The degeneracy continues as I scour my 14 dynasty teams looking for the most owned players at each position, which is a task all in itself. We already covered the quarterbacks and running backs most owned (on at least five of my dynasty rosters) and today we end with the wide receivers and tight ends.
Aside from my first round favorites, Calvin Johnson, A.J. Green and Dez Bryant, there’s a small group in the middle of drafts where I like to take my favorite up and comers. I tend to build my dynasty teams via the wide receiver position, so I end up with quite a few of the same ones on many of my teams. For the most part, my RBs and QBs are all over the board in terms of owned percentage, but for the wideouts, my portfolio is not diverse. Those just missing the five team minimum cutoff include Golden Tate and Michael Floyd.
Josh Gordon, WR CLE
Owned in 8 leagues
The perfect storm is coming. A second year receiver with elite-like measureables; new coaching with a pass-friendly offensive scheme; a quarterback who’s not afraid to air it out; a power run game and the pieces surrounding him to free up space. Oh yes, the storm’s coming…
At 6’3”, 225 pounds, Gordon is a gazelle on steroids – not codeine. His skills were put on display in the team’s week two preseason game against the Detroit Lions. Gordon caught three of four targets for 72 yards, including a 31 yard, one-handed catch down the left sideline with a defender draped on his back. He probably had no business making the play, but it’s a play I’m going to expect him to make with regularity this season. He has the physical tools to be uncoverable in this league, but needs to keep his head on straight to realize his sky-high potential.
In a new, pass-happy offense, Gordon will be the #1 option when he comes off his two game suspension. Greg Little and Jordan Cameron will be the beneficiaries in his absence, but look for this offense to begin their ascension into solid fantasy relevancy around the time of his return even with the offense geared toward Trent Richardson.
Pierre Garcon, WR WAS
Owned in 9 leagues
When it comes to Garcon, I’ve labeled him the cheapest WR1 available in fantasy drafts. Granted, he’s on the lower end of that tier, but for where you’re drafting him, he’ll yield plenty of value.
Coming off a season where his foot kept him out for the middle part of the year, Garcon proved to be worthy of the contract the Redskins gave him that off-season. When Garcon was on the field (and ‘healthy’), these are what his numbers looked like.
In an excerpt from a recent article, I said, “If you’re in a PPR league, Garcon would have scored an average of 17.1 points per game. If you extrapolate that kind of production over a 16 game season, Garcon’s numbers would look like 84 receptions, 1,334 yards and more than 9 scores – those stats would have been good for eighth-best wide receiver in fantasy football.”
Now, people either love or hate the use of extrapolating stats, and I get that, but Garcon has done nothing to dispel those possible delusions of grandeur late into the preseason. In fact, every Redskin beat writer and fanboy (I’m talking to you, Karl Safchick) has come out and said how “beast” he’s looked in practices and what little game time he’s seen. Of course, you need to take into account the possible lingering foot problem, but going back to that article, the Dynasty Doc, Scott Peak gave his input on how to interpret the issue moving forward. Plus, the injury concern is already baked into his ADP making it quite possible he could be the cheapest WR1 in all formats.
Brian Quick, WR STL
Owned in 10 leagues
I’ve been touting Quick for as long as I’ve touted Isaiah Pead, which also might bite me in my hindquarters, but I still believe in both their talents. I’ve been beating a virtual dead horse with certain Rams players, but I’m a sucker for upside…or potential upside.
Quick is yet another physical specimen with measurables I so dearly covet, except he hasn’t quite put them all together heading into year two. Looking at his camp, Quick has been night and day better than in his rookie preseason. He’s flashed NFL ability, but hasn’t been consistent in doing so while fellow second year receiver, Chris Givens has. When Quick was drafted in 2012, we all knew how raw he was. He came from a small school and didn’t need to hone his skills. He was a man amongst boys at Appalachian State and compiled a stat line of 202 receptions, 3418 yards and 31 touchdowns in his four year career. Again, he didn’t play against them BCS boys. He was a project then and is still getting his project on now.
