Back before James Cameron was pumping out epic movie crap like Avatar and Titanic, he actually made some quality films. Terminator 2 obviously comes to mind, but I really like The Abyss, a movie a lot of people haven’t seen or heard of.
Cameron’s resume is a good metaphor for fantasy players. Everyone knows the Avatars and Titanics, and they know what they’re going to get out them (a Dances with Wolves rip-off with 3D green people [that are unfortunately not leprechauns – that would’ve been a better movie] and a ship wreck with a nice bit of skin from Kate Winslet). But a lot of leagues are won with the lesser-known guys that can wow audiences when given the chance, like The Abyss. Here’s a few guys I like in the last few rounds that could make a splash in your lineup (even if you’ve already had your draft, most of these guys can be found on the wire):
Harry Douglas, WR, Atlanta Falcons: A guy most people don’t know much about, I love Harry Douglas this year. The Falcons are transitioning into an air-it-out offense, with Matt Ryan attempting 42 (42!) passes in the first half (the first half!) in their third preseason game against the Steelers. Michael Turner looks as old and slow as ever, and while Julio Jones has got worlds of talent, don’t get me wrong, I think Douglas could out produce Jones. He’s looking fantastic this preseason and is finally healthy after his knee never really fully healed last year after missing all of 2009.
“I feel like I’m 100 percent now,” Douglas said early in camp. “I can play differently. I can come out here and play like I used to play before I got hurt — fast, quick, not thinking, doing what I do best playing with quickness and speed.
“It was toward the end of last year that I was getting back to 90 percent. Over the summer, I felt like I got to 100 percent where I didn’t need my trainers to bend my knee for me and make sure I’m loose. I could do everything on my own again.”
Douglas has been on fire so far this preseason, scoring TDs in the Falcons first two preseason games, including this 76-yard touchdown against the Jaguars in the Falcons 2nd preseason game. With White, Jones, and tight end Tony Gonzalez attracting most of the attention from opposing secondaries, Douglas will have plentiful opportunities to make big plays this year.
Bernard Scott, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: With Cedric Benson sitting in jail right now (I wonder if he got to take the Bengals playbook with him), Scott is finally a sleeper I’m 100% in on. I feel like he’s been a “sleeper” the past few years, but hasn’t really seen the workload he needs to be fantasy relevant. He’s looked awesome this preseason and Andy Dalton is better than you’d think for a ginger. I don’t think you could find a single person that thinks Benson is actually “talented” anymore, and almost everyone that has seen Scott knows he could be a big factor if given the opportunity. We’ll see what happens once Benson is released from jail, but I like Scott a lot as a guy to stash on your bench.
Bernard Berrian, WR, Minnesota Vikings: A big sleeper last year, Berrian fizzled into oblivion with no real chemistry with Brett Favre. With Donovan McNabb now in town, Berrian can once again become a prospective deep threat. Just look at this 49-yard TD against Dallas in last Saturday’s preseason game. I got burnt pretty bad on Berrian last year so I won’t be picking him in most drafts, but I definitely have him flagged to see if he can resurrect his career with McNabb throwing the ball.
Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Brown is killing it this preseason, and may become a legit option for Big Ben out of the slot. He’s a great high upside guy that is no longer going undrafted due to his hot preseason. AARP member Hines Ward, Emmanuel Sanders, and Jerricho Cotchery are the other pieces of the receiving corps, but none of them really stand out with amount of upside Brown has. A lot of people love Sanders, but I just don’t see it. I’m still not as high on Brown as many, but if he goes undrafted, he may be one of the first guys I nab on the wire if one of my bench players doesn’t do much early on.
Jared Cook, TE, Tennessee Titans: If you miss out on any of the big names, Jared Cook is who I’m selecting late in drafts to fill my TE spot. Matt Hasselbeck loves his tight ends and I see Cook having a pretty solid year. He’s got tremendous talent and physical ability, comparisons to Jermichael Finley immediately come to mind. With uncertainty at WR with Kenny Britt’s hamstring/off the field issues and a lot of question marks with the other receivers, Cook could get a fair amount of targets.
Arrelious Benn, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Benn’s 4 catch, 122 yard performance in week 14 last year put him on the map, and with Josh Freeman continuously improving and defenses locking in on Mike Williams, I think Benn can have a very impressive year. He hasn’t done much in preseason, but since he’s recovering from off season knee surgery, the Bucs are smart to be cautious. We’ll have to see how he looks in game action, but if that knee has healed up well, he could have a nice season in store.