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The dynasty staffers at Footballguys will have regular Dynasty Roundtables throughout the offseason. This is the first installment with several staffers contributing.
How will the Kareem Hunt signing in Cleveland impact your dynasty rankings?
Hunt’s signing won’t change very much for me. I do not see Hunt in the same area code of talent as Nick Chubb. Multiple teams sniffed around adding Hunt to improve their depth, but ultimately, Cleveland was the first to decide that they could handle the public relations blowback that would come from such a controversial move. The Browns merely want to improve their depth and have a plan if Nick Chubb were to miss time. Hunt is still facing a lengthy suspension. The Browns know this and aren’t counting on Hunt to be a major contributor-- they are just doing their due diligence to improve the position group.
New Browns head coach Freddie Kitchens transformed the team's offensive approach after assuming play-calling duties in the second half of the season. The former running backs coach didn't shy away from featuring Nick Chubb, who saw his snap counts skyrocket, and Duke Johnson Jr, who turned from afterthought to fixture.
Kareem Hunt's signing is low risk for the team, but he remains a volatile dynasty commodity. A suspension is almost certain, meaning a large chunk of the fantasy season would be bitten off before he even plays a snap. There is a non-zero chance the Browns' two-headed backfield of Chubb and Johnson have established a nice flow by that point, thus keeping Hunt to a satellite role.
My feeling is that Browns general manager John Dorsey targeted Hunt for a reason - to feature him. Johnson is the clear odd man out in the rotation if this comes to pass, as Hunt has displayed his prowess as a three-down back in the past. A rotation of Chubb and Hunt wouldn't tip off defenses and would allow Kitchens to fully implement his scheme, unhindered by personnel considerations.
Hunt should feature in dynasty rankings, certainly, but with an asterisk of caution. The timing of his suspension could be critical; early, and it could impact his ability to get into a flow; late, and the Browns may have seen all they need to see to commit to Hunt for the long term. He is a high upside RB2 at this point, though a volatile commodity.
Most are reacting more to the news with their dynasty values than I am. Kareem Hunt is likely suspended for a chunk (or more) of next season and one a one-year deal from his previous drafter in Kansas City. I view 2019 as a 'get well' year for Hunt to get his profile back for a potential lead role in 2020. Of course, a Nick Chubb injury can vault Hunt into a starting role later in 2019, but the signing was more ominous for Duke Johnson Jr than anything else.
There was always a belief that Kareem Hunt would come back to the league, but there were questions as to when and where. Hunt landing in Cleveland isn't the most ideal spot for his dynasty future due to the presence of Nick Chubb. Chubb is the future at running back for Cleveland, not Hunt, which means Hunt's value drops off. Injuries happen in the league, so there's always a chance for Hunt to emerge as a weekly fantasy threat, but the prospects of him beating out Chubb are not on his side. From a dynasty perspective, he jumps into the Top 25-30 among running backs simply for what he accomplished in his brief time with Kansas City. At age 23 he still has immense potential to come out on top, but he'll likely serve a suspension to begin the 2019 season. Even after he's cleared to play, he still must learn a new offense and supplant Chubb to reach his full potential. He's a roster stash player right now, but if things go the right way, he may have a favorable return on investment.
Not that significantly. I have him ranked as the 58th running back moving forward. Hunt first must be issued with a suspension and the common consensus is that it will be a long one. Secondly, Nick Chubb is a very good running back who is a better credentialled back without the headache that Hunt will cause. Hunt can easily be let go with even a minor indiscretion moving forward and even if he is a solid citizen, he is still behind a better back away from Andy Reid. I did drop Nick Chubb down one spot as Hunt will take away a few carries if he can get back on the park. If.
