Dynasty Shopping Mall - Injured WRs

  Posted 9/2 by Jeff Tefertiller, Exclusive to Footballguys.com

Just like any other shopping mall, this one will have different products at different levels of quality and price. In this series, we will shop around at different stores like Bloomingdales, Macy's, Sears, even the Dollar Store and look for products to buy. The focus will be on value. Many times the expensive products are worth the price. Some times they are not. We will examine opportunities to buy at a reasonable price compared to value. The products we are purchasing are fantasy players for our dynasty team. This study will examine purchasing injured wide receivers for your fantasy team. The preseason was especially hard on the receiver position. Several key players at the position got nicked up. With the season in its early stages, this is the ideal time to buy these wideouts and stash for later in the season when the player is healthy. Given the longer timeline in dynasty leagues, injuries create value situations to buy a player.

Deion Branch

Deion Branch has had difficulty staying off of the injured list throughout his career. Branch did have some solid seasons in New England before coming to the Great Northwest. Seattle needs to get Branch healthy to have any chance at going deep into the playoffs. When we look back at the 2007 game logs, we notice some very strong games for Branch when healthy. This gives us reason for optimism. He is the only established receiver who will be with the team long-term.

  • Outlook: Deion Branch will start the 2008 season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PuP) list. This means he misses at least the first six weeks of the season. The Seahawks only have Nate Burleson and Bobby Engram (and Engram is hurt, too) as viable receivers on the team. Yes, they have some young prospects, but none have developed enough to be relied upon for an established role in the offense.
  • Store: Old Navy.
  • Price: A 2009 2nd round pick or a good prospect.
  • Recommendation: Buy if you can acquire Branch at a reasonable price. With the reoccurring injuries, Branch has some risk. For this reason, it is necessary to not overpay. But, Deion Branch knows the offense and should be able to help fantasy owners for the playoff run.

Miles Austin

Miles Austin made his mark with the Dallas Cowboys on special teams. His combination of size and speed helped Austin become a good returner. But, in the preseason, it was obvious that Austin had developed as a receiver. He "plucked" the ball out of the air and caught the football with his hands. In the second preseason game, Austin abused Bronco cornerback Foxworth on two plays in the same drive. On the first, Austin made a great adjustment to a Brad Johnson pass for a big game. This was on a stop and go pattern that was underthrown. Then, the young receiver made a great reception in the corner of the endzone for a touchdown. In the game, Miles Austin looked as though he could actually be a viable starting wide receiver in the NFL. He has tremendous potential and the Denver game gave hope that the young Cowboy could actually reach his potential. With the high ankle sprain to Sam Hurd, Austin could get a great opportunity when he comes back. Much will depend on if and how the Cowboys address the position the next few weeks.

  • Outlook: The Dallas Cowboys have been searching for a WR2/3 since the Terry Glenn injury. With Terrell Owens firmly entrenched on one side, the team would like a young wideout to emerge so they can move Patrick Crayton to the slot. Austin should miss at least the first three weeks of the season, which will slow his development. But, fantasy owners need to keep on eye on Miles Austin when he gets healthy.
  • Store: Dollar Store
  • Price: Waiver Wire.
  • Recommendation: Buy if you have the roster space for a few weeks. Austin is a player that could emerge in 2008. Sam Hurd is not the playmaker that Austin appears to be. The Cowboys want one of their young players to develop into a reliable receiver. Miles Austin could be that guy.

Bobby Engram

Bobby Engram was considered to be a fantasy factor in 2008. He was slated to be the Seahawks' leading receiver, but was injured in preseason. It is not yet known when the veteran will return from injury, but it is assumed to be around midseason. Given that Engram is well into his 30s, healing time is not as swift as it was when he was younger. Many fantasy owners expected a good fantasy season from the veteran, especially in PPR leagues where Engram excelled in 2007.

  • Outlook: Engram is ideally suited to be a slot receiver more than lining up on the outside. With Branch already sidelined, the aging veteran was going to be heavily relied upon in 2008. Matt Hasselbeck looks to Engram for the clutch reception. This will not change even when both Branch and Engram return to the lineup.
  • Store: Sears
  • Price: A 2009 3rd round pick and a decent prospect.
  • Recommendation: Hold or Sell. Engram has lost most of his value since he will not be playing in the games Branch misses. At his age, Bobby Engram may not have many years left with top production. The Seattle Seahawks were wise not to give Engram the contract extension he was seeking this past offseason. He may be at the tail end of his career.

David Clowney

David Clowney is a player that many NFL fans are not familiar with. He is in his second season out of Virginia Tech. Clowney is very athletic and fast. The former Hokie was having a great preseason for the New York Jets before injuring his shoulder and collarbone area. In fact, Clowney was leading the league in preseason receiving yardage when injured. He offers the Jets something they have been looking for, deep speed. Yes, Laveranues Coles once had speed, but not anymore.

  • Outlook: Clowney will probably not be a factor until later in the 2008 season, if even then. By that time Coles might still be nicked up and the team will need the deep threat in David Clowney. The Jets cannot rely on Brad Smith and Chansi Stuckey to be the WR3 for the team. After letting Justin McCareins go back to the Titans, the Jets are short on receivers who can make plays even though the McCareins was a colossal disappointment in New York.
  • Store: Dollar Store
  • Price: Waiver Wire
  • Recommendation: Wait. Given that we do not know the time period for return, it is advisable to wait until later in the season to pick up Clowney. As the 2008 fantasy season progresses, make sure to remember to pick up David Clowney when he is cleared to practice. In larger leagues, he is a good prospect to stash even now. The former Hokie is a definite sleeper in dynasty leagues going into 2009.

Kevin Curtis

Kevin Curtis impressed many with his strong 2007. Yes, he had one great game and little else, but the season totals were respectable. Curtis came to Philadelphia after being the slot receiver in St. Louis for a few years. The former Ram was expected to be a strong fantasy WR2 or WR3 for many fantasy teams in 2008. But, he recently had surgery to correct a sports hernia and is expected to miss roughly half of the season.

  • Outlook: The Eagles drafted DeSean Jackson to be an additional deep threat in the offense. Reggie Brown is a reliable wideout and the team needed another weapon for Donovan McNabb. Eagle tight end, L.J. Smith, had a similar injury last season and really never was productive throughout the 2007 season. This should strike fear in most Curtis owners, no matter what is reported. The sports hernia injuries are some that each player recovers at a different rate. The injury just happened and the recovery time should be extended for players taking big hits.
  • Store: Bloomingdales
  • Price: 2009 1st round pick or 2009 2nd and a good prospect.
  • Recommendation: Hold or sell. Many really like the former Ram, but his 2007 stats were skewed by the one huge, fluke game. If you are inclined to buy, you might wait until after the first five or six games. But, if there is a setback (like with L.J. Smith), the price could drop even further.

Like everything else in life, fantasy owners worry too much about what a player has done recently. Players that are injured to begin the season offer value as most will be back in shape and in prime condition by midseason. In addition, since it is a dynasty league, owners only lose the the ability to start the injured players in year one. The price of these injured players usually comes with a substantial reduction in asking price. Injuries are just one way a fantasy owner can buy a solid player at a discounted price. Many injured players present good value for the fantasy owner. Young receivers James Jones and Ben Obomanu are other injured receivers to consider acquiring. Jones will miss several games with an injury sustained in preseason. He is a playmaker in the Packer offense. This might be a great opportunity to buy Jones at a reasonable price. Obomanu played well last season and preseason this year. He is merely a stash in larger leagues.