- Tim Hasselbeck, NFL
I love seeing people take advantage of an opportunity they might have never thought they'd get. To show you what I mean by that, let's look at what happened to one of my teammates in Washington, New York and now at ESPN, Antonio Pierce.
Going into my second year with Washington, Pierce hadn't played much on defense, but he was our top special-teams guy. He was also a restricted free agent in the offseason before 2004, and Joe Gibbs and his group needed to figure out how to proceed: What level of tender would they offer? Eventually, they decided to offer the low tender, knowing that there really wasn't any other team jumping up and down to sign Pierce, who'd been undrafted out of Arizona in 2001.
In addition to retaining Pierce with the low tender, the team signed veteran Michael Barrow to slot in as the starting middle linebacker. Pierce was to be the backup there and continue on in his role on special teams.
Well, because of some injuries, Barrow couldn't play. So then Pierce kept his role on special teams, but he was also the new starting MLB too. After 112 tackles in that season, Pierce became one of the most sought-after free agents the next offseason, and he decided on the Giants, who offered him another great opportunity. A Super Bowl championship and a Pro Bowl appearance later, here we are.
There's something really great about seeing guys who never thought they'd have a great chance get that opportunity and run with it. Pierce has a Super Bowl ring to show for it, and we see players each week break out for big days just because they're finally getting a shot.
Here are some players who have been thrust into big spots because of injury, and may be able to help your fantasy team (or not, as we'll explore in the third case).
ESPN Insider Tim Hasselbeck runs through what he's seeing, what he's hearing and what he's thinking for Week 7 of the fantasy football season, including why Cowboys RB Joseph Randle has a great opportunity to make a name for himself against the Eagles.