Hunt's signing is suboptimal. In a perfect world, Hunt would've been suspended and then signed to a running back-needy team, thus creating another viable fantasy asset. Now, he's a part of a team that just broke up a logjam by trading Carlos Hyde. Nick Chubb was widely considered a top-10 dynasty running back before the Hunt signing, and some are lowering expectations now. I wouldn't. Chubb was dynamic after taking over the Browns running game, and I don't see Hunt's signing as problematic to Chubb. He'll remain the team's primary ball-carrier for years to come. The Hunt signing was an opportunistic move about acquiring talent at a discount. In 2019, Hunt is likely to miss significant time, 8-12 games are possible. It's just as likely the Browns will trade Hunt (buy low, sell high) as it is, he'll be sharing the backfield with Chubb and Duke Johnson Jr. Now, if the Browns cut Duke Johnson Jr, I'd be more concerned the team wants to use Chubb and Hunt as a true committee. But until I see that happen, my recommendation is to buy Chubb on ANY discount, and to keep Hunt slotted as a No. 2 running back over a 2- to 3-year window.
Very little. Prior to the signing, I had Chubb at RB8 but was at least considering bumping him up to RB6 ahead of Joe Mixon and Melvin Gordon. I’m no longer considering moving Chubb up but haven’t dropped him at all. Hunt is likely to be suspended for almost half of the 2019 season and may or may not remain in Cleveland in 2020, so there is no reason to overreact and panic sell Chubb. The signing does have at least some small negative impact on his value, however. Most running backs have a handful of prime years at best and Chubb may see five or ten fewer touches than he otherwise might have every game Hunt is active.
Hunt doesn’t move much for me either because I view the signing as a mixed blessing. On the one hand, the fact he signed quickly confirms his off-field misconduct won’t be a career-ender (Ray Rice). He should have solid dynasty value as long as he doesn’t have any more missteps. However, the landing spot couldn’t be much worse — especially if he is in Cleveland for two years due to the restricted free agency rules. Nick Chubb is under contract for three more years and should be the top guy, which means Hunt could be a fantasy afterthought for a couple of his prime years (his age 24 and 25 seasons).
What do you make of Kyler's Murray's professional prospects? Will his height limit his fantasy appeal in your eyes? What team would be a good fit for his style?
I haven’t yet been able to watch Murray’s film enough to feel comfortable giving a definitive pronouncement of how I feel about him as a player and how I feel he would best fit in the NFL. I do want to say something about the issue of height that has been brought up with Kyler Murray, Drew Brees, Russell Wilson, Johnny Manziel, and many other successful and unsuccessful shorter players who have played the game. Just because a tall quarterback has been the successful prototype for years in the NFL does not mean a shorter player cannot achieve success. The NFL’s decision-makers have wrongly put emphasis on certain metrics for certain positions for years. For example, many passed on Aaron Donald in the NFL Draft because they believed his arms were too short to be an effective interior defender. Russell Wilson has been a revelation at the position, but he lasted to the third round because teams were scared off by his height. On and on the list goes.
The most common thing I hear about Murray with respect to his height is that he won’t be able to see over the line of scrimmage. Tim Couch recently put it well when he said that quarterbacks under 6’5” can’t see over the line anyway but are taught to find passing lanes. The point is that we shouldn’t rule out Murray because of his height. If one finds other flaws in his game that are related to decision making, mechanics, arm strength, and so on -that’s one thing. But don’t say that a guy is too short to play. Metrics can be a small part of the conversation, but it should never rule out a player who demonstrates they excel in other facets of the game.
I think the facile analysis here is to instantly dismiss Murray based on history, but that would be a mistake. Clearly, he has skills that are transferable to the NFL, whether it be his arm, his mobility or his ability to extend plays, and which could be instantly valuable to a team. The NFL's scouting community can be a little nearsighted at times, however, failing to project a player who is a little different in some key measurable.
And that brings us to the question of Murray's height, the hot button topic for so-called analysts to chew on as the draft approaches. My feeling is that he has more than enough nous and skill baked into his game to cope with his lack of ideal height in the NFL, where offensive linemen are not as big in comparison to their college counterparts as the past.
Murray will need a team with an offensive scheme featuring boot action, play fakes and movement to maximize his potent skills. I'm quite intrigued by the prospect of him landing in Cincinnati, where Zac Taylor could grow along with him while implementing some of the play designs that provided a platform for growth for Jared Goff. The same is true of Jay Gruden and Washington, where the expectations would be lower. Gruden has demonstrated his ability to get the most out of his players, and the Alex Smith injury means the team must address the position.
