Dynasty Fantasy Football – Mr. Irrelevants?
February 26, 2014 | Chad Scott
When you’re staring down the barrel of a 25-round dynasty startup draft – in its last round – and are left with a who’s who of dynasty prospects, the entire board seems ‘meh’ningless. You’re temptations lure you into selecting a longtime journeyman or players who haven’t made good on their supposed upside. These underachievers are ill-equipped to make any significant contributions for you or your new, neat-o fantasy team. The ‘sensible’ side of your brain tells you to draft guys like Mohamed Sanu or Leonard Hankerson because it’s ‘safe’ and/or you have the dreaded “My Last Pick Doesn’t Matter” Syndrome. Shame on you…
In 2013 startups, guys like Marvin Jones, Jarrett Boykin and Julian Edelman could be had as your last pick – better yet, cherry-picked off the already slim free agent list. Every pick matters… in every round. If you feel like you might be experiencing MLPDM Syndrome, stand up, go to your fridge and grab the best, locally-brewed libation said fridge has to offer. Sit back down and remind yourself you’re too good for this sort of condition – then, proceed on commending yourself for having the wherewithal to drink through this ominous stage and make your next (and last) selection count.
Here’s a short list of players – largely undrafted and currently not owned – who could very well be the lottery tickets Rich and I so often talk about on the Faked Goods Podcast (shameless plug).
Dwight Jones, WR NYJ
Dwight Jones was signed by the New York Jets, giving us what could possibly be the feel good story of the 2014 fantasy season.
The now 25-year old receiver (6-3, 230 pounds) was out of football after signing his first NFL contract one month prior. The former North Carolina Tar Heel signed with the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2012 after catching 12 touchdowns his final collegiate season. In the midst of all this, Jones was dealing with every parents’ nightmare – a son born with multiple medical issues coupled with a bleak prognosis.
In May of 2012, Jones informed the Texans he was walking away from the game of football to be with his family. Later, he stated football wasn’t a priority any longer – he wasn’t able to focus on the game he loved.
With his son’s tragic death, Jones found strength in his memory and his passion for football was reborn. But, before he could attend any tryouts for other NFL teams, Jones needed to secure his release from the Texans. They granted it and here we are…
Jones worked out for the Jets in mid-December and was signed to their practice squad just hours after. The receiver in a linebacker’s body (4.5 40-yard dash time) told local media it was his best work out since his son’s death.
Looking at what the Jets currently have at the wide receiver position, Jones has a chance to not only make the 53-man game day roster, but have the opportunity to contribute to your fantasy team(s).
As OurLads.com has it now, the only noteworthy names ahead of Jones on the depth chart are: Santonio Holmes (expected to be released), Jeremy Kerley and Stephen Hill (farts). Others include: Clyde Gates, Salim Hakim and Vidal Hazelton. These names should provide all the motivation Jones needs to carve out some playing time despite the two-year bereavement.
In his final two seasons at North Carolina, Jones amassed 147 receptions for 2,142 yards and 16 touchdowns. Not to throw cold water on you, but he did have T.J. Yates (Texan connection) throwing to him in 2010. The derpiest of derps.
In 2011, UNC quarterbacks threw for a total of 26 touchdowns. Jones came down with 12 of those for a ridiculous 46% of his team’s passing touchdowns. Not too shabby for a guy who had Giovani Bernard as a teammate that year.
There’s a never-ending Twitter topic relating to market shares when discussing NFL prospects. Without going complete nerd-mode on you, I assume 46% is a decent market share.
What’s left is the only real question: Will the Jets draft one of the incoming wide receiver studs early or will they pass on the position until later in the draft? Either way, Jones deserves a spot both on your dynasty squad and in your heart. I’ll be pulling for him…
Chris Matthews, WR SEA
Chris Matthews was signed by the Seattle Seahawks last week giving them the big-bodied wide receiver they and Russell Wilson so desperately need. (OK, they won the Super Bowl, so desperate might not be the word here…)
Matthews, a junior college transfer, played his final two seasons at the University of Kentucky where he led the SEC in reception touchdowns (9) during his senior season. Like Jones, Matthews went undrafted by NFL teams, but was signed by the Cleveland Browns as an undrafted free agent. Unlike Jones, Matthews was cut, despite turning some heads of NFL brass.
With his career in tow, Matthews took his talents north of the border and signed a deal with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In his rookie campaign (2012), Matthews set the CFL on fire. He had 81 receptions for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns en route to his Rookie of the Year honors. Last year, Matthews’ season was derailed by turf toe and was shut down after playing in just four games.
Speed and flash aren’t in his repertoire. What he lacks in speed, he makes up for in physicality and grit – Matthews is 6-5, 227 pounds of man. In his Pro Day, he ran a 4.57 40-yard dash but impressed in the 3-cone drill, clocking in at 6.90 seconds. That time would put Matthews in the ranges of Jordan Matthews (6.95), Devin Street (6.89) and Davante Adams (6.82).
While not as sexy of a drill as the 40-yard dash, the 3-cone is primarily run to evaluate the agility, quickness and fluidity of movement of players. Standing at 6-5, his time tells us he’s a giant with moves like Jagger.
Before we can get too excited about Matthews’ prospects as a Seahawk, we need to remember this is an offense whose identity is to run the ball – and run it often. They ran the ball 509 times in 2013 (second-most in the NFL) while passing only 420 times (second-least in the NFL).
What the ‘Hawks didn’t have in 2013 was a true red zone threat at receiver – Matthews could be just that. His ability to block out opposing defenders and high point the ball makes him a super-sexy sleeper heading into 2014.
It’s no surprise Seattle isn’t rich with wide receiver talent or size. Sidney Rice (6-4) was the tallest of the group, but missed the entire 2013 season and looks to be a salary cap causality in the near future. Golden Tate (5-10) is an unrestricted free agent and Doug Baldwin (5-11) is a restricted free agent. Folks in the know believe Rice is all but gone and Tate will command more money than the ‘Hawks can afford. Baldwin will most likely be re-signed and start alongside Percy Harvin (5-11) and Jermaine Kearse (6-1).
The ‘Hawks will draft another wide receiver in May and could very well select another player with similar size/attributes to Matthews.
Nonetheless, when you’re left with crumbs at the dynasty draft table, make sure to leave enough room for guys like these to make an impact for your run to Titletown.