I have looked for draft bargains across the league and end my search with the NFC North. The division has some big time fantasy studs like Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson but also some players who are flying under the radar who can provide nice depth for your roster. I may sound like a broken record, but it is important to realize that finding players who are available mid to late in fantasy drafts are what separate the good teams from the bad and it takes a lot more research than simply looking at a rankings list. The following players as well as other draft bargains I have listed were not chosen because of rankings or projections but on my instincts that they are being undervalued in fantasy drafts this season. Finding fantasy gems like Victor Cruz or Jimmy Graham are extremely difficult and is often a combination of analysis and luck. So following are three players who I feel have the opportunity and skill set to outplay their current ADP. (all points/ADP/analysis use ESPN standard scoring and ESPN ADP)
1. Jay Cutler (ADP, 99.4): Cutler has not exactly lit up the fantasy world since being traded to Chicago, but when you stop and look at the talent around him is it really all that surprising? No disrespect to Earl Bennett or Johnny Knox but Brandon Marshall and Ashlon Jeffery offer a lot more explosiveness to help Cutler in the passing game. Cutler had his best season in 2008 throwing for 4,526 yards and 25 touchdowns with the Denver Broncos. With the exception of last season in which he only played 10 games, Cutler has never thrown for under 3,200 yards and 20 touchdowns. Prorate his 2011 totals he would have posted over 3,700 yards and 20 touchdowns. With the upgrades at WR this season and Matt Forte signed to help with screens and underneath routes, Cutler has very good upside this season. I have him as my 13th ranked QB and could be a spot starter this season or your QB1 if you play in a 12 team plus league. If his O-line can step up from their abysmal performance last season I think Cutler has potential to post 4,000 plus yards and 25 or more touchdowns. Don’t hesitate to take Cutler this season as he can be taken after round 9 and has potential to be a top 10 QB this season.
2. Percy Harvin (ADP, 59.6): Harvin was the 8th highest fantasy scorer among wide-outs last season which makes me wonder why he is being drafted as the 21st WR towards the end of the 6th round. Despite only being in on 58% of the offensive snaps (per ESPN) he managed to score an impressive 165 points. What is more impressive is how he came alive during the second half of the season as he scored 114 points during his final 8 games compared to 51 in his first 8. With Adrian Peterson’s injury uncertain at this point I see the Vikings leaning heavily on Harvin this season both out wide and in the backfield giving him plenty of opportunity to produce. Harvin is viewing this season as a contract year something that is always a bonus for fantasy purposes and should he pick up where he left off last season can be a solid WR1 who can be had at a WR2 or 3 price.
3. Michael Bush (ADP, 89.5): Michael Bush has the skill set to be a top fantasy back in the league however he has chosen to go from backing up Darren McFadden to backing up Matt Forte. Still the Bears did not pay Bush a $14 million contract to just ride the bench and should be utilized a good amount in Chicago especially near the goal line as he is one of the best TD vultures in the League. Forte will get the lion share of the carries but Bush will get enough looks that could make him a decent RB3 or 4 who could be used in the flex or for bye weeks. Bush could post 700 plus yards and 7 plus touchdowns this season and is a must have handcuff for Forte owners.
So there you have it fantasy fans the conclusion of my attempt to locate the top draft day bargains this fantasy season. Hopefully these players pan out this season and can help you in your fantasy leagues. Thanks for reading and if you have not already done so please check out the rest of my posts about draft bargains. And as always opinions and comments are encouraged.