Editor’s Note: We’re excited to share Ken Clein’s first contribution here at DLF. Ken runs his own dynasty fantasy football website site at dynastyfootballfan.com.
Buy Low – 5 High Potential Players to get on your Dynasty Team before the 2012 Season
If you’re dynasty league is anything like mine, there are slim pickins on the waiver wire and free agency. My league is filled with 12 guys that can qualify for the Hoarders TV show, and that includes me! So, the beauty of dynasty is getting a hold of a young player, cheaply, before he hits the big time and then riding him and your other choice picks to the championship. So, with this thought entrenched in my brain I went searching for 5 players who have:
- Shown enough potential to take a shot at them
- Are either in a great situation or could be post NFL free agency
- Will come relatively cheaply during the off-season while nobody is paying attention
In our league we can’t pick up free agents during the offseason but we can trade all year long. It might not be the same for you but whether it’s during the summer or just prior to the start of next season, make sure you’ve done some research on these 5 guys so you can get a hold of them (easily if from free agency or cheaply if through trade). Here we go:
Ben Tate, RB HOU – I grant you that Ben Tate is in a horrible situation currently. He’s stuck behind what has become the most dynamic running back in the NFL the past 2 seasons and there is just no way the Texans are going to let restricted free agent Arian Foster leave. This then begs the question, why is Tate on this list? Because it’s exactly due to his current situation that I can almost guarantee you if he is on the bench in your league somewhere there is an owner who is impatient and willing to trade for draft picks or a WR3 or so. Despite variability in the amount of carries he received last season, Tate averaged 5.4 yards per carry while finishing with 942 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the first 2 games of the season when Foster was hurt, Tate carried the load to the tune of 15 and 13 fantasy points showing that he can be productive as a starter. Here’s the rub, it’s quite possible the Texans will trade him this summer and even if they don’t, he’s a solid handcuff if Foster gets hurt again as the Texans are a great blocking team. If you can wait just one more season after that he is a free agent in 2014. At that point he’ll only be 26 and he will undoubtedly be primed for something great. Nab him while you can.
Andre Roberts, WR ARI – Here’s a sneaky one. Roberts is not on many radars and probably on even less rosters right now. This is mostly due to the horrible QB play in Arizona as well as the presence of all everything WR Larry Fitzgerald. Don’t let the situation fool you. Roberts came on strong at the end of the year. In the first half of the season last season he had no game in which he scored more than 3 fantasy points, catching no TDs and having 4 catches or less every game. In the second half of the year he had only 2 games with 3 points or less, doubling his per game receptions and scoring 2 TDs. It wasn’t a meteoric increase, and that’s great because he would have been picked up by someone, but it’s a great enough increase to take a flier on him next season. Next season is his third so that is also an advantage and during last season he became the unquestionable WR2 by the end. While his QB situation is still unsettled, for me that only gives him more upside if the situation improves. He can be taken from your free agent pool most likely or if someone has him on a roster, trust me, they are not paying much attention to him.
Kyle Rudolph, TE MIN – The problem with getting Rudolph is that someone most likely took him in your rookie draft just last year and if they are patient they may want to keep him. In my league he was dropped and picked up by someone else. If he’s available I’d grab him, if he’s not and you can trade for cheap, do so with relish. Rudolph was the top fantasy prospect last year and just fell off the radar in the Vikings horrible offense last season. The thing is, when he did get opportunities he looked fantastic. He is big, fast and agile and plucks the ball with two hands. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, he’s not going to be the prime receiver in this offense. That said, he can be a Todd Heap in his prime, a top 5 TE for a solid 4 or 5 years once Minnesota finds it’s rhythm on offense (and it’s QB). If that ends up being next season, all the better reason to get him now!
Matt Leinart, QB HOU – Seriously, I’m not kidding. There is no doubt he’s available in most leagues and he will be absolutely free to pick up after his ridiculous few-plays-then-get-put-on-IR routine last season. The thing is, that was an absolute fluke. He is still a talented kid and the guy in front of him is just as injury prone (or more) than he is. Now, the question is whether he or TJ Yates gets the 2nd spot behind Matt Schaub, if he can’t hold off Yates, it may be a mute point but he may also be able to find another opportunity to start. Just last season there were rumors he was going to go to Seattle to start for his old college coach Pete Carroll. I believe he will get another shot in the future. If he has used his bench time wisely, he could be a very sneaky pick. The trick is to get him while nobody thinks he’s worth a darn. That time is now.
Kelvin Sheppard, LB BUF – Shhh! If you haven’t heard, the Buffalo Bills hired Dave Wannstedt as Defensive Coordinator and he’s moving them back to a 4-3 base defense. That means that they will have a middle linebacker flying from sideline to sideline making tackles behind 2 behemoth defensive tackles there to take space and not let interior offensive lineman block him. As a head coach, Wannstedt had Brian Urlacher and Zach Thomas in there prime as MLBs in his defenses. His MLBs are usually tackling machines. Sheppard has been quietly named the MLB starter for the Bills next season. Pick him up as soon as possible if you use IDPs. Shhh!