Fantasy managers willing to take late-round risks on once-hyped, since-forgotten players can be greatly rewarded.
Whether they lost their luster due to injuries, falling down depth charts, or simple underperformance, each of these four players has an opportunity to return to fantasy relevance in 2018.
Not only is Carson returning from a leg injury that prematurely ended his rookie campaign, but the Seahawks appeared to draft his replacement by selecting running back Rashaad Penny 27th overall in April.
Carson's 4.2 yards per carry led Seahawks running backs last season and his 208 rushing yards - in just four games - ranked third on the team behind quarterback Russell Wilson (586) and running back Mike Davis (240), who played six contests.
In Penny's final season at San Diego State, he gained 2,027 yards on the ground and scored 21 total touchdowns. He's expected to slot in atop the depth chart immediately. But Carson - who's available at an ADP of 11.11 - should retain some work as the No. 2. He's a top-tier handcuff for the unproven rookie on an offense that will welcome any help it can get in the red zone.
In his tenure with the Denver Broncos, Latimer never lived up to his second-round status from the 2014 draft. Now 25 years old, he sports career totals of 35 receptions on 60 targets for 445 yards and three touchdowns, setting career highs in each category in 2017.
The Giants landed Latimer relatively early in free agency on a one-year, $2.5-million contract. He's expected to replace the released Brandon Marshall opposite Odell Beckham Jr. on the outside, with Sterling Shepard operating out of the slot.
Adding No. 2 pick Saquon Barkley and hiring Pat Shurmur as head coach should help balance out a Giants offense that ranked fourth in pass-play percentage at 61.97 last season (according to Team Rankings). However, Latimer's still likely to get his largest role to date and could quickly become fantasy relevant while posting new career highs across the board.
Meredith and the Saints are hoping he can return to his 888-yard, four-touchdown form from 2016, when he played on a Chicago Bears team that handed starts to Jay Cutler, Brian Hoyer, and Matt Barkley.
With Meredith seemingly on the verge of a bigger breakout, his 2017 season was wiped away by a torn ACL. The 6-foot-3 receiver joined the Saints on a two-year, $9.5-million deal this offseason and is set to take on a significant role in an offense featuring the best quarterback he's ever played with.
At least three Saints players have racked up a minimum of 700 receiving yards in each of the past four years, setting a reasonable floor for Meredith as the presumptive No. 3 receiver behind Michael Thomas and Ted Ginn Jr.
A failed first-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2013 draft, Patterson found some success as a kick returner and offensive gadget player with the Oakland Raiders in 2017. He rushed for 121 yards and two touchdowns on 13 attempts over 16 games, his highest output since his rookie season.
The Patriots aren't likely to use him as a rusher so frequently, but he's among the top options to replace suspended wide receiver Julian Edelman for their first four games. Chris Hogan and Jordan Matthews are projected to be the top options at receiver, while Patterson will compete with Phillip Dorsett, Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, and rookie Braxton Berrios for any remaining targets.
Patterson may have a small window of opportunity - if he can even earn a roster spot, never mind a prominent offensive role - but he's also expected to replace the departed Danny Amendola in the return game, and could help fantasy teams for at least the first quarter of the season as an upside option out of the FLEX.
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