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2012 Stock Market Report: Part I – Risers

As I stated in my most recent blog, whether vying for a ring or playing for 2012, there is still much to be gained by zooming out just a bit from 2011 and focusing on years to come.

Championship contending teams need to be concerned, first, with wrapping up a ring THIS year.  But in having a competitive team, this also likely means that you have aging players that can be moved without significantly impacting near-term years to come.  I especially like to make moves for low first or second round selections when I’m in this situation.  But even if you are beyond your league’s trade deadline, roster cultivation is still a valuable exercise.

On the other hand, if you’re well out of contention, then you should have already performed the exercise of jettisoning those players that will not help you in the short term, hopefully for younger players or draft picks.  Or, if not yet beyond your league imposed trade deadline, there is still time.  You don’t want to have an aging veteran that holds little value to you, but perhaps to others, retire off your roster.

Whether via trade during the season or after the season has ended, the best time to add young talent is before they become targeted commodities.  For part one of this series, let’s take a look at a few players whose arrows are pointing north for 2012.

RISING

Quarterbacks

In fantasy, especially dynasty leagues, you MUST have a top quarterback if you expect to compete week to week.  Depending on your scoring system, quarterbacks are likely your top point producers and the positional point disparity will be most evident at this position.  Should your league award six points per touchdown over the traditional four, it is absolutely imperative to have a top five  quarterback.  As fantasy teams usually only start one quarterback per week, finding a young quarterback on the rise that won’t make a weekly starting lineup is much easier and will come more cheaply than other positions.  This is the position to take the most risk as, if you can land a young quarterback that eventually blossoms, you may have a 15 year fantasy producer.

Despite what has turned out to be a decent crop of rookie quarterbacks in 2011, look for another run on the position in 2012.

Matt Flynn, GBP

Matt Flynn will be starting someplace in 2012.  Much like Drew Brees or Jake Delhomme as a backup, Flynn is considered a top flight quarterback who is ready for a starting gig.  He’s stable, poised and has the confidence you want in a young starter.  He’ll be 27 when 2012 kicks-off and should be under-center quickly.  As a 2011 note, Aaron Rodger’s owners should roster Flynn now for late week playoffs.  If the Packers lock up the best record in the NFC, Rodgers may sit.  Flynn would be a notable starter.

Caleb Hanie, CHI

Right behind Flynn is Chicago’s version of a coveted backup quarterback.  Not quite on the same level as Flynn, Hanie has potential of his own and is likely to be elsewhere in 2012.  Jay Cutler’s fractured right thumb will provide Hanie with an opportunity to showcase his skills for the remainder of 2011, something Flynn won’t get.  It’s not out of the realm that Hanie will show enough to be resigned in Chicago but with so many quarterback needs currently present, any satisfactory level of performance by Hanie will only raise interest.  Update:  Hanie’s first start vs. Oakland leaves a bit to be desired but let’s not rush to judgment.

Andy Dalton, CIN

The young rookie has proven many NFL experts wrong.  All Dalton has done was come in to a situation with zero expectations and help turn the team into a playoff contender.  Cincinnati’s 2011 schedule was one of the easiest in the NFL but Dalton has performed regardless.  The flame-haired rookie has a fiery confidence and demeanor along with a level of competitiveness that cannot be denied.  Combine that with a better-than-advertised arm and rare pocket presence for a quarterback of his age and you have the potential for a top twelve player within the position in 2012.  The Bengal’s defensive performance in 2011 will allow Marvin Lewis to focus on the offensive interior during the 2012 draft, in addition to a more dynamic running back.  The Bengals just may find themselves with a young set of play-makers that will provide for a significant competitive foundation when 2012 kicks off.

Running Backs

Running backs continue to separate and the position is quickly becoming a have vs. have-not situation.  Once again, teams are trending toward two and three back rotations and those teams that prefer a single carry-the-load back are slowly going the way of the dinosaur.  Should you have a primary back, their value is increasing .  Should you be on the hunt for one, your best bet is either via the rookie draft or through the more patient approach of acquiring backs in the second or third position of their respective depth charts.  Pay special attention to the systems and the coaches within the systems as a poor system or utilization can turn a talented back into a perma-bench back.

Michael Bush, OAK

Bush signed a one year contract in August of 2011 and could be on the move in 2012.  With Darren McFadden continuing to have difficulty staying healthy, Oakland may make the extension of Bush’s contract a priority.  More than likely, however, Bush is going to want an opportunity to play for a more proven contender and should attract a lot of interest.  In replacement of DMc, Bush has shown a tremendous amount of skill and full-season potential.

