Winning a fantasy league is not about having the most talent on one’s team. More important is the value of each player picked. Stealing a top quarterback or wide receiver late will bring fortune and fame much more often than jumping too early on a gamble. Here are five players worth taking a flier on late to help win a fantasy football championship.
5. Andrew Quarless, Tight End, Green Bay Packers
— Green Bay Packers (@packers) August 23, 2014
An oft-underrated portion of Aaron Rodgers’ offense, Quarless took over the starting role last season in Week 8 after Jermichael Finley suffered a season-ending neck injury. Quarless took to the role immediately, setting career highs with 32 receptions for 312 yards and two scores. With a full offseason under his belt as the expected starter, Quarless is entering the season as the 30th tight end taken. A backup tight end with this potential is a risk worth taking late in your draft.
4. Benny Cunningham, Running Back, St. Louis Rams
Throughout the preseason, the man carrying the rock most successfully for the St. Louis Rams was not Zac Stacy nor rookie Tre Mason, but this relatively unknown speedster. Averaging over five yards per carry with blazing speed and good hands, Cunningham will be a nice change of pace back for the Rams all season. Currently being taken as the 53rd running back off the board, Cunningham will outplay his ADP and bring tremendous value to a bench slot near you.
3. Cody Latimer, Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos
One could stop this case with the fact that this is a weapon in Peyton Manning’s arsenal, but the case for this rookie goes deeper than situational conditions. Wes Welker’s injury opens up a spot for Latimer with a chance for him to creep into the WR2 or FLEX range on a weekly basis.
Denver’s offense set records last season. And the absence of Eric Decker certainly opens things up for Emmanuel Sanders, but Latimer will be fed the rock too. Currently being taken as the 66th wide receiver off the board, Latimer’s potential is too large to pass up late in your fantasy draft.
2. Andrew Hawkins, Wide Receiver, Cleveland Browns
#browns Pettine said wr Andrew hawkins will most likely start along with miles austin in Pittsburgh
— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 29, 2014
The man they call “Baby Hawk” is ready to soar for the Cleveland Browns. With Josh Gordon out for the year and only Miles Austin, Hawkins’ talent will shine through the two overrated veterans and put him in a leading role in Cleveland.
Be it Brian Hoyer or Johnny Manziel, Hawkins’ speed will make him a favorite target for either gunslinger. Currently being drafted as the 64th wide receiver overall, Hawkins will blaze past his ADP as fast as his 4.42 forty time will allow.
1. Aaron Dobson, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots
Big development from last nite's #Patriots game was progress WR Aaron Dobson made w/in the game. Rust early, but strong finish. Can help Wk1
— Matt Chatham (@chatham58) August 29, 2014
Outside of a healthy Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman, who else will catch passes from Tom Brady this season? Danny Amendola cannot stay on the field, and Kenbrell Thompkins just cannot seem to catch the ball. Enter second-year receiver Aaron Dobson, currently the 62nd rated receiver based on ADP. The team also released Josh Boyce in its final cuts.
Dobson is an excellent vertical threat and proved that in the Patriots final preseason game catching a 33-yard touchdown from Jimmy Garoppolo. In 12 games last season, Dobson managed 37 receptions for 519 yards and four scores, and will overtake those totals this season by a wide margin. With more athleticism than any other receiver on New England’s roster, Dobson will have a breakout year in 2014.
Photo: CBS Sports