2014 Fantasy Football:10 Projected Mid-Round Prospects Who Can Be Fantasy Steals
While NFL teams might strike it rich in the first couple of rounds of the draft, it could be the middle rounds of the NFL draft where fantasy owners can find gold, as that is where a glut of running backs and mid-tier wide receivers will be taken.
So whereas teams are loading up on the next great quarterbacks (Johnny Manziel, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater, etc.), wide receivers (Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, etc.) and tight ends (Eric Ebron), there will still be prospects who will hold plenty of value on fantasy draft day who will be drafted in the middle rounds of the NFL draft.
So, in this slideshow will be 10 draft prospects (ranked in order of long-term fantasy impact) who will likely go in the middle rounds of the NFL draft but can be had on the cheap on fantasy draft day. Excluded from this list will be players projected to go in the first two rounds (including running backs Carlos Hyde, Bishop Sankey and Tre Mason).
Of course, a lot of these players' value will depend on where they get drafted—and some have the chance to move up the draft boards, too—but based on ability, the 10 following players have the requisite skills needed to make a legitimate impact in fantasy circles.
Take stock and remember these names when drafting this summer.
Projected rounds are provided by CBSSports.com.
- Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
- Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
- Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin
- Dri Archer, WR, Kent State
- Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming
- Devin Street, WR, Pittsburgh
- Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
- Josh Huff, WR, Oregon
- Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers
- Charles Sims, RB, West Virginia
- Devonta Freeman, RB, Florida State
- Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern
- James White, RB, Wisconsin
- Storm Johnson, RB, UCF
- Arthur Lynch, TE, Georgia
- Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State
10. C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
Although he is more lauded for his size (6’7”, 265 pounds) and blocking skills, C.J. Fiedorowicz is a promising pass-catcher in the making as well.
While he’ll have to work on his route running, Fiedorowicz will be a red-zone beast, as he can box out defenders and just go get the ball.
He’ll be a steady influence for whichever team he goes to, and he’ll make a decent starting tight end for fantasy purposes in a few years. So draft him in keeper/dynasty leagues and hope he breaks out sooner than later.
9. Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina
At 5’9”, 207 pounds, many will look at Bruce Ellington’s size and doubt him.
That would be a big mistake. Ellington is solidly built and creates mismatches in the open field. While he’ll have some adjustments to make, he has the attributes to make a long-lasting impact in this league.
At this point, Ellington is better suited to be a keeper/dynasty league selection, and he should be on your radar late in drafts.
8. Troy Niklas, TE, Notre Dame
Troy Niklas is a mountain of a man at 6’7”, 270 pounds and is another prototypical red-zone magnet.
While he likely won’t produce terrific receiving numbers and catches, he’ll make them count in the red zone. Like most tight ends, Niklas will need some time to develop. But once he does, he can be a fantasy force at the tight end position.
He’s worth a late-round roll of the dice in keeper/dynasty leagues.
7. Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Jarvis Landry is one of the more athletically gifted and cerebral receivers available in the NFL draft, and whichever team drafts him will be happy it did.
Landry uses good body control and football IQ to separate from defenders. While not as talented and lauded as his LSU teammate, Odell Beckham Jr., Landry may ultimately provide to be the better value in the middle rounds of the draft.
Like many on this list, Landry is a better long-term keeper/dynasty league selection to bank on late in fantasy drafts, as he will probably take time to adapt to the speed of the game.
6. Terrance West, RB, Towson
Although he comes from a small school, Terrance West has big-time ability.
Playing at a small school did not keep Alfred Morris from making an immediate impact a couple of years ago, and West has just as good or better talent than Morris. West has great size, speed and strength to eventually become an every-down back.
He should work himself into a lot of carries for the team that drafts him and will be a bargain in both seasonal and keeper/dynasty leagues.
5. Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Hooking up with top quarterback prospect Derek Carr did wonders for Davante Adams’ stock.
Don’t be fooled, though. Even if he wasn’t catching passes from Carr, Adams would still be on lots of peoples’ radar. Adams combines good size (6’1”, 212 pounds) and above-average athleticism to create space. Once he gets down the nuances and the intricacies of the game, watch out.
Stay ahead of the pack, and take a gamble on Adams late in keeper/dynasty leagues, as he has the chance to be a No. 2 WR down the line.
4. Lache Seastrunk, RB, Baylor
If you’re looking for a playmaker with speed to kill, Lache Seastrunk is your man.
Seastrunk can attack the gaps and open spaces with the best of them. He’ll just need to bulk up before he fully realizes his potential.
While he may not get a lot of carries early on, Seastrunk has the ability to be a major weapon in anybody’s offense for the foreseeable future. You’ll want to beat the rush before he breaks out. You should target him in the late rounds to be a No. 4 or No. 5 running back for fantasy purposes.
3. Jeremy Hill, RB, LSU
If it wasn’t for some perceived character flaws, perhaps Jeremy Hill would be higher up on draft boards.
Considering where he may get drafted in the NFL draft, he’ll hold great sleeper appeal when you conduct your fantasy drafts. Hill has great speed and shiftiness, and the teams that selects him will want to showcase that.
Hopefully, he gets drafted by a team that will allow him to compete for a starting spot, and if he captures a lead-back job, he’ll prove to be the ultimate bargain on draft day.
2. Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
You can’t consider Andre Williams under the radar, considering he was a Heisman Trophy finalist. Still, plenty of teams are sleeping on the Boston College running back.
Williams impresses you with his size and bulk and can bulldoze his way through the trenches. In many ways, he is a lot like Marshawn Lynch, in that he is a determined runner. He’ll need to work on his agility and speed in the NFL, and once he does, he’ll be a monster with the football in his hands.
It may take him some time to carve out a role for himself, but he’ll make a mark in this league. He’ll provide great value in the middle to late rounds of fantasy drafts.
1. Ka’Deem Carey, RB, Arizona
Ka’Deem Carey is well built at 5’10”, 207 pounds and is one of the more effective runners in between the tackles.
While not as highly rated as top-tier running backs like Hyde, Mason and Sankey, Carey is the next best thing, and if he can work on his speed and quickness, he has the chance to be a star.
When looking for dependable running backs, think Carey. He has the upside to make for a No. 3 running back/flex play for fantasy purposes.
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