The dynasty fantasy football offseason ends next week with the opening of training camp across the NFL. This also marks an end to the opportunity to buy low on some players whose values should rise during the preseason.
Here, four members of the TFA Dynasty Crew each briefly share three players to buy now before they become more expensive in the coming weeks during training camps.
Pre-NFL Training Camp Buys
Justin McCasland – Follow @MaclandJ
Jeremy McNichols is a pre-camp target that shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg but has the chance to emerge in an ambiguous situation. His ADP currently sits at the turn of the 3rd round as the 25th player overall off rookie draft boards. Using the Trade Finder on DLF it looks like McNichols can be had for a throw in on larger trades or around a 2018 2nd & 4th at what I’d consider the top end of his cost. A good rule for the offseason in dynasty is to buy players in confusing backfields that hold talent. McNichols has serious pass catching chops with 103 receptions and over 1,000 yards receiving in his 3 years at Boise State on top of 3,205 yards and 44 TDs in that same timeframe. This is made all the more impressive by only having 17 attempts in 2014 while his team mate stole the show, Jay Ajayi.
With training camp coming up, this is the last chance to buy Kenny Britt at a steal for 2017! The soon to be target leader in an up and coming offense can be had for a serious discount considering the man is more than likely going to put up better numbers than his previous season. Britt is receiving an upgrade in surrounding cast and is going to be playing with his best QB to date unless Brock Osweiler wins out and then I’m going to be ugly crying in the shower. Go throw a 2nd out to the Britt owner in your league, heck sweeten the deal with a 2018 pick! I’ve seen him go for 2017 3rd round picks! This is stealing, people! It wouldn’t shock me to see Britt go for 1,200 yards, 75 receptions, and 6 TDs.
A little bit of a deeper dive for my third recommendation brings up Josh Reynolds. Reynolds has a huge opportunity to take over as the dominant WR1 for LA after Kenny Britt’s departure in free agency. In a situation like this, the chance to earn touches and recognition comes in camp. Nearly everyone is new via free agency or the NFL draft so the playing field is relatively even coming in. Reynolds is a little underweight but has the size and style to play bigger than he is. At Texas A&M he was routinely the most impressive receiver on the field and has upside I just don’t see in his draft counterpart, Cooper Kupp. Josh Reynolds is similar to McNichols in that he can usually be had as a throw in on a larger trade or acquired for a 3rd and some change. Get him before everyone else sees he’s the WR1 for the LA Rams.
Zack Marmer – Follow @leagueedge
Absolutely nobody is talking about Malachi Dupre. Coming into the draft, I had him ranked as my #4 rookie wide receiver, and he landed on an Aaron Rodgers led team. Jordy Nelson is 32 and Davante Adams’ contract expires after this season. Next year, we could be talking about him moving into one of the top-3 spots on the offense, which gives him default fantasy value. Even Davante Adams in his putrid 2015 season held fantasy value. I picked Malachi up for a 4th round pick where I couldn’t snatch him up as an undrafted free agent. Get him now while he is dirt cheap, and hold onto him knowing his situation can only get better. He is the quintessential deep stash.
Sterling Shepard is another long-play. If you can afford to wait, you will acquire a stud receiver buried behind other stud receivers. The arrival of Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram has owners thinking Shepard will be irrelevant. This is from the team that ran more 3-receiver sets than any team in the league last year. Victor Cruz played as much as Marshall will, and Marshall will garner even more defensive attention, leaving Shepard in numerous one-on-one situations. I don’t see a steep drop off for him in his sophomore campaign if any at all. I predict an increase in receptions, just a decrease in touchdowns that will likely be funneled to BMarsh. In a year or two when Marshall is out of the picture, Shepard and OBJ could be the best tandem WRs in the NFL. If you can find an owner that doesn’t want to play the long-game, he may be able to be acquired for little more than a 2nd round pick, which is a steal for someone of his talent.
I have spent all offseason buying Jordan Howard everywhere I can. He isn’t necessarily cheap, but I think this is the last time you will be able to buy him as a non-elite asset. His situation is perfect. He has one of the best offensive lines in football in front of him. He is likely at least two years away from playing with a starting caliber quarterback. Chicago’s defense is also very underrated. This entire team is extremely young, which is probably why John Fox isn’t a good fit. As the team grows, they will lean on Howard to be the workhorse of the team. I would not be even the least bit surprised to see him lead the league in rushing yards this year. Buy him now before you have to pay the Zeke/Bell/DJ price tag for him in a few months.
Frank Gruber – Follow @threedownhack
I’m not even the biggest Carlos Hyde believer but I do believe in capitalizing on market errors. Hyde’s fifth round dynasty startup ADP as RB18 has fallen this offseason although he’s a 25-year-old coming off an RB15 season with Shanahan new to town. People will say, “But Shanahan pounded the table for Joe Williams!” Yes, and they selected Williams in the fourth round. Even UDFA Matt Breida is getting hyped. Meanwhile, there have indeed been positive reports about Hyde. He’s a young incumbent with a top 15 season under his belt and is playing under a new coach with a history of producing RB1s.
There’s a second year WR in Cleveland who could blow up. Nope, Corey Coleman is still struggling with injuries. But Ricardo Louis possesses plus size and athleticism and has people around the team raving about his development. He can still be had as a free agent in many dynasty leagues and has a viable path to CLE’s WR2. The upside is worth the minimal cost. That cost could rise if Louis shows out in camp as he did over the summer and especially if Coleman continues to miss time.
Shout out to Travis May (@FF_TravisM) for this last one, whom Travis made a favorite late round pick of the TFA crew in #SFB7. Many are aware that Baltimore led the NFL last year in pass attempts and that 138 of those league leading 679 attempts are vacated at TE. But few recall that Crockett Gillmore posted 33-412-4 in ten games in 2015 before landing on IR. He’s a 25-year-old former third round pick in a desirable, but muddy, spot which should become clear in camp. While others pay up this offseason for the hyped TE rookies who may take years to produce, buy cheaply into the biggest upside play in the BAL TE unit.
Derek Womack – Follow @derekJwomack
I’m targeting Ameer Abdullah. There was a lot of speculation early in the off-season that Detroit could draft Dalvin Cook or Joe Mixon, then rumors started to circulate that the Lions may have wanted to sign Adrian Peterson. With no high-profile free agent signing, and no early draft capital spent on a running back, it looks like it’s wheels up for Ameer Abdullah in a good offense. He won’t touch the ball 25+ times per game, maybe somewhere around 16-18, but Abdullah is an impressive athlete that will rarely see stacked boxes. Look for Abdullah to make his hay on efficiency in 2017.
The fantasy football community has soured on Kevin White since he was drafted in the first round of 2015. He’s still a relatively unknown player with tons of upside. He’s basically being acquired for free, and is in an offense where playing to his potential would make White the #1 WR in an offense that should see a lot of opposing bodies near the line of scrimmage. Maybe his low price is completely warranted due to his lack of ability to stay on the field, but in his limited action White has proved to be capable of being a solid pass catcher for any fantasy team. Buy him before training camp and people put eyes on the top target for the Bears.
Eric Ebron has been labeled as a “drop guy” since being drafted 10th overall in 2014 but has steadily increased his catch rate in each of his three seasons. While he only had one touchdown in 2016, Ebron managed a respectable 711 yards in only 12 games. His injury past could be used as a knock on the athletic tight end, but with his low current price, his opportunity to lead a good offense in receiving touchdowns, high uber athleticism, Eric Ebron could be the final piece to sew up many starting rosters in any format.