Dynasty Quick Takes – Sign on the Dotted Line

Decker

Tate

 

Quarterback

 

Josh McCown

“Josh is our Quarterback.”  At least this time when we hear those words it’s for a guy that had put in the work and proven that he’s able to get the job done without making bone-head decisions.  McCown is a serviceable option that doesn’t give the ball away even though he’s not afraid to throw up 50/50 balls.  He attempted 224 passes in a high flying Trestman system in 2013 and only turned the ball over once for a .4% INT percentage.  No one expects the same system in Tampa Bay, so McCown takes a hit and is a solid back-up option for your fantasy teams as a QB2 w/ upside.  He’s not a bad option in 2 quarterback leagues.  Expecting anything close to last year would be uncivilized.

 

Running Back

 

Darren McFadden

It appears that McFadden landing in Cincinnati was nothing more than a pipe dream as he landed a one year deal with Oakland.  This is not only a prove it deal for Oakland, but it’s also a prove-it deal for fantasy owners.  Landing back in Oakland isn’t what many were hoping for; McFadden only averaged 3.3 Y/C last year in only 10 games as he once again bit the predictable injury bullet.  There is a lot of work that needs to happen to bolster their ailing offensive line, quarterback, and receiver play.  Having said all this and for as many games as you’re able to start him, he should at a minimum get half the work load.  Latavius Murray is a sexy sleeper name this year, but I have to think he will be eased into his first NFL snaps.  You can’t sell McFadden for much at this point, but I’m not against a competing owner purchasing him at a discount if running back depth is needed.

Rashad Jennings

Jennings is a nice overall talent that is able to produce in all facets of the game.  He doesn’t come with a lot of tread on the tires, but he hasn’t avoided injuries in his limited work.  After signing a 4 year deal with the G Men, I fully expect Jennings to enter the regular season as the lead all-purpose back.  He averaged 4.5 Y/C in an anemic offense, and he can be depended on as a high end RB2 in New York.  While I really like the value he could bring to fantasy teams in the short term, it’s a nice chance for dynasty owners to sell him right now as opposed to buying him.  I would expect owners to pull in a latter first round pick from a running back needy team.  That’s a very nice value given the talent available at the end of the first round this year.

Peyton Hillis

You could do worse than potentially throwing Hillis in your line-up as a flex option during bye weeks, as I expect Coughlin to lean on Hillis as a change of pace back and roster depth to keep Jennings healthy.  They don’t know what they have with David Wilson at this point, so they had to bring in Hillis as another option.  I’m not making any moves for him, but if he comes out of camp in football shape he can make himself valuable if he earns enough volume.

Donald Brown

The San Diego Chargers surprised a lot of people with their run-first mentality in 2013, and they decided to build upon that strength by signing Brown to a 3 year deal.  It was a surprise to most that Ryan Mathews stayed healthy, and Danny Woodhead added nice value being depended on as a change of pace and 3rd down running back.  San Diego isn’t a bad landing spot for Brown, but his presence certainly deflates the upside of the other 2 runners.  If you were hoping for Brown to sign on somewhere as a lead back you were fooling yourself.  While you’re not going to be excited about it, Brown is probably worth more to you on your roster as a plug-and-play depth option.  If you’re in a rebuild mode, go ahead and grab whatever you can as it’s not like he’s going to help you rebuild long term.

Ahmad Bradshaw

Meh.  What can I say?  If he’s on your team, hang around and see if he can string together a few healthy games to push for a few wins.  If his roster spot comes down to the deciding factor as to whether or not you can pick up that extra high upside/ swing for the fence prospect addition, go ahead and cut him loose.

Joique Bell

Bell entered the off season as a restricted free agent, and the Lions opted to award him with a 3 year deal.  This is a deal that’s a win for the Lions, a win for Bell, and a win for your dynasty teams.  I wrote about Bell when I first started slapping fantasy words together in a sentence.  I hope you took this advice and bought into Joique as more than a back-up option to Reggie Bush – the Lions sure did.

Pierre Thomas

After unsuccessful attempts to work up a trade, the New Orleans Saints took their next option after cutting Darren Sproles and extended Thomas’ contract in a cap-saving move.  Khiry Robinson is locked up until he’s a restricted free agent in 2016, and Mark Ingram will be a free agent after this year.  Sean Payton has said that he’s going to depend on Ingram more this season, and that’s likely.  Having said that, the business side of things says that it behooves the Saints the ride Thomas into the ground as much as they can while keeping Robinson and Ingram fresh.  While Peyton will surely roll with the running back by committee, they can accomplish this for the long haul in mind while keeping Ingram off the field.  The NFL is a show-me league, so it’s in the Saints best interest to try and keep Ingram’s market value low in hopes of resigning him after this year at a discount as opposed to letting him receive the volume he needs to drive up his off season market.

