Dynasty rankings are in constant flux and staying informed is the key to making roster decisions for your fantasy football team. The Dynasty Watch series highlights some key takeaways from each week’s games.
So, you’re already out of the playoffs. For those teams on the outside looking in, it’s time to purge that player at the end of your bench who isn’t likely to help you next year and replacing him with a dynasty stash whose value could increase in 2019.
In Part 1, we looked at players who were relegated to Injured Reserve and impending free agents. Part 2 will focus on overlooked rookies who could pay dividends next year.
Any Packers Rookie WR
Randall Cobb will be an unrestricted free agent after this season, and Geronimo Allison will be a restricted free agent. Behind Davante Adams, there are no sure things in the Packers WR corps so there will be plenty of opportunity up for grabs in 2019.
If your league is shallow enough that Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Equanimeous St. Brown are still available, one of them should be your primary pickup. They’ve been the clear WR2 and WR3 after Geronimo Allison’s injury. Valdes-Scantling already has two 100-yard games under his belt and though St. Brown hasn’t been quite as productive, he’s also almost two full years younger than Valdes-Scantling. Both are intriguing young WRs with upside.
And then there’s J’Mon Moore. He was drafted the earliest of the trio, and yet he’s been the one buried on the depth chart amidst reports that he’s had trouble picking up the offense. It’s no surprise that the older Valdes-Scantling came in more NFL-ready than he did, but that the younger St. Brown passed him so easily is a troubling sign. He may be younger than Valdes-Scantling, but he’s still an older prospect. However he’s also the most likely to still be available for free, and worth a speculative add in deeper leagues despite his struggles.1
While everyone expected Courtland Sutton to be the biggest beneficiary of the Demaryius Thomas trade, it also freed up more playing time for Hamilton. Unfortunately for Hamilton, he suffered an injury in Week 7 that cost him his next two games and had him being eased back in after the bye week. In Week 12 though, Hamilton played his highest percentage of snaps for the year, indicating he’s likely to be the Broncos WR3 going forward.
I wrote the above prior to Week 13, and Hamilton has since burst on to the scene. If he’s not already owned, smash that “Add” button.
While Hamilton’s production didn’t stand out in college, he was fighting for touches in a low-volume Penn State offense that was packed with NFL talent such as Saquon Barkley, Chris Godwin, and Mike Gesicki. Whether or not he can make it in the NFL is still an open question, but what’s important is he’ll get the opportunity to prove it one way or the other.
The Broncos wide receiver situation is dire. Emmanuel Sanders will be entering the final year of his contract in his age-32 season. Outside of Sutton and Hamilton, the Broncos only have UDFA Tim Patrick and some guy named River Cracraft. The Broncos will almost definitely bring in more WRs in the offseason, but there’s not currently a logjam of players under contract that would keep Hamilton off the field.
It seems unlikely that the Jets would reunite with free agent Bilal Powell in 2019, but Elijah McGuire is undoubtedly part of their plans, and Isaiah Crowell would be fairly cheap to either keep or part ways with. It’s not really apparent that McGuire or Crowell are necessarily any good though. While the same can be said of Cannon’s limited work this season, he’s still an interesting prospect.
One of the metrics here at RotoViz that is useful for identifying small school prospects who are being overlooked is Workhorse Score, first introduced by Matthew Freedman in 2014. You may recall that the highest Workhorse Score from the 2018 class belonged to some small school prospect named Phillip Lindsay. While Cannon’s score of 83 can’t quite match Lindsay’s elite 97, it’s still good enough for fifth in the class and well within the range that we’d like to see for a late-round RB.
As Ryan Bobbitt points out in his profile of Cannon, he’s also physically gifted, running a 4.40 at his pro day with explosive agility and jumping ability. In fact, he comfortably falls into the best node of Kevin Cole’s regression tree for RBs. The one major knock on Cannon is his advanced age, however it’s not uncommon for smaller school prospects, and certainly not disqualifying for NFL success considering he’s literally just one day older than Lindsay.
The injury to Spencer Ware may mean that Williams has already been picked up in your league, but if not, he’s a player you should be looking to stash.
Let’s start with the bad here. Williams’ college production is nothing to write home about, but that would probably be the case for anyone playing behind both Leonard Fournette and Derrius Guice. So how about athleticism? Well, that’s not so hot either. Though he did improve on his 4.72 combine 40 with a 4.60 at his pro day, none of his drills at either event were above average.
Now for the good: he’s a Chief. Really, that’s all that matters here when it comes to Williams. He’s the only RB on the Chiefs roster that is currently under contract for 2019. Obviously, we should expect the Chiefs will re-sign either Ware or Damien Williams in addition to adding another RB through free agency of the draft, but Darrel Williams will almost definitely be in the mix, and this year has shown us this is a backfield where you want to own any player that could potentially become the starter.
Here’s what I had to say when Ateman was my Sleeper of the Week:
Is Ateman atheltic? Not particularly. Was he productive? Also no. Surely he had an early breakout then? Not so much…
What Ateman does have is size and an excellent college YPR. While his poor showings in the categories that really matter likely mean he will never amount to anything, His high YPR offers a glimmer of hope that he could eventually find a role in the NFL.
The other thing Ateman has going for him is that he’s the only WR drafted by the current regime. With a fire-sale happening in Oakland, it appears that Jon Gruden is looking to remake the roster with “his” players, and Ateman may fall into that category. His current depth chart competition is:
- Jordy Nelson – 33 years old
- Brandon LaFell – 32 years old and barely hanging on in the league
- Dwayne Harris – 31-year-old return man
- Seth Roberts – four years of vulturing TDs and not much else
- Martavis Bryant – May have been suspended again as I typed this
I have no clue what the hell the plan in Oakland may be, but this is not the picture of a WR corps that is going to have starting spots on lockdown for the next two seasons. If Ateman is any good at all, he could start to garner some playing time this season. If he’s not, he’ll stay on the bench and you can throw him back on the heap.
Regardless of how you feel about the Raiders offense, Ateman will have a shot to remain a starter in 2019.
There was some speculation that the undersized UDFA from Florida would take on a much larger role once Golden Tate was traded to the Eagles, but that never materialized and then Powell was limited with injuries. Whether or not he will have a chance to compete for the starting slot WR job next season is an open question, but Powell is worth a stash in deep leagues. The Lions offense has been terrible this season, but we know Matthew Stafford is capable of high-volume passing, and a change in offensive coordinators could turn things around in a hurry.
We already looked at Adam Humphries’ impending free agency, and while DeSean Jackson is under contract for 2019, he can be cut with no dead cap, for a total of $10 million in cap savings. I’ll turn to Ryan Bobbitt to once again show us how Watson checks all the boxes. He was productive, athletic, and was drafted in the fifth round despite playing in the Ivy League. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin won’t be going anywhere, but if the Buccaneers continue to throw the ball as much as they are this year, there will be plenty of targets to go around.
Other than Warren, only DeAndre Washington is under contract for the Raiders at RB in 2019. Jalen Richard is a restricted free agent, so there’s a good chance he returns, but Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch could easily move on after this season. Warren has spent the year stashed on injured reserve, but he could be a part of the Raiders future at the position after a strong 2018 preseason.
Warren was undrafted, and doesn’t have much to recommend him as a prospect. However, being bad hasn’t stopped Jon Gruden from playing all sorts of guys on the Raiders this year, so another strong preseason in 2019 might be enough to get him in the Raiders rotation.
- Could preseason darling Jake Kumerow also be a thing? He’s 26 years old and never caught a regular season NFL pass until this year. Stranger things have happened. (back)