Fantasy football hidden gems and value picks

      July 23, 2012 @ 18:35:16 PDT


St. Louis Rams WR Danny Amendola
Amendola resurfaces

Anyone else like the Jeff Otah gamble for the New York Jets? If he can stay on the field and learn to finish his blocks, Tony Sparano's ground-and-pound might climb to another level. Knee-jerk optimism says this might help Shonn Greene, but more pondering says this will remain a messy backfield. Thanks, Tim Tebow.

You can check out our fantasy football sleepers as a part of our Draft Guide. Since I just came back from vacation and am now obligated to work (instead of going outside), I'll waste little time in sharing some of my favorites.

QB

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons - They're opening things up down in the A.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears - Mike Martz's system offered little protection. No more seven-step drops, Brandon Marshall in town, Jeremy Bates follows him to ChiTown - plenty to like for this value pick.

Matt Schaub, Houston Texans - Merely for the bargain price so far; hopefully he heals up.

Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans - For when the Titans realize they need to make a change later this year.

RB

Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers - Undervalued, versatile carrier could even be active if Todd Haley lets Big Ben air it out.

Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals - Arizona needs an explosive changeup dynamic in their backfield. Considering his knee woes, that might not come early on, but he's primed for a second-half breakout if he keeps moving forward. Plus, Beanie scares off health insurance companies.

Mikel Leshoure, Detroit Lions - Nick's not the only one helping to pay for the sophomore's legal and rehab costs while also eating his brownies. The extra NFL-imposed rest could actually aid Leshoure's recovery from his Achilles' rip.

Jacquizz Rodgers, Atlanta Falcons; Isaiah Pead, St. Louis Rams; Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos - A long-awaited slasher and a pair of rooks with the chance to be powerful PPR complements. For the fresh meat, bet on Pead more than Hillman, but both are excellent fits for that role.

WR

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams - Brian Quick will get a ton of love, and it isn't helpful to have three offenses in three years, but slot guys typically have less to worry about there. Don't forget about the potential Wes Welker-type PPR impact that some people might leave off their cheat sheets because of his abbreviated 2011.

Titus Young, Detroit Lions - Nate Burleson is tutoring him to take his job eventually. The production shift should start this year, especially since Young will move around a bunch.

Jonathan Baldwin, Kansas City Chiefs - Cory says it well here.

Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers - The Louis Murphy acquisition might put a dent in this, but I'm concurring with the buzz surrounding the third-year snarer out of LSU. He's a solid complement to deep threat Steve Smith.

Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers; Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers - A pair of talented options that looks primed to assume the production opportunities of aging wideouts. Hines Ward's retirement already gives Sanders that avenue. Cobb's, with Donald Driver declining, could arrive sometime around midseason if not sooner.

TE

Dustin Keller, New York Jets - Finally? Red-zone production could be limited (thanks again, Tebow), but it's the right offense for Keller to benefit residually, especially since Mark Sanchez, in his make-or-break season, could lean on his most comforting target.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals - The lack of A.J. Green support means Gresham is the default No. 2.

Jacob Tamme, Denver Broncos; Coby Fleener, Indianapolis Colts - Let's chat about the Indy connection: Tamme in his former days there with Peyton Manning, as limited as they were, and Fleener's with current Colts flinger Andrew Luck from their days bunking together for Stanford.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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