Over the past month, we’ve been compiling our writer’s opinions on a number of subjects including the toughest players to rank and the best “sell” candidates in dynasty leagues. Today, we take a look at the team’s opinions on the best dynasty “buy” candidates.
Each player was given one point each time their name was on a writer’s list. We had a total of 47 votes and the results were again all across the board – that tells me this year features a wide variety of players whose values could be unjustifiably deflated in the eyes of many league owners across the globe. Even though we had a total of 32 players mentioned, there were again some clear themes as well.
While these players are good candidates to add to your list of players to possibly target in trades or to jot down as possible start-up draft bargains, remember the reason they’re on here – their market price seems to be at a “buy low” point in current dynasty leagues. If their owner sees them at what seems to be fair market value, don’t sell the farm for them in a trade. If you’re in a new league, there’s also no need to overdraft them.
With all that being said, here’s a list of the top names, with some commentary added to explain why they may be a good “buy” in your dynasty leagues.
The Clear Vote Winners (Three Votes Each)
Greg Olsen, TE CAR
Olsen was a hot pick in last year’s drafts after he was traded out of Mike Martz’ traditionally unfriendly tight end system and placed in Carolina to help become a safety valve for Cam Newton. While Newton flourished last year, Olsen didn’t put up the numbers many had expected as he posted 45 catches for 540 yards and five touchdowns battling for targets with Jeremy Shockey.
With Shockey likely not returning, there are another 37 catches, 455 yards and four touchdowns of production available from the tight end position if Newton repeats the same type of performance and positional utilization in 2012. While it’s not as easy as just adding the two stat lines of Shockey and Olsen together (though 82 catches, 995 yards and nine touchdowns look pretty good), it’s not hard to see that Olsen’s production is bound to go up in 2012 as he becomes more involved in the offense.
It finally looks like Olsen is ready to make good on the potential we’ve all seen for years, but his value just doesn’t seem to be gaining the steam it should be in many dynasty leagues.
Mike Williams, WR TB
After a monster rookie season that saw him record 65 catches for 964 yards and 11 touchdowns, Williams laid an egg in the minds of many dynasty league owners as he posted the same number of catches, but saw his yardage total drop to 771 and his touchdown total plummet to just three last season.
With Vincent Jackson in town as the unquestioned WR1, Williams’ work ethic and maturity being questioned and the Bucs reportedly going to a more run-based offensive scheme, his value is at rock bottom.
At just 25 years of age, Williams’ career has yet to be defined. While the hopes owners once had of him being a true WR1 are likely up in smoke, there’s a legitimate chance he can still be a very good WR2 in dynasty leagues. At this point, he’s gone from a legitimate superstar in dynasty leagues to a relative throw-in to complete some bigger trades. His value likely falls somewhere in between, but he’s a target to get on the cheap.
Mark Ingram, RB NO
Our writers really nailed it when it comes to Ingram. Tim Stafford said, “Simply because he was the 1.01 in many leagues (and the consensus RB1), but didn’t perform to that level, immediately owners can’t stand him anymore. They expected immediate gratification and when they didn’t get it, they became frustrated. Watch out Doug Martin owners.” Jarrett Behar said, “I don’t love him, but I’ve seen him almost given away in some leagues. It’s too early to give up.”
Boy, those guys are spot on. They should have a podcast!
Jay Cutler, QB CHI
As our Ryan McDowell pointed out in yesterday’s feature, Cutler has posted quality starts in 44% of his games and elite starts in 17%. When you consider he’s been being traded for second rounders in rookie drafts recently (as Jarrett pointed out), that’s great value. While Cutler may not be a truly elite option at quarterback, he’s still a very valuable commodity in dynasty leagues. With Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in town, you have to believe he has the potential to produce even better statistics, as long as his offensive line can hold up.
Miles Austin, WR DAL
Simply put, there aren’t too many players who can boast they’ve scored 25 touchdowns in their last 42 games, but that’s exactly what Austin has done. While many simply assume Dez Bryant will take over as the WR1 in Dallas this year, it’s no sure thing. A recent poll we had on DLF had 512 of 694 voters (74%) say they’d rather have Bryant than Austin in their dynasty leagues. While that number isn’t shocking, the runaway nature of that poll shows Austin may be severely undervalued (and Bryant is likely being overvalued) in dynasty leagues right now. While his health is always an issue, he’s been nothing but productive whenever he’s played.
The Multiple Vote Recipients (Two Votes Each)
James Starks, RB GB
We had two different team members have some pretty specific comments on Starks.
