15 Risky Fantasy Football Players Who Will Reward Owners in 2013

1 of 16

Risky Fantasy Football Players Who Will Pay Off

Fantasy Football
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If you expect to win your fantasy football league, you must take some risks in your draft. Period. Obviously, it is nice to draft a player to your team that will always give you consistent production, but you must also take a chance on guys with high upside.

Most NFL players have some sort of a flaw that make them uneasy to draft to your fantasy team. Usually it has something to do with injuries. Some guys like Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden just seems to be injury prone. In his five seasons in the NFL, McFadden has never played more than 13 games in a season. He has a ton of talent, McFadden just cannot seem to stay healthy.

There are some players who are not necessarily injury prone, but they are coming off of an injury. Players like this can be nice draft day values because people are scared off by the injuries, but as long as their are no complications in the recovery, they usually end up being fairly safe picks.

While they are sometimes risky, I like to take players with a high upside in the middle to late rounds of the draft. I do this because even if only one or two of the high-upside players I take reaches his potential, I all of a sudden got an elite talent for a very discounted price. I see a lot of players this year that have flaws, but also have huge upside. I will be targeting these players in every draft that I do. Here are 15 risky fantasy football targets who will pay off when it is all said and done.

Daniel is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_Schmelzer, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

2 of 16

Danny Amendola

Amendola
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Amendola is entering a very interesting situation with the New England Patriots. With Wes Welker leaving for the Denver Broncos, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Lloyd being released and Rob Gronkowski struggling with injuries, Tom Brady is welcoming in a whole batch of new receiving options. Amendola is the most experienced of the bunch.

He is a very talented receiver who will surely be a huge part of the Patriots' offense. The question with Amendola has always been injuries. He has struggled to stay on the field his entire career. This season, if he can just do that, he will receive plenty of opportunity with one of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing him the ball. The upside is massive with Amendola.

3 of 16

Dez Bryant

Bryant
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant is one of the most talented receivers that the NFL has to offer. He is big, fast and strong. Bryant uses his abilities very well on the field. Bryant has always struggled with off-the field problems. He just seemed to be immature. It appears that he has grown-up recently and I think that he is about to break-out in a big way. Bryant really came on late last season and I see this continuing. He is risky, but Bryant is a guy that I will be targeting in every draft that I do.

4 of 16

Reggie Bush

Bush
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Bush is entering his first season as a member of the Detroit Lions. Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford throws the ball a ton and Bush is one of the premier receiving backs in the game. Bush has an injury history and it is unknown what kind of role he will have in the offense. I think Bush is risky, but I love his upside, especially in PPR formats.

5 of 16

Jay Cutler

Cutler
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler is a very frustrating player. He has all of the talent in the world, it just has never seemed to come together for Cutler. He has one of the strongest throwing arms in the game and he has adequate accuracy. Culter has struggled making the right reads at times and has not been a consistent quarterback. New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman is a bit of a quarterback guru. If anybody can turn Cutler around, it is Trestman. In deeper leagues and leagues that start two quarterbacks, Cutler is a guy that I am targeting. He is certainly risky, but if Trestman can work his magic, Cutler could finally reach his huge potential.

6 of 16

Pierre Garcon

Garcon
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Garcon missed six games last season due to a foot injury. Even though the foot appears to be healed, reports are that problems could continue to flare up throughout the season. Garcon is a very talented receiver and is quarterback Robert Griffin III's favorite target. He is a dynamic big-play receiver that will be a draft day steal if he stays healthy.

7 of 16

Josh Gordon

Gordon
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

I see Josh Gordon as a big time draft day value. Gordon showed huge big-play ability last season and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner is known to like to throw the ball deep. Gordon is suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. I think the suspension has really driven people away from Gordon, but he has huge upside and will end up being a draft day steal.

8 of 16

Robert Griffin III

RG3
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As a rookie in 2012, Robert Griffin III burst on to the scene and was one of the best fantasy football quarterbacks in the game. Also, Griffin took home the Rookie of the Year Award. In the playoffs, Griffin went down with a very serious knee injury. He tore many major ligaments in his knee. After an amazing recovery time, Griffin appears to be ready to go for the 2013 season. Yes, Griffin is a risky pick because of the knee, but his upside is massive. The injury is causing Griffin to slip as late as the eighth round in some drafts. As long as the knee does not give him any problems, Griffin will once again be an elite fantasy option.

