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Which Ohio State alumni have the best fantasy football potential?

It's almost time for fantasy football drafts, and you could find success with some Ohio State alums.

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Of the 39 former Buckeye players currently on NFL rosters, only 11 are in fantasy football draft-able positions; seven wide receivers, two running backs and two tight ends. But which ones should you draft? Four of the 11 are solid fantasy football draft choices, with two more players being possible sleepers and midseason pick-ups. With a defense-heavy group of alumni, we also look into which defense is most likely to both produce weekly and still allow for some Ohio State pride.

Using ESPN projections, here's a look at the former Buckeyes who could be valuable to any fantasy football owner.

Running back

Carlos Hyde, 49ers: Currently ranked 15th among all running backs in the league, Hyde is projected to follow in Frank Gore's footsteps (literally) and take over the workload in San Francisco as Gore takes his talent to Indianapolis. This plan of succession leaves Hyde ranked higher than Gore for fantasy output ahead of a season that is expected to be rush heavy with three of the top 100 rushers on the same offense.

2014 stats: 83 ATT, 333 YDS, 4 TDS, 16 FDS, 1 FUM and 69 YDS receiving

2015 projection: 233 ATT, 1,014 YDS, 8 TDS and 149 YDS receiving

Will Carlos Hyde have his first 1,000 yard season?

Daniel "BOOM" Herron, Colts: Currently ranked 63rd among all running backs, Herron cemented his role in Indy's offense during last year's postseason run. The organization had enough faith in the former Buckeye to release Trent Richardson, leaving Herron as the second rusher behind newly acquired Frank Gore.

2014 regular season: 78 ATT, 351 YDS, 1 TD, 17 FDS, 1 FUM and 173 YDS receiving

2014 postseason: 45 ATT, 170 YDS, 2 TDS, 10 FDS, 1 FUM and 128 YDS receiving

2015 projection: 62 ATT, 257 YDS, 2 TDS and 288 YDS receiving, 1 TD reception

Can Boom Herron find success splitting rushing and receiving attempts?

Wide receiver

Devin Smith, Jets: Currently ranked 70th among all receivers in the league, Smith enters his rookie season with high expectations. Surrounded by veterans, Smith joins the depth chart behind Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker (and ahead of former teammate DeVier Posey). With Geno Smith at the helm as quarterback, this is his final chance to prove he has the ability to lead a professional team, and he might find early success with deep ball threat Devin Smith.

2015 projection: 36 REC, 501 YDS and 1 TD

Can Smith live up to preseason hype and find continued success?

Brian Hartline, Browns: Currently ranked 99th among all receivers, Hartline is in prime position to stick the WR3 position with his new (but hometown) team. Just a season removed from back-to-back 1,000 receiving yard seasons, Hartline is projected to have a similar year to last with a reduced role. The biggest impact to Hartline's season will be who earns the starting quarterback role for the Browns. If Hartline can establish chemistry with the starter, he could easily get more receptions as the team can comfortably shift from a rush heavy to a more balanced style of offense.

2014 season: 39 REC, 474 YDS, 2 TDS, 27 FDS and 1 FUM

2015 projection: 31 REC, 419 YDS and 2 TDS

Will Hartline find renewed success as he heads back to his home state?

Possible sleepers

Evan Spencer, Washington Redskins: Spencer is joining a deep receiving corp, including DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts. He's been putting forth good effort at minicamps and could step into a role quickly should any of those ahead of him on the depth chart fall to injuries. I'm not ready to count him out yet, and could be a popular mid-season pick-up.

Terrelle Pryor, Browns: Ok, ok -- I admit, this is very much a long shot, but stay with me for a second -- Pryor has made the very publicized switch from quarterback to wide receiver, a move that has been suggested for the 6'4, 233-pound stud since college. Immediately following his position change, he was picked up by the Browns, which makes me believe teams see the potential there. If he makes it onto the final roster, I wouldn't be surprised if he became a midseason pick-up.

His experience behind center could be a huge asset to the organization, which is trying to find consistency among the quarterback position (as they've struggled to do in recent memory). Aside from his obvious skill set, he's tried his hand at the receiver position before (albeit rarely), claiming one reception professionally while in Oakland in 2012 for 22 yards. Some are considering this Pryor's last chance to make it in the NFL, so you can expect him to make it count.


St. Louis Rams: Currently ranked 4th among all defenses in the league, the Rams defense includes Ohio State alumni James Laurinaitis, Doug Worthington and Christian Bryant. The Ram's started slowly last season with only one sack in the first five games; they finished stronger than ever though with 39 sacks in the remaining 11 games. They are projected to make 40 sacks on the season with a high of eight in week 9 against San Francisco.

2015 projection: 22.5 AVG PA, 40 SCKS, 13 INTS, 12 FRS and 5 TDS

Tight end

The preseason rankings for the tight end position would look a little different if rookie Jeff Heuerman was able to participate this year; but don't rest on him quite yet. He may not make it on the field for the 2015 season, but assuming he heals and his recovery goes smoothly, I fully expect him to make the preseason top 100 ahead of 2016.