It is more about Murray's weight-build than his raw height. Baker Mayfield, Drew Brees, and Russell Wilson had solid weight profiles and thickness to their sub-optimal height. I am not concerned about tipped passes or clarity of vision with Murray as he has been working within that limitation of height for his entire career. Durability and taking hits, etc. is another concern entirely. Moving the pocket, using Murray's mobility, and scheming quick throws will all be key to Murray holding up and succeeding big picture in the NFL. From a fantasy angle, Murray has the most upside of any quarterback in the class with his rushing and athletic profile to boost his numbers, but the downside is a career shortened by injury, morphing into a role-gadget player, or an early injury or two shifting his focus back to baseball. Murray is high variance in his outcome for the next 2-3 years.
On the plus side, Kyler Murray is 2-3 inches taller than Doug Flutie, who found success in the league, back when there were fewer spread-style offenses. Murray's strength is his ability to adjust on the fly and make plays. He has good accuracy and decision-making, but I'm concerned with his ability to learn defenses, make pre-snap reads and go through his progressions on offense. Like Russell Wilson, Murray has a baseball mentality, which will certainly help his game. There's a good chance that Murray will make an impact in the league, but the team that lands him will need to adapt to his style of play.
Several teams need a quarterback. Washington, Jacksonville, Miami, Oakland, and New York (Giants) top the list, but other teams could enter the fray. I don't see Arizona in the mix unless there's a clear plan to trade Josh Rosen. Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury has shared his interest in Murray, but would Arizona trade Rosen? That seems doubtful. Cincinnati is another team on the verge of needing a quarterback, but I don't like that landing spot in what looks like a rebuilding effort for the Bengals. New Orleans would be ideal, but the Saints don't have a draft pick until late in the second round. An interesting spot would be New England, especially if Murray lasts to the end of round one, but Tom Brady's talk of playing until he's 45 may delay the need to draft a quarterback this year. Two teams that could make a splash by selecting Murray are the Chargers and Steelers. Both have quarterbacks in the sunset of their careers - Philip Rivers 38 and Ben Roethlisberger 36. The next chapter will begin soon with both teams, why not now? Plus, it would give Murray a year or so to learn the ropes and not be forced into playing. We saw how that benefited Patrick Mahomes II. Both Rivers and Roethlisberger are signed until the end of the 2019 season, which would be the perfect time for Murray to take over.
I am not saying height for a quarterback is overrated, but what if he has longer arms? What if he completes 66% of passes, but has a few more batted at the line of scrimmage? Can he overcome his height and complete passes is the more relevant issue? Can he take repeated hits? Does he improve his team? Can he convince NFL teams that he has the right attitude and ability to learn that is crucial in a quarterback? To me, the height isn’t ideal, but we can all agree that Russell Wilson has worked out well in the NFL. Does Murray have similar or potentially even better material to work with? NFL scouts get paid good money to evaluate and determine this and he will find a team that believes in him. The only real question, therefore is, does he get thrown to the wolves like Josh Rosen or will he be prepared properly to succeed in the NFL?
I'm highly skeptical. The NFL is rethinking the quarterback position before our eyes, thanks in part to the MVP-level success of Patrick Mahomes II and the top-10 all-time rookie season delivered by Baker Mayfield. Neither would've projected as a "franchise" quarterback by most general managers a few years ago. We need to draw a distinction between rethinking the system they come from, and their measurables. Mahomes' size isn't an issue, and Mayfield isn't built much differently than Drew Brees or Russell Wilson. Kyle Murray appears to be a different case. We'll find out his true measurables at the NFL Scouting Combine, but it looks like he's under 5'10" and 190 pounds. Call me old school, but I don't see how a quarterback who relies on running the ball can thrive in the NFL at that size; at least not long term.