Marshawn Lynch, SEA

After a slow start, Lynch has now scored in the last seven games in which he has played.  Still not averaging 4.0 ypc., the Seattle offensive line has been showing greater capability and Lynch has rewarded them with greater productivity.  Averaging 112 yards a game over his past three, Seattle is now talking extension for the bruising down-hill runner.  Lynch will likely never be a top ten runner in fantasy, but as long as he finishes strong in 2011, he’s a capable RB2.  And he’s only 25 years old.

DeMarco Murray, DAL

I’m only mentioning him here because no back has undergone a greater climb in value than that of Murray.  Four of his last five have been phenomenal performances for a rookie and he’ll be quite the enigma heading into 2012 draft season.  His value is still rising and it will likely rise through the end of the season, at least until his injury history rears its ugly head once again.

Ben Tate, HOU

Foster is a restricted free agent in 2012 and Tate has shown why the Texans originally drafted him to be their workhorse in the backfield.  He’s a lock to stick in Houston in the near term due to his low salary but that is not to say that Houston will immediately meet Foster’s demands or RFA amount.  With backs proving that clubs don’t need to heavily invest, Tate could find himself first on the depth chart when 2012 kicks off.

Joe McKnight, NYJ

The 23 year-old may find himself with a much greater roll for the remainder of 2011.  L.T.’s injury status is up in the air and Shonn Greene just doesn’t provide any level of dynamic.  Rex Ryan showed his hand to some degree when they elected to stick with McKnight in week 11 following an injury to Greene.  He has a tendency to fumble and have lapses of concentration, but there’s no denying his ability with the ball in his hand.  He doesn’t have the look of an every-down back, but he’s got the size and speed to be what I call a three-quarter (3/4) back, squarely between a carry-the-load and change-of-pace backs.

Kendall Hunter, SF

I’m on record as saying that Kendall Hunter could have the best fantasy career of all backs drafted in 2011.  I still stand by this statement.  Frank Gore will be 29 in 2012 and Hunter possesses an NFL skill set.  Despite his size, I believe Hunter can be a Ray Rice style of back in time and with a bit more time in the gym.  Coach Harbaugh loves dynamic play-makers and Hunter will make his case to stay on the field as he matures.  Gore isn’t going anywhere any time soon but he’s aging quickly and Hunter is one injury away from significant time.  Better still is the fact that he hasn’t gotten a ton of carries in 2011, likely making for a cheaper acquisition.

Javon Ringer, TEN

Ringer was my 2009 version of Ray Rice and is nearly identical in size.  With Chris Johnson’s epic decline, Ringer has been seeing a steady increase in workload.  Whether his paltry 3.4 ypc. average is underwhelming, it’s safe to say that at least some of the blame falls upon Tennessee’s offensive line.  How much so is arguable.   Ringer will be playing for a contract in 2012 and there has been talk that the Tennessee could elect to waive C.J. in 2012 to save money.  Should that occur, the then 25 year old Ringer would have an enormous opportunity.

Kevin Smith, DET

Smith has obviously put himself in line for significant work for the remaining games of 2011.  Whether due to renewed focus or fresh legs, Smith exploded onto the scene in week 11 and quickly had fans forgetting about Jahvid Best.  Best’s concussion history is a significant issue and his 2011 season is over.  Should Smith prove capable in the remaining games, the Lions have the luxury of not pressing him back into action.  Followers of Smith, of which I am one, will recall that it wasn’t Smith’s lack of ability that ended his time in Detroit as much as it was recurring injuries and poor offensive line play.  Fast forward to 2011 and the interior offensive line play has been effective and holes not present in the past have appeared.  But can Smith be productive against a team not ranked 30th against the run.  Either way, Smith will stick on the roster through 2011 and could be in the mix for the starter’s role in 2012.  Update:  Once again, Smith is dogged by injury.  He must shake this routine if he’s ever expecting to be a starter in the NFL.

Jacquizz Rodgers, ATL

I’m not squarely on the Rodgers bandwagon yet at this point, but I have to admit that there’s something electric about this kid.  Essentially a 21 year old Darren Sproles, Rodgers has proven capable in every phase of the offensive game plan and success of the aforementioned Sproles will likely lead Atlanta’s coaching staff to replicate his game usage in Rodgers’.  Say what you will about size, and I usually do, but Rodgers has averaged 4.3 ypc. on 35 carries.  He’ll need to be paired with a bigger back but Rodgers could emerge as a valuable flex player in fantasy in 2012.

