Every week, it seems a new batch of underrated players comes from nowhere to capture the imaginations of fantasy football owners.
Whether it's a backup capitalizing on an injury or a rookie having a breakout performance, it's never too early to begin weighing the potential risks and rewards of adding an under-the-radar player.
In Week 4, a number of hidden gems emerged as viable fantasy options, including a pair of flex alternatives in the AFC East. Below, I'll break down a trio of lesser-known players worth adding to your roster before Week 5 kicks off on Thursday.
*Availability and standard league scoring statistics according to ESPN Fantasy.
Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns, QB
Availability: 98.8 percent
Average Fantasy Points Per Week: 18 points
Week 4 Fantasy Output: 18 points
In Week 4, Cleveland Browns signal-caller Brian Hoyer posted 18 fantasy points for the second straight game, but this time, he did it without tossing three interceptions in the process.
Hoyer threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns against Cincinnati this past weekend and surprisingly is still available in nearly every ESPN fantasy league.
Unless you have Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or another stud passer in your starting lineup, you'd be wise to make a play for Hoyer, especially considering he has three very favorable matchups coming up. Cleveland will play Buffalo, Detroit and Green Bay over the next three weeks, and none of those defenses ranks better than 22nd in the league against the pass.
Robert Woods, Buffalo Bills, WR
Availability: 95.4 percent
Average Fantasy Points Per Week: 8.3
Week 4 Fantasy Output: 15 points
Buffalo Bills rookie wide receiver Robert Woods exploded for 15 fantasy points in Week 4 against Baltimore, turning four catches into 80 yards and a touchdown, per NFL Fantasy Football on Twitter:
EJ Manuel to Robert Woods for a second TD. This is the start of a beautiful (fantasy) friendship. #BALvsBUF— NFL Fantasy Football (@NFLfantasy) September 29, 2013
Although Woods had just seven catches coming into Week 4, he had been targeted 18 times by Bills quarterback EJ Manuel. He's now been targeted 26 times through four games and is on pace for 800-plus yards receiving and eight touchdowns in 2013. Only Stevie Johnson has been targeted more often among Bills receivers to this point.
Woods is only owned in 4.6 percent of all fantasy leagues heading into Week 5, which means fantasy owners should have little trouble adding him to the mix.
Don't hesitate to start Woods in the coming weeks either. With matchups against Cleveland, Cincinnati and Miami on the horizon, opportunities are certainly there for more big-time performances.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots, RB
Availability: 97.8 percent
Average Fantasy Points Per Week: 5
Week 4 Fantasy Output: 12 points
Staying in the AFC East, Patriots running back LeGarrette Blount is another skill-position player worth picking up in Week 5.
One week after recording a season-high 14 carries against his former team, the veteran back had his best game yet in Week 4 against the Atlanta Falcons, rushing for 64 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. His 47-yard touchdown run in the second half showcased his big-play ability and will definitely earn him more touches this coming weekend against Cincinnati.
While Stevan Ridley and Brandon Bolden will continue getting their carries, Blount is the most powerful runner of the three and is a fantastic goal-line option the Pats will surely keep going to in the coming weeks with Shane Vereen out.
Plus, Blount is an easy add considering he's available in more than 97 percent of all ESPN fantasy leagues.
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