Ten Players You Want on Your Fantasy Football Bench in 2010
Sure, the great debate is ultimately between whether to take Adrian Peterson or Chris Johnson as the No. 1 overall pick in your fantasy draft.
But there are other things to talk about—like who you should go ahead and grab for your bench slots.
These players will sub in on bye weeks, offer matchup play advantages, and may even take over a starting role if they have a breakout season.
Here are 10 players you should target in the late rounds of your fantasy draft in order to be prepared for fantasy awesomeness.
Michael Bush, RB, Oakland Raiders
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It almost seems like sacrilege to recommend a Raiders player after their offensive performance the past few years.
However, this year it will be different. There's something brewing in Oakland.
One of the guys that will benefit from the "newness" will be Bush.
Darren McFadden has been a disappointing bust for the Raiders between lackluster play and constant injuries. They will look to the bruising Bush to lift the running game and provide a powerful complement to the revamped aerial attack.
Over his first two seasons, Bush averaged 4.6 yards per carry over 218 carries. He may not hit that number this year as the projected starter, though he should still manage over a 4.0 ypc average.
After you've filled up most of your primary positions, if Bush is still on the board, take him as your top backup.
Projected Stats: 980 yards rushing, nine rushing touchdowns, 22 receptions, 180 yards receiving, one receiving touchdown
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals
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The behemoth first-round pick holds the potential for immediate on-the-field impact. As the Bengals offense looks to regenerate its passing game, quarterback Carson Palmer will likely look often to his new tight end.
Gresham still has some work to do on his blocking skills, but after seeing him in week one of the preseason, there is no denying the receiving threat that he can be.
After all, he is 6'5" and 261 pounds. That equals matchup nightmare for linebackers. He's going to be bigger than most everyone else out there and can go up in the air to bring down balls soaring above the heads of defensive backs.
Sure, the fact that he is a rookie still looms, but if you're looking for a backup tight end that has incredible upside, pull in Gresham as a likely-to-thrill backup.
Projected Stats: 36 receptions, 590 yards receiving, five touchdowns
Malcom Floyd, WR, San Diego Chargers
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Malcom Floyd is set to take over the No. 1 wideout position with Vincent Jackson still pouting in the wings.
While this hurts Philip Rivers' overall value, it does wonders for Floyd, who is still receiving little fantasy love.
Having the arm of Rivers throwing to Floyd should put nervous drafters who decide to take the 6'5" receiver at ease. He showed that he can be productive during the '09 campaign.
He also knows that V-Jax sitting out is the best thing that could happen to him. Floyd will take advantage of the spotlight and make every effort to prove that he can be the top option.
Floyd is playing for it all, and that makes him an attractive option.
Plus, going as late as he is, you're going to get a No. 1 receiver in a top-notch offense for the price of a No. 2 in a meager one.
Projected Stats: 72 receptions, 1,100 yards receiving, seven receiving touchdowns
Vince Young, QB, Tennessee Titans
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Vince Young very much came into his own last year. He provided a certain spark to the offense that was obviously needed and helped pave the way for Chris Johnson's eventual 2,000-yard season.
This year, he will have the confidence of his coaches and peers to show what he can really do.
While CJ2K is busy hustling on the ground, Young will quietly compile strong numbers of his own, both through the air and on the ground.
That is the secret weapon of playing Young on your fantasy team. While he is developing his pocket presence, he is still a scrambler who will provide your fantasy team with those extra three points needed by getting his 30 yards rushing.
If Young learns to strike a balance in his attack, he could finish a top-15 fantasy quarterback, well worth a bench spot on your team.
Plus, few people are looking at Young in this way just yet, so you can wait and take care of everything else before sliding him into your roster.
Projected Stats: 2,900 yards passing, 19 passing touchdowns, 10 interceptions, 480 yards rushing, five rushing touchdowns
Devin Thomas, WR, Washington Redskins
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This pick is all about the potential upside.
Devin Thomas was the 34th overall pick in the 2008 draft, and this is his third year as a receiver, which seems to be a magic year for wide receivers. (Just ask Sidney Rice.)
