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Player value depends on potential more than present day most before you draft. This is a rundown one player on each team who has great potential relative to where they are likely to be drafted in your league. Some of these guys are roster staples while others may not even warrant drafting but could be very useful in foreseeable circumstances.
Buffalo Bills: E.J. Manuel has looked the part of the starter up until his injury this past weekend. At present, he’s a backup or bye-week replacement. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the preseason and even Bills fans can’t drink enough to tolerate Kevin Kolb. Manuel will start by midseason, if not when healthy.
Miami Dolphins: Brian Hartline will benefit from Mike Wallace’s world class speed. Hartline’s stock also gets a slight bump due to Dustin Keller’s season ending injury. He’s a solid reserve acquirable with one of your last picks.
New England Patriots: Tom Brady has looked sharp as ever with a new group of receivers (and no Gronkowski). This is the first time Brady may be available in the 4th round or later in years. I’d take Brady’s high floor over the roller coaster ride that is Cam Newton.
New York Jets: Braylon Edwards is their best red zone target and is worth taking a flyer on late because the Jets will have to throw.
Baltimore Ravens: Joe Flacco should not be your starting quarterback. If you suffer an injury or need a bye week replacement, or your projected starter flames out, Flacco is a better replacement than Rivers, Schaub, Tannehill, and Freeman in my opinion. Flacco did not get paid a boatload of money to hand the ball off all the time.
Cincinnati Bengals: Tyler Eifert is going to be a good weapon for Andy Dalton who should lead an improved Bengals passing attack. Eifert is already a more appealing receiving option than Jermaine Gresham or anyone else in stripes save A.J. Green.
Cleveland Browns: Jordan Cameron is an even better option than Eifert due to lack of competition for reps at TE.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Emmanuel Sanders is a nice reserve receiver with a high floor. No. 88 was nice enough for Pittsburgh to match the Patriots 3rd round RFA offer. There is little competition for targets in the Steel City aside from lead dog Antonio Brown.
Houston Texans: Ben Tate is healthy while Arian Foster has yet to see the practice field. At the very least the Texans will distribute the carries more evenly than in years past. Tate is a must if you own Foster.
Indianapolis Colts: Reggie Wayne might be the first Colt drafted, but relative to players going around him he is rock solid reliable in a high volume pass offense. Give me Wayne over more high-risk wideouts like Hakeem Nicks and James Jones.
Jacksonville Jaguars: Justin Blackmon will start the season under suspension, which will enable you to draft him right before you take a kicker. There aren’t any bye weeks early so why not stash the talented Blackmon and see if he has a breakout sophomore campaign.
Tennessee Titans: Kenny Britt is the most talented receiver on the Titans and you should be able to draft him in the 9th round or later.
Denver Broncos: Wes Welker. Demaryius Thomas is just getting better and his targets should not diminish especially if the Broncos regular season running offense represents the preseason version. If his ankle injury is mild as initially reported, taking him after pick 50 is good value and he should be dynamite as usual in PPR leagues.
Kansas City Chiefs: Alex Smith is a reliable backup option or QB committee member now that he is hooked up with Andy Reid’s offense and a certain starting gig.
Oakland Raiders: Marcel Reece propelled owners to the playoffs in 2012 after Darren McFadden went down. His value is directly linked to DMC’s health. Reece is a good receiver out of the backfield, Oakland is going to have to sling it, and McFadden’s value is plummeting past injury risk to undraftable.
San Diego Chargers: Vincent Brown is presently the Chargers No. 1 receiver and that should remain the case even when Michael Floyd returns.