In the dynasty community, we are often very age conscious. Everybody strives to have the young sexy lineup. This bias often leads to veteran players representing screaming values for team’s actually trying to Win A Championship. Let me repeat that phrase, ‘Win A Championship.” That is the point of the game, is it not? We remember how many championships you win at the end of the day, not how sexy your roster was in years past.
Last season in my oldest dynasty league, I took my own advice and spent what turned out to be the 1.07 pick in the 2020 draft for Mark Ingram. Fortunately for me, Mark Ingram played a crucial role in securing me the No.1 seed in the playoffs and was in my lineup for my Championship Win. Was it an overpay on paper? Hell yes, it was an overpay. Thankfully for all of us, most times, veterans are dirt cheap in the offseason. This year is no different. For this article, we will cover one player at each position who is undervalued and would be a welcome addition to any team trying to win a championship. Without further ado, let us delve into some players.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger
Ben Roethlisberger might as well be Mr. Invisible heading into 2020. After missing the majority of 2019 with an arm injury, Big Ben’s value is at an all-time low. Savvy owners looking to add a veteran QB to help them in their title push could do far worse than bringing on the Pittsburgh QB at his depressed price point. In the two seasons prior to his injury Ben finished as a QB1 with his high being QB3 overall in 2018. You can see his numbers below.
Addition By Subtraction
Many will correctly point out that in those two QB1 season’s Big Ben had the services of Antonio Brown. It is true that it is never an easy thing to lose such a talented playmaker on the perimeter. Pittsburgh has sought to restock the pantry, so to speak for their franchise QB. They began the process by going out and signing former 1st round pick TE Eric Ebron. The talented playmaker is a gifted athlete with a nose for the end zone. He will be an upgrade for Ben in the end zone, making plays like the incredible one you see below.
The team also went out and drafted an extremely rare athlete in the 2nd round of the draft. Former Notre Dame WR Chase Claypool stands at an imposing 6’4 227lbs. He brings a physical element that the Steelers WR group previously lacked. You can see from his combine chart below that Ben will love throwing it up to his new toy.
Ben Roethlisberger has been a quality fantasy QB for over a decade at this point. From a fantasy perspective, he has aged well, getting ever better with experience in the league. Having a solid QB is a must-have for any championship team. Often we in the dynasty community become pretty age biased. Everybody is looking for that new shiny toy to play with. What looks better than a Patrick Mahomes or a Lamar Jackson on your depth chart. I’ll tell you what looks better, a trophy on the mantle. Winning championships is what playing dynasty football is all about. Do yourself a favor and take the discount on Big Ben heading into 2020. He has proven highly durable and successful and will make a wonderful cheap option that can consistently score with the upper echelon signal-callers.
RB: David Johnson
He is coming off the board at RB38! David Johnson represents one of the best overall values heading into the 2020 campaign. Few players have risen and fallen so quickly in the dynasty community over the last decade. For a player who has only been in the league for five years, you would think Johnson was pushing retirement age by the way people are avoiding him leading up to the 2020 season. However, I am here to tell you to buy the former Arizona Cardinal and to ride him to fantasy success once more, albeit with a caveat.
The Houston Texans pulled off one of the most puzzling trades in recent memory this past off-season when they sent their franchise WR DeAndre Hopkins and a 2020 4th round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for their seen to be declining RB David Johnson, a 2020 2nd round pick, and a 2021 4th. Most puzzlingly, the Texans agreed to take on DJ’s 10 million-plus salary. The Texans then let their 1,000 yard RB Carlos Hyde hit the street and set the table for a David Johnson career renaissance in Texas.
Johnson is not the only new addition to the team. Houston also brought in former Packer and Cowboy WR Randall Cobb to help ease the pain of Hopkins’ loss as well as sending a 2020 2nd to the Los Angeles Rams for their Star WR Brandin Cooks. All hope is not lost for the Texans in the WR room as these players will pair with former 1st round pick Will Fuller and last season’s acquisition Kenny Stills to form a deeper, if not more well rounded, stable to pair with their RB.
DJ in decline
Much has been made about the precipitous drop off in production for David Johnson over the past couple of seasons. He went from one of the up and coming RBs in the league inking a massive deal to looking just about as pedestrian as can be with a ypc well under 4.0 last year. The numbers below paint a dreary portrait.
If you look closely at his numbers, you will see that while his ypc certainly waned over the past couple seasons, his yards per reception stayed at a robust 10.0 or thereabouts. David Johnson has remained an absolute weapon in the passing game. Following the departure of Bruce Arians and the retirement of Carson Palmer, teams knew that all they had to do was key on David Johnson when they played the Cardinals. Couple this loss of help with a number of freakish injuries, and you have the recipe for declining production. While he struggled to find his way through the last two years of offensive change in the desert, new HC Bill O’Brien has vowed to use him the way that former HC Bruce Arians did in Johnson’s first few years.
