It’s something that I have said all of my life. In fact, I’ve mentioned it in a job interview a couple of times as well. Just give me a chance, and I will show you what I can do. I believe in myself, in my abilities and talents. Athletes are the same way, if not more. They believe in themselves, they know they can start if called upon and they are always ready to take over. Some of the greatest NFL stories come from players who were just waiting for a chance and capitalized on it. Kurt Warner, who just entered the Pro Football Hall of Fame, took advantage of his chance. Tom Brady, who may be the greatest player of all time, believed in himself from day one. The players in this article are not future hall of famers by any stretch of the imagination, but they are ready to go and just want their chance to play. If they get a chance or if someone in front of them goes down, they could be fantasy contributors for your team this season.
Robert Woods- WR, LAR
Robert Woods went to LA this year looking for a chance to be a WR1. Now, I could argue that anyone in LA can’t be a WR1 when Jarred Goff is throwing you the football, but Woods was going to be given that opportunity regardless. A couple weeks ago, we were all caught off guard by the trade that sent Sammy Watkins to LA and reunited him with former teammate Woods. All of the sudden Woods went from a fantasy asset to forgotten. Woods does not have impressive numbers in his first 4 pro seasons, but he has been serviceable in his time with a less than dynamic Buffalo passing game. LA is not going to be a good team in 2017, probably leading to lots of targets and opportunities for Woods. That won’t happen unless Watkins goes down with another injury. Last year Woods compiled 613 yards in 13 games (10 starts) and dealt with injuries. If he can stay healthy and get a decent amount of targets with or without Watkins, he could be at least a decent flex play this year. Maybe he will get away from Watkins one of these days.
Jacquizz Rodgers- RB, TBB
Doug Martin, who will be sitting the first 3 games of 2017, still seems to be the lead running back in Tampa Bay. Rodgers is going to get his time during the first three games though and could make a nice impact. Will he unseat Martin? Probably not. But Martin has a track record for either being very good or very bad. In some limited times last year while Martin was out, Rodgers put up 101 yards against Carolina, 154 yards against San Francisco, 63 yards against New Orleans and 75 yards against Carolina again in the final game of the season. The Tampa Bay offense will be really good in 2017, and Rodgers will see some benefits of that. If Martin isn’t effective, they could hand the reigns back over to Rodgers quick. Rodgers set a career high with 129 rushes last season, so there is no evidence that points towards him holding up over the course of a 16 game season. He won’t be your RB1 or RB2, but he is a must for Doug Martin owners and could be a decent flex play as well.
Chad Henne- QB, JAX
So, I’m pretty sure you have heard this already, but Blake Bortles has been bad……..really, really bad. He’s been in jeopardy of losing his job for a while now and I haven’t seen anything that leads me to believe he should still have it. I was surprised when they still handed him the job for week 1 of the regular season, but they invested a lot in him and will give him every chance. The last time Henne played close to a full season was 2013, when he completed 60.6% of his passes for 3241 yards, 13 Tds and 14 INTs in 13 games. Henne had Maurice Jones-Drew as his RB, but his receivers were Mike Brown, Ace Sanders, Kerry Taylor and Justin Blackmon.
Those don’t sound like guys that will help you put up decent stats at the QB position. Let’s compare that to Bortles 2016 when he completed 58.9% of his passes for 3905 yards, 23 TDs and 16 INTs. Bortles had a much stronger supporting cast last year as well, and barely outperformed Henne’s 2013 stats. For those of you that play in a super flex league, or a deep league, stashing Henne now may be a smart move.
Mychal Kendricks- LB, PHI
I had to throw a little IDP love in this article. Kendricks has been one of my favorite linebackers for a few years now, but I have no idea what the Eagles are doing. There have been rumors of Philadelphia trading Kendricks for a couple years now, and he still continues to play himself into a starting role, including this offseason. I liked him more when he was playing at MLB, but he will be on the outside this year and I’m still okay with that. It seems that IDP owners have cooled on Kendricks and rightly so. He only started 8 games last year with 13 in 2015 and 11 in 2014. However, he still put up 60+ tackles in those limited games in 2015 and 2014. Take a shot yourself if he’s still there.
Jerick McKinnon- RB, MIN
After the Vikings announced they would be releasing star running back Adrian Peterson, it appeared McKinnon would finally get his shot. Before he could even settle into his new role though, the Vikings decided to got out and sign Latavius Murray and then use a second round pick on Dalvin Cook out of Florida State.
Now it appears McKinnon could be seeing some different roles on the team including kick and/or punt returns, slot receiver and still playing some running back. Murray has battled his was back from off season surgery, but one injury to him would mean an increased role for Mckinnon again. Unless Cook is extremely inefficient with his carries, or is also injured, that will probably be as far as he goes. For those in deep leagues that award special team points, keep an eye on him. Any kind of an increase is touches could mean some bye week or flex points are some point this season. Having a guy that could do it all on your team can come in handy when injuries start to affect your lineup.