2018 Negative Regression Candidates

Updated: May 2nd 2018

“But Player X did this last season”.  It is one of the most predictable and easily exploitable responses from amateur fantasy players.  We should certainly keep in mind past performance when predicting future production but also keep in mind last year is just one data point.  Fantasy football is a game of ebbs and flows, of peaks and valleys.  Year to year statistical production for any player displays some natural variation due to factors largely outside of a player’s control.  A wide receiver’s production is due in large part to quarterback play.  Running backs depend heavily on offensive line play.  All players are subject to the skill of their coaching staffs.  Touchdown production is one of the key fantasy factors that tend to vary dramatically from year to year.  Knowing the above, we can take historical data and get a good idea of players who have a significant chance of underperforming compared to last season.

Quarterbacks

DeShaun Watson

The former Clemson Tiger got off to a tremendous start his rookie season leading QBs in fantasy points per game last year on the strength of a tremendous five game stretch in which he averaged almost 300 passing yards, 3.6 touchdowns, and 37 rushing yards per game.  Unfortunately his season came to an abrupt end due to a season-ending ACL tear.  So what’s not to like for the coming year?  For one, Watson’s league high 9.3% touchdown-rate more than doubled the league average and is almost certain to take a huge step backward.  Pro Football Focus actually graded Watson below fellow rookie Mitch Trubisky last season which highlights the big number of bad plays which went along with his great ones.  He also is rehabbing from an ACL tear (he tore his other ACL in 2014) that possibly delays his return to the field in 2018.

Many people have Watson as an elite level QB1 already with some ranking him as the overall QB1.  His initial showing puts him in the lower QB1 range for me but I would not want to pay his current price based on last season’s play.  Watson is the classic case of a player with great statistical production over a very small sample size that overshadows his play-to-play inconsistency for many people.

Carson Wentz

Wentz is sort of the Watson-lite version of possible regression players.  He broke out in his second year campaign where he was on pace for 40 touchdowns thanks largely to a big 7.5% touchdown rate which ranked second in the league behind Watson.  Like Watson, he suffered an ACL tear (along with other damage) to end his season.  The problem is that his touchdown rate is likely unsustainable, particularly when looking at his underlying metrics.  Wentz ranked just 11th in yards per attempt and 25th in completion percentage while only being on pace for around 4,000 passing yards.

Similar to Watson, most see Wentz as an upper-level QB1 while some have him as their top overall QB.  His underlying metrics so far in his career just do not support that level of fantasy production and there is some risk he will not be fully ready to go to start the year.  Price him as low-level QB1 and you will be much happier next season.

Running Backs

Todd Gurley

What a difference a year makes.  Some were calling Gurley a bust possibility after a disastrous 2016.  A new head coach plus a couple of quality offensive lineman made him an MVP candidate and the most valuable fantasy player just a year later.  A big part of his fantasy success derived from his 19 touchdowns which topped the next running back (more on him later) by 6 touchdowns.  That number almost certainly takes a dive next year.  Gurley also averaged 12.3 yards per reception last season, an absurdly high number for a running back getting his volume which additionally probably falls.

Do not worry about the likely regression coming.  He still would have ranked 2nd in fantasy scoring at the position if his touchdown rate was just the league average.  Gurley remains a top tier player being one of the few running backs good for 20 touches a game, significant work in the passing game, and attached to one of the brightest play-callers in the NFL.

Alvin Kamara

Kamara is probably the most obvious player on this list.  He had a historic rookie season highlighted by an eye-popping 6.0 yards per carry (YPC).  That number is headed for a big dip. Only four other qualified runners have met the six YPC mark since 2002.  Each saw a big decline afterward.  It is just one of those super rare outlier seasons that is never repeated.  Another area where we can expect less from Kamara is the TD department.  He accumulated 12 touchdowns touching the ball just over 200 times far exceeding the touchdown rate of most other backs.  You will also likely be disappointed expecting a big workload increase from Kamara.  Sean Payton has always utilized significant committee schemes regardless of the running back pool available.  The Saints running backs also garnered an enormous 34% target share which is by far the highest mark for any team since 2013. New Orleans was bottom-10 in WR share and dead last in tight end target share.  Expect these numbers to revert back somewhat in 2018.

Almost every significant factor is working against Kamara repeating his spectacular rookie season.  He is a great talent with a superb role in a hyper-efficient Drew Brees offense but that role limits the touches he is likely to receive.  I like him as a lower-tier RB1 for 2018.

Players with 6+ Yards per Carry from 2002-2017 (100+ Carries)

*Charles only gathered 12 rushing attempts before injury in 2011.  Number is from 2012 season.

