The preseason games have started and situations are so fluid. This article will look at players whose values are changing rapidly. Recent news of injuries, suspensions, and changes in situation affect dynasty values. These changes in value are happening in dynasty leagues, not necessarily the opinion of this writer. We will examine five players whose values are climbing, five whose are falling, and five players who have seen their dynasty value become almost non-existent.
Players with Climbing Values
Brandon Marshall – The trade to re-unite the talented receiver with quarterback Jay Cutler has given fantasy owners hopes that the duo will duplicate the numbers they put up in Denver. Marshall eclipsed 100 catches thrice as a Bronco and should be able to repeat the feat as a Bear. The poor quarterback play in Miami kept the athletic receiver from ever reaching his potential. On the other side of the coin, Chicago – and Cutler – have been anxiously awaiting a receiver to step up and be the unquestioned WR1 for the team. But, it never happened so the Bears acquired Marshall after he fell out of favor with the Dolphins. His value is on the rise, with owners asking Top 5 dynasty value in return.
Antonio Brown – Brown just signed a big extension with the Steelers. A contract teammate Mike Wallace thought to be too little. After a deal with Wallace could not be reached, Pittsburgh approached Brown. Now, it appears Wallace could holdout into the season ... and be a free agent in 2013. This opens the door WIDE OPEN for Brown. The youngster is only 24 years old and has a bright future. He eclipsed the 1,100-yard mark in only his second season. Further optimism comes from Todd Haley's return as offensive coordinator. Haley has been a pass-happy coordinator whose offenses have produced strong fantasy WR1s. A couple of months ago, Brown traded for a future first round pick in dynasty leagues. Now, he is considered a Top 12-15 player at his position by many owners. The new contract has solidified Brown's future as a Steeler – and Wallace's future playing elsewhere next season – if not traded before.
Jacquizz Rodgers - Jacquizz Rodgers is slated to be a fantasy factor this season. His backfield partner, Michael Turner, faded down the stretch last year and the coaching staff has often stated their desire to scale back Turner's workload to better conserve him for the playoff run. Also, the Atlanta coaching staff stated their belief that Rodgers is a three-down back. A recent ESPN article spoke of Rodgers playing a three-down role in the offense. In that same article, coach Smith went on to say how Rodgers was short, but not small. Lastly, there have been hints that Atlanta will employ an up tempo, no huddle offense more this season. If so, expect Rodgers - not Turner - to be on the field in these situations. The Falcons love Rodgers and so should dynasty owners. The end is quickly coming for Turner and Atlanta wants to utilize the skill set of shifty Rodgers in an optimal way. Rodgers is considered a Top 10-15 fantasy running back to his owners.
Rashad Jennings – Jennings was placed on Injured Reserve prematurely last season. He suffered a mild knee sprain in the 2011 preseason. The bruising tailback now says he was healthy midway through last year, but could not return because of his placement on IR. With the Maurice Jones-Drew holdout, Jennings is seeing first team reps. He has averaged 5.4 yards per carry in his short career (123 carries) and is in the last year of his contract. The Jaguars thought enough of Jennings that the team released last year's backup Deji Karim. With no end to the Jones-Drew holdout in sight, Jennings' value is quickly nearing a future first round pick, and even more to the Jones-Drew owner. All of the comments coming out of the Jacksonville training camp have been positive so this dynasty value could rise even further if Jones-Drew does not report by week one. The team has stated they will not extend their star ball carrier and reports have stated that the sides have not talked in a while. The team has Jones-Drew over a barrel and all sides know it. The superstar is trying to create leverage ... and Jennings is the beneficiary.
Jacob Tamme – Many forget that Tamme caught 67 passes after Dallas Clark was injured in 2010. After Peyton Manning signed his big contract in Denver, he pined for the Broncos to add the athletic tight end. Tamme has been, and will continue to be, Manning's security blanket. He is still only 27 years old, and has a bright future. Reports out of Denver have been high on the pass-catching tight end. Further, some beat writers have opined that Tamme could lead the team in receptions. Dynasty owners have taken notice. Tamme has a value at the top of the tier after the Top 7 tight ends (Graham, Gronkowski, Hernandez, Vernon Davis, Witten, Gates, and Fred Davis). Some owners even consider the new Bronco in that tier as long as Manning is healthy. Their rationale is that Manning made Clark a top fantasy tight end and he will do the same for Tamme. As the summer as progressed, the buzz around the Manning-to-Tamme combination has increased.
Players with Falling Values
Kenny Britt – What could cause the value of such a talented wide receiver to fall? Well, three knee surgeries in the past ten months and eight arrests since his selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. Britt is an amazing talent who relies on his speed and athleticism. The knee surgeries are a huge concern because it could limit his ability to get deep ... and possibly shorten a bright career. The legal woes are also a worry with the strong arm of Roger Goodell looming. Britt is expecting a multi-game suspension after his last DUI arrest. Before the last surgery and arrest, the former Rutgers star was considered a Top 5 dynasty receiver. Now, his owners would be lucky to get Top 12 value in return. There is simply too much risk. The drafting of Kendall Wright this past April could be a sign that Tennessee might cut ties after the 2013 season, the last of his rookie contract. The bright side is that Britt is only 23 years old and could turn his life around at any time. He is a gamble many dynasty owners are avoiding.
