Fantasy Football Today - fantasy football rankings, cheatsheets, and information
A Fantasy Football Community

Create An Account  |  Advertise  |  Contact      

Staff Writer
Email Sal

Sal's Articles

An Eye On The Future: Pt. 4
Dynasty League Updates

This space will be a semi-regular feature at FF Today and will look to explore, speculate, and keep people interested in up and comers in the NFL who may be or may not be well known in dynasty league circles. I’m not guaranteeing anyone to become the next star, but merely helping the reader to keep abreast of developments that could affect your dynasty league rosters this season and beyond and perhaps even help you discover unknowns who could become known quantities down the road.

The Passers

A number of “young-gun” QBs have finally been unleashed and for the most part they haven’t played all that bad while learning the ropes.

  • Kellen Clemens did what he needed to do to lead the New York Jets to a surprising come from behind victory over the tough Pittsburgh Steelers by completing 14 of 31 passes for 162 yards and a TD. He also rushed for 15 yards on his one scramble.

  • Brodie Croyle kept his team in the game against the world champion Colts and tossed a nice TD pass to rookie WR Dwayne Bowe.

  • While John Beck looked over-matched in a hostile setting against the blitz happy Philadelphia Eagles, at least he managed to gain some valuable experience.

  • Will a JaMarcus Russell sighting be coming soon?

David GarrardDavid Garrard might just be one of the most efficient QBs playing in the NFL and may be as valuable to his team as star QBs Manning and Brady are to theirs - albeit in a much more low-key manner. His statistics are not eye-popping, but he has managed to toss 8 TDs against 0 interceptions in his 7 starts and can gain valuable yardage with his legs when the play breaks down. He may never be among the elite fantasy QBs, but his consistent production and low turnovers make him a valuable spot starter/backup QB that will not hurt your team. If the Jaguars ever decide to open up their offense a little he could develop into a legit fantasy starter. He may only cost a waiver wire pickup in some leagues and adding him may afford an owner the flexibility to trade away a bigger name QB for help at other positions.

Another QB that is under the radar in fantasy circles, but should be on your dynasty radar is Jason Campbell of the Washington Redskins. I was impressed by his poise and ability to make all the throws as a first year starter in 2006, but recently he is starting to show more than just poise; he’s showing the ability to carry a team. He has thrown for 563 yards and five TDs during the last two weeks, and that’s with only one true threat at wide receiver – unless you happen to dig guys like Antwaan Randle El, Brandon Llyod, James Thrash and Keenan McCardell. There’s been a lot of speculation that Joe Gibbs will be finished in Washington after this season one way or another and with the current cap mess the Skins are burdened with it will be hard to attract a big name coach like Bill Cower to replace the legend. As such, the job will likely go to one of the high priced coordinators currently in DC – Al Saunders or Greg Williams. My guess is that Saunders would love to open up the passing game and take advantage of the former first round pick’s big arm when the conservative Gibbs is put out to pasture. If you can buy Campbell “low” before other owner’s really start to catch on, it could turn out to be a very prudent move for your dynasty team.

The Runners

Reports out of Houston are that the Texans will start working RB Darius Walker into the team's offense once he gets officially promoted from the practice squad. While the buzz swirls around Ryan Grant in the fantasy community, it is interesting to note that Walker replaced and subsequently held off Grant in the starting lineup at Notre Dame, despite a successful sophomore season from Grant in South Bend. The pre-draft chatter about Walker centered on how he was good at every aspect of the running back position but did not really excel at anything. Interestingly, the same was also said about Joseph Addai when he was drafted by the Colts. With Ahman Green’s career in jeopardy and Ron Dayne looking like nothing more than a solid backup, Walker and Adimchinobe Echemandu should get a long look from the coaching staff since the playoffs are not on the horizon for the Texans in 2007. As I have said before Coach Kubiak is a disciple of Mike Shanahan, so you can never count out any back that is on the active roster.

