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Dynasty Risers and Fallers – Preseason

Danny is here with some Dynasty Risers and Fallers. A series he will be writing throughout the entire season.

Dynasty is fantasy football’s long game, it’s strategic, filled with risk and unbelievably exciting.

When you make a move no one else saw coming and it pays off, there isn’t a feeling like it. However, with the increasing love for dynasty, you need that edge to stay ahead.

As always, we’ve got you covered.

Each week I’ll be highlighting some dynasty risers and fallers. We’ll be showing you three players on the rise and three players on the decline. There’s no sentimentality here, just facts, numbers and no punches pulled.

Three on the rise

Tony Jones, RB – New Orleans Saints

With all the recent chatter about the Saints QB announcement. Alongside the debate around who will become newly appointed starter Jameis Winston’s favourite target. There was movement in the running back room that shouldn’t be ignored.

The focus was mainly on the release of Latavius Murray. Who, through two seasons in NOLA, racked up 1704 scrimmage yards and 11 touchdowns whilst sharing a backfield with Alvin Kamara.

It’ll be interesting to see where Murray ends up. However, our focus is not on the 31-year-old vet. Our focus is on 23-year-old Tony Jones Jr. who has been promoted into the No. 2 role for the Saints. A role that he was apparently already pushing for throughout camp according to beat writers.

Last season Jones spent the first 16 weeks on the practice squad before a COVID-related call-up in week 17, rushing 3 times for 13 yards.

A player who went from needing to impress on special teams to secure a roster spot. To top backup in an offense that can really get going on the ground. before he has stepped on the field Tony Jones is a player I want to be keeping an eye on.

Jakobi Meyers, WR – New England Patriots

Finally, people are starting to put respect on Jakobi Meyers name.

So much of the offseason focus was on the Patriots free-agent additions of Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne. All the while the true No.1 wide receiver was already on their roster.

Even N’Keal Harry was being pushed by some as the breakout candidate. Sometimes you need to look past draft capital and see the talent and commitment level instead.

An undrafted free agent in 2019. Meyers managed to lead the team in 2020 with 59 catches for 729 yards across 14 games. All that in a season where the game plan was to let Cam run an option and take the ball in himself. Every time. Ok, it wasn’t that bad but Meyers numbers in that offense are not to be sniffed at.

Newton is now out of Foxborough and rookie Mac Jones takes over. A pocket passing QB can only help to eek more out of Meyer’s game. If he is available in your waivers get him now. If he isn’t, trade for him now.

The message is clear, it’s #MeyersSzn.

Wayne Gallman, RB – Atlanta Falcons

Anyone that knows my work knows that I don’t think Mike Davis lasts the season in Atlanta. Whether that be an injury, scheme fit, or just that his thighs are all for show and crumble under him through fatigue by week 7. I think whoever else is in the backfield has a shot to start.

For a while, this seemed to be Qadree Ollison. However, he’s now a practice squad player after the team picked up Wayne Gallman.

Gallman, in Barkley’s absence at the Giants last season. Produced a career year turning 147 carries into 682 yards and 6 touchdowns and adding a further 21 catches for 114 yards.

I’m not too concerned about the lack of catches for Gallman here. Yes Davis put up good numbers in Carolina when CMC went down, and a lot of decent plays came through the air, but new Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith was partly responsible for Derrick Henry’s breakout at the Titans when he was OC there. That and the fact that Henry was built in a lab somewhere, a lab that specialises in handing off cornerbacks and turning them into highlight reels.

One thing we know about Henry, however, he can’t catch a cold. That being said, his ground game is pretty unstoppable. Gallman is no Derrick Henry but a rushing threat that has Smith in situ as HC could be a sneaky play, especially if/when Davis gets rotated.

Interestingly, both players came in and had pretty serviceable seasons as backups for two of the top RBs coming off the board this year, make of that what you will.