Regardless of my skepticism, it's clear several teams view Murray as a first-round quarterback. Some team is going to draft him as the presumed starter. Which teams would be a good fit? It must be a team willing to embrace college spread principles, with an offensive line that can pull and trap to keep a mobile quarterback relatively unscathed. Everyone will assume Arizona is the best fit since new head coach Kliff Kingsbury coaches that exact system, but I'm not sure Arizona has the receivers or offensive line to give Murray a fighting chance. And they still have Josh Rosen. My skepticism for Murray leaves me hard-pressed to cite teams I see as being good landing spots for him. Wait, I do have a team that comes to mind! The Oakland Athletics.
Even if you are optimistic about Murray’s prospects, you have to acknowledge the risk factor inherent in his lack of size. If he succeeds, he will be an outlier based upon past precedent.
On the other hand, even the most pessimistic view should acknowledge that Murray is an elite athlete and was wildly productive in college. If you spend too much time looking his physical limitations and what he can’t do, it is easy to miss how special Murray is in other areas. He claims to have ruined a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and he reportedly was the fastest player on the Oklahoma roster (especially impressive considering one of his teammates was Marquise Brown, the premier speed receiver in the draft class). The speed translates to the field. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and 12 touchdowns last season on 7.2 yards per carry. For comparison’s sake, Lamar Jackson averaged 6.9 yards per carry in his best season (6.3 yards per carry in his career).
From a fantasy perspective, you should view Murray through the lens of being a high-risk/high-reward prospect. He is no sure thing but if he does hit, he should be a fantasy star. He is lightning quick and a big-time playmaker. If he is starting for an NFL team, you will want him in your fantasy lineups. I’m willing to roll the dice on his upside and he is a prime rookie draft target for me (especially in superflex leagues).
The ideal landing spot is the Giants. While the coaching staff might not be the most innovative, the potential of an offense featuring Murray, Saquon Barkley, Odell Beckham, Evan Engram, and Sterling Shepard is immense.
The quality and depth of the 2018 Rookie Running Back class are potentially the best ever. Which of the class are you trying to buy, and which are you holding or selling?
You aren’t getting a discount on Kerryon Johnson anymore, but I am still looking to buy at market value. When he was healthy last year, Detroit made him a significant part of their plan and he showed he had the ability to carry the load.
I would like to try to get Royce Freeman on the cheap. I feel like we will be more encouraged by what we see out of Freeman in year two. Phillip Lindsay’s emergence, a switch to a blocking scheme with which Freeman wasn’t comfortable, and an ankle injury made Freeman’s rookie season forgettable. Under Offensive Coordinator Rich Scangarello and Offensive Line Coach Mike Munchak, the team has already made it clear they want to go back to inside and outside zone concepts, which is a better fit for Freeman.
I would hold Ronald Jones or buy him at a very deep discount. He was slower to adjust to the game than I would like, but I doubt Tampa Bay gives up on him this quickly. When I evaluated him last year, I thought he had the potential to be an electric runner. His biggest weaknesses were body-catching and being underweight. These are two correctable issues. I am more concerned about his confidence, but there is no way to really know how he is responding to how things played out for him in year one.
I’ve never been a Rashaad Penny believer. I think he is a very average talent and the Seahawks and dynasty owners were foolish to take him so early in their respective drafts. I don’t own him anywhere. If I did, I would sell and try to package him with something else to get a Joe Mixon, a Kerryon Johnson, or someone else I liked.
Kerryon Johnson will be a name too easily forgotten for many considering how poorly the Lions fared this season, combined with Johnson's injury woes. When he was on the field, he sparked life into what became a dull and lifeless offense. There is scant competition for touches in Detroit, and Matt Patricia has stated on many occasions that he wants his team to run it early and often. Johnson, due to the overall strength of this group, could be acquired for a lot less than one might think.
Prior to the 2018 Draft, I was not the biggest fan of Seattle's Rashaad Penny, so he jumps to mind immediately as a sell candidate. Matt Waldman diagrammed Penny's struggles in Seattle's rushing attack in fine detail in his columns, explaining that at times Penny used a poor process but ended up with good results. A maturity in his style this offseason is not outside the realms of possibilities, but I would advise moving him along if you can still net a tidy 2nd round rookie pick.
