We’re in week 13 of the fantasy season and your fate may already sealed. For those of you who are in Dynasty leagues, it’s time to start looking at next season. The key to success in any Dynasty league is loading the bottom of your roster with low cost, high upside options. This article is chock-full of options who are owned in 10% or less of Fleaflicker leagues and could pay dividends in 2014. For this article I focused on guys who would be beneficiaries of upcoming free-agent situations. Note that within in each section they are ranked in terms of whom I would prioritize adding.
New York Giants, Michael Cox, 1% ownership
David Wilson‘s career might be in jeopardy. Andre Brown is a free agent. So are Brandon Jacobs and Peyton Hillis. Who’s my best guess for the OPENING WEEK STARTER for 2014? Michael Cox. We’ve written extensively about him, but few people outside the RotoViz family will have a clue who this guy is. (P.S. hopefully you followed my Rueben Randle advice last offseason, as he has come along nicely and Hakeem Nicks is almost certainly gone.)
Oakland Raiders, Latavius Murray, 3% ownership
Never heard of Latavius Murray? It’s okay, you can read about why he’s the can’t-go-wrong running back prospect or why Davis Mattek was excited to acquire him. The short story is this: Darren McFadden and Rashad Jennings are impending free agents and Latavius Murray is a 223 lb unicorn. Murray was drafted in 2013 but was placed on the IR in August. That trip to the IR was probably good for you though, because he didn’t make any noise, and the fact that he’s from UCF means your league mates never heard of him. Beat writer Steve Corkran thinks he can be the 2014 starter. Get him now! (Thanks to @BingeListening for the reminder on Latavius)
Denver Broncos, C.J. Anderson, 1% ownership
After an offseason of Moreno-Hillman-Ball debates, it ended up being Moreno who won the job. He’ll be a free agent this offseason and Denver seems content to run him into the ground. Meanwhile, undrafted C.J. Anderson made the team and then they elected to keep him active after a training camp leg injury, rather than hiding him on IR (translation: the Broncos like him a lot). Anderson had impressive, but minimal, college usage and has the thick–and relatively agile— build of a workhorse. Only Montee Ball, with 983 college touches behind him, stands in the way of Anderson becoming Denver’s lead back. (BONUS PICK: Cowbell-sounding Chad Bumphis is on the Broncos practice squad and could become the #3 receiver once Decker/Caldwell leave this offseason.)
Pittsburgh Steelers: Markus Wheaton, 8% ownership
Wheaton was my 4th ranked rookie wide receiver for the 2013 NFL Draft and the path to playing time is becoming abundantly clear. Emmanuel Sanders and Jerricho Cotchery will both be free agents and the Steelers used a high pick on their succession plan, Wheaton. He’s almost certainly a week one starter next year.
San Francisco 49ers: Quinton Patton, 6% ownership
Manningham and Boldin are gone next year, which means that Patton should start in 2014 opposite Crabtree. Jim Harbaugh has been high on him from the word go, but a week 4 injury pushed him off the radar for many. Mr RotoViz Staff isn’t too high on him, but Patton has great agility and was ultra productive at Louisiana Tech. Depending on how you feel about Colin Kaepernick, the Niners offense could/should be a juggernaut next season and Patton would be a widely-available beneficiary.
Washington Redskins, Aldrick Robinson, 2% ownership
Santana Moss is gone, Josh Morgan is gone, Leonard Hankerson can’t shake the injury bug, which means Pierre Garcon is the only “sure thing” catching passes for the Redskins in 2013. This is a bit of a cheat, since A-Rob is an Exclusive Rights Free Agent, but my guess is that he’ll be back and possibly starting across from Pierre Garcon in the (new?) Redskins offense. We’ve written ad nauseum about Aldrick if you want to read more about him and why he’s RG3’s new Kendall Wright or why he’s on the rise.
Tennessee Titans, Justin Hunter, 5% ownership
Kendall Wright, Nate Washington, and Justin Hunter are the only Titan WRs on the roster next year. Hunter has some freak explosion/speed measurables and flashed huge potential in a brief, but injury stricken, career at the University of Tenneessee. The price tag may be higher after last week’s breakout game, but he’s worth getting while you can.
