It’s late in your fantasy draft. You’ve already locked down your starting lineup, added some depth at RB and WR, and you’re not really willing to waste one of your final picks on a kicker … so who do you take? One of these deep sleepers could turn that final draft selection into a winning lottery ticket if things go right this season.
WR Stevie Johnson San Diego Chargers (ADP = 100.1)
This is exactly the type of receiver that Phillip Rivers needs. A couple seasons ago, Keenan Allen erupted onto the fantasy landscape with 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and 8 touchdowns, but he was virtually shut down by bracket coverage during most of his sophomore campaign.
With Allen drawing extra attention on the opposite side, the equally-shifty (if older) Johnson should shed single coverage and become the apple of Rivers’ eye in third down and Red Zone situations. Because he lacks arm strength and has a funky throwing motion, Rivers meshes well with shifty receivers that can create separation when the play is kept alive.
Moving from the Bills defunct passing offense to a team that is usually forced to throw because of their poor run-blocking and inconsistent defense, Johnson is primed to exceed the value of his late ADP.
RB Reggie Bush San Francisco 49ers (ADP = 108.9)
With Bush, there’s a lot of negative association involved for many fantasy owners. Many of us took him in the first few rounds over the past several years, and wondered how we could have been so naive when he was listed as “Questionable” throughout most of the season.
His explosive running style seems to lead to ankle and knee injuries, but if he can somehow avoid any awkward hits, Bush could really thrive in this offense. You can already imagine how new 49ers OC Geep Chryst — who spent the past few seasons as the team’s quarterbacks coach — is scheming up ways to get Bush the ball in space. Whether it’s running a quick screen out wide, or executing the read-option with Kaepernick, Bush could pile up a ton of YFS when healthy.
Bush is already splitting first-team reps with potential bellcow Carlos Hyde, and could end up playing more than the second-year bruiser if the 49ers defense is not on par with its’ usual level of production. If that’s the case, Bush will become a veritable asset in PPR leagues and a potential RB2 in standard leagues.
WR Breshad Perriman Baltimore Ravens (ADP = 143)
Not only is Perriman a relatively unknown rookie, he’s dealing with a sprained PCL during training camp, which means he’ll enter the season with essentially no buzz. This is a player you can take in the final rounds of your draft, as a WR with a legitimate chance to become one of Joe Flacco’s top targets later this season.
At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Perriman has incredible speed to the point that some scouts typecast him as a straight-line burner coming out of Central Florida. Yet, he was very impressive according to both Flacco and new Ravens OC Marc Trestman, who is planning to plug the rookie into a high-usage role as the “X” receiver in his offense.
Of course, Alshon Jeffery was a monster with 85 catches on 145 targets as Trestman’s “X” WR last season, and Perriman is a big-bodied wideout that could fill into a capable role opposite veteran Steve Smith Sr.
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