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Fantasy Buy Low Targets

Our reader searches for underwhelming players that could produce in 2014

Written by FFToolbox reader: Adam Filadelfo

Every season there are always a few players that fantasy owners think can produce; those players sometimes fall flat on their faces, leaving the owners that drafted them looking silly and dropping in the standings. Owners hedged a lot on those certain players and for one reason or another, it just did not work out. The following season, those same fantasy owners tend to stay away from the players that burned them the previous season. These players are what are called buy low candidates. Players that should produce based on previous accomplishments, but just had a down year. They can be drafted much later than their ADP (average draft position) would suggest (or if in an auction draft, may go for a much lower price than they should). Fantasy owners can have a short memory at times and it all comes down to what have you done for me lately? is currently running a Dynasty Contest, the Dynasty Football World Championship, that allows fantasy owners to choose one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one kicker, one DST and 2 flex positions for a start-up dynasty league. Based on 2013 fantasy production, let's take a look at which players can possibly fall into the category of buy low, regardless of how long term the pick might be.

Eli Manning may have had the worst fantasy season of all quarterbacks expected to produce for fantasy owners. He threw more interceptions than he did touchdowns and his offensive line didn't do him any favors either. Also take into account that the Giants didn't have much of a running game to rely on and you have the recipe for a disaster of a season for the two time Super Bowl MVP. He averaged under 17 fantasy points per game and was barely a serviceable fantasy option last season. Due to the dismal season that Eli Manning gave his fantasy owners, he should be going rather late in fantasy drafts this year and is a candidate to have a bounce back 2014. Editor's note: The New York Giants were the most injured team in the history of tracking injury statistics in 2013. Expect a much better year from Eli in 2014.
Much like his quarterback, Victor Cruz also had a down season for fantasy owners in 2013. He averaged under nine fantasy points per game and his down season can probably be attributed more to the failures of Eli Manning and the Giants offense as a whole than on Cruz himself. Cruz did get 123 targets tossed his way, so the potential is still there. Based on the number of targets he received in 2013, there's no reason to believe the production suddenly disappeared. Fantasy owners should buy into 2013 as an aberration and not the norm from Cruz. All of this makes Cruz a viable buy low candidate that should produce better numbers than his 2014 ADP will suggest.
Before last season, fantasy owners could pencil Roddy White in for 1,000 yards and double digit touchdowns. Thanks to an ankle injury he suffered before the regular season even began, Roddy White did not produce to the likes of fantasy owners that spent an early pick on him. White managed to play in 13 games in 2013 and still finished with 63 receptions for over 700 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged just under seven fantasy points per game and his down fantasy season is all attributed to the injury he sustained. Heading into 2014 healthy, fantasy owners can expect White to be part of one of the best wide receiver tandems in the NFL and fantasy football. Editor's note: Dynasty is all about youth, however a player that can help you win now is still important, otherwise you're always chasing the dream. Roddy is a redraft and dynasty target for that reason and is excellent value at WR27.
While Wallace didn't have the worst of fantasy seasons by any means (finishing as WR25), but most fantasy owners were expecting a whole lot more from a player who signed a mega contract just months prior to the season kicking off. He was boom or bust most weeks and as we all know in fantasy football, consistency is the most important factor in trying to win on a week to week basis. Wallace averaged under eight fantasy points per game, which just wasn't enough considering he was projected to be the Dolphins' number one wideout. Those numbers just won't cut it for fantasy owners. Based on his lack of production in 2013, Wallace could drop in fantasy drafts in 2014 making him a great value based on where he will be taken.
Steven Jackson was expected to have one of his best fantasy seasons in the Atlanta offense in 2013 and any fantasy owners that drafted him early on were more than disappointed. The Falcons' offense all together was a huge let down due to injury after injury, but there's no reason to think the Falcons won't be better in 2014 and Steven Jackson will need to be a big part of that if it is to happen. Coming off of a season where Jackson averaged under 10 fantasy points per game, fantasy owners were expecting much more seeing how Jackson was expected to catch passes out of the backfield and the Falcons offense was predicated on throwing more than running. S-Jax had only 33 receptions, but did total seven touchdowns for the Falcons in 2013. He will more than likely drop in drafts this year as fantasy owners will not want to use an early pick on a back that quite possibly has seen his better days. That thought process can make Steven Jackson a top fantasy running back that can be bought on the cheap. Editor's note: Over the last 6 weeks of the 2013 season, Jackson was actually RB12 (a legit RB1) for fantasy owners.
