More than seventy friends of the Underworld from Rotoworld to RotoViz to RotoExperts to Rotowire to RotoBaller sat around a campfire one night sharing stories about their favorite dynasty league trade targets. The players listed are tremendous fantasy football value plays, because they may be on the precipice of a breakout or have been overzealously devalued due to age or production variance.
Russell Wilson, Quarterback, Seahawks
According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Russell Wilson is being drafted as the QB3 in fantasy football dynasty leagues, 15 picks after Andrew Luck. Yet, Wilson is more efficient, as he ranks 2nd all-time in career passer rating with a 99.6 mark. Luck, meanwhile, has a solid but unspectacular 87.3 career passer rating. Wilson has more rushing upside too, as he has a career 33.61 rushing yards per game compared to 20.6 rushing yards per game for Luck. Less than 11 months separate the two in age, and Luck has even been enjoying the superior offensive line. Other than center Justin Britt, the Seahawks offensive line didn’t feature any starters who were even top 50 at their respective position in 2016. Already more efficient and mobile, imagine what Wilson could do with even the competent line Luck was afforded last year. Russell Wilson should be the QB1 taken in fantasy football dynasty leagues.
-Akash Bhatia, RotoUnderworld (@AkashBhatia24)
Kenny Britt, Wide Receiver, Browns
Kenny Britt is being drafted 131st overall right now, 59th amongst wide receivers; this comes after he posted over 1,000 yards on the Jeff Fisher, Case Keenum, and Jared Goff led Rams. While Britt might now be on a worse team, something tough to do after being on a Fisher team, he inherits the role Terrelle Pryor, who in his first full year as a wide receiver posted just over 1,000 yards, vacated. There are only 64 WR 1 and 2s in the NFL, yet Britt is being taken behind most of them. With a profile very similar to both Larry Fitzgerald and Jordy Nelson, Britt has the tools and physical skills to again be a top receiver in the league. Unless you are smoking what Flash is smoking, you’d better buy Britt as he is free money.
-Samuel Feldman, RotoUnderworld (@IAMFeldMan)
Kenny Britt is only 28-years old, two months older than Dez Bryant. Gets to play with, at worse, a better sophomore QB than Jared Goff. Had his first career 1,000-yard season. Has been very efficient during his time in STL/LA posting a 9.10 YPT. Britt’s arrow is points directly up.
-Fusue Vue, Twitter.com (@LifesYourCup)
Breshad Perriman, Wide Receiver, Ravens
Breshad Perriman as his price has dipped for the second consecutive offseason. Perriman was by in large a rookie in 2016 after missing all of 2015 and an inexperienced player that was behind the depth of two veteran players on a team that has valued experience and veteran play given how they have allocated their roster capital and playing time in the past. Bottom line, he was always going to be a slow burn on this club. He also got progressively better in that first action on the field as the season went on. After their Week 8 bye, Perriman saw a spike in efficiency as his catch rate went from 42 to 61 percent and his yardage output went from 26.1 yards per game to 45.1 yards. Now, Steve Smith (102 targets), Kamar Aiken (46) are off of the board and Baltimore didn’t land any of the veteran receivers they were linked to in free agency, giving Perriman as chance to see his opportunity balloon in year three.
-Rich Hribar, Rotoworld (@LordReebs)
We’ve waited patiently for the past 2 seasons, but Breshad Perriman has done nothing impactful enough to help anyone win their fantasy football dynasty leagues. With all of that disappointment in the rearview mirror, 2017 will surely be a huge improvement for the Ravens talented 23-year-old wide receiver who only received 66 targets in 2016. With an elite-level tool set containing both size and speed, and the retirement of hall-of-fame wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., there is no better time to try to buy low on this NFL pedigree breakout candidate before he goes absolutely bonkers. If he can stay healthy for an entire season, don’t be surprised if he puts up high upside WR2 wide receiver numbers in PPR formats this coming season.
-Raphael Rabe, RotoBaller (@RealTalkRaph)
While there are certainly reasons to be concerned about a first-round receiver who has 499 career yards through two seasons, Breshad Perriman’s price – he is going around the same time as Eric Decker and Jeremy Maclin in startups – is too good to pass up. That is especially true when considering the flash plays he was able to make when given the opportunity last season, the availability of targets in Baltimore, and the likely departure of Mike Wallace in the near future. I bet Laquon Treadwell would fetch Perriman plus another piece, and that is a deal I would make every time.
-Ray Summerlin, Rotoworld (@RMSummerlin)
Still only 23, Perriman enters 2017 in an offense that led the league in pass attempts (679). 200 targets are up for grabs between Steve Smith‘s retirement and the FA departures of Kamar Aiken and Kyle Juszczyk. After battling injuries over his first two years, owners have soured on Perriman, despite a prime opportunity for a breakout season. Though Dennis Pitta and Mike Wallace will be returning for 2017, it’s clear that Perriman is well-entrenched in the Ravens future plans. He just needs to take advantage of his situation, and I suggest you do too.
-Jeff Donovan, Fantasy Football Authority (@JeffDonovan)
Rishard Matthews, Wide Receiver, Titans
After escaping Ryan Tannehill, a mediocre wide receiver in college now masquerading as a mediocre quarterback in the NFL, Rishard Matthews has been paired with an actual NFL quarterback in Marcus Mariota. In his first season in Tennessee by any metric you want to use Rishard Matthews had an excellent 2016 season. If you prefer counting stats Matthews set career highs in: catches, yards, red-zone targets and touchdowns. How about advanced metrics? His 2016 production premium was +22.2 good enough for 10th league while his fantasy points per target of 1.97 was 16th. Matthews finished as the 23rd wide receiver scoring 13.3 points per game on a per game average. Yet his DLF ADP for March is the 50th(!) wide receiver off the board. Somehow, someway Matthews is going behind Kevin White and Kelvin Benjamin, among others. This is the exact definition of market inefficiency. I understand Matthews had a relatively late breakout to his career, but it’s time to embrace the fact that he is actually #good.
-Shane Manilla, Dynasty Football Factory (@DFF_Shane)
My biggest dynasty buy low is Rishard Matthews of Tennessee. Much like the Cris Carter moniker, “All I do is catch touchdowns,” all Matthews does is provide WR2 production or higher. Whenever he had been given the change to perform, he has delivered. Buried on an inverted depth chart in Tennessee last season, Matthews fought his way into receiving more targets at the midway point of the season. From Week 8 on, he averaged 8.75 targets per game (including a game against the stifling Broncos Defense), and became Tennessee’s clear top wideout. Only 27 years old and tethered to a young star quarterback in Mariota, Matthews value was bolstered even more when the Titans failed to acquire any of the free agent wideouts (Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson) during the recent signing period. Young wideout, that has always produced, with an exciting young quarterback, in a winnable division? Sounds like the perfect buy low dynasty candidate to me.
-Mike Randle, RotoUnderworld (@FtsyWarriorMike)
Aldrick Robinson, Wide Receiver, 49ers
Lord Aldrick Robinson had 3,148 yards and 30 TDs in his final three seasons at SMU. He was 2nd in NFL preseason yards in 2016 and turned 32 targets into 20-323-2 during the regular season. Kyle Shanahan knows what the Lord can do, bringing him from Washington to Atlanta and now to San Francisco’s talent-deficient WR corps.
-Adam Levitan, Fantasy Labs (@AdamLevitan)
Dorial Green-Beckham, Wide Receiver, Eagles
Dorial Green-Beckham appears buried, and his ADP reflects it. DLF lists him as start-up pick 209 — the 96th receiver chosen. Chosen No. 40 overall in 2015, he’s played with two rookie quarterbacks as a pro (plus Zach Mettenberger), and already changed offenses when traded weeks before last season. Alshon Jeffery is on a one-year deal and Torrey Smith took a glorified prove-it contract after performing about as well as Nelson Agholor did the last two years (not well). I’ll happily pay peanuts for a soon-to-be 24-year-old size/speed specimen who we already knew to be sashimi-raw when he was drafted.
-Pat Thurman, Pro Football Focus (@Pat_Thorman)
Eric Decker, Wide Receiver, Jets
My favorite buy-low target in Dynasty leagues is Eric Decker, who comes with significant injury concerns that also lower his likely cost in trades. He just turned 30 years old and isn’t over the hill by any means, and if he stays in New York he’s going to be a target monster on a tanking team that frequently plays from behind, running high-percentage routes that Decker’s bad quarterback will feel most comfortable completing. If Decker leaves the Jets, I have no doubt he will find a starting job in free agency. Decker is likely acquirable for a mid- to late-second-round rookie pick, if not a third-rounder.
