It’s June and most owners are optimistic about their Fantasy Football teams. They use rosy colored sunglasses to only see the positives in Atlanta running back Tevin Coleman – I mean what could go wrong (*Cough* Bishop Sankey *Cough*)? Owners who were counting on Sankey likely had trouble making the playoffs, much less winning the championship. Disappointing play is only one of the aspects, but players underperform for reason or another, just ask Michael Floyd, Trent Richardson, LeSean McCoy, Justin Hunter, Doug Martin and a whole host of others.
Sometimes players don’t progress or may even regress in their development as a football player. Did you account for that into you FF season? Another aspect that’s been creeping up more often for players in the NFL is suspensions. Josh Gordon, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Justin Blackmon, Le’Veon Bell and Tom Brady severely affected their FF teams by not being able to play for multiple games due to a suspension. The last aspect I wanted to touch on was the dreaded…gulp…injury front. While it is at times bad luck and unpredictable, they have devastating affects to winning or losing in FF. Prime time players such as Jamaal Charles, DeMarco Murray, Adrian Peterson, Arian Foster, Julio Jones, Brandon Marshall, Victor Cruz, AJ Green, Calvin Johnson, Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski have all fallen victim to injuries. Now that’s not even taking into account lesser players on your roster that miss time. Taking all of these factors into account, your season could crumble before it even begins.
Depth is extremely important in FF and the most underrated players within depth are sometimes older players. I like to call these players “Glue Guys” because they help hold your team together and are about as cheap to acquire as some Elmer’s Glue. They are shock absorbers from the suspensions, injuries, poor play and bye weeks. I won a championship in 2013 because of these types of supporting players, in that instance the glue came from Frank Gore, Greg Jennings and Tony Gonzalez. The best time to buy these players is right now because the FF community is overvaluing youth and undervaluing veterans. Let’s take a look at some of these Glue Guys who are likely to give you that much needed support for a successful 2015 fantasy season.
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After SpyGate happened, the Patriots took on the “Us vs The World” mentality to a record setting 16-0 season. I could see the Patriots attempting the same philosophy in 2015 after DeflateGate and Brady coming out of his suspension with a huge chip on his shoulder. Some owners will discount Brady because of the suspension and/or his age. Remember the beginning of last season when some media outlets discussed Brady being done after week four? He finished the last 12 weeks averaging 28.3 PPG, which includes Brady only played a half of their week 17 contest against Buffalo. 28.3 PPG would have placed him at QB4 in 2014. For the cheap price to acquire Brady, he could be a great “glue guy” for a 2015 championship season.
The most important aspect for a running back is opportunity and that reveals itself by either the investment of an NFL Draft pick (higher the better) or the amount of guaranteed money they receive. Gore is 32 years old and that makes some FF owners shutter. However, the Eagles and Colts found themselves in a bidding war to gain the services of Gore. Does that sound like a player that is about to or fell off the cliff? Not to me and when looking at his contract with the Colts, Gore’s guaranteed money runs out after the 2016 season. Therefore, if you acquired Gore now, you’re getting a cheap two-year starter for your team. I understand the Colts have a poor offensive line and Gore’s athletic abilities have slightly diminished. However, from a pure opportunity standpoint, he’s a two year starter and his ADP is after pick 100. I like the idea of Gore being paired with one of the better quarterbacks in the NFL and speedy weapons to keep defenders out of the box.
CJ Spiller and Shane Vereen
Both of these players have been gaining momentum recently, but both will get plenty of fantasy points in 2015 as well. Therefore, I’m not sure how much of a “bargain” they will be to obtain but at the very least, I could see at least 50 receptions for each player – that’s not even taking into account the carries and even taking on a bigger role. Rashad Jennings, Andre Williams and Mark Ingram have yet to prove themselves to be “the man” and why should we not account for them to not develop in the projection for Spiller/Vereen?
In a complementary role to Ryan Mathews in 2013, Woodhead had 182 touches his first season in San Diego – that was good enough to be the RB14 and he currently can be obtained for pennies on the dollar. For all of the Melvin Gordon fans out there, I can hear you “But they didn’t have Melvin Gordon.” True, but let’s not forget Mathews had 311 touches in 2013 – this lets me think Woodhead could also carve out a role in 2015.
Many people doubt the chances of Boldin having a good season in 2015 for multiple reasons. New Head Coach/Offensive Coordinator in San Francisco, he turns 35 in October, he’s slow and Torrey Smith signed with the 49ers in the off-season. Those reasons don’t concern me because of Boldin’s rapport with Colin Kaepernick and how he “wins” as a receiver in the NFL. His average over this two seasons with the 49ers is 129.5 targets for 84 receptions 1,120 yards and six touchdowns. Kaepernick has trust with him and doesn’t have that with Smith. I also don’t see a third receiving target who would garner a lot of attention. The way Boldin wins, he is physical to the point of being a bully to defensive backs and he’s a smart football player. In PPR leagues, Boldin has finished as WR15 and WR18 the last two years. I have seen him acquired for a rookie third round pick and he could put up WR2 numbers for a third straight season.
Two straight injury plagued campaigns have dampened expectations of White sustaining his high production past for the 2015 season. He missed only one of the final 10 games of the 2014 season; however he scored 11.5 PPR points or more in all nine games, which reveals he hasn’t fallen off the cliff and makes him a bargain for the 2015 season. His dynasty ADP is well past 100 and he was the WR17 in PPG in 2014.
For some odd reason, there are many folks expecting Jackson to fall off a cliff in 2015. He is 32 years old and dealt with foot, knee, and groin issues for most of the 2014 season. He also has a potential superstar opposite him in Mike Evans, but I see that as a potential benefit. I would expect Evans to draw the majority of the opposing team’s best CB and bracket coverage. The offensive coordinator has been moving Jackson into the slot more this off-season to take advantage of his frame, which could turn into more targets. Jameis Winston has to be an upgrade at the quarterback position from 2014 as well. Despite all that happened in 2014, he finished WR34 and I think that’s his absolute floor in 2015. For someone that could be acquired on the cheap – sign me up!
This is a sleeper special, but he’s on some waiver wires right now. In the beginning of 2014, Beasley saw 21 targets for 16/143/0 through nine games. However, the last eight games (including the playoffs), he saw 39 targets for 28/378/4 and caught 72% of his targets during that span. If you double those second half numbers for a full season, Beasley would have been the WR35 in 2014. I see Dallas throwing the football more in 2015 as the running back position saw a slight decrease in talent (sarcasm) and I saw Jason Witten slowing down quite a bit in 2014. You have an opportunity to pick up Beasley for free and he could be a WR3-5 for your team.
The TE7 in 2014 for FF, Walker isn’t being talked about in a positive light for 2015. I almost wonder if some thought it was a fluke. Either way, I want to obtain Walker as a glue guy for the 2015 season. He will turn 31 before the season and that helps to make him extra cheap. Marcus Mariota is the new quarterback in Nashville and I expect them to specialize in the short passing game. Therefore, the main beneficiaries will be Kendall Wright (also a decent buy right now) and Walker.
Who are some of your “Glue Guys?” Let us know in the comments below…