The stars are aligning in Washington, and with Antwaan Randle El out of the picture, Thomas' time has come to work alongside Santana Moss.
In the past, Donovan McNabb has been extremely skilled at putting receivers on the map. Thomas will be no exception and will benefit greatly from McNabb's presence and new head coach Mike Shanahan calling the shots.
Despite all the upside, Thomas is often going undrafted, so you don't have to reach far to grab him in the late rounds.
Projected Stats: 58 receptions, 870 yards receiving, seven receiving touchdowns
Cadillac Williams, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The concern with Cadillac Williams will always be the injury bug. However, if he stays healthy, this could be the year that he returns to the promise he showed as a rookie.
With a significantly better passing offense ready to go, Williams should have a little more room to run. Having a favorable schedule for running backs doesn't hurt either.
The Caddy has major breakout potential and could be a fantasy playoffs star for those who invest in him. Already there has been talk of Derrick Ward getting bumped from the Bucs, which leaves even more room for Williams to take over as top dog.
He may be one of the best backups out there and is often available past pick 100.
Projected Stats: 1,050 yards rushing, six rushing touchdowns, 25 receptions, 200 yards receiving, two receiving touchdowns
Mike Wallace, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
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It seems to me like everyone has written off the aerial attack of the Steelers and the immense talent showcased by now sophomore wideout Mike Wallace.
Poised to take over the place of Santonio Holmes, the deep threat capabilities of Wallace perfectly complement the shorter routes of No. 1 receiver Hines Ward and tight end Heath Miller.
The Steelers have already said that they have every intention of continuing to air it out with what has become a lethal passing attack.
Once Big Ben Roethlisberger is back, then Wallace will be in an even better position to notch up huge points in fantasyland.
Wallace is not to be ignored, or you may be on the business end of his productivity in fantasy competitions.
Projected Stats: 75 receptions, 1,200 yards receiving, nine receiving touchdowns
Kyle Orton, QB, Denver Broncos
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While many were busy predicting the demise of Kyle Orton as the Broncos' starting quarterback, Orton himself was simply going about his business, absorbing and improving.
All reports indicate that he has grown much more comfortable in the Josh McDaniels system and is set to earn at least equal numbers to last year.
Those weren't shabby numbers on their own.
With injuries plaguing the running backs, Orton should be the highlighted player and showed great poise in the first week of the preseason. He looks like he is in command.
It certainly doesn't hurt that there aren't as many inflated egos surrounding him now.
Orton is being left behind in some drafts. Don't let it happen. Orton is the ideal plug-and-play fantasy quarterback who will shine against good matchups.
Projected Stats: 3,800 yards passing, 24 passing touchdowns, 14 interceptions
Derrick Mason, WR, Baltimore Ravens
Sure, Derrick Mason may be 36 years old. But the age argument has been chasing him for a while now and has yet to catch up.
With the Ravens now looking to quarterback Joe Flacco to lead their team to victory, Mason is bound to benefit.
Yes, the arrivals of Anquan Boldin and Donte' Stallworth put a damper on his overall value. However, he has now become a great steal.
Increased passing attempts and Mason's ability to quietly pile up receptions will benefit the patient owner who doesn't need flashy names.
He'll beat out Stallworth for the No. 2 position and go to work from there. Make him go to work for your fantasy team.
Projected Stats: 64 receptions, 870 yards receiving, five receiving touchdowns
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Justin Forsett, RB, Seattle Seahawks
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Justin Forsett is clearly the most talented option for the Seahawks at running back.
Yet they still let Julius Jones take carries.
It's absurd, but it is what is preventing Forsett from being a true feature back.
However, owners interested in a high-upside player should look no further than Forsett, who is spending a lot of time on the draft board this year.
He's going to be ideal for the bench, coming off for bye weeks or for excellent matchup conditions. He'll prove a safety net against injuries and could even become a star in his own right if all goes well.
He's got the talent. Now he just needs Pete Carroll's vote of confidence.
Projected Stats: 850 yards rushing, nine rushing touchdowns, 30 receptions, 250 yards receiving, two receiving touchdowns