Keep an eye on:

Phillip Tanner, DAL – Young and runs hungry
Jonathan Dwyer, PIT – Still young and has been producing with opportunities

Wide Receivers

Antonio Brown, PIT

It’s one thing when your own players and coaches talk about your skills and route running but it’s another thing when opposing corners and safeties give props.  Brown has exploded on the scene in 2011 and has been Pittsburgh’s WR2 with Emmanuel Sanders battling the injury bug.  In the Steeler’s offense, a WR2 or WR3 designation is valuable enough to be considered flex worthy every week.  He’s especially valuable as an up and coming PPR receiver.

Denarius Moore, OAK

We here at DLF have been high on Moore since training camp and we’re still high on him.  At only 22 years of age and now with veteran Carson Palmer under center, Moore has the potential to rise to a legitimate WR1 in the Oakland offense.  Currently, Moore is no more than a flex play in fantasy but his upside is exactly what you want heading into the off-season.  With any luck, he doesn’t over-produce in his final five games and his value will remain lower than his potential upside.

Preston Parker, TB

A virtual unknown heading into 2011, Parker has found a niche in Tampa’s offense as a slot receiver.  On pace for 45 receptions and 5-6 touchdowns, Parker has ensured himself a role in 2012 with precise route running and a dynamic that has been sorely missing in Tampa Bay.  At only 24 years of age, Parker has a fair amount of upside along side Mike Williams and Arrelious Benn and projects more comfortably as a slot receiver.  Given his size and the fact that he has out-produced Benn, it’s not out of the question that Parker could move to the outside in 2012.

Randall Cobb, GB

Cobb’s dynamic  ability is no longer a secret and if not for the productivity of the receivers above him on the depth chart, he’d be a starter.  Being that he is buried behind Jordy Nelson and James Jones, it’s best to start discussions now for acquiring Cobb.  Green Bay needs to find ways to get him into the lineup and James Jones could be the odd man out in the off-season.  With 2011 likely being veteran Donal Driver’s final year and Jordy Nelson clearly the WR2 the departure of Jones would find Cobb as the third receiver in the Packer’s explosive offense.

Jonathan Baldwin, KC

While it’s true I’m not a big fan of Baldwin or his game, it’s obvious that he’s got an increasing role in the Chief’s offense.  A big receiver, Baldwin’s targets will only increase as he gains experience but the current quarterback woes are likely to limit any meaningful productivity.  That fact makes Baldwin a perfect buy-low or throw-in candidate for trade talks prior to 2012.

Laurent Robinson, DAL

Who knew Robinson could be so productive.  He’s always had some level of talent but whether due to system or nagging injury, he’s just never put it together.  Romo now obviously has extreme confidence in Robinson and the two have a nice chemistry.  The situation is muddy with Miles Austin nearing a return, but  it’s likely Robinson would be just fine as a third receiver.

Early Doucet, ARI

Should Doucet finish 2011 without injury, that alone is enough to raise his stock.  He’s caught just over 60% of his targets (42/68) and has shown a nose for the end zone.  Should Arizona’s quarterback play improve, Doucet will likely reap the rewards.  He’s quietly in the top 30 receivers in PPR formats and is in the shadow of Larry Fitzgerald.  A great buy-low if he can finish healthy.

Tight Ends

2011 has been a somewhat sub par year for tight ends, at least those not playing in New England.  Some new names have stepped up this year and the position is a bit up in the air for 2012.

Fred Davis, WAS

The fall of Chris Cooley was a quick one and he’s seemingly not in the plans for the Redskins in 2012.  He’ll likely be back but with Fred Davis healthy and more dynamic, Cooley’s days as a top tight end are behind him.  Davis is still somewhat under the radar and not a marquee name.  He could be a middle round steal in 2012.

Ed Dickson, BAL

The Ravens like to use both Dickson and Dennis Pitta  but Dickson is the more athletic producer and his role should increase in 2012.  He’s on the fringe of being a true TE1 and he has a lot of upside.

Jake Ballard, NYG

Another unknown New York tight end that produces.  He’s not consistent yet but he’s only 24 and his role will only increase heading into 2012.

Next up, players losing value for 2012.

 

Jeff Haverlack

Jeff Haverlack

Senior Partner / COO at Dynasty League Football
Appreciative husband and proud father who poorly attempts to balance family life with his passion for creating the largest, most helpful and most impactful fantasy community on the planet! DLF was created for the community and we're committed to each member within it! Hope anyone playing this great game will call DLF home in some way!