-Evan Silva, Rotoworld (@EvanSilva)
Give me the guy who somehow had a 9.0 AY/A with Geno Smith and an 8.9 AY/A with the ghost of Ryan Fitzpatrick. Give me Eric Decker. Whether he’s in the teeth-gnashing hellscape of New York with the moribund Jets or another team in the midst of a quarterback apocalypse, Decker has so often outperformed expectations (and draft spot) that I’ve sworn off betting against him. Decker also has a penchant for scoring touchdowns, which I’ve read is important in fantasy football. He’s notched 52 touchdowns in 75 games started as a pro. That’s good, per sources.
P.s. A bunch of bad game script for a bad Jets team won’t be the worst thing for Decker’s short term value either.
-CD Carter, Draft Day Consultants (@CDCarter13)
I have always felt he was undervalued and heading into his 8th season, coming of hip and shoulder surgeries I believe this is another chance to snap up a bargain. QB concerns? He has been extremely efficient with his opportunities and put up consistent numbers with Tim Tebow, Geno Smith & Ryan Fitzpatrick. Age? At 30, I think he still has a nice 3 year window of production left for dynasty owners. Time and time again he has out-produced his ADP. He has 3 seasons as a Top 10 fantasy receiver. With the Jets moving on from Brandon Marshall and with the current Jets pass catchers, Decker should be in for a huge workload and has always been a WR who can win contested catches in the red zone. Excluding 2016 when he missed the majority of the season, from 2011-2015 he has scored 12, 5, 11, 13, 8 TDs. I think Decker may be one of the all-time underrated fantasy producers and while injury concerns are certainly a worry, I think he will once again out perform his ADP and that makes him a great buy low candidate for this off-season.
-Colm Kelly, OvertimeIreland.com (@OvertimeIreland)
While Eric Decker is recovering from major surgeries, he has had plenty of time to recuperate. You can bet the Jets will take it slow with their now #1 WR after the release of Brandon Marshall. While the Jets have questions at QB, they did not make any major additions to their wide receiver/tight end depth, so Decker will still be in line for plenty of targets. Outside of an injury riddled 2016, Decker had five straight seasons with at least 70+ catches, 950 yards and five touchdowns. He has the chance to do well under a new offensive coordinator who was part of the one of the pass-friendly offenses in 2016 (Former Saints WR coach John Morton).
-Doug Moore, Inside the Pylon (@DMooreNFL)
Adam Thielen, Wide Receiver, Vikings
Oftentimes a “buy-low-gasm” is a sexy name primed for superstardom, and while Adam Thielen‘s best comparable is dreamboat, Eric Decker, you won’t see dynasty hype men get behind Thielen the way they will Kevin White. According to Dynasty League Football’s ADP, Theilan comes with a WR58 price tag. While Thielen doesn’t break the metrics scale, he does have an above average height adjusted speed score and catch radius to add to his 90th percentile college dominator rating. The Vikings thought enough of Thielen to give him a $19 million deal through 2020, and after my second straight year of claiming a Minnesota Viking is a buy low, chances are against this one tearing every ligament in his knee.
-Karl Safchick, Dynasty 1 Podcast (@KarlSafchick)
Bruce Ellington, Wide Receiver, 49ers
Bruce Ellington is a guy I’m ready to double down on in 2017. A preseason injury ended his 2016 season before it even started, which may have been a blessing in disguise as he avoided running routes for Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert. Now, paired with a quietly productive quarterback in Brian Hoyer and running alongside a great flanker in Pierre Garcon, Bruce becomes a great candidate to line up in the slot of a Kyle Shanahan led offense. A place Taylor Gabriel efficiently excelled in 2016. Plug in Bruce Ellington, a more athletic player, with 97th-percentile agility scores and an 84th-percentile catch radius for a 5’9″ guy, and the fantasy upside makes my knees shake a little bit. His route-running is already ahead of the curve to boot (impressive for a basketball convert). All-in-all Ellington is a dynasty flier very much worth taking.
-Bob Talbot, Gridiron Experts (@TalbotTalks)
Pharoh Cooper, Wide Receiver, Rams
Cooper lost the landing spot lottery last season when he ended up with the Rams, but has the profile of a producer at the NFL level. He was one of the youngest WRs in the 2016 draft, posted an 85th percentile college dominator in the SEC, and weighs over 200 pounds despite being under six feet tall. Now that Kenny Britt is gone from L.A., Cooper’s biggest competition is coming from a career number two in Robert Woods and a career nobody in Tavon Austin. If Jared Goff and the Rams take any kind of step forward in 2017, look for Cooper, who is basically free, to be at the focus offensively in the passing game.
-Anthony Amico, RotoViz (@amicsta)
Let’s talk about Pharoh Cooper. Cooper was a criminally underrated prospect last year who broke out as a 19-year-old Sophomore and followed that up as a 20-year-old with a 43.1% College Dominator rating. Unfortunately, he had barely over 100 yards as a rookie, so it’s entirely possible that both he and Jared Goff were wasted picks for the Rams. But here’s three things we know: 1) Cooper is going behind Cordarrelle Patterson in startup ADP. I say again, Cooper is completely free in dynasty. 2) Jeff Fisher and his outdated offensive philosophy have been replaced by a coach who can walk and chew gum at the same time and who favors the passing game. 3) No WR on the Rams roster has ever topped 700 receiving yards in a season.
Sure, Robert Woods is a safer bet to emerge as the go-to WR this season, but Woods is a low upside play, having done very little in four years as a starter. It’s also likely that the Rams add a WR in the draft, but because they don’t have a 1st or 3rd round pick this year, the amount of help they can add is limited. And yes, Jared Goff looks like a bust, but Jeff Fisher will do that to you, and that risk is already factored into Pharoh Cooper’s price. Cooper’s prospect profile indicates a potential star. He’ll be just 22 this season in an offense that will be more geared toward the pass, and just plain better than it was in 2016. That seems worth a 4th round rookie pick to me.
-Patrick Kerrane, RotoViz (@PatKerrane)
Robert Woods, Wide Receiver, Rams
My favorite dynasty buy low player is Robert Woods. It’s all about cost and opportunity, Woods should only cost a 4th round rookie pick, late 3rd at most. He’s new team, the LA Rams are bad and should trail in most of their games, this combined with the departures of WRs Kenny Britt and Brian Quick, which opens up 188 targets in lies his opportunity. Woods should be LA’s No. 1 WR and see most of those targets with Pharoh Cooper seeing some as well. I believe Woods can put up low end WR2 numbers at a cost of practically free.
-Josh Merrifield, Dynasty Trade Calculator, (DTC_JoshM)
Quincy Enunwa, Wide Receiver, Jets
Quincy Enunwa is a really good football player who, for one reason or another, is still not getting the kind of respect he deserves in fantasy leagues. He’s a dynasty value right now—usually going off the board between WR60 and WR70 in startup drafts. Entering his fourth season, Enunwa is a team leader for the Jets. As I alluded to in his rookie scouting report, he possesses a rare size/speed combination and does the little things that keep him on the field in all situations. He played 823 offensive snaps in 2016.
Quincy Enunwa is less susceptible to bad weekly matchups as a big slot receiver with inside and outside capabilities—generally avoiding alpha cornerbacks. With Brandon Marshall already gone and with Eric Decker’s future uncertain, Enunwa’s role on offense is secure. The Jets’ projected losing ways could easily make Enunwa a dependable weekly source of targets in 2017. In 2018, Enunwa projects to be a free agent, so there are multiple ways for his quarterback situation to improve. Don’t assume that he’s stuck with the Jets long term. I project Enunwa to be a top 40 fantasy receiver in 2017.
-Pete Davidson, RotoBahn.com (@RotoBahn)
The New York Jets released Brandon Marshall and his team leading 128 targets. 30-year old Eric Decker (hip, shoulder surgeries) may not be healed for Week 1. The Jets could cut Decker altogether and save $5.75 million as part of a rebuild. The WR depth chart is wide open for Quincy Enunwa.
Quincy Enunwa, whose Best Comparable Player is Josh Gordon, uses his 6-2 frame and 96th-percentile Height Adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) to win contested catches (No. 11 Contested Catch Rate) and gain YAC, which produced 43% of his 857 receiving yards in 2016. Uncertainty creates buy low opportunities in fantasy football. Buy low on Enunwa at his WR79 February ADP before the Jets QB and WR situations become clearer.
-Frank Gruber, PlayerProfiler (@threedownhack)
Robby Anderson, Wide Receiver, Jets
Last year, when I told people that “Robby Anderson Could Be A Thing”, I stated, “there’s no doubt in my mind that Robby Anderson’s name will find itself in the relevant wide receiver discussion no more than two-to-three years from now.” Well, Anderson jump-started his path towards dynasty relevancy last year when he received 718 snaps and an average of 5.79 looks per game which translated to 1.44 points per look in PPR scoring formats. Now that Brandon Marshall upgraded his NY Football team, the consensus will predictably flock to height-adjusted speed score sweetheart, Quincy Enunwa, as the NY Jets WR2. Although, if you’re looking to receive a more rewarding return on investment, and/or just outright prefer to draft the (in my opinion) better wide receiver, Robby Anderson is your guy.
