Five Under-Drafted Players Who Are Instant Impacts

Jake Locker hands the ball off to Chris Johnson during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Greg Jennings

With only so many rounds in a draft, there are sure to be players who will be passed over.  However, these five under-drafted players could make an immediate impact on your fantasy team.

Greg Jennings

Jennings had an ADP of 166 overall, making him the No. 56 wide receiver off the board.  It’s astonishing that he’s going this late, and at this value, he’s a steal.

First off, Matt Cassel loves him some Jennings.  In his nine games last year under center for the Vikings, he targeted Jennings 56 times.  While the hype train is all about Cordarrelle Patterson — understandably so — don’t forget about the savvy veteran.  Jennings would make a perfect high-end WR 4 on your team, or even a low-end WR 3.  I was in drafts where he went undrafted, and if he’s out there on your waiver wire, snatch him up now.

Doug Baldwin

Coming in one spot behind Jennings is Baldwin from the Seattle Seahawks.  Look, I know that the Seahawks attempted the fewest passes last year, and while I expect them to throw more this year, it won’t be be a whole lot.  If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?  That being said, I’m in the camp that believe Marshawn Lynch will be an afterthought by the end of the season, and that he will miss quite a few games due to injury.

If that happens, while I like what Robert Turbin and Christine Michael can do on the field, Pete Carroll will no have choice but to open up the playbook for Russell Wilson.  If that happens, look for Baldwin to make a leap into the top 40 receivers.  Even now, Baldwin is almost there.

Based off ADP, I’d take Baldwin over guys ahead of him like Marvin Jones, Markus Wheaton, Tavon Austin, Danny Amendola, Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, Rueben Randle, Dwayne Bowe and Anquan Boldin.  Add to it that Golden Tate is now playing second fiddle to Calvin Johnson in Detroit, and Percy Harvin doesn’t exactly have the cleanest health history.  The opportunity is there for Baldwin to emerge in a big way, and more than likely, he’s on your waiver wire waiting to be picked up.

Andrew Hawkins

OK, perhaps his ADP of wide receiver 70 is skewed since drafts happened prior to the Josh Gordon news, but as of now, Hawkins and Miles Austin will be the No. 1 and No. 2 receivers for the Browns.  I can hear the argument for either guy, but I trust Austin’s health as much as I trust that O.J. Simpson really didn’t do it.  In PPR leagues, Hawkins has a chance to be a hidden gem.

With teams keying on Jordan Cameron and Ben Tate, before the latter gets hurt, of course, the middle of the field should open up nicely for Hawkins.  In a two-QB, two-flex, .5 PPR league, I’m starting Hawkins over Jarrett Boykin this week, and I feel comfortable doing it.

Shonn Greene

Shonn Greene is a starting running back in the NFL.  He is being drafted after Ahmad Bradshaw, Darren McFadden and Khiry Robinson.

Why?

Look, I get it.  There’s this stigma for whatever reason that Greene sucks.  Yeah, he didn’t live up to the billed hype when he came out of Iowa, but he’s been a serviceable running back in the league.  Bishop Sankey had every chance to grab the starting running back spot for the Titans, but he failed to do so.  He will get some action, and Dexter McCluster will likely fill in as the third-down back, but as of now, Greene will get the primary touches.

He’s not a sexy pick, but if you’re a Sankey owner or own someone like Ray Rice, grab Greene, throw him in your lineup, wait until he blows out a knee and then drop him.

Jake Locker

Want to know a secret?  I have a mancrush on Locker.  He’s up there with Mike Glennon, Alex Smith and Carson Palmer for me.  Locker was the No. 30 quarterback off the board, and even if I didn’t have this infatuation with him, I would think that was asinine.

Locker is currently going behind guys like E.J. Manuel, Geno Smith, Michael Vick, Derek Carr, Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater, Johnny Manziel, Ryan Tannehill, Eli Manning and Joe Flacco.  The only one I would consider taking before Locker is Tannehill.  People forget how good he was last season prior to his injury.

Through the first four games of the season, the 26-year-old Locker threw for six touchdowns, zero interceptions and 721 yards.  He also ran for 98 yards and a score.  To me, Locker is similar to Alex Smith.

He takes care of the ball, will put up so decent fantasy points and his running is a very underrated part of his game.  In two quarterbacks leagues, Locker is a steal as a $1 player late in drafts that I would I love to have.  He has the weapons around him in Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter and Delanie Walker, not mentioning how poor the aforementioned run game could be.  Plus, don’t forget that Ken Whisenhunt is in charge for the Titans last year, and we saw how he turned Philip Rivers around.

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