by Will Overton
You never want to make big changes to a team that you just finished drafting, but things do happen. That late round flier you took may have just been cut, or maybe you drafted Andre Brown who got hurt at the end of preseason. Or maybe you just made a mistake with one of your late round picks and you don’t need to wait and see what happens.
If any of those apply to you and you’re already looking at the waiver wire for some help here are five guys I think are going undrafted in far too many leagues who could be of some help. With the exception of the first guy on this list I don’t think I’d use any of them in week one, except in the deepest of leagues. But they are all worth grabbing and stashing.
Greg Little – WR, Cleveland Browns: We’ve been hearing a lot about the revamped Cleveland offense and what they might be capable of under Norv Turner as Offensive Coordinator. If all this hype leads to production one of the big beneficiaries will be Greg Little. The receiver in Cleveland people are talking about is Josh Gordon who is owned in every league, but he’s also suspended for the first two games. So Little will be the primary weapon in the passing game. Couple that with a week one matchup against the secondary challenged Dolphins and I actually would think about not only picking up Little, but using him as WR 3 in week one.
Ryan Williams – RB, Arizona Cardinals: This guy shouldn’t be anywhere near your starting lineups in week one, but the negative hate that has led Williams to be undrafted has probably gone a little too far. Rashard Mendenhall seems to have won the Cardinals running back job by default, but it looks like Williams will be on the team and it’s not hard to imagine a scenario where Mendenhall loses his job either because of production or injury.
Williams can’t stay healthy which has been his big detriment, but he looks ready to go now and he is still just 23 years old, so it might be a bit early to waive the white flag on him. Williams had a lot of promise coming out of Virginia Tech and I don’t know how much of that is left, but if I’m gambling on a flier, I’d rather gamble on Williams then a guy like LaGarrette Blount who is owned in more leagues.
Felix Jones – RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: I’m not necessarily a fan of Jones, but any running back with at least a shot at a starting job should probably be owned at this point. The Steelers surprisingly cut Jonathan Dwyer leaving Isaac Redman, Jones and LaRod Stephens-Howling to share the running back duties.
I think Redman gets the first crack at it, but Jones could certainly enter himself into the discussion. Last season was rough for Jones, but consider this, his career yards per carry is still 4.8 and last season was his first time every going under 4.0 yards per carry. Jones is also a better pass catcher out of the backfield then people realize. The Steelers running back gig is up for grabs and Jones has a real shot to win it.
Quniton Patton – WR, San Francisco 49ers: Everyone keeps asking who’s going to catch the ball in San Francisco. Maybe there isn’t just one answer to that question though. Vernon Davis will get his and so will Anquan Boldin, but that leaves room for more, especially since neither one of those guys is a dominant pass catcher.
Patton has been coming on in the preseason and while he’s slated to open the season as the number three receiver he could quickly climb the ladder to number two and he will see plenty of chances as the third guy. Patton is just a rookie, but he’s very polished in his route running and ball catching skills. He’s only six foot, but he has above average speed to help make up for it. Patton looks like a guy ready to contribute right away and I think he’ll be given the chance.
Julius Thomas – TE, Denver Broncos: The Broncos have officially announced that Thomas has ended the preseason as the number one tight end on their depth chart. While there are plenty of weapons to share the ball with in Denver, this at least makes him waiver worthy in most leagues. Thomas is an incredible athlete for his size, having played college basketball. He also developed a nice rhythm with Peyton Manning this preseason. His upside may be somewhat limited by the guys playing receiver, but he’s going to be on the field a lot and Denver is going to throw a lot so balls will come his way. If he can establish himself as a red zone threat he could wind up being a top 15 tight end by the end of the year.