Honorable mention: Tyler Conklin, TE – Minnesota Vikings

Not quite making the cut but worthy of a mention is Tyler Conklin.

In what many deemed a potential breakout season for Irv Smith Jr.. Conklin did get some looks in the offseason in deeper leagues as HC Mike Zimmer alluded to Smith’s role not changing much, despite Kyle Rudolph leaving the twin cities (and rendering my favourite jersey ‘vintage’).

This was just – all together now… COACH SPEAK.

Of course his role was going to increase and he put up fantasy relevant weeks last year as No. 2.

The Vikings recently brought in long-time breakout candidate Chris Herndon. Who didn’t even know his own playbook at the Jets if rumours are to be believed. So there’s no way he starts immediately in a system he has no idea about. That, and he’s spent more years trying to breakout than Sirius Black did from Azkaban.

Conklin won’t be a top TE, but he’ll start as TE1 in an offense that offers favourable looks to that position, especially in the redzone.

Three on the decline

Justice Hill, RB – Baltimore Ravens

This section is called ‘three on the decline’. However, for this player, it may as well be called for ‘whom the bell tolls’. There’s no justice here and climbing back up the hill is going to be nigh on impossible with his torn achilles.

Unfortunately, even for top-class running backs, this is an extremely hard injury to come back from. If you’re holding Hill, then you’re wasting a roster spot. You may never see him play in the NFL again.

Chuba Hubbard, RB – Carolina Panthers

Chuba Hubbard has a name similar to that of a famous bubblegum and now he has a situation potentially as sticky as some.

Hubbard is rostered in 95% of leagues on Sleeper, presumably because he is a rookie that was expected to fill the Mike Davis role.

After a mixed bag in pre-season (some outstanding plays and some very questionable). The rookie running back was joined in the backfield by ex-Bronco Royce Freeman.

Freeman isn’t a threat to a healthy CMC, but has shown enough in his previous years at the position to eventually work his way up to No. 2 and steal some touches from Hubbard as soon as opening day.

Dez Fitzpatrick, WR – Tennessee Titans

Now no one goes into the season raving about a 4th round rookie receiver, however, there were some hopes for the size and deep-ball threat of Dez Fitzpatrick – especially after the exodus of pass-catchers from Tennessee (Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith, Adam Humphries).

That being said, the Titans then went out and got future Hall of Famer Julio Jones to play alongside YAC monster AJ Brown and Josh Reynolds. Fitzpatrick then never showed enough during the pre-season to warrant starter consideration.

He showed that little to the front office that he was eventually waived by the team before they brought him back to the practice squad.

If there is an injury, he may be promoted but for now – he’s on the decline.

Dishonorable mention: Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This isn’t necessarily a recent trend downwards; Vaughn has been on the decline for a while now and not really through any fault of his own.

Picked up quite early in many rookie drafts last season, there was hope that the running back could stake a claim for the top job in Tampa Bay.

However, the powerful running game offered by Ronald Jones II and the emergence of Playoff Lenny (Leonard Fournette) who they picked up after a shock release by the Jaguars, put paid to a breakout rookie season for Vaughn.

Bruce Arians has always been very complimentary of the Vanderbilt alum, having ‘all the confidence in him as a runner and receiver’ (see coach speak above) but this didn’t stop the team from going out and adding Giovanni Bernard to the backfield as another pass-catching option.

If you ask me, RoJo is the man in Tampa Bay and if they use him to his strengths and stop trying to make him what he isn’t and then dropping him for it, they’d be even more successful on the ground than they already are.

Another thing about RoJo, he’s been in the league for 3 years now and he’s YOUNGER than Ke-Shawn Vaughn… I think it’s time we waved goodbye to the dawn of Ke-Shawn Vaughn. 

I’ll be back each week with my Dynasty Risers and Fallers article on a Wednesday. You can follow me @DynastyDan1 and the rest of the team @5YardDynasty


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