While NFL franchises have to put their decisions on hold until after the Super Bowl, the season never ends for us dynasty leaguers. Staying ahead of the curve in the early part of the off-season may help you identify opportunities that could help your team achieve fantasy greatness in the very near future. Right now there are some players who I consider great buy lows that can be bought for pennies on the dollar (or free of charge) if you act quickly enough.
Here they are.
1.) Delanie Walker, TE SF (UFA)
Walker has been living in the shadow of Vernon Davis since the day he was drafted in the sixth round back in 2006. A jack of all trades, this player can do it all. He can line in up in almost any spot on the field, is more than an adequate blocker and also possesses elite speed for his position, being clocked as low as 4.49. Reports I’ve read out of the training room also state that this guy is an absolute gym rat and has a tremendous work ethic.
If he were to end up in a favorable situation, I could see him as a nice TE2 with upside in a three year window (perhaps even longer) seeing that he is only 28 years old.
If I could personally handpick a landing spot for Walker, it would be Atlanta. His value in their high tempo, pass first offense would increase from a TE2 to a low end TE1 with upside in my eyes. It’s always nice when a player with his type of speed also has the capability to play all three downs – that’s not too shabby for a guy that’s likely sitting on the waiver wire in most leagues at this very moment. If he is owned, he could probably be pried away from his current owner for a late third to early fourth round pick. If you’re a TE needy team, Walker is a lot safer than drafting any other TE in the later rounds of your rookie drafts.
Other possible landing spots: New York Jets, Miami, Chicago, Kansas City, Cleveland.
2.) Mike Tolbert, RB CAR
While awaiting the fate of DeAngelo Williams, who is owed 4.75 million this season, this is a great time to swoop in and buy Tolbert at a huge discount. If Williams is released (like many experts are predicting) the reigns would finally be handed over to Jonathan Stewart. Let’s face it dynasty leaguers, this guy cannot stay on the football field and doesn’t seem capable of sustaining a heavy workload in the NFL. It’s not a matter of if Stewart is going to get injured; it’s a matter of when? As far as I’m concerned there are three certainties in life; Death, taxes and Stewart missing significant playing time.
The situation Tolbert could end up finding himself in would be ironically similar to the role he played in San Diego when he was the backup to Ryan Mathews – he’d be playing second fiddle to someone that is highly injury prone. Talk about falling in a crowded outhouse and coming out smelling like a rose.
Like Walker, Tolbert is also a jack of all trades. He’s a willing, capable pass protector, has soft hands out of the backfield, has a real knack for finding the end zone and best of all, he’ll definitely be on the field in goal line situations. There’s a reason this guy has been dubbed “The Vulture” in fantasy football leagues around the globe.
If Williams leaves town, it’s only a matter of time before Tolbert will earn the starting nod for multiple weeks at a time. If and when that happens, it’s all but guaranteed that this guy is going to put up solid RB2 numbers for your dynasty squads, especially in PPR and heavy touchdown scoring leagues. Right now I’d say his actual value is about equivalent to that of a mid to late second round pick, but, there are owners out there that would let him go for much less than that.
On a less serious note – it should be fun to watch Cam Newton and Tolbert vulture touchdowns from each other.
3.) Rod Streater, WR OAK
This guy first started turning the heads of dynasty owners everywhere during the 2012 preseason. During that time, the undrafted free agent out of Temple put up an impressive stat line of 18/165/0 in only three games, easily making him one of the hottest (if not THE hottest) pickups on the waiver wire heading into the regular season.
Although he started the regular season off relatively slow, he really started to catch fire during the last five games of the season posting a stat line of 18/351/1 during that stretch.
Standing at 6’3″ and weighing 200 lbs, Streater has prototypical size (with room to grow) and also possesses elite speed being clocked as low as 4.37 at his pro day. The surprising thing about Streater is that he came into training camp and instantly showed the ability to run very smooth, precise routes, despite ending his collegiate career at Temple with an underwhelming stat line of 49/882/7 in 21 games played. A lot of that plays into the fact that Temple was primarily a running team. However, the silver lining here is that he focused a lot of his attention on becoming an excellent downfield blocker and it shows out there on the field.
An interesting tidbit about Streater that people may not know is that he studied jiu jitsu in order to help him beat press coverage in the NFL. Most scouts felt that was his biggest weakness and that he would never be able to consistently beat press coverage at the NFL level. Talk about a dedication to your craft. You have to love a guy willing to put in the work to get better.
Streater finds himself in a situation identical to Tolbert. Let’s just say he probably made it a little easier for the Raiders to part ways with Darrius Heyward-Bey. DHB is owed an outrageous $7.721 million in base salary for the 2013 season and will more than likely get the boot if he doesn’t agree to renegotiate his contract. A franchise that is basically rebuilding (although they do have a few nice pieces) can’t afford to pay players like Heyward-Bey that type of money when they haven’t consistently produced.
If this scenario were to play out, I could see Streater having a maximum value of a low end WR3 with upside as soon as next year and a ceiling of a low end WR2 in the future.
At this point, all three of these players are purely speculative “buy lows.” A lot of their value depends on what happens in the next couple of months, but at their likely current prices, it makes them well worth the minimum risk they pose to dynasty owners.