I had an inspiration looking at some drafts. There are a number of players that would have been drafted much higher this time last year but slid this year due to injury. It happens every season and you kick yourself for being so stupid as to take a mediocre guy over a guy with a chance of much higher production in the current year…but “he was hurt” last year:
Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings – A.P. is sliding, but he’s going to be ready in week one of the regular season. He may not get 36 carries, but he should see 15-20, then upward from there. He’s going behind the likes of DeMarco Murray, Fred Jackson, and Jamaal Charles. That’s just crazy. If you can live with a slow first week or two, his upside should well make him worthy of going in the second round in ANY draft.
Steve Smith, WR, Arizona Cardinals – The “other” Steve Smith (again) is coming off knee problems for the past two seasons but has had a very good camp. The last season he was fully healthy, he had 107 receptions. At worst, he’ll be in the rotation with Brian Quick, who will go much higher.
Danny Amendola, WR St. Louis Rams – He should be the starting slot receiver and be a nice 3rd option (2nd in PPR leagues). He had 83 catches in 2011 and also returns kicks and punts.
Sam Bradford, QB, St Louis Rams – He’s going towards the bottom third of starting QBs in most drafts, but he had numerous injuries last season. Don’t forget he had a great rookie campaign with rookie records that Cam Newton beat last year.
Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans – Britt is suspended for 1 game and has trouble staying on the field but when he is, he’s a legitimate top-10 WR. Maybe even top-5. He can dominate a game and he and Locker are already familiar with each other.
Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys – Jones gets a bad rap for being oft-injured. He gets dinged up like many RBs do and has only missed 6 games in the past 3 seasons. With DeMarco Murray being overdrafted on a lot of boards, it means this belief about Jones persists. He could be a great steal in PPR leagues and worth a spot on the bench in others.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins – Thomas could be a last-second RB guy to grab if the “pickins” get kinda slim, but he’s a very powerful runner and possible TD Vulture. They may be running a lot more than passing, since their backs are the strength of their offense and their receivers are nonexistent. Worth a spot on the bench…in a pinch.
Montario Hardesty, RB, Cleveland Browns – True, Hardesty will be behind uber-rookie Trent Richardson, but if you get Richardson you might be smart to nab Hardesty in a handcuff. Otherwise, he could be worth a bench spot in 16- or 20-team leagues with Richardson’s knee still ailing him.