With the 2014 Fantasy Football season in the books, keeper and dynasty owners are turning their efforts towards the 2015 NFL Draft, and of course, the offseason trade market. The spring and summer months are arguably the most exciting time in a long-term league. You should be looking at which players will build off of their 2014 performances and who will take a step backwards. Contenders are made in the offseason with a series of savvy trades and quality rookie draft selections. The Stock Watch will be with you every step of the way, continuing to monitor player values all offseason. This week, we start with one player from each of the Wild Card Weekend teams.
Andrew Luck, Colts QB
After flashes of brilliance during his first two seasons, Andrew Luck had his massive breakthrough in 2014. The best part for Luck’s dynasty owners is that he has more room to grow. With one of the game’s best playmakers in T.Y. Hilton and an emerging beast in Donte Moncrief, the future looks even brighter. Any sense of a reliable running game would also aid in diversifying the Colts offense. In addition to his prototypical skills as a passing QB, Luck brings a threat to tuck and run that is just dangerous enough to keep defenses in check. That running ability has lead to 12 rushing TDs over his first three seasons. Be prepared to pay through the nose for his services in a long-term format. The only hope you might have in acquiring him is if his current owner was burned by his Week 16 dud, but even that would give you a very slim chance. He heads into the offseason as the number one dynasty QB in the game, perched above Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson.
Jonathan Stewart, Panthers RB
The upside has always been there with Jonathan Stewart, but injuries and the presence of DeAngelo Williams have made him a frustrating dynasty player over the past four seasons. In December, we were again reminded of what a healthy Stewart could do as the lead back in the Panthers offense. Williams will be 32 years old this offseason and has seen his play and ability to stay healthy slip in recent seasons. Stewart could have sneaky RB2 value next season if he can manage to get the lion’s share of the backfield carries. In a volatile running back market, Stewart’s obvious talent makes him a recommended buy.
Michael Floyd, Cardinals WR
It was a tough season for Michael Floyd, who many expected to take another step forward and become a legitimate WR1 this year. Instead, he became a free agent in many leagues after a brutal stretch of unproductive games in the middle of the season. Floyd did flash that upside during Week 17’s matchup versus the Niners, with eight grabs for 153 yards and two TDs. That was easily his best performance of the year and a reminder that Floyd can be a Fantasy force if utilized properly. With Larry Fitzgerald’s uncertain Arizona future, Floyd has a real opportunity to bounce back in 2015. If he can be had at a discounted rate this offseason in your keeper or dynasty league, grab him. While he may never be truly elite, he profiles as a rock solid WR2 for years to come.
Eric Ebron, Lions TE
Not much went right for Eric Ebron during his rookie campaign. The 10th overall pick last April had an ineffective 25 grabs for 248 yards and a TD for the Lions. No rookie TE is ever expected to instantly become a TE1, but Ebron did not even provide any flashes to get excited about. So, how exactly can his value be on the rise? Primarily because his stock has taken such a hit that he is now a buy low candidate in dynasty formats. Ebron has the athletic ability and talent to develop into a Top 5 TE, but it may take a few years for him to mature and adjust to the speed of the game. He is not able to get by on pure talent at this level. That is a lesson the player he often was compared to, Vernon Davis, took four seasons to learn. Expect improvement from Ebron this summer and a potential major leap in production in 2015.
Andy Dalton, Bengals QB
Living off of volume, Andy Dalton turned himself into a Top 10 Fantasy QB in 2013 with almost 4,300 passing yards and 34 total TDs. That was Fantasy fools gold, as his production fell off the table this season. Even with the best RB duo in the game and one of the best WRs, it is hard to be excited about Dalton in dynasty. He should remain at the helm of the Bengals offense for the next few seasons, but that speaks more to a lack of talent at the position rather than to his potential. The problem is that there is likely no market for his services in your league, unless it is very deep or of the 2QB variety (highly recommended by the way). Dalton is a backend QB2 option because of A.J. Green, but nothing more than that.
Justin Forsett, Ravens RB
If Justin Forsett were not 29 years old already, it would be easy to be more excited about his prospects moving forward. The waiver wire darling for 2014 had an unbelievably impressive year, with over 1,500 total yards and eight TDs. In fact, he had only nine TDs in his previous six seasons combined. The only reason not to immediately sell Forsett is the potential return. Any shrewd owner realizes his season screams of a one-hit wonder. That is not to take anything away from the talent that he possesses, just that it was a situation that is not likely to repeat itself. What he did do was earn himself a nice contract as a change of pace runner this spring. He is clearly a strong fit with the Ravens and it would not surprise if he is back there. It would also not surprise if Lorenzo Taliaferro or another back not currently on the roster emerges ahead of Forsett in 2015. Buyer beware.
Terrance Williams, Cowboys WR
Midway through October, it was looking to be a breakout season for Terrance Williams. A quick look at the box scores would tell you that Williams’ value was hinging on an unsustainable TD production. He did not top 77 yards all season and his overall numbers regressed from his rookie year with the exception of 3 more TDs. A lack of consistent targets (only 64 all season) hurt him, as Dez Bryant, a strong running attack and even a running in slow motion Jason Witten helped relegate him to the Fantasy bench. Williams is not ever going to develop into a true go-to receiver, but he has shown flashes of being a playmaking boom or bust option. An uptick in targets could even lead to WR2 status for Williams. There is plenty of untapped potential here for dynasty owners, but it could be another inconsistent year in 2015. If you buy into him this offseason, remember to stay patient.
Heath Miller, Steelers TE
A 66 catch, 761-yard campaign is about all you can ask for from a TE, especially this season. If not for the fact that Heath Miller is 32 years old and only scored three TDs last season, you would likely be more optimistic about the future. As it is, Miller is a sure-handed chain mover in a volume offense. He had a nice final line, but overall it was an inconsistent and uninspiring season. Given his age and decreasing skills, there is not much in the way of upside left with Miller. Could he finish as a Top 10 option in 2015? Absolutely, but it would most likely be similar to what we saw this year. If you can find someone to take the reliable veteran off of your hands this offseason, do it. There are handfuls of other TEs with more upside for 2015 and beyond. At the very least, keep Miller and back him up with a high ceiling developmental player such as Ladarius Green or Austin Seferian-Jenkins.