Today is National Draft Day and you don’t have to be a Falcons fan or Samuel Jackson to rise up. When it comes to fantasy football, drafting a potential steal or breakout player is reason to Rise Up! Here some of the players who have risen up draft boards since the start of the preseason.
Average Draft Position (ADP)
1. Reggie Bush– RB, Detroit Lions ADP No. 33. Running back Rank #17 (espn.com)
2. Terrance West– RB, Cleveland Browns ADP No. 94
3. Darren Sproles– RB, Philadelphia Eagles ADP No. 87
4. Justin Hunter– WR, Tennessee Titans ADP No. 116
5. Legarrette Blount– RB, Pittsburgh Steelers ADP No. 135
6. Jonathan Stewart– RB, Carolina Panthers ADP No. 156
7. Ahmad Bradshaw– RB, Indianapolis Colts ADP No. 139
8. Maurice Jones-Drew– RB, Oakland Raiders ADP No. 77
9.Jordan Matthews– WR, Philadelphia Eagles ADP No. 138
10. Doug Martin– RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ADP No. 28
11. Brandin Cooks– WR, New Orleans Saints ADP No. 69
Reggie Bush isn’t a sleeper by any means but after an 86 yard touchdown run last night, his fantasy ADP should go up. Keep in mind it was against the Jaguars, a matchup many fantasy owners would have found favorable in any format last year. Taking nothing away from Bush, his two carries for 95 yards looked impressive but don’t go all in on him just because of one preseason game. The fact is, Bush still has to battle talented running back Joique Bell for carries and production this season. Handcuffing them would be wise. Bush will be on the rise after his performance and with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson to compliment him, Bush and Bell both have value this year in fantasy. They both will have goal line opportunities and the chance to shine.
Terrance West has drawn a lot of hype during the preseason and camp and he seems to be out on a mission to overtake Ben Tate as the leading back. He looked explosive and decisive in the short time we’ve seen him. His average draft position is around No.94 making him one of the top rookie running backs taken in fantasy football drafts. His upside is too appealing to sleep on him. We expect him to rise up at some point this season if it isn’t immediately.
Darren Sproles showed he has some value after the Eagles seem to want to get him involved to compliment leading back Lesean McCoy. Both backs are extremely fast and shifty and Eagles Coach Chip Kelly will find ways to get Sproles in the game and in open space. Lightening the workload for McCoy as the year progresses doesn’t seem like a bad play either as you want McCoy to be as fresh as possible come playoff time. Sproles is certainly not a fantasy factor but his rise in value and handcuff value to McCoy is something to pay attention to.
Justin Hunter has a lot of hype, maybe too much given Jake Locker hasn’t really been a factor so far in his NFL Career. Hunter only has 30 catches in the NFL, this includes preseason and regular season, but eight were touchdowns. Hunter has big play ability and will be a threat with his speed and size. Like most people, we think Hunter will rise up in his second year in the league.
Legarrette Blount may have just gotten in trouble with the law, but so did starting running back Le’veon Bell. Blount looked good during preseason and showed his value as a #2 back with the potential to get some goal line carries which translates to fantasy value. He may get suspended by the NFL but he does show some potential to rise up in fantasy.
Jonathan Stewart is in a familiar situation as a counterpart of the Carolina Panthers running game. Like the New Orleans Saints, the Panthers use multiple backs for production. In terms of having fantasy value, Stewart’s role is once again unclear. Stewart has generated some fantasy buzz and his ADP shot up after scoring two touchdowns in his last preseason game. He has some value but that value is unclear at this point. He’ll obviously score some touchdowns this year but is competing with Deangelo Williams and Mike Tolbert, which should temper the hype.
Ahmad Bradshaw has some fantasy appeal and has generated a buzz as he has looked good in camp. Many are intrigued by Bradshaw’s upside as a struggling Trent Richardson is the only back ahead of him. If last year indicated anything, the Colts have no problem featuring their backup if Richardson isn’t performing. Last year they went to backup running back Donald Brown and he didn’t really disappoint. The upside in Bradshaw is the hope that he will do same thing. He will definitely cut into Richardson’s carries, how much so is undetermined at this point, but he’s worth a late round flyer to rise up!
Maurice Jones-Drew used to be fantasy gold, his time is running out as an aging back. After a few injury filled seasons in Jacksonville, Jones-Drew has been almost forgotten about in the fantasy world. He has looked good in camp and in preseason. Enough so that he has taken Darren Mcfadden’s role as the number one guy. After a 40 yard touchdown run against the Packers in his last preseason game, the buzz on Jones-Drew is real, but so is the buzz on Mcfadden. Both are in for a timeshare and both look to be productive. If one of the two gets injured, fantasy gold will be rewarded most likely. Don’t sleep on either if the price is right in your fantasy drafts.
Jordan Matthews seems to be either the #2 or #3 receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles. After a poor outing in his first preseason game, the rookie rebounded in week 2 and 3 of the preseason with some solid numbers. In his third preseason game, the Eagles put him the backfield and he had a carry. Later, he showed his ability in the open field on a screen play that went for some good yardage. Our suggestion is to Handcuff to Jeremy Maclin, and if Maclin gets hurt, Matthews should be in competition with Riley Cooper for the Eagles #1 spot. Draft in the later round as ADP suggests but could end up being a steal regardless of whether or not Maclin gets hurt.
Doug Martin was a force during his rookie year, earning him the nickname “Muscle Hamster.” Last year, he was highly regarded in fantasy but after a slow start and injury, he was a bust in 2013. In the offseason the Buccaneers added running back Charles Sims. Sims was the #2 running back on the depth chart and third round pick of the 2014 NFL draft. Due to an injury he is out 12-14 weeks. Martin will to take on a heavier workload for the Buccaneers and looks to be a force this year. His stock is on the rise, we don’t know if his ADP will, but we expect the muscle hamster to rise up this year and return to fantasy glory.
Brandin Cooks has too much hype not to be in this feature. His rise to ADP No. 69, ahead of some solid veterans at receiver is eye popping, so is his speed, versatility, and fit with the Saints. Saints camp exploded with high expectations for the first round pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Brees seems to think he is the real deal and that alone should be a reason enough not to sleep on Cooks. He proved what he is capable of in a recent preseason game when he shot out of the slot for a catch and before you could blink was in the end zone for a touchdown. Buy into the hype immediately. Cooks looks to rise up, and make the NFL wish they had drafted him.
The rise in hype and fantasy buzz these players have generated cannot be ignored, which ones will accept the challenge to rise up and be the next NFL breakout star?