You can find Jeff on Twitter at @dlf_jeff
Jeff Haverlack

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26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Ken

    November 28, 2011 at 6:12 am

    Standard keeper we keep 15. Can play 2 TE`s each week because of the flex. I`m weak at rb and will probably keep 5 from this group.
    Jonathan Stewart(Car – RB)
    Cedric Benson(Cin – RB)
    Kendall Hunter(SF – RB)
    James Starks(GB – RB)
    Shane Vereen(NE – RB)
    Roy Helu(Was – RB)

    been offered DeMarco Murray and Denarius Moore for Cedric Benson and Jimmy Graham (also have Gronk but start both because of the flex)

    Fair deal? or am I giving up too much? How Stud is Murray?

    • Josh

      November 28, 2011 at 8:52 am

      Id take that assuming the other flex is for a wr as well.
      I am not sold on Starks..or Vereen (only because of system, like Shanny).

      Murray would immediately be your best back too.

    • DLF_Jeff

      November 29, 2011 at 5:44 am

      You have to give up value to get value. Hopefully you’d have a good 2nd TE but I’d probably do that deal.

      • Ken

        November 29, 2011 at 7:20 am

        thanks Jeff, the deal is official. Benson and Graham for Murray and TE Dickson and a 2nd next yr.

        • Ken

          November 29, 2011 at 8:15 am

          follow up question

          My TE`s are
          Rob Gronkowski(NE – TE)
          Ed Dickson(Bal – TE)
          we keep 15 players but cuts are only due around week 3 of the pre-season. Was thinking of keeping probably 2 TE`s so which one of the following would you add to challenge Dickson as a keeper?

          Marcedes Lewis(Jac – TE)
          Zach Miller(Sea – TE)
          Kyle Rudolph(Min – TE)
          Julius Thomas(Den – TE)
          D.J. Williams(GB – TE)
          Evan Moore(Cle – TE)
          Tony Moeaki(KC – TE)

          • DLF_Jeff

            November 29, 2011 at 3:13 pm

            I’d keep Lewis and Rudolph if you’re comfortable that you can get a 3rd TE that will be a starter if Rudolph doesn’t emerge. If not, Miller and see if you can Rudolph back in the draft.

        • Rich Fransen

          November 30, 2011 at 6:36 am

          Looks like I’m too late. Murray’s college stats and the stats from the last handful of games are seductive, but I passed on him six months ago in my dynasty draft because I simply couldn’t find a good word spoken about him. My impression is that he’s a headcase and an injury waiting to happen. If it were Benson and change for him, great. Graham is the painful one to give up. Would not have done the deal, but best of luck to you. I like Moore, but if I own Murray I’m dealing as fast as I can. His value will never be higher.

  2. bob

    November 28, 2011 at 11:44 am

    love the article!
    i am out of the playoffs in my dynasty league and i wanted ot make some moves for next year.
    Very enlightening and very helpful!!!!

    • DLF_Jeff

      November 29, 2011 at 5:45 am

      Glad you liked it. Content during the year is usually more sparse because it’s easy to see who is moving and shaking. We start picking things up as the year draws to a close and ramp up into the off-season.

  3. terry

    November 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    Good article. I’m also out of the playoffs this year and am looking to make some moves for next year. What do you think about Ryan Williams (RB-ARI) stock for next year?

    • DLF_Jeff

      November 29, 2011 at 5:46 am

      I think he’s worth a shot. He likely won’t be in a position to produce next year as he recovers but I still like his upside.

  4. Marcus

    November 28, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    My tentative 2012 Starting Lineup
    QB Brees
    RB McFadden
    RB J. Stewart
    WR A.J. Green
    WR ???
    TE Gates/Gresham

    Which of these 3 do I keep in a distance scoring league with double points for rb’s with receiving td’s …Willis McGahee, Roy Helu, Kenny Britt, Miles Austin, Denarius Moore, James Starks

    • DLF_Jeff

      November 29, 2011 at 5:48 am

      I’d keep Helu, Britt and Austin. I don’t think Moore has shown enough yet to be kept but he has a chance to be a good deep threat. I like Starks well enough as a runner but the system just doesn’t produce enough fantasy points.

      • Marcus

        November 29, 2011 at 12:52 pm

        those are the exact 3 i’m looking at… just wanted an outside opinion 🙂

  5. Coach

    November 28, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    My magic number is 1 for the playoffs. 4 teams make it. The other 3 teams have Brady, Rodgers and Brees. I am rolling with Carson Palmer (P.Manning was to be my starter but we all know how that worked out). I have big game guys like Foster, Graham, MJD and Vincent Jackson though so i am hanging in nicely.

    • DLF_Jeff

      November 29, 2011 at 5:49 am

      As long as you have studs at your other positions you can hang. It’s a bit of an uphill battle but as long as Palmer can get you in the high teens+ … you should be in it.