What I love about Quick is he’s no dumb-dumb. He realizes the work he needs to put in to see real NFL action and has laid the foundation to improve with each week. Of all the Rams’ receivers, Quick has seen the most snaps this preseason with 80 – that number tells me they are trying to get him needed reps more than telling me he’s a lock for a starting job. After all, this is the preseason. Of those 80 snaps, he’s ran 50 routes and run blocked for 30. He’s caught five of 11 targets for 71 yards and one dropped pass.
The Rams’ invested a second round pick on Quick and will eventually give Austin Pettis’ playing time to him to see what they have. It’s now up to Quick to force Jeff Fisher’s hand and prove he belongs at this level. If that happens and he fails, Stedman Bailey will be featured on this article next season – if his price tag remains acceptable.
The tight end position is another where my owned percentage is all over the map. If I can’t get the services of Jimmy Graham or Rob Gronkowski, I tend to wait on the position and draft young with upside. Aside from the two listed below, tight ends, Julius Thomas, Ladarius Green and Tyler Eiffert are the names I often look to when the time comes.
Jordan Cameron, TE CLE
Owned in 5 leagues
Just as I was beginning to sour on Cameron a bit, he goes and has a preseason, ultimate overreaction game against the Detroit Lions. Cameron caught all three targets for 42 yards and two scores and his ADP jumped the shark. Prior to his coming out party, Cameron had been all but crucified in training camp. He looked bad, overrated and not quite ready for breakout status. That game shut pundits up quickly.
DLF Senior Writer, Steve Wyremski does a brilliant job of covering the meteoric rise of Cameron here, so I won’t bore you with the whys or why nots. Instead, I’ll delve into his preseason usage and let you conjure up your own thoughts on what Cameron may or may not do in 2013. Of the 51 routes he’s run, 31 of those have come from the slot – that’s a 60.8% clip. Both his preseason touchdowns have come when lined up in the slot and if that’s where he’s going to be (mostly), he’s a mismatch for any defense the Browns will face, especially in the red zone.
Much has been made of the arrival of Norval Turner and tight end guru, Rod Chudzinski…and for good reason. Both Chudzinski and Turner played a huge part in transforming Antonio Gates into an elite tight end option in the mid-late 2000’s. Then, Chudzinski went to Carolina where he helped Greg Olsen realize his potential, turning him into a very useable TE1 for fantasy as illustrated in Steve’s article.
Unfortunately, Cameron is getting to the point of being drafted as a sure thing. According to Ryan McDowell’s ADP Mock Drafts, Cameron was coming off the board around pick #180 as the TE23. One manslaughter and hip replacement (I know, ‘repair’) later, Cameron finds himself drafted as the TE11 – and almost five rounds sooner.
If you happened to buy the hype on Cameron early, pat yourselves on the back and crack open an adult beverage. Here’s to you, gamer.
Coby Fleener, TE IND
Owned in 9 leagues
Fleener’s preseason hasn’t exactly made me feel good about owning him in close to 65% of my leagues, but I’m a glutton for punishment. During this stretch, Fleener has fumbled, dropped an easy touchdown and incurred both a concussion and mild knee sprain. Awesome.
If he ever does get his act together, Fleener will definitely hold value against his ADP. Granted, that ‘value’ has taken a hit in the recent months due to the Pep Hamilton hiring and injury to Dwayne Allen, but there’s value nonetheless. In January, Fleener was the #16 TE taken around pick 142. In August, that’s changed, but by only a round. He’s being drafted right after Cameron as the TE12, around pick 133.
Here’s what I wrote on Fleener back in June. All that still holds true, but he will have to improve on his routes and concentration/ball skills if he’s going to realize that talent in 2013. I’m still a buyer on Fleener, however, because of the new WCO, new OC and Andrew Luck. He always makes me feel better about myself, though.
That will do it for the players who seem to be my roster magnets, who are yours?