The 2012 fantasy football off-season has begun. You have to pay close attention to everything in order to stay on top of your dynasty league. For most of us, we do well to steal some time away from our families and jobs to watch the games on Sunday. It becomes difficult to monitor the daily happenings around the league and even more demanding to process how that news affects your dynasty team.
That’s why we’re here!
Each week there are many news items that are important and helpful in the day-to-day managing of your fantasy team, yet have little affect on the dynasty value of players. Because of this, I will not be mentioning those here.
Here is a quick look at the events of the past week and how they impact the players on your team:
Chris Johnson, RB TEN
The Nashville Tennessean reported this week that the Titans plan to exercise their team option on running back Chris Johnson. With his poor start to the season, the expectation was that Johnson would not be back with the team. As he turned his season around, the Titans’ brass clearly changed their minds regarding his future in Nashville. Johnson’s dynasty stock has tumbled this season, even though he got back on track. He is a solid buy low candidate as we enter the off-season, though we can expect the Titans to bring in a quality backup.
Tim Tebow, QB NYJ
It has been assumed for a while now that this disastrous season in New York would be the only one for backup quarterback Tim Tebow, but this week, ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reported that it is a “virtual certainty” that Tebow will play for the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2013. The Jaguars were the other team in strong contention for Tebow last off-season, but were outbid by the Jets. The Jaguars quarterback situation is just as bad the Jets with the disappointing Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne. Both will likely be back with the team next year, creating a three man race for the starting job. While Tebow could bring some financial gain to the Jaguars thanks to his loyal fans from his college days, it is hard to imagine him as a quality starter for any NFL team. Surprisingly, he still seems to have dynasty value. Among the many dynasty leagues I am a part of or track closely, Tebow has not hit the waiver wire in any of them.
Justin Blackmon, WR JAX
Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon posted another solid game in week sixteen, catching seven passes for 79 yards and a score. Since week eleven, Blackmon is the WR8 in PPR leagues and is being underrated after his slow start. It will be very important to watch how the team handles the quarterback position this off-season. Blackmon’s improvement correlates to the Jaguars change to Chad Henne as their starting quarterback.
Dez Bryant, WR DAL
Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant exploded in week sixteen, hauling in nine passes for 224 yards and two touchdowns. Since week eleven, Bryant is the top scoring fantasy wide receiver and his value has risen more than any other player the second half of the year. Bryant was recently selected fourth overall in the DLF Dynasty Mock Draft, giving us an idea of where his current value stands. Bryant seems to have overtaken other wide receivers like Percy Harvin and Hakeem Nicks and now ranks among the top tier of wide receivers in the game.
Lamar Miller, RB MIA
Dolphins rookie running back Lamar Miller posted a solid game in week sixteen, rushing for 73 yards on just ten carries. Miller has claimed the backup role with Daniel Thomas lost for the season. The running back position is in flux with Thomas disappointing yet again and starter Reggie Bush entering free agency. Miller is a great option for dynasty owners to acquire this off-season and could end up claiming the starting job if Bush moves on to another team.
Cecil Shorts, WR JAX
Jaguars wide receiver Cecil Shorts, who has enjoyed a breakout season, suffered his second concussion in the past month in the team’s week sixteen matchup with the Patriots. He will miss the team’s finale in week seventeen, but the more important thing to consider is how multiple concussions will affect the big play threat. Shorts has shown great ability this season, but his long term value takes a slight hit with these head injuries. While his situation is not nearly as bad as that of Colts wide receiver Austin Collie, Collie does give us a view of how badly multiple head injuries can impact a player.
Felix Jones, RB DAL
Although he took over as the starting running back when DeMarco Murray was out of action earlier this season, backup Felix Jones has barely received any playing time the past few games. Jones will be a free agent this off-season and will certainly be looking for a new home. In dynasty leagues, Jones makes a good stash in hopes that he can regain some value in a new setting. With Jones gone and Murray an injury risk, the Cowboys will be adding a new backup this off-season.
Knowshon Moreno, RB DEN
Despite losing goal line touches to fullback Jacob Hester, Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno rewarded his dynasty owners with another outstanding effort, rushing for 78 yards and adding 49 receiving yards on five grabs this week. Since he took over as the starting running back in week twelve, Moreno is the RB4 in PPR scoring, behind only Adrian Peterson, Marshawn Lynch and Ray Rice. With Willis McGahee expected to return fully healthy in 2013 and rookie Ronnie Hillman in the fold as well, this will be a situation to follow closely this off-season.
Heath Miller, TE PIT
Steelers tight end Heath Miller suffered a torn ACL, in addition to damage to his PCL and MCL in week sixteen. Miller enjoyed his best season of his career, amassing over 800 receiving yards and eight touchdowns, which is good enough to rank him as the TE4 in PPR leagues. At 30 years old and facing a full off-season of rehabilitation, Miller is a long shot to ever post fantasy numbers good enough to make him a reliable starter again. In shallow leagues, Miller is not worth hanging onto.
Beanie Wells, RB ARI
Following another poor outing in week sixteen, Cardinals running back Beanie Wells admitted his “days are numbered” in Arizona. The Cardinals hold an option to retain Wells at a relatively modest salary of around $1.1 million. The team could exercise the option and then attempt to trade Wells, or go ahead and cut loose the disappointing running back. Wells could do well with a change of scenery and his dynasty value is in the gutter. He’s a hold until we see where he might land for 2013. Much like their quarterback position, the Cardinals have few options at running back. They have to hope second year man Ryan Williams can successfully return from a second consecutive season-ending injury.
Jeremy Maclin, WR PHI
Speculation out of Philadelphia this week was that the team could place wide receiver Jeremy Maclin on the trade block this off-season. Reportedly, there is concern in the organization about Maclin’s ability to stay healthy, but at only 24 years old, Maclin still has significant dynasty value. A trade out of Philadelphia would be surprising, but it could happen with the huge changes expected in Philadelphia. Maclin still has WR2 value in dynasty leagues.
Mario Manningham, WR SF
The 49ers wide receiver Mario Manningham is another player who suffered a serious knee injury in week sixteen, tearing his PCL and ACL in his left knee. Manningham will be working all off-season in an effort to return by training camp, but that is not something the team can count on. While it won’t happen this season, the injury could open the door for rookie AJ Jenkins to see increased playing time.
Dane Sanzenbacher, WR CIN
After being waived by the Chicago Bears, wide receiver Dane Sanzenbacher was claimed by the Bengals this week. The former Buckeye had a respectable rookie season, but had seen little action this year. Andrew Hawkins seems to have the slot position locked down in Cincinnati, so Sanzenbacher is merely a depth wide receiver at this point. He has no dynasty value, barring an injury or two for the Bengals.
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