-Waz, Pyromaniac.com (@WazNFL)
Cordarrelle Patterson, Wide Receiver, Raiders
I realize most people have given up on Cordarrelle Patterson, I have not. He is long shot and unlikely to pay off, but he is free in dynasty leagues. Patterson signed with Oakland and will probably take the returner role and also Andre Holmes‘ spot in the Oakland receiver group. Wide receivers not named Cooper or Crabtree did very little last year (54/557/8 on 105 targets), however Patterson is the type of receiver that can make things happen on few touches and has even hinted towards wanting to play some running back. Norv Turner was a terrible fit for Patterson, so I’m hoping that Oakland signed him because they are planning to find more ways to use him. Derek Carr was on pace for over 4000 yards and 40 touchdowns. If anyone gets injured, Patterson could end up seeing some flex-worthy production.
-Scott Fish, Scott Fish Bowl (@ScottFish24)
Martavis Bryant, Wide Receiver, Steelers
We’re currently still waiting to see if he’ll be reinstated in advance of this season, but assuming that happens I’ll be eager to roll the dice on Bryant, who’s hauled in an impressive 14 TD catches in just 21 regular-season games. Adding to the intrigue, as ESPN’s Mike Clay recently pointed out, Bryant has been on the field for at least 70 percent of the team’s pass plays during 12 of his 24 career games (including three post-season appearances). During those 12 game, Bryant handled 9.5 targets per game. So, while the “knucklehead factor” seems high, it’s also likely to keep his price reasonable.
-Bob Harris, Football Diehards (@FootballDiehard)
Martavis Bryant’s upside is worth chasing.
Over last three seasons (min. 125 tgts), Martavis Bryant ranks behind only Julio in PPR/Snap and behind just DJax/Baldwin/Jordy in PPR/Tgt. pic.twitter.com/ozVCmWW5YF
— Scott Barrett (@ScottBarrettDFB) March 13, 2017
-Scott Barrett, Pro Football Focus (@ScottBarrettDFB)
Martavis Bryant is my top dynasty buy-low for the 2017 season. After showing some flashes as a big play threat in 2014 and 2015 Bryant was suspended for all of 2016 season due to a drug suspension. This came after missing 4 games in 2015 for a similar offense. His questions have never been on the field and it seems to me like he’s turned his life around. After watching this interview youtu.be/D2GTsBLbYiA and following him on social media I believe he’s made changes to his lifestyle and has refocused his priorities to football. He’s put on about 15 pounds of muscles since last year and If reinstated and given a second chance by the Steelers he will be thrown back into a top echelon offense. You could get him for a mid to late 2nd round rookie pick of even possibly less. I’m all in on that asking price due to his massive upside. Martavis is a freaky athlete that opposite of AB could come back hitting on all cylinders. I’m buying everywhere I can.
-Jake Anderson, Dynasty Football Factory (@NFLDraftTalker)
John Brown, Wide Receiver, Cardinals
After a pair of 100-target seasons during his first and second years as a pro, John Brown took a step back in 2016 thanks to a sickle-cell issue. That’s reportedly been fixed, which means Brown, who’ll be 27 in April, is walking into a situation that lacks consistent competition aside from a 33-year-old Larry Fitzgerald, who contemplated retirement this year. He won’t be a guy you’re targeting for WR1 upside, but Brown certainly deserves more love than he’s getting given his situation and underrated body of work.
-JJ Zachariason, NumberFire (@LateRoundQB)
John Brown‘s sickle-cell issue derailed most of 2016, but the team says it’s now under control and they have a plan going forward. When healthy Brown stretches the field, tracks everything in sight and lays down razor sharp routes with good hands. More importantly, he’s consistently involved in the passing game when he’s operating close to 100% – so top 20 numbers are within reach, especially with no Michael Floyd and an aging Larry Fitzgerald who turns 34 in August. Up next…Giovani Bernard. Still only 25 and a cheap PPR choice for dynasty zero RB enthusiasts. Capitalize now on the ACL rehab discount window. Lastly, my buy low rookie is Pittsburgh RB James Conner. Love his size/speed combination. Take him earlier than you think you should and do it before he rips the face mask right off your helmet.
-Leo Paciga, Dynasty League Football (@Ciga_FF)
After a surprising rookie season as part of the heralded 2014 draft class, Cardinals WR John Brown enjoyed his first career 1,000-yard season in 2015 despite plenty of competition for targets on the Arizona depth chart. 2016 was a step back for the undersized speedster who was dealing with health issues that limited him for portions of the season. While it took dynasty owners quite a while to come around to the idea that Brown could be a productive fantasy option, it took no time at all for them to give up on him when he struggled. After reaching a dynasty ADP high of 41 this past August, Brown has tumbled all the way outside the top 100. With Larry Fitzgerald nearing the end of his career, and considering Brown’s falling price, he is a player you must target with the expectation he will be healthy and bounce back in 2017.
-Ryan McDowell, Dynasty League Football (@RyanMc23)
J.J. Nelson, Wide Receiver, Cardinals
J.J. Nelson is a guy who’s still extremely inexpensive but ripped off five consecutive double-digit games to finish (and seven in total). He’s small but ridiculously fast – faster than teammate John Brown – and a great fit for what Arizona does offensively. Nelson averaged 19.1 ppg in the four contests without Floyd last year and should earn plenty of opportunity in 2017.
-Shawn Siegele, RotoViz (@FF_Contrarian)
J.J. Nelson is a prime buy-low candidate in dynasty leagues. Nelson posted a +12.3 (No. 23) Production Premium and a +15.3-percent (No. 12) Target Premium in 2016, as he out-produced John Brown and Michael Floyd on a per-target basis. Nelson also averaged 17.7 (No. 2) Yards Per Target Distance last season, and with his 4.28 speed, should come close to that number again in 2017. With a 15.8-percent (No. 14) Hog Rate, J.J. Nelson was targeted often when on the field in 2016, and with a bump in playing time on the horizon, expect Nelson to provide value in dynasty leagues in 2017.
-Kevin McHugh, RotoUnderworld (@kevinjm622)
Cole Beasley, Wide Receiver, Cowboys
Cole Beasley is easily the guy whose sauce gets by buy low motor running. The guy gets no respect despite being an extremely reliable option for Dak with his 76.5% catch rate, #2 in the league. His production premium of +17.3, 16th among wide receivers, has me hopeful his career arc continues forward as it has every season. The growth he has shown is exactly what we look for in every receiver, yet his is overlooked because he’s a dirty slot receiver whose TD ceiling is limited.
-Justin McCasland, Fantasy Football Authority (@MaclandJ)
Maybe I’ve missed something here. Cole Beasley has seen a 60+ spot decline in DLF’s ADP data since the end of the year. Terrance Williams re-signed to a four-year deal and Jason Witten is a year older. These are the threats to Beasley? He saw increases in targets, receptions, and yards for the fourth straight year. Even if the team looks to add skill players in the draft, this is a high floor asset you can buy for next to nothing.
-George Kritikos, Dynasty League Football (@RotoHack)
The Dallas offense belongs to Dak Prescott at quarterback. In 2016, he showed that he favors Cole Beasley – to the tune of 98 targets. Beasley converted those targets into 75 receptions, 833 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Granted, Dez Bryant was injured for a portion of the season, but that seems to be a common occurrence with him. Plus, Dallas needs a reliable second wide out. Terrence Williams was just signed to a new 4-year deal, and is listed above Beasley on the Cowboys depth chart – but he stinks for fantasy. Jason Witten is 47 years old, and I can’t imagine he will be around too much longer. Right now is the buy-low window for Beasley in dynasty. Last season, he had nine double-digit fantasy weeks, and commanded 4 or more targets in thirteen out of sixteen weeks. His current ADP is 219… I like that value. Trade for him this offseason while most fantasy players are distracted with the rookie craze.
-Justin Barlow, Fantasy Football Couch Coach (@FFCouchCoach)
Devin Funchess, Wide Receiver, Panthers
Devin Funchess currently resides in the depths of DLF’s ADP: at 153 overall, he’s well past the midpoint of charted players and just ahead of the athletically challenged incoming rookies Cooper Kupp and Jamaal Williams. At 22, he’s nearly a year younger than Kupp and already has two years of pro experience under his belt. Lest we forget, Funchess’ best comp on PlayerProfiler.com is Brandon Marshall – he has a fairly freaky height-adjusted speed score (86th percentile) and a college dominator rating that is well, dominant (81st percentile). Yes, he let a lot of overly optimistic people down in his putrid sophomore campaign, but that has reduced a high-upside third-year breakout candidate to bargain-basement prices. Ted Ginn’s gone and now that Funchess is starting opposite Kelvin Benjamin, he should see at least 200 more snaps and 40 additional targets. Unless you believe that Benjy (best comp on PlayerProfiler: Gargamel) is going to take a big step forward at 26 – and we have yet to see the prerequisite commitment and consistency – you should snatch up Funchess shares and hope the Panthers devote most of their offensive draft capital to Leonard Fournette and not significant receiver talent. You have little to lose.
