Posted 12/9 by Mike Anderson and William Grant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
The purpose of this column is to spotlight deeper roster moves that could pay
off big over the course of the season. Unless stated in a player's write up,
we're not looking for one-week wonders here, but shark moves that could really
strengthen your team down the road.
Dynasty Watch focuses on low risk, huge payoff roster moves that you might
be able make before the guys in your league think about it. This aim of this
column is to make you look like a genius to the other owners in your league.
When news breaks and the other owners are scrambling to make a waiver wire move,
we want them to be upset time and time again that the player is already on your
Ryan Fitzpatrick: QB St. Louis Rams
What has he done so far
Ryan Fitzpatrick was a 7th round pick for the Rams this season (#250 overall)
from Harvard. He was an excellent athlete in college, and has good size and
excellent field vision. He took over for the Rams last week when Jamie Martin
went down to injury and led St. Louis to 17 fourth quarter points and a huge
overtime victory 33-27 against Houston. His first start came last week against
Washington where he did not fair as well, but still had a rushing TD. His stats
to date: 40-66 473 passing yards, 3 TDs, 2 INTs, 8-45 rushing yards 1 TD.
Fitzpatrick is still the starter for St.Louis, and will lead the Rams against
Minnesota this week as well. Marc Bulger is injured, and could possibly miss
the rest of the season. Jamie Martin is still injured and will not be ready
to start for at least another week. The job is currently Fitzpatrick's to lose.
OK, a big week against Houston doesn't turn Fitzpatrick into Peyton Manning,
and a tough defense like Washington held him in check pretty well last week.
In fact, Fitzpatrick's starting job may be more the result of Jamie Martin's
injury than anything else. However, he is currently the starting QB on the #1
passing offense in the NFL and that puts the spotlight squarely on him now.
Marc Bulger is the starting QB for the Rams. He's signed through the 2007 season.
Jamie Martin is the primary backup, but his contract is up at the end of this
season. Fitzpatrick is also signed through the 2007 season, so unless he or
Bulger are traded, Fitzpatrick won't be anything more than a backup. He's a
handcuff for Bulger in the short term. After 2007? It's hard to say. It depends
on what his role is. At this point, he's more 'potential upside' than anything
Fitzpatrick is an interesting prospect at this point. One great game against
a weak pass defense doesn't mean much, but in a dynasty league, where 'potential
upside' is the basis for every rookie draft, Fitzpatrick has to be considered
for a roster slot as well. Even if he totally tanks this week against Minnesota,
he has more NFL experience than Phillip Rivers or Aaron Rogers. Yet neither
of those guys are available in any dynasty league. Make no mistake: Fitzpatrick
is probably a longer-term prospect than either of them. But given his performance
so far, and the fact that he'll be starting for at least another game, Ryan
Fitzpatrick is worth spending a roster slot on.
Marlon McCree: SS Carolina Panthers
What has he done so far
Marlon McCree was a 7th round draft choice for Jacksonville (#233 Overall) back
in 2001. He played 12 games his rookie season, and was played in 29 games for
the Jags before leaving for free agency. He signed with Houston where his stats
dropped considerably. He finished 2004 with just 31 total tackles, no sacks
and only one INT. He signed with Carolina back in March and has been Carolina's
starting Strong Safety since the third game this season. In his ten games as
a starter for the Panthers he has totaled 54 solo tackles, 10 assists, three
INTs and nine pass defenses. He also the leading tackler for the Panthers this
McCree signed a one year deal with Carolina this off season, and has done a
great job since taking over the starting role. The Panthers have an excellent
run defense (currently ranked 2nd in total rushing yards and 4th in yards per
attempt), and McCree is a big part of that. 1st round Rookie Thomas Davis started
the season, but he was not quite ready to make the jump to the NFL. While Davis
is the better long term prospect for the Panthers, McCree has certainly earned
the right to retain the starting position. Over the last four games, McCree
has 29 total tackles (24 Solo); five passes defenses and even a fumble recovery.
McCree had a nice sophomore season in Jacksonville where he posted career bests
in tackles (56 Solo, 15 assists), one sack, six interceptions and five pass
defenses. When McCree transferred his services to Houston, those stats took
a massive hit. While McCree probably won't hit six interceptions before the
end of the season, McCree should post personal best totals in every other defensive
stat. That performance should land him a fat free agent contract this offseason,
and a starting job on another team in 2006.
McCree was on track to become a solid fantasy DB when he left Jacksonville in
2002. Yet in Houston he was never able to really prove his worth and spent most
of 2004 coming off the bench. His one-year stint in Carolina has re-energized
him and he's on his way to posting career best totals. Davis was the 14th overall
selection in the 2005 draft, so expecting McCree to stay with Carolina for 2006
is a stretch. He should draw interest this offseason and will probably be a
starting DB for another team in 2006..
McCree is a risk. He's already shown that he will disappear in the wrong situation,
and he could turn into a fantasy bust if he lands on the wrong team next season.
However, given his current performance in Carolina, he's worth a shot. There's
an outside chance that Thomas Davis could move to free safety or linebacker
next season. If that happens, Carolina could re-sign McCree to a long-term contract.
If that happens, he'll get a great chance to expand on this season's success
and really prove he can perform at this level. One thing is certain: McCree
will get a chance to start in 2006 for someone. Given that, and his current
performance over the last several weeks, he is worth a slot on your dynasty
Players You Should Already Be Watching
Bryan Fletcher: TE Indianapolis Colts - Dallas Clark and Marcus Pollard
combined for over 725 yards and 11 TDs last season. In 2003, they had 880 yards
and four TDs Clark is the #1 guy now, but Fletcher has three TD catches in three
weeks. With 152 yards receiving and three TDs, he's going to finish with more
fantasy points than many TEs who are already on dynasty rosters. He's currently
ranked 26th as a fantasy TE, and would move into solid backup territory with
another TD score this week.
Stefan LeFors: QB Carolina Panthers - Anyone think Chris Weinke is a
good fantasy QB? Anyone? Yeah, we think LeFors has more potential too. Opportunity?
How about a 9-3 team that is ranked 31st in yards per attempt (3.14). Carolina
is going to have to pass to win. LeFors is worth having at this point in case
Delhomme goes down to injury.
Eric Shelton: RB Carolina Panthers - Speaking of 3.14 YPC, think that
the Panthers need help at RB? Shelton is on IR for this season, but anyone writing
him off at this point is making a mistake. With Foster going UFA after this
season, and Davis slowing down, Shelton should have an excellent opportunity
to take the starting job for 2006.
Todd Bouman: QB New Orleans Saints - Rumors have been swirling that
Aaron Brooks isn't in the 2006 plans for the Saints. While much of the focus
is on rookie Adrian McPherson, Bouman should not be forgotten either. He had
a solid campaign his rookie season in Minnesota, and could take over the staring
job if McPherson is not ready to go.