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A Trio of Off-season Targets

Delanie_Walker

While NFL franchises have to put their decisions on hold until after the Super Bowl, the season never ends for us dynasty leaguers.  Staying ahead of the curve in the early part of the off-season may help you identify opportunities that could help your team achieve fantasy greatness in the very near future.  Right now there are some players who I consider great buy lows that can be bought for pennies on the dollar (or free of charge) if you act quickly enough.

Here they are.

1.) Delanie Walker, TE SF (UFA)

Walker has been living in the shadow of Vernon Davis since the day he was drafted in the sixth round back in 2006.  A jack of all trades, this player can do it all.  He can line in up in almost any spot on the field, is more than an adequate blocker and also possesses elite speed for his position, being clocked as low as 4.49.  Reports I’ve read out of the training room also state that this guy is an absolute gym rat and has a tremendous work ethic.

If he were to end up in a favorable situation, I could see him as a nice TE2 with upside in a three year window (perhaps even longer) seeing that he is only 28 years old.

If I could personally handpick a landing spot for Walker, it would be Atlanta.   His value in their high tempo, pass first offense would increase from a TE2 to a low end TE1 with upside in my eyes.  It’s always nice when a player with his type of speed also has the capability to play all three downs – that’s not too shabby for a guy that’s likely sitting on the waiver wire in most leagues at this very moment.  If he is owned, he could probably be pried away from his current owner for a late third to early fourth round pick.  If you’re a TE needy team, Walker is a lot safer than drafting any other TE in the later rounds of your rookie drafts.

Other possible landing spots:  New York Jets, Miami, Chicago, Kansas City, Cleveland.

2.)  Mike Tolbert, RB CAR

While awaiting the fate of DeAngelo Williams, who is owed 4.75 million this season, this is a great time to swoop in and buy Tolbert at a huge discount.  If Williams is released (like many experts are predicting) the reigns would finally be handed over to Jonathan Stewart.  Let’s face it dynasty leaguers, this guy cannot stay on the football field and doesn’t seem capable of sustaining a heavy workload in the NFL.  It’s not a matter of if Stewart is going to get injured; it’s a matter of when?  As far as I’m concerned there are three certainties in life; Death, taxes and Stewart missing significant playing time.

The situation Tolbert could end up finding himself in would be ironically similar to the role he played in San Diego when he was the backup to Ryan Mathews – he’d be playing second fiddle to someone that is highly injury prone.  Talk about falling in a crowded outhouse and coming out smelling like a rose.

Like Walker, Tolbert is also a jack of all trades.  He’s a willing, capable pass protector, has soft hands out of the backfield, has a real knack for finding the end zone and best of all, he’ll definitely be on the field in goal line situations.  There’s a reason this guy has been dubbed “The Vulture” in fantasy football leagues around the globe.

If Williams leaves town, it’s only a matter of time before Tolbert will earn the starting nod for multiple weeks at a time.  If and when that happens, it’s all but guaranteed that this guy is going to put up solid RB2 numbers for your dynasty squads, especially in PPR and heavy touchdown scoring leagues.  Right now I’d say his actual value is about equivalent to that of a mid to late second round pick, but, there are owners out there that would let him go for much less than that.

On a less serious note – it should be fun to watch Cam Newton and Tolbert vulture touchdowns from each other.

3.)  Rod Streater, WR OAK

This guy first started turning the heads of dynasty owners everywhere during the 2012 preseason.  During that time, the undrafted free agent out of Temple put up an impressive stat line of 18/165/0 in only three games, easily making him one of the hottest (if not THE hottest) pickups on the waiver wire heading into the regular season.

Although he started the regular season off relatively slow, he really started to catch fire during the last five games of the season posting a stat line of 18/351/1 during that stretch.

Standing at 6’3″ and weighing 200 lbs, Streater has prototypical size (with room to grow) and also possesses elite speed being clocked as low as 4.37 at his pro day.  The surprising thing about Streater is that he came into training camp and instantly showed the ability to run very smooth, precise routes, despite ending his collegiate career at Temple with an underwhelming stat line of 49/882/7 in 21 games played.  A lot of that plays into the fact that Temple was primarily a running team. However, the silver lining here is that he focused a lot of his attention on becoming an excellent downfield blocker and it shows out there on the field.

An interesting tidbit about Streater that people may not know is that he studied jiu jitsu in order to help him beat press coverage in the NFL.  Most scouts felt that was his biggest weakness and that he would never be able to consistently beat press coverage at the NFL level.  Talk about a dedication to your craft.  You have to love a guy willing to put in the work to get better.

Streater finds himself in a situation identical to Tolbert.  Let’s just say he probably made it a little easier for the Raiders to part ways with Darrius Heyward-Bey.  DHB is owed an outrageous $7.721 million in base salary for the 2013 season and will more than likely get the boot if he doesn’t agree to renegotiate his contract.  A franchise that is basically rebuilding (although they do have a few nice pieces) can’t afford to pay players like Heyward-Bey that type of money when they haven’t consistently produced.

