|Dynasty League Updates 11/23/07
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.