Unless you have been living under a rock the last few years, you probably already know about Clemson wide receiver, Sammy Watkins. Watkins was a unanimous top fifty overall recruit coming out of high school. Of the major recruiting services, he was ranked anywhere from one to five in the nation for wide outs.
It did not take long for Watkins to burst on to the scene. His first game he recorded seven receptions, 81 yards and a touchdown. In his first four games as a freshman he accumulated six touchdowns, 433 yards on 28 receptions. As a dynasty fantasy football player, from that point forward, he should have been on your radar. He finished his freshman season with 82 receptions on 1219 yards and a dozen touchdowns and snagged National Freshman of the Year honors.
You may be asking yourself, “Why should I have been paying attention to a freshman?” When a player of Watkins’ pedigree puts up numbers like he did, you should be taking notice. Sure he may not have been draft eligible for 2 more seasons, but you may want to position yourself to draft him someday. Evaluate your team needs, the age of your players, and do some long term projecting. Odds are that a highly touted player, fulfilling expectations, will only last the required three seasons in college football. It’s possible you may want to try and accumulate additional draft picks for a certain player’s draft. That way you will have the ammunition to trade up, if need be. Or before the draft eligible season starts (when draft picks seem to be the least valuable), see who has, in your opinion, the weakest team, and try and make a deal for their first round draft pick.
Evaluate your team needs, the age of your players, and do some long term projecting.
Dynasty fantasy football is all about building and constructing a winner. You will be better served in the long run by paying attention and watching as much college football as you can. This should not be a problem for you considering that you’re playing in a dynasty formatted fantasy league. I have put together some useful tips to scouting out the underclassman and adding players and building your “watch” list.
- Pay Attention to Recruiting Services – While most people view National Signing Day as a way for their favorite NCAA team to reload for the forthcoming seasons, I view it much differently. I view it as an opportunity, an opportunity to get a leg up on the competition. You do not have to get to crazy here. Just focus on the five star recruits. On average, there are 30 five star recruits per year, depending on the recruiting service you like the best. Most likely of the 30, only half will be offensive players. Sprinkle in a few Offensive Lineman, and you are left with about 10 or so, five star, offensive skill position players to put on your “watch” list. Over 17% of five star recruits get drafted in the first round and almost 50% get drafted into the NFL.
- Study the Mock Drafts – The 2014 NFL mock drafts are fun, but to lay the foundation for the future, you should be looking at the 2015 NFL mock drafts. See who the experts’ project as potential first rounders. This will give you an idea of who projects well at the next level (Andrew Luck) and who is just a really good collegiate player (Tim Tebow).
- Watch for Player Transfers – Every year players transfer. Some may transfer to move closer to home. Some may transfer due to academic reasons. Others may transfer for the opportunity for playing time. For one reason or another, every year, talented football players transfer. Use your discretion on the talent of said transferred player. This year’s draft includes players like Storm Johnson, Silas Redd, and Tom Savage. Again, this is just another avenue to add players to your “watch” list.
- Consider joining a NCAA Fantasy League – There are many sites out there now that offer NCAA Fantasy Football and you should thinking about joining one for a leg up on the competition. It may seem overwhelming considering there are 85 scholarship players on over 120 FBS schools; however, you can join a conference specific league. Start small. Join an ACC or Big 10 only fantasy league for example.
At the end of the day, 5 minutes before your dynasty rookie draft, anyone can pull a rankings list. Sure, it may be helpful for the obvious, first round choices and where players are positioned. However, fantasy football rankings are subjective, everyone has their own opinions. Take ownership, be your own judge. Nothing is better than watching with your own two eyes. Don’t draft Storm Johnson because I think he has the potential to be a late second round sleeper, draft him because you saw him play and you feel the same way too! Go out in the middle rounds of a dynasty rookie draft and find yourself a steal! By building a “watch list”, you’re also building a foundation for your success.
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