Posted 12/20 by Sigmund Bloom, Jeff Pasquino, and Will Grant, Exclusive to Footballguys.com
The purpose of this column is to spotlight deeper roster moves that could pay
off big over the course of the season. Unless stated in a player's write up,
we're not looking for one-week wonders here, but shark moves that could really
strengthen your team down the road.
Dynasty Watch focuses on low risk; huge payoff roster moves that you might
be able make before the guys in your league think about it. This aim of this
column is to make you look like a genius to the other owners in your league.
When news breaks and the other owners are scrambling to make a waiver wire move,
we want them to be upset time and time again that the player is already on your
Matt Schaub, QB, Atlanta Falcons
What has he done so far:
Matt has made a name for himself around the NFL despite barely seeing the field
in his first three years. Schaub did have one standout game against a banged
up Patriots secondary in 2005 (18/34/298/3/0), but has otherwise been quiet
when he has gotten regular season action. The preseason is where the Virginia
has stood out the most - making the Falcons pass offense hum in a way that Michael
Vick simply can not.
We all know Michael Vick is not going anywhere. Schaub's future is as a starter.
Atlanta should offer him a tender that would require a team to give at least
their first round pick. He could start in 2007, but only if Atlanta trades him.
Probably 2008, but don't count 2007 out. The biggest variable is the progress
of D.J. Shockley. If Shockley seems ready to be a backup (A weighty question
-Vick hasn't proven to be the most durable, although he's held up well this
year), then the Falcons should seek to cash in Schaub's value by acquiring 2007
pick(s) for him. It is almost a certainty that Schaub would be given a chance
to start by wherever he lands if he hits the open market in 2008 - there are
just too few starting quality QBs in the league right now.
Schaub is not very mobile, and he doesn't have the deep arm to light up a defense
with 50 yard smart bombs. These factors keep him from having top QB1 upside.
He is a tall, sturdy, smart, accurate passer that would flourish in a west coast
offense. The much maligned Falcons receiving corps really perked up when Schaub
was in. It would not be shocking to see Schaub crack the top 15 QBs in the right
Now that Tarvaris Jackson and Jay Cutler are starting, Schaub is clearly the
most valuable backup QB. He's an especially good value in initial dynasty drafts,
and should be targeted by any team looking for long term help at the QB position.
David Thomas, TE, New England Patriots
What has he done so far:
Drafted by the Patriots in the third round this past April, Thomas has seen
limited action at TE as he started the year third on the depth chart behind
Ben Watson and Daniel Graham. Prior to Week 14, Thomas had just three catches
on eight targets for a combined 52 yards, but New England does use the tight
end as a big portion of their passing game. Tom Brady has struggled to find
competent receivers this season, so the TE is even a bigger factor this year.
Ben Watson was out last week with an injury, and second string TE Daniel Graham
was also not at full strength. Graham had no targets last week, but Thomas had
three, catching all of them for a combined 24 yards. As December wears on, Thomas'
involvement could increase as he could move up a rung on the depth chart for
December could be the time that Thomas demonstrates what he could bring as
a starter for an entire season. As the Patriots and Tom Brady modify their offense
and the Patriots' passing offense, the tight end appears to be more important
than a second wide receiver. Ben Watson looks to be the starter for a few seasons,
but in some schemes such as Tennessee and San Francisco, two TEs can coexist
and be productive.
Ben Watson is a major road block for Thomas' production for New England. Should
Watson get hurt or if two TEs becomes a more common formation for the Patriots,
the door may squeak open for Thomas to come in and put up moderately productive
stats for 2007 and beyond.
New England has had a rough time finding a decent group of receivers ever since
WR Deion Branch left Foxboro. Reche Caldwell has tried to fill the role of #1
WR, but in reality Ben Watson was a much bigger part of the offense and also
became the go to receiver to Tom Brady. Now, if Watson falters or sustains a
more lasting injury, the second TE becomes a bigger contributor right away.
Dave "Biggie Size" Thomas may keep opposing defensive coordinators
up all night game planning against the young tight end.
Tim Rattay, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What has he done so far:
Rattay began the 2005 season as the starter for San Francisco, but eventually
lost his job to Alex Smith and he was traded to Tampa. He never saw the field
as Chris Simms eventually took over the starting job in Tampa. During his time
in San Francisco, Rattay threw for almost 4000 yards, 28 TDs and 18 Interceptions
in five seasons.
Rattay took over for struggling rookie Bruce Gradkowski last week against Chicago
and brought the Bucs back from being down 24-3 to eventually tie the game at
31 and force an overtime. Tampa eventually lost the game but not before Rattay
threw for 268 yards, 3 TDs and 1 pick. He's been named the starter for this
week's game against Cleveland. Unless he totally self-destructs, he will probably
start the final two games of the season.