If this scenario were to play out, I could see Streater having a maximum value of a low end WR3 with upside as soon as next year and a ceiling of a low end WR2 in the future.

Conclusion

At this point, all three of these players are purely speculative “buy lows.” A lot of their value depends on what happens in the next couple of months, but at their likely current prices, it makes them well worth the minimum risk they pose to dynasty owners.

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Jo Cat
9 years ago

prior to this year stewart missed 2 games in four years. idk how all of a sudden people are lumping him in with mathews and mcfadden as far as frailness but its simply not factual

Reply to  Jo Cat
9 years ago

I see your point, in that Mathews has missed 3+ games per year, not to mention he hasn’t played a full season since his junior year of high school. I think the comparison spells out the frustration in owning Stewart. If he is not getting punked for playing time by DeAngelo Williams, he is getting vultured for goal line TDs by Newton, has a chronic achilles problem and was nearly useless for 2012 with an ankle injury. Stewart has run the list of road blocks since entering the NFL, just in a slightly different way than Mathews. What they both have in common is unrealized potential, and massive frustration for their owners. I don’t expect that to change, but that’s up for debate.

Brad
Reply to  Jo Cat
9 years ago

You do realize that Jonathan Stewart has not been healthy since the training camp of 09. That entire season was plagued with a chronic achilles injury that stayed with him the following year as well. So games played does not reflect severity of injury. Very factual.
The point of this article is not to focus on J. Stewart, but to focus on player that some owner may be undervaluing right now. And those are three prime examples. Great job author.

Jordan
9 years ago

Delanie Walker… shhhhh

Reply to  Jordan
9 years ago

I like the Delanie Walker recommendation. Could be a nice sleeper, especially if he does end up in ATL.

nicholas nappo
9 years ago

Is it worth dropping Heath Miller for Delanie Walker? I don’t have another TE but there are a lot available.

nicholas nappo
Reply to  Doug Veatch
9 years ago

Yes.. With a decent group at TE

nicholas nappo
Reply to  Doug Veatch
9 years ago

Allen, Benett, Lewis, Clark, Davis. Yes he is my one and only TE.

voiceofunreason
Reply to  nicholas nappo
9 years ago

IMO, you have to have huge rosters before Walker is worthwhile using a spot for. Almost anyone has more upside and less of a downside.

Derek
9 years ago

I could see someone signing Walker and using him in an Aaron Hernandez type role! Hybrid type player that you can line up wide, slot at TE or even in the backfield!

I hope you’re right about DHB leaving Oakland so I can thank a generous owner in my league for dropping Streater in my lap!!!

christopher huff
9 years ago

I have an open roster spot and could use a prospect TE. I’m drafting 1.09 this year so that may be an option in round 1 or 2 though I always add a RB in the first two rounds as a rule. All this said, I own Gresham, H Miller, and Pitta, all of whom have shown promise, however all are a Sunday headache. Do you see more upside in Walker and the chances he leaves (I personally don’t think Jim will let him leave) or M. Lewis. Lewis has shown his ability to score in ’10 and all indications are JAX gets a new more competent QB. thanks

Mark Rockwell
Reply to  christopher huff
9 years ago

If you go the draft route, I’d try to grab Ertz if available at 1.09, but Eifert I’d wait until the late second for. Both are high potential guys. I think both are higher ceiling guys than those you have. With that said, Gresham and Pitta aren’t bad options either. I don’t like Walker or Lewis better than Gresham or Pitta.

Bowser
9 years ago

There is no way harbaugh let’s walker go. If san fran had won the super bowl he was the MVP in my opinion. They will make a good offer and he will take the hometown discount. Even then he has some value as a flex play fill in.

Ryan
9 years ago

Nice article. I agree w walker and stereater being nice pickups going into next year but I don’t see Tolbert as being a great off season pickup like the other two mentioned. Walker was a guy I had on my watch list all year hoping for a burst but it didn’t happen until waivers were finished. We will see if I can snag him at our rookie draft this year. Now when it comes to stereater what would be some fair offers for him? Rebuilding and need some sleepers.

RobbyRobDU
Reply to  Ryan
9 years ago

Completely disagree in that Tolbert is by FAR the best of this bunch.

He was the prize FA RB entering 2012 before breaking everyone’s heart and going to the worst RB situation in fantasy.

If DeAngelo is gone at the very LEAST you have a huge upside backup who will get short yardage and GL touches with a solid chance to become THE GUY as Stewart has been known to miss time.

I bet most owners are less optimistic about him than they are about Walker as well.

I am back and forth on Streater, he has looked amazing AND awful to me, so he’s a nice flier but don’t trade or risk too much.

Ryan
Reply to  RobbyRobDU
9 years ago

I appreciate the insite. I traded for j stew a couple years ago and I guess I’m that guy still hoping he cracks the top 10. This could be the year right lol still hoping

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