Wide Receivers

Marvin Jones

Marvin Jones somewhat surprisingly ended as a bottom-end WR1 in fantasy last season.  Do not let that fact influence you to overpay this upcoming season though.  Jones’ per game targets and receptions remained very similar to his 2016 season with a slight uptick in yardage.  The big difference clearly evident was his touchdown production.  He more than doubled his touchdown output from four in 2016 to nine in 2018 securing one of the higher touchdown rates among wide receivers.  This resulted in his fantasy output increasing from 11.5 PPG (WR47) to 14.1 PPG (WR15).

It was a down year for wide receiver scoring across the league, thanks largely to some key QB injuries, and Jones was one of the biggest beneficiaries in the fantasy realm.  He is a player averaging less than 110 targets per 16 games in his time with Detroit which is not enough to keep him as a consistent high-end producer.  His projected target load and role put him in my borderline WR2/WR3 range for the coming season.

Devin Funchess

Funchess had a breakout campaign in 2017 thanks in large part to being one of the only receiving threats left on the Carolina offense.  The Panther’s lost tight end Greg Olsen and last year’s 2nd round pick, Curtis Samuel to injury while trading away Kelvin Benjamin to the Bills.  Funchess accounted for a whopping 8 of Cam Newton’s 22 touchdown passes last season (36%).  The outlook for 2018 is not so rosy with the return of Olsen and Samuels plus adding the first overall wide receiver selected in the draft, 1st rounder D.J. Moore.

Funchess’ is another player with a lot of factors working against him.  Funchess is stuck with a below average, low-volume passer on a team using significant draft capital at the wide receiver position in recent year.  His role in the offense likely sees a significant reduction and his touchdown rate probably falls.  Funchess was a flex option in 2017 but is more of a bench stash for 2018.


Bio:  Bernard Faller has degrees in engineering and economics.  He currently lives in Las Vegas and enjoys athletics, poker, and fantasy football in his free time.  Send your questions and comments (both good and bad) on Twitter @BernardFaller1.

More Analysis by Bernard Faller

Best Values – Writers’ League

Updated: October 16th 2016

Values.  Even in a league comprised of the RSO founders and writers, there are plenty of players that sign for below their projected values.  Many factors contribute to this, including the timing of player nominations, each team’s roster construction, and each team’s remaining room under the salary cap.

As the auction progresses, owners throughout the league felt regret as several players slipped through the cracks for reasonable, team-friendly deals.  After the draft, several owners shared with me which players they felt were the best values in the auction.

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers (4 years, $72 million) Ice Cold Bruschis

“Didn’t realize it during the action, but after the fact this looks like a steal.  He’s still the 5th highest paid QB on a per year basis and the 6th highest in 2016, but he’s almost 9M/yr cheaper than the #1 QB Wilson and a solid 3-4M/yr lower than the other top tier QBs of Luck, Cam, and Brees.  Add in the fact that he’s the only QB locked in for 4 years in this superflex league and this buy looks great.  I personally went into the auction with the strategy of not wanting to target the top QBs, but in hindsight I should have gone after Rodgers at this value.” -Kyle English

“A-Rod also really good to have locked up for 4 years. He will probably have a huge year this year now that Nelson is back in the fold.” -Stephen Wendell

Ben Roethlisberger (2 years, $25 million) Bro-lo El Cuñado

“Ben at 2/$25M was my favorite multi-year QB deal” -Matt Papson

Derek Carr (3 years, $21.5 million) Like The Language

“Derek Carr is a nice flyer at $7.2M per year for the next 3 years. I was already set at QB by the time he came available so I could not get involved.” -Matt Papson

“I am big on Carr and love that contract as well. He will be able to use or trade that at some point this year.” -Stephen Wendell

Blake Bortles (2 years, $18 million) Like The Language

Love the Blake Bortles contract. In a 2 QB league, he is going to be a valuable starter for Kyle’s squad for many many weeks.  -Stephen Wendell

Running Backs

Le’Veon Bell (3 years, $45.5 million) New York Knightmare

“Bell was unbelievably cheap, even with his recovery. I wasn’t prepared to absorb the risk that comes with him, but this has the chance to be the best overall deal signed at the end of the year.”  -Matt Papson

LeSean McCoy (2 years, $22 million) BallinOnABudget

“I fully expect McCoy to deliver big value on this contract.  He is the lead back in a run-heavy Buffalo offense and a dangerous receiving option out of the backfield on a team without many receiving weapons.  McCoy missed some time last year and was one of the first running backs nominated in the auction, which probably explains his low valuation in our league as owners  were waiting on the running back position.” -Bernard Faller

“Matt’s Shady contract could prove to be really good…in a PPR league, I just think he is so undervalued. I bowed out of that signing too early…as an Eagles fan, the whole Shady thing is tough to get through.” -Stephen Wendell

“I’m not a huge McCoy fan in general but given the turmoil his backups are going through, I think it’s safe to say McCoy is looking at 300+ touches this year if he can stay healthy (which he did in 2013 and 2014 don’t forget).  McCoy’s 2016 salary is lower than guys like Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Matt Forte – all three have their own injury histories and I would argue neither has as high a ceiling as McCoy.”  -Bob Cowper

