Fantasy Football 2013: Under-the-Radar Studs to Look for in Draft
The early rounds of a fantasy football draft might be easy to navigate, but the later rounds can make or break your season. However, there are some under-the-radar players out there who could be steals in the later rounds of the draft.
This is where your research before a draft is key. Many of the guys or gals you draft with in your league have differing intelligence levels about the sport, but don't be the person who is on the bottom rung of the knowledge ladder.
Instead, look for players who may be on the rise and ready for bigger roles during the 2013 season. Those players could end up paying huge dividends down the road, as simply choosing a player because of name recognition isn't always the right thing to do.
Let's take a look at some players who aren't well known yet, but very well could be by season's end.
Lamar Miller, RB, Miami Dolphins
Miller will be entering his second season in the NFL in 2013 after being drafted in the fourth round in the 2012 draft. He is looking to build off what was a promising showing during his rookie campaign and figures to be the starting back for Miami this season.
The former Miami Hurricane didn't get a lot of touches last season, but when he was handed the ball, he certainly made the most of his carries.
Miller carried the ball 51 times for 250 yards and one touchdown without a fumble. In case you're bad at math, that's 4.9 yards per carry. In the NFL, teams will fall all over each other trying to land a five-yard-per-carry running back.
The Dolphins also threw Miller the ball to the tune of six catches for 45 yards, which was good enough for 7.5 yards a reception. Considering sophomore quarterback Ryan Tannehill is still a bit raw, there's no question he will look to Miller as a short passing option should Miller get the starting nod.
Though Dustin Keller is unfortunately out for the year, per Fox Sports, key additions to the receiving corps such as Mike Wallace and Brandon Gibson will make for a formidable passing attack when combined with Brian Hartline.
That should take a ton of pressure off Miller as defenses focus on stopping what could be a big strength for the Dolphins. If all goes well through the air, that will create a ton of space and, ultimately, production for Miller.
Vincent Brown, WR, San Diego Chargers
Brown showed some promise as a target for quarterback Phillip Rivers during the 2011 season, but it was a broken ankle that stopped the young receiver short in his tracks before his sophomore campaign even began.
Brown broke his ankle during the second preseason game of 2012, but he has now returned to action and looks ready to go, per Rick Henne of Chargers.com.
The hopes were already high for Brown this season, but the 24-year-old out of San Diego State was given a push up the depth chart due to the season-ending ACL injury to Danario Alexander, who made a big impact during the stretch run last season.
As was the case with Alexander, if Brown can show himself to be a reliable option for Rivers, the Chargers quarterback will get him the ball early and often.
The Chargers may not be going anywhere this season, but that doesn't change the fact that Rivers and San Diego's offense like to air it out. That makes Brown a candidate to be a huge beneficiary in 2013.
Giovani Bernard, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
Drafting Bernard may not be a move that pays off right away, but patience is the key here.
Bernard was drafted out of North Carolina in the second round in April and figures to lose out on the starting job to veteran back BenJarvus Green-Ellis. That's because the Law Firm compiled over 1,000 yards rushing last season.
The only problem with Green-Ellis is that he isn't exactly what you'd call an explosive back. Sure, he can pick up consistent yardage, but he won't break off big chunks. His 3.9 yards per carry from 2012 isn't exactly ideal.
Bernard is the younger, more explosive option for the Bengals, and he should prove to be a big-play back at some point. Thus, Bernard has a great opportunity to win the starting job at some point this season, if not right away. Until then, expect him to share carries with Green-Ellis at the very least.
Aside from being a great runner, Bernard can also catch the ball out of the back field, which is something Green-Ellis isn't exactly elite at. In 2012, the Law Firm caught 22 passes for 104 yards, at 4.7 yards per catch.
Further, the rookie running back will likely see special teams duties as well.
There is no doubt that Bernard has the talent to improve Cincy in many facets, making the Bengals offense more dangerous. With his speed and versatility, Bernard is a great option at RB if/when he assumes the starting job over Green-Ellis.
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