Saquon Barkley is the dynasty oracle. He is the perfect profile to be *nearly* untradeable as an asset. Imagine if his situation-offensive line improves... I would be selling Sony Michel as I view him largely based on situation more than talent and trusting a Patriots back with his top-30(ish) dynasty asset valuation is a tough investment. Rashaad Penny and Royce Freeman are two of my bigger buy recommendations heading into 2019 as Penny's Round 1 NFL Draft pedigree is now offering a discount and I do not trust Chris Carson to hold Penny off for much longer. Freeman is a buy while teammates Phillip Lindsay is a sell. Lindsay enjoyed a high-level of yards before contact last year and struggled against contact, while Freeman was strong against contact and faced one of the highest rates of eight-or-more man boxes in the NFL. Freeman has a lead back profile while Lindsay is the more expensive dynasty asset this offseason. Deeper down the list, I like Jaylen Samuels, Chris Warren, and Ryan Nall as profiles with NFL lead back traits but likely needing an injury to fuel their short-term opportunity in 2019.
Rashaad Penny - This is more of a hunch than anything, but Penny has the talent to do well in this league and his cost is cheap right now.
Phillip Lindsay - Everyone is saying Lindsay will come back to earth in year two, but his talent got him to where he is. I don't see that going away.
Ronald Jones - He can't be any worse than he is right now, and Tampa doesn't have many other options (yet). We've seen players rise in their second year before - Devonta Freeman comes to mind.
Saquon Barkley - The cream of the crop at the running back position. He's young and the Giants already know how to get him involved in their offense. He's not going anywhere.
Derrius Guice - The Washington offense is in flux. They don't have a quarterback currently and Guice is coming off a major knee injury and he's yet to prove himself. Still, his value is fairly high simply from potential.
Until a rookie running back lands on an NFL team, this evaluation period is fraught with difficulties. I would rather know where he lands, in what scheme and who his competition is for playing time before I make such determinations. The difference between a second-round running back and a fourth is huge as far as opportunities for success at the position goes. What if he is drafted behind an established starter? Every year we see less credentialled backs receiving significant playing time due to the team they land on or the lack of depth at the position.
It was another bumper crop of young running backs. My top sell is Phillip Lindsay. I know he came out of literally nowhere to dominate, but there will be owners in your dynasty league willing to treat him like a fantasy starter, and you should take advantage. The Broncos coaching staff turned over, and I don't like betting on a guy Lindsay's size on a team that could be awful, with a new offensive system. On the plus side, Saquon Barkley and Sony Michel are untouchable after last season. If you have them, rejoice. If you don't, I can't imagine the price it would take to get them. Rashaad Penny has an uneven rookie season, but I remain a believer. He's a buy. On the other hand, I would sell Kerryon Johnson and Ronald Jones, if there's a market for them. Realistically, both would be best packaged with other players to acquire a single player.
This time of year is a really bad time to try to buy on rookies from the previous season. Saquon Barkley is borderline untouchable. If someone drafted Kerryon Johnson, Nick Chubb, or Sony Michel, they probably are pretty excited to see what they can do in their second season and won’t trade unless you are willing to overpay. All of the top guys in the class fall into either the hold or sell category for me at current valuations.
One of the few exceptions is Ito Smith. He flies well below the radar (15th round in a February startup) despite being the heavy favorite to be the #2 back in Atlanta next season. Tevin Coleman is a free agent the Falcons can’t afford and the coaches have talked up Smith often. He was drafted to step into Coleman’s role in 2019 and that has been a role with real fantasy value. Smith could easily be a flex-worthy play and top bye week option, like Coleman has been even when Freeman is healthy. Smith quietly had 27 receptions, which isn’t a huge number but is still solid for a rookie running back and only five fewer than Tevin Coleman’s career high. Plus, there is the built in upside of Smith being one play away from Freeman going down.
The Todd Gurley saga will be much-debated this offseason. In your opinion, was he hurt in the Super Bowl or are we seeing the beginning of the end? Where does he fit in your Top 10 overall and Top 10 at the position?
