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These positions and players are not necessarily the top picks that you are going to select in your draft or daily fantasy leagues early in the season. However, they are players and position battles that you need to pay attention to because they could provide great value later in your draft or give you salary cap relief in your daily leagues. It is also important to pay attention to the tight end positions in Denver and New Orleans. These teams have legendary quarterbacks that will have a new starter at the position but the likely choice to replace Julius Thomas and Jimmy Graham may not be the correct one.

The tight end position in Denver

At first glance, Owen Daniels looks like an elite fantasy option at the tight end position. Peyton Manning has targeted his tight ends heavily throughout his career and this season should be no different. However, it appears that Gary Kubiak is leaning towards a two tight-end set that will feature both Daniels and Virgil Green, who has more familiarity with Peyton Manning after spending his previous four seasons on Denver’s roster and working with Manning during this offseason. Daniels should still see the majority of the targets but Green may cut into his production.

The tight end position in New Orleans

Drew Brees will be missing one of his favorite targets as Jimmy Graham was traded to the Seattle Seahawks during the offseason. That leaves a void at the tight end position but someone has to fill it. Ben Watson is the likely starter at that position but he has not been an elite pass catcher throughout his career. One guy that could step up in that area is Josh Hill, who has drawn praise from the head coach and may overtake Watson as the starter.

Ameer Abdullah

Joique Bell is the current starting running back for the Lions but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the rookie Abdullah overtake him. Bell has been banged up during the preseason and Abdullah was one of the better college running backs last season. Bell has split time with Reggie Bush in the Lions backfield over the past few years. Bell performed well in Bush’s absence but he is not an irreplaceable franchise changing back. But Abdullah has the potential of achieving that status.

The running back position in Atlanta

Both Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have been banged up during the preseason and haven’t differentiated themselves from one another. They are expected to split carries when the season starts but it is possible that there will be some separation after a few games. Freeman saw limited action last season as a rookie. He was talented in college but was in a running back by committee situation during his time at Florida State. If I had to pick someone to eventually get the bulk of the carries it would be Coleman, who was one of the better players in college last season but went under the radar because he played at nontraditional football school Indiana.

Alfred Blue

Blue will be the feature running back for the Texans until Arian Foster returns. It is expected that Foster will be back in the Texans’ backfield by mid season. Until that time Blue will be a very good option at that position but he will have a shelf life and won’t be worth owning when Foster returns.

Devin Funchess

Now that Kelvin Benjamin is out for the season, Cam Newton will need a new favorite target at wide receiver. Greg Olson will probably benefit the most and be Cam’s go to target in Benjamin’s absence. However, the wide receiver position for the Panthers is pretty bare right now and a big target like Funchess could also benefit greatly fantasy wise. Funchess was a tight end in college but he was the focal point in an anemic Michigan offense last season. He does not have much time to grow up and adjust to a new position and life in the NFL because he will be one of the players asked to carry the Panthers’ offense this season.