Earlier this season I took a look at some speculative dynasty stashes at the wide receiver position. Some of those players came to relevance already this season. If you’re still able to acquire any of them, I still recommend all of them. Rather than repeat them all here, I’ll just point you to the original article. Instead, I’ll add a few names to that list. These are in the order that I prefer them, but don’t read too much into that. Who you target depends on many variables.
He’ll be 31 next season, a season after missing three games to injury and finishing on injured reserve. It sure seemed like 2014 was a disappointing season for Marshall. But take a look at his efficiency.
This data comes from the fantasy efficiency app. After increasing for three straight years, his excess fantasy points per target decreased in 2014. But it didn’t fall off a cliff. He just performed in line with his career average. His fantasy points/target rate also remained strong.
Certainly Marshall comes with risk. Not only is he aging, but so is Matt Forte. A loss of efficiency in the run game could hurt the pass game. Rumors swirl about Jay Cutler being traded. A new coaching staff may not utilize Marshall well or develop a good working relationship with him.
Despite the risks, Marshall will still probably cost quite a bit to acquire. But there’s also likely a discount available. If you’re in a “championship window,” Marshall makes a good acquisition target.
Most of the arguments in favor of Jones were made last summer in this article. Since Jones missed this season, his dynasty value is depressed. I also think it’s true that the arguments in favor of his value going forward are still valid. The Bengals functioned this season with Mohamed Sanu as their number two wide receiver. Sanu posted decent numbers but didn’t make himself untouchable. From the fantasy efficiency app, here’s Sanu’s production in games where A.J. Green was also active.
In other words, Sanu didn’t stake an irrefutable claim to being the number two WR. If you believed Jones is better than Sanu, and can do more with a similar opportunity, then he’s a good target also.
Jacksonville was not a great team this year. Allen Robinson was injured. Marqise Lee was inconsistent. Allen Hurns was an undrafted free agent. Justin Blackmon was suspended. But Cecil Shorts is a free agent and may not return. In addition to expecting an improvement in second-year performance from Hurns, Lee, and Robinson, it’s also reasonable to expect some growth from rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. There’s also a rumor that Marc Trestman might be headed to Jacksonville as their offensive coordinator.
So the argument is basically this: subtract Shorts and there’s a lot more targets to go around for Robinson, Lee, and Hurns. Plus, all three, and their quarterback, should be incrementally better next year, and the offense could benefit from a new coordinator. So, which one should you target? Here’s their 2014 performance from the fantasy efficiency app.
Robinson was heavily targeted when healthy, and he probably should have been a first-round pick. But Lee had pre-draft support from RotoViz as well. Oh wait, we wrote about Hurns, too, who has a better freak score than Lee. And Blackmon could (or could not) return. If Blackmon were to return, it’s doubtful all four of them would have fantasy value.
So this situation is a bit of a quagmire. But the lack of clarity should depress the prices for all four players. When there’s a lack of clarity I like to just get the cheapest piece of the puzzle. I think any Jacksonville receiver is worth rostering, but I’d prefer Robinson personally.
Cruz will be a 29-year-old slot receiver returning from a major injury. He’ll also probably be overshadowed by Odell Beckham Jr. His efficiency has also declined three straight years. So color me not a big fan. But…
Here’s the performance of non-OBJ Giants receivers, from Week 7 (post-Cruz injury) through 17.
Not a lot of “staking a claim to a bigger role in 2015” going on there. As long as he’s fully healthy, Cruz should be able to resume a prominent role in the Giants offense.
This qualifies as a “junk bond” or “distressed asset” investment. Traded from Tampa Bay to Buffalo, Williams failed to make an impact, was placed on injured reserve, and ultimately released. His off-the-field concerns are well documented (but didn’t seem to be an issue in Buffalo). Williams may very well be the new Kenny Britt–a once-talented and productive receiver who we just can’t quit. Still, if he gets, and takes advantage of, another opportunity, he has WR1 potential.
Really Long Shots
Cody Latimer is an obvious name, but is probably jealously guarded by his current owner. If not, take advantage. Bruce Ellington may get an opportunity in San Francisco if Michael Crabtree departs and a new coaching staff likes him. Jared Abbrederis could emerge if Randall Cobb leaves Green Bay, although he’ll have to overtake both Jeff Janis and Davante Adams. In Washington, Santana Moss may retire, and create an opening for Ryan Grant.