I find it laughable that we are even having a serious discussion about this. It’s very clear that Gurley was hurt. We saw him riding the exercise bike between possessions during the Super Bowl. The broadcast team noted that they saw him favoring his knee during practice. If you watched carefully, you noted he ran in a straight line and didn’t cut, which is out of character for his running style. I think people want to trust the coaching staff saying he wasn’t hurt, but to me, that was gamesmanship. They did not want New England to know Gurley was hurt and be able to scheme accordingly. Admitting it now would cause the team to lose face and potentially subject them to discipline for not disclosing the injury.
It’s one thing to be concerned about a potential problem with the knee that Gurley injured in college. It’s quite another to say that he’s “finished.” He just turned 25 for crying out loud! I know the shelf life for NFL running backs is relatively short next to other skill position players, but we should see at least another 4-5 years of production out of this very talented runner. Gurley is still my number one running back and my top overall player in dynasty rankings and that won’t change unless we find out that the knee issue is going to be a chronic problem.
Certainly, there is a sour taste left in our mouths after the way Gurley's season ended, but it would be premature and, frankly, irresponsible to simply toss him aside. The cohesiveness of the Rams offensive line plays a large role in Gurley's ability to get downhill fast; at times he isn't touched until a few yards past the line of scrimmage, an enviable platform for any back. He must have been carrying an injury in the Super Bowl to feature so infrequently, but he has plenty of tread left on the tires in a high-octane offense; keep the faith. As far as rankings, Gurley would be among my top five backs and would be around ninth or 10th in my overall rankings.
Gurley was hurt or it was one of the bigger coaching blunders in terms of player usage and personnel in recent memory. I have not moved Gurley down in my values and he has slipped from his RB2 perch in many startup drafts presenting a value this offseason.
Was he hurt in the Super Bowl? Yes, I believe that to be the case. I think the Rams knew that he was hurt worse than they were leading on, and if it weren't for C.J. Anderson, they never would've advanced as far as they did. Time and rest will help Gurley's case. I expect him to be back to normal for the 2019 season, but he has moved down a few notches in my dynasty rankings. He's a still a Top 5 back for me at this time. At age 24 he still has another three to four big years left in him.
It is irrelevant moving forward if he was injured or not. The offensive coaching staff was completely outplayed in the playoffs and Gurley was just part of the problem. What the Rams do to backup Gurley will be crucial. If we see C.J. Anderson again, then I would be very concerned as he played very well for them. If we are back to Malcolm Brown, then all is good. I have moved Gurley down to six as I have concerns about Sean McVay and Jared Goff being able to overcome good defensive coaching. No doubt they will work on this in the offseason and we will see how they match up in 2019. Gurley was on record-setting pace in 2018 until various aches and pains put an end to that. If the Rams get back on track offensively then Gurley should be a top three back.
How could he not be hurt? A player doesn't go from the most explosive, dynamic runner in the league for 1.5 seasons into someone not good enough to play over C.J. Anderson. Unless he gets offseason surgery, Gurley should absolutely remain a top-5 pick in redraft and keeper leagues. Right now, Gurley ranks fourth in my positional rankings, behind Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, and Ezekiel Elliott. He's also fourth in my overall rankings.
Gurley is the #4 overall player in my rankings and RB4. Saquon Barkley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Christian McCaffrey are each younger and feel slightly less risky than Gurley based upon how the season ended and Gurley’s injury history.
I doubt I will drop Gurley any further than that. He has been a fantasy monster the last two years. He was the fantasy RB1 in 2017 and was the RB1 by a decent margin after 15 weeks. He should be the same guy in the same offense moving forward and he’s only 24-years old.
It is hard for me to believe Gurley was 100% in the playoffs. Whether it was knee pain slowing him down or he was just slightly out of shape due to missing a few weeks of practice, we may never know. However, we have a big enough sample size to know what Gurley is capable of.
The early offseason is the best time to buy under-the-radar prospects and sell overvalued players. Who are some players - and why - that fit into each category?
