Updated: Sep 15
For those of you that play dynasty fantasy football, you understand the importance of acquiring players at a reasonable price before their cost skyrockets.
Dynasty Radar by Brian Bailey (@TheFFAviator) is a new series that will provide you with a few players who may still be on your waiver wire or ones you can trade for at a minimal cost.
As we approach the NFL season, there are a few players that you should be keeping on your dynasty radar. Without preseason games to watch, we have had to resort to basing our perceptions and projections off of beat reporters and coach speak. The problem with that is it seems like every single player has reported to training camp in “the best shape of their life” and that “they are going to be a big part of the offense.”
It may be too late to acquire players such as WR Bryan Edwards and RB JK Dobbins, but I am going to provide you with a few players that you could add now before their value spikes and some to keep an eye on.
Time to Buy
Parris Campbell - WR Indianapolis Colts
Last year the fantasy football community was excited about Parris Campbell. Drafted in the second round and going to a team with Andrew Luck, Campbell was being drafted at an ADP of 1.09 according to Fantasy Football Calculator. Campbell had some amazing measurables coming out of college. He had a 100th percentile 40-yard dash, a 97th percentile speed score, and a 97th percentile burst score. Those are elite numbers! His elite burst and separation is something that we haven't been able to see completely yet. The 2019 season was one of injury and disappointment for Campbell. But now he is healthy. He should be able to get open on short and intermediate routes for Philip Rivers. You may have seen the work of another WR that was able to separate on the short and intermediate routes that Rivers loved to throw to. His name was Keenan Allen.
I am buying Campbell based on his discounted price due to his injury-plagued season. Last year managers were paying a first-round pick to acquire Campbell. How one year can change things! Currently, you can get him thrown into a deal for an extra third-round pick. The maximum you would have to pay is a 2021 second-round pick. Even at a second-round price tag, I am buying. He will be able to be a contributor to your team and gain value moving on in the future.
Preston Williams - WR Miami Dolphins
Last year, Preston Williams walked onto the field with not much of an expectation from dynasty managers. The Colorado State WR slid during the 2019 draft due to off-field issues and ended up not being drafted. Starting the season with the Miami Dolphins we were quick to discover that he could produce at the NFL level. By week 2 he was playing over 75% of the offensive snaps. Up until he tore his ACL in week 9 he was producing the same kind of numbers as DeVante Parker. This year Parker has an ADP of WR35 according to Dynasty League Football's August ADP. Whereas Williams is being drafted at WR53! I’m sorry, but for the same production, I am taking Williams at his lower ADP every time. If you want a full in-depth look at how Williams and Parker compared last year you need to check out the recent article on the True North site detailing this dynamic duo.
Coming off his injury, Preston Williams can be acquired for a second-round pick in 2021. I am paying that price every single time!
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside - WR Philadelphia Eagles
Similar to Parris Campbell, J.J. Arcega-Whiteside was a WR drafted in the second round of the NFL draft that had a lot of buzz around him going into the season. He had an average draft position of 2.03 according to Fantasy Football Calculator. Arcega-Whiteside is the perfect combination of size, strength, speed, and the best high-pointing skills of any receiver from last year's draft. Some of you that drafted him may be rolling your eyes … I get it! In a lost year for the Eagles with endless injuries, Arcega-Whiteside was still not able to carve out much production in the offense. The lack of production apparently was attributed to the Eagles trying to teach Arcega-Whiteside every WR position. This may have just been too much information for the rookie to put together - even for a kid from Stanford!
This year, however, there has been nothing but positive reports about how well Arcega-Whiteside has been doing in camp. Yet again the Eagles are riddled with injuries (Alshon Jeffrey, Jalen Reagor). Arcega-Whiteside is likely to be the starting X receiver and he could be walking into a great situation coming into the 2020 season.
I am buying Arcega-Whiteside based on his extremely underwhelming performance and owners' frustration with him. In most leagues, you can buy him for a 2021 third-round pick. You can even have him thrown in on a deal that you are currently working on. If the other manager drafted him last year he may gladly throw him in to get a deal done. Arcega-Whiteside can easily return the value and more of a third-round pick.
