For my first piece for FootballGuys, I wanted to examine some veteran players that I am currently targeting in my dynasty leagues. Using DynastyLeagueFootball.com’s average draft position for startup drafts, I looked at players that are currently being drafted outside the Top 100 and posted their current draft spot with the player I am trying to acquire on the cheap. They are listed from most expensive to least.
Early in my dynasty career, I made the mistake of stressing youth far too much and ignored players that were potentially past their prime or might not have a lot of productive years ahead of them. I was always planning for the future. But over time, I have wised up and realize that if you can mine a productive veteran or two from your league mates and start that player for even just one season, there is much fantasy yumminess to be had.
When I stressed youth to an overpowering degree, I was often in a bind as to where to put the checkmark when choosing my starters each week. Below are potentially startable players that can get you through and keep you competitive while your young talent grows. And best of all, these players shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg right now.
I was very tempted to include quarterbacks on this list, but refrained, as we know that that is a position that can be very easy to find in typical dynasty leagues. However, if you are a little questionable at that position, look into acquiring Matthew Stafford (127), Philip Rivers (151), Ben Roethlisberger (163), Sam Bradford (231) or Carson Palmer (255). The value of these five far exceeds what it should cost to add them to your squad.
106. Doug Martin
Two years ago Martin ran for over 1,400 yards. After strong mini camp reports, Martin’s stock is on the rise. So maybe the ideal time to acquire Martin at the best rate has come and gone. However, this stock is still set to climb, even with his suspension looming. There just isn’t talent in Tampa Bay’s backfield that can rival Martin, even on Martin’s less-than-best-day. And this offense is set to score more points in 2016. Even though Jameis Winston is on a great pace to start his career and there is much to be enthused about with him, we must not forget that he is still very young and needs a strong running game to lean on. That is exactly why the Buccaneers signed Martin to big money not that long ago. And who knows, after resting the first month of the season, Martin might just be hitting his stride when the fantasy playoffs roll around this year.
117. Brandon Marshall
Yes, Marshall is 33 years old, is coming off a down year and is now on his fifth NFL team. But Marshall dealt with a myriad of injuries last year and frankly, his quarterback situation couldn’t have been worse. Marshall stayed in the Big Apple though and his new team is a very interesting fit. Eli Manning’s play wasn’t all that much better than who Marshall played with in 2016, but Manning remains a master at the line of scrimmage. With the Giants major concerns on their offensive line, it is easy to envision Marshall running slant route after slant route (a staple of Ben McAdoo’s offense) and muscling defenders after the catch. This is an offense that will throw often. Also, with all respect to Odell Beckham who of course will remain New York’s top option, Marshall is quite possibly the Giants best receiving weapon near the goal line. Marshall isn’t done yet. And don’t forget that he racked up over 1,500 yards and 14 touchdowns just two years ago.
131. Delanie Walker
Tight ends hit their stride right around age 29 and the very good ones transform their game and play a very long time. While Walker might not be on a Jason Witten or Antonio Gates Hall of Fame pace to his career, he still should have a lot of football left in him. Walker has over 2,700 receiving yards over the past three seasons. With the additions of Corey Davis and now Eric Decker, Walker’s dynasty owners might be a little more anxious to sell. If you are light at tight end, jump on Marcus Mariota’s favorite target and plug him into your lineup week after week.
136. Adrian Peterson
When in doubt, bet on a truly special talent and a Hall of Fame player. The reports coming out of New Orleans concerning Peterson are glowing, so he might cost you a little more than his ADP indicates right now. The Saints also have a very crowded backfield and two very concerning injuries to Max Unger and especially to Jermon Bushrod. Still, the Saints have invested heavily in their blocking and this is an offense that scores an awful lot of points. The worst-case scenario for Peterson is probably a LeGarrette Blount like 2016 vulture role that he had for New England. The best case for Peterson is yet another monster season like the 1485 yards/11 touchdown campaign from just two years ago. This could be the best supporting cast Peterson has had around him in his remarkable career.
181. Cole Beasley
This is an extremely cheap price for Beasley, who very well could lead the Cowboys in receptions and targets. Jason Witten’s game is gradually falling off and he won’t be around much longer. Dez Bryant should remain a force for some time, but Terrence Williams’ presence isn’t a hindrance to Beasley at all. With a tougher schedule than a year ago and defensive concerns, Dak Prescott surely will have to pass more regularly in his second NFL season. That sure sounds a like of action for Beasley.
226. Jared Cook
Cook has burned dynasty owners in the past, but he should be the third leading receiver in one of the best offenses in the NFL in his new home of Oakland. Talent has never been a problem for Cook and he has field stretching abilities. With the exception of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree obviously, the competition for targets in Oakland really isn’t daunting at all. Playing time and targets shouldn’t be a problem for Cook. But most importantly, he is dirt-cheap right now as your backup tight end.
239. Darren McFadden
This is the clear handcuff to Ezekiel Elliott. In reality, that is all you need to know. But McFadden does have a track record of success in the NFL and is a Jerry Jones favorite. If Elliott even misses one game, McFadden immediately gets inserted into your lineup. If Elliott were to miss extended time, McFadden can win you your league and costs you basically nothing to attain right now. Ask for him as a throw-in to make the numbers work in a bigger trade.
242. Leonte Carroo
Carroo was a massive disappointment during his rookie season. However, there is obvious talent here and the key to stashing Carroo at the bottom of your roster is simple. Jarvis Landry is a free agent after this season and with as much as Miami has already spent on Kenny Stills and with DeVante Parker on board, Landry could be elsewhere in 2018. Then, Carroo might fall nicely into Landry’s role. Carroo might not quite fit the theme of the article as someone you can start this year, but it is way too early to give up on this 23-year-old…especially at a cost next to zero. In fact, check your waiver wires.