Devonta Freeman (2 years, $26 million) New York Knightmare

“Freeman and Bell are both on solid contracts, though I like Freeman signing more than Bell. The discount was there for Bell for obvious reasons but 4 years is a lot to commit to him given his off the field issues and the age of Big Ben…he goes down and that offense really changes.” -Stephen Wendell

Jeremy Langford (1 year, $4.5 million) $7 Worth of Hoobastank

“Jeremy Langford signing could prove to be a great bang for the buck this season at $4.5mm. Forte was not just a fluke catching dump off passes in the freezing cold all those years in Chicago. Langford will score a bunch of fantasy points…don’t get me wrong, I hate the Bears and Cutler, but this is a good singing I think.” -Stephen Wendell

Thomas Rawls (1 year, $5 million) $7 Worth of Hoobastank

“Rawls at $5MM looks like great value in retrospect. I remember being upset he went for that little.” -Stephen Wendell

Wide Receivers

Josh Doctson (3 years, $3.5 million) Suck It Trebek

“My favorite contract in this league is Suck It Trebek’s (Bernard’s) signing of Josh Doctson for 3 years, $3.5m. Basically, even if Doctson sat out the entire season in 2016, he has the potential to be a superstar and runs the entire route tree. Doctson can win against all types of coverage, especially in the air on a Washington offense full of weapons. Bernard will benefit from this late-auction deal big time in the future years and potentially in OBJ type form if Doctson comes back to full health at some point this season. I personally would have bid higher and had the money to do it or even price enforce a bit, but I was saving my last multi-year deal (only had my 2 year deal left) for Sterling Shepard with OBJ already in tow and being fairly receiver heavy.” -Matt Goodwin

“At the point in the draft where he was selected, many of us were low on salary cap room and/or multi-year contracts. Still, this is incredible value given the contracts many of the other high-upside wide receivers and was a lesson in patience for my trigger-happy bidding style.” -Jaron Foster

Kelvin Benjamin (3 years, $50.5 million) Save Us Carson Wendtz & Kevin White (3 years, $34 million) $7 Worth of Hoobastank

“The receivers got the bulk of the multi-year deals in this league, which is to be expected, but there was some craaaaaazy cash flying around in Free Agency. In the end, I think Kelvin Benjamin and Kevin White have a chance to be really special players for a while.” -Matt Papson

Jeremy Maclin (4 years, $24 million) BallinOnABudget

“I mean just look at this numbers last year to know how good this signing was by Papson – don’t love the length but it is an easy cut decision in 2 years if need be.” -Stephen Wendell

“My value pick has to go to Matt “Papi” Papson and his Jeremy Maclin $26M/4years contract. As his team name would suggest (BallinOnABudget) Matt seemed to be looking for value rather than bidding wars and he definitely found one here. Maclin was quietly one of the most consistent WRs last season and looks comfortable as Andy Reid’s number one option. We will see what his value holds in the fourth year of the contract, he’ll be 31, but at an average salary of just over $6 million he is a significant discount to some of his other WR2 brethren.” -Nick Andrews

Laquon Treadwell (2 years, $6 million) Like The Language

“Treadwell’s contract looks pretty good for that amount of time. He is going to be good.”  -Stephen Wendell

Marvin Jones (1 year, $3 million) Bro-lo El Cuñado

“Jones at that value has a chance for a special year in a Megatronless Detroit.” -Stephen Wendell

Tight ends

Zach Ertz (2 years, $8 million) Bro-lo El Cuñado

“The Ertz contract was easily the TE value of the night. I must have been asleep at the controls for this one.”  -Matt Papson

Let us know on Twitter about some of the best/worst contracts in your RSO league.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

More Analysis by Dave Sanders

Best Values – Writers' League

Updated: September 7th 2016

Values.  Even in a league comprised of the RSO founders and writers, there are plenty of players that sign for below their projected values.  Many factors contribute to this, including the timing of player nominations, each team’s roster construction, and each team’s remaining room under the salary cap.

As the auction progresses, owners throughout the league felt regret as several players slipped through the cracks for reasonable, team-friendly deals.  After the draft, several owners shared with me which players they felt were the best values in the auction.

