With the Super Bowl out of the way, dynasty Fantasy Football owners can focus on what really matters – free agency and the NFL Draft. For a re-drafter, the offseason is a nice day at the beach. You read up on a few players, you sip your tropical drink and then you take a nap. The offseason for dynasty owners is just like another day at the office. You need to be working around the clock with no days off in order to be successful. Keeping tabs on free agents and their potential landing spots, identifying trade targets and gathering information on draft prospects does not leave much time for a nap. Just turn on The Playlist and power through the offseason.
Rehab by Amy Winehouse featuring Jay-Z Johnny Manziel (QB, Browns) – “They tried to make me go to rehab I said, “no, no, no.” Yes, I been black. But when I come back, you’ll know, know, know.” Unfortunately, the situation with Johnny Football is turning more serious and concerning by the day. What could have been dismissed last season as a young player with the world at his fingertips making some immature decisions has devolved into a much more troubling real life situation. Manziel has not showed much on the field in his limited NFL action, but prior to his most recent meltdown, I thought he at least would get another shot being young and athletically gifted. At this point, though, he is radioactive and clearly needs help way beyond improving his accuracy and decision-making. It would be a surprise if Manziel was on an active roster in 2016.
Could Have Been You by Joss Stone Colin Kaepernick (QB, 49ers) – “No gain, only pain. My heart can’t take the strain. I can’t sit on the shelf. I’ll give my love to someone else.” Kaepernick flashed elite skills that had dynasty owners drooling in his debut. In the seasons that followed, he has been a disappointment of varying degrees. It is not that he was bad by any means, but he did not progress as a passer. Perhaps the Niners were playing conservative with his rushing attempts in order to keep him healthy. Without the threat to take off on every play, Kaepernick was not as dangerous a weapon. That is what made him so effective during the 2012 run. After an inconsistent start to the 2015 season, Kaepernick was shelved with an injured shoulder. With Chip Kelly being hired by San Francisco as their head coach, optimism began to swirl once again. That has quickly been deadened by recent rumors of Kaepernick still wanting out and even suggesting he wants to go to the Jets. A fresh start in a different city might be the best-case scenario at this point. He has the talent to bounce back in the right system.
Fantasy By Earth, Wind and Fire Thomas Rawls (RB, Seahawks) – “Every man has a place, in his heart there’s a space, And the world can’t erase his fantasies. Take a ride in the sky, on our ship fantasia. All your dreams will come true, right away.” With Marshawn Lynch hanging up his cleats, Rawls owners are on cloud nine. The Central Michigan product was very impressive as a rookie, racking up over 900 total yards and five TDs. With Lynch hurt for much of the season, the Seahawks got a glimpse of what Rawls could do. If only he had stayed healthy for the entire season. It is an excellent situation for a young RB to be in, playing behind one of the best QBs in the game in Russell Wilson. His value may never be higher with the retirement news, and I would be shopping him around to see if anyone would overpay. While he looked great, Seattle could very well bring in another back to compete with him. Or maybe, just maybe, two hyped dynasty prospects in Christine Michael and Bryce Brown will give him a run for his money. Hey, a guy can dream right?
The Real Slim Shady by Eminem LeSean McCoy (RB, Bills) – “So will the real Shady, please stand up And put one of those fingers on each hand up. And to be proud to be outta your mind and outta control. And one more time, loud as you can, how does it go?” McCoy is coming off of a very solid season in Buffalo, where he registered at least 87 total yards in 10 of 12 games, including eight in which he went over the century mark. His problem has been finding the end zone with regularity. Since his monster 2011 season when he scored 20 TDs, he has scored five times in three different seasons. The presence of Karlos Williams is not going to help McCoy’s situation much. He has a larger, off the field issue at the moment that may require some trips to a Philadelphia courthouse. McCoy will be 28 years old this season and still can be an RB1 option in Fantasy. The only way I feel comfortable rostering him, though, is if I can get Williams as well – especially given the legal troubles.
Go Your Own Way by Fleetwood Mac Calvin Johnson (WR, Lions) – “You can go your own way. Go your own way. You can call it another lonely day. You can go your own way. Go your own way.” Is Megatron going to walk away from the game? That is still not 100 percent clear, and even if he announces his retirement in the near future, there is always the chance he gets the itch in August. Dynasty owners are in a tough spot. You do not want to sell him for anything you can get because of the possibility that he plays in 2016. While his skills may be declining, Johnson still can be a WR2 on volume alone. If you don’t own him, you may want to try throwing out a low-ball trade offer, something like a 3rd round rookie pick. With a less than stellar free agent WR class, the Lions may need to draft one early. This is going to hurt Matthew Stafford’s stock as well, just when he was starting to put things together. He can survive without Johnson, but he will need more than Golden Tate and Theo Riddick catching passes to be a QB1. Even if Johnson retires, keep him rostered in your dynasty league for the entire season if you can.
King Back by T.I. Josh Gordon (WR, Browns) “Competition, you ain’t considered; you rapping, you bore me You reppin the A horribly. Must I say more importantly. The king back!” Gordon may be the riskiest player to own in a dynasty format. We all know that the elite potential is there. After all, Gordon led the NFL in receiving yards as a 22-year-old. Still, he cannot seem to keep himself out of trouble, being suspended by the NFL multiple times including the entire 2015 season. With the possibility of reinstatement right around the corner, you may have missed your window to buy on Gordon for a bargain price. The time to do that was during last season. I am always willing to gamble on talent and that is why I will own Gordon in as many leagues as possible. If you can get a discount on his services by talking up the threat of another ban, more power to you.
You Rock My World by Michael Jackson Travis Kelce (TE, Chiefs) – “I cannot explain the things I feel for you. But girl, you know it’s true. Stay with me, fulfill my dreams. And I’ll be all you’ll need.” It has been a pretty good offseason so far for Kelce. First, it was announced that he would star in an upcoming reality dating show. Then, after Zach Ertz got paid this offseason, it was only a matter of time before the Chiefs locked him up with a big extension. Because of the offense he plays in and the QB he plays with, we have yet to see the best of what Kelce has to offer. That is good news if you want to trade for him, but it is still going to cost you because his potential is no secret. Often compared to an upper-middle class Rob Gronkowski, Kelce is a game-changing talent entering his prime. He has a slight edge on Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert for the number two overall dynasty tight end spot.
The Night Is Still Young by Nicki Minaj Eric Ebron (TE, Lions) – “The night is still young. The night is still young. The night is still young. And so are we.” Regardless of whether or not Calvin Johnson actually retires, Ebron will be counted on to have a large role for the Lions in 2016. He definitely made improvements after a rookie season in which he looked lost. Still, his head did not always seem into the game and drops plagued what could have been a mini-breakout last year. The raw talent is there for Ebron to become a TE1, and whenever Johnson retires the volume should be there as well. He can be a playmaker in the mold of a young Vernon Davis, though not quite as much of an athletic freak. It is still a good time to buy on Ebron if the price is reasonable. The Johnson retirement talk may have artificially inflated the asking price already, though.