Buy Low


Editor’s Note: We’re excited to share Ken Clein’s first contribution here at DLF.  Ken runs his own dynasty fantasy football website site at dynastyfootballfan.com.

Buy Low – 5 High Potential Players to get on your Dynasty Team before the 2012 Season

If you’re dynasty league is anything like mine, there are slim pickins on the waiver wire and free agency. My league is filled with 12 guys that can qualify for the Hoarders TV show, and that includes me! So, the beauty of dynasty is getting a hold of a young player, cheaply, before he hits the big time and then riding him and your other choice picks to the championship. So, with this thought entrenched in my brain I went searching for 5 players who have:

  1. Shown enough potential to take a shot at them
  2. Are either in a great situation or could be post NFL free agency
  3. Will come relatively cheaply during the off-season while nobody is paying attention

In our league we can’t pick up free agents during the offseason but we can trade all year long. It might not be the same for you but whether it’s during the summer or just prior to the start of next season, make sure you’ve done some research on these 5 guys so you can get a hold of them (easily if from free agency or cheaply if through trade). Here we go:


Ben Tate, RB HOU – I grant you that Ben Tate is in a horrible situation currently. He’s stuck behind what has become the most dynamic running back in the NFL the past 2 seasons and there is just no way the Texans are going to let restricted free agent Arian Foster leave. This then begs the question, why is Tate on this list? Because it’s exactly due to his current situation that I can almost guarantee you if he is on the bench in your league somewhere there is an owner who is impatient and willing to trade for draft picks or a WR3 or so. Despite variability in the amount of carries he received last season, Tate averaged 5.4 yards per carry while finishing with 942 yards and 4 touchdowns. In the first 2 games of the season when Foster was hurt, Tate carried the load to the tune of 15 and 13 fantasy points showing that he can be productive as a starter. Here’s the rub, it’s quite possible the Texans will trade him this summer and even if they don’t, he’s a solid handcuff if Foster gets hurt again as the Texans are a great blocking team. If you can wait just one more season after that he is a free agent in 2014. At that point he’ll only be 26 and he will undoubtedly be primed for something great. Nab him while you can.


Andre Roberts, WR ARI – Here’s a sneaky one. Roberts is not on many radars and probably on even less rosters right now. This is mostly due to the horrible QB play in Arizona as well as the presence of all everything WR Larry Fitzgerald. Don’t let the situation fool you. Roberts came on strong at the end of the year. In the first half of the season last season he had no game in which he scored more than 3 fantasy points, catching no TDs and having 4 catches or less every game. In the second half of the year he had only 2 games with 3 points or less, doubling his per game receptions and scoring 2 TDs. It wasn’t a meteoric increase, and that’s great because he would have been picked up by someone, but it’s a great enough increase to take a flier on him next season. Next season is his third so that is also an advantage and during last season he became the unquestionable WR2 by the end. While his QB situation is still unsettled, for me that only gives him more upside if the situation improves. He can be taken from your free agent pool most likely or if someone has him on a roster, trust me, they are not paying much attention to him.


Kyle Rudolph, TE MIN – The problem with getting Rudolph is that someone most likely took him in your rookie draft just last year and if they are patient they may want to keep him. In my league he was dropped and picked up by someone else. If he’s available I’d grab him, if he’s not and you can trade for cheap, do so with relish. Rudolph was the top fantasy prospect last year and just fell off the radar in the Vikings horrible offense last season. The thing is, when he did get opportunities he looked fantastic. He is big, fast and agile and plucks the ball with two hands. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham, he’s not going to be the prime receiver in this offense. That said, he can be a Todd Heap in his prime, a top 5 TE for a solid 4 or 5 years once Minnesota finds it’s rhythm on offense (and it’s QB). If that ends up being next season, all the better reason to get him now!


Matt Leinart, QB HOU – Seriously, I’m not kidding. There is no doubt he’s available in most leagues and he will be absolutely free to pick up after his ridiculous few-plays-then-get-put-on-IR routine last season. The thing is, that was an absolute fluke. He is still a talented kid and the guy in front of him is just as injury prone (or more) than he is. Now, the question is whether he or TJ Yates gets the 2nd spot behind Matt Schaub, if he can’t hold off Yates, it may be a mute point but he may also be able to find another opportunity to start. Just last season there were rumors he was going to go to Seattle to start for his old college coach Pete Carroll. I believe he will get another shot in the future. If he has used his bench time wisely, he could be a very sneaky pick. The trick is to get him while nobody thinks he’s worth a darn. That time is now.