Quarterbacks

Aaron Rodgers (4 years, $72 million) Ice Cold Bruschis

“Didn’t realize it during the action, but after the fact this looks like a steal.  He’s still the 5th highest paid QB on a per year basis and the 6th highest in 2016, but he’s almost 9M/yr cheaper than the #1 QB Wilson and a solid 3-4M/yr lower than the other top tier QBs of Luck, Cam, and Brees.  Add in the fact that he’s the only QB locked in for 4 years in this superflex league and this buy looks great.  I personally went into the auction with the strategy of not wanting to target the top QBs, but in hindsight I should have gone after Rodgers at this value.” -Kyle English

“A-Rod also really good to have locked up for 4 years. He will probably have a huge year this year now that Nelson is back in the fold.” -Stephen Wendell

Ben Roethlisberger (2 years, $25 million) Bro-lo El Cuñado

“Ben at 2/$25M was my favorite multi-year QB deal” -Matt Papson

Derek Carr (3 years, $21.5 million) Like The Language

“Derek Carr is a nice flyer at $7.2M per year for the next 3 years. I was already set at QB by the time he came available so I could not get involved.” -Matt Papson

“I am big on Carr and love that contract as well. He will be able to use or trade that at some point this year.” -Stephen Wendell

Blake Bortles (2 years, $18 million) Like The Language

Love the Blake Bortles contract. In a 2 QB league, he is going to be a valuable starter for Kyle’s squad for many many weeks.  -Stephen Wendell

Running Backs

Le’Veon Bell (3 years, $45.5 million) New York Knightmare

“Bell was unbelievably cheap, even with his recovery. I wasn’t prepared to absorb the risk that comes with him, but this has the chance to be the best overall deal signed at the end of the year.”  -Matt Papson

LeSean McCoy (2 years, $22 million) BallinOnABudget

“I fully expect McCoy to deliver big value on this contract.  He is the lead back in a run-heavy Buffalo offense and a dangerous receiving option out of the backfield on a team without many receiving weapons.  McCoy missed some time last year and was one of the first running backs nominated in the auction, which probably explains his low valuation in our league as owners  were waiting on the running back position.” -Bernard Faller

“Matt’s Shady contract could prove to be really good…in a PPR league, I just think he is so undervalued. I bowed out of that signing too early…as an Eagles fan, the whole Shady thing is tough to get through.” -Stephen Wendell

“I’m not a huge McCoy fan in general but given the turmoil his backups are going through, I think it’s safe to say McCoy is looking at 300+ touches this year if he can stay healthy (which he did in 2013 and 2014 don’t forget).  McCoy’s 2016 salary is lower than guys like Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Matt Forte – all three have their own injury histories and I would argue neither has as high a ceiling as McCoy.”  -Bob Cowper

Devonta Freeman (2 years, $26 million) New York Knightmare

“Freeman and Bell are both on solid contracts, though I like Freeman signing more than Bell. The discount was there for Bell for obvious reasons but 4 years is a lot to commit to him given his off the field issues and the age of Big Ben…he goes down and that offense really changes.” -Stephen Wendell

Jeremy Langford (1 year, $4.5 million) $7 Worth of Hoobastank

“Jeremy Langford signing could prove to be a great bang for the buck this season at $4.5mm. Forte was not just a fluke catching dump off passes in the freezing cold all those years in Chicago. Langford will score a bunch of fantasy points…don’t get me wrong, I hate the Bears and Cutler, but this is a good singing I think.” -Stephen Wendell

Thomas Rawls (1 year, $5 million) $7 Worth of Hoobastank

“Rawls at $5MM looks like great value in retrospect. I remember being upset he went for that little.” -Stephen Wendell

Wide Receivers

Josh Doctson (3 years, $3.5 million) Suck It Trebek

“My favorite contract in this league is Suck It Trebek’s (Bernard’s) signing of Josh Doctson for 3 years, $3.5m. Basically, even if Doctson sat out the entire season in 2016, he has the potential to be a superstar and runs the entire route tree. Doctson can win against all types of coverage, especially in the air on a Washington offense full of weapons. Bernard will benefit from this late-auction deal big time in the future years and potentially in OBJ type form if Doctson comes back to full health at some point this season. I personally would have bid higher and had the money to do it or even price enforce a bit, but I was saving my last multi-year deal (only had my 2 year deal left) for Sterling Shepard with OBJ already in tow and being fairly receiver heavy.” -Matt Goodwin

“At the point in the draft where he was selected, many of us were low on salary cap room and/or multi-year contracts. Still, this is incredible value given the contracts many of the other high-upside wide receivers and was a lesson in patience for my trigger-happy bidding style.” -Jaron Foster

Kelvin Benjamin (3 years, $50.5 million) Save Us Carson Wendtz & Kevin White (3 years, $34 million) $7 Worth of Hoobastank

“The receivers got the bulk of the multi-year deals in this league, which is to be expected, but there was some craaaaaazy cash flying around in Free Agency. In the end, I think Kelvin Benjamin and Kevin White have a chance to be really special players for a while.” -Matt Papson

Jeremy Maclin (4 years, $24 million) BallinOnABudget

“I mean just look at this numbers last year to know how good this signing was by Papson – don’t love the length but it is an easy cut decision in 2 years if need be.” -Stephen Wendell

“My value pick has to go to Matt “Papi” Papson and his Jeremy Maclin $26M/4years contract. As his team name would suggest (BallinOnABudget) Matt seemed to be looking for value rather than bidding wars and he definitely found one here. Maclin was quietly one of the most consistent WRs last season and looks comfortable as Andy Reid’s number one option. We will see what his value holds in the fourth year of the contract, he’ll be 31, but at an average salary of just over $6 million he is a significant discount to some of his other WR2 brethren.” -Nick Andrews

