Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Forgotten Fantasy Gems: Players Returning From Injury

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You say the same thing every year: "I wish I would have dug deeper."

What happens in every league, every year, is that after five rounds, people really start struggling, and for good reason. With the turnover in fantasy football, it's awfully hard to dig deeper than the first 100 or so players because the stats just aren't there from the previous year. Are they going to assume a larger role? Is this what should be expected of them? Or could their stats diminish? 

As you are looking at last year's trends, it becomes almost impossible to decided who will take the next step and who won't. Far too often, players use late round picks on flyers, few of which ever pan out. 

What if I told you that sometimes there are gems that have given you all the data you need, it just may not have shown up last year? Maybe they missed the entire year due to an off-season injury? In some cases, they may have been off to a hot start before a mid-season injury ended their production, stranding them in the noise? Let's take a look at some.

Marcell Ateman (Jr) WR Oklahoma State- There may not be a better offense in college football than Oklahoma State. QB Mason Rudolph is a Top 10 QB and will go in the first or second round. Fellow receiver James Washington is a later first or early second rounder and may have more value. Ateman missed all of last season after posting a 45-760-5 season in 2015. Defenses will key on Washington, making Ateman (6ft 4in) a very, very good WR2/3 pick that you may get as a free agent. 

Chris Warren (So) RB Texas- Gone is Foreman and his 2,000 yard, 15 TD campaign from 2016. In comes Warren who, before injury, had 366 yards and 3 TDs while averaging 6 yards per carry in the first four games before missing the entire rest of the 2016 season. He still ended the year as Texas' second leading rusher. Warren is 6-2, 250 pounds. The Longhorns need to protect Shane Buechele, who has run a lot in his career already. Swoopes and Beuchele combined for 9 rushing TDs. Expect Warren to get that work, especially in the red zone. 

D.K. Metcalf (RFr) WR Ole Miss-The 6-4 monster that was D.K. Metcalf didn't get a lot of work in the two games he was well enough in which to play, but he made the most of them. He caught just two passes in two games, but both were in the redzone and both were TDs. Gone, now, is the Rebel's other redzone man, Evan Engram as well as several talented other WRs (Stringfellow/Adeboyejo). Truly, only A.J Brown and Van Jetfferson are threats to soak up targets. You won't have to burn anything on this guy, but he may have the most upside of any one not drafted. 

KaVontae Turpin (So) WR TCU- Turpin could not stay on the field in 2016 and never played more than three consecutive games. In the meantime, he posted a 30-295-1 line that wouldn't warrant a second look. However, when he was healthy in 2015, he posted a 75-944-9 line while adding another 116 yards on the ground. TCU would seem to spread the ball around with six WRs with 20 more more catches, but Turpin was a focal point when healthy having six or more catches in half of his games while also adding at least one rush in five games. The 5-9 speedster takes mostly short passes, so keep that in mind. 

A.J Oullette (Jr) RB Ohio- This isn't the first time this exact conversation has been had. As a freshman, Oullette went 785-7 on the ground and added 21-133-3 receiving. He has spent the last two years injured though his 2015 686-6 line wasn't terrible, he wasn't right for the middle of the season. Ohio may not be a great program, they do play a soft schedule. Purdue is the largest hurdle they face, so just think about that. Oullette is a great late round stash that could be a solid RB2 and certainly a FLEX in PPR leagues. He ended the year with eight straight games with a reception.

Make sure to check back for more Fantasy College Football articles! Here is last week's.

A Look at Last Year's CFF Scores in Predicting Value for This Year