-John Evans, Xs & Ys Podcast (@JohnF_Evans)
Demaryius Thomas, Wide Receiver, Broncos
Demaryius Thomas. Amidst less than inspiring quarterback support and age criticism, Thomas has recorded a minimum of 90 receptions for 1,000 yards receiving in five consecutive seasons. Over that span, he has finished no worse than the WR16 overall in PPR. Sure, Thomas’ elite production is behind him. At the same time, it’s hard to find a more valuable and consistent option with a discounted price at the wide receiver position.
-Cory Evans, Dynasty Nerds (@CoryEvansNFL)
Chris Moore, Wide Receiver, Ravens
When searching for deep-dynasty prospects, I examine depth charts across the league to locate potential opportunities for snaps and targets. Looking at the Ravens roster, there are few quality veteran options at wideout. Clearly, Former Cincinnati Bearcat Chris Moore has an unencumbered path for playing time in Baltimore. A big-play receiver, Moore averaged 21.2 YPR in college and scored seven times beyond 40 yard during last two crusades on campus. The sophomore receiver could undoubtedly garner more opportunities in 2017.
-John Laub, Football Diehards (@GridironSchol91)
Josh Doctson, Wide Receiver, Washington
Josh Doctson was a clear winner in free agency. Kirk Cousins threw for nearly 5000 yards last year, and now Garcon and Jackson who accounted for over 40% of that production are gone. It was a lost rookie season for Doctson and some dynasty players have become antsy waiting for the former 1st round pick. Yes, he has injury concerns, but there should be no skill set concerns.
-Mike Wright, The Fantasy Footballers (@FFHitman*)
Brian Quick, Wide Receiver, Washington
Brian Quick Truthers Unite! Featuring both an 80-plus percentile Height-adjusted Speed Score (HaSS) and College Dominator Rating, Brian Quick is one of the best small-school wide receiver prospects to ever enter the NFL. Yet, Quick’s inevitable breakout was far from inevitable. After four-straight top-24 fantasy weeks early in 2014 as the Rams’ featured split end, Quick’s career was derailed when he experienced one of the most severe shoulder injuries NFL doctors had ever witnessed. After a lengthy rehabilitation, Quick returned to find himself relegated to a No. 3 WR role for a Jeff Fisher offense and was never heard from again. Potentially reborn on Washington’s pass-first, ask questions later offense, Brian Quick is not dead yet and offers maximum upside in deep fantasy football dynasty leagues in 2017.
-Matt Kelley, RotoUnderworld (@Fantasy_Mansion)
Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver, Panthers
Want to hear a name you haven’t heard in a minute? Kelvin Benjamin. Carolina’s forgotten man. “Old” at 26, with only two NFL seasons under his belt, he is the number one wide receiver and former first-round draft pick on a team that just lost 148 targets in Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey “Cheesesteak” Brown. Benjamin is typically a punchline on the rare occasion he is mentioned at all, but his situation may be an ideal one for dynasty owners. The fantasy community at large is obsessed with a single question: Which running back will Carolina select, and how many thousands of yards can we count on from that player?Meanwhile, during what was a down year for Cam Newton by anyone’s definition, Benjamin racked up nearly 1,000 yards and 7 TDs despite playing only 13 games. With less competition for targets, a healthy Kelvin Benjamin might not be sexy, but at his current dynasty ADP of WR32 (behind the likes of Josh Doctson!), he is a safe investment with legitimate WR1 upside. I never thought I’d say this, but I’m going to be looking to get my hands on fantasy football’s Amy Schumer (h/t Freedman).
-John Solis, RotoViz (@popularffwriter)
Chris Conley, Wide Receiver, Chiefs
I haven’t lost hope on Chris Conleyy. With the metrics this kid has, just go ahead and take a look on playerprofiler.com, and a February ADP of 287 he meets two criteria of my buy low candidate. Conley is athletically gifted and he’s free! If he doesn’t pan out no big deal, you didn’t spend a lot for him anyway
-Frank the Tank, Fantasy Football Authority (@DyanstyFrank)
Jeremy Maclin, Wide Receiver, Chiefs
Jeremy Maclin has been forgotten too quickly among the dynasty community. He is currently the WR51 in February start-up ADP via Dynasty League Football. At age 28 (29 before the season starts) he should be incredibly easy to acquire via trade or start-up draft. With so many people hyping Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill, Maclin is the forgotten wide receiver who just finished inside the top 15 in PPR scoring just one year ago.
-Travis May, Dynasty League Football (@FF_TravisM)
Tyreek Hill‘s production in 2016 is unsustainable, and talent always has upside. A nagging injury made him miss 4 games and seem off script with Alex Smith occasionally, but he made over a 1000 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2015. Jamaal Charles is gone, so there are more check-downs to go around. His age scares people, his situation makes them groan, and Alex Smith makes them run away screaming. But if you want a talented, proven producer – for less – Jeremy Maclin is a good target.
-Peter Howard, RotoUnderworld (@PAHowdy)
Seth Roberts, Wide Receiver, Raiders
Roberts has been the third wide receiver in the Oakland Raiders high powered offense. An offense which finished 7th in points per game, 6th in yards per game, 4th in time of possession, and have a young rising star at quarterback with a top 5 offensive line. When I look for buy low candidates, the fertilization of their offense is a great place to start. Higher end prospects can thrive with or without the offense around them, however, guys like Snead or Roberts, just need to fit. Roberts for the past two seasons has seen his snap share go from 49.73% in 2015 to 72.36% in 2016. Clear indication that the Raiders love Roberts as the third WR to pair with Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Cooper and Crabtree combined for 276 targets in 2015 and 277 in 2016. Few teams support multiple 125+ target seasons by two wide receivers. In 2016, Broncos and Raiders were the only two. In 2015, there were only four, yes, the Raiders were one of them. The best part is Roberts is free, likely available on most waivers, well, expect leagues that I’m in.
-Kevin O’Brien, Dynasty League Football (@The_FF_Engineer)
Marvin Jones, Wide Receiver, Lions
WOPR stands for Weighted Opportunity Rating and combines Target Share and Share of team air yards into one metric. For the full 2016 season both Marvin Jones and Golden Tate’s WOPR is identical: 0.52. Since WOPR is the most stable and predictable metric we have for WR, we should expect similar opportunity for both Jones and Tate again next year.
Efficiency, on the other hand, is not very predictable, so we should expect that to change and regress. A good question to ask is: regress to what? It turns out that catch rate and YAC are almost completely driven by how deep a receiver’s targets are. A ball thrown 30 yards has a much lower chance of being caught than one thrown 10. A ball thrown 5 yards typically means a receiver will accrue more YAC than one throw 20. With those concepts in mind, here are Golden Tate and Marvin Jones’ air yards per target (aYPT) for 2016.
- Tate: 8.1 aYPT
- Jones 14.5 aYPT
Marvin Jones utterly dominated Tate on deep targets, which are much more volatile than the short targets Tate was getting. Jones was about 5% less efficient than we might expect given how deep his targets are, so he is a good candidate for positive regression this year.
-Josh Hermsmeyer, RotoViz (@FriscoJosh)
Paul Richardson, Wide Receiver, Seahawks
While Paul Richardson has been one of the few disappointments from the 2014 wide receiver class, I believe Richardson is in a great spot to finally coming to fruition in year four. Richardson was a highly productive player in college, amassing over 1343 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns on 16.2 yards per reception in his final season at Colorado. Add in his 18.4 (98th percentile) breakout age, and we’re already cooking with gas. Richardson also had a really nice combine, running a 4.40 forty-yard dash and posting a 126.6 (80th percentile) speed score. Richardson got picked early in the second round of the NFL draft by the Seattle Seahawks, and we’re off the races! Or are we? Richardson suffered multiple injuries in his first few years, and simply hadn’t been himself in his early career. However, signs that Richardson was finally healthy came in the 2016 postseason. Richardson had 131 receiving yards on nine playoff targets in 2016, and filled in admirably for an injured Tyler Lockett. With Lockett’s injury likely leaking into 2017, and with Jermaine Kearse‘s horrific 2016 (1 receiving touchdown and 41 receptions on 91 targets) behind us, there’s certainly an opportunity for a player to emerge as a prominent weapon alongside Doug Baldwin.
