There are few better feelings in Dynasty then unearthing a gem whether that is late in the draft or off the waiver wire to stash on your dynasty roster. Finding that undrafted or late round rookie who worked his way into a roster spot then blows up in the regular season. Or even that one player who has been sat on a practice squad or at the back of a roster then bursts onto the scene.
It may be a rare occurrence but that makes it all the sweeter when a player you have stashed in dynasty pops off and helps you towards winning your league. In this 2 part series, I have identified 12 players who should be picked up in your dynasty league, especially for those leagues that include Taxi/Practice spots.
It is safe to say that Preston Williams has upper end talent and would have likely been drafted in the 2019 draft had it not been for his multiple off-field issues and his below par showing at his pro day didn’t help matters (he was not invited to the Combine).
The wide receiver out of Colorado State has the ideal NFL size (6’4” 210 pounds) and after sitting out the 2017 college season due to transferring from Tennessee he balled out in 2018 with 96 receptions, 1345 Yards and 14 touchdowns. He has shown impressive speed and burst for his size and upper tier separation.
He has so far caught the eye in Miami’s camp & preseason, the highlight being a 97 yard game off 4 receptions in preseason week 2 and has arguably looked the best WR out of Miami. With Devante Parker sitting out due to injury and Albert Wilson coming off a season long injury in 2018 Williams is making the most of his opportunity and is currently working with the first team. Williams has one more preseason game to earn his roster spot and potentially a place in the starting line-up.
The risks are there with the previous off field issues, however he can picked up so late and sometimes undrafted that he is well worth the flier. If he can listen to coaching and focus solely on football can realistically could become the WR1 for an NFL team that has so many questions marks around pretty much every position. This guy will have a big chip on his shoulder and determined to show the rest of the NFL they were wrong to disregard him. Watch out for the name Preston Williams.
People should know by now that the Pittsburgh Steelers know how to draft a wide receiver. The Steelers and many Dynasty owners are hoping they have done it again in Diontae Johnson. Drafted in the 3rd round out of Toledo in which his best year came in 2017 74/1278/13. 2018 was a down year for Toledo however still ended the year with a respectable 49/761/8.
Steelers have made moves to try and replace losing Antonio Brown, Hoping Juju Smith-Schuster is the star he has shown so early in his career, signing Donte Moncrief in FA and pushing James Washington to pay off the 2nd round pick used in 2018. Seeing all this you may be questioning why Johnson is on this list.
The timing could not be better in my opinion for Johnson to get in the door and make a name for himself, Juju is currently the only wide receiver who is guaranteed his starting spot barring injury. The rest is completely up for grabs.
Johnson may well start slowly in his first year and be allowed to learn the playbook and the pace of the NFL before the potential of sky rocketing for the next two, three or four years in dynasty. Some may say Johnson lacks the size (5’10” 183 pounds) but he makes up for this in his great short yard quickness and athleticism. He wins out with his separation and his impressive movement allows him to show strong production after the catch which showed in college where he averaged 7.9 yards YAC (yards after catch) over two years.
One concern for Johnson in the past has been his drop rate, 13 dropped passes in two years. That being said over half of these drops come from poor passes in which he still attempted to make a play for.
As previously said, year one may be a stash year for Johnson but he is someone who is well worth that stash with the potential to form a dynamic partnership with Juju in the Steelers line-up for many years.
What could have been for the Colts and Cain in 2018 had he not torn his ACL so early in the preseason. His impressive start in preseason week 1 game made it all the more frustrating for dynasty owners when he went down. He had been impressing on a daily basis in camp and reports coming out were that he would be heavily involved in the 2018 season, in what was a below par WR group besides T.Y. Hilton.
Fast forward a year and all appears to be on the same sort of trajectory as 2018 for Cain. Preseason week 1 against Buffalo Bills which was Cain’s first ‘competitive’ action since the ACL tear ended with two receptions for 15 yards. Week two against the Cleveland Browns was another step forward ripping off 80 yards on seven receptions. An Impressive start for someone essentially restarting his rookie year after a devastating injury.
A sixth round pick in 2018 out of Clemson, Cain’s collegiate stats do not jump off the page, but he was still regarded as a top weapon for Clemson in 2017. He gave a solid performance in the National championship game against Alabama which turned heads of NFL Scouts and Colts were the team that took the chance on him. Now he is coming back to full health he is committed to return the loyalty they have shown in him through his recovery when they could have easily cut bait on the late round rookie.
Cain is an exceptional route-runner with high end speed that can stretch the field and is very impressive in contested catches, he can also makes plays after the catch with his hands and vision. He is able to line up anywhere across the field and has a chance to make a name in a receiving core that is attempting to take shape behind T.Y. Hilton.
He will need to compete with red zone threat Devin Funchess and 2nd Round pick Parris Campbell who himself has been dealing with injuries and under performance so far. Behind them are a misfit of wide receivers who Cain should be able to overcome and earn a roster spot at a minimum. 2019 should see him as the 3rd/4th WR who will look to make some key plays and push for a starting spot. One to watch for the future of dynasty if the preseason hype from 2018 and this year flourish into the regular season.
