Everybody who plays fantasy football would love to be that person who drafts a come out of nowhere late rounder that surprises everyone. Not only could it help propel you to a winning season, but it also gives the impression you’re a brainiac, even if everyone knows you’re not! However intriguing the possibility, cashing in on a late round flyer is as elusive as buying that winning lottery ticket you dream about. Fortunately, there are a few scenarios we can examine to help us narrow the field a bit. Unfortunately, most of them, if not all of them, must develop into the proverbial “perfect storm” for the player, and our fantasy teams, to reap the rewards: Is the player behind an aging veteran who’s production is declining, or someone who doesn’t seem capable of staying healthy, what are the teams offensive coaching philosophies, is there talent and stability on the offensive line, and last, but certainly not least, does the player have the talent to succeed if things work in his favor and offer him opportunity?

So chill, enjoy your overcooked brat and cold beverage, has your back, and we’ve already done the heavy lifting for you. Let’s dig right in!

JOSEPH RANDLE– DALLAS COWBOYS: Starter DeMarco Murray is a mosquito bite from missing significant time and although not out the door yet, head coach Jason Garrett has certainly been handed his hat and needs a winning season in the worst way. Both are factors that could set up Joseph Randle to surprise a few people this season. You won’t be one of them! His versatility and durability as Oklahoma States workhorse, enabled him to exceed 500 touches and 3,000 yards rushing in his two seasons as the starter. He led the Big 12 in rushing yards in 2012 amassing a respectable 1,417 yards from scrimmage, and topped 100 yards rushing 8 times! His eyesight isn’t an issue, as he was able to find the end zone 40 times, and even if Murray does manage to stay healthy, Randle could see some goal line work. His pass catching ability is the cherry on top, and for those of you in PPR leagues, this should put him on your radar as well.

JOHNATHAN FRANKLIN– GREEN BAY PACKERS: At 5’10” and 205lbs, Johnathan Franklin isn’t the biggest running back in the NFL, but with a 4.46 40 yard dash time, he does possess some explosiveness and foot quickness, along with some rather impressive credentials. In the 2012 season at UCLA he rushed for over 1,700 yards, with an impressive 6.1 yards per carry, and is UCLA’s all time leading rusher…not too shabby! The Packers also nabbed Eddie Lacey in the second round, but he may have lingering health issues, which is why he fell in the draft and the Packers moved up in the fourth round to secure Franklin as insurance. If Franklin can keep his fumbling issues in check (6 fumbles in the 2011 season) and improve his pass protection skills, he could be a valuable asset should Lacey’s health issues re-emerge.

LATAVIUS MURRAY– OAKLAND RAIDERS: Can anyone say Alfred Morris? Latavius Murray was drafted by the Raiders out of Central Florida, but more interesting, both Morris and Murray were taken in the 6th round of their respective drafts. In his rookie season Morris rushed for over 1,600 yards and scored 13 touchdowns! Latavius Murray has both power, weighing 223 lbs., and speed, clocking a 4.39 in the 40 yard dash, to go along with some nice pass catching skills. In 2012 he had 50 catches for over 500 yards, to go with his 100 yard per game rushing average. It may take some time for him to adjust to NFL level talent, and he does have to leap frog the likes of Taiwan Jones and Rashad Jennings to get some playing time, but if Darren McFadden falters, yet again, he may get an opportunity to showcase his skills.

MONTARIO HARDESTY– CLEVELAND BROWNS: With Trent Richardson nursing a shin injury already and not participating in OTA’s (organized team activities), Montario Hardesty has been taking all the reps with the first team offense. Head Coach Rob Chudzinski had this to say, “Hardesty has been impressive during OTA’s, and has really worked on his hands in the passing game.” Additionally, the Browns have a much improving offensive line, anchored by perennial All Pro left tackle Joe Thomas, which should help overall offensive production. Hardesty could become one of the most sought after waiver wire additions considering T. Richardson’s health issues thus far, and it might behoove you to grab him late in your draft before the vultures start circling.

AHMAD BRADSHAW– FREE AGENT: Ahmad Bradshaw has had three surgeries on his right foot, one on his left, and surgeries on both ankles, which doesn’t bode well for any NFL running back, so he doesn’t come without risk. But he is only 27 years old and not far removed from two 1,000 yard seasons, averaging 5.4 yards per carry, and 30 touchdowns! In April he received full medical clearance to resume all football activities, but most of the teams reportedly interested in his services drafted a running back in the second round of the NFL draft, and interest, for now has diminished. Last season Cedric Benson wasn’t signed until August by the Packers and became their starting running back. With training camps fast approaching, injuries will surely mount, and I’m betting several teams already have A. Bradshaw on their speed dialer.
UPDATE: A. Bradshaw signed with the Indianapolis Colts on Tuesday June 11, 2013.

DANNY WOODHEAD– SAN DIEGO CHARGERS: I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t recommend whoever is behind Ryan Mathew’s on the depth chart, so I’m all in on Danny Woodhead to take up the slack, if, or when the wheels fall off the Chargers offense this year. I don’t consider D. Woodhead to be anything special mind you, and he will have to compete with Ronnie Brown for touches, as both have a similar skill set, but Woodhead is younger, and does possess a toughness that has served him well for 6 years in the NFL. In 2012 with the Patriots, he had 76 touches for a little over 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. Not great, agreed, but I have a strong feeling the Chargers will need to use him much more than that, especially if R. Mathew’s continues to be, well… R. Mathew’s!

BOTTOM LINE: “If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you have gained.” Stay calm, be flexible, stick to your draft plan, and don’t be afraid to take chances!

P.S. Our FakePigskin 2013 Draft Guide will be released on August 1st in PDF form for FREE! Simply go to our home page and sign up to receive it and our newsletter in the upper right corner right under our banner.

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