Laquon Treadwell (2 years, $6 million) Like The Language

“Treadwell’s contract looks pretty good for that amount of time. He is going to be good.”  -Stephen Wendell

Marvin Jones (1 year, $3 million) Bro-lo El Cuñado

“Jones at that value has a chance for a special year in a Megatronless Detroit.” -Stephen Wendell

Tight ends

Zach Ertz (2 years, $8 million) Bro-lo El Cuñado

“The Ertz contract was easily the TE value of the night. I must have been asleep at the controls for this one.”  -Matt Papson

Let us know on Twitter about some of the best/worst contracts in your RSO league.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each.  Follow him on Twitter @DaveSanders_RSO

More Analysis by Dave Sanders

Cashing Out – Players to Sell

Updated: April 18th 2016

In dynasty and RSO leagues, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of staying active year round in trade talks.  Player values fluctuate more than ever during this time of year.  If you’re willing to stomach some risk, there’s an opportunity for profit.  When discussing trades, I often hear that owners are afraid making a move and having it backfire in the long term.  My strategy is a bit different as I’m unafraid to make an aggressive move if I believe I’m getting more value at the time of the trade.  If you accept that you will lose in some trades but believe you will win out more than 50% of the time, be as aggressive as possible.  Right or wrong, I do not just consider deals made to be potential wins or losses.  I also think this way about trade talks that were close, but never materialized for whatever reason.  For example, trades I’ve declined have potential to be wins or losses as well though my roster has remained intact.

In this off-season edition of Cashing Out, I’ll explain which players I’m actively looking to sell before the 2016 season.  

JordanMatthews

Jordan Matthews finished with 997 yards and 8 TDs in 2015

Jordan Matthews WR PHI – One of the most polarizing players in dynasty leagues, Jordan Matthews has an ADP of 26 in Dynasty League Football’s April 2016 mock drafts.  Personally, I wouldn’t draft him within the first four rounds.  Philadelphia figures to run a more conservative offense under Doug Pederson as Kansas City ranked 24th in passing yards in 2015.  Jeremy Maclin managed to have a very strong first season with the Chiefs, but I see him as a far superior talent to Matthews.  When exploring trades for Matthews, I’d attempt to package a 2016 pick with him to land Sammy Watkins, Dez Bryant, Keenan Allen, Alshon Jeffery, Brandin Cooks, Jarvis Landry, or Kevin White.

Marvin Jones WR DET – After signing a 5 year, $40 million dollar deal with the Detroit Lions, Jones is now viewed as the 1a or 1b option in a Lions offense that will have to find ways to replace Calvin Johnson’s production.  Jones’ inclusion on this list has more to do with a lack of confidence in Matthew Stafford than anything.  Fantasy owners have spent the past few years chasing Stafford’s 2011 season in which he threw for 5,038 yards and 41 TDs to be largely disappointed with Stafford’s fantasy scoring.  According to Pro Football Focus’ end of 2015 quarterback rankings, Stafford ranked as the 23rd best quarterback.  While there’s an opportunity for Jones to absorb many of Johnson’s 150 targets in 2015, I don’t have confidence that he’ll be a top 25 WR on a weekly basis.  I’m looking to sell as I believe there will be quite a few owners in my leagues who like him more than I do.

Jay Ajayi RB MIA – While Miami has not be quiet in their attempts to land a running back this off-season, April may be the perfect time to sell Ajayi.  If I owned Ajayi, I’d email every owner and attempt to sell the fact that he’s currently in line to be the lead back.  After the trade with Philadelphia, Miami may have moved back too far to land Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott at pick 13 in the upcoming NFL Draft.  I’d certainly bring this up in trade talks and sell the fact that at worst he will likely split carries with the drafted running back.  I’m also very worried about his ability to hold up and have a long career as his knees caused him to fall to the 5th round of the NFL Draft.  Even with the uncertainty of the NFL Draft a few weeks away, his value is likely higher today than it may ever be.

Alfred Morris rushed for only 751 yards in 2015, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.

Alfred Morris rushed for only 751 yards in 2015, averaging 3.7 yards per carry.

Alfred Morris RB DAL – We’ve all heard the popular narrative that anyone can succeed running behind the Dallas offensive line.  Left for dead, Darren McFadden may have proved this to be correct in 2015 by revitalizing his fantasy value with 1,089 rushing yards on 4.6 yards per carry.  My concern with Alfred Morris is due to his lack of versatility.  Never an option in the passing game, Morris may only see the field on obvious running downs.  I don’t see him getting more than 10 rushes per game and don’t view his as a top 25 RB option to open the 2016 season.  Lance Dunbar, Darren McFadden, and potentially a RB acquired in the draft make the Dallas backfield crowded enough for me to avoid at this point.