Jeff Haverlack said, “Nobody believes in him and partly for good reason. Green Bay is a pass first team, but word is that they realize they had become too one dimensional and will run more in 2012. Starks is a do it all back and if he can remain healthy, he’s a steal.”
Our newest writer, Jacob Feldman, said, “When was the last time that you could get the bell cow running back on a high scoring offense in the middle of your draft? If he stays healthy (which you need to question for all NFL RBs), you’re looking at at least 1,200 combined yards and ten touchdowns. When you can get that for peanuts, it is a true bargain!”
Mikel Leshoure, RB DET
Leshoure was left for dead by fantasy owners after an Achilles injury ruined his rookie season. After multiple offseason arrests for marijuana possession, his value is even lower. However, it’s not time to completely give up on Leshoure, especially if you can get him for next to nothing.
As the FFGhost said, “Despite all the run-ins with the law and injury issues Leshoure has been dealing with the past year, he still has amazing upside if he can simply get himself on the field. These issues have played havoc with his perceived value thus far. As we all know, Jahvid Best has concussion issues. This, coupled with the fact Leshoure needs to turn around all the negativity surrounding him, point to a substantial role for Leshoure this year and going forward, well after his two-game suspenstion to start this year.”
Dwayne Bowe, WR KC
Back-to-back 1,100 yard seasons and twenty combined touchdowns over the same span have somehow given Bowe the designation of “avoid like the plague” in some leagues.
It’s just odd.
While the Kansas City quarterback situation is far from settled and 15 of those touchdowns came in 2010, Bowe is still being undervalued in many leagues. While he may not be a clear WR1, he’s still one of the best WR2 candidates you can find in a dynasty league. Right now, there are up to 30 receivers being taken ahead of him in start-up drafts and that’s just amazing.
Greg Jennings, WR GB
Our own Tim Stafford said, “Of the ‘elite’ guys, he’s the only one that can be had at a reasonable price. He doesn’t command the Hakeem Nicks, Larry Fitzgerald, AJ Green or Julio Jones premium, nor the crazy price of Calvin Johnson.”
The FFGhost responded by putting both Roddy White and Jennings in a similar light by saying, “I’m cheating a bit here by tossing these two together as my #5 answer, but what they are facing are nearly mirror images situations of one another. Both have been the WR1 for their team for a few years, both play for young, strong quarterbacks who have no problem getting the ball where it needs to be and both are facing a relative slice into their value due to young, upstart receivers on their team.
White and Jennings have seen their respective stock drop some due to Julio Jones and Jordy Nelson, respectively, but due to the quarterbacks they play with, I think there are more than enough receptions, yards and scores to go around. Neither of these guys are going to see significant cuts into their production, yet their value has dropped as their younger counterparts value has risen. Jennings and White were going in the second to third round in most drafts last year, now I’ve seen them fall into the sixth in some drafts – that’s AMAZING value! We’ve seen plenty of two stud receiver teams throughout history and I think these guys will just be the latest.”
Jermaine Gresham, TE CIN
The same FFGhost said, “Now in his third year, Gresham has been getting better and better the more he plays. With AJ Green moving into the top echelon of wide receivers, I expect defenses to key on him. As such, Gresham will be freed up more and targeted even more than he was last year. News that he is a ‘changed man’ following his Pro Bowl appearance last year only seem to add fuel to the fire that he should continue his growth and will continue to see his numbers rise.”
Thomas Casale went even further by saying, “In my opinion, Gresham is the best value in fantasy football right now.”
During the discussion, there were some interesting side notes given. After talking with Tim Stafford, we agreed on a couple of important points.
First, a lot of the older players could all be buys if you’re a contending team. Players like Roddy White, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne and Steve Smith (CAR) could all be cheap difference makers in championship runs.
Second, dynasty league owners tend to hold some grudges. There were a ton of players who were overhyped last year and have left a sour taste in owner’s mouths. As Tim said, “Michael Vick was supposed to be a top running back and a solid quarterback all rolled in to one. Now he’s been tossed out like a used diaper. People wanted to build their team around him last year and now people want to deal him or get another quarterback because he’s aging.”
In the end, it’s important to put the past aside and attempt to value players accurately instead of using your own emotions and bitterness guide you through your decision making process.
Others receiving votes: Rashard Mendenhall; Chris Johnson; DeSean Jackson; Jon Baldwin; Christian Ponder; Kendall Hunter; Austin Collie; Pierre Thomas; Roddy White; Sidney Rice; Brandon Marshall; Kendall Hunter; Danny Amendola; Josh Freeman; Antonio Brown; Doug Baldwin; Vincent Brown; Matt Ryan; Darren Sproles; Brian Hartline; Emmanuel Sanders and Jeremy Maclin.
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