As we near closer to the start of the preseason, storylines will begin flooding out of training camp. A lot of these focusing on the new blood in the NFL either exceeding or disappointing expectations. What it also should mean to all you savvy dynasty owners is that it’s the last prime window to buy veterans to bolster your roster for the championship push. The best part about it, that some of these guys are extremely cheap for the production they will put out this year. Perfect for rounding out your second RB spot or filling your flexes. I’ve created a top ten of veterans you should be sending out offers to grab before the start of the season.
- A Wildcard: Kendall Wright, WR Chicago Bears
You’re probably laughing at this, a guy whose career after a bright season in 2013 has slowly fallen to the depths of the veteran recycling bin. He enters this year fighting for essentially the third WR spot on the Chicago Bears. So how is that going to help win you a championship?
Volume. Can we expect Kevin White to play a full year? I’m leaning no, he has only played 4 games in two years. Surprisingly Wright is only two years older than White at 27. Yes, he’s going to have to beat out Markus Wheaton for the starting slot receiver role, who the Bears paid a decent amount in a 2 year 11 million dollar deal. Wheaton had a surprisingly good year in 2015 and should be a camp battle to watch. If Wright gets beat out by Wheaton we can essentially swap in Wheaton to this spot. Pay attention to this battle, it could lead to big dividends. When Kevin White gets hurt, dynasty heartthrob Cam Meredith is the only man standing between him and being a WR1 for an NFL team. If Wright ends up winning the slot role, it’s possible for him to see 90 targets this year. With an ADP of 236 he’s essentially a free lottery ticket. He has shown in the past he can be a productive WR so for me he’s worth an end of the bench spot in the meantime.
- Logjam: Robert Woods
Get it? Log, Woods, Logs are wood! Alright ill show myself out. People seem to hate Robert Woods! Largely because he’s one of those pesky USC 5 star receivers that isn’t a superstar. However, the Rams signing him to a 5 year 34 million dollar deal signals they intend to use him. I don’t think you can expect more than 5 TDs with Woods but somewhere in the range of 80 catches is in the realm of possibility. He is facing little competition on a young Rams team. Likely to be ahead of rookies like Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds, he seems to be fighting with Tavon Austin to be the Rams WR1. The Rams last year featured three WRs in Kenny Britt (111 Targets), Brian Quick (77 Targets), and Austin (106 targets). Britt and Quick have both since departed and Woods is the only veteran WR they’ve brought in. Combined with a coaching change from offensive killer Jeff Fisher to Sean McVay who seems to be innovative I expect this offense to take a step forward. Woods will feature a large role in this endeavor and could push for a 1000 yard season. If McVay carries the same offense to the Rams that he ran in Washington, Woods looks like a prime candidate to take over the Pierre Garcon role. A role that produced a line of 79-1041-3 last year. Good for WR23, even if Woods approaches that number his ADP is 179, below Jamaal Charles who might be cut. He’s a clear buy now for a guy who could potentially be a PPR WR3/4 this year. The bonus of it all is that Woods is still only 25.
- Fired out of a Cannon: Desean Jackson
The NFLs premier deep threat has moved on to his third NFL team and potentially the last stop of his NFL career. This time he has linked up with young gunslinger Jameis Winston and another premier receiver in Mike Evans. Moving on from Washington where in 2016 he put up the 5th 1000 yard receiving season of his career. He joins a team on the rise who was searching for weapons to help its young QB thrive. Jackson while it seems like he’s been in the NFL forever is only 30, prime for at least another year or two of high end WR3 performance. Mike Evans last year had an ungodly amount of targets in 173. 2nd on the team was Adam Humphries with 83. Even a guy like Russel Shepherd was 4th in targets with 40. Safe to say Desean should see close to the 100 targets he received last year and if healthy should put up another 1000 yard season.
The Bucs last year ranked 8th in the NFL is passing touchdowns and 16th for passing attempts and passing yards. With an uncertain running game, I expect the Bucs to unleash Winston and air it out quite a bit in a high scoring NFC South. His ADP presently is 112 for Dynasty Nerds and is 109 for dynastyfftools.com, down from 94 in May. This is solid value in my mind presently and fits the area he should be valued into. However, people tend to want to get rid of aging WRs especially if the main part of their game is predicated on their speed and deep ball ability. I would be comfortable rolling forward with DJax as my fourth receiver.
- Fly High like an Eagle: LeGarrette Blount
You can figure out the pun in that one. I’ll be honest on this one. He seems like a cool person off the field. However I flat out hate LeGarrette Blount the football player. He was a liability for the Patriots and runs like a nimble footed dancing bear. Not what you want out a 250 pound running back who should be a sledgehammer. I hate his guts. So now that my bias is out of the way, why would I put him on this list?
Very simply its touchdown potential. LG last year put up a mammoth season with the Patriots rushing 299 times for 1061 yards and 18 TDS! 18 TDs rushing touchdowns this day and age is ridiculous, a feat LG will never repeat. His YPC was awful and he can’t catch the ball. Now he finds himself on a young Eagles offense with a strong line in front of him, is 8 touchdowns out of reach? I don’t think so considering Ryan Matthews had exactly that last year. Add in 6 more touchdowns from the likes of Darren Sproles, Kenjon Barner, Wendell Smallwood, and Terrel Watson it seems to be more likely.
Sproles will get his touches on passing downs, but the goal line role will fall to Blount. A role he fits perfectly, 12 of those 14 rushing TDs from the Eagles running backs were from 5 yards out or fewer. All information points to a season in which Blount should rumble for around 700 yards and 7+ TDs. A feat for a RB who’s 30 years old, whose ADP is 134 and even slipped to pick 159 in one of our mocks. For DynastyFFtools.com his ADP is 167 and slowly slipping. Blount may be a better option for those in standard leagues, but in the ever scramble for RB depth he isn’t a bad option in PPR as a RB3 with the upside to be a RB2.
- Jettison your Squad to the Championship: Bilal Powell
The Jets are a dumpster fire, and offensively fairly irrelevant. All of their respective position groups fall well below the NFL standard except the RB group. Led by Powell, I expect him to be a focal point this year for their offense. Last year Forte was the bell cow for the first half of the year and finished in PPR as the RB21. He provided a rushing line of 218-813-7 and added in 30 catches for 263 yards and a touchdown.
So why would his ‘Backup’ be a guy you should be targeting? Well his backup finished as RB16 in PPR! Yes, the Jets and the Falcons are the only teams to support two top 25 fantasy RBs last year. Powell was super-efficient compared to Forte, rushing 131 times for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns. Good enough for 5.5 yards a carry! Powell’s biggest rush was for only 35 yards, there is no skewing in his efficiency unlike Isiah Crowell. Fortes average of 3.8 is abysmal compared to Powell, but like the great Billy Mayes would say “Wait there’s more!’ More you say? How about 58 catches and 388 yards to go with those rushing numbers and two receiving touchdowns on top. Compiled with a 78% catch rate Powell should be the Jets guy this year. A guy who should repeat as a RB2 and even has the possibility of sneaking into the low end RB1 status from pure volume. His current ADP of 115 is a bargain, only one ahead of Adrian Peterson. Powell is 28 and looks to be an integral piece of the Jets offense this year and perhaps in the future. AP while he has served many of us well, is in a logjam of RB talent and coming off a season ending injury. Buying players like Powell for what will be a late 2018 2nd rounder is what drives playoff teams into championship teams.
Stay tuned for the upcoming 1-5 of the guys you need to buy before the season starts to complete the championship push!
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