You are not going to win a fantasy football dynasty league in the first few rounds.
In the dynasty league’s initial season, you will select the stars who will help lead you to victory for years, but the later rounds is where true top teams are born.
Stealing Ryan Mathews or Victor Cruz in a re-draft league last year provided owners with great value for the season, but drafters who grabbed them in a dynasty league can reap the rewards of their wise choice for multiple years.
Scoop up the following players in the waning rounds of your draft and watch as they blossom into superstars.
Let’s give Sam Bradford a mulligan for last season.
After accumulating 3,512 passing yards and 18 touchdowns during a promising rookie campaign, Bradford took a giant step back in his second year. The 24-year-old completed 53.5 percent of his passes and turned the ball over 13 times in 10 games.
Heading into 2011, many drafters treated Bradford as the quarterback most likely to enter the elite ranks. The former No. 1 pick will now be taken far after the league’s top passers, but he still possesses star potential.
Bradford suffered through the St. Louis Rams’ lack of wide receivers, but they worked to eradicate the problem by drafting Brian Quick and Chris Givens. Danny Amendola, who many experts thought would emerge as Wes Welker 2.0 before dislocating his elbow early in the season, is set to return as well.
Draft Bradford as your reserve quarterback this year, and you could have an elite starter in a couple of years.
Regardless of who breaks training camp with the starting quarterback gig in Tennessee, keep tabs on Jake Locker in dynasty leagues.
In the limited opportunities he had during his rookie season, Locker more than held his own. After throwing two passes in as many games, Locker earned 530 passing yards, five total touchdowns and no turnovers during three contests with actual playing time.
Locker has remained calm during a heated battle, acknowledging that “it's not the end of the world” if Matt Hasselbeck starts for the Titans (via NFL.com). Soon enough, Locker will usurp the 36-year-old veteran and run Tennessee’s offense.
Don’t let the Oscar-winning movie title fool you. You won’t get hurt by taking Locker.
Rookie running backs always seize control of the early hype in fantasy circles, so why is the buildup for Ronnie Hillman so dull?
Hillman encompassed 1,711 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns for San Diego State last year as everyone instead watched Trent Richardson. The 5’9’’, 200-pound running back flashes great quickness and can run inside, making him an intriguing option for the Denver Broncos.
Willis McGahee stands in Hillman’s way, but the veteran does not have too much time left as a starting running back. Hillman will receive a fair share of carries in his rookie season as a change of pace back before eventually earning the starting role.
Throughout Peyton Manning's tenure with the Indianapolis Colts, Joseph Addai often maintained fantasy relevance despite his shortcomings and the passing offense’s awesomeness.
Now let’s see what a young, talented running back can achieve working with No. 18.
At this time last season, Ryan Williams soared higher and higher up draft boards as everyone expected major production from the rookie running back.
Before he could ever start his career, Williams went down with a ruptured patella tendon that ended his season.
Now that Williams is coming back, expect him to eventually pick up right where he left off. Williams told Darren Urban of the Arizona Cardinals’ team site that he is “running and cutting and doing things I didn't think I’d be doing this early.”
By not drafting or signing any halfbacks, the Cardinals showed their trust in Williams returning healthy and handling a bulk of their rushes. With Beanie Wells recovering from an offseason knee surgery, Williams could receive a large chunk of playing time, if he stays healthy.
Owners who can patiently wait for him to dust off some of the cobwebs and return to full strength could have a solid running back this season, and a steal for the next few years.
Obtaining any piece of the Detroit Lions’ offense is a smart move in all leagues.
Among the league’s premier passing attacks, Detroit boasts the youngest squad that should dominate for years. While Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson will cost a top pick, you have a little time left before Titus Young joins them.
Young caught 48 passes for 607 yards and six touchdowns, four of which he earned in the final four games during a solid rookie season that went unnoticed alongside Johnson. As defenses spend sleepless nights trying to concoct schemes to stop Megatron, Young can fly under the radar.
Few opportunities exist to cheaply acquire an impact player on such a prolific offense, so pounce on the chance to seize Young.
Stephen Hill is the ideal high risk/low reward pick to make it in one of the last rounds of a dynasty draft.
Since the rookie wide receiver is considered a long-term project, he will likely slip through the cracks. The 6’4’’ wide receiver ran an impressive 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and physically fits the prototypical mold of a receiver.
The door for him to earn playing time with the New York Jets is wide open. After failing to replace Plaxico Burress in free agency, Hill could start alongside Santonio Holmes, who might not last long with the Jets with all the headaches he induces off the field.
Considering Hill’s mere 28 catches in his junior year at Georgia Tech, Hill needs some seasoning before owners can rely on him in fantasy leagues. If you can wait, Hill might pay lofty dividends down the road.