August 23, 2012

Fantasy Football Draft Day Steals

By - Tim Swift

Forget about Aaron Rodgers or Ray Rice. Anybody can drafts those guys.

Let's take a look at some players in the late rounds that could help make you look like a fantasy football genius come December.

QB - Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals: Lost last year in the great rookie season of Cam Newton was the very solid play of Andy Dalton. He had 3,398 yards and 20 TDs, and that was with the Bengals staff playing it pretty safe with him. Offensive coordinator Jay Gruden likes more of a pass happy attack, so Dalton's numbers could approach 4,000 yards and 25 TDs -- which would make him a great steal in the late rounds of your draft.

Photo by: Jonathan Ferrey
Worth Mentioning: Josh Freeman (TB), Joe Flacco (BAL), Matt Schaub (HOU)

RB - Michael Bush, Chicago Bears: Bush is the primary backup for Matt Forte, who after a year of wanting a new contract, finally got one. Forte has never been one to get a lot of TDs from goal line carries, and that's where Bush could come in. Forte over the last 3 years: 698 carries and 13 TDs. Bush over last 3 years: 537 carries and 18 TDs. It would not shock me at all if Bush finishes the season with more touchdowns than Forte.

Worth Mentioning: Donald Brown (IND), Cedric Benson (GB), Stevan Ridley (NE)

WR - Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers: The third-year receiver from LSU is poised for a breakout season after posting 36 catches and 3 TDs a year ago. At 6'2, 210 lbs, LaFell has all the tools to be one of Cam Newton's favorite targets. At 33, I don't expect Steve Smith to have the year he had in 2011, and that's where LaFell could steal some of his targets. 50 catches and 7 TDs isn't out of the question -- and he will probably be available at the end of most drafts.

Worth Mentioning: Jon Baldwin (KC), Malcolm Floyd (SD), Alshon Jeffery (CHI)

TE - Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans: Yes, we've been here before with Mr. Cook. At 6'4, 240 lbs and sub 4.5 speed, he has all the tools to be an All-Pro tight end. Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer figured out what the previous regime in Tennessee did not -- Cook is not a blocking TE. In his final 3 games in 2011, Cook had 21 catches for 335 yards. While Kenny Britt is dealing with injuries and a possible suspension, Cook could slide in as one of the top 2 targets for quarterback Jake Locker. Also, Cook is in a contract year. When in doubt, take a guy that knows that there are millions on the line.

Worth Mentioning: Greg Olson (CAR), Coby Fleener (IND), Jacob Tamme (DEN)

D/ST - Buffalo Bills: The good last year for Buffalo's defense -- 6th in the NFL in interceptions (20) and scored 6 defensive TDs. The bad -- 27th in the league in sacks (29) and 30th in points allowed per game (30.1). They should only get better with the additions of Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, plus rookie cornerback Stephen Gilmore from South Carolina. In most drafts this defense won't be taken, but they could definitely steal you a win or two during the season.

Worth Mentioning: Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Kansas City Chiefs

*Catch me on Fantasy Football Live every Sunday morning beginning September 9th from 8:00-9:00, and on the Thom Abraham Show every Wednesday afternoon starting at 3:40 for even more Fantasy Football talk on Sports Radio 560 WNSR Nashville.


  1. Josh Freeman? You can't be serious. He's awful.

  2. Brees was my starting QB last year but I had Dalton on my bench and he had a few weeks where he put up decent numbers. You really think he would be good to go with as a starter if you can't get a Brees, Rodgers, or Brady? Would you put him at or near the same level as Eli, Stafford, and Big Ben? (fantasy wise I mean)

  3. Good call with Buffalo's D. Already very opportunistic and getting better.

  4. Dalton is probably a step below, Eli, Stafford, and Big Ben, but if you have one of those guys you might be able to steal a start or 2 if one of those guys have a suspect matchup late in the season. Also my reasoning on Freeman is that they are going back to simpler offense, similar to one that they had in 2010 when Freeman had 25TD's and only 6INT's.