The 2012 fantasy football off-season has begun. You have to pay close attention to everything in order to stay on top of your dynasty league. For most of us, we do well to steal some time away from our families and jobs to watch the games on Sunday. It becomes difficult to monitor the daily happenings around the league and even more demanding to process how that news affects your dynasty team.
That’s why we’re here!
Now that we’ve entered the off-season, the next few months will be filled with rumors. Much of the “news” will be speculation about the futures of individual players. While this can be important, it can also be a challenge to determine the validity of certain reports. I will included many of these reports and share my opinion about how the player’s value might be affected, for better or worse.
Here is a quick look at the events of the past week and how they impact the players on your team:
Dwayne Bowe, WR KC
With the franchise tag deadline looming and multiple reports and insights as to what the Kansas City Chiefs might do in order to keep free agent wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, the team pulled off a coup. Bowe agreed to a five year deal, which will pay him $56 million. Bowe has shown the talent to be one of the top wide receivers in the game and the team recently added a new quarterback, former 49er starter Alex Smith. While it is unclear how Smith will fit with the Chiefs and if he can be a true upgrade for their offense, one thing is for sure – Bowe will be the focal point of the pass offense.
Greg Little, WR CLE
Many dynasty owners (along with some Browns fans) have considered browns wide receiver Greg Little a disappointment. This mostly stems from his reputation for dropping too many catchable balls. Little did show much improvement in 2012 as the season went along and finished with a five game stretch in which he caught 22 balls for 287 yards and two scores. If Little can carry that forward into off-season workouts and training camp, his value will continue to rise. Right now, he still carries that negative reputation and offers solid value.
Ryan Williams, RB ARI
One of the biggest risers, according to our February average draft position data, is Cardinals running back Ryan Williams, who is coming off a season ending shoulder injury. This bump in dynasty value could stem from the praise and comments coming from new Arizona head coach Bruce Arians. Over the past few weeks, Arians has mentioned his love for Williams as a player and also that he prefers an every down back, rather that the use of a running-back-by-committee approach. This is great news to Williams dynasty owners, but there is still the matter of free agency. With former starter Beanie Wells likely on his way out of town, the Cardinals are expected to add a running back and have been rumored to have interest in Rashard Mendenhall or Reggie Bush. Either player would severely deflate Williams’ value. Now is not the time to buy Williams, but I would be a willing seller before the free agency period begins. Williams has back-to-back season ending injuries in his first two seasons and will certainly face some competition for carries.
Austin Collie, WR FA
Free agent wide receiver Austin Collie, who is still recovering from a ruptured patella tendon, has admitted that he will likely not be healthy until October. Collie has been somewhat of a hot dynasty stash early this off-season based on some connecting of the dots and predictions that he could land in Denver to play with former quarterback Peyton Manning. It is well known that Manning likes to utilize his slot receivers and he often looked for Collie during their shared time in Indianapolis. With the knee injury and his history of concussions, it is hard to trust Collie at all, but for only the cost of a waiver wire add, I would take a shot on him assuming I had the roster space.
Steven Jackson, RB FA
Former Rams starting running back Steven Jackson has voided his contract, which officially makes him a free agent. This move was just a formality, as everyone involved knew Jackson would make this decision and was even encouraged by team official’s during the regular season. Rumors and reports have varied on the possible destination for Jackson. There have been no burned bridges on either side, so there is a good chance he could still return to St. Louis, although there are a few contending teams that need an upgrade at running back, namely the Green Bay Packers and Atlanta Falcons. There have been rumors that the Falcons have strong interest in Jackson. His value would likely see an uptick with a new home.
Taylor Thompson, TE TEN
Titans officials reportedly expect tight end Taylor Thompson to be much more involved in the team’s offense in the upcoming season. This is perfect timing for this speculation as it now seems that free agent starter Jared Cook will hit the open market after he and the team were unable to agree on a long term deal, or even on the details of a franchise tag. Cook was not tagged and there have been rumors of multiple teams being interested in the athletic big man. If Cook departs, that obviously opens the door for playing time for Thompson, though the Titans offense has yet to prove that it can support multiple fantasy wide receivers, let alone a top tight end. Thompson has some upside and should still be fairly cheap, so he makes a good target for this early part of the offseason.
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