You will no doubt rely on them at least once this season. Those bargain players that get you by on a bye week or through a tough stretch of injuries or suspensions. They’re always on the waiver wire, a Branden Oliver or Chris Sims.
But what if one of them hits in a way so unexpected it makes your team that much deeper in the league? A Miles Austin or Alfred Morris type player that takes your team to another level because no one saw them coming. That’s why I’m writing this today, to make sure you’re aware of those bargains and deep sleepers that have the potential to have serious impact in 2015.
Let’s get right to it…
Josh Huff, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: WR88/276)
Josh Huff has me intrigued. You probably don’t know much about him but I can tell you the one thing that matters most in regards to Huff and your fantasy football fortunes: he’s better than Riley Cooper, and if he beats out Cooper for one of the three top spots at wide receiver then he’s a sure bet to achieve between 700-800 yards and 5-7 scores. Remember this, too: Cooper saw 95 targets as the third receiver in this offense.
Eddie Royal, WR, Chicago Bears (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: WR56/178)
Eddie Royal isn’t an unknown player in fantasy football and has probably been on your roster at one point or another in the last two or three years. With that, I’m thinking it’s time I point out why Royal might be the steal of 2015. I’m a big believer in Adam Gase as an offensive coordinator and, now that he’s in Chicago, the slot receiver’s get a lot of love in the offenses he runs. Royal is that guy in Chicago. Couple that with injuries to White and Jeffrey, and Royal just became a key part of what Chicago plans to do in 2015. Also of note: Wes Welker averaged 88 targets in two years in Denver and he was injured for most of the second. Royal will get his shot.
Stedman Bailey, WR, St. Louis Rams (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: WR78/251)
Fun fact about Stedman Bailey from the guys over at NumberFire: Bailey actually had a higher catch rate (65% to 54%) and success rate (97% to 81%) than Martavis Bryant. Not be a wet blanket on the Martavis Bryant hype train or anything but a Quarterback upgrade should do wonders for Bailey. The Rams receiving corps will be a gamble, but I put my money on Bailey giving you the most bang for your roster buck.
Marlon Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: WR97/303)
Marc Trestman did at least one thing well in Chicago: he had that offense humming at a good clip. A staple in those offenses? Big targets to help the Quarterback down field and in the red zone. Marlon Brown is 6’5″ and could be in a position to put up good numbers this season. Injuries have littered the Ravens receivers and if he can get any sort of separation in the depth chart race it could pay off big time.
Jerricho Cotchery, WR, Carolina Panthers (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: WR104/315)
Cam Newton just lost Kelvin Benjamin for the year to a torn ACL. Benjamin saw more targets than any other rookie in 2014 and was sixth overall in that category. Now I’m not saying Cotchery is Benjamin (not even close) but now is the time to start monitoring how a guy ranked outside of the top-300 players overall will be utilized.
Stevie Johnson, WR, San Diego Chargers (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: WR64/204)
Like Royal, Johnson is a criminally undervalued veteran in a great situation. Unlike Royal, he has seen success in the form of three 1,000-yard seasons and touchdown totals of 10, 7, and 6 during those years. Philip Rivers is an obvious upgrade over what he has had in the past and you can bet the 28-year old (if you can believe he’s still only 28) will get plenty of opportunities to shine in this offense. Take advantage of an unnecessarily forgotten man.
Knile Davis, RB, Kansas City Chiefs (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: RB56/153)
Andy Reid is not kidding when he says he wants to limit Jamaal Charles work load going forward. It isn’t a talent thing, it’s trying to keep your best players on the field as the season grinds on. What that means for fantasy owners is that Davis might be more than a handcuff in 2015.
Chris Matthews, WR, Seattle Seahawks (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: UNRANKED)
Remember that guy in the Super Bowl who caught four passes for 109-yards and touchdown for the Seattle Seahawks? No? Let me reintroduce you. He’s currently unranked and going undrafted in a majority of fantasy leagues across all playing sites. I know the Seahawks have Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, and Jimmy Graham but keep a keen eye on Matthews. If there is any indication that he’s ready to be that “X” receiver in Seattle I suggest you pounce.
Brian Hartline, WR, Cleveland Browns (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: WR101/311)
I can’t explain why a guy who was a 1,000-yard receiver in 2012 and 2013 all of a sudden became a forgotten man in the offense in Miami but that’s exactly what happened. Now he’s in Cleveland, and while most are afraid of the Quarterback situation there (rightfully so) it should be noted that Hartline is an excellent option to make up for the opportunities that Miles Austin, Jordan Cameron, and Josh Gordon have left for him there. Major value pick up if Quarterbacks prove competent.
Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers (Position Rank/Overall Ranking: RB49/157)
When Danny Woodhead plays he averages 700 total yards and 7 touchdowns. Melvin Gordon doesn’t give you the same threat in the passing game as Woodhead does. Danny Woodhead is going to play and is being overlooked in a lot of rankings. Don’t be the one overlooking Danny Woodhead.
Others of note
- Nick Foles, QB, St. Louis Rams
- Tyrod Taylor, QB, Buffalo Bills
- Virgil Green, TE, Denver Broncos