Kelvin Sheppard, LB BUF – Shhh! If you haven’t heard, the Buffalo Bills hired Dave Wannstedt as Defensive Coordinator and he’s moving them back to a 4-3 base defense. That means that they will have a middle linebacker flying from sideline to sideline making tackles behind 2 behemoth defensive tackles there to take space and not let interior offensive lineman block him. As a head coach, Wannstedt had Brian Urlacher and Zach Thomas in there prime as MLBs in his defenses. His MLBs are usually tackling machines. Sheppard has been quietly named the MLB starter for the Bills next season. Pick him up as soon as possible if you use IDPs. Shhh!

Editor’s Note: Ken Clein can be found on twitter @DynastyFootball.  Ken also blogs at dynastyfootballfan.com.  Be sure to catch him there as well. 

Latest posts by Ken Clein (see all)



  1. Nickdib

    February 10, 2012 at 8:35 am

    what do you guys think of rob housler?

    • Steve Wyremski

      February 10, 2012 at 8:57 am

      Housler is a GREAT stash. Heap is ancient and Housler is a perfect mistmatch TE. He’s at the top of my buy low/pickup list.

      • Ken Clein

        February 10, 2012 at 3:49 pm

        I agree, Housler is a good prospect, although he is in an offense that traditionally does not utilize the TE like New England or New Orleans does. I think that may limit his value if he stays in Arizona for a while.

        • Adam

          February 11, 2012 at 5:28 pm

          New England “traditionally” uses the TE? If you look at the stats for the pre Hernandez & Gronk area you might have a bit of trouble supporting that case.

          I can’t speak to Housler’s game or prospects, but if he can play the team will likely try to find a way to get him the ball. It kills me to say it but this is a copy cat league and the athletic mismatch causing TE is what teams are looking to incorporate into their scheme now, even the teams that don’t traditionally put an emphasis on getting the ball to the TE. Wiz also had some success with the TE position during his time as OC in Pittsburgh. I wouldn’t put a cap on any athletic TE based on where they are playing, unless they have a logjam ahead on the depth chart.

  2. Steve Wyremski

    February 10, 2012 at 8:59 am

    Love the Sheppard call. I’m planning on writing a IDP sleeper/buy low article within the next few weeks and he was one on my list of many.

    • Ken Clein

      February 10, 2012 at 3:50 pm

      Thanks, Steve. If nobody in your league is paying attention, it’s a gimme.

  3. C.Crane

    February 10, 2012 at 9:00 am

    Kelvin Sheppard is on all 3 of my rosters #LSU #GeauxTigers

  4. tim

    February 10, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Nice article.

    Couple of thoughts:
    Tate – Not sure he’s a buy low. He finished in the top-30 in my non-PPR plus he has the extra price baked in due to the fact that people still (despite any logic) like handcuffs to studs.

    Roberts/Rudolph – I think you nailed it on both. I have the RFA rights to both in my SC league and I plan to retain them if I can. Especially Roberts. I think he is poised for a break out and if by chance Peyton is healthy and goes there – sweet.

    Leinart – I respect your brass ones here! That’s all I’m going to say.

    • Ken Clein

      February 10, 2012 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks. See below for my defense on Leinart!

  5. Matt

    February 10, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Good article,

    Anyone place any value in obtaining Laurent Robinson during the offseason?

    • Nickdib

      February 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm

      honestly i think this is the highest laurent robinson is gonna be in terms of value. I would put what he did this season as near his ceiling

    • Ken Clein

      February 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      Tough to gauge IMO. He definitely lifted his standing but he’ll never be a WR1 and as long as he’s in Dallas he won’t be a WR2. But he could repeat what he did last year.

  6. Joe Cooper

    February 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    I love the article but I can’t disagree more about Leinart. Nobody has had more opportunities to take the starting QB job and failed as miserably. Arizona was all in for years and he couldn’t take the job from Kurt Warner. Going to the IR after one start is not a fluke; it happened in Arizona as well. Check his free agency decision a year go. He could have left Houston to be a starter but he decided to keep holding the clipboard for another few years. Much like Jay Cutler, Matt Leinart does not care about playing football. He loves being a low effort backup. The only thing Leinart will beat T.J. Yates in is a bong ripping contest.

    • Ken Clein

      February 10, 2012 at 3:59 pm

      Fair enough, I can see that. The thing is though, there is no statute of limitations on opportunities. The opportunities he received in Arizona were when he was young and not prepared. I grant you, he screwed it up for sure, but he was very young and I think he remained in Houston because A) he realized he needed time to develop and B) he was on a great team. Nobody knows how he would have performed if he didn’t get hurt and he had an opportunity to lead a good team into the playoffs. Point is, he’s only 28, he has a much better feel for the game than he did when he was 22, and there is a good chance either in Houston as a backup to chronically-injured Matt Schaub or as a flier for some other team, he will get another opportunity. What he does with it, nobody knows, but he’ll get another shot and he’s worth a flier if you have space deep on your roster.