New England Patriots: Josh Boyce, 1% ownership
Julian Edelman is a free agent and Kenbrell Thompkins is who we thought he was. Enter Josh Boyce to the WR3 role for the Pats. This, his rookie season, was set back due to a foot injury, but he is incredibly athletic and is very well built. As an added bonus for return yardage leagues, the Patriots appear willing to have him contribute in that area.
Kansas City Chiefs: AJ Jenkins, 1% ownership
Old crushes die hard, what else can I say? Dexter McCluster is gone next year and I’ll give the nod to Jenkins over Junior Hemingway as the man who steps into the 3rd WR role and plays 60% of snaps every game. Jenkins had an otherworldly dominator rating and just needs a chance… SOMEBODY, PLEASE give him a chance!
Indianapolis Colts: Da’Rick Rogers, 1% ownership
Reggie Wayne will be 36 next season and coming back from a torn ACL. DHB will be a free agent. TY Hilton should be set on one side, but there seems to be a third spot up for grabs. While I suspect that the Colts will draft a WR with their 2nd RD pick (traded 1st round to Browns for Richardson) I think that Da’Rick Rogers, who I wrote about here, is a fantastic athlete and a nice speculative add.
Minnesota Vikings: Jarius Wright, 2% ownership
Jerome Simpson and Joe Webb are free agents this offseason, which means that Tavon Austin-ish Jarius Wright should step into the #3WR role. He’s proven useful when given the opportunity and could benefit even more if the Vikings upgrade at QB this offseason.
Carolina Panthers: Marvin McNutt, 0% ownership
Steve Smith will be 35 next year, Domenik Hixon and Ted Ginn will be free agents, and Brandon LaFell will be a restricted free agent. Enter longtime Douche favorite/stathead darling Marvin McNutt. Carolina signed him off the Dolphins’ practice squad a few weeks ago and he could be the #2 or #3 WR for Carolina in 2014. He’s an intriguing prospect if he can get on the field, which looks possible in 2014.
Philadelphia Eagles: Jeff Maehl, 0% ownership
This is a long shot, but one worth noting. Here’s why I’m monitoring Maehl. First, he posted ridiculous metrics while playing under Chip Kelly at Oregon– see for yourself here. Second, he is one of THE MOST AGILE receivers in combine history. Finally, everyone but DeSean Jackson and Jason Avant is a free agent this off-season. Even if Maclin re-signs, isn’t it conceivable that Maehl could overtake Avant for the slot WR role? It’s an interesting thought.
Atlanta Falcons: Levine Toilolo, 1% ownership
Tony Gonzalez is set to retire this offseason and backup Chase Coffman will also be a free agent. This leaves young, 6′ 8” Levine Toilolo to step up and assume the starting role. A 4th round pick in 2013, the Stanford alum is one of the youngest TEs in the league and should have plenty of freedom to work the middle with Roddy, Julio, and Harry manning the perimeter.
Green Bay Packers: Brandon Bostick, 2% ownership
Jermichael Finley‘s career might be over. Andrew Quarless will be a free agent. Meanwhile, Brandon Bostick has some interesting measurables and has hauled in a 20+ yard catch in each of the last three games. With a healthy Aaron Rodgers and a full offseason as the starting TE, Bostick could pay nice dividends in 2014.
Oakland Raiders: Mychal Rivera, 3% ownership
Rivera has been splitting time with soon-to-be free agent Jeron Mastrud, which would leave Rivera as the top pass-catching TE on the Oakland roster next year. He’s nothing special, but the opportunities should be there.
Buffalo Bills: Chris Gragg, 0% ownership
Gragg is a physically intriguing specimen who will benefit if/when Scott Chandler leaves via free agency. At that point, he would be left to battle with Lee Smith, who is more of a blocker, to become the starting TE. The last few week he’s been getting more snaps, but remains the third option behind Chandler and Smith.
Denver Broncos: Brock Osweiler, 2% ownership
I couldn’t publish this article without including a quarterback and Osweiler is the man for the job. In case you missed it, Osweiler is on the Aaron Rodgers plan and should seamlessly step in when Peyton Manning retires. While it’s unlikely that Manning retires this offseason, who knows what could happen if the Broncos win the Superbowl. This is probably just a situation to monitor with takeoff scheduled for 2015.