I feel Derrius Guice is an afterthought right now and should be bought everywhere. There was a definite plan to feature him last year, but the preseason injury derailed it. Now with Alex Smith’s injury situation, the team will need to count on Guice to generate some semblance of offense.
Mike Williams is being criminally undervalued considering Tyrell Williams is about to leave in free agency. We saw flashes of dominance last year and I feel that, for whatever reason, it was largely ignored by fantasy players. Remember, Williams was a top-ten pick, and these guys always get their shot eventually. Even if he’s opposite of Keenan Allen, that offense is potent enough for both to produce.
I think it would be ideal to see where LeVeon Bell lands and sell him immediately when he finds his landing spot. This will likely be his peak value point for the next several years. Bell is talented, but the Steelers were an ideal fit for him. Very few places feature their runners and Bell was fortunate to enjoy several years in a system that utilized him almost exclusively. I don’t see another team with a need at running back that will give him that kind of treatment.
I like Baker Mayfield, but I would sell him if I could net top assets at other skill positions in one quarterback formats. He’s being valued as a top-five quarterback asset by a large portion of the dynasty community, and he’s just not going to produce like a Pat Mahomes or Aaron Rodgers to justify that price point.
I think you have to be proactive in trying to acquire players you believe in who perhaps had a negative finish to the season. The dynasty public can have a short memory; take advantage of that.
My buy candidates include:
QB Lamar Jackson: Rushing upside plus he is bound to improve as a passer in year two. A disappointing finish that had the football world watching could open a window of opportunity.
WR Michael Gallup: Entering his second year after a rookie season where he flashed his potential. I was a big fan of his entering the 2018 Draft.
TE Ian Thomas: A tight end few casual fans would be aware of, rookie Ian Thomas showed well for Carolina despite their putrid finish to the season. Turn on the tape against Cleveland and you will see a middle of the field threat capable of snagging awkward targets (which Cam Newton is famous for) and creating yards after the catch.
As for overvalued players, here are some assets I would be actively shopping:
QB Nick Foles: You are unlikely to have people snapping at your heels for his services, but you never know. Things could go downhill fast for Foles, who seems destined to land in the sunny climes of Jacksonville.
RB Damien Williams: Will he ever have a higher value than this? You take the risk of missing out on future production, but what is stopping the Chiefs from reloading at running back this offseason?
WR John Brown: This depends how you feel about Lamar Jackson. My gut tells me the Ravens will maintain a run-first offense where pass attempts - especially downfield shots - come at a premium. Brown needs that to reach his value, and his age profile suggests the end is nigh anyway.
TE Greg Olsen: Much as it pains me to say so, I think Olsen may even retire before the start of next season. He has dabbled in color commentary duty and seems to be constantly rehabbing. Cam Newton's safety blanket may not be around much longer.
In terms of buy recommendations, the older veteran quarterbacks stand out at their position with Tom Brady, Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and even Matt Ryan come to mind. Youth is all the rage in the offseason but until September the veterans can sag behind in appeal...until the fantasy points begin to count in lineups.
At running back, Leonard Fournette's top-5 NFL Draft pedigree offers value this offseason as many are assuming, he is on a bust track. Durability is a question mark, but Fournette's profile was one of the biggest busts if his best to-date was the greatest return dynasty GMs receive. I would bet on historical probability and, for the record, Fournette's metric profile is worlds better than Trent Richardson.
At wide receiver, I am bullish on Amari Cooper to rise back near the top-5 of the position in dynasty rankings by the end of the year with a free run of targets in Dallas. On the flip side, I would fade receivers like Tyler Lockett (outlier touchdown rate and efficiency in 2018), Demaryius Thomas (think he is physically done), and Kenny Golladay (doubt he emerges as a true lead NFL receiver and Detroit adds weapons).
Devonta Freeman - With Tevin Coleman expected to be signed elsewhere in 2019, Freeman becomes the #1 back in Atlanta. There's a concern for concussions with Freeman, but he's a hard worker with a chip on his shoulder. The 2019 season is many ways a chance for him to return from injury and prove his worth.