  7. Greg G.

    February 10, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    Fantasy brothers, I apreciate your feedback during this offseason. I am in a 12 team PPR league. I have both J. Finley and Hernandez. (TEs) Another owner wants Hernandez and offered B. Marshall, Owen Daniels, and a 3rd round pick. Good deal? Will Hernandez hold the same value with J. McDumbiels back in New England? Help!!! Thanks fellas.

    • Ken Clein

      February 10, 2012 at 8:48 pm

      I’d take that in a heartbeat. Finley is a great TE and to get Marshall, Daniels (solid backup for Finley) and a pick. IMO, you just got better.

  8. Wojo

    February 10, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    Shonne Green was again a disappointment this season. Is Bilal Powell a buy low target? And what about Da’rel Scott?

    • Ken Clein

      February 10, 2012 at 8:51 pm

      Da’rel Scott is a long shot, he has the speed but not much else. Not to say he can’t develop, but I see him more as a long shot then a next year productive guy. Powell is a better option, Tomlinson will be gone and someone has to get those carries. Powell is a better buy low than Scott.

      • Matt

        February 10, 2012 at 9:19 pm

        What about Joe McKnight? Shouldn’t he be next in line?

        • Dion

          February 10, 2012 at 10:54 pm

          I agree with Matt, McKnight is my pick. Powell showed nothing in limited duty while McKnight flashed some real ability as at least a third down back.

  9. Jeremy

    February 11, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Nice article! I just offered a cowboy lover Witten & Colston for D.Bowe, Rudolph & his 8th pick in the 1st round rook draft.
    This is a 16 team league with 1.5ppr. Am i getting enough back? What do you think?

    • Sensai_John_Kreese

      February 11, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Tricky, but i like it. I’ll tell you why. Colston and Bowe are both free agents, If Colston leaves NO, it is debatable that where ever else he lands, he will be downgraded at least slightly. If Dwayne Bowe, also a free agent, leaves Kansas City, then it is almost assuredly a major upgrade. If you can also get a Michael Floyd type, for example, in the deal then i really like it.

      I would actually like to know myself what the DLF guys think about Colston landing on a different team, and whether or not they would consider it a downgrade, a push, or even an upgrade. The argument could be made for any of those assessments.

    • bob

      February 11, 2012 at 4:00 pm

      Would be a steal for you I’d say.

  10. Greg G.

    February 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Couple of questions. Better outlook…Finley or Hernandez. Would you give up Finley and Wallace for McFadden.

    • Paul

      February 11, 2012 at 5:02 pm

      Finley and no.

    • bigd

      February 11, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      do not give finley and wallace for mcfadden. way too much…. i would go finley and a lesser rb or wr though. when mcfadden is healthy he could be a top 3 rb, top 5 for sure. i gave percy harvin straight up for mcfadden. i may have given too much, i have megatron, wes, and wallace for my starting wr corp, so percy was expendable to get a top rb. if you have hernandez, you can trade finley. hernandez is in an offense with gronk and wes, but look at what finley has to contend with also with those wrs GB has. and i hear that maybe next year young dj williams will be in a te split with finley also. if you get a deal of finley and leeser quality DO IT. mcfadden is at his alltime BUY LOW.

      • Paul

        February 11, 2012 at 9:00 pm

        Wish I could give up Harvin for Run DMC. You got a complete steal. The McFadden owner in my league isn’t nearly that dumb. McFaddens worth way more. I’d give up whichever TE the other owner values more and a pick or lower level WR/RB.

  11. bigd

    February 11, 2012 at 8:36 pm

    hang onto wallace…with haley it pitt as oc….they will fly in their passing game.

    • Matt

      February 12, 2012 at 10:06 am

      I agree with the Haley take. Anyone think Chris Johnson is a buy low? Does he have 3-4 top 10 fantasy back years left, barring injury?

      • bigd

        February 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm

        i do see CJ as a low buy now, and he does have a good 3-5 top shelf life also. hey check this rumor out i heard on a ram blog. jeff fisher will deal the #2 overall pick to cleveland for their #4 overall. he’ll get their 2nd rounder as well and etc….? then he’ll trade the #4 to tennessee for CJ and another draft pick. tennessee aparently are not happy with johnson and his contract…..they will then draft richardson with the #4 spot??????sound far fetched????maybe. maybe not.

  12. Krcil

    February 14, 2012 at 8:25 am

    What about Shipley who is also on the Cardinals. He showed decent ability in 2010. Do you not think he will fully recover from his torn ACL (I know it is a hard thing to come back from).

    • Matt

      February 14, 2012 at 8:37 am

      I thought Shipley was a Bungle.

    • Nickdib

      February 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

      If you’re referring to Jordan shipley he’s a bengal

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