Anyone can get (Andrew) Luck-y and ride some nice draft picks to a fantasy football championship. But having success year in and year out? That takes talent.
Part of what makes dynasty and keeper leagues so great is they put extra importance on an owner?s every move. A more proven veteran might be on your draft board, but is it better to take a chance on a rookie who could turn into a star?
We?ve attempted to tackle that question by identifying 10 players who have the potential to be the next best thing or, in one player?s case, represent a bargain for an elite talent.
Either way, all 10 should help turn your fantasy pretender into a dynasty contender. Let?s check ?em out.
Melvin Gordon, RB, San Diego Chargers (Bye Week: 10)
There’s always a risk in drafting a guy who hasn’t played an NFL down, but Gordon is looking more and more like a safe bet. The featured-back job is all but his, and Gordon tore it up in a pro-style offense at Wisconsin, so all signs point to a relatively seamless transition to the big leagues.
Devin Funchess, WR, Carolina Panthers (Bye Week: 5)
Kelvin Benjamin?s season-ending ACL injury is a game-changer. While you can?t expect Funchess to step in and put up identical numbers, he?s probably Carolina?s best option to replace Benjamin, immediately making him an intriguing option in keeper leagues.
Arian Foster, RB, Houston Texans (Bye Week: 9)
Foster?s hamstring injury significantly drops his draft stock, and that?s good news for you. Take him in the later rounds, survive his absence and enjoy having a top-10 back for great value when your draft rolls around next fall.
David Cobb, RB, Tennessee Titans (Bye Week: 4)
Bishop Sankey?s rookie campaign wasn?t exactly stellar, leaving the door open for Cobb to challenge for the starting job. The Minnesota product still is pretty far down on draft boards, so if you snag him late and he pans out, you could be sitting pretty.
Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers (Bye Week: 10)
It?s only a matter of time before Antonio Gates runs out of gas. Green?s numbers weren?t great last season, but he proved enough in 2013 to make him worth a late-round flier as Philip Rivers? next tight end target.
Blake Bortles, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars (Bye Week: 8)
It?s hard to picture a Jaguars QB ever being good, but things might be looking up in Jacksonville. The No. 3 overall pick now has Julius Thomas to play with, and he meets the expectations that many experts have set for him, you?ll want to be there to reap the benefits.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins, TE, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Bye Week: 6)
Seferian-Jenkins didn?t get too many targets as a rookie, but with a year under his belt and a promising new QB in Jameis Winston, his days as a reliable fantasy tight end could be right around the corner.
Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles (Bye Week: 8)
The first-round pick out of USC already impressed with a touchdown in his first preseason game, and with Jeremy Maclin gone, the wide receiver position is a free-for-all. You might have to reach a bit for Agholor, but we think he?s worth the risk.
Tevin Coleman, RB, Atlanta Falcons (Bye Week: 10)
The Falcons? running back competition is a two-man race between Coleman and Devonta Freeman. But Atlanta drafted Coleman in the third round this year for a reason, and if you?re in a keeper league, there?s a higher upside in hedging your bets with the rookie.
Have a fantasy/NFL question for Darren? Send it to him via Twitter at @darren_hartwell
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