Martavis Bryant WR PIT – Bryant’s inclusion strictly has to do with the structure of RSO leagues.  I’m cautiously buying Bryant in standard dynasty leagues where you keep your entire roster from year to year, but I cannot justify rostering Bryant long-term in RSO.  If his contract is for anything more than league minimum, he’s hurting your roster with his cap hit.  As a fan of his immense talent, I own Martavis Bryant in my RSO league.  In that league, he’s entering the 2nd year of a 3 year deal worth approximately $6 million per season.  Not too long ago I considered him to be a huge asset at that price.  Now, I’d be willing to do anything possible to move him since there’s no guarantee he’s reinstated for the 2017 season.  If the history of Josh Gordon and others suspended players teaches us anything, it’s not to assume reinstatement is automatic.  Not only will I be actively looking to move Bryant for nearly anything, I might be willing to move back a few spots in the draft just to unload that contract.  If I can find a buyer, the increased cap space is worth enough to move back a few spots and run the risk Bryant returns and is successful in 2017.  This strategy may prove to be difficult for me after writing this article, which I’m hoping my leaguemates don’t see.

Stay tuned later this month as I’ll explore players that I’m actively trying to acquire in the off-season addition of Open the Wallet – Players to Buy.


Bio: An avid fan of all things NFL, Dave has been playing fantasy football since 1999.  Though Dave participates in all types of fantasy football including redraft and daily, he prefers keeper and dynasty leagues as talent evaluation and scouting are integral components of each. 

More Analysis by Dave Sanders

More Time For Some Auction (Rankings 26-50)

Updated: July 3rd 2014

You’ve now read my piece about my Top 25 ranked free agents going into the 2014 season.  Now let’s take a look at my 26-50 Free Agent Rankings.  These picks reflect overall rankings and suggested contract values for those players, a lot of which I’m recommending on one year deals:

Rank Player POS % Owned Rec Contract Value
26 Lance Dunbar RB 1% 2yrs, $8m
27 Ben Tate RB 49% 2yrs, $10m
28 Ryan Tannehill QB 26% 3yrs, $15m
29 Donald Brown RB 3% 2yrs, $12m
30 Reggie Wayne WR 31% 1yr, $5m
31 Greg Jennings WR 31% 1yr, $5m
32 Jay Cutler QB 15% 2yrs, $11m
33 Greg Olsen TE 27% 1yr, $6m
34 Ben Roethlisberger QB 11% 1yr, $6m
35 Carson Palmer QB 11% 1yr, $2m
36 Eli Manning QB 41% 2yrs, $11m
37 Ladarius Green TE 0% 2yrs, $12m
38 Danny Woodhead RB 9% 1yr, $7m
39 Ronnie Hillman RB 14% 2yrs, $8m
40 Marvin Jones WR 1% 3yrs, $17m
41 Bryce Brown RB 32% 2yrs, $10m
42 Jarrett Boykin WR 1% 1yr, $5m
43 Cecil Shorts III WR 38% 1yr, $7m
44 Alex Smith QB 18% 1yr, $4m
45 Knowshon Moreno RB 5% 1yr, $4m
46 Brian Hartline WR 9% 1yrs, $4m
47 Golden Tate WR 14% 1yrs, $6m
48 Kenny Stills WR 47% 1yr, $3m
49 Heath Miller TE 4% 1yr, $4m
50 Doug Baldwin WR 0% 2yrs, $8m

26.  Lance Dunbar, RB, Dallas Cowboys

Scott Linehan is the new Offensive Coordinator in the Big D.  That essentially makes Dunbar the Darren Sproles/Joique Bell type in Dallas.  Add in the fact that DeMarco Murray is injury prone and in a contract year, while Dunbar is a restricted free agent in 2015, and Dunbar’s outlook is pretty awesome.  He can play in the slot and be a great PPR option or flex play as well.  Love his upside.

27. Ben Tate, RB, Cleveland Browns

When he was signed by the Browns, most people were way more excited about Tate’s prospects. Then he sat out OTAs and Terrance West was picked in the third round by the Browns.  Tate could have been sitting out as a precaution as new OC Kyle Shanahan likes to lean on a “bell-cow” type running back as no #2 back in Shanahan’s system has had 100 or more carries.  Head coach Mike Pettine recently mentioned a running back by committee and West does have serious upside both this year and in dynasty.  Still, if Tate can stay healthy, he figures to get plenty of run on a team that is more than committed to it in 2014. He’s on a two year deal with the Browns, so in spite of the fact that Tate is 25, he’s a banged-up 25 and shouldn’t get more than two years from any RSO owner in the Free Agent Auction.

28. Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins

Bill Lazor was brought in as OC from Philadelphia to spice up the Dolphins offense, which was pass heavy in 2013.  The offensive pace figures to pick up immensely, which should limit the league leading 58 sacks Tannehill suffered last year and result in more deep balls thrown.  2014 is a critical year for Tannehill to make the leap to the first round quarterback that he was drafted to be and a lot of money and draft picks were spent to improve the offensive line this year, which should only help after last year’s mess.

29. Donald Brown, RB, San Diego Chargers

It was quite puzzling that Brown decided on the Chargers crowded backfield when he was coming off a very solid season.  The Chargers want to keep Ryan Mathews healthy in 2014, so Brown may get more carries to keep Mathews’ quality high.  These carries probably come at the expense of Danny Woodhead, who factors in more as a pass catcher.  Brown’s real value will be in 2015 when both Mathews and Woodhead are free agents.  Given the reduced value of starting running backs these days and the contract that Brown signed, he could be the Chargers starter in 2014 or more likely, 2015.  There’s value in that.

30. Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts

No player seems to defy age lately more than Reggie Wayne.  Make no mistake, he is still one of Andrew Luck’s favorite targets on a good offense.  He works incredibly hard and still has some gas in the tank.  He’s certainly worth a one year deal and should still produce around 80 catches and 1,000 receiving yards.

31. Greg Jennings, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Nobody was happier that Matt Cassel was coming back as the potential starter in Minnesota more than Jennings who had his better games with Cassel at the helm.  He had 68 catches for 804 yards and 4 TD’s in 2013, which was a down year, especially when Christian Ponder was at the helm.  In Week 15 last season, Jennings showed he still has serious talent with an 11 catch, 163 yard performance with a touchdown.  With new OC Norv Turner in the fray, Cordarrelle Patterson is viewed as the #1 wide receiver, but Jennings figures to be involved plenty.  He’s still making big money, so look for the Vikings to keep him involved.

32. Jay Cutler, QB, Chicago Bears

By virtue of having one of the best wide receiving tandems in the NFL in Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and an offensive mastermind for a head coach in Marc Trestman, Jay Cutler is a serious upside play for the next few years in fantasy football.    If he can remain healthy, he has Top 5 fantasy points potential at a seriously reduced cost.  Definitely target him if you are coming into your auction without a QB as a “Late Round QB”, but make sure you don’t overpay in dollars, and especially in years.

33. Greg Olsen, TE, Carolina Panthers

One of the better tight ends in the NFL and now part of Carolina’s depleted receiving corps.  Olsen had a solid 2013 with 73 catches for 816 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Cam Newton definitely looks his way frequently.  If need be, he’s a Panther for a few more years and you could up the years, but as my rankings reflect, there are lots of options at tight end, so don’t overpay.

34. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Pittsburgh Steelers

Big Ben seems to be getting up to speed in OC Todd Haley’s offense.  He has a good deal of options on offense, headlined by Antonio Brown, complimented by a solid running attack with Le’Veon Bell and free agent signing LeGarrette Blount. Roethlisberger remains a QB2 with upside and definitely worth a look as a backup or spot starter, with the potential to be more.

35. Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Similar to Cutler’s situation in terms of offensive weapons and a Head Coach in Bruce Arians that is an offensive genius.  If Palmer gets improved offensive line play with the additions of Jared Veldheer and getting Jonathan Cooper back from injury, he figures to reduce the high amount of sacks he took last year and 22 interceptions which loomed large.  As mentioned in my 1-25 rankings, Michael Floyd is a star in the making and Larry Fitzgerald remains a top option and the coaching staff is comparing rookie John Brown to T.Y. Hilton.  All of these things make Palmer a very attractive cheap option.

36. Eli Manning, QB, New York Giants

Every few years Manning seems to make himself fantasy relevant again.  Manning has good receiving weapons and finally an offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo (formerly of Green Bay) that figures to open things up a bit.  Look for a bounceback in 2014 and consider the younger Manning brother a potential value this fantasy season.

37. Ladarius Green, TE, San Diego Chargers

After coming on strong at the end of 2013, Green seems to be the heir apparent to Antonio Gates in San Diego.  He shows the ability to make plays that nobody else on the team can and is improving his route running as well.  You probably want to speculate and lock Green up for two years to not miss out on this season’s Julius Thomas at the tight end position, who could also double as the #2 passing option in San Diego behind Keenan Allen.

38. Danny Woodhead, RB, San Diego Chargers

I personally love Woodhead.  He had over 100 carries last season and was a Top 20 fantasy running back, especially in PPR leagues.  He does all the little things and is quite effective despite his size.  The addition of Donald Brown certainly crowds the rushing attempts, so I’m thinking Woodhead will revert more to a third-down back type in 2014.  As such and given that he’s a free agent following the season, I’d stick to a reasonable one year deal for Woodhead.

