If your league doesn’t already, it really needs to include taxi-squads. These invaluable spots allow us as dynasty owners to stash young players for a couple of seasons until we are ready to pull them up to our active roster. Some leagues allow owners to keep players on the taxi squad for their entire rookie contract and some require you to pull them up sooner. Either way, the ability to stash young players and thereby increasing the value of later draft picks is one of the most enjoyable aspects of dynasty fantasy football. In the Down and Dynasty series of articles, we are taking a look at each division to point out some worthwhile deep stashes for your dynasty squads. In this piece, I will be focusing on the NFC East. The NFL East is one of the preeminent divisions in all of the NFL. Not only does it have some of the oldest teams in the entire league, but they also play in some of the biggest media markets as well. The casual fan will get to see more of these teams than most, by virtue of their higher rate of prime time coverage. Despite our relative familiarity with these teams, without further ado, let us dive in.
Dalton Schultz TE – Dallas Cowboys
Stanford has been a virtual factory for NFL tight ends over the past few decades. Players such as Zach Ertz, Austin Hooper, and Coby Fleener have enjoyed varying levels of success in the NFL and for your dynasty teams. Dalton Schultz is the latest former Cardinal to get a shot at making his mark on the league. Following the unexpected retirement of future Hall of Famer Jason Witten in the spring of 2018, the Dallas Cowboys seemed like a team destined to draft an early-round replacement at the 2018 NFL draft in Dallas. The table was set for the Cowboys to draft Witten’s replacement in the 2nd round with Dallas Goedert, but it was not to be. The division rival Philadelphia Eagles swept in, traded one spot ahead of Dallas, and stole what seemed like a perfect replacement away from their rivals. For their part, the Cowboys did not panic. They bided their time and in the 4th round selected 1st Team All-Pac 12 TE Dalton Schultz. You can see from his draft profile below that the young kid offers some nice potential for his NFL team.
Of particular interest in the numbers, you see above is his 3-cone drill, in which he placed in the 79th percentile. This means that like the man he was set to replace, Schultz has quick feet. It is not very often that rookie TE’s put up meaningful stats. Schultz certainly didn’t buck this trend but did manage to put up 12/116/0 in his first campaign. This season will see a lessening of the burden on the young TE as eventual Hall-of-Famer Jason Witten has come out of retirement for one last hurrah with his former team. Schultz will have the opportunity of learning from one of the best technicians to ever play the position. Many in the dynasty community have overlooked or simply forgotten about the former Stanford Cardinal. If you have space on your taxi squad do yourself a favor and scoop up this sophomore to see how he develops, he may very well be the eventual replacement Dallas drafted him to be.
Darius Slayton WR – NY Giants
The New York Giants are a team on the verge of a roster retool. The trading of Odell Beckham in the off-season to the Cleveland Browns sent shockwaves through the NFL. Curiously, following this decision, the Giants front office committed to team legend Eli Manning for another season and brought in an aging veteran Golden Tate to take Odell’s place in the starting lineup. It seems like GM Dave Gettleman is hedging his bets, playing for the present while building for the future. To this end the Giants GM brought in some youth to supplement the veterans he plans on playing this season. 5th round pick Darius Slayton was one of those youth picks. Coming out of Auburn, Slayton will be a work in progress. Auburn runs a brand of offensive football not seen in the NFL in some time. Despite his limitations in experiencing an NFL scheme, young Darius Slayton possesses all the physical tools to dominate the position as you can see from his chart below.
You can easily see from his combine numbers that Slayton is about as physically gifted as you can get. Some may seek immediate playing time following the untimely broken thumb suffered by Number 1 target Sterling Shepard. I, however, do not believe that will be in the cards since Slayton has so much to learn when it comes to operating within an NFL scheme. He will begin the season behind Shepard, Tate, Coleman, and likely Cody Latimer as well. However, I do not see that as a negative thing for Slayton’s future. The Giants also had an eye towards the future when spending the first of their two 1st round picks this past season when they selected former Duke signal caller Daniel Jones with the number 6 overall pick. The team has said that Jones will not be given a legitimate chance to start right out of the gates meaning that Jones will also be given time to learn the NFL game before being thrown into the fire. The happy coincidence means that the Giants future franchise QB will get to spend a healthy portion of time throwing to Darius Slayton and the other number 2s in camp and practice. Slayton could very well develop a connection with Jones and be an excellent stash for your dynasty squads.
