In all facets of fantasy football, not just dynasty, we are rewarded by being proactive and reaching correct conclusions before our peers are able to connect the same dots. While this holds true in one year formats, the rewards can only be reaped for a single season.
In dynasty leagues, we get to reap those same rewards for the duration of a career, and buying mispriced players on the verge of a breakout can be the equivalent of investing in a penny stock and having its price go through the roof to buoy your portfolio. This is where we turn our competitive teams to dominators and where we lay the foundation for our rebuilds.
I’m going to discuss two players at each position that I believe are mispriced and are highly likely to provide a healthy return on investment in 2017 and beyond, and additionally be a much more highly valued trade chip by the end of the season.
Marcus Mariota, TEN
ADP Rank: 66th overall and QB5
My Rank: 36th overall and QB1
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Mariota is poised to take a mammoth step forward in his third season and join the league’s elite signal callers in both notoriety and fantasy output. In his second season, he was already a QB1 while being forced to waste 83 targets on Tajae Sharpe, having no true WR1, and having only Delanie Walker and Rishard Matthews as reliable options. While both are good, reliable targets, neither are game-breakers and neither are even bordering on being elite pass-catchers.
The upgrades to his WR corps in 2017 just simply cannot be understated. He was already the best red zone passer in the league in terms of completion, touchdown and interception percentage, and now he has red zone monster Eric Decker at his disposal (who is additionally the best wide receiver Mariota has ever played with, by quite a large margin).
Couple Decker with the draft capital spent at wide receiver in Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor, there simply may not be any player at any position whose arrow is pointing so steeply upwards in flashing lights.
Carson Wentz, PHI
ADP Rank: 142nd overall and QB14
My Rank: 80th overall and QB7
Like Mariota, Wentz is another second overall pick in the NFL draft whose arsenal of weaponry saw a mammoth upgrade in the off-season. He similarly was forced to waste 143 targets in 2016 on Dorial Green-Beckham and Nelson Agholor, who was widely graded as the worst receiver in football in consecutive years.
His two targets bordering on reliable were Jordan Matthews and Zach Ertz (additionally the returning Darren Sproles out of the backfield). Both were running the majority of their routes on the inside, and the passing game became painfully easy to game plan for as there was simply no threat from the outside wide receiver positions. You can read more on the woeful wide receiver play and how dearly Lane Johnson was missed during his suspension from Joe Paeno at Two QBs here.
That’s all changed this off-season with the prudent additions of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith via free agency. Smith isn’t a name that generally breeds much confidence in the fantasy football community, but he knows how to stretch the field (at least markedly better than the aforementioned DGB and Agholor) and will not be a first or second option in the passing game this year, which is the required role for him to be most effective.
Last but certainly not least, the addition of Alshon Jeffery is arguably the largest positional upgrade from 2016 across the entire league. While not in the highest tier of elite wide receivers, he is certainly a (team) WR1 who has seen nearly ten targets per game throughout his career and a healthy season will have him eyeing WR1 numbers in 2017.
This added weaponry for Wentz, plus another year of development, will have him looking to top his 3,782 passing yards from 2016, but more importantly and almost certainly having his 16 touchdown pass number from 2016 take a huge leap and even potentially double.
Kenneth Dixon, BAL
ADP Rank: 89th overall and RB28
My Rank: 64th overall and RB18
A personal favorite of mine from the 2016 draft class, the formula of talent andskill set versus roster competition is, in my eyes, the single greatest buy across 32 NFL backfields.
Let’s go back to August 27th, 2016. It was the Ravens third preseason game, and their dress rehearsal for the regular season. Dixon had been their most effective back in the preseason and was getting plenty of first half run, when the unfortunate derailment of his rookie season took place. He was looking sharp with a 6-41-1 plus 1-9-0 line in the first half when the knee sprain that cost him over a month of time happened as he took the goal line carry (hint, hint) into the end zone.
This is definitely a stroll down narrative street for me, but I believe this was the single most inopportune time for an injury for the rookie, and I believe he was on track to be the Ravens three down back from game number one.
He made it back onto the field for week five of the 2016 season, but was eased back slowly, as he didn’t see more than four touches until week right, but it was week nine when they began to utilize him as both a runner and receiver.
