Fantasy Football's Mid-Round Gems

Greg MaiolaSenior Analyst IIJuly 2, 2012

Fantasy Football's Mid-Round Gems

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    The first few rounds of a fantasy football draft see the big names go, but the talent is still on the boards for the middle rounds. Drafters often get caught up in the name game or on previous statistics.

    But you are a smarter fantasy drafter than that.

    So get your playmakers early. Don't pass up on a quality player, but don't ever feel that the talent pool isn't deep in any given draft.

    This list shows seven players who will be a bargain for where they are picked. These middle round players have the potential to be playmakers and should really be an asset for any fantasy team.

    Here are the seven bargain players that will be available in the middle rounds of any draft.

Donald Brown

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    The former first-round draft pick is finally ready to produce for the Colts. He has an edge over Delone Carter because Brown doesn't put the ball on the turf too often. He benefits from a weak supporting cast around Andrew Luck and should be the centerpiece of Indy's offense. Brown had a 161-yard game against the Tennessee Titans late last year, and his momentum should carry into the 2012 season.

Stevie Johnson

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    Stevie Johnson should slip to the middle rounds because quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's production is unknown. Johnson is the only Bills' receiver to post back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and should be ready to build on that production in 2012.

    He is Buffalo's premier target and has proven to make plays downfield. If the Bills want to make the playoffs in 2012, Johnson will be a huge factor. He should keep fantasy owners very pleased.

Greg Little

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    Though running back Trent Richardson was drafted No. 3 overall in the 2012 NFL Draft, fellow first-round pick Brandon Weeden will get a chance to air it out.

    Wideout Greg Little had a quiet but effective rookie season with 61 catches for 709 yards and two touchdowns. If he can clean up on his drops and continue to develop, Weeden should be very pleased.

    Little will fall to the middle rounds due to the fact that he plays for Cleveland, but don't let that hinder your decision. If you have two starters and are looking for a third wideout, snag Little and you should be very pleased.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis

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    BenJarvus Green-Ellis has rushed for double-digit touchdowns the past two seasons with the Patriots, earning a starting role with the Bengals in 2012. He is a bruising runner, which is exactly what a team needs to survive in the AFC North.

    Green-Ellis should get quite a few carries. If quarterback Andy Dalton has a sophomore slump, Green-Ellis' production should increase from leaving a running back-by-committee system. He has a nose for the endzone and should thrive as a full-time starter.

Brandon Pettigrew

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    The 2011 NFL season forever revolutionized the tight end position. With quarterback Matthew Stafford coming off a 5,000 yard season, there is no reason Brandon Pettigrew cannot get in on the tight end action.

    Pettigrew caught 83 passes for 777 yards and five touchdowns last year. His reception total makes him appealing in any PPR league, and he gained decent yardage.

    He should be more productive on third down and in the red zone this season, and should also find more room to work with—thanks to Calvin Johnson. Expect Pettigrew to be Stafford's security blanket and increase production in 2012.

Jay Cutler

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    Jay Cutler may not be an initial top 10 quarterback heading into 2012, but he has potential to have a monster season.

    Mike Martz is out of Chicago. Matt Forte is still holding out and could suffer from time off in 2012. But most importantly, Cutler is re-united with wideout Brandon Marshall.

    He and Marshall had some stellar seasons in Denver, and their solid chemistry should make the Bears successful in 2012. Cutler has had success with his current weapons in Chicago, but the addition of Marshall puts him over the top. Cutler will be a bargain for whoever gets him in the middle rounds and should put up big numbers. 

Mark Ingram

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    The New Orleans Saints are quite a mess, and figure to be in 2012. Suspensions will keep coaches and players out of action. Quarterback Drew Brees is even holding out. Darren Sproles might not be able to keep up with or match his 2011 production, and his body figures to take a beating if he is the lead back.

    All of these factors are making Mark Ingram a bargain player for fantasy owners. Ingram had 474 yards and five touchdowns in 2011, but his production will increase this year. He might have to carry the load on offense and he is more than capable of doing the job.

    He will be overlooked and under-valued heading into fantasy drafts, but his upside is very good. Make sure Ingram lands on your roster this season because he should be a surprising player in 2012.