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Matt Ball | Archive | Email | Follow me on Twitter
Staff Writer


Dynasty Dashboard
Week 13
11/30/12

Highlighting a few key risers and fallers, the Dynasty Dashboard assists in keeping you on top of player valuation changes as they are developing. Further, a deep sleeper or largely overlooked player worthy of consideration for a spot on your roster will also be identified each week. Keep an eye on the dashboard and drive your team toward dynasty league success.

Accelerating

Dez Bryant

Risky Business: Bryant's upside is worth the baggage.

Dez Bryant - The bulk of us are probably well aware of Dez Bryantís character concerns at this point. I could go on for a few paragraphs and detail all of it, including his recent little on-field spat with DeAngelo Hall, but it wouldnít accomplish much. This stuff is public knowledge and it either will steer you away from the young WR or it wonít. That is a decision for each of us to make individually. But assuming you have not written Bryant off all together for some of the aforementioned character issues, you have to be thoroughly impressed with the eye-popping numbers he has been producing in the last five weeks.

From Week 8 through Week 12, Bryant registered 29 catches for 502 yards and 4 TDs. Putting these numbers in fantasy context, he has scored more fantasy points during this span than all but 1 WR, Calvin Johnson. It appears as though Bryant is finally realizing his full potential and putting everything together in Dallas. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the two seasons prior, but things are now clicking for him mentally and physically this year and we are seeing the results consistently displayed in on the field as well as in the stats sheets.

I believe that he has transitioned into low-end WR1 status in typical dynasty leagues and he could move even higher. There is some risk associated with Bryant, yet his upside is so alluring that I tend to be quite forgiving, as are many fantasy owners in cases such as these. Admittedly, the thought of Bryant as one of the primary building blocks for my teamís long-term success is a bit scary, but as they say, ďNothing ventured, nothing gained.Ē You have to take some calculated risk in fantasy football, and when looking at Bryant, you need to determine if the upside is enough to warrant all of the baggage that comes along for the ride on your squad.

Andy Dalton - Using FFTodayís standard scoring, Andy Dalton is currently 10th in total points at the QB position. Raise your hand if you projected this level of production from Cincinnatiís QB in the preseason. Anyone? Anyone? Well, if your hand is raised, I congratulate you as one of the select few in that camp. Most people had him penciled in for a soundly mediocre campaign, at least as it pertains to fantasy production.

Since entering the league, Dalton has received a lot of credit for his intelligence and feel for the game, but he repeatedly gets raked over the coals for what most perceive as a weak arm. Sure, he doesnít have a laser-rocket arm, yet he has the majority of the other attributes that you would look for in a QB and leader of the offense. And while a big arm can be a valuable tool for a quarterback, it is often an overrated attribute. Ryan Leaf and JaMarcus Russell each had a cannon for an arm, but neither amounted to much in the league.

Dalton benefits not only from an underrated skillset, but also from a relatively favorable situation in Cincinnati, that many, including me, prematurely discounted. The team lacks a difference maker in the backfield, but benefits from a truly elite top receiver, a better-than-average TE and some emerging youth at the other WR spots. Dalton has already posted 5 games this season with 3 or more passing TDs and it looks like this trend could continue into the foreseeable future. While I wouldnít feel comfortable handing him the reigns as my dynasty teamís undisputed QB1, he is now a high-end QB2 and would make a very solid contributor in a QBBC. Donít let the lack of a big arm steer you away from Dalton. He is a talented, young QB that is in a nice situation to put up big numbers.

Downshifting

Brandon Lloyd - In 2010, at the age of 29, Brandon Lloyd posted his first, and so far, only, 1,000-yard season. He erupted for 1,448 receiving yards and 11 TDs in his eighth season in the league. He and Kyle Orton had a great chemistry with one another in Denver and both put up big numbers in 2010. That season was clearly a career year for Lloyd and it looked like he finally developed into a consistent playmaker after showing only brief glimpses of brilliance during his previous stays in San Francisco and Chicago. Unfortunately, the last couple of seasons havenít worked out in an ideal manner for Lloyd, or his fantasy owners.

