Peter Drucker once said, “Trying to predict the future is like driving down a country road at night, with no lights, while looking out the back window.”
Yet, despite the well-put metaphor, we still embrace the life of prediction. The hope of knowing something other people don’t. Besting your opponents because of the off beaten path you decided to take, which lead you down a short cut to the finish line.
Fantasy football is all about predicting the next big thing. Whether you are the type of fantasy football owner who drafts for low ceiling but high floor or visa versa, there needs to be multiple players on your team who steals the show. A player who was expecting middle the pact stats. Yet, that is an incredibly hard task to accomplish.
That is why I write this article, to do my best at helping anyone save some time in their epic journey to figure out who the stars of tomorrow are.
Here is my team of non-draftees. The squad that will be picked up on the waiver wire, who will make a big impact in the NFL.
QB – Brian Hoyer – SF: The Michigan State alum has been given the keys to a couple franchises, but never able to get it into the next gear. The quarterback hungry, San Francisco 49ers, had a key to give out and they chose Brian Hoyer. A new chapter begins for the journeyman, alongside new and unproven coach, Kyle Shanahan, who’s fresh off of a Super Bowl run as offensive coordinator. The 49ers, also acquired big-threat receiver Pierre Garcon, giving Hoyer a huge option on the outside. The 49ers did a lot to revamp their team, but it’s a work in progress. No matter how well the individual players perform, the team will be losing most of the time. As bad as that sounds to San Francisco fans, it’s a beautiful sight for fantasy owners, because garbage time is a beautiful thing. The points will be tacked on as Bortles did to his fantasy numbers in 2015.
RB – Zach Zenner – DET: Just rushing stats from last year, Zenner was the best the Lions had to offer. It was a small sample size of getting the start, 2 games, and other than that there was a few carries here and there. But Zenner looked extremely promising when given the ball as a short yardage type of back, who can surprise you with the speed burst and hit stick. Zenner was a workhorse in college, but a third string back in the NFL, though, in 2016 both backs in front of Zenner fell to injury, giving Zenner the chance to prove himself, which he did, by scoring three touchdowns in those final two weeks and averaging 101 yards yards from scrimmage. I do not foresee Abdullah or Riddick getting goal line touches, as well as, both are types of a scat back. Wait for Zenner to be the workhorse in Detroit, because it will happen.
RB – Branden Oliver – LAC: At 5’8 and 207 pounds, Oliver has looked eerily similar to Darren Sproles. The height makes him small and almost unseeable to the naked eye. His first preseason game, he was catching balls and turning up field with a full head of steam. His injury last season went viral just as quick as his season ended. Oliver, started 8 games for the Chargers in the previous two season, never looking big enough to move around in the NFL. However, with nothing but motivation in his mind, Oliver showed his capability last week. Expecting Gordon to play 16 games, doesn’t lessen my thoughts on Oliver being a handy pass catcher who sees more workload than expected.
WR – ArDarius Stewart – NYJ: A rookie out of Alabama, one of the most prominent schools for football athletes, now being suggested as a starting wide receiver after the injury to Quincy Enunwa. Immediately following his impactful debut in preseason, football fans are understanding the talent behind ArDarius Stewart. If they didn’t see it throughout the game, it was surely noticed when Stewart laid the stiff arm that was heard across the league. There are four receivers contending for the starting job. Robby Anderson being the obvious ‘top dog’ which leaves the number two spot and slot position open to three other guys. The way it’s shaping up, Stewart will be in one of those spots. Once on the field he’ll let his skills explain his early starting reasoning.
WR – Cordarrelle Patterson – OAK: The Patterson signing from Oakland seemed so mediocre at first. A player who couldn’t live up to hype, basically a ‘has been’ before he ever has been. Patterson had all the chances to be Viking’s top tier receiver. But it didn’t work out as planned. After his fourth season, Patterson, joined Oakland where he has stated that he feels like he’s at home. Patterson has top speed which will fit perfectly into the Raider’s offense, who’s continuously looking for players who can break a deep one. Patterson has that potential as we all saw in his opening season with Minnesota. The Raiders already have Seth Roberts who is their number 3 receiver, but after the first preseason game, that position is up for grabs between the two. I’m buying Patterson to win that job and be a big part of the offense,
TE – Antonio Gates – LAC: Everyone’s on the Hunter Henry train, the next up and coming player, on a team who’s tight ends tend to strive. Yet lurking in the shadows is the player who is almost guaranteed a seat in Canton. We are now over looking a guy who’s the ‘Bro-Love’ target for Philip Rivers. Just because Gates hauled in his second worst passing yards last year, doesn’t mean he’s on his way out. Let’s not forget he only played 14 games. Add the two games he missed, with what he was averaging. 626 yards and 8 touchdowns would have been what he finished with. That would have been good enough for the #8 ranked tight end at the end of the season. Don’t count out a veteran, just because the new guy was getting healthy targets in the red zone. I like Gates to be a highly owned player at the end of the year.