For those of you out of contention for your league playoffs, and anyone else willing to think about the next fantasy year while we are still in this one, I’ll offer up the topic of sub-radar players. These are guys who play well and compile a great suite of statistics over the full course of a season, making them very valuable on fantasy teams.
However, some of them are not very flashy, and most of them aren’t getting serious publicity right now, when they are performing so well. They certainly did not draw major interest in fantasy drafts. So, it is time to consider this type of fantasy commodity, because these are the lunch-pail types who feed your fantasy team a steady stream of points and win you games – if you are wise enough to draft and/or trade for them.
It can get to be. Watching someone as exciting as Adrian Peterson break off long runs all day can take interest away from production. It is easy to get caught up in excitement and hype. Sometimes it is justified, as when Adrian Peterson breaks off long runs and busts through arm tackles all day. Often the press is unwarranted for fantasy purposes. Perhaps the player just has a few big games in a season, like Kevin Curtis this year. Or maybe his marketing machine is better than most. All owners like to have popular players identified with their team, just not all owners fall for that trap.
There are always good players you can acquire in drafts and in trades for less than their actual value. Here are some examples from this season, not including guys like Derek Anderson who came out of nowhere to become a fantasy freak-show.
Ben Roethlisberger – With little fanfare, he currently has more touchdowns than Peyton Manning, ranking third in that category with 25. He has added two more scores on the ground.
Matt Hasselbeck – He has already topped 3,000 yards passing and has thrown 20 touchdowns for a Seattle team on a hot streak.
Brett Favre – A couple of previous lousy seasons put Favre down the list of fantasy signal-callers. 3,412 yards coupled with 22 passing touchdowns and fewer interceptions make him valuable again.
Clinton Portis – Portis is the only player represented here whom some fantasy owners considered a first-round choice in drafts this year. He sports a solid 920 yards rushing, with seven scores.
Jamal Lewis – Not many thought Lewis had big-time juice left in him. I know I didn’t expect much of him this season. But 803 yards and eight touchdowns later, guys who picked him in the four or fifth rounds look like geniuses.
Edgerrin James – With 922 yards rushing and six trips to the endzone, James has more yards and scores than Frank Gore, Steven Jackson, Larry Johnson or Shaun Alexander. Though all four of those premier backs have been hindered by injury, it just goes to show what someone steady in the backfield brings to a fantasy team.
Joey Galloway – Currently ranked 15th in the league in receiving yards, Galloway is also tied for ninth in touchdowns, with six scores. He also gets extra points for big plays in some leagues.
Marques Colston – After a slow start, the Saints and Colston have come on. He has six touchdowns now and 886 yards, more than Steve Smith, Roy Williams, or Lee Evans has produced.
Greg Jennings – Despite missing playing time to injury, Jennings has grabbed 44 passes for 712 yards and 10 touchdowns. He has more scores than Reggie Wayne, Chad Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald or Torry Holt.
Chris Cooley – Cooley has a cool 53 receptions for 584 yards and seven touchdowns.
Dallas Clark – Clark excelled in the playoffs last year, and has just kept going. 49 receptions for 527 yards and nine scores.
Heath Miller – Very quietly, Miller is good for 487 yards and six touchdowns. Compare all three to a player drafted much earlier: Jeremy Shockey has 54 catches for 597 yards and only three touchdowns.