There is no way Trent Richardson can be as awful as he showed in 2013. Blame his lack of production on an undisclosed injury or that he failed to pick up the Colts offense after the trade from Cleveland, but if fantasy owners are scared off by T-Rich's lackluster sophomore season, he may be the ultimate buy low candidate heading into 2014 fantasy drafts. His 2013 was as ugly as it gets as fantasy owners that used their first round pick on the former Alabama back, were forced to watch him score a total of four touchdowns and average seven fantasy points per game. Editor's note: According to our Colts insider, the Colts organization is all about handing Trent Richardson the ball this year.
Yet another top fantasy running back thought to have another stellar season in 2013, Ray Rice disappointed his owners that drafted him late first round early second. Rice was dealing with a hip issue so that very well may have contributed to his poor performance that saw him average just over eight fantasy points per game and score a total of four touchdowns all season. With a possible suspension looming over him and the lack of fantasy production last season, Ray Rice may be a first round talent that can be drafted a few rounds later.
Miles Austin, Wide Receiver- Cleveland Browns - ADP WR N/A - [ PICK N/A]
With the expected suspension of Josh Gordon, the newly signed Miles Austin could be a late round bargain for fantasy owners in 2014. While it is hard to depend on Austin on a week to week basis due to his penchant for always being banged up, he should drop in drafts. Considering the Browns will more than likely not have their top target in 2014 in Josh Gordon, Miles Austin could produce as he will be the recipient of a lot of targets. Factoring in missed time due to injury, Austin on the field could outproduce his ADP as most fantasy owners aren't expecting much of anything from him in the upcoming season (especially coming off of a season that saw him miss five games and in the games he did play in, average just over two fantasy points per game). Some of that had to do with the emergence of rookie Terrance Williams in Dallas. As a veteran option in a passing game that doesn't look to have many viable options, Miles Austin can be drafted very late and produce more than fantasy owners may be expecting. Editor's note: We have Austin ranked WR67, however as the #1 WR in the Cleveland offense, a healthy Austin provides much more upside than that.
Brandon Pettigrew, Tight End- Detroit Lions - ADP WR N/A - [ PICK N/A]
There probably isn't a fantasy tight end that has fallen out of the good graces with fantasy owners like Brandon Pettigrew. Add to that, the Lions drafted another tight end in Eric Ebron and fantasy owners may have all but forgotten Pettigrew heading into 2014 fantasy drafts. While it is difficult for rookie tight ends to produce in their first season in the NFL, this could be the spark that Pettigrew needs to get his fantasy production up and get himself back on the fantasy radar. Pettigrew averaged under four fantasy points per game in 2013 and has left himself a fantasy afterthought with owners. He may get one last chance to prove himself to the Lions and to fantasy owners. His value probably can't get much lower barring an injury, so this may be the time to grab him.
The Falcons offense as a whole was a major let down to fantasy owners everywhere that had a lot invested in them in 2013. The lack of touchdowns caused Matt Bryant to not have the best fantasy season that he could have had. While it may be difficult to predict which kickers will be fantasy relevant each season, most owners will select their kicker based on the number of touchdowns they think that offense will score that season. Since the number of touchdowns was down for the Falcons in 2013, so was Matt Bryant's production. Fantasy owners can expect the Falcons that we have all come to know and love in 2014, provided all key fantasy contributors are healthy. The increase in touchdowns will help Matt Bryant's value in 2014 fantasy drafts.
Green Bay Packers D/ST- ADP DST #25 - [PICK 264]
A few years ago, the Green Bay defense was a top fantasy defense. Since their Super Bowl run, it has been anything but and most fantasy owners have not taken them seriously. Well, all that could change heading into 2014. With a healthy Clay Matthews (and the newly acquired Julius Peppers on the defensive line chasing after opposing quarterbacks) plus the drafting of former Alabama defensive back Ha Ha Clinton- Dix, the Green Bay defense could be quite the force for fantasy owners that just may fly under the radar in fantasy drafts in 2014.