UPDATE: Since the completion of this article the New York Giants have literally been hit by a Thanos style finger snap. Literally, half of their WR depth chart was wiped out within a single week. Darius Slayton may no longer be considered a deep stash player at this point. He will have quite a bit more opportunity with the absence of the top three players above him. I would still expect Cody Latimer to be ahead of him, but after that, the pickings will be thin for the Giants coaching staff. For my money, I still hope that Slayton is eased into playing time due to the difficulties players such as Sammie Coates and Ricardo Louis had transitioning from the same Auburn program to the NFL. Either way, the decimation to the WR depth in front of him means that at a bare minimum, Darius Slayton will get to soak up valuable increased reps with the 1st team squad.
Bryce Love RB – Washington Redskins
Love is the second former Stanford Cardinal covered in this division alone. Of all the players written about in this article Love has without a doubt the highest-profile among dynasty fantasy football players. Had he come out following his Junior season at Stanford, Love would have likely been one of the first RB’s taken in the draft. Bryce Love enjoyed one of the best seasons ever by a college RB in 2017 taking home some serious hardware including the Doak Walker Award, Lombardi Award, Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, a unanimous first-team All Pace-12 & All-American, as well as runner up for the Heisman trophy. You can see from his stats below just how special of a season Love enjoyed.
Unfortunately for Bryce Love, he has now become one of the poster boys for getting out while the getting is good. Love chose to go back to Stanford for his senior season and came nowhere close to his previous numbers as you can see above. His disappointing season was brought to a sad end when he tore his ACL on the last carry of his last game. His down season was a combination of factors ranging from teams selling out to stop him to the talent around him not being quite what it was the previous season. Whatever the case, his diminished stats combined with his knee injury, lead Love’s draft stock to fall. He was selected in the 4th round by the Washington Redskins. Washington is currently one of the most crowded backfields in the league with the likes of Adrian Peterson, Derrius Guice, Chris Thompson, Samaje Perine, and Love himself among others. Love will likely be eased back into the swing of things due to his late-season injury last year. This will be a good thing as Love can be had for much cheaper than your average RB with his talent level. I would expect the depth chart in front of Love to clear-out following the 2019 NFL season with Peterson, Perine, and Thompson likely out the door. This would leave an advantageous situation where Love will be counted on to compliment former 2nd round bruiser Derrius Guice. I can’t help myself so I will leave you with his Junior highlight reel which is one of the most impressive I’ve ever seen.
Shelton Gibson WR – Eagles
This one is certainly the deepest of my dives in this article. The Philadelphia Eagles are a team that seems to lack many deep dive players on their current roster. Nonetheless, Gibson has some intriguing skills to offer the patient dynasty owner with large enough rosters to hold him. Coming out of West Virginia, Gibson was seen as a burner with Desean Jackson type skills; in fact, that was who many analysts compared him to. Over his final two seasons at Morgantown, he scored a total of 17 TDs and averaged over 22 yards per catch. These gaudy numbers led to Gibson foregoing his senior year and declaring early for the NFL draft. His performance at the combine left many scratching their heads at his fast but not blazing speed numbers. You can see his results below.
The good, but less than stellar numbers, led Gibson to participate in WVU’s pro –day. At the event, Gibson made drastic improvements in his 40 time to 4.39 and his broad jump to 10’1”. Gibson was eventually drafted in the 5th round by the Philadelphia Eagles. This season does not offer much room for production for the former Mountaineer. However, the Eagles WR corps seems destined for an overhaul next season. The team his highly unlikely to resign former 1st round pick Nelson Agholor. It is also quite possible that the team looks to move on from the contracts of Alshon Jeffrey and Zach Ertz. If things break his way Gibson could find himself with a more substantial role if he can beat out fellow mid-round pick Mack Hollins. There are certainly worse players to stash on the end of your deep benches.
As with many deep dive type players, there is a decent probability that these players will not amount to anything for your dynasty squads. However, when we hit on these types of players that cost us only a nickel, is precisely when we get a huge edge on the competition. As I said in the opening, it is always a good idea to save a couple of roster spots for deep stash type players. If you have a couple of these spots or are fortunate enough to have a taxi squad these NFC East players are worth a look.Follow @ReflipeWThenuz
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