Each year dynasty owners spend months scouting the upcoming draft class looking for the next big fantasy player. There’s nothing better than identifying a third or fourth round rookie draft pick who eventually becomes a top player at their position. While the draft is certainly one of the most exciting periods of the fantasy football season for dynasty owners, the period after week 16 and before the draft is often when many owners manage to acquire that special piece that takes them to a title. At this time last year, Knowshon Moreno, Julian Edelman, Julius Thomas, Nick Foles, and Danny Woodhead were just a few of the players who were either available on the waiver wire, or incredibly cheap to obtain. My goal is to identify a few players who are readily available in many leagues that could be the final piece to a 2014 championship roster. While many of these off-season pickups end up not panning out, the cost of acquisition is so low it’s easily worth the gamble.
Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinatti Bengals
Thanks to Marvin Jones’ huge week 8 performance (8/122/4), Jones is likely owned in every league, so you’ll likely have to throw out a trade offer to pick him up. Fortunately however, many players see that game as a fluke and don’t expect him to ever reach that level again. While they are correct that he’ll likely never have another four touchdown game, I believe many owners are missing the bigger picture. After his big performance in week eight, Jones was targeted at least seven times in five of his last eight games, compared to zero games with that many targets prior to that point. Simply put, he gained the trust of Andy Dalton and is clearly someone who has earned his spot on the team (over the more highly coveted Mohamed Sanu). While the cost of acquisition for Jones is larger than anyone else on this list, he’s also the one that I believe is the safest player. I fully expect him to at least continue to receive 5-7 targets per game in 2014, and with AJ Green demanding extra attention from nearly every opponent, he should have plenty of opportunities for success.
Levine Toilolo, TE, Atlanta Falcons
At 6’8, 285 pounds, Levine Toilolo has measurables that jump off of the page. Drafted in the fourth round last season, he is the odds on favorite to take over for Tony Gonzalez as the starting tight end for the Falcons. While he was only used sporadically in the redzone this season, he did get to learn behind one of the greatest tight ends to ever play the game, which is invaluable experience to someone who is admittedly raw. Atlanta is currently saying that Toilolo will have to earn his reps, mostly based on his poor performances in the blocking game, but given his size he is going to be a player that will be difficult to keep off of the field. He’s available on the waiver wire in many leagues, but even in leagues where he is owned, he can likely be acquired as a toss-in on another deal.
Tavarres King, WR, Carolina Panthers
Tavarres King had an interesting rookie season. After being drafted by the Denver Broncos in the fifth round last year, he was cut during the preseason and eventually placed on the Broncos practice squad. His big opportunity appeared to hit during the season when the Packers attempted to sign him off of the Broncos practice squad following the injury to Randall Cobb. In an effort to keep him, Denver decided to sign him to their active roster. Shortly thereafter, he was again cut by the Broncos in an effort to put him back on their practice squad. Before he could clear waivers though, the Carolina Panthers picked him up. In what seemed to be a perfect fit to a receiver needy team, King never gained an opportunity to prove himself on the field. I think that will change in 2014. While Carolina is likely to draft a rookie wide receiver, the team still has opportunities for young players to make an impact in the receiving game behind Steve Smith. Brandon Lafell will likely be cut and Ted Ginn is ideally a WR3/deep threat (assuming he resigns with the team). What King offers is solid route running and quick initial moves that allow him to get open. With an off-season under his belt, I could him earning a chance to take Brandon Lafell’s spot on the team. He’s owned in very few leagues.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Carolina Panthers
Another Panther player. While the Panthers’ defense was elite last season, the offense continues to look for play-makers, and I believe Kenjon Barner has the potential to be one. Barner wasn’t used much this season as he battled a nagging injury and never had a chance to be fully integrated into the lineup. Given the salary cap (and the immediate payout the Panthers would have to pay), it’s unlikely that either Jonathan Stewart or Deangelo Williams will be cut this off-season, but I don’t think that matters when it comes to Barner. He offers quickness that neither player possesses and could be a valuable piece in the screen game. It’s also within reason that the Panthers will focus on addressing the offensive line and wide receiver holes in the draft, leaving Barner as the clear #3 running back on the team. While Barner is unlikely to pay huge dividends in 2014, I expect him to be integrated into the offense, setting the stage for a potential larger breakout in 2015. If you have the room to grab him now, he’s an intriguing pickup.
Zach Sudfeld, TE, New York Jets
I’m sure many of you are groaning at the site of Sudfeld’s name. After being hyped during the pre-season as the new elite New England tight end, Sudfeld was a flop with the team, prior to being eventually cut. While many dynasty owners saw this as the end of his potential fantasy value, I see him as a solid gamble to add to the bottom of your roster. The tight end position remains one of the most difficult positions in the NFL to adapt to in a rookie season, which becomes even tougher when you are cut and have to learn a new playbook. While he struggled with drops in his limited opportunities, he has the physical makeup to be a quality tight end in the NFL. Looking back to the 2013 preseason with the Patriots, it was clear that he is a skilled player, he just needs the opportunity to develop. Sudfeld will likely battle Jeff Cumberland for the top tight end spot in New York…and given what I’ve seen out of the two players, I don’t think it out of the realm of possibility that Sudfeld eventually wins the job.
In my league we have the 1QB 1 RB 3 WR’s 2Te’s with defensive & players . What I’d like to know is what would you say the top 5 players going into that type of draft should I be looking for to add for depth ?.
I don’t think it would vary much from a standard draft. I Watkins,Evans,Lee, and any number of other guys after that point. Given the two TE requirements, Ebron or Amaro may slide into the top five. In a purely BPA situation, I’d give some thought to Bridgewater as well.
Outside of Watkins and Evans, the teams that drafts then will play into things for me.
