Every Monday I play beer league hockey with a bunch of physically underwhelming and tactically inept schlubs like myself. In our darker moments, when our utter lack of coaching and ability rears its ugly, toothless head our defensive schemes devolve into little more than puck-chasing. As defensive strategies go, this one tends to be disastrous. It’s also the technique that the San Francisco 49ers utilized in pursuing Tarik Cohen, the Bears’ diminutive rookie running back, as he scored one of the more remarkable touchdowns of the year.
Cohen’s brilliance on this play is undeniable. His speed, acceleration and agility are simply off the charts. He makes a cut at the 30-yard line that leaves Aldrick Robinson – a freaky fast dude himself – flailing his arms and falling way behind the play. The whole play, in which Cohen outmaneuvers an entire professional football team, makes for a reasonable facsimile of the “Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl” technique that shouldn’t work in real life and seems borderline unfair.
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.