Chris Herndon - Chris Herndon had some good moments in his rookie season of 2018 and finished in the Top 15 among fantasy tight ends. He's only going to go up from here and could find himself in the Top 10 for 2019.
Chris Godwin - The Buccaneers offense was already one of the better offenses in the league in 2018. The addition of Bruce Arians should keep that a strong focus.
Adam Humphries - In a year where there's not a lot of blue-chip free agent wide receivers, Humphries is someone who can be a big piece to a team in need.
Keke Coutee - We saw glimpses of Coutee's greatness in 2018. He was definitely part of the Texans plans when healthy. He should be healthy in 2019 in a bigger role.
Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis, and Richie James - All three 49ers receivers should be on your radar with Jimmy Garoppolo coming back. It's possible that San Francisco lands Antonio Brown in the offseason and that doesn't change things regarding this trio. All three have potential. I rank them Goodwin, Pettis, then James.
Golden Tate - Golden Tate's best years are behind him during his time in Detroit? He still has some value - watch him sign with the Jets and be reunited with Jim Bob Cooter. However, the likelihood that he has one, let alone four straight 90-catch years seems far-fetched.
Free Agency, the Draft, changes in coaching staff provide too many variables at this stage. I would be looking for younger wide receivers and tight ends, particularly in their second or third seasons who have been nurtured by a team that isn’t renovating in the offseason. At tight end, I would be looking at Jonnu Smith who has shown glimpses of elite talent mixed in with clear inexperience. At wide receiver, Dante Pettis, Anthony Miller and James Washington tick all the boxes for me moving forward.
Injuries are a fantastic source of dynasty arbitrage, as team managers have short memories. Hunter Henry's discount window closed a bit after he was healthy enough potentially play in the playoffs, but he's still not properly valued. Henry should be valued in the same range as George Kittle and Zach Ertz. A deeper fantasy asset worth targeting is Marqise Lee. The Jaguars signed Lee to a big extension last offseason, and he was going to be the team's No. 1 wide receiver before tearing his ACL. With Jacksonville prioritizing a quarterback upgrade, Lee is the ideal under-the-radar player to grab. I've been able to acquire him as a "throw in" on a few trades, when in fact he could end up a top-20 player at his position if the dominoes fall the right way.
Under-the-radar guys at this time of year fall into two categories for me: young players capable of stepping into bigger roles and veteran free agents who could see a big value after changing teams.
Ito Smith, Robert Foster and Christian Kirk are three young player who I am currently targeting. Smith is the only 2018 rookie back with starting potential who is available later in drafts. Foster flashed in a big way late in the season (three 100-yard receiving games in the second half) and has a shot at being Buffalo’s WR1 moving forward. Plus, he is very cheap to buy in dynasty. Kirk is a bit more expensive, but he could be a prime beneficiary if Kliff Kingsbury’s Air Raid offense transitions well to the NFL.
As far as veterans go, Tyler Eifert and Tyrell Williams are two who have some hidden upside that is not priced into their dynasty values at the moment. Eifert is essentially free at this point and being drafted outside the top 20 rounds (even in TE-Premium leagues). It is understandable. After a massive breakout season in 2015, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy. However, he is healthy now and an unrestricted free agent. If he ends up in New England, New Orleans or Green Bay, he becomes extremely interesting again and is still just 28-years old. Williams is unlikely to stay with the Chargers and has a good shot at landing a surprisingly big contract with a team who views him as a WR1 or WR2.
In terms of overvalued, this is the time of year when optimism reigns when it comes to young players and some players get valued very close to their respective ceilings. Corey Davis is a player who fits into that category for me. He is being drafted ahead of slightly older players like Robert Woods and T.Y. Hilton on the expectation that he will have a breakout season. He might but it is no guarantee and I doubt I would feel great about having him in my starting fantasy lineup Week 1 compared to Hilton or Woods. Evan Engram is in a similar boat. He is being drafted as a Top-5 tight end ahead of Hunter Henry despite being older. This is despite being a complete afterthought in the offense when Odell Beckham was healthy. He will be, at best, the third option as long as Beckham and Barkley are dominating the touches.