-Russell Clay, Daily Football Cafe (@RussellJClay)
Fewer than six months older than Tyler Lockett, Paul Richardson remains a precocious talent. Richardson’s 18.4 (94th-percentile) Breakout Age and 46.3-percent College Dominator (90th-percentile), describe him as an elite, natural performer. With a Best Comparable Player of Emmanuel Sanders, Richardson recorded the second highest receiving total for Seattle in the 2016 playoffs (2 games). Remember, it required a change of scenery for Sanders’ career to ignite, and whether in Seattle or elsewhere Richardson provides mammoth upside on the back of a dynasty roster.
-Nathan Aucker, RotoUnderworld (@nathanaucker)
Paul Richardson is very, very interesting to me at a current March dynasty ADP of 194. He’s surrounded there by players I’ve seriously never heard of: Isaiah Ford, ArDarius Stewart, and Ryan Tannehill, just to name a few. Lockett is going 118 spots earlier and recovering from a fractured fibula and tibula. That seems, um, risky? Not only did Richardson finish the season strong, but the chatter at the Pike Place Fish Market watercooler indicates the Seahawks want to get him more involved moving forward. When your rookie draft gets rolling and you are OTC in the third round, I’d shop that pick to the Richardson owner, lest he’s forgotten about his 90th percentile College Dominator and 98th percentile Breakout Age.
-Peter Overzet, Fantasy Football Comedy Hour (@PeterOverzet)
Emmanuel Sanders, Wide Receiver, Broncos
In 2016, Emmanuel Sanders posted his 3rd consecutive 1,000-yard season with 79 catches for 1,032 yards, totals that ranked 17th in the NFL. Even with a bottom 12 QB situation, he maintained a 25.8% target share, but only converted 5 TDs on 11 RZ targets inside the 10-yard line. The opportunity is there, almost as much as the value Sanders currently represents at WR 40, behind luminaries Kevin White and Michael Crabtree. Emmanuel Sanders has been consistently productive and his 2017 season could be the value to push your dynasty team to a championship.
-Ben Howell, The Fantasy Authority (@ShadowFire71)
Cameron Meredith, Wide Receiver, Bears
This is fairly obvious, right? Wrong! His current ADP of 79 puts him in the middle of the 6th round. This means you have 5 other picks you can make, prior to needing to select him. Regardless of your positional drafting strategy, you are still getting tremendous value (and a steal), as Meredith can give you the upside of a Top 15 WR. On PlayerProfiler he comps to Tyrell Williams (who everyone loves). For me, his size/speed mix is in the realm of Vincent Jackson. I mention that because Vincent Jackson thrived with Mike Glennon under center (in their one year), and now Glennon has the reigns in Chi-Town. 52 targets, 38 receptions, 482 yards, 2 TDs. Those are totals for his best four games (out of 14) in 2016. No more Alshon to contend with, and a serviceable QB. Dream big!
-Andy Singleton, Fantrax (@PeoplezPen)
Donte Moncrief, Wide Receiver, Colts
If there was just one player to buy low on, I’d have to say that it’s Donte Moncrief. It’s been a disappointing couple of years for the once highly sought after wide receiver, but similar to Davante Adams entering 2016, you’ll want to buy as low as possible. Not only was Moncrief himself dealing with injuries, but so was Andrew Luck, who finally got his shoulder injury taken care of this off-season. It shouldn’t surprise anyone to see Moncrief being drafted as a top 12 wide receiver next off-season. The talent is there, as is the opportunity, considering the Colts defense looks to be one of the worst in the league. Again, eerily similar to the 2016 Packers and Adams. Buy, buy, buy.
-Mike Tagliere, FantasyPros (@Mike Tagliere)
Will Fuller, Wide Receiver, Texans
Let’s begin with the obvious, quarterback play with Brock Osweiler under center was a WR production albatross. Exit the Brocktopus (via trade with Cleveland), and a potential opening for a QB upgrade. DeAndre Hopkins is also set to hit free agency in 2018, while Fuller could be locked up until 2020 with a bump in targets. The time to buy is now.
-Johnny Rumford, Draft Day Consultants (@RumfordJohnny)
Injuries and Brock Osweiler faded Will Fuller’s second half, but his first month set records, going over 100 yards or a touchdown in three of four weeks. I’m bullish on Fuller as a post hype breakout— the skill set is big and he’s a lock for 100-plus targets. Fuller is tied to Houston landing Tony Romo, but there’s blow-up potential.
-Anthony Costa, Rotoworld
Kendall Wright, Wide Receiver, Bears
A quick look at the top two players on the Bears WR depth chart shows the best of PlayerProfiler: super-sleeper turned breakout player Cameron Meredith and old man Kevin White. We know Kevin White isn’t happening, so Kendall Wright is the obvious beneficiary of targets. He has shown the ability to produce, going 94/1079/2 in his sophomore season. His best comp is Julian Edelman – an Edelman-like volume flanker role in Chicago is definitely possible for Wright.
-Nick Coder, RotoUnderworld (@NickCoder)
Kenny Stills, Wide Receiver, Dolphins
Many were hoping Kenny Stills would get a fresh start through free agency, but he played it safe and re-signed with the Dolphins. This, however, could position him as an excellent buy-low option. Head coach Adam Gase has been a long-time fan of Stills, and expanded the speedster’s role in the offense immensely in Year 1 (which also led to a career year for Stills). Just 24-years old, Stills is only a few months older than DeVante Parker, and could be a better long-term option for the Dolphins if Parker’s injury issues/inconsistent play continues. His stock won’t be lower than it is now, especially given draft/fantasy Twitter’s profound affection for Parker. Scoop Stills up for cheap and hope to reap the rewards.
-Alex Gelhar, NFL Network (@AlexGelhar)
Kamar Aiken, Wide Receiver, Colts
Kamar Aiken had a down year in 2016 in Baltimore, but that was largely due to the return of a healthy Steve Smith. When Smith has been unable to play over the last two years (11 missed games), Aiken has stepped up as a productive receiver, going from 3.5 targets per game up to 9.5. He’s averaged over 14.5 PPR points over that span, a pace that would’ve netted him the overall WR16 finish last year. He finished as the WR27 in 2015 after posting a 75/944/5 stat line. One of the quietest signings of free agency, Aiken signed a 1-year, $2.5M with the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts have ranked in the top half of the league in pass play percentage ever since Luck arrived in Indy and Aiken should have little difficult supplanting Phillip Dorsett in their base 3WR set. Aiken’s sublime breakout age (18.3), terrific size (6’-2”, 215 pounds), and athleticism (85th percentile Height-adjusted Speed Score) make him a fantastic dynasty asset to pursue that should cost very little to acquire.
-Tyler Buecher, NumberFire (@TylerBuecher)
Rashard Higgins, Wide Receiver, Browns
Given the state of the team (and quarterback situation), it’s easy to overlook players in Cleveland. Don’t make that mistake with Rashard Higgins. The kid dominated in 2014 and still managed a solid line in his final season at Colorado State despite Garrett Grayson and his 4,000 yards having left. Some will argue that it was lesser competition, but Higgins is a great route runner, smooth, knows how to set up defenders and separate. Higgins can line up at multiple receiver positions, and with Terrelle Pryor on the Redskins and Josh Gordon being, well, Josh Gordon, Higgins has the opportunity to step up as the Browns No. 1 option with Corey Coleman better suited for a slot/No. 2 role.
-Jake Ciely, RotoExperts (@AllInKid)
Jacquizz Rodgers, Running Back, Buccaneers
Stay with me here: Doug Martin is suspended for the first four games of the year, has a 2017 salary of $7 million and averaged a paltry 2.92 YPC last season. Charles Sims is a solid pass-catcher, but when Martin was sidelined in Week 16, he took a backseat to Rodgers, who out-touched Sims 17-to-7 against the Saints. The still-only-27-year-old Jacquizz Rodgers has seen at least 12 carries in seven games over the past four years. In those games, he averaged 97 total yards and 0.57 TD on 22.2 touches (4.25 YPC). Due to his size (5-7, 190-pounds), Rodgers is not considered an every-down back, but he has certainly been capable of carrying the load when called upon. YPC-wise, Rodgers had the best year of his career (4.34 YPC) in 2016, and looking back at his low-YPC days in Atlanta, he still managed to meet or beat the YPC of the team’s starters (i.e. Michael Turner, Steven Jackson) from 2012-14. That’s not saying much, but it wasn’t like the Falcons’ offensive line was very good at opening holes in those days. Given Martin’s suspension, cost and lack of efficiency, it’s entirely possible that the Rodgers will be the lead back for the Bucs in Week 5 and beyond.
-John Paulson, 4For4 (@4For4_John)
Doug Martin, Running Back, Buccaneers
We’re talking about a guy with a ceiling of 1900 all-purpose yards and 12 TDs who’s being taken in startups near the likes of other RBs such as Adrian Peterson (146), Jerick McKinnon (137) & Charles Sims (139). So he got slapped with a 4-game suspension, “Booo hoooo! Waaaaaaaaaa!” cry me a river. The Silver Lining? At least he was taking PEDs, and not recreational drugs. To me, this becomes less of a mental concern when it doesn’t involve habit-forming narcotics. I mean, come on – his nickname is “The Muscle Hamster” for crying out loud, what did you expect?
