Giving second chances is something fantasy football owners often don't have an easy time doing. When a player doesn't live up to expectations, fantasy owners often get frustrated and remember not to draft the player in question the following fantasy football season. Once a player gets a bad name in fantasy football, owners often tend to shy away until the player begins to produce again.
Last year, players became breakouts at each position like Michael Vick at quarterback, Peyton Hillis at running back and Brandon Lloyd at wide receiver. The point being that players who were not on radars during the draft became important fantasy football producers. Specifically, this article will take a look at players who didn't live up to expectations last year, but deserve to be stashed on your bench for the potential breakout that will likely occur.
We all know the story of Kevin Kolb being unseated by Michael Vick last season as the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles. Fantasy football owners last year actually held Kevin Kolb in high regard since he was proclaimed the starting quarterback of the Eagles after the trading of Donovan McNabb. Many owners drafted Kolb mid-round as a potential sleeper pick who was expected to flourish. By midseason after an injury and the emergence of Michael Vick, Kolb was cut by many fantasy owners to spend time on waiver wires.
The reason for the optimism this season is a new surrounding with the Arizona Cardinals, and no other quarterbacks in Arizona to take Kolb's job. The Cardinals paid a hefty price for the services of Kolb and have complete confidence in him as should fantasy owners. Kolb has already developed a connection with wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and the two should form a great duo next season. Kolb has all the tools around him to succeed and should have a good fantasy year.
No, I'm no Cardinals fan, but the first two on this list just happen to be Cardinals, and both actually had quite similar fantasy seasons last year. Last season like Kevin Kolb, Beanie Wells was regarded as a safe pick who had the potential to have a big season last year, so Wells was regarded as a sleeper.
Well, injuries settled in for Wells as well as losing touches to fellow running back Tim Hightower. Many fantasy owners ended up sorely disappointed and cut their losses with Wells and picked up another running back with regret.
This season the tune will be different for Beanie Wells. Tim Hightower has been traded to the Washington Redskins, and unfortunately Wells' backup, rookie Ryan Williams, suffered a season-ending injury. Wells remains the lone starter for the Arizona Cardinals and it is his time now to emerge as a consistent fantasy football producer. Admittedly, there is some risk, but the upside potential is just too high to ignore. If you stash Wells on your bench, you could be in for a huge reward.
Surprise, it isn't a Cardinal! Last year many fantasy owners put high trust into the tall and speedy wide receiver from the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sims-Walker was usually taken off the board early in fantasy drafts last year and owners felt they were getting a playmaker and someone they could rely on to be a starting wide receiver on their team.
By midseason, fantasy owners who drafted Sims-Walker were begging other owners to take him off their hands and deal him in a trade. I was offered Sims-Walker a few times in different leagues and politely declined.
Sims-Walker is in store for a much different season as a new member of the St.Louis Rams. Sam Bradford needed more wide receivers, and Sims-Walker should provide Bradford a dependable wide receiver who will receive a lot of looks especially in the red zone. Much like Mark Clayton last year before injury, Bradford will be throwing a lot to Sims-Walker and should form a great tandem. This year should be redemption for the once reliable receiver.
Here is a player in Brent Celek who took a far fall from grace last season with the Philadelphia Eagles. Celek was considered to be one of the top tight ends in fantasy football last season and was taken off the board early. I was one of those owners who fell for it and selected Celek to be my starting tight end and had to replace him with a different tight end during the season.
Unfortunately, with the changing of quarterbacks and a wrist injury hampering Celek's season, Celek failed to produce and put up poor numbers. This year Celek can be selected with a late-round pick considered merely a backup tight end.
There is reason to have hope for Celek to return to form this season. Michael Vick has now had time to warm up and build a connection with Celek, which should result in more passes Celek's way. Vick should look to depend more on Celek in the passing game this year especially as a security blanket. Celek was developing into a good tight end before his setback season last year, and should prove to redeem himself now that he is fully healed and has had time to work with Vick. Celek should be considered a steal if you can draft him in a later round.