Double Take: Off-Season Risers

Nathan Powell


Editor’s Note: Since the story lines are so obvious this week (Jay Cutler’s benching, Johnny Manziel’s second try, Ryan Lindley being fed to wolves), we’re going to swap the Sunday Six Pack for something different this week. We work 24/7, 365 around here and never really take a break. With that in mind, we’re already looking ahead beyond this week as we start bringing you what others consider to be “off-season” content. Enjoy!

As the fantasy football season comes to a close and the NFL playoffs begin, this is a time for dynasty owners to take a landscape of the NFL and try their best to project what will happen in the coming months. One of the best ways to boost the depth of your dynasty team is to identify players with little to no dynasty value that you think could rise in value due to a change of scenery or a change of scenery for the player ahead of them on the depth chart.

This can be done by scouring the seemingly barren waiver wire or making trades for players who have fallen out of favor with their current owners. Some of these players will only be for the deepest of leagues, but others should end up owned in all formats by the time the 2015 preseason begins. Several of these players are great high upside replacements for some of your roster cloggers.


Nathan’s Pick: Brock Osweiler, QB DEN

I honestly hate rostering backup quarterbacks in 12 team 1QB dynasty leagues, but if I had to choose one cheap/free player who could have a big value boost in 2-3 months, it would be Brock Osweiler. Will Peyton Manning retire? Who knows? Well, maybe Eli does. The 6’7” Osweiler was known for his big arm coming out of Arizona State, and if Peyton retires and he takes over the reins, Osweiler to Demaryius Thomas (who I expect the Broncos to re-sign) could be a fun connection for years to come.

Zach’s Response: Osweiler’s ownership is way too high. I don’t doubt his powerful arm, but I can barely sneak him into my top 40 quarterbacks right now.

Zach’s Pick: Mike Glennon, QB TB

Glennon isn’t a player who is going to bring forth fear in the eyes of your competitors, but he is a player with consistent performance when called upon. In the 17 games where he’s seen extended action over his two seasons, he has only scored less than 10 fantasy points once (20 yards per point scoring). Additionally, his 18.32 fppg from this year ranks higher than Colin Kaepernick, Alex Smith, Andy Dalton and every single rookie quarterback. Also, he has completely outplayed fellow Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown, who can be cut in the offseason and save Tampa Bay $4.25 million in cap space. I don’t expect Glennon to ever be a top tier player, and he may not even end up starting in Tampa Bay in 2015, but he’s worth stashing through the offseason, especially in 2QB leagues. I could see him latching onto another team in the future and performing as a good bye week stand in. I could also see him finally getting an opportunity to be “the guy” with a team and having a top 20 fantasy year.

Nathan’s Response: If the NFL draft was today, there would be little doubt in my mind that the Buccaneers select Oregon QB Marcus Mariota with the 1st overall pick that they currently possess. Even if the Bucs don’t take a quarterback and Glennon is the starter, I don’t think he has the upside to be worth owning the entire offseason in 12 team 1QB leagues.

Running Back

Nathan’s Pick: Stevan Ridley, RB NE

The season ending injury all but sucked out all of Ridley’s dynasty value. He isn’t a player who you are going to find on the waiver wire, but he is  a player you can buy low off of an undisciplined fantasy owner. The one fear with a lot of free agent running backs is the hype around the incoming running back class, which is projected to be one of the deepest in recent memory. Ridley is an unrestricted free agent this off-season and I think the chances of him staying are slim to none, particularly with LeGarrette Blount back in town and the emergence of Jonas Gray. If Ridley is able to land in a situation where he will be the #1 back or a close #2, his ADP will likely rise back into the top ten rounds. The move here may even be to buy now, let the hype built around the signing and then sell him before the NFL draft in case his new team goes running back earlier in the draft. Even if that does happen, while it will hurt his market value, I still think he will be a usable commodity during the 2015 season.

Zach’s Response: I agree with Nathan. Ridley is a buy low option with extra emphasis on “low.” My main fear is that he ends up like Ben Tate, never realizing his potential.