The former NFL Rushing Title runner-up just turned 28, and only has about 1,000 career carries (That’s 1400 less than AP). Bucs GM Jason Licht said the team “may not be so grim” at running back – So it’s looking like the Bucs could pass on addressing the position in Free Agency and/or the NFL Draft leaving the cage door wide open for a Muscle Hamster Revival. Expect him to get back on the hamster wheel again after week four, and buy him for a late 2nd/early 3rd right now!
-John-Paul Hurley, Dynasty Trade Calculator (@DTC_JohnH)
C.J. Prosise, Running Back, Seahawks
The best time to buy on a player in dynasty is right after a club makes a perceived “impact” signing or draft pick at that player’s position. The Seahawks did just that with Eddie Lacy at running back, but how much does that really affect C.J. Prosise? The former college receiver is a completely different player than Lacy… and Thomas Rawls, for that matter. Small sample size notwithstanding, Prosise averaged 1.30 PPR fantasy points per touch last season, which was sixth-most among RBs with 40 or more touches. And because he had bad injury luck and we barely got to see him play, perhaps there’s something to exploit there. A metrics monster with tape to back it up, Prosise should have a role independent of Lacy/Rawls. And if Lacy isn’t the answer for Seattle, don’t be shocked if Prosise leads this backfield in fantasy points as early as 2017.
-Joe Dolan, FantasyGuru.com (@FG_Dolan)
The offseason free agent shuffle makes for significant value changes for the players moving homes as well as their new teammates. Sometimes, the best values are when a player’s value is diminished by a new player coming in and fantasy players overstate the effect on the player. This is exactly what happened when Eddie Lacy lanced in Seattle. Signing Eddie Lacy to a 1 year $4.25 million deal does not mean the team has given up on their top 100 pick of a year ago. Lacy hasn’t eclipsed 800 rushing yards since 2014 and Prosise showed flashes in limited playing time. In Prosise 1.5 starts, he ran for 142 rushing yards with 9 catches for 92 receiving yards. Rawls and his lack of receiving ability is the player to panic on with the Lacy signing, not Prosise.
-Nathan Powell, RotoViz (@NPowellFF)
C.J. Prosise is a guy that you either believe in, or you don’t. I still think Prosise is the lead back in Seattle and will be a top 12 guy when it’s all said and done. When he got more than 5 touches a game, he scored over 12 points a game in PPR. Week 8 (8 tot. touches, 103 Tot. Yards, 12 points), Week 10 (24 tot. touches, 153 tot. yards, 20 points), Week 11 (6 tot. touches, 81 tot. yards, 1TD, 14 points). This is a guy who is still learning the position behind a bad offensive line. The best is yet to come…………MIC DROP!
-Tyler Guenthner, Dynasty Happy Hour Podcast (@DHHGunth)
Duke Johnson, Running Back, Browns
Duke Johnson is RB43 overall in ADP.
Duke Johnson is RB2 overall in Yards per Route.
Duke Johnson is RB5 overall in Receiving Yards, with zero targets Weeks 1-3.
Duke Johnson is RB4 overall in PFF’s RB Receiving Grades.
Duke Johnson is RB4 overall in RB Receiving Yards.
Duke Johnson is RB1 overall in Browns RB Receiving Yards per year.
Duke Johnson is RB7 overall in Yards per Reception.
Duke Johnson was RB8 overall in PFF Rookie RB Elusive Rating since 2006.
Duke Johnson was RB1 overall in Forced Missed Tackles in the college passing game.
Duke Johnson was RB4 overall in college Elusive Rating.
The Cleveland Browns new combined Offensive Line is projected 2nd in Yards before Contact per Attempt this year. But yeah, keep drafting Duke Johnson at RB43.
-Hilal Chami, RotoUnderworld (@HJChami)
Charles Sims, Running Back, Buccaneers
After a season-ending injury deflated Charles Sims’ perceived value, he became a prime buy low candidate for 2017. Not only was Sims prolific in 2015 (top-10 in targets, receptions and receiving yards), but he was also efficient with a 6.9 (No. 4) yards per touch to go along with a top-15 Juke Rate. Sims, 26, also flashes game-breaking speed with upper-percentile Speed and Burst Scores. As he returns to full health next season, Sims should see plenty of carries open up for him with the looming suspension of Doug Martin. As the Tampa Bay pass offense ascends under Jameis Winston, be sure to acquire one of his most dynamic pass catchers who holds workhorse upside.
-Andrew Persanyi, RotoUnderworld (@persanyi_island)
Giovani Bernard, Running Back, Bengals
Giovani Bernard has finished as a Top 20 PPR RB in 3 out of 4 years. He missed 6 games in 2016 and likely would have finished there 4 out of 4. Gio has become an integral part of the offense averaging over 3 receptions per game and unlike Jeremy Hill is signed through 2020. He can often be had for a 3rd round or later pick. He’s not a top-5 back, but for an RB who has consistently finished in the top-20, he’s well worth owning.
-Jacob Rickrode, RotoViz (@ClutchFantasy)
Ty Montgomery, Running Back, Packers
Ty Montgomery is a great buy low right now in dynasty because owners fear the unknown. Will they sign Adrian Peterson or Jamaal Charles? What if they draft a running back? Now is the time to strike and acquire Montgomery. He has a chance to be the lead running back in one of the best offenses in the NFL and now that he is a running back full time he has a whole off-season to train as such. Any time I have a chance to buy low on a player that can be utilized many different ways in a potent offense, I do it.
-Doug Eddy, TFF Gurus (@DaFantasyFather)
Ameer Abdullah, Running Back, Lions
College production? Check. Insane athleticism? Check. Mostly undervalued in dynasty, but equipped with the talent to hit huge heights? Check. Ameer Abdullah is your 2017 buy low. Every path to NFL success is different, and Abdullah’s will be a slower one after missing most of his 2016 sophomore campaign with a foot injury. He entered the season as the starter, racked up 120 total yards and a score, then headed to the IR next week. However, in 2017, we can expect big things. With a 99th-percentile burst score, and 98th-percentile agility score and SPARQ ratings, he’s an incredible athlete who’s simply had bad luck and little opportunity in his career so far. While generally viewed as a smaller, pass-catching back who might not see a full workload, it’s not beyond his capability to “do it all”. Even if the Lions add a back in this year’s NFL Draft, look for the third-year back to break out in a big way in 2017.
-James Simpson, Dynasty League Football (@JS_Football)
Annually, there seems to always be a single player that has fallen in ADP for extraneous circumstances. Not long ago, Ameer Abdullah was the unicorn of dynasty fantasy football as both film grinders and metrics nerds marveled at his potential in the league. However, he has failed to meet expectations thus far, solely because of consecutive seasons derailed by injury. Luckily, a buying opportunity has been created as people begun to cast him with the senseless “injury prone label”. Well friends, guess who hasn’t become any less talented and is primed to be rage back into the dynasty lime light? FEAR AMEER!
-Jeremy Funk, Dynasty League Football (@DLF_Deuce)
Jerick McKinnon, Running Back, Vikings
I decided long ago Jerick McKinnon is a hill I’m willing to die on. Many people assume McKinnon failed in his audition for a feature role last season, but 2016 was a tale of two offensive coordinators. McKinnon’s cumulative numbers are skewed heavily by Norv Turner’s coaching malpractice during the first half of the season. Once Pat Shurmur took over and began calling more plays out of the shotgun, McKinnon improved as a runner (despite one of the worst offensive lines in the league), and a receiver (35 of his 43 catches came after the coordinator change). Shurmur’s interim tag has been removed and Cordarrelle Patterson‘s departure opens up opportunities for players who excel in space, yet McKinnon is being drafted 16 picks behind Latavius Murray in March startups (per DLF). That may not have been crazy before it was revealed Murray underwent ankle surgery Wednesday, but it is now. Murray runs more upright than Matt Kelley’s zipper region when he watches replays of Jeff Janis‘ two-touchdown game from the 2015 playoffs. He presents an enormous target to tacklers and has now compiled an extensive history of foot and head injuries since entering the league. McKinnon might be useful in the passing game regardless, but if Murray misses games, the breakout train might finally leave the station.
-Phil Alexander, Football Guys (@PhilTWR)
One player that free agency has tricked dynasty owners into selling is Jerick McKinnon. While the news of free agent running backs visiting with the Vikings may scare some owners away from McKinnon, these players are all just average talents with big name value thanks to their former offensive line (see: Murray, Latavius) and/or former teammates (see: Lacy, Eddie in relation to Rodgers, Aaron) making them look better than they actually are. Additionally, the Vikings have made a concerted effort to fix the offensive line that ranked dead last (according to PlayerProfiler’s offensive line metric), inking Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers to contracts that sum up to nearly $90 million (the offensive line couldn’t be any worse than it was last year, anyway, due to the 2016 Saints defense corollary).
