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Summer Sleeper: Marcus Easley

You’ll be combing through sites all Summer long in search of unearthing that little known gem who eventually blows up into a bona fide star like Mike Wallace or Arian Foster.  Every site out there is going to have a sleeper list this year with players they believe could be on the path of  a breakout.

For loyal readers of ours, they’re mostly garbage.

We know the people who use our site are professionals.  You don’t need us to give you names like Josh Freeman, Mike Thomas or Jimmy Graham.  You know those players already and they’re nicely stashed away in your league.  Most sites play it safe with their sleeper list in fear they could be wrong and lose credibility.

We don’t care about that.

Our job at DLF is to truly help with the creation of dynasty greatness and provide unique value, so the players we focus on are deep sleepers – players who aren’t in the mainstream and are much more obscure.  There’s no reason for us to have a copycat list that matches every other site out there in America.  Is that a strategy that’s much more risky?  Yes.

Again, we don’t care.

Over the years, we’ve built up a reputation as a site willing to put our necks out there and take chances.  We’ve been right and we’ve been wrong.  Both will happen again.  We stand by the fact we’ve been right much more often.

Today, we begin our Summer sleeper series with Marcus Easley of the Buffalo Bills.

Easley is a second year player and former fourth round draft pick from the University of Connecticut.  He missed all of last season with a left knee injury he sustained on August 2nd during a training camp practice.  The extent of the injury is still a mystery, but it was obviously significant enough to put him on the shelf for the entire 2010 campaign.  Easley was supposed to compete for the team’s starting flanker position lsat year until that injury derailed his season.

Easley has an uphill road to climb, but he isn’t a stranger to having to work hard to get what he wants.  He was actually a 2007 walk on at UConn and eventually blossomed into the team’s leading receiver in 2009, pacing the Huskies with 48 catches, 893 yards and eight touchdowns.

His 18.8 yards per catch in college raises an eyebrow, as does his combine workout from last year where he posted a 4.46 forty and his private workout at UConn where he ran a 4.42.  His collegiate numbers may not be eye popping compared to many others, but you have to also consider he played in a run heavy offense installed by Randy Edsall.  It’s also worth noting that he came out of nowhere and had to work for everything he ever received.

Reports this offseason about Easley have been very positive.

He’s reportedly up from 210 pounds to around 225.  Even more promising is the fact he’s apparently retained all his trademark speed, even after a long rehabilitation from his knee injury. He also possesses adequate height at 6’2″, which is easily forgotten when finding yourself consumed with his speed numbers.  Both Steve Johnson and Ryan Fitzpatrick have gone on record saying he “looks like  a beast” this offseason. While that’s not too hard to accomplish in an informal workout, it’s still something to note. They’ve both noticed his ability to run routes effectively and separate from defenders with relative ease.

Those are all very positive signs.

The lockout is a serious threat to Easley’s ability to make the final Bills roster. He would greatly benefit from OTAs and training camp to give the coaching staff an extended look at his ability. There are two things that do work in his favor, though.

First, Easley did have a chance to show what he could do last Summer.  At one point he was running with the first team at training camp – that won’t be easily forgotten by the coaching staff. The Bills obviously liked what they saw last year. Dynasty owners should remember that, too.  Many owners tend to have short term memories, but that’s a mistake in a dynasty league.  Owners tend to write players off way too quickly.

Second, the Bills took no other wide receivers in this year’s draft, keeping Easley in a great situation.  While Steve Johnson has developed into a star at the position, the cupboard isn’t exactly stacked.  At the very least, Easley is in position to make the team as a deep compliment to Johnson.  Lee Evans certainly isn’t getting any younger.  Roscoe Parrish, David Nelson, Donald Jones and Naaman Roosevelt round out the corps.  That isn’t exactly scaring the rest of the league.

When looking at deep sleepers, Marcus Easley is a name that should be stashed away in the minds of deep dynasty league players. Every year brings us some surprises and our job is to have those players safely protected from our opponents. Easley could just be one of those guys.

Ken Kelly
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Madtoker/Jeff
10 years ago

Already stashed him because of a thread in the forum!!

10 years ago

Shhh… keep it low key. I’m about to take him in a league of mine 🙂

DWonder
10 years ago

great stuff…keep these coming.

DLF_KenK
10 years ago

Check back regularly! We have a good list in the Dynasty Essentials Guide, but are chomping at the bit for this lockout to be over. Regardless, this will be a regular column all Summer…

DWonder
10 years ago

quick question…what upgrades and updates have been included in the Dynasty Guide 2.0? Just wondering if i should print 2.0.

DLF_KenK
Reply to  DWonder
10 years ago

Expanded IDP Section with commentary
Player Ages noted for all positions
Third Year Wide Receiver List

Should you PRINT it? It’s around 250 pages, so that’s up to you. I’d download it and print the new sections if you needed it in paper format. Regardless, it’s free if you’ve downloaded it already.

10 years ago

Bills WR David Nelson is trying to bulk up to 225 after playing last season in the 205 to 210-pound range.He’s already at 220. At 6-foot-5, Nelson ran an impressive 4.45 forty at the Florida Gators’ 2010 Pro Day, so he should maintain plenty of speed at the greater weight. After catching 31 balls for 353 yards and three scores as an undrafted rookie, Nelson will be in the mix for Buffalo’s third receiver job. I think nelson will be a better reciever than easly

Lou
10 years ago

Local WNY-er here, and while the coaches can’t really comment about him, the players have been raving about Easley. People will say about how “so-and-so” looks like a beast a lot this time of year, but what has really stuck out to me is how Steve Johnson (obviously a guy who broke out and is no stranger to hard work himself) has mentioned how Easley has always been a beast, but now has learned how to run routes like an NFL wide receiver, not just run straight downfield.

As for those that think David Nelson will take a roster spot from him, remember that Nelson has had very real struggles with catching the ball cleanly, or at all, for that matter, so they are much more likely on equal footing than either of them having a true advantage over the other.

The most likely scenario that I see playing out is that the Bills try to get all 4.5 of their talented WRs on the field as often as possible (I mean, c’mon, Roscoe Parrish is equivalent to about 1/2 a WR, right?) as they try to spread the field to take advantage of whatever matchups they can. In fact, this is what Chan Gailey has done in previous stops both in Dallas and more notably Kansas City, where he found some success (at least offensively) using Tyler Thigpen. This scenario would also help to mask Fitzpatrick’s weaknesses (lack of arm strength) and accentuate his strengths (underrated escapability, decision making). Long term, the Bills see Easley as a possible replacement for Evans. As anyone who had Steve Johnson on their team last year knows, his production suffered immensely once the downfield threat of Evans was removed. Easley will help the Bills keep a balanced WR corps for years to come.

This is the last year you’ll be able to get him this cheaply, so if you find yourself in a position to take a flier on a WR, Easley is the guy to do it with.

Dig Dug
10 years ago

Great call. I’ve got him on my taxi squad and will keep him there at least one more year. I picked him up as a late round pick in my rookie draft last year.

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