9 of 16

Chris Johnson

Johnson
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After having two seasons where he was an elite fantasy running back, Chris Johnson has fallen back down to earth a little bit. That being said, he probably has not been as bad as you think. Last year, Johnson rushed for 1,243 yards and six touchdowns. While this is a far cry from his 2,006 yards rushing and 16 total touchdowns in 2009, 2012 was a solid year for Johnson. He still has elite speed and athleticism and the Tennessee Titans really improved their offensive line this offseason. While I think the 2009 numbers are behind him, I think Johnson has plenty left in the tank and is a very good RB2.

10 of 16

Maurice Jones-Drew

MJD
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Jones-Drew is coming off of a Lisfranc injury that held him out for a large portion of 2012. Reports out of Jacksonville Jaguars' camp are that Jones-Drew seems healthy and should be ready to go for the entire 2013 season. The 28-year-old running back still has plenty of life left in his legs and will certainly be the focal point of the Jaguars' offense. I think Jones-Drew will be a very productive RB2 and his fantasy owners will be very happy that they drafted him.

11 of 16

Lamar Miller

Miller
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Miller is a big-time wildcard at the running back position this season. With Reggie Bush leaving town, there is a ton of carries available in the Miami Dolphins' offense. Miller appears to be the one who will get the first crack at these carries. In his rookie season of 2012, Miller only carried the ball 51 times. He had yards per carry average of 4.9. While the sample size is very small, that YPC average is very encouraging. Miller has great speed and athleticism that gives him very exciting potential. Miller is a risky pick because of his inexperience, but he is a solid RB2 option that you can get in the middle rounds.

12 of 16

Jordy Nelson

Nelson
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Jordy Nelson only started 10 games in 2012 due to nagging injuries. He will miss at least the rest of the pre-season rehabbing from minor knee surgery. I understand that Nelson is a big injury risk, but his upside is huge. In 2011, Nelson had 68 receptions for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns. While the Green Bay Packers do have a ton of receiving options, Aaron Rodgers has always loved throwing to Nelson. I realize that this is a huge if, but if Nelson can stay healthy, Rodgers will surely throw him a ton of balls and Nelson will be a huge contributor to fantasy teams. The upside is massive for Nelson who continues to slide down draft boards because of injury concerns.

13 of 16

Hakeem Nicks

Nicks
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Another high upside wide receiver with injury concerns. You can expect Hakeem Nicks to miss a couple of games each season. He always seems to have nagging injuries that make him tough to own sometimes. That being said, Nicks is a very talented receiver that Eli Manning loves to throw to. Nicks has been falling later and later in drafts and is a nice value in the middle rounds. I took Nicks with the 10th pick of the seventh round in a Rant Sports Mock Draft and felt like that was amazing value for him. Nicks is a great option to have on your team. If he stays healthy all season, Nicks probably ends up being a top 10 fantasy wide receiver.

14 of 16

C.J. Spiller

Spiller
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I absolutely love C.J. Spiller this season. I have him ranked No. 2 overall, behind only Adrian Peterson. Spiller is a dynamic talent that really took off last season after finally getting his chance. He had 207 carries for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns. Spiller also had 43 receptions for 459 yards and two scores. He is a dynamic talent that dominates with the ball in his hands. New Buffalo Bills head coach, Doug Marrone is known to run the ball a ton and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has already said that the Bills are going to give Spiller the ball "until he throws up." Spiller has elite talent and appears to be in line for a ton of opportunity. His inexperience and past injury history make him risky, but I am all-in on Spiller this season.

15 of 16

Matthew Stafford

Stafford
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford threw the ball an NFL record 727 times last season and he is lasting until the eighth round in many fantasy drafts. I understand that Stafford is inconsistent, but he throws the ball more than anybody in the league. Not to mention, he has Calvin Johnson running routes every time he drops back to pass. Stafford will surely throw his share of interceptions, but he will undoubtedly throw more touchdowns this season, especially if he continues to throw the ball as much as he did last season. I think Stafford has massive upside and is a huge steal in the seventh or eighth round.

16 of 16

David Wilson

Wilson
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

David Wilson burst on to the scene at the end of last season. In the last four games for the New York Giants, Wilson carried the ball 43 times for 247 yards and three touchdowns, including another touchdown receiving. Wilson is a dynamic talent and should get most of the work out of the Giants' backfield this season. However, Andre Brown will take some carries from Wilson, including most of the goal-line work. Wilson is surely a risky pick, but I like him in the late third or early fourth round because his upside is massive. Wilson is the kind of back that does not need a ton of work to be productive. I think Wilson is a solid RB2 with RB1 upside.