Few players will come into the season at the RB position making north of 10 million per year. David Johnson is one of those players. His contract and the exceedingly high price paid by O’Brian to bring him to Houston virtually guarantee you a robust role in the offensive gameplay. Of course, Duke Johnson will be there to help pick up some of the slack, but he has proven to be more of a 3rd down a complimentary piece at this point. David Johnson claims that his goal heading into 2020 is to become only the 4th player ever to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season. From the looks of his early camp pictures, he is healthy and primed for a bounce-back season.
The best part about David Johnson is his current price point. Heading into 2020, he has fallen to RB38 in the most recent Dynasty Nerds rankings. That is a screaming deal to be had for any championship contender. There is not another RB on the market that offers his level of guaranteed usage at his affordable price point.
Much like Mark Ingram going into last season, David Johnson will help owners win championships this upcoming year. He appears to be healthy and is once again in a scheme that will seek to utilize his unique skill set as a dual-threat out of the backfield. For one, I am rooting for DJ and wish nothing but the best for the former UNI star that has beaten the odds throughout his entire playing career up to this point. I would not want to bet against a career resurgence in Houston. Grab DJ as the perfect RB2 for your lineups with the potential to return RB1 value at RB3 prices.
WR: AJ Green
A.J. Green is yet another player returning from an injury representing a screaming value heading into the 2020 season. People seem to forget that Green is one of the best WRs ever to play the game. AJ Green and Julio Jones were often spoken of in similar terms over the first decade of their careers. Simply put, when he’s on the field, Green is an alpha WR1 for your squad. Over the last few seasons, injuries have sapped his value and have left him as one of the best win-now assets in the entire game.
The 2020 Cincinnati Bengals are a team in transition. Andy Dalton, Vontez Burfict, and the boys are gone. A new age dawned when the team selected Heisman Trophy winner and National Champion Joe Burrow as the number one overall pick. It was assumed that the team would also move on from Green. As mentioned, Green has suffered through a rash of injuries over the last couple of seasons centered mainly around his feet. To the surprise of many, Joe Burrow reportedly reached out to team management and asked them to retain their star WR. If he can maintain his health, Green will head into the 2020 campaign as the no.1 option with his best supporting cast of WRs since he has been in the league. You can see from his career numbers that he was a remarkably consistent WR1 for dynasty squads before the last couple of seasons.
To keep this simple, there is no better bargain in the entire fantasy world than a healthy A.J. Green. He has the ability to be a WR1 at a WR3 price. How many players can you think of that can bring you that sort of return on investment. Green is the perfect win now player for your contending dynasty squads. Due to the presence of Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins, and John Ross, it is highly unlikely that Green will face the same type of blanket coverage that he did during his younger years. At 32, A.J. still has some gas left in the tank. His technical skills should allow him to remain a factor long after more physically based players washed away.
Joe Burrow will benefit greatly from having a player the caliber of A.J. Green at his disposal. It will help in his development and give him a solid and reliable outlet on a consistent basis. For his part Green has some history within his sights. He is less than 2,000 yards away from becoming the all-time leading receiver in the history of the Bengals franchise. Green is set up to experience a late career renaissance ala Larry Fitzgerald. Due yourself a favor and scoop up A.J. for your contending teams and reap the rewards this season. As you can see from plays like the ones below in training camp, his downtime last season has done him a world of good.
TE: Chris Herndon
Keeping with players who missed most of the 2019 season, Chris Herndon returns to a Jets lineup desperate for playmakers. Unlike the other players on this list, Herndon is a young player who has only begun to scratch the surface of his potential.
It is extremely rare for rookie TE’s to have an impact in the statistical department. Sure, you have examples of some of the high end picks like Jeremy Shockey, Noah Fant, and Rob Gronkowski having an immediate impact, but how often do you hear of a mid-round pick bucking the trend? Former 4th round pick Chris Herndon is one of those rare players. The other player is former 5th round pick George Kittle whose 43/515/2 put him on the map as a potential star in the making. You can see from the numbers below that Herndon’s rookie output was awfully similar.
The New York Jets are a team desperate for playmakers to support their franchise QB, Sam Darnold. The WR group is already dealing with injury issues. Newly signed Breshad Perriman and secondnd round pick Denzel Mims are nursing injuries. Slot man Jamison Crowder will again garner a significant amount of targets along with highly paid RB Le’Veon Bell. Past those two players, Herndon stands to soak up a vast amount of targets.
Head Coach Adam Gase has been looking forward to unleashing his young TE since last year. When asked about him last year, Gase called Herndon a “Unicorn Type Player,” gushing about how he succeeded in all three phases of the game. A suspension and nagging injuries put off their connection until this season. The best part about Herndon is that he comes at a substantial discount relative to the other young TE’s across the league. Check out one of his highlight plays from his rookie season below and ask yourself why you shouldn’t get a player with this type of talent looking down the barrel of a massive target share.
The reason we play dynasty is to win championships. Sure it’s fun to build the sexy roster with all the shiny new toys, but the name of the game is winning that ship. Often, teams looking to win now can find players who will outperform their price point. These players may be older and coming off of injuries, but as long as they score you points, that’s all that should matter. Nobody remembers the guy who had the big-name rookie sitting on his bench. They remember names on the trophy and championships in the books.
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