Fantasy Football: Vegas in dynasty, Bobby Rainey grows on trees

bobby rainey

Bobby Rainey fell off an apple tree and found himself atop the Tampa Bay depth chart. (Phelan Ebenhack/ Associated Press)

Vegas lines can help your dynasty teams, not just daily lineups

Another week of jam-packed action is in the books, and another week reminds me just how fickle this game can be – both in reality and in fantasy. Bobby Rainey came out of nowhere and became an instant second option for fantasy teams, and Arian Foster predictably didn’t suit up in only the third week of the season.  Often times I get done watching the games, fly through league match-ups and scores and am reminded that I will never be above the random parity of the NFL. Because of this, it’s always important to remember that process is greater than results, so continue to stick to your process when it comes to building your dynasty.

Take a look at the Vegas lines of Week 3, for instance.

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Vegas Points

Anyone that plays daily fantasy sports will tell you the significance of leveraging Vegas odds as a tool to help set lineups.  8 out of 15 games came in above the Total Point lines. The parity proof in the pudding is in the lines of the Green Bay/ Detroit, Minnesota/ New Orleans, and Oakland/ New England games. We all saw the actual total points of the GB/ DET game come in at 26 points, right? Right? The Baltimore/ Cleveland game would have been the last game I would have bet (had I been a betting man, of course) to hit the over.

You should also be using this information to your advantage in order to identify buy-lows and sell-highs. While we all expected a lot of points in the Packers and Lions games, the result was much lower than the floor most of us would have assigned.  A stout Detroit defensive line chewed up and spit out Eddie Lacy, even in the Green Bay end zone.  While last week was a great buy-low opportunity for Eddie Lacy, now is the time to pounce with two bad games under his belt as the schedule is about to open up.

Cordarrelle Patterson is a difficult player to ascertain. While I was never a buyer in terms of short term gain, I am still a believer in his long-term value. Week 1 seems like an eon ago as a couple less than desirable weeks have passed us by. Now that Teddy Bridgewater will get the nod going forward, an increase in Yards per Attempt will increase Patterson production. Buy him now.

Using a visual like this helps you identify buying and selling situations at a macro-level, and then you can drill down to specific players you want to buy or sell from there. If you’re in a rebuild yet you somehow earned Ahmad Bradshaw for pennies on the waiver wire a couple weeks ago, now is a good time to sell Bradshaw to a competing owner.

Bobby Rainey fell from the Apple Tree


One of the main strategies I always stress in dynasty is to avoid building your roster around the running back position, especially when entering a start-up draft. From Jamaal Charles to Doug Martin; from LeSean McCoy to Eddie Lacy – your early round draft picks need to be used to help you solidify a long-term foundation at skill positions that don’t turn over quicker than a Travis Henry relationship. You can enter a season with not a startable option on your roster and walk away with a few formidable options that will help you in the short term and quite possibly help create investment opportunities by way of trading assets.

Rainey has bounced around the league quite a bit before landing in Tampa Bay. Doug Martin truthers still have something to hang onto as Rainey fumbled the ball and didn’t go wild, but Rainey solidified his spot on that team this week in a blow-out loss as he proved he can be a three-down back and be relied on. He’s an automatic flex start at worst if Martin comes back and shares the load, but he’ll have plenty of RB2 weeks this year after being on waiver wires everywhere.

Lorenzo Taliaferro

Mitch Stringer/ USA TODAY Sports

Lorenzo Taliaferro was a third-round rookie pick and has found his way to the top in only three weeks. Granted, it took a player to be kicked off the team and another player to sustain an injury, but that is yet another simple reminder how quickly things change at the position. Taliaferro appeared to already be a better blocker than Bernard Pierce and is clearly a better between the tackles runner than transition player Justin Forsett.  You could potentially have both Rainey and Taliaferro on your roster, and you have two startable options on your team for less than a third round rookie draft pick.

Isaiah Crowell

Justin Aller – sbnation

While many owners were firm in their stance on Isaiah Crowell this off-season by drafting him in the early second round, most leagues saw Crowell last until at least the late 2nd  to the mid-3rd round. If you drafted Crowell or traded a draft pick to acquire him before he saw the field and was rumored to be a cut option, you are sitting on a nice commodity. I was wrong on Crowell, but I’ll be the first to adjust and adapt – this is the most critical trait to possess in successful dynasty management. Add another running back to the list of backs that cost you next to nothing in draft capital.

The best community behavior to use to your advantage is Overreaction Theater. Bishop Sankey love came to a screeching halt when it was realized that he would not be handed the starting job. We should all temper expectations for any incoming rookie. Hopefully you held on or was able to buy him off a competing owner that already sold him for another piece to help win now. How long do we really think Shonn Greene keeps that job? When did Dexter McCluster become a between-the-tackles runner? The arrow is pointing up of course, but we’re simply seeing the pendulum swing back to where it should have been all along.

I was devastated (as a Jonathan Grimes table-pounder) to see Alfred Blue get the first crack as Arian Foster’s fill-in. I’m still not sold on Blue, so it’s a good opportunity to sell him as a package option. Where the heck did Trey Watts come from, and why did he see the field as often as he did? No matter how much you like Zac Stacy, or Benny Cunningham, or even Tre Mason for that matter, have fun — once again — trying to pin-point what will happen in that backfield for the long haul.

Donald Brown

Bill Wippert/ Associated Press

Does everyone remember that former first round pick that was dropped and left for waivers this off-season even though he outperformed another first round pick in all facets of the game last year?  (I’ll avoid saying his name much like Voldemort). Donald Brown suddenly finds himself as another free roster option that can help you out for remainder of the season with the unfortunate Danny Woodhead news.

Opportunity counts for something in fantasy football these days when we’re dealing with the volatile running back position. If you’re not dealing with a true top talent guy, there’s just too much free money to be found every year as we approach Weeks 3-5 in the NFL.  If you suddenly found yourself to be a victim to running back turnover, regardless of whether the root cause was injury, suspension, or NFL rosterbation, it’s time to dig deep within yourself and embrace the best way to build a dynasty. Plant a tree in your backyard and find your running backs the cheap way.


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