1 of 16

Risky Fantasy Football Players Who Will Pay Off

Fantasy Football
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

If you expect to win your fantasy football league, you must take some risks in your draft. Period. Obviously, it is nice to draft a player to your team that will always give you consistent production, but you must also take a chance on guys with high upside.

Most NFL players have some sort of a flaw that make them uneasy to draft to your fantasy team. Usually it has something to do with injuries. Some guys like Oakland Raiders running back Darren McFadden just seems to be injury prone. In his five seasons in the NFL, McFadden has never played more than 13 games in a season. He has a ton of talent, McFadden just cannot seem to stay healthy.

There are some players who are not necessarily injury prone, but they are coming off of an injury. Players like this can be nice draft day values because people are scared off by the injuries, but as long as their are no complications in the recovery, they usually end up being fairly safe picks.

While they are sometimes risky, I like to take players with a high upside in the middle to late rounds of the draft. I do this because even if only one or two of the high-upside players I take reaches his potential, I all of a sudden got an elite talent for a very discounted price. I see a lot of players this year that have flaws, but also have huge upside. I will be targeting these players in every draft that I do. Here are 15 risky fantasy football targets who will pay off when it is all said and done.

Daniel is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @D_Schmelzer, "Like" him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google.

2 of 16

Danny Amendola

Amendola
Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Amendola is entering a very interesting situation with the New England Patriots. With Wes Welker leaving for the Denver Broncos, Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Lloyd being released and Rob Gronkowski struggling with injuries, Tom Brady is welcoming in a whole batch of new receiving options. Amendola is the most experienced of the bunch.

He is a very talented receiver who will surely be a huge part of the Patriots' offense. The question with Amendola has always been injuries. He has struggled to stay on the field his entire career. This season, if he can just do that, he will receive plenty of opportunity with one of the best quarterbacks in the league throwing him the ball. The upside is massive with Amendola.

3 of 16

Dez Bryant

Bryant
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Dez Bryant is one of the most talented receivers that the NFL has to offer. He is big, fast and strong. Bryant uses his abilities very well on the field. Bryant has always struggled with off-the field problems. He just seemed to be immature. It appears that he has grown-up recently and I think that he is about to break-out in a big way. Bryant really came on late last season and I see this continuing. He is risky, but Bryant is a guy that I will be targeting in every draft that I do.

4 of 16

Reggie Bush

Bush
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Reggie Bush is entering his first season as a member of the Detroit Lions. Lions' quarterback Matthew Stafford throws the ball a ton and Bush is one of the premier receiving backs in the game. Bush has an injury history and it is unknown what kind of role he will have in the offense. I think Bush is risky, but I love his upside, especially in PPR formats.

5 of 16

Jay Cutler

Cutler
David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Cutler is a very frustrating player. He has all of the talent in the world, it just has never seemed to come together for Cutler. He has one of the strongest throwing arms in the game and he has adequate accuracy. Culter has struggled making the right reads at times and has not been a consistent quarterback. New Chicago Bears head coach Marc Trestman is a bit of a quarterback guru. If anybody can turn Cutler around, it is Trestman. In deeper leagues and leagues that start two quarterbacks, Cutler is a guy that I am targeting. He is certainly risky, but if Trestman can work his magic, Cutler could finally reach his huge potential.

6 of 16

Pierre Garcon

Garcon
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre Garcon missed six games last season due to a foot injury. Even though the foot appears to be healed, reports are that problems could continue to flare up throughout the season. Garcon is a very talented receiver and is quarterback Robert Griffin III's favorite target. He is a dynamic big-play receiver that will be a draft day steal if he stays healthy.

7 of 16

Josh Gordon

Gordon
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

I see Josh Gordon as a big time draft day value. Gordon showed huge big-play ability last season and new offensive coordinator Norv Turner is known to like to throw the ball deep. Gordon is suspended for the first two games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. I think the suspension has really driven people away from Gordon, but he has huge upside and will end up being a draft day steal.

8 of 16

Robert Griffin III

RG3
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As a rookie in 2012, Robert Griffin III burst on to the scene and was one of the best fantasy football quarterbacks in the game. Also, Griffin took home the Rookie of the Year Award. In the playoffs, Griffin went down with a very serious knee injury. He tore many major ligaments in his knee. After an amazing recovery time, Griffin appears to be ready to go for the 2013 season. Yes, Griffin is a risky pick because of the knee, but his upside is massive. The injury is causing Griffin to slip as late as the eighth round in some drafts. As long as the knee does not give him any problems, Griffin will once again be an elite fantasy option.