After being traded to the Rams mid-season last year and performing reasonably well in his short time there, Lloyd then made his way to New England via free agency this year. There was a lot of optimism among analysts that Lloyd could provide the Patriots with the deep threat that had sorely lost since the departure of Randy Moss. Plus, Lloyd and newly hired New England offensive coordinator, Josh McDaniel, had a proven track record of excellence working with one another, due to their time together in Denver. And with Tom Brady chucking him the rock, Lloydís second 1,000 yard season seemed not only attainable this season, it seemed quite likely to many. The situation in New England may not have been perfect, but it was awfully good for the veteran WR.

Despite the hoopla and high expectations, Lloyd has been eerily quiet this year. He hasnít been a ghost this season, yet aside from a couple of TDs, heís been so far off of the fantasy radar that he has lost much of the relevance he had only a short time ago. With only 551 yards and 3 TDs in 11 games played, he is 48th among WRs in total fantasy points scored this season (using FFToday standard scoring). His lackluster production may be a result of his relatively advanced age, now 31 years old, or perhaps the teamís wealth of talent in the receiving corps coupled with its increased utilization of the ground game. Regardless of the exact reason(s), itís hard to be excited about Lloyd going forward. He is currently experiencing a precipitous fall down my rankings board.

Christian Ponder - After a rookie season in which he had some good moments and some very shaky moments, Christian Ponder started off this year brilliantly. In the first three games of the season he threw for a total of 713 yards along with 4 TDs and no INTs, completing an impressive 70% of his passes. He also ran for 41 yards and had one TD on the ground. Ponderís strong play was critical in getting the Vikings off to a quick start this season. The savvy and toughness he displayed in a huge Week 3 win over San Francisco was very impressive. It looked as though the game had slowed down for the young QB and that he had turned the corner on his career. Sadly, in the last month or two, things have taken a turn for the worse for Ponder and the Vikings aerial assault.

In the last five weeks, Ponder has averaged 173.5 passing yards with 1.0 TDs and 0.8 INTs per game. This puts him at 28th in fantasy points per game at QB during that stretch (using FFToday standard scoring). The absence of Percy Harvin has had a profoundly negative impact on the teamís offense, but Ponder still must shoulder a significant amount of the blame for the ineffectiveness of the passing game. He simply hasnít made the plays that his team has needed from him with his star receiver out. While it looked like he could develop into more of a fantasy factor during the first month of the season, I now have significant doubts that he will ever be much more than a fantasy backup. At this point, I think he is a low-end QB2 at best.

Spotted in the High Beams

Jarius Wright - In the past three weeks, Jarius Wright has made two small blips on the fantasy radar. In Week 10, he put up 65 receiving yards and a TD on 3 grabs versus the Lions. Then this past week, Wright registered 49 yards on 7 grabs against the Bears. Clearly, the rookie out of Arkansas has benefited from the absence of stud WR, Percy Harvin. However, it is encouraging that he has been productive when given the opportunity. And when you consider the previously mentioned struggles of the Vikings passing attack in the last month or so, Wright’s play stands out even more.

Wright is a small WR, but has good speed and quickness. His hands are reportedly a bit inconsistent, yet are not problematic. Wright is probably best suited to play in the slot and across the middle instead of on the outside, although, with his speed, he can probably make plays in a variety of ways for the Vikes. Wright’s skill set may actually have some overlap with that of Harvin, yet it shouldn’t be difficult for the team to find ways to utilize each of them, should they decide that Wright is part of their long-term plans. In my view, we have not yet seen enough out of the rookie wideout to get truly excited about his prospects in the NFL, yet there is enough game tape to know that Wright has a legitimate chance to develop into a playmaker at the pro level.