcow” running back.
Danny Woodhead (San Diego): Woodhead may not be one of those picks that elicit groans from others in your draft, but he is someone who will be a very valuable addition to fantasy teams. Woodhead is a safe option for meaningful work, he will add plenty of receptions and Woodhead is surprisingly effective around the end zone.
Khiry Robinson (New Orleans): As a late round fantasy target, Robinson has added potential as he is the handcuff to both Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller (they collectively have missed 16 games over the last two seasons). Robinson averaged 82 yards rushing per game in the three games he started last year when Ingram was out.
Julio Jones (Atlanta): Jones is no sleeper of course, but he is someone I would recommend targeting anywhere from the fifth pick overall in drafts. Jones is big, fast, talented and in his prime. Atlanta’s 2015 opponents allowed a league-high 432 passing touchdowns last year.
Brandin Cooks (New Orleans): With Jimmy Graham no longer on the team, Cooks is poised to be heavily featured. The man nicknamed “Sonic Boom” has elite speed and is amazingly quick; Cooks’ short-shuttle times at last year’s scouting combine were the best in nearly a decade.
Jeremy Maclin (Kansas City): Don’t let Maclin moving from Philadelphia to Kansas City (or that the Chiefs had zero touchdown passes to a receiver last year) discount his potential. Andy Reid knows how to use Maclin from their days together in Philadelphia, and Maclin will be busy.
Martavius Bryant (Pittsburgh): A four-game suspension for Bryant provides great opportunity for shrewd fantasy GMs to score value as he slides in drafts. Bryant has truly elite upside and has been unstoppable all off-season. Bryant scored seven touchdowns in seven games last year and averaged over 21 yards per catch.
Jeff Janis or Ty Montgomery (Green Bay): The season-ending injury to Jordy Nelson is disappointing, but in fantasy football injuries bring opportunity. It’s still unclear whether Janis or Montgomery will get the nod as the team’s No. 3 receiver, but they both will have their moments in the Green Bay offense.
Tyler Eifert (Cincinnati): If you don’t land an elite tight end early, Eifert is a great sleeper option. Eifert was the 21st pick in the NFL draft just two seasons ago and he brings elite athleticism as a receiver – Eifert had three catches in the first quarter of Week 1 last year before an elbow injury ended his season.
Alan Satterlee is a co-owner and senior writer for DynastyFootballWarehouse.com, a comprehensive fantasy football strategy site.