Better yet, Jerick McKinnon is a former QB convert as well as THE most athletic player at a position that relies on athleticism like no other. Want an idea as to how athletic he is? Try LaDainian Tomlinson, only if Tomlinson bench pressed nearly twice as many reps as he did at the combine (18 compared to McKinnon’s 32). And, putting the cherry on top, McKinnon has proven he can produce, as shown by his top-11 yards per touch and top-7 juke rate in 2015. However, once he makes it through the draft without any true competition, the dynasty horde will catch up, so buy him while you can.
-Rich Torres, Fantasy Football Authority (@PlayThePcts)
Bishop Sankey, Running Back, Vikings
Right now, my favorite dynasty buy-low player is Bishop Sankey. I wish I were joking, but people who know me and the passwords to the online accounts I created three years ago know that I don’t joke around about 8!$#0p$6nkey. If we assume that running back is a fragile position with production based largely on opportunity, then we should roster cheap backs who are athletic and maybe one injury away from enhanced opportunity. That’s Sankey. He’s available on waivers in the majority of leagues, he’s the only known back behind Jerick McKinnon in Minnesota, his per-opportunity production is comparable to McKinnon’s, he’s just as good of a receiver as McKinnon is, he’s younger than McKinnon, and — even though McKinnon is an all-world athlete — Sankey’s SPARQ-x score is almost as high as McKinnon’s. In fact, if you look at Sankey’s player page on PlayerProfiler.com, you’ll notice that the player to whom he’s most comparable is . . . McKinnon. I’d rather have ‘arbitrage McKinnon’ for free than the real McKinnon at full price.
-Matthew Freedman, Fantasy Labs (@MattFTheOracle)
Isaiah Crowell, Running Back, Browns
Isaiah Crowell entered the NFL three seasons ago with an undrafted chip on his shoulder. He has statistically improved with each passing year despite being in one of the worst situations imaginable for a running back. In 2016, after the new coaching regime didn’t draft a single running back and instilled confidence in Crowell as the primary back, he handled 238 total touches and nearly broke 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career. The Browns made major upgrades to their offensive line in free agency and Crowell looks to be the main beneficiary. At age 24, he has played in all 16 games in each of his three seasons, and his dynasty ADP has him as the 23rd running back off the board in start-ups. That’s tremendous value for a back who is a virtual lock for 200-plus carries behind an improved offensive line in Cleveland.
-Matt Franciscovich, NFL Network (@MattFranchise)
Rex Burkhead, Running Back, Patriots
With Rex Burkhead making the move to Foxborough, he finds himself on one of the highest-octane offenses in the league. Former Patriot LeGarrette Blount just led the league in RZ carries in 2016 with 71, and Burkhead is joining a depth chart where he will be the best short yardage / GL back on day one. This also comes a time where the Cincy OL was just decimated in free agency, whereas NE maintains a #14 offensive line via PlayerProfiler.com. Add all this to the fact that Burkhead has only fumbled twice in his career and he’s on the fast track to productivity in BB’s stable.
-Tyler Strong, RotoUnderworld (@TylerStrong95)
During his collegiate days at Nebraska, Rex Burkhead was no stranger to the limelight, amassing 3,836 yards from scrimmage and 35 touchdowns, while posting 3,329 rush yards (5.2 YPC) and 30 rush touchdowns. Burkhead lights up the PlayerProfiler.com advanced stats and metrics profile with his 128.8 Burst Score (90th-percentile) and 10.94 Agility Score (93rd-percentile), while his 120.5 SPARQ-x Scores still tops out above average with a 71st-percentile. Having spent four years with Cincinnati as a former sixth round draft pick, Burkhead was signed by the Patriots this offseason and could make an immediate impact this year.
Let’s just start with saying there can’t be any way Belichick and company are signing Burkhead just to ride the bench. In limited action last season, Burkhead totaled 489 total yards and two touchdowns while averaging 5.4 yard per touch, good for No. 25 among running backs in 2016. Everybody will undervalue Burkhead heading into fantasy drafts this season. Take advantage of Burkhead’s perceived low-value in 2017, and make him one of the most valuable picks of your draft.
-Zach Krueger, RotoUnderworld (@FFTroglodyte)
Keith Marshall, Running Back, Washington
Marshall spent last year on IR with hamstring injury. He is currently sitting behind only Rob Kelley (4.4 ypt), Matt Jones (5.0 ypt), and Chris Thompson, who was used primarily in 3rd down/satellite role, on the depth chart. Marshall has the size+speed+strength combination worth stashing evidenced by a 126.9 Speed Score in a 30.5 BMI frame with 25 bench reps. Give me late round upside flyers with opportunity ALL DAY LONG.
-Kyle Labreck, Dynasty Dummies Podcast (@Klabreck)
Chris Thompson, Running Back, Washington
Chris Thompson was an exciting sleeper in the summer of 2016 because of the lack of trust in Matt Jones. And then the emergence of Rob Kelley put Thompson even further on the backburner for most dynasty players. And while Thompson never “broke out” in 2016, he filled a major role for WR heavy teams with his consistency. Despite not seeing a major opportunity, Thompson finished the 2016 fantasy year with 9 weeks inside of the top 36 RBs. He’s not a flashy asset, but he can likely be had for a third-round rookie pick and will fill a critical need for WR focused teams that need RB production.
-Matt Wispe, RotoViz (@WispeyTheKid)
Darius Jackson, Running Back, Browns
I considered a number of names. John Brown, Marquise Goodwin, Kyle Juszczyk or Josh Doctson… but I settled on Browns RB Darius Jackson. A SPARQ stud (96th percentile) with real talent and preseason success. Yes, that is all we have to go on with Jackson. However, the Browns found a talent on waivers late in the season after the Cowboys attempted to stash him on the practice squad. If I were to guess, the Browns view Isaiah Crowell as the primary back, with Duke Johnson as the secondary option. Jackson is Crowell’s primary backup, and might be called on to run behind a supremely talented offensive line. If we are talking value, a low price with a possible huge reward, Jackson is that.
-Josh Norris, Rotoworld (@JoshNorris)
-Justin Higdon, Draft Breakdown (@AFC2NFC)
It’s not often that a flurry of trade proposals fly to acquire the Mr. Irrelevant rookie pick, but that’s exactly what happened last year. And what did the 5.12 net you? A 4.45 40-yard dash, a 92nd percentile Speed Score, a 98th percentile Burst Score: one Darius Jackson. Now in Cleveland, the 23-year-old is one break away from running behind a top ten offensive line. Darius Jackson is a buy-low-gasm waiting to happen.
-Zac Reed, Dynasty Dummies Podcast (@TacitAssassin13)
Tyler Ervin, Running Back, Texans
The Texans trading (dumping) the $72 million-dollar man Brock Osweiler after one season was a clear indicator that they’re aren’t settling for underwhelming play. And their starting Running Back could be next. Of the RB’s with a 65% opportunity share Lamar Miller posted the third worst production premium (-19.9) and the third worst Fantasy Points per opportunity. Tyler Ervin brings similar speed to the table but had a much more dominant profile, including a 92nd percentile college target share. Kevin Cole’s forecasting model graded only Ezekiel Elliott and Derrick Henry higher in last year’s class and you can buy him for a 3rd rounder.
-Tim Talmadge, RotoViz (@FullOnTLT)
Dalvin Cook, Running Back, NFL Draft Prospect
At the time this article was compiled, Dalvin Cook isn’t even in the NFL yet. Frankly, I am not even sure if I am allowed to use soon-to-be NFL players in this particular article. I don’t care. (Sorry, Matt). Before posting a 10th percentile three-cone time at the NFL Combine, Cook was seemingly on the cusp of being the consensus 1.01 in dynasty drafts this year. Sure, it would have made all of our lives a lot easier if Cook was a better athlete. However, in a class that lacks high-upside depth at both wide receiver and running back, Cook still has a chance to be one of the most impactful players both early on and long-term. No running back–not even Ezekiel Elliott–has created more yards out of shotgun than Dalvin Cook, per Yards Created data over the last two years. What’s more, only Joe Mixon (0.570) has forced more missed tackles per rush attempt than Cook (0.495). And, to boot, in the 2016 season alone Cook is second to Mixon in receiving yards/game and third in market share of team receiving yards behind Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. Sure, Cook may not be the most agile or most athletic running back in the class — but he is still has a ton of equity as a top-2 dynasty pick.