The next two games will be the key. Rattay never blew anyone away with his
performances in San Francisco, and when Chris Sims was lost for the season back
in week 1, the Bucs went with a sixth round rookie QB instead of him. No one
gave him much chance against one of the toughest defenses in the NFL, yet Rattay
really came through. Now he faces a weak Cleveland team with the chance to show
his stuff again. If he performs well, he could be rewarded with a game against
Seattle who will be looking to rest up for the playoffs in the final game of
the season. The potential is there for Tim do enough to give him a shot for
the 2007 season.
Hard to say at this point. It's probably a safe bet to assume that Rattay isn't
the kind of QB that can put up 250 yards and 3 TDs each and every week. His
performances for the 49ers were sporadic at best, posting 165 yards, 2 TDs,
and no INTs one week, and 107 yards, 0 TDs and 3 INTs the next. Even if he can
run the table this season, his best hope in Tampa would be a QB competition
to start the 2007 season. He could also change teams during the off season and
begin the whole process over again.
It all starts with his performance over the next two games. If Rattay can run
the table for Tampa and finish strong, he'll be worth having on your roster
for the start of the 2007 season. Most dynasty leagues have written Rattay off.
He hasn't shown that consistency that it takes to be a solid fantasy QB. One
solid performance against Chicago doesn't erase six seasons of mediocrity either.
But the potential is there. NFL teams have proven that they will give a QB with
minimal success a fat contract and a chance to start. Why not Rattay as well?
Stranger things have happened. Watch his performance over the next two games
and see if you can pick him up for nothing over the off season. At the minimum,
he should be a handcuff to having Simms as a QB until Gradkowski proves that
he can make it as an NFL QB.
You Should Already Be Watching
D.J. Hackett, WR, Seattle Seahawks - Darrell Jackson's injury has opened
the door for Hackett. He caught eight passes for 87 yards vs. San Francisco
and was clearly Matt Hasselbeck's favorite receiver in the first half. Hackett
was also targeted in the end zone on a Hasselbeck interception. D.J. is showing
that he can be a reliable possession receiver in addition to being a lethal
downfield threat. Hackett will be starting for someone by 2008.
Martin Nance, WR, Minnesota Vikings - Nance experienced a freefall after
getting hurt on his pro day. He ended up being one of the more surprising players
to go undrafted this year. Buffalo signed him to a contract, but cut him at
the end of training camp. The WR poor Vikings were happy to snap him up the
next day. Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target at Miami-Ohio could get targets
Thursday vs. Green Bay because starters Travis Taylor and Marcus Robinson and
backups Troy Williamson, Bethel Johnson, and Billy McMullen are nothing special.
It wouldn't take much for the clutch long-framed WR to move up the depth chart.
Tarvaris Jackson, QB, Minnesota Vikings - Thursday night will be monumental
for the rookie Vikings quarterback. Brad Johnson was pulled for the third time
this year, and he appears to be down for the count. Jackson entered the Week
14 game against the New York Jets with just one play to go in the third quarter,
then took all the snaps from center in the final period. He had a strong afternoon(14-23-177-1-1,
20 yards rushing), making quick decisions and zipping the ball often to WRs
Travis Taylor and Troy Williamson along with short passes to RB Mewelde Moore.
Jackson also showed his running ability, gaining 20 yards on three runs. Jackson
looks to have all the tools to become a solid starting QB in the NFL, and his
physical talents and strong mental attitude positions him to become the leader
of the Vikings for years to come.
Cleo Lemon, QB, Miami Dolphins - Lemon came in for a struggling Joey
Harrington in the fourth quarter in Week 14 against Buffalo. Lemon performed
adequately (9-16-98-0-0), and with the instability at that position in Miami
the table is set for Lemon to show what he can do for the Dolphins. Miami is
officially out of the running for the postseason, so Weeks 16 and 17 could be
a nice stage for Lemon to show what he can do going towards 2007. With questions
about Harrington's ability and Daunte Culpepper's health, Lemon may move up
the depth chart quickly prior to next season.
Brandon Marshall, WR, Denver Broncos - We first talked about Marshall
back in week 8, talking about how big his upside is. He had an impressive performance
last week when he caught 5 passes for 58 yards and ran for another 6 against
Arizona. With Javon Walker limited because of a severe separated shoulder, Marshall
should see plenty of opportunities between now and the end of the season. He's
an excellent prospect with good size, speed and hands. He makes an excellent
target for a rookie QB like Cutler, and has a ton of potential to really showcase
his stuff over the next two weeks.
Robert Royal, TE, Buffalo Bills - Three TD receptions in three games
lands Royal onto the list for consideration in a dynasty league. Royal never
did much to be a serious fantasy consideration when he was in Washington, but
the move to Buffalo has done him some good. He's already posted career bests
in receptions, yards and receptions of 20 yards or more. He is 1 TD off his
career high 4 as well. The Bills don't throw the ball a ton, and when they do,
it's usually to Lee Evans. However, a TE who is targeted in the red zone doesn't
need a ton of receptions to be effective, and Royal is quickly proving that
he can be that guy.