Getting the top pick in your fantasy draft helps when you’re trying to win your league, but finding diamonds in the rough is even more valuable. Fantasy owners should be hard at work trying to find the next Doug Martin.
Despite his rookie status in 2012, Martin rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Now Martin is one of the more sought-after running backs in most fantasy leagues. Are there any rookies with similar potential this year?
Perhaps there won’t be a first-year player that makes the impact Martin made in 2012, but here’s a short list of rookies who still have stud potential. Here’s a hint, they're all running backs.
Bernard was one of my favorite halfbacks in college and he couldn’t have landed in a much better spot. The Cincinnati Bengals are content with BenJarvus Green-Ellis, but it is no secret that BGE doesn’t offer big-play ability.
Explosiveness is an element Bernard brings to the Bengals’ attack.
In his final year at North Carolina, Bernard had nine runs of 20 yards or more, per CFBStats.com. It’s only a matter of time before he either overtakes BGE, or at least begins to eat into his carries.
Bernard would be a smart late-round pick and a potential steal.
The Denver Broncos don’t have a standout running back, that’s part of the reason the team drafted Ball with the No. 58 overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Ronnie Hillman is currently listed ahead of Ball on the Broncos’ depth chart, per ESPN, but we all know how fast that can change.
Even if Ball stays No. 2, he is much better suited for goaline situations.
Hillman is just 195 pounds, while Ball is a powerful 215-pounder who scored touchdowns at a record-setting clip at Wisconsin. One way or another, Ball will make his mark in fantasy football this year.
He’s another player who warrants a late look.
I’m not a big believer in DeMarco Murray of the Dallas Cowboys—at least from a fantasy football standpoint. He’s struggled to stay healthy since he was in college and that trend leaves the door open for a backup to step in.
Lance Dunbar was the man in the best position to be next in line, but he is out three-to-four weeks with a sprained foot, per Chris Wesseling of NFL.com. This development will allow Randle to show what he can do with more touches during the final two preseason games.
Randle has good size and adequate speed as a runner, but he also has solid hands as a receiver out of the backfield. He caught 28 passes in 13 games for Oklahoma State in 2012. He can be the type of dual-threat back the Cowboys need. If given the opportunity, he could make Cowboys coaches forget about Murray and Dunbar.
If he’s on the board with your last few picks in the draft, he’s worth the low-risk gamble.
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