Ladarius Green, Rueben Randle & Dynasty Value Movers
This dynasty-focused content is brought to you by our good friends at DynastyLeagueFootball.com. DLF offers a fantastic, complimentary service to ours for the dynasty player. They have recently completed a site redesign and have added additional focus on the developing college players through Dynasty Scouts. Check them out.
Dynasty fantasy football is a being unto itself. The transition from playing in traditional redraft leagues to making the jump into your first dynasty league is a significant jump. Neither format is better in any general sense - they’re just different.
In redraft leagues, you can have a new team each season. Any mistakes you may have made the previous year can be wiped away and forgotten. Dynasty leagues, on the other hand, allow you to keep an entire team indefinitely, building upon the players you acquired in previous seasons.
One key to any successful team, be it redraft or dynasty, is finding players who will soon be making significant leaps in value due to their situation, maturity, increases in playing time or a combination of all these factors. However, this sword cuts two ways as we also want to avoid players who may find themselves in less favorable situations, ones who could be facing the ramifications of a lack of maturity, those who may see decreases in their playing time or, once again, a combination of several factors.
For the sake of brevity, I won't highlight players who might be worth a flier (or those you may want to avoid) in a redraft format, as 4for4 already does an incredible job at doing that. Instead, I'll emphasize some players who may be worth keeping an eye on or trying to obtain in dynasty formats. Some of these players could find a way to impact the situation they find themselves in, for better or worse, but that's part of the fun of fantasy football and why we play the game.
Without further ado, here are several players to keep an eye on in dynasty formats.
▲Ladarius Green, TE SD
It's no secret - Antonio Gates is no spring chicken. He's going to be 34 this season and his last two years have seen his yards per reception fall to their lowest levels of his career (11.0 and 11.3 YPR). Last season also saw his lowest touchdown total since his rookie campaign. Green, however, turned in a yards per reception total of 22.1 last season and nearly matched Gates' touchdown total with three of his own. The difference between Green and Gates on the field was striking as well. Gates seemed slow and sluggish, while Green looked like a big wide receiver on the field with lots of speed and quickness. Green is clearly the heir apparent in San Diego and his value is already climbing rapidly. Grab him if you can before it completely explodes.
▲Rueben Randle, WR NYG
The tease of Randle's value increase has been with us as long as he has been in the league. This year it finally appears as if he will have his opportunity to see that value realized with the departure of Hakeem Nicks. I fully expect Randle to, at the very least, match his career total for receptions and receiving yards (60-909). It's entirely probable he will even eclipse those numbers in route to a bona fide breakout season. If Randle can live up to even a faction of his potential, I think he could surpass Victor Cruz' production and be a top 25 wide receiver in short order.
▲Stedman Bailey, WR STL
Bailey was almost an afterthought as the Rams were able to obtain Tavon Austin in the first round of last season's draft, and for most of the season that's exactly what he was. Finally, Bailey was given an opportunity to shine late in the year and took full advantage of it, becoming the most productive wide receiver for the Rams during that stretch. With the return of Sam Bradford, look for Bailey's production (as well as his value) to continue to grow.
▲Bernard Pierce, RB BAL
The Ravens looked like a team in trouble last season. At the center of this was Ray Rice, who saw his lowest rushing totals since his rookie season (214-660), the lowest yards per carry average in his career (3.1) and strikingly similar drops in his receiving statistics. Meanwhile, Pierce was able to contribute more and appeared to be dependable. Rice's off the field issue this offseason could be a distraction that allow Rice's free fall to continue. If this occurs, the Ravens will rely on Pierce to pick up the slack. Under this kind of scenario, Pierce's value would certainly increase. Even if everything turns around for Rice, Pierce is four years younger and has only been partially integrated in the Ravens offense thus far. A full integration could be in the cards in the coming years. Rice's contract conveniently expires when he turns 29 - the perfect time for Pierce to step in at the ripe age of 25. I fully expect Pierce's role to increase well before then.
▲Tavarres King, WR CAR
The wide receiver exodus in Carolina has been nothing short of amazing. I can't remember a time in which so many players from one position left a team and King is one of the few left standing. He had a solid college career, improving each season he played at Georgia. Unfortunately, he was drafted by the Denver Broncos who had plenty of receiving talent on their roster. The Broncos tried incredibly hard to keep him, pulling out several, shall we call them "unique" tactics in order prevent teams from obtaining him. Finally, once Von Miller was able to return, Denver had to let him go in order to make room. I fully expect to see the Panthers draft another wide receiver, but King has the potential to see a huge jump in value.
▼Steve Johnson, WR BUF
Johnson was a WR2 for much of his career, but going forward he will likely never reach that value again. With the addition of Mike Williams to the fairly crowded Buffalo receiving corps, Johnson will likely see a dip in numbers. He will also need to contend for targets with Robert Woods, who posted very solid numbers of his own for a rookie. I would fully expect Johnson to post a subpar season this season and be released by the Bills well before his contract is complete.
▲Kenny Stills, WR NO
Stills really began to flash what he could do last season with 641 receiving yards on just 32 receptions (good for an average of 20 yards per catch) and even scored five touchdowns - not bad at all for a rookie who was used situationally. With Lance Moore and Darren Sproles both out of the picture and Marques Colston now 30 years old, Stills looks primed for a huge boost in production and fantasy value in the coming years. If Stills can manage to nab even a third of their combined receptions from last season, he will effectively double his production from last year and could very well go over 1,000 receiving yards. Once he does that, there is no looking back.
▼Reggie Bush, RB DET
Bush just completed a season on a high note as he rushed for the second most rushing and receiving yards in his career. Taken together, this season was Bush's most productive in terms of all purpose yardage. Given those kind of numbers, why in the world would anyone be looking to sell him?
Well, there are a few reasons.
First, Bush is entering a period of well documented, steep decline for running backs. Bush is currently 29 years old, a mere year away from the big 3-0. Why is 30 such a big deal? Well, it's been widely shown that running backs tend to fall outside of an acceptable production range right around this age. Second, The Lions have stated that they will split the running back duties between Bush and Joique Bell equally. Based upon last season's numbers, this would mean a 7% reduction in opportunities for Bush. If he performed identically to his 2013 production, that would put him at under 1,000 yards this season and would take him from just under 72 rushing yards per game to just under 67 yards per game. It sounds small and looks insignificant, but remember, that is if he performed as well as he did in 2013. In all likelihood he will perform a bit worse due to normal wear and tear and being given fewer opportunities. Everything points to this being the perfect time to sell for Bush owners.
▼Larry Fitzgerald, WR ARI
The reason here is pretty clear, there just doesn't seem to be any significant help for Fitzgerald in the near future. The problem with that is Fitzgerald is already 30 and he doesn't have the time to sit around and wait for help. His starting quarterback is 34 years old and isn't Kurt Warner. Fitzgerald hasn't even cracked 1,000 receiving yards for the past two years and he's slowly being phased out as the number one receiver in favor of Michael Floyd. Fitzgerald's yards per catch average this past season was the third lowest of his career and only marginally better than his 2012 average which was his worst ever. Factor in all of this with the fact he plays in one of the toughest divisions in football and things just don't look all that bright for his fantasy owners.
This dynasty-focused content was brought to you by our good friends at DynastyLeagueFootball.com. DLF offers a fantastic, complimentary service to ours for the dynasty player. They have recently completed a site redesign and have added additional focus on the developing college players through Dynasty Scouts. Check them out.