Speaking of fantasy football public enemy #1, Shanahan brought former Virginia RB Wali Lundy in for a look, perhaps in anticipation of Travis Henry’s suspension. Wali Lundy had mild success last season (680 total yards and 4 TDs) in limited action in the Houston Texan zone blocking scheme which was obviously modeled after the one Kubiak coached while in Denver. I’m a big fan of the way Lundy runs and I feel he deserves another shot in the NFL and I am really surprised he has not been given one. Keep an eye on what happens with “Wali World”. Should he land in Denver, he’ll always be only a Shanahan whim away from contributing to your fantasy team.

In the last installment I predicted the demise of Shaun Alexander in Seattle but also wrote off the chances of Maurice Morris or Leonard Weaver being handed the job in 2008. However Morris has proven to be a tough inside runner and his pass catching ability has made him a pretty good fit in Mike Holgrem’s new pass happy approach. I’ll still stand by my prediction that Seattle will sign one of the prominent free agent backs (Chris Brown, Julius Jones, or Michael Turner) this off-season, but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see how much Morris would cost your team.

Former Ohio State Buckeye Antonio Pittman was given the chance in Week 10 to show the Saints that they made a mistake in cutting him prior to the start of the season and he rushed for 53 yards on his 7 carries. Pittman is signed to a three year contract and is currently listed as #2 on the Rams depth chart with Brian Leonard moving back to full back. Stephen Jackson has never been an “ironman” and Pittman’s speed would be a valuable asset to the Rams high powered offense – I call them “high powered” assuming their o-linemen get healthy again – if Jackson was to go down again, so Pittman is a guy to keep your eye on.

The Pass Catchers

San Diego rookie WR Legedu Naanee has started getting some playing time as a slot receiver at the expense of fellow rookie Buster Davis and veteran Malcom Floyd and has made the most of the opportunity. Over the last three weeks the Boise State product has caught 7 balls for 61 yards which isn’t too bad when you figure that Antonio Gates, LaDainian Tomlinson, Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson are ahead of him in the pecking order. Naanee combines size and speed (6’2”, 228 lbs. with a 4.41 forty time) and caught 6 TDs and averaged 15.4 yards per catch during his senior year for the undefeated Broncos. As Vincent Jackson continues to disappoint, perhaps Naanee could move further up the depth chart in 2008.

Dwayne Jarrett is starting to see some playing time in Carolina and perhaps he was dropped by an impatient owner in one of your leagues. Drew Carter put up some nice numbers in Steve Smith’s absence (5-132-1) during Week 11, but the oft injured Carter is a free agent this offseason and it would not be surprising to see Carolina let the inconsistent wide-out walk away, opening the door for Jarrett. In addition to the quarterback woes in Carolina much of Steve Smith’s struggles can be attributed to the lack of another player on the roster which demands the opposing defense’s attention. Jarret lacks breakaway speed but is a big strong target who can get open in the mold of fellow Trojan alum Keyshawn Johnson. He could be the middle of the field target that lets Smith run wild down the sidelines in 2008.

Former first round pick Bryant Johnson has long toiled in the shadows of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald in the desert sun, but will be a FA following the 2007 season. Johnson has put up some nice numbers during times where the aforementioned other WRs have missed time and could be a nice piece of the puzzle for a team lacking a breakaway threat at wide receiver. He could be a nice guy to stash away now for big production in 2008 if he lands in the right situation.

Reggie Williams may have finally shed the bust label, but given the lack of respect for the Jacksonville passing game he may still be available in some free agent pools. Williams has hauled in 5 TD receptions this year and put on a show against New Orleans in Week 9 with 6 receptions for 128 yards. With many underachievers comprising the wide receiver depth chart in Jacksonville, perhaps the biggest one so far is finally “getting it” and can start being a valuable addition to your dynasty team instead of dead weight as in years past.

TE Quinn Sypniewski has been on the field far more than the Baltimore Ravens could have hoped, but to his credit he has performed admirably in place of the injured Todd Heap. While Sypniewski offers nothing special from a talent perspective he does seem to find a way to get open and has caught 29 balls for 208 yards and a TD in 2007. The second year player out of Colorado may never be a star in this league but there’s no reason to think he can’t put up numbers each season which will at least rival his senior year stats of 29 receptions for 447 yards and 5 TDs in 12 games, making him worth a spot on a dynasty team as a backup TE with some upside.