I’m a degenerate.
I know this to be true for many reasons, but one need only look at the laundry list of dynasty leagues I’m in to decipher this self-proclamation on their own – and I’m not ashamed of it.
I began writing for DLF in January of this year. I had been writing for a couple other websites for the 2012 season, but it was primarily focused on redraft analysis. I’m fairly new to the dynasty game, so my goal was to participate in as many dynasty leagues as humanly possible so I could provide quality content to our readers. Since joining the DLF Mafioso, I have also joined 14 dynasty leagues – four are takeovers and ten are startups, both snake and auctions. I’ve done whatever the equivalent of a ‘crapload’ of dynasty mock drafts and feel like I have a grasp on who I truly want on my squads starting in the year 2013 and beyond.
I was looking at all my teams and noticed certain trends. We all have these – certain players we value more than others; players you have to roster simply because you’re more bullish on them than someone else. I compiled a positional list of players I’ve targeted starting in February and ending in August with a short analysis of why I own them and in how many of the leagues. Just so I don’t throw out 50 names per position, to qualify, these players need to be rostered on at least five of my teams.
I’ll break these down into two separate articles. The first will be for quarterbacks and running backs and the second will focus on wide receivers and tight ends.
I don’t put much stock into backup fantasy quarterbacks and rarely take one before round 12. Because of this strategy, I rarely end up with the same quarterbacks (starter and non-starters) in most leagues. The position as a whole holds the least amount of value to me than the skill positions – right or wrong, that’s just how I feel due to my streaming methods. I’m not saying it’s not important to have a quality backup, but with how deep the position is this year and looking forward, I don’t see a reason to burn a mid-round pick on a backup who will only be started on bye weeks or due to injury.
There was only one quarterback trending in my MFL leagues, with some honorable mentions going out to Ryan Tannehill, Robert Griffin III and E.J. Manuel. But only one stood out from the rest…
Russell Wilson, QB SEA
Owned in 6 leagues
If you’ve followed me on Twitter or have read any of my past articles, you know I’m not only a huge Seattle Seahawk homer, but also a lover of one Russell Wilson as evidenced by my Russellmania piece here.
Even without Percy Harvin, I believe Wilson should be a top five dynasty startup quarterback. As I wrote in said article, Wilson averaged 23.5 fantasy points per game – tied with Cam Newton as the #1 QBs in the fake world. He accomplished that without Harvin, so there’s no reason to believe he can’t come close to those numbers again. The Seahawks aren’t going to change their game – they will be running the ball early and often and Pete Carroll is known for putting the proverbial foot on his opponent’s proverbial throat. Once the ‘Hawks have a lead, don’t expect them to sit back and just run the clock out – that’s when they open up the pass game.
So who’s he going to throw to?
Golden Tate and Sidney Rice aren’t exactly world beaters, but they get the job done. Tate is heading into a contract year and Rice will most likely be playing for a 2014 roster spot due to his bloated contract. Couple them with breakout candidate Jermaine Kearse and all signs point to Wilson being a successful QB1 for the foreseeable future.
I try to save the first round for elite wide receivers like Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Dez Bryant. If they don’t fall to me, I usually set my targets for Jamaal Charles or C.J. Spiller. I own Charles in four leagues and Spiller in three, so they didn’t quite make the cut – plus, you DLFers already understand why they’d make this type of list, so I won’t bore you.
It’s those mid-late rounds where you make your reaches for guys you’ve planted your flag on – maybe even sooner. I’ve come to the realization if you play it safe during your dynasty draft, you don’t end up with the players you truly want. Why play the ADP game when you can have your player right now? I learned the hard way on a few, but ponied up some courage in the latter stages of my dynasty off-season.
Lamar Miller, RB MIA
Owned in 10 leagues
Miller has been a running back target of mine since February when it was evident Reggie Bush would no longer be with Miami. It was fairly obvious who would be the primary beneficiary when he left given their depth chart. Daniel Thomas isn’t exactly someone you fear will take away a lion share of touches and the dastardly duo of Marcus Thigpen and Jonas Gray scare me as much as a kitten with a stud collar. The only hurdle(s) left would be if the Dolphins used a high draft pick on a running back or they sought another out via free agency.
In the fifth round, they selected Mike Gillislee. In turn, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief – I wasn’t concerned about him then, and I’m not concerned about his role now.
Miller is the only “workhorse” I see on the current roster. His biggest issue to develop this off-season was pass protection. From all the reports I’ve read, Head Coach Joe Philbin believes Miller has not only improved on that part of his game, but has said he can be a three down back in this league.
If he is awarded the opportunity, I have no doubt he’ll keep it for years to come, barring significant injury, of course. In an ascending offense, I like to target running backs who are expected to be their team’s catalyst. The only worry I have with Miller isn’t about his ability, it’s about his Head Coach. Philbin has never been a fantasy-friendly play caller when it comes to running backs, but he’s also never had a running back with the skillset Miller has.
Miller’s had a meteoric rise in ADP this off-season. In January, he was being drafted as the RB34 around the #98 pick (after round 8). In August, his stock has soared into the late second round with an ADP of 21 as the RB12. If you jumped on the hype train early, kudos to you, my friends.
Christine Michael, RB SEA
Owned in 6 leagues
Easily one of DLF’s favorite rookies coming out of Texas A&M, Michael has proved his pundits right so far in his rookie year. Still listed as the team’s #3 running back, Michael has put on display the reasons the Seattle Seahawks drafted him with their first pick in the second round. He has shown burst, vision, ankle-breaking cuts and the ability to catch the football out of the backfield. Much of those were seen on this one play alone against the Green Bay Packers, including his game-breaking speed.
Michael will most likely cede the backup duties to second year running back Robert Turbin. My guess is Michael won’t factor much, if at all, if Marshawn Lynch is healthy and not suspended. If Lynch were to go down, I believe Michael will be the starter – meaning Turbin is the backup for both, getting most of his snaps on third downs.
While I don’t think Michael is in a situation that can yield startable fantasy points from the start, I do believe he has the ability to end up being the best back in his class over their collective careers. He’s that good.
Roy Helu, RB WAS
Owned in 5 leagues
I’ve started drafting Helu about a month and a half ago during the extremely late portions of drafts. In fact, back in January, his ADP was hovering around the 202nd pick. Looking at August’s data, he still remains a late round flier, coming off the board at an average of pick of 194.
Granted, Helu has just recently started turning heads. Owners are finally inviting the oft-injured running back into their circles of trust again – and they should be. He’s looked fantastic this preseason. He’s making all the necessary cuts and looks 100% for the first time in a long time. Head coach Mike Shanahan has praised his performances thus far and has the backup/third down role on lockdown. If Helu can stay healthy, he’s going to far exceed his current ADP which is sure to climb from here on out.
Helu could very well be one of the better handcuffs to own in PPR formats when 2013 is over. I’m not saying you should take him over guys like Bernard Pierce or Ben Tate, but I am saying to take him. Morris isn’t much of a receiving threat, no matter what he or the organization tells you. He’s a grinding running back that makes his hay in yards after contact. Helu, on the other hand, is a back who creates mismatches in space and can change a game with one play. He’s a full year removed from Achilles tendonitis and a toe ligament injury and looks bigger and better than he did before the injuries. I put nothing past Shanahan and wouldn’t be surprised if Helu saw more time than just on third downs.
He’ll forever be an “injury prone” player until he’s not. Hopefully, that’s this year.
Who are some players you seem to have consistently on your rosters?