In this piece we'll take a look at one player at each position. We'll look at signal caller Sam Bradford, rookie wideout Sam Watkins, Bengals' tight end Tyler Eifert and then break down the Steelers muddled backfield situation (OK it's not one player, but one position, so cut me some slack). We'll also toss out a few names of players that might end up being nice late round targets given how little push they are getting in the fantasy game right now.
Which players, at the difference sites, have different ADP values? Let's explore.
Sam Bradford, Rams 158.4 (FFC), 170.1 (MFL), 150.4 (NFFC)
I'm not the biggest Bradford fan, but when he's going off the board after a guy like Johnny Manziel, a rookie who can't figure out how to call plays, we might be missing something don't you think? Bradford is locked in, with health, to 16 starts. Last season, limited to seven games due to injury, Bradford was pretty solid. Did you know that he threw 14 scores, which over a 16 game season would equate to 32 touchdowns? Did you know that his 60.6 completion percentage was better than Robert Griffin III? Did you know that his 90.9 QB Rating was better than Matt Ryan (89.6). There are still concerns with Bradford, but with a strong runner (Zac Stacy) and an apparently rejuvenated wideout (Kenny Britt), it's quite possible that Bradford will have a very solid QB2 type season that, in some instances, could warrant inclusion in your starting lineup.
Le'Veon Bell, Steelers 21.5 (FFC), 19.9 (MFL), 17.1 (NFFC)
LeGarrette Blount, Steelers (FFC), 179.0 (MFL), 176.4(NFFC)
There's nothing to see here, unless the Steelers take action themselves (which is highly doubtful). The NFL will not act against this idiotic duo until the legal process plays out (they were arrested for marijuana possession). Take the case of Dwayne Bowe. It took him nearly a full calendar year to have his case adjudicated meaning that Bell/Blount likely won't miss any game action until the 2015 season – if they are suspended at all. Bell could be dropped a few spots because it sounds like Blount will be getting more work than we anticipated, including some touches at the goaline, but don't go nuts here. Bell is still no worse than a mid-level RB2 at worst. At worst.
Sammy Watkins, Bills 88.2 (FFC), 63.7 (MFL), 78.4 (NFFC)
Guys like Anquan Boldin, Mike Wallace, Marques Colston – established NFL players – are often falling behind Watkins on draft day. Should this be the case? Let's review. (1) Watkins is the most talented rookie wide entering the league. Zero doubt about that. (2) He's going to be catching passes from E.J. Manuel. Last season E.J. underperformed and was injured like 13 times. This preseason he's not looked good and folks around the club are starting to mention Jeff Tuel. That isn't good. (3) Watkins is dealing with a rib issue right now. He should be fine, but it's there. (4) He played poorly in the first preseason game. (5) He's on the Bills, a team that is certainly more run centered than most. Watkins is an elite talent, but if you plan on playing him 15 times this season count on it being an extremely bumpy road.
Tyler Eifert, Bengals 157.9 (FFC), 143.8 (MFL), 170.9 (NFFC)
Marvin Jones has an injured foot and that is going to cost him game action. It's an open question as to how long it will take him to recover (Week 5 seems to be the target), and how long it will take him to get back to 100 percent (foot injuries are always easily overcomeable). We're hearing talk about Mohammad Sanu stepping forward, but he's a limited player who hasn't done much through two years in the NFL. Eifert on the other hand is one of those freakishly talented tight ends everyone loves these days. Eifert could see plenty of time out of the slot early on, and there's a chance his workload in the red zone would also go up. Jermaine Gresham's best statistical efforts are likely behind him. It's Eifert's time to shine.
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POTENTIAL LATE ROUND GRABS
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers 147.1 (FFC), 183.5 (MFL), 194.5 (NFFC)
I know, I know. There's no way you can count on Stewart. At the same time if he's going off the board as an RB5/6, so why not take a shot? Still immensely talented, Stewart is also four years younger than DeAngelo Williams (27 to 31). He also rushed for two scores in his last preseason game showing the burst that we haven't seen for a long while. His value right now is extremely limited. Zero doubt. But if Mike Tolbert or Williams went down with injury, maybe... if both went down... maybe... Cam Newton will still take carries at the goaline, and Stewart will likely be hurt. But if Stewart could stay healthy...
Markus Wheaten, Steelers 129.8 (FFC), 139.1 (MFL), 150.1 (NFFC)
Aaron Dobson, Patriots 156.5 (FFC), 152.3 (MFL), 139.0 (NFFC)
Both of these wideouts are going off the board in the 50's at the wide receiver position. Wheaton will be taking over from Emmanuel Sanders, and after basically red-shirting as a freshman Wheaton appears ready to explode. He's got definitive WR3 upside, and at worst he's shaping up to be a Bye week fill-in or injury fill-in. He's got speed, a role, and it sounds like Big Ben trusts him and that is big. His teammates are also big fans too. "He's definitely on the same page with Ben, and, anytime you're on the same page with Ben, there is a good opportunity," said Antonio Brown.
Dobson cannot stay healthy. Right now it's his foot. He's missed a lot of time and that has hurt his chances of forming a bond with Tom Brady (the team has put them next to each other in the locker room to help with that). There's little doubt that Dobson has more upside than Kenbrell Thompkins. There also little doubt that the Patriots hope/want Dobson to take over the “X” role in the offense (sorry Thompkins). There's a lot of mouths to feed with the Patriots but Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola are never healthy, a strong wind can blow over Thompkins, and Julian Edelman is a chain mover who cannot stretch the field. Risky is Dobson, but there could be a substantial payoff.
Delaine Walker, Titans 160.4 (FFC), 163.4 (MFL), 142.7 (NFFC)
Sometimes he's drafted inside the top-15 tight ends, sometimes he isn't. Walker caught 60 balls last season for 571 yards. He also caught six touchdown passes. How many tight ends went 60-570-6 last year? Only seven other men did that? Numbers aren't huge, truth, but there is a chance that Walker slightly improves them this season, especially if Jake Locker finally takes the next step and maintains his health.
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The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Thurs 7 PM, Fri. 9 PM EDT), Ray also hosts a show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.
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