How do you mention terrible blocking TE Toilolo and that Sudfeld kid but say nothing about the athletic Detroit TE who caught a ton of TDs in a prolific offense last year? Probably just as cheap and more obscure than somebody like Marvin Jones and Barner…
I only wrote about five players, so there are obviously many more who I didn’t include. I like Fauria quite a bit, but I have found that his owners are holding on rather tightly.
What are your thoughts on the Packers TE Brandon Bostick? Could he be a potential every-week starter if Finley and Quarless move on in free agency, or are there too many mouths to feed in that offense to expect any sort of consistent production?
I think Bostick is a fine lottery ticket, but my gut says that there will be another TE in front of him on the GB depth chart.
I have Murray, Rice-Pierce, David Wilson(prob career over), Jonathan Stewart and Benny Cunningham. Do you think there is a chance Cunningham can take the starting job? Thinking about trading for A. Elington but would cost me more then a 1st rd pk (This is a dynasty ppr league 3wrs 2rbs). I’m also trying to shop B.Marshall for 4 1st rd pks to bolster my RBs.
Which first round pick can you get Ellington for? I’d trade him for anything after the 8 or so.
I’d trade Marshall for four 4ths.
Four 1sts, I mean.
I would be trading a 2016 1st rd pick and I expect myself to be drafting around spots 8-12. I feel like Elington is going to blow up next year especially as a PPR RB.
Unless you have a ‘win now’ team, I’d trade B. Marshal for 4 1st rounders.
no don’t trade away a #1 for ellington. he will not be the starter in arz. he’s a 3rd down back and maybe a Darren sproles type at best. he maybe more valuable in ppr. but he’s not worth a first. last year I got eddie lacy with 1.03. 1.01 was ball, and 1.02 was Austin…..I got a gift for lacy. would you trade lacy for ellington? if so we have an open spot in our league. would you trade a chance this year to get the next lacy???? for ellington??? don’t do it.
rule of the game. never trade a possible starter for a flex at best. if you are counting on ellington as a rb #2, you are hurting at rb. he is only a flex. I got lacy in the first and took keenan allen in the second. I have 2 solid starters because I didn’t bite at someone trying to trade me role players or as I call them flex guys. I was offered ridley for my 1st rnd pick (lacy) and woodhead for my 2nd rnd pick (keenan)….would you make those trades. yeah I know all about hindsight, but you gotta have some forsight!
Any chance you can dig deeper…all these guys are already rostered…love the idea, just need more ideas!
forget about trading your 2014 picks for anything that comes from a dumpster dive. dumpster diving is a fantastic way to grab cheap talent to stash. I got darick rogers in week 9 just before he blew up and everyone was asking about him after he went off. keep looking in the dumpster and you’ll find good things, but don’t trade your lifeline away with draft picks. look at what my team can be for years to come because I was patient with lacy and keenan. that’s fresh “blood” talent that you aint finding in the dumpster.
My 2014 dumpster dive nominee is Brice Butler, Oakland WR….. like his size, and hope he learned a thing or two in his rookie year…..
I think there’s a few that come to mind:
– The always encouragable K.Britt
– S.Greene, could be the next RB1 for TENN and still dirt cheap.
– B.Gibson, if he’s been cut in your league when IR’d
– D.Baldwin, likely rostered in most formats, however he could be a starter next year with S.Rice and Tate gone and SEA unlikely to bring in a big name WR.
– A.Roberts, likely on a shallow WW. Could find a starting job in FA in a dry WR market.
– A.Holmes, hes been next up in the OAK WR depth chart. Could do will given the full-time job there and/or a new QB inserted.
– L.Blount, hate mentioning him but he could be the NE RB1 there come next season. Its somehow possible, and he’s still very cheap.
– M.Leshoure, he could be a cheap alternative to B.Tate for RB needy teams prior to the draft, and the new DET regime could look to trade him immediately.
– J.Boykins – could be the next WR starter in that GB offense once J.Jones leaves via FA.
– *Whoever replaces BGE in CIN*, that CIN offense is going to be based around the run and another RB could have value behind Bernard, depending if Green-Ellis is cut.
Meant this in reply to Boobam13’s question, above
I stashed Kenjon Barner all season on my taxi squad in one of my dynasty leagues, but I still find Barner to be a mysterious prospect. Saw one blog that said Carolina wants to use him like New Orleans uses Darren Sproles which was encouraging, but also found it frustrating that Barner couldn’t even get on the field even after the Stewart injury.
I fear that Barner is going to end up like LaMichael James with the 49ers and never be a contributing NFL RB. Maybe it’s an Oregon jinx.
I think thats a pretty apt reply. He and LMJ seem to be in the same un-untilized boat, for the forseeable future.
Was able to grab Marvin Jones off the wire after an impatient owner dropped him. I watched all his last five games and I am thrilled he’s on my roster. Great playmaking and always in the right spot. He was pretty much in on every snap AJ was with Sanu an afterthought. I do have holes all over my team, so i was curious what you felt his current trade value is? Keep the great stuff coming!!
At this point I feel that the talent and value of Marvin Jones is not widely recognized. When people think of CIN they think immediately of their #1 receiver AJG or their exciting young RB Gio Bernard or even their high upside TE Tyler Eifert. But aside from Marvin Jones’ impressive 4td blip on the radar last year, he is an afterthought. like you I was able to pick up Jones on two waiver wires due to impatient owners last year but few realize that Jones ended the year in the top 20 for WR fantasy scoring. now that CIN has realized that jones in the teams true #2 I see even better value in jones going forward. if you want to optimize the trade value for jones hold onto him until his next big game (pre or regular season) when the rest of the fantasy world begins to recognize his value.
A few weeks ago I gave Marvin Jones for Steven Ridley, Brandon Gibson and 4.04 rookie pick in 2014.