Sneaky fantasy pickups entering Week 17

This is the final Friday of the 2012 NFL regular season, so by popular demand we'll provide one last Sneaky Pickups blog entry. Many fantasy football owners are no longer in need of sneaky playoff aid -- it is Week 17, after all, and most stick with their studs -- so last week we looked ahead at the 2013 campaign, with the caveat that all players were available in more than half of ESPN's standard formats. Names such as Russell Wilson, Rashard Mendenhall and Jon Baldwin graced the list.

However, knowing how many of you play in deeper leagues, like 14 teams or more, we figured we'd go a bit deeper as well, focusing on more upside options or those that were injured this past season. We'll alter the format a bit for players that produced 25 or fewer fantasy points this season that I think will matter in 2013, regardless of current ownership figures. If you've got an empty roster spot in a dynasty league, and they're out there, why not take a shot?


Matt Flynn, Seattle Seahawks: It's neither his mammoth contract nor his six-touchdown performance a year ago this week that leads me to believe he has game. He will find work elsewhere -- Eagles, Cardinals, Jets? -- and depending on what's around him he should be interesting for multi-QB formats.

Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders: Don't view the fact he might play second fiddle to Matt Leinart this week as necessarily a bad thing. Pryor clearly has skills, plus size and speed. Carson Palmer is 90 years old. Any running quarterback is worth a look.

Tim Tebow, New York Jets: Even this guy. I can see it now, everyone (wrongly) debating the fall of Maurice Jones-Drew next summer when Tebow lands with the Jacksonville Jaguars. I mentioned Tebow last week, so let's act like the Jets and simply move on!

Running back

LaMichael James, San Francisco 49ers: Frank Gore will turn 30 before Week 1 of next season, and James certainly has the skills to take on a larger, if not full, role soon. He's a definite addition in dynasty formats and should be very important by 2014.

Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals: Also briefly mentioned last week, Williams certainly doesn't seem to have much durability, tearing up a knee as a rookie and ruining his shoulder this season. But look at the Cardinals. They need a quarterback, bad. One would think that's a larger priority than running back, even after Beanie Wells is shown the door.

Roy Helu/Evan Royster, Washington Redskins: These might seem odd choices for this spot, over others I had on my short list such as Taiwan Jones of the Oakland Raiders, Isaiah Pead of the St. Louis Rams and even Jahvid Best of the Detroit Lions, but ask yourself this question: Do you trust Mike Shanahan? Rookie Alfred Morris has had a wonderful season. Give him and Shanny credit. But Helu is 24, Royster is 25, and Shanahan likes having options, either for trade or promotion. I feel like Helu, more than Royster, will be heard from again somewhere.

Wide receiver

Vincent Brown, San Diego Chargers: For a guy with nearly the same number of receptions as games missed because of injury in his two-year career, he sure gets discussed a lot. But the upside that kept us monitoring his progress for months this year will remain intriguing next August.

Jarius Wright, Minnesota Vikings: It's tough to tell what the Vikings have in this rookie, and whether the 2013 quarterback is on the current roster, but it's fair to worry about Percy Harvin's durability, so there should be opportunity.

Lestar Jean, Houston Texans: Jean, an undrafted free agent from 2011, really brings the upside. He has caught only six passes, but is averaging more than 25 yards per haul. Andre Johnson, 32 by Week 1 of next season, could use the help, and that's if he stays healthy.

LaVon Brazill, Indianapolis Colts: This could be the AFC version of the St. Louis Rams' Chris Givens, a speedy deep threat way under the radar. I considered numerous young wide receivers for this spot, including the Rams' Brian Quick and the Baltimore Ravens' Tommy Streeter, but I think Andrew Luck is the next Peyton Manning, and T.Y. Hilton and Brazill will really benefit for years.

Tight end

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns: I mentioned Cameron a few times in the Sneaky Pickups entry this season, and big numbers never came, but he's got a future as not only a big-play option, but also in the red zone. A tight end much further off the radar I'd also like to see play is Michael Egnew of the Miami Dolphins.

Thanks for checking out the Sneaky Pickups blog entries this season. We've focused, at the time, on off-the-radar players, and some predictions worked out (Mikel Leshoure, Cecil Shorts, Denarius Moore) and some did not (Deion Branch, Daryl Richardson). Hopefully you enjoyed your season. Best of luck in Week 17 and Happy New Year!