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Dynasty Watch

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 squad.

Alvin Pearman: RB Jacksonville Jaguars

What has he done so far
Pearman's father played in the NFL with the Baltimore Colts. Before going to Virginia, Pearman was the HS state champion in the 100 and 200 meter races. Pearman was All-ACC while at Virginia. He was drafted in the 4th round as the 142nd player taken.

Current Situation
Pearman is emerging as the primary backup to Fred Taylor for the Jaguars. This role has been LaBrandon Toefield's position for the last year or two. Pearman has been getting in reps during games when starter Fred Taylor needs a breather. He has also taken over on punt returns. "Alvin Pearman continues to do a nice job for us," Del Rio said. "He probably has a little more burst to him [than Toefield]. He's a good football player."

Spotlight ETA
It's completely dependent on Fred Taylor. "Fragile" Fred has played well the year and has found ways to be on the field. Pearman is nothing more than a 3rd down back/kick returner at best with Taylor on the field running the ball. Should Taylor's injury history start to haunt him again, Pearman is very likely THE starting RB for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Dynasty Upside
A starting NFL running back, any starting NFL running back has tremendous value in fantasy football. That said, Pearman has a great deal of upside by default. On his own, Pearman is a very productive RB. He has great versatility and can line up all over the field (slot, fullback, and tailback). Pearman runs with a great body lean and falls forward. Shows good change of direction with the ball and keeps his legs moving. Pearman is also an excellent receiver. We are not saying that a 4th round draft pick is going to set the league on fire, but Pearman can certainly be the starting RB for the Jaguars, scoring 10+ TDs a year with well over 1,000 yards if given the chance.

Final Thoughts
Fred Taylor has proven that he can still be a productive, healthy starting RB in the league. However he is a single misstep away from going down. Taylor has struggled with injuries and is far from an "Iron Horse". Taylor is also getting up there in age and plays a position that hits a wall at about 29-30 years old. Unless the Jaguars draft a big time RB in the next few drafts, look for Pearman, not Toefield to take over for him. One bad hit on Taylor, and we might be talking about this next week.

Keiwan Ratliff: CB Cincinnati Bengals

What has he done so far
Keiwan Ratliff was a second round draft pick (49th overall) for Cincinnati last season. As a rookie, he started five games and finished the season with 28 solo tackles, 9 assists and 5 passes defended. He also averaged 12.2 yards per punt return (17 total). This season, Ratliff is off to a good start. Although he isn't a starter, he's already posted 15 solo tackles, 2 assists, 2 INTs and 2 passes defended. He's also had 9 punt returns for 57 yards.

Current Situation
Currently Ratliff is the #3 corner on the Bengals behind Deltha O'Neal and Tory James. As a team, the Bengals have been on fire with 12 interceptions over the first four games and 1186 yards of total offense allowed (13th). Cincinnati is currently 4-0, and they have jumped out to a nice early lead in three of their first four games, forcing their opponents to pass in order to catch up. That has allowed Ratliff to see more playing time and showcase his stuff.

Spotlight ETA
Deltha O'Neal is only entering his 6th NFL season. However, he has missed several games during the last two seasons. Tory James is in his tenth NFL season. He's under contract with the Bengals for the 2006 season, but his salary is more than O'Neal and Ratliff's combined. Expect Ratliff to get more playing time this season and be worked more into the starting line up as the season winds down. If he continues this pace, he should be able to move into the starting lineup by next season.

Dynasty Upside
As the Bengal offense continues to improve, the focus will shift to the defense to hold the lead and contain the other team. That should translate into solid numbers for the starting defensive players. James had 56 solo tackles and 8 INTs for the Bengals last season. With his speed and athleticism, Ratliff could easily beat those statistics as a 16 game starter.

Final Thoughts
Ratliff is on the cusp of a breakout season. The Bengals like the kid and want to get him more involved in the game. He's their #1 punt returner and nickel DB now, but expect to see him as the starter before the end of the season. With Tory James set to make a large salary in 2006, he could easily be a cap cut if Ratliff can prove he's the starting CB that the Bengals want him to be. By this time next season, he could be an excellent DB in most fantasy leagues. Right now he's just a waiver wire pickup in most leagues. Pick him up and stash him on your roster until next season. He should prove to be a solid DB by this time next year.

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