Lock’em up Before They Ramp up
This time of year it gets hard to decipher from factual and fictional training camp hype, where even the best Fantasy experts get caught up in positive headlines and impressive videos found on the internet. Over the past month my Co-Host, Mitch Prestine, and I have been breaking down the depth charts of each NFL team on our podcast The Dynasty Tailgate.
Through this project, it really opened my eyes, in the opportunity or lack of opportunity, that some up and coming players have. Below are players that I believe every dynasty owner should consider buying before these preseason games ramps up, and they become too expensive.
TAYWAN TAYLOR WR TEN
When I first introduced Taywan Taylor as a buy for this year, at the end of the 2017 season I was laughed at, with people saying that there was no way he could break out and that he was stuck behind Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis, Eric Decker, and even Taje Sharpe. Dynasty owners, tend to forget about contracts, and people allowed Taylor’s value to stay extremely low throughout the offseason, in thinking that Decker would be back (I don’t know why anyone thought this) and that Taje Sharpe would beat him out for the third wide receiver role.
If you bought him at his low point last season you’re smiling, because Taylor and the rest of the Titans offense are free of the joke that was “exotic smash-mouth”, and will be going to be into a competent system under Offensive Coordinator Matt Lafleur. Taylor seems to be grasping this new system well, as he is really making a lasting impact on the Titans coaches, and is vastly outperforming his competitor Taje Sharpe in the battle for the WR 3 job. Due to his performance, the Titans are coming up with ways to use Taylor, and making Taylor take reps both in the slot and on the outside.
Corey Davis may get the majority of the targets here, but I expect Taylor to cut into the workload of the other pass catchers and make an impact of his own in 2018. The value has risen on Taylor so far in training camp, but it is not too late to buy, unfortunately, if you let this thing run too far into the preseason, his value will rise even more and his buying window will be closed.
MARTAVIS BRYANT / JORDY NELSON WR OAK
The Raiders went out and added some firepower for their Quarterback Derek in signing Jordy Nelson, who as a Packer fan I miss dearly, and trading for Martavis Bryant. Both of these guys I think will provide tremendous value to contending teams in 2018, who you want to acquire depends on how much risk you want to absorb and how much you want to spend.
Jordy Nelson, although still fairly cheap has seen a bump in value with the recent comments coming from Raiders camp and, but still remains a value buy if you’re a contending team looking for a Flex or WR3 option. Nelson. Nelson’s value plummeted due to his dismal performance in 2017 when playing with a second string QB that wasn’t ready to start, Nelson seemed invisible on Sunday’s. Nelson will not remain invisible in Oakland where I suspect he will be playing the slot role alongside Amari Cooper and Martavis Bryant, where he excelled later in his career in Green Bay. Nelson may be the more expensive player, depending on the status of the trading partners team, but is easily the safest option.
Another Raider that I am keeping an eye on is Martavis Bryant, as I expect to see him go on sale, with reports that Bryant is struggling to learn the Raiders playbook. When buying into Bryant you are hoping you get 2014 Martavis Bryant, where he burst onto the scene and scored 8 touchdowns in 10 games played. With that being said you also have to be prepared for 2017 Bryant where he only scored 3 touchdowns in 15 games played, or even worse 2016 Bryant where he missed all year because of suspension. If you decide to buy into Martavis Bryant yes you will absorb a lot of risk, but you are also bringing on a very cheap WR option that will get his chances, as the Raiders just spent a third-round pick on Bryant and have almost no one behind him. Bryant although risky, is worth the risk, as you make your push for a Dynasty championship.
ALEX COLLINS RB BAL
Obviously, with the news a guy coming back from an injury that Dynasty owners showed a lot of patience with, in Kenneth Dixon, people are going to say how they will win the job back. These naysayers have kept Collins value in check all offseason, leaving all offseason for Dynasty owners to get their shares of Alex Collins.
With Dixon absent from training camp, being hurt again, owners with Collins shares will slowly see their stock move upwards. If you already have Alex Collins on your squads, you are smiling from ear to ear, as every time that Dixon misses practice and preseason games it betters the chance that Collins will be the every game starter in 2018.
But with his value being held in check all offseason due to Dixon, there still is an opportunity to buy, as some may still view his job security uneasy. Rushing for 973 yards and 6 touchdowns in his 12 games started in 2017, given a full year, Collins will bring potential RB1 upside to the teams that are seeking running back help in 2018.
LESEAN MCCOY RB BUF
Yes, I am saying it LeSean McCoy is a buy in 2018 for contending teams, my Co-Host Mitch almost had me into buying him as a flex option, but I needed his price to fall a little bit more before I tried to buy McCoy. Obviously, I got this price drop when pictures hit went viral, pointing the finger at McCoy for planning and implementing an assault on his ex-girlfriend.
Now I know a big suspension is looming for McCoy but when I look into this situation, I see a situation a lot like the Ezekiel Elliot fiasco, where because of the investigation and the court process Elliot was to able to play all of 2016 and almost all of 2017.
This case is so weird because McCoy wasn’t involved in the assault but allegedly planned and implemented it, I believe the investigation will take so long to conclude that McCoy will be eligible to play most of if not all of 2018. You may only get one flex-worthy year out of McCoy, but if you’re a team looking to make a push for a championship, McCoy will bring a lot to the table.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
The following players are guys that I believe are too expensive to pay for right now, as I think their value could slip because of an overreaction based on their early play. These players I am keeping an eye on these players through the preseason, and into the early weeks of the regular season, hoping for their values to come into a payable range.
ANDREW LUCK QB IND
If you didn’t get Luck before he hit the football field and started throwing passes in practice, you missed out on the early buying window. I can’t blame you for being cautious, and not wanting to bring in a player has had so many question marks coming into the offseason. But if you’re still looking in acquiring Luck, be patient because another window will open in the preseason, if not in the regular season.
I’m not telling anyone anything new when I say that Luck has missed two NFL seasons, and in those two seasons of not throwing a football, a lot of rust was allowed to build upon his throwing arm. Rust doesn’t come off in practice, it comes off in gameplay, and unless the Colts plan on giving Luck a substantial amount of playing time in the preseason you can expect a rough start to the 2018 season. My hopes are that his rough start to the season will make owners with Luck shares worried and look for other options, making Luck expendable, and at a reasonable price point.
In acquiring Luck you are getting a one time up and coming NFL Superstar, and as fantasy owners we’ll hope that he regains his QB1 form, with the reliable players still there with the addition of the young bucks in Cain and Fountain, this could come as early as the back-end of 2018 just in time for your stretch run. You could be like me, make a mistake and overspend for a player like Luck, but if your patient I think another buy low window will open up.
PATRICK MAHOMES QB KC
I love me some Pat Mahomes, but as of right now his value is out of my price range, with Mahomes only going into his first season starting. There is a lot of unknowns with Mahomes, as we only just saw a very small sample size of him in 2017. With reports coming out of camp, stating that Mahomes is having an interception-filled camp and knowing who people compare him to in Brett Favre, I am going to play the wait and see game with Mahomes and hope for the interceptions to drive down his value.
In acquiring Mahomes, you are acquiring a young quarterback that has a coach that knows how to rein in a gunslinger, much like Mahomes, in Andy Reid. You are also getting a guy that loves to throw the ball downfield, and with the addition of Sammy Watkins to a team already with Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, this offense is set up to do just that.
Mahomes is in a great spot in Kansas City, but personally I refuse to spend his current value on a first-year quarterback, but with the interceptions hopefully discouraging dynasty owners, I am predicting another buying window to open.