Football is in the air. The Combine is kicking off and free agency is right around the corner. Draft season is in full swing and that means activity in your Fantasy Football dynasty league should be picking up as well. This is an important time of year and you must keep your finger on the pulse of player values. Next week, we’ll have a post-Combine stock watch full of NFL Draft prospects, and then a very special edition of The Playlist the following week. Until then, enjoy David Johnson’s soaring stock and other fluctuations.
The River by Bruce Springsteen
Philip Rivers (QB, Chargers) – “That night we went down to the river. And into the river we’d dive. Oh down to the river we did ride.” Rivers is the type of QB that does not get enough love in Dynasty formats. We have seen what his ceiling is, and while not elite, he certainly is perennial Top 12 caliber regardless of the weapons around him. Even at 34 years old, Rivers could have a handful of useful seasons remaining. With the expectation that Melvin Gordon will take a step forward in 2016, and the return of a healthy Keenan Allen, the Chargers have a nice nucleus to build around. Adding a couple more pieces via the draft and free agency will only help Rivers’ value. If you have a developmental or disappointing QB, perhaps you can go out and acquire him for less than similarly productive options this offseason.
How We Roll by Canibus
Tom Savage (QB, Texans) – “We savages, snatching microphones from amateurs. Cause like women who get abortions, I ain’t having it. I rip you.” Will Savage take an opportunity to become the Texans starter and run with it? He certainly looks the part of an NFL QB. That is part of what got him drafted – perceived physical upside. His collegiate play was spotty at best, however, and he has a lot to prove heading into his third season. The Texans could make an aggressive move to land one of the top three QBs in this year’s draft. If they are not able to land Carson Wentz, Paxton Lynch or Jared Goff, however, Savage has as good a shot as anyone to be the Week 1 starter. Still, Houston could bring in a free agent or make a trade for a veteran. Basically, Savage is going to need to be on his game because he is going to face competition. In two-QB formats and very deep dynasty leagues, he is worth squirreling away on your roster.
Criminal by Fiona Apple
Joseph Randle (RB, Free Agent) – “Heaven help me for the way I am. Save me from these evil deeds. Before I get them done. I know tomorrow brings the consequence. At hand. But I keep livin’ this day like. The next will never come.” Wasted talent is unfortunate, especially when you have to watch it unravel before your eyes. A year ago, Randle was being talked up as a huge Fantasy sleeper with the ability to be an RB2 for the Cowboys in 2015. While he got off to a decent start (including a three TD game in Week 3), things quickly went sideways. He got hurt, then had to work out some personal issues and was ultimately released in the first week of November. He was suspended shortly thereafter for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He has since run into more trouble with the law and may be a long shot to ever take another NFL carry. He is a wasted roster spot on your dynasty bench at this point.
Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode
David Johnson (RB, Cardinals) – “Your own personal Jesus. Someone to hear your prayers. Someone who’s there.” Could it get any better for Johnson right now? Bruce Arians is praising him left and right, saying he could be one of the all-time greats. After a strong finish to the season, it looks as if he is on the precipice of an enormous breakout. He is a dual-threat back that can function admirably on all three downs and one that should be able to handle a full workload. Sure, maybe Chris Johnson re-signs and mixes in a handful of touches each week. That is only going to keep him fresh. No back handles 100-percent of the work in today’s NFL. If you are sitting on this future goldmine, are you at least a little curious as to what you could get on the open market in your dynasty league? You should be, and shopping him around to the teams that have premium young WR inventory is not the worst move you can make right now. While it is tough to find a stud RB these days, partly because the life cycles are so short, you could land a huge payday in return. Only move him for a bounty.
White Walls by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis featuring Schoolboy Q
Kevin White (WR, Bears) – “I got that off-black Cadillac, midnight drive. Got that gas pedal, lean back, taking my time. I’m rollin’ out, roof off, letting in sky. I’m sure the city never looked so bright.” White was all the rage in Dynasty rookie drafts last summer after Amari Cooper and Todd Gurley went off the board. Unfortunately, a shin injury kept him out for the entire season. On the bright side, with many league mates focused on the new shiny toys (current NFL prospects), you might be able to get White for less than you could’ve last summer. He has the size, speed and athleticism to be a dominant receiver. Starting his career off opposite Alshon Jeffery (most likely) will be a huge bonus. They could be an unstoppable tandem similar to Jeffery and Brandon Marshall a few years ago. The time is now to make a move on White, as his value will only continue to creep back up with every positive report on his health.
Work It Out by Hannah Williams and the Tastemakers
Jordy Nelson (WR, Packers) “Music stops and the world keeps spinning round. I favor you and I should work it out. Wish we could work it out.” Nelson is working his way back from a torn ACL. The star receiver will be 31 years old in May, but appears to be ahead of schedule and should be ready for the start of the season. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers clearly missed his presence last season, as the entire offense looked disjointed. Nelson could provide another couple of seasons of Top 25 production, and that has plenty of value to contending franchises. As long as the positive reports continue, Nelson is another player to shop this summer. His return also boosts the value of Randall Cobb, Rodgers and the running game. It is not great news for Davante Adams, who failed during his season-long audition last year. Jeff Janis could force Adams into a fourth receiver role with a strong summer.
Hey Ya by Outkast
Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener (TE, Colts) – “You think you’ve got it. Oh, you think you’ve got it. But got it just don’t get it when there’s nothin’ at all. We get together. Oh, we get together. But separate’s always better when there’s feelings involved.” We are grouping these two free agent TEs together because that is the way it should be. The Colts drafted both back in 2012 and now both are scheduled to hit the open market. Allen is a plodding receiver with red zone upside and a strong blocking acumen. Fleener is the opposite in many ways. He is able to make plays with the ball in his hands, but brings almost no value as a blocker. With many teams in need of a tight end, it would not be a surprise if both players left town and signed elsewhere. Fleener has more Fantasy upside and if he either stays with the Colts or lands somewhere like Atlanta, he could flirt with TE1 value. Allen will have his fair share of suitors as well, but his stats are going to be touchdown-reliant. Might as well hold tight after the forgettable year they just had. Both will have an up arrow next to their name in a couple months; where they land will determine how high they can ascend.