This year’s free agency frenzy has seen many big name players change teams, but it’s also had its fair share of “under the radar” signings as well. For owners in dynasty leagues, it’s easy to just focus on the big names at receiver like Vincent Jackson, Reggie Wayne and Brandon Marshall when reviewing the past few weeks of player movement.
It’s a mistake.
There have been some subtle moves by some teams that could produce some viable fantasy players in dynasty leagues. I covered many of these in the recent Free Agency Blog, but some of these moves have justified their own post here on DLF.
Enter Andre Caldwell.
The Denver Broncos wasted no time in signing Caldwell to join Peyton Manning in Denver. He joins a receiving corps that features Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Jason Hill and Matthew Willis among others. Realistically, there are no guarantees about what kind of playing time Caldwell may get, but it seems the third receiver job would be something that would be in his grasp to begin the season.
The 26 year old Caldwell had his share of ups and downs playing for the Bengals during his four year career. His career totals are rather modest and include 124 catches, 1,172 yards and six touchdowns, with a rather disappointing 9.5 yards per catch average. His measurables are plenty good, though. He stands at 6’1″, weighs around 215 pounds and runs a sub 4.4 forty.
The numbers don’t tell the whole story, though.
Whenever Caldwell has been on the field for extended time, he’s produced. We saw a flash of his ability in the last three games of 2010 when he averaged 90 yards per game and had 15 total catches. Unfortunately, he’s always been buried behind the likes of Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens or AJ Green. He’s also had many opportunities to take a stranglehold on a starting job, but failed to get the job done each time.
In Denver, Caldwell gets a re-birth of sorts with a quarterback who tends to make everyone a little better. Remember, Peyton Manning loves to spread the ball around and he made guys like Brandon Stokley, Jacob Tamme, Austin Collie and Blair White into household names, all while making players like Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and Marvin Harrison into fantasy juggernauts.
Caldwell isn’t a viable threat to the jobs of Demaryius Thomas or Eric Decker - that doesn’t mean he should be overlooked in dynasty leagues, though. Thomas and Decker have both had their share of injuries and Caldwell would get an even bigger boost if one of them was to miss time. Remember, too, that Caldwell is a willing blocker. Manning tends to reward those players who put the team first.
The Broncos could be in play to add yet another receiver to the mix during the draft, but Caldwell is at least a player to monitor, if not add at least temporarily in deep dynasty leagues as a prospect who may have not yet shown us all he has to give. He’s not going to turn into the next Calvin Johnson, but he could emerge as a flex play in deep leagues if everything falls right for him.
While all the other owners in your league are focusing on the big names landing in free agency, keep it here to DLF – we’ll make sure to take a look at the entire landscape in dynasty leagues.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK