NFL Fantasy Football: 6 undrafted players to watch
BY JEFF AGREST Staff Reporter September 4, 2014 9:50AM
Cleveland Browns wide receiver Miles Austin makes a catch during practice at NFL football training camp in Berea, Ohio Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan) ORG XMIT: OHMD
WEEK 1 OUTLOOK
QB Derek Carr, Raiders
The rookie beat out veteran Matt Schaub for the starting job, and teammates say he has a very good grasp of the playbook.
TE Travis Kelce, Chiefs
He’s a big-time playmaker, and with top wide receiver Dwayne Bowe suspended for Week 1, Kelce could get off to a fast start.
The unit’s top two players, NaVorro Bowman (knee) and Aldon Smith (suspension), are out for a while, and it will face some high-powered offenses in the first half.
RB Christine Michael, Seahawks
No backup running back has been praised more than Michael, but he’s nursing a hamstring injury and Robert Turbin passed him for the Seahawks’ No. 2 spot.
QB Colin Kaepernick, 49ers: The Cowboys didn’t dramatically improve a defense that allowed the second-most standard-scoring points to quarterbacks last season.
RB C.J. Spiller, Bills: Until the Bears prove they can stop the run consistently, keep starting opposing running backs.
WR Eric Decker, Jets: The Raiders have a different starting cornerback tandem for the fourth consecutive year. It’s worth finding out if they got this one right.
QB Robert Griffin III, Redskins: Experts have said Griffin has gone backward in his development. Keep him on your bench until he proves otherwise.
RB Doug Martin, Buccaneers: The Panthers allowed the second-fewest points to running backs last season, and they return their front seven.
WR Mike Wallace, Dolphins: He’s done well against the Patriots, but they’ve never had Darrelle Revis before.
Updated: September 5, 2014 1:42PM
The drafts are done, but your work isn’t. Like NFL teams perusing the market of undrafted free agents, fantasy owners need to keep an eye on the waiver wire to see what has been left behind.
Judging by the percentage of ownership of players available in ESPN.com leagues, you probably have a shot at these players. Whether you’re looking to add depth or make up for draft-day mistakes, watch how these guys fare in Week 1.
WR Miles Austin, Browns (6.3 percent): Granted, Austin has a history of injuries, but with Josh Gordon suspended for the year, he and Andrew Hawkins will start. With the Cowboys, Austin caught between six and 11 touchdown passes from 2009 to ’12, and in his last three 16-game seasons, he has averaged 1,101 yards. Plus, he’s seven inches taller than Hawkins. Brian Hoyer will find him.
RB Benny Cunningham, Rams (3.6 percent): Zac Stacy is the starter, but Cunningham closed the gap with a strong preseason. He averaged 5.6 yards per carry last season (helped by a 100-yard game against the Bears), and he was given the start in the all-important third exhibition.
WR Malcom Floyd, Chargers (5.8 percent): He put a serious neck injury behind him, earning rave reviews for his work in the preseason. Floyd missed out on quarterback Philip Rivers’ renaissance last season because of the injury, but the 6-5 receiver looks ready to give Rivers the big target he lacked.
RB Jonathan Grimes, Texans (3.1 percent): Arian Foster said he feels great after sitting out all four preseason games. But he sat out all four last year, too, and ended up missing half the season with a back injury. That makes it worthwhile to own Grimes, who had a fine preseason.
WR Nate Washington, Titans (1.3 percent): If new coach Ken Whisenhunt has the same effect on Jake Locker that he had on Rivers, you’ll want Washington on your roster. He had 919 yards last season, and though Justin Hunter is coming on, he hasn’t passed Washington yet.
RB James White, Patriots (2.2 percent): Considering how coach Bill Belichick went through running backs last season, owners in deep leagues should stash White. The rookie out of Wisconsin could find himself in a prominent role if Stevan Ridley’s fumblitis returns.