As the beginning of the NFL season approaches, so too is the fantasy football season. Everybody has their go-to players on draft day, but let’s take a look at some under-the-radar players who should be available in the later rounds:
Michael Vick: Philadelphia Eagles
After being named starting quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles, Michael Vick will have another chance to prove he is a quality starter and quality fantasy option.
While no one expects Vick to put up the monster numbers he did in 2010, he may be worthy of a starting spot in some fantasy leagues (those with more than 12 teams).
ESPN.com's Matthew Berry recently moved Vick up his ranking list to 13th among quarterbacks and thinks the veteran can make an impact this season:
Between the running and the passing, Vick is the only quarterback going outside the top 10 who has legitimate top-five upside. The players around him, the high-tempo offense Kelly wants to run and his own talent make Vick (once again) a high-risk, high-reward player.
If Vick starts to fall in your league, do not let someone else take him—grab him while he is still available.
David Wilson: New York Giants
David Wilson will likely enter his second season in the NFL with the New York Giants with a starting job following an injury to Andre Brown.
Wilson will still have to earn his touches and needs to prove to head coach Tom Coughlin that he is capable of consistently making plays like this:
Wilson will have Eli Manning and New York's potent passing game to alleviate some pressure, but he will still have to find a way to secure the ball. If he can do so, Wilson will be worthy of a starting spot on some fantasy rosters.
Coughlin has also recently said Wilson will have some goal-line carries this season, which will create more touchdown opportunities for the second-year player (via ESPN.com’s Dan Graziano):
"David Wilson, he runs in there hard. He's powerful. He's compact. He has tremendous leg strength. So for him to run the ball on short yardage and the goal line, I don't have any problem with that."
Wilson, currently ranked 17th among running backs by Berry, has the potential to be a great value pickup in the later rounds.
Stevie Johnson: Buffalo Bills
Even though Kolb is out for the season, Manuel is still expected to play relatively soon, possibly the first game of the season, so treat Johnson (No. 32 on Berry's list) the same way you would if Manuel were definitely starting the first game of the season rather than expected starter and undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel.
James Brady of SB Nation may have said it best: “He might have a carousel at quarterback again this year, but he'll still likely find a way to put up 1,000-plus yards in Buffalo's offense.”
Whoever is throwing the ball in Buffalo will be looking at Johnson early and often, as he is the most accomplished receiver on the Bills’ roster.
While some may overlook Johnson’s fantasy value, make sure it’s not you.
Fred Davis: Washington Redskins
Despite missing the end of last season with a torn Achilles, Fred Davis is back with Washington this year and could make a huge impact.
He only played in seven games last year with quarterback Robert Griffin III, which limited their ability to build chemistry. But while RG3 has sat out preseason games, Davis has been on the field producing.
Dan Ciarrocchi of SB Nation believes that Davis has become a sleeper candidate and is worth picking up in the draft:
…should Davis log a full season under his belt, he could benefit greatly from a read-option offense that freezes linebackers along the seam…Davis is currently being drafted in the 12th round, and a player like him with TE1 upside would be an absolute steal at that draft position.
If Davis can stay healthy, there is reason to believe he can return to being a top tight end fantasy option.