-Graham Barfield, FantasyGuru.com (@GrahamBarfield)
Shane Vereen, Running Back, Giants
One of the best value late round running backs coming into 2017 is Shane Vereen. Vereen is being drafted as RB72 in the 19th round of start-up drafts (according to DLF). In 2016 Vereen had 19 targets (11 receptions) in 5 games played and 81 targets (59 receptions) in 16 games played in 2015. Still only 28 years old Shane Vereen‘s low usage will allow him to play beyond the typical running back age threshold and can be called on for 1-3 games of running back bell-cow work a year. Also, if the Giants were to draft a running back in the early rounds of the 2017 NFL draft I believe Paul Perkins‘ role as an early down back would be hurt more than Shane Vereen‘s satellite back role.
-Tim Torch, Under the Helmet (@TimNFL)
Erik Swoope, Tight End, Colts
I like the idea of buying Erik Swoope before the masses start to catch on. With Dwayne Allen no longer on the team, tons of TE opportunities are now up for grabs as both Jack Doyle and Allen saw over 600 snaps last season. Rob Chudzinski likes to run plenty of two TE sets meaning Swoope will be on the field plenty in 2017 catching passes from Andrew Luck. The Colts attempted the 13th most passes last season, their top WR isn’t exactly a red zone monster, their running game projects to struggle once again, and they don’t have a very good defense. Plus, even though the sample size is small, Swoope showed promise last year as he was extremely efficient with his 22 targets. At the TE position, Swoope finished 2nd in Production Premium, 3rd in Yards per Target, 4th in Drop Rate, 5th in Fantasy Points per Target, and 6th in Target Premium. Tied to one of the best QBs in dynasty and playing in one of the most favorable fantasy offenses, Swoope could take a major leap forward in 2017. The time to buy is now.
-Ben Cummins RotoUnderworld (@BenCummins)
If you’re looking for a sleeper that’s practically hibernating, look no further than Erik Swoope. Sure, it’s hard to find that next great low-profile tight end, but all the stars are aligning for a Swoope breakout. There are four things working heavily in Swoope’s favor. First off, he comes from Tight End University aka Miami (FL) where Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham, Kellen Winslow Jr., Jeremy Shockey and Bubba Franks all came from. Secondly, he was a converted basketball player, and everybody loves to hear that. Thirdly, he did a lot with a little. According to playerprofiler.com, Swoope was third in yards per target at 19.8 and fifth in fantasy points per target at 2.30. Spoiler, both of those statistics are great. Lastly, the departure of Dwayne Allen leaves a void in the “12” personnel package and as of now they have nobody but Swoope to fill it. If the Colts avoid spending a day one or two pick on a tight end, it should be a huge vote of confidence for Swoop. I rarely love players, but low equity and max upside has me in a swoon for Swoope in 2017.
-Izzy Elkaffas, Dynasty Trade Calculator (@DLF_IzzyE)
Antonio Gates, Tight End, Chargers
Gates is currently tied with Tony Gonzalez in career touchdowns scored by a tight end. He’s also in the final year of his contract and turns 37 years old in June. So, this is probably it for the future Hall of Famer, unless his 2015 PED suspension is counted against him. In any event, given how poor this draft class is looking I have no issues spending a fourth-round rookie pick (that will probably turn to vapor anyway) on Gates. Yes, Hunter Henry is a factor here, but we’ve seen reports suggesting the Chargers were looking to get Gates the touchdown record at the end of last year. And since all we really care about are touchdowns, I’ll buy into a retirement party narrative where Philip Rivers looks to his good buddy Gates frequently in the red zone.
-Eric McClung, RotoUnderworld (@EricMcClung)
Hunter Henry, Tight End, Chargers
Hunter Henry went 36/478/8 in his rookie NFL season. Henry had the 9th most TDs out of all pass catchers and tied for the most Tight End TDs on the 2016 season. This was all while sharing duties with future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates – who will be turning 37 before the 2017 season begins. There is a very small buy-low window available right now. Even if some of your league mates think they’re selling high, trust me. they’re not. He will out produce the price he’s most likely going or now. This is your last chance to buy-low on Hunter Henry.
-Brennan Pankiw, RotoUnderworld (@FFBren)
Tyler Higbee, Tight End, Rams
I know that Tyler Higbee is a popular name in dynasty circles, but I really think he has the chance to take off soon. New Rams coach Sean McVay grew up in the NFL coaching tight ends and shouldn’t shy away from one with big size (6-foot-6), good hands and feet and experience playing receiver. He’s got to remind McVay of Jordan Reed. The Rams are thin on downfield threats and Higbee has the chance to really become a key part in the offense.
-Dave Richard, CBS Sports (@DaveRichard)
Tyler Higbee‘s value has gone up since Lance Kendricks left the Rams, but there’s still room to profit before he gets a proper audition in a starting role. His bad team, small school background, and lack of pre-draft workout data (knee injury) leave his public profile lower than his likely role, athleticism, and college production would normally dictate. New coach Sean McVay utilized tight ends frequently in Washington, and a 6-foot-6, 243-pound target like Higbee is likely in line for a big role on a team otherwise bereft of tight end talent (or wide receiver talent, for that matter). That he totaled just 85 yards on 29 targets last year is a concern, but his showing in that cursed offense is likely less insightful than the 563 yards he was credited with on 49 targets in his last collegiate season.
-Mario Puig, RotoWire (@NFLDraft_RW)
Coby Fleener, Tight End, Saints
My top bounce-back player is Coby Fleener, who is going as the TE20 according to DLF’s Dynasty rankings after going as the TE6 last August. It is not uncommon for a TE to struggle in his first year with his new team: only one top-12 PPR TE over the last three seasons was in his first year with a new team. Jimmy Graham raised his PPG by 3.4 in his second season in Seattle last year, Greg Olsen by 3.4 in his second season in Carolina in 2012, and Delanie Walker by 1.5 in his second season with Tennessee in 2014. All of Brandin Cooks’ 117 targets aren’t likely to go to 31-year-old Ted Ginn, who has never drawn more than 97, and Michael Thomas may have trouble building considerably on his 8.1 targets per game facing more double coverage with Cooks gone. At a position prone to variance, even if Fleener catches only 50-odd balls again, with Drew Brees he could easily turn that into 774 yards and 8 TDs — as he did in 2014 with Andrew Luck — instead of the 631 yards and 3 TDs he produced in last year’s disappointing campaign.
-Chris Raybon, 4For4 (@ChrisRaybon)
Since 2008 here are the PPR points/game finishes for the Drew Brees tight end (fantasydata.com): 17, 15, 26, 2, 1, 1, 2, 7, and 16 last year. If you were to combine the 2010 statistics from Jimmy Graham and Jeremy Shockey they would have been equivalent to the 7th best fantasy tight end in points/game. Fleener has many holes in his game, however, you can argue that his situation has improved since last season when he had an August ADP of 77 according to dynastyleaguefootball.com.
The Saints lost 117 targets in Brandin Cooks and replaced him with a situational deep threat in Ted Ginn who’s career high in targets is 97. It is easy to imagine Fleener soaking up some of those unclaimed targets when, in 3-WR sets, Willie Snead slides outside to make room for Point Break Fleener and his freak athleticism. Do not let recency bias deter you from acquiring a Drew Brees tight end whose stock has quickly catered (178 ADP).
-Craig Wambold, RotoUnderworld (@CraigWambold)
Seth DeValve, Tight End, Browns
Seth DeValve is a cheap buy low — he might even be free — but I’m acquiring him where I can, especially TE premium leagues. The new regime in Cleveland raised eyebrows selecting the big, athletic tight end in the fourth round last year, and while he didn’t do much his rookie season, 31-year-old Gary Barnidge took a big step back statistically. The premise is the analytically-minded Browns had a plan when they drafted him, and his uptick in playing time and two touchdowns in the second half of 2016 both provide a small amount of support to that. The cost is nothing, while the upside is taking over a starting role by the end of this year and being a low-end TE1 on an improved Browns’ offense by 2018.
-Ben Gretch, RotoViz (@YardsPerGretch)
Evan Engram, Tight End, NFL Draft Prospect
The tight end position is one justifiably regarded as a non-priority in dynasty league rookie drafts. The amount of time it takes for tight ends develop rarely justifies the potential reward if the prospect hits. However, Evan Engram is not your typical tight end. At 6-3, 234-pounds, Engram appears far more apt for a more traditional wide receiver role than one where he is lined up at the end of the offensive line blocking. Engram’s athletic profile is simply incredible. Using fellow Rotoviz author Kevin Cole’s wide receiver regression tree, his results placed him in the top 6% of all wide receivers ever to participate at the NFL combine and a 48% chance of success in the NFL based on measurables. Landing spot will play a significant role as to how his career may go as he may not see significant snaps if forced to shoulder the duties of a traditional tight end. However, if he lands in an offense that opts to play to his strength, this late second round rookie draft pick could pay monstrous dividends.
-Heath K, RotoViz (@HeithK)
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