  6. PD

    November 29, 2011 at 11:15 am

    not a dynasty league its a 12 team start 2QB auction league:
    i be rolling into playoffs starting week 14 but can no longer make waiver moves or trades after this week(13). we can only roster
    4 RBs and 4 QBs.
    i have brady cutler haine and boller.

    would u drop boller for hoyer, jeff garcia/delhome, shawn hill? nothing out there since 48 Qbs are taken already and yates will be grabbed before i have the chance…

    i have starks mcfadden mccoy and murray.

    would u drop starks for felix jones, pierre thomas? would u dump mcfadden since he might be no help til maybe the fantasy bowl week 16 and mccoy starks are now banged up; murray has injury history? no one would be able to grab mcfadden anyhow.

    • DLF_Jeff

      November 29, 2011 at 3:16 pm

      I’d pick up Hoyer for Boller. Delhomme just signed in Houston but I don’t see him or Yates as that intriguing. Hoyer at least gives you some protection to Brady … but if you need him, it’s likely over for you I’d guess.

      And I’d sit tight on your RBs. I like those names and you need ride’em and not get too cute.

  7. Jon

    November 30, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Just curious your guys’ outlook, but what about Josh Johnson. He also will be a free agent at the end of this season and would be a starter had it not been for the new coach(Morris) drafting the quarterback he had in college(Freeman)
    With that being said, Harbaugh talked very highly about Johnson’s ability, even calling him his “Beloved son.” With Smith showing an ability to win I doubt he goes there, but he generated some buzz before trade deadline. What are your guys opinions on him, being as you did not mention him?
    And any chance Hoyer leaves NE and gets a starting gig?

    • ester michalek

      November 30, 2011 at 6:44 pm

      I am with you on Josh Johnson. I would also guess some team will give Vince Young a chance to start next year.

      • ester michalek

        December 3, 2011 at 6:10 pm

        I take back my comment on vince young starting. He is horrible.

  8. ester michalek

    November 30, 2011 at 6:42 pm

    What about Mikel Leshoure and Ryan Williams. Both would have been top 5 picks this year in rookie only drafts if not for injury.

  9. ester michalek

    November 30, 2011 at 8:27 pm

    Any chance you might update your rookie only rankings or maybe a 2012 rankings. I thought you had Denarius Moore higher than 16 in an earlier ranking.

    As a Packer fan, keep your eye on alex green. Once Grant is gone, Green (if healthy) will be given every chance to jump ahead of stark who has underwhelmed this year. Coming from Hawaii, Green has the perfect skill set for the Packer’s pass happy version of the West Coast Offense.

  10. Gregofthedead

    December 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Great read. But If bill used his top pick on Vereen last year in the second round then Shane has gotta be in line for a solid year in 2012 with BJGE a free agent right?

    • Cyrus

      December 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

      I drafted Vereen at #10 this year expecting nothing until 2012. I think Law Firm leaves and that leaves a hole for Vereen to possibly fill. However, Ridley has the chance to be the BJGE back with Vereen filling the Woodhead/Faulk type back. I really don’t feel certain about it, but I am holding onto Vereen and hoping.

      Sadly, I am also kicking myself because someone asked for Vereen and my 1st round for Andre Johnson during the season… I talked him into taking Murray instead of Vereen. The week before Murray ran for 250 yards. At the time I was first in my division and headed to the playoffs, but I won 1 game since and my team ended up with the #2 pick. I love Andre Johnson, but thats a lot to give.

      Good news is that I had previously traded for what became the #1 and #3 picks. I am planning on Richardson at #1, if he comes out, but I have no idea who to take at #3. My team:
      Brady
      Gore, Mendy, Blount, Reggie Bush, Vereen, Ryan Williams
      Andre, Colston, Wayne, Harvin, Decker, Hankerson, V. Brown
      Clark, Davis

      Should I go with one of Blackmon/Jeffrey at #3? Or count on a WR later (2.04) and grab the top back available?

  11. Andrew

    December 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Add Kyle Rudolph to the list of rising TE’s.

    Shiancoe is a FA and likely won’t be resigned by the Vikes, who are thin on cap space due to AP and Greenway’s contracts.

    Rudolph was the first TE taken in the 2011 Draft and will be the starter in 2012, and is best friends with Ponder. He catches EVERYTHING thrown his way and is only seeing reduced reps because of Shiancoe’s presence and raw blocking skills. Both will likely be fixed in the offseason.

    Get Rudolph now. He has the pedigree and skills to be elite.

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