Dynasty Football Advice
Fantasy football in dynasty leagues is about trying to win championships just like standard leagues. The big difference is there might be a quarter to a third of your league that is in full-on rebuild mode and doesn’t anticipate even going to their fantasy football playoffs for 2-3 years. Those GMs are working with an eye toward the future while standing in the present. They have to look at NFL rosters today and anticipate how team depth charts will change and figure out how they can be in the right spot to benefit from those changes. It might be player’s contract ending and his potential replacement is already on the roster just waiting. Maybe there’s a coach on the hot seat where if he gets fired the team’s entire philosophy on roster construction and player usage changes. It could be that a young player had major surgery that usually takes more than a season to get back to full potential again. Whatever the reason, here is another list of players you should check on to see if they are currently rostered. If they aren’t, consider if you can take the chance of some other dynasty GM benefiting from making a waiver claim on them before you do.
Trayveon was looked at by some as one of the better backs coming out the draft, but he is a little small at only 5′ 8″ and 208 lbs. I would like to see him play a little heavier, around 215, so he can hold up better to the hits in the NFL or be a little quicker and more elusive for his current size. He was getting into a rhythm as a lead back in the preseason with Giovani Bernard and Joe Mixon sitting out. He went out of the game against Kansas City after injuring his ribs. It has been hard for him to get back on the field because not long after coming back from his ribs injury and he injured his foot. So far during the regular season, the Bengals don’t have to rush him back so he isn’t playing. This might be one of those cases where a rookie gets injured and then the team takes advantage of the veterans ahead of him and they slowplay his recovery so it gives him time to learn the playbook and get used to the speed of the game. I was originally interested in Williams because Bernard was waiting for a contract extension at the age of 27 and it looked like if it didn’t come that was a signal saying the team was seeing Williams as the future backup to Mixon. Then Bernard got his contract, but I think it was more because of Trayveon’s injuries and the fact that it gives the Bengals coaching staff more time to see what they have in the rookie running back. It also gives Cincinnati more time to transition to their new offense the coaching staff has brought in. The production was there in college so the potential is there for him in the NFL, it just might take an extended injury for him to get enough meaningful touches to make him any kind of starting running back in fantasy. However, with Mixon entrenched as the starter and Bernard resigning for 2 more years Williams’s chance might even come with another team and not Cincinnati.
A promising NFL prospect during the 2017 season when he came in second in Heisman voting. His 2018 season left people wanting more as his yards from scrimmage dipped from 2,151 yards in 2017 to 838 yards in 2018. The biggest reason for the decline was that he was playing through an ankle injury. At the NFL Draft, the Washington Redskins looked at his college production along with his medical examinations and were convinced he could get back to that level of play. They must have been because they picked him with the 112th pick when there were other healthy running backs still on the board, Justice Hill was the very next pick at 113. I think that goes to show their plans for Love. They were not in a rush with Derrius Guice coming back as expected from his injury and Adrian Peterson showing no signs of age. Chris Thompson has also proved serviceable in stretches when Guice or Peterson has gone down. The point is that Washington saw that they had the opportunity to grab a guy and wait for him to get healthy. They stashed him away on the reserve/PUP list and don’t need to activate him this season unless he wows them with his recovery. I would look to use a roster spot on him and just hang onto him for next year and see if you hit on a lottery ticket. I drafted him in one of my leagues with deeper rosters and just left him on the deepest darkest part of my bench. If you are lucky and have multiple IR spots or a taxi squad you can use, then you are in even better shape. Here is your second injured running back prospect I am telling you to buy in on, but if you can only go for one, I’d push all of my chips in on Love to pay off more in the long run.
Continuing with the theme of watching for players whose playing time is affected by injuries to players at their position, Drew Sample is a solid rookie tight end who needs to be on your radar. Unlike the two players, Sample’s situation is tied to the other tight ends on the roster and how much their health allows them to play. Sample was drafted on the second day of the 2019 NFL draft at the 52nd overall pick. He is a dependable blocker at the end of the line grading out as one of the top run-blocking tight ends in the nation. He also has sure hands, even though he wasn’t asked to catch many passes in college, catching all 25 of his 2018 targets that were graded as “catchable” by PFF College. There is a turnover at the Bengals’ facility with new head coach Zach Taylor coming to town bringing with him an offense influenced by Sean McVay’s LA Rams’ offense. An offense that used tight ends in multiple roles based on their skill sets. Since Cincinnati already has Tyler Eifert and C.J. Uzomah to catch passes as the “F-position” move tight end, all they need Sample to do is dominate on blocking downs. He will probably catch the occasional pass off of a slip-block and just get accustomed to the speed of the game the more snaps he plays. That way in a year or two he will be ready to take over more of a timeshare at tight end and he’ll be more fantasy relevant. Looking back to the combine, his forty time (4.71 seconds) and his 3-cone drill time (7.15 seconds) point to possible untapped potential. Maybe a consistent TE2 with a one or two years of being a TE1. I feel better about Sample as a hold for the long haul because his success depends more on time and patience, but can only be helped by the guys in front of him being unable to stay off the injury report.
Ryquell Armstead is a player who could get 5-10 touches a game in spot duty giving Leonard Fournette a breather every once in a while. More than likely he will get 1-2 touches or even zero because the Jaguars are supremely committed to letting Fournette pound the football repeatedly into the opposing defense. He might scramble for the spare touchdown on a broken play but most weeks he will be fantasy irrelevant because this is one of the few backfields that you can count on not doing any kind of timeshare as long as Fournette is healthy. That is why you might find Armstead available on the waiver wire-you shouldn’t but you might. There could be a chance that a dynasty GM has injury problems and is forced to make some harsh decisions and cut a nonproducing player Armstead to pick up a player who is going to get points every week. There is your chance to grab him. Armstead got some work as the main backup in the week 4 game but that was only because Alfred Blue was out. When Blue comes back Armstead will go back to the sideline for most situations. The reason he makes the list this week is more because of the preseason work he put in and the praise he got from the coaches. He only had 22 rushing attempts for 80 yards and zero touchdowns but he did everything the coaches asked him to do. The greatest thing you can do as a rookie is to prove yourself to the coaches and prove to the team that they made the right decision in drafting you. He might be buried most weeks on the score sheet and more people probably have Blue on their rosters than Armstead, but if you wait for him to beat out Blue or see Fournette get injured for any length of time, then watch how fast Armstead is removed from waivers across all of your leagues.