9 of 16

Chris Johnson

Johnson
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

After having two seasons where he was an elite fantasy running back, Chris Johnson has fallen back down to earth a little bit. That being said, he probably has not been as bad as you think. Last year, Johnson rushed for 1,243 yards and six touchdowns. While this is a far cry from his 2,006 yards rushing and 16 total touchdowns in 2009, 2012 was a solid year for Johnson. He still has elite speed and athleticism and the Tennessee Titans really improved their offensive line this offseason. While I think the 2009 numbers are behind him, I think Johnson has plenty left in the tank and is a very good RB2.

10 of 16

Maurice Jones-Drew

MJD
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Jones-Drew is coming off of a Lisfranc injury that held him out for a large portion of 2012. Reports out of Jacksonville Jaguars' camp are that Jones-Drew seems healthy and should be ready to go for the entire 2013 season. The 28-year-old running back still has plenty of life left in his legs and will certainly be the focal point of the Jaguars' offense. I think Jones-Drew will be a very productive RB2 and his fantasy owners will be very happy that they drafted him.

11 of 16

Lamar Miller

Miller
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Lamar Miller is a big-time wildcard at the running back position this season. With Reggie Bush leaving town, there is a ton of carries available in the Miami Dolphins' offense. Miller appears to be the one who will get the first crack at these carries. In his rookie season of 2012, Miller only carried the ball 51 times. He had yards per carry average of 4.9. While the sample size is very small, that YPC average is very encouraging. Miller has great speed and athleticism that gives him very exciting potential. Miller is a risky pick because of his inexperience, but he is a solid RB2 option that you can get in the middle rounds.

12 of 16

Jordy Nelson

Nelson
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Jordy Nelson only started 10 games in 2012 due to nagging injuries. He will miss at least the rest of the pre-season rehabbing from minor knee surgery. I understand that Nelson is a big injury risk, but his upside is huge. In 2011, Nelson had 68 receptions for 1,263 yards and 15 touchdowns. While the Green Bay Packers do have a ton of receiving options, Aaron Rodgers has always loved throwing to Nelson. I realize that this is a huge if, but if Nelson can stay healthy, Rodgers will surely throw him a ton of balls and Nelson will be a huge contributor to fantasy teams. The upside is massive for Nelson who continues to slide down draft boards because of injury concerns.

13 of 16

Hakeem Nicks

Nicks
Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Another high upside wide receiver with injury concerns. You can expect Hakeem Nicks to miss a couple of games each season. He always seems to have nagging injuries that make him tough to own sometimes. That being said, Nicks is a very talented receiver that Eli Manning loves to throw to. Nicks has been falling later and later in drafts and is a nice value in the middle rounds. I took Nicks with the 10th pick of the seventh round in a Rant Sports Mock Draft and felt like that was amazing value for him. Nicks is a great option to have on your team. If he stays healthy all season, Nicks probably ends up being a top 10 fantasy wide receiver.

14 of 16

C.J. Spiller

Spiller
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I absolutely love C.J. Spiller this season. I have him ranked No. 2 overall, behind only Adrian Peterson. Spiller is a dynamic talent that really took off last season after finally getting his chance. He had 207 carries for 1,244 yards and six touchdowns. Spiller also had 43 receptions for 459 yards and two scores. He is a dynamic talent that dominates with the ball in his hands. New Buffalo Bills head coach, Doug Marrone is known to run the ball a ton and new offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett has already said that the Bills are going to give Spiller the ball "until he throws up." Spiller has elite talent and appears to be in line for a ton of opportunity. His inexperience and past injury history make him risky, but I am all-in on Spiller this season.

15 of 16

Matthew Stafford

Stafford
Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Stafford threw the ball an NFL record 727 times last season and he is lasting until the eighth round in many fantasy drafts. I understand that Stafford is inconsistent, but he throws the ball more than anybody in the league. Not to mention, he has Calvin Johnson running routes every time he drops back to pass. Stafford will surely throw his share of interceptions, but he will undoubtedly throw more touchdowns this season, especially if he continues to throw the ball as much as he did last season. I think Stafford has massive upside and is a huge steal in the seventh or eighth round.

16 of 16

David Wilson

Wilson
Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

David Wilson burst on to the scene at the end of last season. In the last four games for the New York Giants, Wilson carried the ball 43 times for 247 yards and three touchdowns, including another touchdown receiving. Wilson is a dynamic talent and should get most of the work out of the Giants' backfield this season. However, Andre Brown will take some carries from Wilson, including most of the goal-line work. Wilson is surely a risky pick, but I like him in the late third or early fourth round because his upside is massive. Wilson is the kind of back that does not need a ton of work to be productive. I think Wilson is a solid RB2 with RB1 upside.


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