Across their last eight games, he saw a total of 73 carries for 359 yards and two scores (averages of 9.1-44.9-0.25 at 4.7 YPC) and a receiving line of 25-156-1 on 35 targets (averages of 3.1-19.5-0.1 on 4.4 targets). Extrapolating this second half of the season usage over 16 games, this would have checked Dixon in at RB22 on the year.
I believe it’s not at all a reach to believe his role grows in 2017 with the chance of becoming a work horse well within his reach.
Paul Perkins, RB NYG
ADP Rank: 103rd overall and RB34
My Rank: 96th overall and RB28
I have to put an asterisk here as I am advocating buying both Perkins and Wayne Gallman. I wrote up Gallman during the draft process and believe buying the pair for the combined cost of an RB3 or less is going to net a 15-20 touch per game back with receiving chops in 2017, no matter who comes out on top of the competition.
I have to believe the pricing here is due to the general consensus that NYG will reshuffle the position in 2018, but competency or more in 2017 could get a long term asset at rock bottom price and the 2017 production is virtually a guarantee.
Perkins was also eased in gradually in his rookie year, not seeing ten touches until the Giants eighth game and not seeing fifteen or more until their thirteenth game where he proceeded to close out the season as their lead back. In the final quarter of the year (four games) he averaged sixteen touches and 70 yards per game, including a 102 yard rushing performance on 21 carries in their week 17 win over Washington.
The main gist here is even though I view both players as more than capable, we have the opportunity to secure a backfield on a playoff team for bordering on free. The return in 2017 will pay for the investment with room for more and anything in 2018 and beyond is just more bonus.
Martavis Bryant, PIT
ADP Rank: 51st overall and WR29
My Rank: 21st overall and WR14
Robert Woods, LA
ADP Rank: 169th overall and WR75
My Rank: 99th overall and WR47
This is as simple as not overthinking a dirt-cheap-to-free purchase. In Woods’ four seasons, in wide receiver purgatory (otherwise known as Buffalo), he’s gathered a minimum of 40 catches and a minimum of 552 yards with an average line of 51-612-3 in those four seasons.
Stepping into Kenny Britt’s role from last season, Woods said back in May that he wants to be a/the number one receiver, and there’s nothing in the way of it. Even going to the Rams, his outlook is significantly brighter than it was in Buffalo. He now has a WR2 ceiling if everything falls perfectly, but either way you’ll be getting WR3/4 production at WR7 price.
Again, don’t overthink this one, just send the offer.
Eric Ebron, DET
ADP Rank: 110th overall and TE12
My Rank: 70th overall and TE7
Ebron is a very curious case, as the consensus in the community seems to be off of him, and that there’s no attainable ceiling. Put mildly, I vehemently disagree with that.
He has first round NFL draft pedigree and was a very young prospect. He is only entering his age 24 season this year and has increased his catch and yardage output each season. His overall point output was not as good as it could have been in 2016 as he scored just one touchdown, but I believe that will change in a big way in 2017, sans Anquan Boldin.
Ebron is being drafted behind three separate rookies, all of which were drafted at a later slot than Ebron, and additionally it is a rare instance where a tight end brings starter level productivity in their first two seasons, let alone in their rookie season.
Unless you have Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, Jordan Reed or Greg Olsen as your TE1 and the rookie development period is a non issue, I believe it would be a prudent move to offer the top three rookie tight end you drafted for Ebron.
This off-season is going to be your last opportunity to buy him at a second round rookie pick price range.
Austin Hooper, ATL
ADP Rank: 134th overall and TE16
My Rank: 95th overall and TE12
Hooper is a prospective buy and a stash who is likely not to put up TE1 numbers in 2017, but I believe he will in 2018 and beyond. When given the opportunity as a rookie, he delivered as efficiently as can be asked of any rookie tight end. While he got just 27 targets on the season, he caught a whopping 70% of those and absurdly averaging over ten yards per target and over fourteen yards per catch. Additionally he scored three touchdowns on those 27 targets. He also received another nine targets in the postseason which he parlayed into a 6-65-1 line.
He’s flashed as a very capable player and is likely to continue to progress. Feel the owner out in your league and don’t think twice about sending a couple of third rounders if that gets the job done and you can stash him for a season.
Just another reminder, proactivity is your friend. Fire off those offers, engage in conversation, find the best way to get who you see as the value spikes in the near future!
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