Fantasy Sleepers

Productive Overlooked Fantasy Veterans

Fantasy Football

It’s always tempting to take an NFL rookie, that only a year ago you saw dominate on the college level. They are young, fast and eager to produce on the next level. Some people get so wrapped up in finding the next superstar that they seem to forget some of the older stars..

Age Before Beauty

Reggie Wayne FantasyIt’s always tempting to take an NFL rookie, that only a year ago you saw dominate on the college level. They are young, fast and eager to produce on the next level. Some people get so wrapped up in finding the next superstar that they seem to forget some of the older stars have yet to burnout.

When it comes to drafting rookies over veteran in a dynasty league, (or even a keeper league) a case can be made that the rookies have more of an upside. Still, rookies are always something of a gamble. Don’t count on a rookie RB to step on the field and have one of those monster games that Doug Martin or DeMarco Murray had. Sometimes it happens, but most of the time it does not. The veterans have played many a season and know the game best. Sure, they might be a season or two shy of retirement, but if they are still starting for an NFL team, there is no reason why they should not be starting on your fantasy team.

Here a look at some of the vets that should make an impact this season:

R.W. – (Reggie Wayne, or Roddy White) – The “RW WR” is an oft-overlooked player in drafts and tends to slip. Both these guys are likely to get well over 100 targets and each have a good shot at 100 receptions. These are great guys to target if you went for RBs early. At the soonest, take one towards the end of the third round and don’t pass on either if they slip to the 5th. These guys are very consistent and have some solid QBs getting them the ball.

Steve Smith – He clearly has a great chemistry with Cam Newton and also seems to be the only above average WR target on the team. Smith slips in most drafts and can be picked-up in middle rounds.

Jason Witten – Just like Old Faithful, Witten is a consistent source of crowd pleasing performances. If your league is PPR, a case could be made that Witten is the best TE. Thing is, he’s not a big touchdown scorer. In standard leagues he sometimes gets lost in the shuffle and can be taken in the early middle rounds.

Heath Miller – It might sound a little crazy, but he’s basically in the same place as Rob Gronkowski. They both got hurt late last year and could miss time at the start of the season. Miller’s upside is that for the past few years Big Ben has been trying to get him the the Pro Bowl. You can get Miller late and likely have an elite back-up TE for the home stretch.

Ahmed Bradshaw & Rashard Mendenhall – Both of these RBs find themselves on a new team, but still look to have fantasy value. Bradshaw is simply a much more skilled RB than Vick Ballard and is likely to get a lot of touches. Mendenhall looks to be the man in Azizona and head coach Bruce Arians sees him as a starting RB. Bradshaw is likely to go higher of the two, in the early middle rounds. Mendenhall will be around a little longer. Each has great potential as a flex RB.

Steven Jackson – He’ll be hard to get. It seems as the weeks go by, S-Jax’s ADP goes up. If you can land him as your RB2, you’ll be in great shape early. He’s a great fit in the Falcons’ system.

Anquan Boldin – With Michael Crabtree out for the season, it looks like Boldin will be the WR1 in San Fran. He’s around in the lower half of drafts and could easily be a startable fantasy player.

NFL LogoA slew of QBs – Eli Manning, Carson Palmer, Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Schaub, Joe Flacco and Philip Rivers – While it’s temping to draft Cam, Luck, RG3, Wilson, or Kaepernick in the middle rounds, all of these veteran QBs can put up like numbers. Most of them may need a favorable match-up to start, but you can likely get a pair of these QBs later in the draft, rather than spending a pick in the top half of the draft on the young guns.

Any of these guys can be a big help to your fantasy football season. If your drafting in a dynasty, or keeper league you might want to use some caution when drafting older players. While they can be great this season, they might not have the long-term value you want. Should you draft rookies instead? No, it’s not that simple. It might be best to target players with only a few season under their belt, guys that you have seen do great things on the NFL level.

A rookie is a risk. When drafting rookies, here are some things to look for:

– Where did their NFL team draft them? Tavon Austin went 8th overall to the Rams. It seems logical that they will get him involved early, after picking him that high. He also fills the role of a departed player who was very productive, Danny Amendola.
– Where will they be on the depth chart? Le’Veon Bell looks to be an early favorite to top the Steelers’ RB depth chart. He was a round two pick, so that’s more good reason to like Le’Veon. On the other hand, Johnathan Franklin went to the Packers in the fourth round, after Eddie Lacy was taken in the second round and DeJuan Harris still lingers in Green Bay. These are red flags against Franklin in 2013.
– Are they playing behind a player your doubting? Perhaps you doubt BenJarvus Green-Ellis has what it takes to keep his starting gig with a talented rookie RB like Giovani Bernard being taken in round two by the Bengals? If so, maybe give Gio a shot. It’s also a good idea to handcuff rookies when possible. Take DeMarco Murray high? It might be a good idea to grab Joesph Randle late.

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