Julian Edelman – The harsh reality for us Patriots fans is that with Shane Vereen out for at least 4 weeks due to wrist surgery and Rob Gronkowski still not practicing in full, the Patriots receiving corps is leaning heavily on oft-injured Danny Amendola. Considering Edelman pushed the durable Wes Welker for playing time last year, until injuring his hand, Edelman has plenty of upside in a potent offense that has limited mouths to feed. Playing on a whopping 83 of 94 snaps on Sunday, Edelman finished with 7 receptions for 92 yards and 2 TDs. One of Tom Brady’s few familiar faces, Edelman should get plenty of targets moving forward. Still available in 24% of Yahoo leagues, Edelman is a must-add.
The Bottom Heist: Even if you’re in a 10-team league, you should be taking a look at Edleman. ESPECIALLY, if your league counts return yards. In standard return yards leagues of 20 yards per point, Edelman is a solid WR3 with back-end WR2 potential, if he can stay healthy.
Marlon Brown – Owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues and just 2% of ESPN leagues, Brown should be a popular add to owners’ WR charts in standard, deeper leagues. With Jacoby Jones sidelined from a sprained MCL, Brown will be the direct beneficiary in Jones’ absence. The undrafted free agent out of Georgia totaled 65 yards on 4 receptions and a TD in his NFL debut vs. the Broncos. Look for teams to lock-down Torrey Smith with double coverage moving forward, as Marlon Brown, not Dallas Clark (or Brandon Stokley) will get an influx of targets.
The Bottom Heist: Don’t worry about cast-offs like Brandon Lloyd coming in for work-outs and climbing ahead of Brown on the Ravens depth chart at WR.
After drafting Le’Veon Bell in seven of my current ten leagues, it’s no secret that I’m high on the guy. It’s also no secret that my moniker is the Heistman and now I’m letting the cat of the bag:
Le’Veon Bell gets some reps at Steelers training camp.
Le’Veon Bell is the biggest heist in current fantasy drafts.
Currently ranked 95th overall in ESPN leagues and 98th in Yahoo leagues, Bell could wind up flexing hard for savvy (shout out to Marc Savard) fantasy owners.
Not too shabby for a Rookie RB expected to shoulder the load for a competitive AFC team who emphasizes the running game.
Watching Bell play at Michigan State, I wasn’t overly impressed. Rather it was Giovani Bernard who caught my attention as the most impressive all-around back in college football last year. But there’s a lot to love about Le’Veon Bell, including his recent injury that seemed to cripple fantasy owners who had drafts prior to two weeks ago.
I know what you’re probably thinking – I’m just as bad as those insensitive Chiefs fans for when they cheered Matt Cassel getting injured. It’s just that since the news of Bell’s injury, it has made him more toxic than the radiation waves from Seabrook, New Hampshire. Except, Bell’s aroma resembles something more along the lines of Blake Lively’s perfume and not the power plant fumes from a historically incestual New England town.
In the NFL, it’s as much about the organization you’re drafted by as it is the opportunities you get or talent you have, and Bell is the beneficiary of all three.
The Steelers are a team looking to re-shape their identity. Coming up one drive short of a Super Bowl victory with backup Center Doug Legursky filling in for injured Maurkice Pouncey is a strong testament to the Steelers aptitude for running the ball. It’s no secret that the Steelers will look to revert back to their ground and pound offense this year, especially with the departure of Mike Wallace. The organization, led by GM Kevin Colbert, happens to be one of the best evaluators of talent, which is important when considering Guard David DeCastro will return this season after missing nearly all of last season with ACL and MCL injuries.
A few weeks ago, I was salivating over the prospects of landing Bell as my RB2 or Flex. Most owners aren’t recognizing there’s a diamond in the rough between rounds 8-10, whereas I’m drinking the Kool-Aid like it’s a fifth of fireball. Many owners closed the door on Bell’s rookie campaign, once Bell had apparently suffered what was originally diagnosed as a dreaded Lisfranc injury.
The initial conclusion was that Bell would miss 6-8 weeks. It was his fantasy death wish for prospective owners – but not for me. Monitoring Bell’s situation closely, it turns out the injury was considered more serious than it actually is. Speaking on the injury yesterday, Mike Tomlin reiterated his optimism with Bell’s progress, even hinting at Bell being able to participate in practice on a limited basis. Hearing the chances Bell returns around week two or three has been music to my ears.
As Yahoo! Sports’ Brad Evans pointed out back in July, if you give him a shot, your fantasy team could end up getting “Saved by the Bell.”