Winning a fantasy football league isn't an easy thing to do, as it usually requires defeating at least nine other competitors. Playing it safe can protect you from embarrassment, but to maximize your chance to become a champion you must take calculated risks.
Often, the players who offer the best risk/reward ratios are those who have displayed the potential to be game-breaking talents, but whom fantasy owners have soured on because of age or uncertainty.
Frank Gore (RB, Colts) has been an undervalued fantasy asset for years because of his age. Now, he's moving into a Colts' offense that made Ahmad Bradshaw (currently out of the league) and Daniel "Boom" Herron (mediocre backup) into dependable fantasy starters. Even an aging Gore should outperform those two, and I've yet to see any evidence on the field that Gore's play has started to decline.
Meanwhile, no fantasy player may be a bigger unknown than Joseph Randle (RB, Cowboys). However, one thing that is known is that the Cowboys offensive line can run block. Randle has the pleasure of being the RB running behind them. He may be in that position by default, and many expect Dallas to sign a free agent if Randle struggles, but just because we haven't seen him succeed at the NFL level doesn't mean he isn't capable of doing so. Don't be afraid to pull the trigger on him in the fourth or fifth round, where no one else offers as much upside.
So, as you prepare for your fantasy football draft, don't be afraid to target high-risk, high-reward players. Even if it doesn't work out, the downside usually isn't too bad, as an active owner can find reliable options during the season on the waiver wire.
Alex Case is amNY's fantasy football columnist.