The Pigskin Guy’s Top Undrafted Fantasy Players to Watch

Posted: July 11, 2012 in Fantasy, Fantasy Football Draft, NFL
Tags: , ,


I have no idea why but people are always asking me to give them fantasy football advice. If I could single out one piece of advice I wish every single person would follow it would be the following: If you’re one of those owners who spends the two weeks after your draft doing nothing but patting yourself on the back over how great your team is and how smart you are, stop doing it.

Now I’m not saying every owner needs to start offering trades the second the draft clock expires like I do. I understand I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum. I fully admit I have a problem. However, every experienced and successful fantasy owner knows the first thing you do once the draft is over is look at the waiver wire. Did a player you like somehow slip through the cracks? Who’s still available you should keep your eye on? Wait, no one drafted Dustin Keller? Why is Kellen Winslow my TE2 then?

I’m going to throw out a few names at you: Brandon Lloyd, Antonio Brown, Peyton Hillis, DeMarco Murray, Demaryius Thomas, Victor Cruz, Laurent Robinson and Cam Newton. You ever hear of any of them? As important as we try and make the draft out to be, those are just some of the important players that weren’t selected in a majority of fantasy leagues in either 2010 or 2011. So to say there’s still a lot of value to be had once the draft is over is an understatement.

Now sometimes knowing who these guys will be is close to impossible. Last summer I was advising people not to forget about Thomas because he would be returning from injury during the season. However, I could have listed 100 sleepers and still not mentioned Robinson or Cruz, so this is far from an exact science. That doesn’t mean we can’t start trying to identify these players as soon as possible though.

After looking at ADP information at Fantasy Calculator, here are some players that are currently going undrafted and who I believe are candidates to be this year’s surprise fantasy performers.

Christopher Ivory, RB Saints
I must have looked over the list at Fantasy Calculator like 10 times because I thought I kept missing Ivory’s name. I understand the Saints backfield is crowded but take a look at some of the running backs being drafted. Joseph Addai? Knowshon Moreno? Is he still in the league? Let’s be honest, Mark Ingram has potential but he’s far from the picture of health. Ivory may not be a stud but every time the Saints have needed him he’s produced. That’s why in 18 career games Ivory has a yards per carry average of 5.0. If Ingram gets hurt again, Ivory is definitely worth grabbing off the waiver wire.

Terrance Ganaway, RB Jets
This is a combination of my love for Ganaway and my non-love for Shonn Greene. Right now Greene is the starting running back for the Jets. He’s going to get most of the carries early in the year but if he struggles in those first few games, that’s when things could get interesting. Ganaway is a bull who I believe will become one of Rex Ryan’s favorite players during camp because of his punishing running style. If Greene continues to run like a 180-pound back, Ganaway could get a chance to show him how a 240-pound back is supposed to run. As a sixth-round pick Ganaway obviously isn’t even a lock to make the Jets roster but I really like him. I think he’s a nice darkhorse candidate.

Brandon Saine, RB Packers
James Starks is in the same boat as Greene. He’s the man right now for the Packers but that could change by October if he isn’t producing. I like Alex Green but Saine is a very good receiver out of the backfield, so we can’t count him out of the mix either. I’m a big believer that in offenses like Green Bay and New England average runner can put up solid fantasy numbers. Hell, BenJarvus Green-Ellis proved that much. If Starks struggles, Saine is a guy you’ll want to pick up right away.

Golden Tate, WR Seahawks
Some of you may remember that I had Tate ranked as one of the Top 20 best players coming out of the draft three years ago. If you don’t remember, that’s fine by me considering Tate has done very little so far in his NFL career. Word around the block is this kid isn’t very smart. Apparently he has trouble learning offenses and that can be the kiss of death for college receivers coming into the NFL. Still, the guy has talent and the receiver situation in Seattle appears to be wide open. Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin are the only two Seahawk receivers being drafted right now and Baldwin is going really late. Tate will have a shot this year but it will be his last shot.

Earl Bennett, WR Bears
I have to say Bennett not being drafted at all surprises me a little. I actually think Alshon Jeffery being drafted by the Bears helps Bennett because it allows him to line up in the slot more. See, the Bears have been putting these receivers in positions where they don’t belong. They’ve been trying to make No. 3 receivers No. 2 receivers and so on. Now with Jeffery and Brandon Marshall in town, everyone is slotted where they should be. We all know Bennett and Jay Cutler have a chemistry together going back to their college days at Vanderbilt. I’m not saying Bennett is going to catch 90 balls but now that he isn’t asked to do more than he should, I bet Bennett has the best season of his career if he can stay healthy. I would keep a close eye on Bennett. He could be a hot pickup in the first couple weeks of the season.

Ryan Broyles, WR Lions
I’ve written quite a bit about Broyles since the draft. I think he’s the closest thing I’ve seen to Wes Welker coming out of college in terms of hands, quickness and change of direction. Broyles is going to eat up receptions out of the slot in the Lions offense and I think it’s going to happen right away. Broyles was as smooth a route runner as you’ll find at the college level, so I don’t think it will take him long to produce in the NFL. His knee is a concern but if Broyles looks healthy in training camp I’m going to guarantee he’ll be owned in most fantasy leagues by Halloween. Mark it down.

Armon Binns, WR Bengals
You know those guys you watch play in college and when they don’t get drafted you say to yourself, “Wow, he didn’t get drafted?” Binns was one of those guys for me. I feel like every time I watched a Cincinnati game Binns was making two or three big plays. The Bengals are looking for someone to step up and be their No. 2 receiver. Binns is clearly in the mix right now and whether he wins the job or not, he’s an intriguing player. I’ll tell you, not many receivers can go up and grab the ball away from defenders like Binns can. At the very least he should be a threat in the red zone. If I had to place money on who will come out of nowhere and be this year’s Victor Cruz/Laurent Robinson, I would say Binns. Then again, there’s a reason why I “retired” from gambling 10 years ago.

