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Peyton Hillis, RB, Chiefs: He desperately needs a jump-start to his career, and it's clear the Chiefs had no one else after Jamaal Charles went down a year ago. Charles' game is all about speed, and it takes nearly a full year after you return to get back to being the player you were. I think Hillis is a great mid-round value, who will get all the goal-line carries and could wind up getting more touches than Charles as the year goes on.
Isaac Redman, RB, Steelers: I was waiting for Pittsburgh to draft a running back. Didn't happen. Rashard Mendenhall isn't special, and now coming back from injury we have no idea when he will make it onto the field. So by default, the job is Redman's. I know it's hard to believe that he'll be the guy for the Steelers, especially since they want to run it more in 2012, but a number one back is a No. 1 back.
Toby Gerhart, RB, Vikings: I find it hard to believe Adrian Peterson will be back full-strength early in the 2012 season, regardless of what reports are. Gerhart was tremendous filling in for All Day, not just running it well but catching the ball out of the backfield. Peterson is definitely on the back nine of his NFL career, and Gerhart will still be in the mix when Peterson returns. I just don't think it's going to be that early, so snag Gerhart and get at least seven or eight weeks worth of terrific production, and then see what happens.
Eric Decker, WR, Broncos: DeMaryius Thomas is getting most of the attention, and rightly so. But Peyton Manning made both Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne fantasy superstars at the same time. There's more than enough footballs to go around in Denver, and remember, Decker was breaking out until Tim Tebow took over. He wasn't Tebow's favorite reciever but Manning doesn't have those limitations. Decker will be a top 20 WR this season -- as will Thomas.
Greg Little, WR, Browns: For all the hoopla surrounding A.J. Green, Little finished with just 17 less points than Green did in 2011. Little also came on strong at the end of the season, which is what I like to see rookies do. This year things will be better in Cleveland with Trent Richardson and potentially a new QB in Brandon Weeden. Little will be a mid-round steal.
Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers: He's gone from being a good number one option, to a good backup option, to someone you may not even draft. How his stock has fallen. But the addition of Vincent Jackson and a return to form of Mike Williams could make him a rebound in the making. He's worth taking late as your backup and hoping he'll be back to where you can expect 250 yards passing, 50 rushing and 2 total TD's a week like he was two years ago.
Stevan Ridley, RB, Patriots: The Patriots let BenJarvus Green-Ellis go because they like the tandem of Ridley and Shane Vereen. Of the two, Ridley is ready to assume the bigger role, and even if they don't run the football all that much, there will still be goal-line opportunities galore for Ridley (The Law Firm had 23 TD on the ground the last two seasons). Ridley averaged over five yards per carry in 2011, and is ready for bigger things this season. He could be an instant starter for your team.
Robert Meachem, WR, Chargers: When did the Chargers offense explode last season? When Vincent Jackson was out and Philip Rivers had burners to throw to on the outside. Meachem won't give you Jackson's fantasy value, but he'll fit right in with San Diego's offense. I see a rebound for Philip Rivers this season, and a big year from Malcom Floyd. But I also see big things from Meachem, who could be a nice flex or even more as the season goes on.
Jacob Tamme, TE, Broncos: He was set to be the new Dallas Clark in Indianapolis. Now he'll be the new Dallas Clark in Denver. Peyton Manning was starting to rely on Tamme more and more before he got hurt, and that will continue in Denver. You may have to go a tad early to get him as there will be a run on Peyton Manning weapons in the middle rounds. While he won't be Graham or Gronk, he could wind up ranked just behind them points-wise.
Coby Fleener, TE, Colts: Hey, Andrew Luck has to throw it to someone else besides Reggie Wayne, right? Indianapolis didn't reunite him with his former teammate to not make him a huge part of their offense. I have Fleener ranked just outside the top 6 or 7 TE's, so you'll be able to nab him pretty late and get good production out of him.