Toby Gerhart

I can candidly say that Toby Gerhart signing with the Jacksonville Jaguars brings a level of ambiguity for me.  I think he’s a good enough overall talent to get the job done, but the offensive line in Jacksonville doesn’t really bring the same level of talent that the Vikings offensive line does, you know? Per profootballfocus.com, The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line earned a -108 score while the Vikings earned an 18.  Allen Bassett shared some good data in his 2013 running back data piece which shows that Gerhart is a very nice value.  I fall on the side of the fence looking to trade based on this data to someone higher on Gerhart than I am.  If I can get a 2nd round pick for him now I do it.

Darren Sproles

Chalk up another loss for the little guy.  You have to feel bad for Sproles as he apparently knew as much as we did along the way with much of this fiasco.  I would have though the Saints to have more class than this.  Regardless, I suppose it could have been worse for Sproles outside of Philly, but I really would have liked Sproles to get signed by a team that has a more definitive role carved out for him.  Sproles is certainly a technician when he’s on the field, but he really can’t be used much more than a change of pace.  Really, what does he bring to the table that McCoy doesn’t?  Every time you put Darren Sproles on the field you take McCoy off the field, so how much does Chip really want to do that?  Unless of course he plans to use Sproles out wide or in the slot, I’m struggling to see Sproles as more valuable than a flex at this point.  Sigh.

 

Wide Receiver

 

Eric Decker

I’m not as high on Eric Decker as most were entering the offseason, but that’s not to say that I don’t see him as a fantasy asset.  After he signed a long term deal with the New York J-E-T-S JETS, you could hear and even feel the collective groan on Twitter.  I’m seeing a lot of fantasy analysts’ early projections having Decker struggling to reach the 70 catch benchmark.  While I have been far from a Decker apologist, it’s very ironic because I feel like it shouldn’t be difficult for Decker to catch 80 balls – not 70.  Santonio Holmes caught 55 balls in only 10 games, so that 70 catch mark seems like a very safe floor in my mind.  Everything in dynasty is all market relative, so I’m more than open to throw an offer out to the Decker owner in hopes that he’s now looking to get out of dodge.

Golden Tate

Lookie lookie, a keepsake for you.

 

Kip

The Detroit Lions found their own LaFawnduh and didn’t let her leave the airport.  Don’t worry, guys, I’m sure there’s a Golden Tate out there for you, too.   The buzz is pretty loud around the fantasy community as the Lions finally have that coveted receiver they can line up opposite Calvin Johnson. Owners that held onto Tate or even bought Tate late last year did so at a discount as the value has just increased.  I can see Tate helping out many teams as a viable PPR option, and I can also see Tate helping out owners on the trade market right now.  I’d let the buzz cool down before buying if you’re on that side of the fence, though.  I’m just glad we don’t have to watch Kris Durham all year.  Tate, if you’re reading this, stay away from Detroit pizza men, and especially stay away from the Jimmy Johns driver.

Andre Roberts

While many in the community were hoping for Eric Decker to sign with the Redskins, Andre Roberts snuck in and earned a 4 year deal.  Apparently the Redskins have a size threshold of 6 feet that they don’t like to go over for their starting receivers.  In any event, Roberts is still a nice addition for the Redskins as he’s the next best receiver on that roster.  He was a massive disappointment last year as many were hoping for him to hit the sleeper scene, but that’s a difficult task when you’re behind Fitzgerald and Floyd on the depth chart and your offensive line was, well, injured and bad. I like Roberts as a very solid/ high floor WR3, so make your valuations and trades accordingly.

Andre Caldwell

Very quietly, Andre Caldwell is now fantasy relevant with Decker moving east.  Caldwell was resigned to a 2 year deal to ensure they can still fill the void that Decker leaves behind.  Unless Decker leaving was a precursor to another receiver signing in Denver or they spend an early draft pick on a receiver, Caldwell is currently the beneficiary opposite Demaryius Thomas.  I’m definitely willing to pick him up off of waivers for nothing right now if I’m a contender just to wait and see what happens.  Anytime you’re a starting receiver for Peyton Manning, you have value.  Maybe the Broncos spend an early pick and land an NFL ready Jordan Matthews? I sure hope so – Thomas and Matthews long-term would be beautiful, but for now I’m willing to wait and see through the off season.

Jeremy Maclin/ Riley Cooper

Well so much for upside, huh?  It would have been optimal for either player to get signed elsewhere with one remaining in Philadelphia and increasing both of their values respectively, but that would be too much to ask for in terms of fantasy…I don’t know how Chip Kelly plans to use both of these guys going forward, but having both of these guys on the field along with DeSean Jackson is certainly a nice selection for Nick Foles.  Cooper looks to be a spot start/ WR3 type until we see more.  I’d like to call Maclin more valuable than that, but he really fits better as the slot receiver.  Given the high snap count in Philly, I imagine a couple receivers will be rotated in and out alongside the tight ends depending on down and distance.

Happy free agent season!

@fantasygumshoe
 
 
*Sources
 
Pro-football-reference.com
profootballfocus.com
Rotoworld.com

 

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