Greg Little – Little languished as a rookie last year with Colt McCoy under center. After Cleveland drafted Brandon Weeden in April, many had high hopes for Little. The offense now has a strong running game with the addition of Trent Richardson and a strong-armed rookie passer. But, hopes were dashed after the Browns used a 2013 2nd round pick in the Supplemental Draft on Josh Gordon. Gordon is a superior athlete to Little. In a situation where Little was considered the lone viable pass target, and a breakout candidate, he is merely another young receiver with potential. Many dynasty owners spent a high first round rookie pick on Little a year ago, and thought this could be the year he explodes, now the second-year receiver will not even fetch a future first of a top team. The time is quickly coming where he will be traded for a future second round pick and a lesser prospect.
Chris Wells – Why would a player who finished as hot as Wells did in 2011 see his dynasty value falling? The answer starts with a nagging knee injury from a "minor" surgery several months ago, and Wells was just cleared to play last Tuesday. Add in that last year's high draft pick Ryan Williams is healthy from his Patellar injury and is tearing up training camp. The coaches are hoping to get Wells back on the field in a couple of weeks, but he said he was only 75% healthy just two weeks ago. Not a good sign. Add in that Williams is a dynamic player when healthy and could have the starting job locked up before Wells returns. The former Ohio State star has seen his value tumble to the RB25 range. If dynasty owners are going to gamble on the Cardinal running back, it will be at a cheap price.
Roy Helu – The news for Helu owners has been getting worse all offseason. First Coach Shanahan states that injured Tim Hightower is the starter. Then, the plodding Evan Royster starts the first preseason game. Helu flashed potential as a rookie last year, but is not seen as an every-down player by the coaching staff. They see him as a third-down/passing down back. While anything can happen in Washington with the Shanahans, Helu is seeing his once-promising upside evaporate even though he is easily the most talented of the three Redskin ball carriers.
Rashard Mendenhall – Mendenhall is coming off a major knee injury and had voiced his hopes of starting the season in the lineup. He is coming into a contract year and wants to cash in on a big deal, whether in Pittsburgh or elsewhere. Well, the news out of Steeler camp is that Mendenhall will begin the season on the PuP list, meaning he will miss the first six games of the season. Add in the positive buzz surrounding Isaac Redman and dynasty owners are selling Mendenhall for pennies on the dollar. Unless he gets healthy and regains the starting gig, the former first round pick will have minimal dynasty value.
Players with Disappearing Values
Jahvid Best – Best has flashed immense potential as a professional. He is able to make big plays in the wide-open Lion offense. The issue is the high number of big concussions. Just a few days ago, Coach Schwartz stated that he expects Best back in "weeks, not days" so fantasy owners should temper expectations. With Mikel Leshoure out the first two games of the season serving a suspension, there was thought to be a golden opportunity for the former Cal star to assert himself. Now, it looks like Best will be lucky to be on the field when Leshoure gets back. Even if he gets to play again this year, one more big hit and Best's career could be over.
Mike Williams – After a letdown of a sophomore season, the Buccaneers overpaid for Vincent Jackson. As the WR2 in a run-oriented offense, fantasy expectations are very low for Williams. The positive news about Jackson throughout training camp – and relative silence regarding Williams – should be a sign to move the third-year pro while you can. He is talented, but needs to be motivated to stay fit and further develop. Let another owner worry about Williams' motivation.
Matt Flynn – Yes, the ex-Packer received a lot of money from the Seahawks. Yes, Flynn was brought in to be the starter. But, he has not distanced himself from the erratic Tarvaris Jackson or rookie Russell Wilson. On a team with Terrell Owens as its best pass catcher, the Seattle quarterback will struggle to put up big passing numbers. Further, if Flynn continues his disappointing play, Wilson will start many games this season. It is best to trade Flynn while you can if you can.
James Starks – Starks' value was dropping like a rock anyway, but his poor training camp and rough outing in the first preseason game led the Packers to sign Cedric Benson this past weekend. If Green Bay thinks Benson is an upgrade, how much can Starks really be worth in dynasty leagues? He was already showing poorly in practice, so this signing came as no surprise. The Packer running back position offers marginal upside for fantasy owners, but Starks will hit the waiver wire in most leagues very soon.
LeGarrette Blount – The oft-troubled back was hopeless in the passing game last year. As the team's lone legitimate ball carrier, Blount still did not even play half of his team's snaps last season. He offers little as a blocker and as a receiver. For this reason, Tampa Bay – and its new coaching staff – traded up in April's NFL Draft to select Doug Martin. The rookie is a three-down player, one hand-picked by the new regime. He will be given every opportunity to touch the ball 300 times this year. Blount is nothing more than a two-down handcuff at this point. If the rookie has a strong preseason, expect Blount to be dropped in many leagues.