Zach’s Pick: Antonio Andrews, RB TEN

An undrafted rookie out of Western Kentucky, Andrews is not yet a household name. He’s not even owned in many of the deeper dynasties I’m in. While currently buried beneath Bishop Sankey, Shonn Greene, Dexter McCluster and Leon Washington on the Titans’ depth chart, he could quickly move up the ranks this offseason. Washington is an impending free agent, McCluster is more of a change-of-pace back and Greene has had a disastrous season. If the Titans decide to cut ties with Greene and save over $3 million in cap space, Andrews has little keeping him from becoming Sankey’s direct backup. He would also have little difficulty matching Greene’s paltry production. Andrews is more of a jack-of-all-trades type of back than one that fits into any one category, and that will work to his advantage. He is equal parts power back, pass catcher and pass blocker. He has a nice burst, but isn’t a burner. He is a fantastic compliment to Sankey. With Sankey finishing up a rather uninspiring rookie campaign, I would recommend all his owners with adequate bench space to consider picking him up. I don’t anticipate a timeshare developing, but it’s not completely outside the realm of possibility. Even those without Sankey could do worse than adding him to their rosters. Andrews should be owned in most leagues with at least 22 person rosters.

Nathan’s Response: I like this call. I’m not a huge fan of Andrew’s talent, but this wouldn’t be the first time that a mediocre talent at running back became a usable fantasy asset.

Wide Receiver

Nathan’s Pick: Jermaine Kearse, WR SEA

It is no secret that the Seattle offense isn’t exactly conducive to wide receiver fantasy success. Kearse is a restricted free agent this off-season, so it will be interesting to see how it plays out. If he is able to go elsewhere, I think his dynasty value will receive a sizable boost, maybe not as much as Golden Tate going to Detroit last off-season, but there will be some buzz in the dynasty community if the 6’1” 209 pound Kearse is able to go to a better situation.

Zach’s Response: I’m not as high on Kearse, but I agree he is worth a flyer. I don’t agree that his value will necessarily increase by leaving Seattle. I think he would have a hard time climbing the depth chart with most teams.

Zach’s Pick: Corey Washington, WR NYG

Remember back to the preseason in 2010 when Victor Cruz burst onto the seen as an undrafted rookie? The Giants had another receiver have a similar preseason this year. Also an undrafted rookie, Washington turned heads this preseason after scoring in four preseason games. Cruz is going to have a long road to recovery after tearing his patellar tendon, and while he is expected to be back for training camp, he may never be the same player again. Even with Cruz out of the lineup, Washington has climbed no higher than fourth on the depth chart, but depth charts aren’t written in stone. If Cruz is not ready to go at the start of the 2015 season, Washington could move into the third receiver role with Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle. Washington is a huge target and would allow for Beckham to continue to be utilized all over the formation. He is already on rosters in most leagues, but he’s a player worth discussing in trade talks.

Nathan’s Response: Randle is terrible, I cry every night just thinking about all of the shares I have. It is definitely up in the air whether or not Cruz ever comes back to being fully healthy. Washington is worth a stash where you have a spot.

Tight End

Nathan’s Pick: Dion Sims, TE MIA

Charles Clay will be an unrestricted free agent this off-season. While I don’t think Clay is a lock to walk in free agency, if he does, Sims could see a nice little spike in value, going from almost unownable across leagues to a decent TE3 to have on your roster. Sims is 6’5” and was a fourth round pick by the Dolphins in 2013. The Dolphins three best receivers are Mike Wallace, Jarvis Landry and Brian Hartline, none of those options scream “Red Zone Target,” so if Clay is gone, Sims could be one of quarterback Ryan Tannehill’s favorite red zone options in 2015.

Zach’s Response: Nathan hit the nail on the head when he mentioned Sims’ potential as a red zone target, but I think that’s where his potential peaks.

Zach’s Pick: Brandon Williams, TE CAR

As of right now, the Panthers will only have three wide receivers and two tight ends under contract in 2015 – Kelvin Benjamin, Jerricho Cotchery, Philly Brown, Greg Olsen and Williams. Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula isn’t exactly known for utilizing two receiving tight ends, but his hand might be forced if Carolina can’t add more inspiring pass catchers, assuming Shula even returns. Williams hasn’t earned much playing time this year, losing snaps to blocking specialist Ed Dickson, but his snaps should greatly increase in 2015. Williams isn’t a player I would want to count on as a TE2, but if you can spare the roster space for a TE3 or TE4, he’s a worthy stash.

Nathan’s Response: The Panthers will bring in a wide receiver or two in the offseason, so I don’t think they’ll be forced into two tight end sets, but I’m always a fan of cheap/free high upside tight ends. My only worry is that Williams is already 27 years old and has yet to show anything in the passing game in the NFL regular season.


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