Now just weeks away from NFL Week 1, dynasty fantasy football owners are making transactions to address positional needs. They are buying end of bench lottery ticket RBs and making cuts to hit roster limits.
The importance of these last two points is often understated. Every roster spot is valuable. Yet, every week of the preseason reveals flash in the pan players for whom the dynasty community loses its rationality and objectivity.
Capitalizing on short-term value fluctuations is part of the fun of dynasty fantasy football. But which players are just a preseason flash, and which ones should carry value into the regular season, whether due to talent, situation or both? That is, which lottery tickets are worthy of your last roster spots?
Here are three RBs who can turn you a nice profit relative to their inexpensive price. Each has a rookie draft ADP in the fourth round or later or a startup ADP past 350. They all also meet the criteria of the ideal dynasty stash. They have both talent and a viable path to playing time. ADP data is per MyFantasyLeague.com from August 5 to the present.
De’Angelo Henderson (Rookie ADP: 45) is a sixth-round pick from Coastal Carolina. He is already 24 years old and stands just 5’7″. But he is plenty stout for the NFL at 208-lbs and his BMI is in the top ten percent among NFL RBs.
His agility tests were poor but he consistently makes people miss on the field.
I think I’m gonna enjoy watching De’Angelo Henderson this year. pic.twitter.com/bpT3HrHsr4
— Christian Clark (@cpclark93) August 20, 2017
Henderson reminds me of Dalvin Cook in that respect. Both tested poorly in agility drills. Yet both easily evade tackles with quick, efficient plant-and-go steps and little-wasted motion. This move on #47 reminds me of Cook.
— Dunn (@JMDHeisman) August 11, 2017
Here is another example of Henderson making people miss.
De’Angelo Henderson consistently keeps defenders on their heels pic.twitter.com/8OipTOQJ3g
— Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) August 12, 2017
Henderson’s tested 4.48 speed appears to translate to the field.
— Green Machine (@99RaiderNation) August 11, 2017
De’Angelo Henderson looks to be carving out a role in a depth chart he shares with CJ Anderson, Devontae Booker, and Jamaal Charles. He can be had for the equivalent of a fourth-round rookie pick and offers the upside of starting RB production or a quick flip for profit.
Matt Breida (Rookie ADP: 46)
Joe Williams got most of the offseason RB hype for San Francisco. Now Carlos Hyde’s value is coming on since camp started.
ADPs of Hyde and Williams since camp opened 7/27, i.e., when ‘bang the table’ and surprise cut narratives gave way to actual performance. pic.twitter.com/z705B9fom4
— Frank Gruber (@threedownhack) August 21, 2017
Meanwhile, Matt Breida’s value saw a small bump in early July but is back below 250 in overall ADP and at the end of startup round four.
Similar to Henderson, Matt Breida comes from a small school (Georgia Southern). He did not have the prolific college production of Henderson and is more slight, but is super athletic and a bit younger at a more traditional rookie age of 22 years.
He looks good here taking a draw up the middle.
First thought on Matt Breida – Gets out of stopped position extremely fast. 2nd thought. Someone explain to me how he avg 3.8 YPC last year pic.twitter.com/MTHtiaOhPL
— Adam Spinks (@TheRBScout) August 14, 2017
I also like what he brings to the passing game. Here he lays out for a catch in a scrimmage.
Just 22 college receptions but team likes enough to split him out wide and throw to him v KC. Looks good here alsopic.twitter.com/dxkAfiYXm1
— Frank Gruber (@threedownhack) August 13, 2017
As noted above, Breida also had a reception after being split out wide in a formation in the 49ers preseason game against Kansas City. This suggests that the coaches have confidence in his versatility and ability to create mismatches in the passing game to such an extent that they will specifically scheme it for him. This is a big deal for PPR.
Carlos Hyde is a free agent after this year and was not drafted by the new 49ers staff. Joe Williams is a fourth-round pick who quit football while in college. Breida makes for an intriguing, cheap stash.
Corey Grant (Startup ADP: N/A) does not have an ADP in the top 350. He is a 25-year-old, third-year former undrafted free agent with Jacksonville. Though slight at 5-11 and 201-lbs, he averaged 7.9 yards per carry at Auburn. His athleticism is in the 97th percentile among NFL RBs. He is fast, bursty, agile and strong.
In 17 career NFL appearances over two seasons, he ran for 32-164-1 (5.1 ypc) and caught 6-48-1. Most of this came in Week 17 of last season when he posted an 18-122-1 rushing line and caught 2-15-0.
Here we see some wiggle but more clearly see Grant’s breakaway speed.
— NFL Latino (@NFLlatino) August 11, 2017
Leonard Fournette has been sidelined for two weeks with a foot injury and has been ruled out of Jacksonville’s preseason Week 3 game against Carolina. Injuries limited Fournette to just seven games last year at LSU.
Journeyman Chris Ivory is also missing time due to injury, leading to an expectation of an increased workload for Grant.
With TJ Yeldon the only other RB on the Jaguars roster, an opportunity may arise for Grant to build on last year’s Week 17 performance. I believe that he has the talent to give dynasty owners a chance to ride out some production for a few weeks or turn a tidy profit.
Rookie Chris Carson is the latest RB to create a buzz out of Seattle. He is a talented, hard runner and is fun to watch. Here is an especially entertaining run from last year at Oklahoma State.
Chris Carson trucking 2 TCU defenders back-to-back. The NFL may need to do something to prevent injuries to defenders when Carson is around. pic.twitter.com/rLai6wkpQI
— Field Gulls (@FieldGulls) August 10, 2017
Carson could easily displace Alex Collins but his best case is looking at the RB4 spot for the Seahawks – not worth a roster spot now but he is someone to monitor.
Rod Smith is a 6-3, 226-lb bruiser with good feet and a powerful attitude, but the Cowboys appear to be content to ride out Darren McFadden during Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension. Smith does not seem to have a path to playing time within a time window that dynasty owners should be willing to hold him.
Any other deep RB stashes you like? Thoughts on these players? Find me on twitter; I’m always looking to talk ball.