With NFL training camps set to open in the near future, it’s time for fantasy football owners to start preparing for their upcoming drafts. And just like life in the NFL, one of the keys to success in fantasy football is finding productive undervalued sleeper prospects in the later rounds of the draft. We identified the following seven players as having big-time fantasy potential, despite most fantasy experts overlooking them.
1. Carson Wentz, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
Carson Wentz had an up-and-down rookie season last fall, but all signs point toward a massive improvement in 2017. The Eagles did an excellent job of improving the overall talent level on their offense this offseason by signing running back LeGarrette Blount and wide receivers Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery. On top of having a better supporting cast, Wentz also has a valuable year of experience under his belt.
Don’t expect him to produce Aaron Rodgers- or Drew Brees-type numbers, but Wentz has the ability to be a top-10 fantasy quarterback in 2017.
2. Josh Doctson, WR, Washington Redskins
Coming out of TCU, Josh Doctson was widely viewed as one of the top two wide-receiver prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft. Unfortunately an Achilles injury limited him to only two games and minimal practice time during his rookie season with the Redskins.
With the Redskins opting to part ways with both Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson this offseason, Doctson has an opportunity to step into a prominent role in the Skins’ pass-heavy offense during his second NFL season (if he stays healthy).
3. Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers
In our eyes, Jamaal Williams is a dark-horse Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. While Ty Montgomery, who is a wide receiver by trade, put forth a commendable effort in 2016, he just isn’t the type of player who is suited for a role as an every-down running back.
If Williams can pick up Green Bay’s offense in an ample amount of time, he has the skill set to rush for 1,000 yards as a rookie. By the end of the 2017 season, the former BYU Cougar could be in a situation where he gets 15-20 carries every week.
4. Julius Thomas, TE, Miami Dolphins
Julius Thomas was a massive disappointment for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Thanks to a trade this offseason, the former college basketball player is reunited with Miami head coach Adam Gase. As a refresher, Gase was the offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos during Thomas’s two Pro Bowl seasons in the Mile High City.
He may not replicate the 12-touchdown seasons he had under Gase with the Broncos. However, Miami should highly utilize Thomas in the red zone and see 75-plus targets in 2017.
5. Willie Snead, WR, New Orleans Saints
Willie Snead came out of nowhere in 2015 to emerge as a legitimate threat in the high-powered New Orleans offense. Over the last two seasons, the former undrafted free agent has totaled 141 receptions for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns. And that was when the Saints had Brandin Cooks in the mix.
Now that New Orleans moved Cooks to the New England Patriots, Snead’s role should grow exponentially. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the 5-foot-11 speedster set career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns in 2017.
6. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions
When healthy, Ameer Abdullah has flashed superstar potential. He is now healthy and has been turning head throughout Detroit’s OTAs and minicamps this offseason.
Abdullah will likely have to split time with Theo Riddick (among other running backs), but we still like his fantasy potential in 2017. With his well-rounded ability, Abdullah has the potential to produce close to 1,500 yards of total offense this fall.
7. Paul Perkins, RB, New York Giants
This upcoming season, Paul Perkins is the leading candidate to be the Giants workhorse running back. Rashad Jennings is no longer in his way, and the former UCLA Bruin has the confidence of the New York coaching staff.
He may not be a top-10 fantasy running back at this point (thanks to the Giants’ pass-heavy offense), but Perkins should still be a consistent fantasy producer in 2017.