Anderson and Ogunbowale are no more than preseason dart throws at this stage. These picks are more of the opportunity to lead a backfield. Both have landed in a preferable place in Tampa Bay whose backfield was relatively underwhelming in 2018. With not much movement in FA or the draft and a new head coach in Bruce Arians, meaning this battle is wide open. Anderson is a UDFA out of North Dakota State whilst Ogunbowale is entering his third year in the NFL after spending time on practices squads in Houston, Washington and twice for Tampa including 2018.
Currently competing for the starting role/s is Peyton Barber a fellow UDFA from 2016 who himself won a role in 2017 after starting life on the practice squad. 2017 and 2018 saw steading improvements. Barbers involvement in 2018 may not have come from just his hard work and showings in camp but lack thereof from the 2nd RB in the battle, Ronald Jones a 2nd round pick in 2018.
Jones effectively handed Barber the backfield after drastically underwhelming in training camp and when he was given an opportunity fell flat on his face. Ellington is the final piece in this battle, he may well be on his last legs after battling a multitude of injuries since entering the league and is likely no more than an ancillary piece if he even makes the 53 man roster.
Both Anderson and Ogunbowale are worth keeping an eye on for the remainder of camp and preseason to see who if any can catch the eye of Arians. Arians was given Barber and Jones, whilst he picked up Anderson as a UDFA along with Ogunbowale who has been showing out in preseason games so far. This battle may be more open then we have anticipated and if one RB can win out and lead this Arians offence out of the backfield we could be pleasantly surprised with the outcome for dynasty.
Seen for the last two years as the heir apparent to Delanie Walker, Jonnu Smith has failed to live up to any sort of the expectation both NFL & fantasy communities had for him. Injuries have ravaged Smith in the time that he could have been taking the job from Walker who himself has had injury issues and is coming towards the end of his career.
Yet here he still stands, the Titans have kept faith and he still has the chance to either usurp Walker or step into his shoes once he is gone. Granted weapons from the Tennessee Titans offence are not the most appealing in fantasy but we have seen how quickly these situations can turn on their head (remember the 2016/17 Browns).
Smith is still only 23 years old and now entering his third year in the NFL. This can tend to be the turning point for many a tight end. Jonnu Smith came into the league as a raw talent who required time to build on his skills. The injury setbacks are an issue and he may still be behind the curve on this but another year to sit behind Walker may not necessarily be a bad thing.
Smith has the size of a tight end but he also possesses the speed of a wide receiver which has the potential to create significant mismatches with linebackers in the middle of the field. He has the slot master Adam Humphries and Delanie Walker to beat out before have any sort of fantasy relevance and that may be a too big of an ask for 2019.
At 23 years old Smith is worth a flier to stash on a deeper dynasty roster in a tight end landscape with so much uncertainty. It is highly unlikely you are going to need to spend any sort of draft capital on him and should be sat there on your waiver wire.
The issue is Smith is once again dealing with injury in the 2019 preseason. This is something he has to overcome to have any sort of relevance in not only fantasy but in the NFL altogether.
This is the real wild card pick of the group and many of you will be quite rightly asking who is Terry Godwin?
A 7th Round pick by the Carolina Panthers, Godwin come out of Georgia after an underwhelming senior season finishing with under 40 catches and 700 yards. This came as a surprise to many considering he was a 5 star top 10 overall recruit out of high school. It was more the Georgia system towards wide receivers and injuries in his senior year that hurt his draft stock for 2019.
Godwin clearly has the talent to perform at the NFL level. He ran some of the smoothest routes in college and has exceptional hands. Whilst he does have a slender frame so do not expect him to run through defenders after the catch. Godwin is more likely to create the yardage in others ways with his quickness and impressive change of direction. A career slot receiver in the NFL is a real possibility.
The Panthers may have Christian McCaffrey out of the backfield, DJ Moore and Curtis Samuel, one of the fantasy sweethearts in 2019. After those three it gets messy real quick on the depth chart. An impressive camp may well help Godwin up the depth chart and operate out of the slot.
Stash Godwin! He will be on the waivers in 99% of leagues aside from the deepest of dynasty. He may be a drop before the season starts once cut day comes around. Take a chance on to see what is there.
The Long And The Short
Whilst it is unlikely to see a breakout from someone undrafted or as a late round pick it is not impossible. Remember Arian Foster, Victor Cruz, Delanie Walker and Tyreek Hill? They were all undrafted or late round picks who worked out, or are working out pretty well in the NFL . And let’s not forget debatably the best WR in the league for nearly a decade, Antonio Brown who was a 6th Round pick.
Speaking of 6th round picks a certain Tom Brady was drafted in this round. We are all very much aware of his accomplishments.
Take that chance with a throw away last round dynasty pick. Or pick up and stash from the waiver wire. There is not much to lose but potentially a lot to gain.
Until next time Rush Nation, Keep Rushing
-Ash Goddard (@Addicted2_ff)