By Brian Kalchik @RantsportsBrian on June 7, 2014
Several undrafted rookies have been tremendous playmakers, not just on the field, but in fantasy football as well. From great players like Wes Welker and Kurt Warner, to Victor Cruz and even Joseph Fauria (pictured), these UDFAs should not be overlooked at all in fantasy. Before you begin your preparations for your drafts, here are 10 UDFAs who could make an impact for your team in fantasy football in 2014.
The Atlanta Falcons boast a potent passing game, but now that future Hall of Fame tight end Tony Gonzalez retired this offseason, the Falcons need a replacement for him. Enter Jacob Pedersen, a sure-handed tight end from Wisconsin, which has produced several quality NFL tight ends. Pedersen will at worst be the backup to Levine Toilolo, and could very well be the starter if Toilolo can't handle the pressure of replacing Gonzalez.
With the NFL now going to more two tight end packages instead of traditional formations, the Minnesota Vikings could benefit from a change in philosophy. Tight end is a concern for the Vikings, especially after Kyle Rudolph played only eight games last season, and with John Carlson now in Arizona. AC Leonard could very well emerge as Rudolph's backup due to his versatility and sure hands.
Despite drafting Mike Evans with their first-round pick, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still thin at wide receiver. With no other proven players ready to emerge, Solomon Patton could very well be the third receiver for the Bucs. As a Florida kid, the Bucs already know what Patton can bring to the table. Patton has proven that he can be a good player, even with quarterback struggles around him at Florida.
Damien Williams could not have picked a better spot to contribute right away than Miami. Despite signing Knowshon Moreno this offseason, the Dolphins are extremely thin at running back. The team has already given up on both Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas, two backs who were busts last year. If Williams can stick with the Dolphins, he could become the backup and maybe steal some touches away from Moreno this season.
There are many questions in Cleveland, but perhaps the biggest is who will be the No. 1 receiver without Josh Gordon? With not many proven commodities at wideout for the Browns, a player like Chandler Jones could sneak in and contribute. Veteran free agent acquisitions like Miles Austin and Nate Burleson have been hit with injuries recently, paving the way for Jones to earn at least a chance at a starting role.
The Raiders have been known for selecting players with tremendous speed, and 2014 was no exception. Wide receiver Mike Davis was one of the fastest players in the draft and has competed in the Olympics. In terms of fantasy, Davis can produce right away in Oakland. Outside of James Jones and Rod Streater, the receiving corps isn't filled with great players, giving Davis an opportunity right away to make an impact as a rookie.
When Colt Lyerla is in the right frame of mind, he is one of the most talented tight ends in this class, but that was rarely realized. Lyerla has been given the perfect opportunity with the Green Bay Packers. On the field, he can help replace the departed Jermichael Finely, and off the field, Lyerla will be surrounded by a team with a winning culture and solid players who can help him. If Lyerla can handle his demons, watch out for him in 2014.
Although Green Bay has a deep backfield, Rajion Neal could have a good opportunity to crack the rotation. Backups like James Starks, DuJuan Harris and Johnathan Franklin either can't stay healthy, or have trouble holding onto the football. While all three are good players, their liabilities will hurt them this season. Neal could excel as a backup to Lacy, especially with opposing defenses focused on Aaron Rodgers and the passing game.
While Montee Ball is the clear No. 1 running back in Denver, backing him up is a bigger question. With veteran Ronnie Hillman's leash getting shorter after his fumbling issues, the position is up for grabs and the best bet could very well be Kapri Bibbs. The Broncos know Bibbs better than most as he is an in-state player from Colorado State. Bibbs could be a good handcuff option to Ball in the Broncos' backfield.
Even as an undrafted free agent, Xavier Grimble is the most talented tight end on the New York Giants' roster today. Quarterback Eli Manning needs a security blanket at tight end, and the best candidate is Grimble. Grimble will see plenty of footballs coming his way, especially with teams centering their attention on other receivers like Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham.
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