Dwayne Allen, TE Colts
I had Allen ranked as the top tight end in this year’s draft class and I still say he’ll be the best player at that position when it’s all said and done. I love that people are drooling over Coby Fleener. What games did Fleener impress you in? San Jose State? Duke? You realize Stanford played the easiest schedule in the country last year and Fleener had Andrew Luck throwing to him, right? Despite all that Fleener caught a whopping 34 passes. Now, Fleener is in a great situation because he got teamed with Luck once again in Indianapolis but I believe Allen is the more talented player. I was watching a couple of Clemson games over and the announcers mentioned something interesting. They said the Clemson coaches moved Allen all over like the Patriots do with Aaron Hernandez because he’s so athletic. I’m telling you, this kid is the real deal and people aren’t even sniffing him because Fleener had one huge game against Washington State. You watch how many people add Allen to their fantasy team by the end of September.

Don’t listen to the fantasy “experts” talking up Fleener. They don’t watch college football. Fleener is a solid player but some fantasy places are really shoving him down your throat right now. Think about it. Andrew Luck, one of the easiest schedules in the country, no great receivers and only 34 receptions. It doesn’t add up, does it? Oh, and in the two games Stanford lost Fleener caught 6 passes for 75 yards and 0 touchdowns. That’s what Fleener did when he wasn’t playing Duke. Watch out for Allen. People at big sites like Rotoworld aren’t talking much about him now but they will be soon.

Follow me on Twitter @ThePigskinGuy

  1. irish says:

    D-wayne Allen…never really watched tape on him before. I like him…I may just pick him up in my dynasty league. The guy has the agility of a much smaller player….could be a beast.

    • I would strongly recommend owning him in a dynasty league. If he went to any other team people would be gushing over him. He’s just getting overshadowed by Fleener and I’m not really sure why. Like I said, Fleener is a solid player but it’s not like he was some beast that couldn’t be stopped in college. I don’t get it. If Luck loves the guy so much why didn’t he throw to him more? It’s not like he had any good receivers. People make it sound like he caught 70 balls last year. He never caught more than 4 passes in a game. He had one 100-yard game in his college career. That’s how much Luck loves him.

      • Irish says:

        I fully agree. I was concerned about his combine performance and 40 time, but it wouldn’t be the first time a future stud had a bad combine performance. My eyes tell me this: the guy can play. He can separate from defenders, he can muscle and box out defenders. He can block which will keep him on the field more. He aggressively goes after the ball. I like what i see.

      • I would love for someone smarter than me to do a study of the Combine. Like how often do good Combine numbers matter compared to actual production on the field. I think that would be fascinating.

  2. JT Marlin says:

    Good topic and nice article. Ganaway is definitely a player to keep an eye on. We both agree that Greene is a below average talent and his time could be up this year. I think there’s a strong possibility that Ganaway gets a chance to be the featured RB at some point this season.

    • Thanks JT. I don’t think it helped that I was watching the Baylor/Washington bowl game where Ganaway rumbled for 199 yards and 5 scores while I was writing this post. lol

    • Irish says:

      My concern about Ganaway is his situation or more specifically the Jets’ proposed ground and pound scheme. You’ve got Greene, Powell, McKnight, TEBOW!, and Ganaway. Sounds like a committee to me. I am sure that Rex would love to find that one “stud back” to be the workhorse, but Rex may be on the hotseat this year unless he can make a deep run in the playoffs this year. If the Jets tank this season (a very real possibility) Rex could be out and that really clouds up Ganaway’s future. I like him, but because of his situation not sure if I am liking him right now in any format. Things could change of course if Ganaway just blows everyone away in camp and just dominates, but we will find out.

      • Right Irish but remember he’s a longshot type of guy. Last year if I said, “Keep an eye on Victor Cruz..” it wouldn’t have meant much in July. Like I said, Ganaway could get cut or get placed on the practice squad. He’s just a guy I think has some skills so if he looks good in camp, keep an eye on him.

  3. Irish says:

    Definitely on the watch list. I would like him more if the Jets were still using a zone blocking scheme. As is I still like Ganaway. Kind of reminds me of a more nimble Jerome Bettis, butgetting a bit ahead of myself there. Gotta love Ganaway’s heart too. He’s a player you can really root for.

  4. JohnnyD says:

    good thing i snagged Dwayne Allen in my dynasty draft a few months ago! debating over keeping him vs Joel Dreesen, to compliment J. Gresham/Dustin Keller. will eagerly watch Bronco’s training camp for signs of Tamme sealing the deal as Payton’s #1 TE or not. if he doesn’t or gets injured, Dressen could be worth a roster spot.

  5. Frogman says:

    TC, just found your new site. Your eclectic style is still your strength. Your freshness in prose is the trait that places you head and shoulders over your fellow fantasy writers. (and the fact you have saturated every brain cell with football). Brilliant site. Look forward to following your project.

    • Thanks Frogman. I had to look up the word “eclectic” but other than that I appreciate it.

      • Frogman says:

        After realizing I had not been included into your inaugural dynasty league it took all the restraint I could muster not to sign in under a pseudonym and remind you of your bromance with Shonn Greene not too long ago:)

  6. brent says:

    something a lot of people are missing on fleener is his 40 time (high 4,4′s to low 4,5′s) and his yds per catch avg of over 19 yds he also has great body control and takes defended passes away from defenders,the kid has the ability to play wr in the n.f.l for a team that only sports an aging reggie wayne and austin collie add in the fact that fleener is not good at pass protection while allen excels at blocking and fleener could turn into a wr ala colston from the slot

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