The reason I think lists like this are important is because there are a lot of people playing fantasy football very casually. They may not know who any of these guys are and wouldn't even think to draft them if they saw them on the board or in waivers. These are the guys that it's better to have them on your roster before week one and two rather than trying to fight for them on the waivers after they breakout.
Brian Robinson Jr, RB - WAS
When we're talking about handcuffs at the RB position, this guy should be mentioned more. He is a big, strong powerful runner with at the very least goal line and RZ opportunities coming his way. Antonio Gibson has had a tendency to fumble the ball up to this point in his career and has missed some games due to injury. Riverboat Ron has always talked about getting back to doing "Double-Trouble" in the backfield like at Carolina with Stewart and Williams. Talks out of camp are that he could see a high percentage of the goal line work this year. He has draft pedigree being drafted in the third round, a coach that has shown a willingness to go to more of a split backfield and comes in with only one season on the tires in college even though he is already 23. He did have to sit behind Najee, Josh Jacobs, and Damien Harris there, so he is coming in at peak physical condition with not a lot of tread on the tires. I think he needs to be drafted right up there with the other handcuffs.
Here is a guy who could be a starting RB for his team this year and isn't even sniffing the draft. I don't usually reference too much from PFF since their QB metrics are all over the place and should be thrown out, but I'll give them credit when talking about position players. Their metrics are much more accurate. When we're talking about Pierce, we are talking about the highest graded RB in all of college football in 2021. He is another RB that didn't put too much tread on the tires in college and should be fresh for the season. This is one guy to monitor leading up to drafts, really take a look at the reports out of Texans camp. If you're seeing reports similar to the Trey Sermon reports last year, stay far away. But if this is a guy that is putting in the work and being raved about, take a shot on him being the RB1 there this year at some point. His competition is Mack and Burkhead - either one could be cut in camp or preseason. He is in a very winnable position battle and that will come down to what he shows in preseason and camp.
The RBs are definitely more of long shots than the receivers. There aren't too many strong RBs with starting potential going undrafted other than rookies. The wide receivers are more well-known names with really good QBs throwing to them.
Rondale is a player I love calling the breakout for, the best breakouts are the one that come a year late. Everyone called for the breakout last year and he did not sniff that so he is falling in drafts even further than last year. People aren't even drafting him now even though the two guys that really took targets from him are no longer there. Green is another year older (turning 34 this month). Hopkins is suspended for the first 6 weeks and probably won't be in full game shape until week 8. Marquise is going to ball with his college QB there, but he has had a decent injury history as well. Moore is a physical freak of nature in a 5'8 body. He had some massive games last year and showed all of his talent with the ball in his hands on the field last year in moments too. Talent usually wins out, and it also sounds like Murray wants to throw more this year. Both could provide big things for Moore, at the very least the potential deserves the final spot on your bench. Even if he disappointed last year that's the past and now we're here in 2022 looking to find value and that is exactly what he is. He's a guy that if he doesn't break out in the first two weeks though, that you can just toss to the waivers.
Jalen Tolbert is a guy that is expected to be a week one starter for the Cowboys and fight for that #2 or #3 WR spot. His competition is James Washington and Michael Gallup. Both guys have had plenty of injuries in the past. Gallup won't even be ready for the first couple of weeks this season. He was a third-round pick so just enough draft pedigree to give him plenty of opportunities to be on the field. Watching the film on this guy, he really does just know how to get open and open deep. He is as much of a must draft for the bench as Rondale Moore...if not more. This guy could be the #2 receiver the first couple of weeks before Gallup gets back. He is another guy that if he doesn't perform week one or two that you can just drop to the waivers. We are seeing more and more reports of Jalen being a week one starter in an offense that has shown it can be a top one in the league. We know every year there is a rookie receiver that has a breakout stretch at some point in the season. Last year that hot stretch came from Amon Ra St Brown in the most crucial time. I think Tolbert could provide the same kind of run at the beginning of the season with no Gallup.
These are guys that should be getting the last spot on the bench because of the blowup potential. But if they come out in week one and two with a low snap percentage or just don't play at all, then they should be just as easily dropped to the waivers. I would give them all at least the first two weeks of the season, or if your draft is before the preseason, then keep a close eye on them there as well.
Names to know that just missed the list (Being drafted in too many leagues)
Ronald Jones – Could be the goal line/RZ back in a top offense, he just won't get any pass game work...which is fine if he pulls a James Connor and scores 10+ TDs.
James Cook – Could be the pass catching back in an explosive offense that needs explosiveness from the RB position. I would say he is much more useful in a PPR league.
Joshua Palmer – I don't think enough people are talking about this guy. He showed flashes as a rookie in a great offense and that was while fighting for the #3 receiver spot. He has been the #3 in camp and both Keenan and Williams have had injury issues in the past. I'm big on drafting players in great offenses with a lot of RZ opportunities. That's the Chargers.
Kadarius Toney – We saw the talent with the ball in his hands and it is something spectacular. He seems to not make smart decisions and he might not be a Giant the entire season. I don't like the volatility but I love the talent.
Zachary Dennison CommentedAug 22, 2022 6:32 pm
In the three weeks after I wrote this article some of these guys have flown up in ADP, Pierce is being drafted in almost all drafts now. Tolbert and Robinson both on there ways up as well. Shit Robinson could be the starting back in Washington. Go get these guys in your drafts!!