Day three of the NFL Draft saw some well-known faces end up in some interesting places. A number of late-round picks fell into situations where they could very well find themselves starting in week one — instantly boosting their fantasy value.
Let’s take a look at eight players taken on Day 3 who could be the key to your fantasy success in 2014.
Andre Williams, Running Back, New York Giants — It’s been a while since the Giants have had a dependable three-down back who could get them tough yards when they needed them and close out games when necessary. New York brought in Rashad Jennings in the offseason, but he’s starting to get up there in age for a running back and has shown some durability issues throughout his career. Don’t be surprised to see Williams land the starting role in a new-look Giants offense.
Shaq Evans, Wide Receiver, New York Jets — The Jets got a steal here with Evans. Sure, they brought in Eric Decker in the offseason, but on the other side of the field, Stephen Hill has been a bit of a disappointment. Evans has all the tools to be a No. 1 receiver in this league. The Jets are going to be looking for playmakers to help out whoever wins the starting quarterback job. Don’t be surprised to hear about Evans being the favorite target of New York’s passers once camps are in full swing.
Devin Street, Wide Receiver, Dallas Cowboys — Street is in a similar situation as Evans. After Dez Bryant, there isn’t much in the current Dallas receiving corps that makes me think Street will have a hard time finding playing time. He could beat out Terrance Williams for the No. 2 spot, but he’ll more than likely settle into the No. 3 role. Not bad for a mid-round pick as a rookie.
Alfred Blue, Running Back, Texans — Houston’s running back situation is a bit of a mess right now. The depth chart is full of has beens, should-have-beens and never were’s — topped off by Arian Foster. Foster’s best days are likely behind him, opening the door for any of the guys below him to take his job — including Blue. Blue is a similar type of runner as Foster in both size and style. The fact that he was used sparingly at LSU bodes well for him in terms of wear and tear.
T.J. Jones, Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions – The Lions brought in Golden Tate to be the Robin to Calvin Johnson’s Batman, but it could be another Notre Dame product — Jones — who wins the No. 2 role before season’s end. Most scouts agree that a lack of stability at the quarterback position limited Jones’ production in South Bend. He greatly underachieved and will likely use that as motivation to work in way into a starting job.
Tyler Gaffney, Running Back, Carolina Panthers — Carolina is desperate for young weapons to compliment Cam Newton and help out the offense. Enter Gaffney. With DeAngelo Williams creeping up on a decade in the league and Jonathan Stewart’s recent injury woes, the Stanford workhorse could find himself as the primary ball carrier in Carolina by season’s end.
Storm Johnson, Running Back, Jacksonville Jaguars – Johnson looks to be in a good spot, with only Toby Gerhart as the real threat to start in a backfield full of unproven talent. Don’t underestimate the ace in the hole for Johnson, Blake Bortles — Johnson’s college quarterback — as an instrument of influence to help him get on the field. Bortles is comfortable handing off to Johnson and has seen first hand what he can do.
Jeremy Gallon, Wide Receiver, New England Patriots – Gallon is undersized but comes with great speed, a knack for getting open and superb hands. Hmm…now what team has a history of getting the most out of guys like Gallon? You guessed it. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit to see Gallon nail down that ever important slot role in New England’s offense in 2014. With the only real stability in the Patriot receiving corps being Julian Edelman, look for Tom Brady to favor his fellow Michigan alum in camps and preseason.