Cleat Geeks

Fantasy Football; Late Round Early Return

I wanted to take a look at one person from the 4 major positions who I think you can draft in the late rounds, that you can get an early return on. These are guys that people in your league may pass on in the first few rounds therefore, you can draft them in the later rounds and still get some value from them.

Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49erscolin-kaepernick

This time last year, hopes were high for San Fran’s bicep kissing QB. He had closed out 2013 with QB1 fantasy numbers and was the eighth highest-rated signal caller, according to Pro Football Focus. The franchise was aglow with optimism and fans were prematurely toasting in their yuppified new stadium.But, the fans soon turned bitter, however, as the 49ers imploded, losing four of the season’s final five contests. Bound to the pocket, Kaepernick struggled mightily, often panicking and missing his targets. With a new coaching staff and revamped offense, though, Kaep has the chance to put 2014 behind him.

Offensive coordinator Geep Chryst doesn’t exactly inspire confidence (remember the 2000 Chargers?), but his extensive experience as a QB coach does hint at an understanding of the position. Kaepernick’s does have some specific strengths. He has a mobility in the pocket and a big arm but he has unproven talent around him so restoring his faith in those talents will be key as the season progresses.

TorreySmithAdding legitimate deep threat WR Torrey Smith to the receiving corps should help open up the field for Kaepernick but the problem is even though he is fast and adds a new wrinkle to the offense, Smith doesn’t have the surest hands. The addition of RB Reggie Bush gives Kaepernick not just another back but also another solid weapon in the passing game.

Finally, the Niners defense is a mess therefore, Kaepernick is going to have to pass to keep the team competitive. Whether or not the work he did in the offseason with Kurt Warner sticks, his passing attempts will go up in 2015. Add in a few rushing TDs and Kaep could finish the season in that 10-15 QB range. You may still want to get a top 10 QB, but Kaepernick should be good as a back-up while you keep an eye on him for a starting role.

Keenan Allen, WR, San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keen Allen (13) points to his name of the back of his jersey after making a 16-yard touchdown catch during an AFC Divisional Playoff game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Jan. 12, 2014, in Denver. The Broncos won the game, 24-17. (AP Photo/Greg Trott)

In 2013 Allen burst onto the fantasy scene, closing out his rookie year with a 71 catches 1,046 completed passes and 8 touchdowns. His presence was heartily felt in the fantasy community as he averaged over 10 fantasy points per game in standard scoring leagues and 14.9 fantasy points per outing in PPR formats. Ending his rookie year like that Allen’s stock soared heading into 2014.

Unfortunately, Allen’s numbers regressed considerably in his sophomore outing. He dropped from 4th to 44th in Pro Football Focus’ WR ratings and finished the year among the bottom fifty fantasy receivers. A myriad of nagging injuries, sputtering quarterback play, and a rumored lack of focus contributed to this decline.

This time around, however, things are looking up for the Bolts both in what they had, and what they got. Allen and Rivers are back to full health and they’ve added a dynamic talent to their backfield in rookie Melvin Gordon. Allen has additionally toned up, reporting to camp at his rookie weight of 206 pounds. Another positive is the possession receiver’s apparent change in attitude and renewed commitment to the game, which has been talked up by his teammates and local beat writers. Plus, the absence of Eddie Royal and Antonio Gates’ suspension means there will be a good number of looks to redistribute. All of these factors point toward a return to relevancy for Allen, who has the potential to produce well above his current WR20 ADP

Kyle Rudolph TE Minnesota Vikings

Kyle Rudolph hasn’t played a full season of football since 2012. His 2013 and 2014 campaigns were cut short due to a laundry list of injuries that included a broken foot, a sports hernia, and a sprained knee. Back in 2012 when he was healthy, however, he posted 9 touch downs, which was  only 2 behind Rob Gronkowski’s eleven.Rudolph

Admittedly, Rudolph isn’t an exceptional talent. But he does have size and hops, which make him particularly viable in the red zone. At a certain point with the tight end position, grabbing six points to save a week is all owners are trying to accomplish. Knowing that at 6-foot-6 and 229 pounds the former Domer excels in that capacity makes him an intriguing get in the later rounds of fantasy drafts.

BridgewatterFurther buoying Rudolph’s upside is the presence of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who has coached up such talents as Antonio Gates and Jordan Cameron. Yes, he was part of the equation last season, but due to the aforementioned injuries and Teddy Bridgewater’s learning curve, Rudolph wasn’t given a fair shake at fully incorporating himself into the team’s attack. I believe that Rudolph will become Bridgewater’s security blanket, much like Gates is to Rivers.

The talent surrounding him this season is also much better. Both Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson should stretch the field enough to provide Rudolph with room to operate over the middle. He’s far from a sure thing, but at a streaky position he presents tempting buy-low potential


 Alfred Blue RB Houston Texans

A groin injury is going to keep starting running back Adrian Foster on the sidelines for the first half of the season. This gives Blue, a sixth-round selection a shot at the starting job. He filled in quite admirably last year when Foster missed 2 games. In those 2 games he rushed for a combined 202 total yards, including 1 game for 156 yards.

Houston Texans' Brian Hoyer (7) hands off to Alfred Blue (28) against the San Francisco 49ers during an NFL preseason football game, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Houston. (AP Photo/Patric Schneider)

As for this season, remember, they have Brian Hoyer as their quarterback. They have a rookie wide receiver in Strong and a couple of veteran receivers who are consistent, but don’t set the world on fire in Washington and Hopkins. This lends itself well to the running game being used in full effect.

Would I choose Blue as my main running back? No. Would I choose Blue as my #2 running back? Possibly, but more important than that, I would not hesitate picking him up and putting him as my flex player and take my chances. Getting a full time running back in a spot usually reserved for #3 receivers is a steal and will help you in your total points.


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