Caught in a Deep Sleep
Now that the horror of the pre-season is behind us, several rosters were stricken by the injury bug. If you’re lucky, your draft was scheduled late in August so you avoided having your team submarined by preseason injuries. Someone in your league (hopefully not you) has already watched Julian Edelman, Spencer Ware or Cameron Meredith succumb to a season-ending injury, taking a fantasy season’s worth of hopes with them. If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’re probably digging deep in your post-draft notes for a guy that won’t be on anyone else’s radar. If you had players fall due to injuries, you’re probably scrambling to scour the waiver wire right now. Thankfully, there are a bundle of players who made strides this pre-season that may be able to fill out your roster. Let’s take a look at why these deep sleepers could be a good investment for your team in 2017.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Despite all of the buzz surrounding Sammy Watkins landing in Tinseltown, it’s a rookie wideout who has emerged in camp as a potential weapon for the Rams. Kupp, who holds FCS records in touchdowns and receptions at Eastern Washington, has clicked immediately with quarterback Jared Goff. Working out of the slot, Kupp has snatched eight receptions for over 100 yards and two scores in the preseason two games he’s played. Kupp is in great position to take reps away from Tavon Austin in the three wide receiver sets that the Rams will frequently use. Granted, many will neglect taking anyone from this Rams offense due to their anemic numbers a season ago, but new head coach and boy wonder Sean McVay. (Dude is only 30 years old) will look to channel the offensive firepower he had as the Redskins offensive coordinator a season ago. McVay envisions Kupp as the Jamison Crowder of this offense. The type of wideout that can haul in seven to eight catches a game and one that can move the chains when the team needs it most. In PPR leagues, Kupp can be a vital player on your bench, someone that you can use for a spot start. Don’t be surprised if Kupp explodes onto the scene and becomes an asset for you when your trade deadline rolls around. Kupp is owned by 16.2% of owners on ESPN.
Robby Anderson, WR, New York Jets
Rumor has it that the winless ’08 Detroit Lions crack open PBR tall boys once the last team wins a game each NFL season but their record of futility could be under attack: the 2017 Jets look like a team threatening to go 0-16. That may seem bleak for fantasy players but, per NFL rules, the Jets will actually have to field a team and show up on Sundays this fall which means someone on that terrible roster is going to get a chance to move the ball. If for some twisted reason you have been paying attention to the Jets this preseason, you’ll notice that Robby Anderson is now their top wide receiver after Quincy Enunwa went down with a neck injury in early August. This leaves a tantalizing possibility for you as an owner: having the chance at nabbing a #1 wideout on a terrible team. Sure, Anderson may not have starting material for you on your squad, but he’ll be able to rack up stats in garbage time and has the highest chance to score TDs for this Jets receiving corps. Anderson may even get enough attention in this offense for you to consider him as a FLEX if your higher rated players struggle at the start of this season. Anderson is owned by 4.2% of owners on ESPN.
Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears
With Meredith now out of the mix in the Bears passing game, I expect Chicago to run the ball a ton this season. Jordan Howard should see a boost in carries and redzone scoring chances, but his usage on 3rd downs now belongs to the explosive Cohen. Listed at 5’6’’ and weighing in at only 180 pounds, Cohen has flashed has blazing speed in the preseason thus far. He figures to vulture a fair amount of Howard’s receptions and yardage through the air. One of the knocks on Howard’s dominant rookie campaign was a bad case of the drops, leading to ineffectiveness in passing situations. Cohen will join the likes of Theo Riddick, James White and Danny Woodhead as dangerous running backs who operate in the flats and off of screens. With Cohen settling in as the clear #2 for the Bears, you can sneak him in at end of your bench or use him as a handcuff for Howard. Cohen is owned by 2.2% of owners on ESPN.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Like the Jets, the 49ers don’t appear to offer many solid fantasy players on paper. Outside of Carlos Hyde and Pierre Garcon, the roster does not offer much in the way of offensive firepower. Yet, the team has installed a new offense under first-year head coach Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan led a nearly flawless offensive attack in Atlanta a season ago. Yes, I have to say “nearly” because of the infamous collapse against the Pats in the Super Bowl last year – I think Falcons fans still are looking at “28-3” as a demonic set of numbers cast like a spell by Bill Belichick from under a hooded cloak – but regardless, there should be some amount of spark in the San Francisco offense and Goodwin is in the mix to capitalize on it. With his top flight Olympic speed, Goodwin can outrun even the best corners in the league. While Garcon operates primarily between the hashes, Goodwin will take the top off a defense and should be able to fly down the field for massive yards, much like Taylor Gabriel did in Shanahan’s Atlanta offense last year. Goodwin will also figure prominently on tunnel screens, jet sweeps and gimmick plays. If you’re seeking out one last playmaker for your bench, look for Goodwin to be there on the waiver wire. Goodwin is owned by 2.0% of owners on ESPN.