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Keep an Eye On
There are some guys that have been getting some buzz at camp that are either low on the depth chart or coming into a situation where they probably won’t see the field very easily.
Van Jefferson - WR Los Angeles Rams
My favorite player in this current situation is Van Jefferson. He has had some positive reports from beat writers and specifically about making big plays in camp. Apparently, he has surpassed Josh Reynolds as the number three receiver on the Rams. All the talk this offseason has been that the Rams are going to be running more twelve personnel sets which will keep Jefferson off the field. I am going to be watching his snap share to see how much and how he is being used in the offense. If he starts to play more, I am going to be buying right away before his value gets too high. Next year Cooper Kupp becomes a free agent and if the Rams don’t re-sign him, Jefferson could slide right into that roll on an offense that is known to throw a lot. Right now, he can be acquired in a package if you throw in an extra 2021 third-round pick on your side of the trade. If he doesn’t do much during the year, I will be buying him everywhere near the end of the season in anticipation of an increased role on the Rams offense.
John Hightower - WR Philadelphia Eagles
In a similar vein to the previously stated J.J.Arcega-Whiteside, if I had room at the end of the roster or on my taxi squad, I am adding Hightower. He has been getting positive reports in camp. With rookie first-round pick Jalen Reagor out with a shoulder injury and a continually banged up aging DeSean Jackson in front of him, Hightower could see some action early in the season. He is probably on your waiver wire or could be acquired for a 2021 fourth-round pick. It won’t be hard to flip him for a third-round pick with one long catch in a game if he gets a chance on the Eagles offense.
Quintez Cephus - WR Detroit Lions
In camp, Cephus has been able to separate and make big catches even going up against this year's number three overall pick Jeff Okudah. I don’t expect Cephus to see the field much this year but as of right now he is the only WR that is under contract for the Lions next year. If his snap share starts rising during the year and he is able to carve out a roll, I will be trying to get him thrown in a trade or attempt to acquire him for a late-round pick. He is a good taxi squad stash if your league permits one.
Cheap Buys For Depth
With the unknown looming on the 2020 season and how Covid-19 will affect a player's availability, depth on your roster's bench could be extremely important this season. We don’t know how quick of a notice we will have before a player may be marked as inactive with Covid-19. If you are the type of manager that wants to have a backup plan on your bench beforehand and have as much depth as possible so you can just “break glass in case of emergency,” here are a few players that you can grab either for free or on the cheap. Some of them may be on your waiver wire depending on league and roster size. Also, if the other managers have rookie fever, they may have cut one of these past productive players for the allure of the rookie one.
Russel Gage - WR Atlanta Falcons
Gage had some decent usage last year in the high volume passing Atlanta offense, once Mohamed Sanu was traded. I like tying myself to a guy that will get targets in a high volume passing offense if I have a player that goes down with an injury.
Steven Sims Jr - WR Washington Football Team
Sims came on at the end of last year showing that he can be a consistent outlet for Dwayne Haskins. He had 29 targets and caught four touchdowns over the final four games of the 2019 season. With a banged-up receiving core in Washington, he could be in line for a lot of work.
James Washington - WR Pittsburgh Steelers
If you are in a dynasty league, Washington most likely won’t be on your waiver wire. However, he is definitely a guy that could be had for a third-round pick. People are down on Washington with the Diontae Johnson hype and rookie fever of Chase Claypool in Pittsburgh. If I need a player on my bench that could erupt for a game or two, Washington could be that guy. He quietly led the Steelers in receiving yards and also accounted for 34% of the team's air yards in 2019. He is the only receiver outside of Juju that has played a full season with Ben Roethlisberger.
Other notable cheap options are: Tre’Quan Smith, Miles Boykin, Greg Ward, Auden Tate (especially if there is an AJ Green Injury), John Ross, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Olabisi Johnson, Randal Cobb.
Thank you for reading this piece and be sure to check out all of the great written work from the team at True North. Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Please leave a comment or message me on Twitter @TheFFAviator
Edited by: Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)
Graphic work: Dan Made Graphics (@DanMadeGraphics)