39. Ronnie Hillman, RB, Denver Broncos

Hillman once was the starter in Denver and then his fumbling issues caused him to lose his job to Knowshon Moreno, who had a career year.  Hillman still has impressive edge speed and is only 23 years old, so if he can shore up his fumbling issues, he could still get a good run in Denver’s offense behind Montee Ball and potentially emerge as the pass-catching back for the Broncos too.  C.J. Anderson stands in his way as the #2 running back position is an offseason battle to pay attention to.

40. Marvin Jones, WR, Cincinnati Bengals

Any wide receiver with 10 touchdowns and 4 in the same game that isn’t named James Jones is always on my radar.  Marvin Jones is penciled in as the Bengals #2 starter opposite A.J. Green, one of the top wideouts in the NFL.  He’s only 24 years old and is signed through 2016 and has prototypical height and speed.  Jones also had 8 catches for 130 yards in a playoff loss to San Diego and has proven himself to be able to get open down the field.  A nice multi-year play.

41. Bryce Brown, RB, Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills traded for Brown on draft day more with 2015 in mind as both C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are free agents after the 2014 season.  Brown flashes serious upside and did perform well in 2012 in Philadelphia when Lesean McCoy missed time with a serious concussion.  Brown does have some ball control issues, but has significant talent that is worth the risk.  Don’t expect too much for 2014, but remember he is behind two running backs who have a history of getting injured.

42. Jarrett Boykin, WR, Green Bay Packers

Filled in admirably in 2013 when the Packers experienced injuries to their receiving corps, as well as when Aaron Rodgers went down.  Boykin moves to the outside this season, but faces stiff competition from rookie Davante Adams and Jared Abbrederis. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are free agents after the season, but at least one figures to be back.  Don’t overdo it on Boykin, but if he’s around late in your auction, jump on him.

43. Cecil Shorts III, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars

Shorts is a 2015 free agent and operates out of the slot.  He’s a PPR machine and should be better now that the Blaine Gabbert experiment is over in Jacksonville.    While the Jaguars did draft two wideouts early in the draft, there should be enough balls to go around for Shorts to be effective.

44. Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Smith is more of a game manager, but was a solid fantasy QB in 2013.   He had 23 TD’s and only 7 interceptions in 2013 and fares fairly well as a running QB.  The Chiefs schedule gets tougher in 2014, so figure that Smith will have to throw it more.

45. Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins

In spite of a career year in Denver after numerous injury-riddled ones, the Broncos opted not to keep Moreno.  He is very effective as a pass blocker and pass catcher and feasted as a runner when Peyton Manning smartly audibled against 6 or less man fronts.  Just had arthroscopic knee surgery, but should be ready by training camp.  Unfortunately this injury, plus being out of shape has led to Lamar Miller gaining a potential edge as the starter on an Eagles type fast paced offense in 2014.  Definitely not worth a multi-year deal due to injuries and timeshare, but after last season’s breakthrough where he essentially was a Top 5 running back, in spite of being picked near the end of auctions, one has to consider Moreno for their team.

46. Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins

The pillar of consistency from a receiving standpoint the last two years.  Hartline has had 76 and 74 catches, respectively the past two seasons combined with two straight 1,000 yard receiving seasons.  Hartline did have a PCL injury late in 2013, but figures to be ready by the start of camp.  Not a touchdown maker, but very solid, albeit in a quiet way.

47. Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions

Turned a career year in Seattle and a Super Bowl ring into a big free agent contract to be the #2 wideout opposite of Calvin Johnson in Detroit.  Lots of balls to go around for QB Matthew Stafford.  Tate also may be used in the return game if your league rewards that.  Expect similar statistics to 2013.

48. Kenny Stills, WR, New Orleans Saints

The deep threat in New Orleans who should get more looks with Lance Moore gone and Marques Colston getting older.  In fact, Drew Brees’ QBR was the highest in the league when passing to Stills.  He had 5 TD’s and averaged 20 yards a catch.  Definite upside-the question is how the targets will be split between Stills and rookie first round pick Brandin Cooks, even if Cooks plays in the slot.

49. Heath Miller, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Don’t be fooled by Antonio Brown’s spike in touchdowns and Heath Miller’s mere one TD last year.  Miller is Big Ben’s security blanket, especially in the red zone.  He’s fully recovered from the late 2012 knee injury and is signed for a few more years.  In a season with tight ends a plenty, Miller is a nice sleeper and good fill-in for Rob Gronkowski if Gronk misses time to start 2014.  Catches good volume and 800 yards and 6 TD’s are definitely within reason.

50. Doug Baldwin, WR, Seattle Seahawks

One of the most efficient wide receivers in the NFL.  Baldwin excelled in the Super Bowl and will a spot on the outside as the “X” receiver.  The Seahawks seem like they will keep teams guessing on defense this season, so Russell Wilson may look down the field more and rely less on the power running game this season. Baldwin has good hands and is one of the better route runners in the league.  He recently signed a 3 year, $13m contract, so don’t be afraid to offer him more than a year if need be.

More Analysis by Matt Goodwin