I’m a believer in that skill gets you to the playoffs, but luck gets you through them. Case in point, just look at last weekend. If you made it to Week 14 with Derrick Henry in your lineup, congrats; because you’re still alive today…somehow. The plan for Week 16? It’s rather simple – don’t get cute and just start your guys. If you may be in a Kansas City, Charger, Pittsburgh, etc. fueled jam then speculating on someone like Kalen Ballage is justified. Let the inactive report drive your decisions this week though. The season for show-me week’s is over and teams may start to tweak their game plans based on their place in the standings (i.e. Leonard Fournette last week) so just play your best players and let the cards play as they may.
This week’s Flavors of the Week are: Crock Pot meals – set them then forget about them until next season. I’m devoting this space this week to potential dynasty stashes for 2019. Note: some of these players may not be available in your league. Every league is different and that’s especially true for those who play dynasty. This article will be geared towards those in moderate depth-to-deeper dynasty formats and not more shallow keepers. In no particular order, away we go:
Kalen Ballage, RB, Miami
I mentioned him earlier as a potential waiver play for Week 16, but I’m much more interested in his prospects in 2019. Frank Gore took Kalen Ballage under his wing and has glowing things to say about the rookie. I do not expect Gore to return and Kenyan Drake proved this year that while he is a talented player, he is not feature back material. Kalen Ballage comes with an advanced skill set in the passing game and the build to withstand a feature workload if he can master the nuances of running. He isn’t available in deep leagues, but those with moderate depth? He may have gotten purged in-season to acquire someone with more 2018 value.
Chris Warren, RB, Oakland
I always raise an eyebrow when a cheaply acquired player that’s not in the team’s short term plans is placed on injured reserve for a seemingly minor injury before playing any meaningful football. It’s the Victor Cruz rule of fantasy football and that’s exactly what the Raiders did with Warren. Marshawn Lynch and Doug Martin are free agents and no one else in this backfield are equipped to be lead backs. The likelihood of the Raiders bringing someone else in ahead of Warren is high, but this is the season for taking shots. It’s no risk/all reward, so fire away.
Jacoby Brissett, QB, Indianapolis
This is assuming Teddy Bridgewater and Nick Foles are not available. Expect a lot of shake up at the quarterback position this off season, but it mostly involves players that are already owned in most leagues. Once those destinations are known I expect Bridgewater and Foles to be the next shoes to drop. After them? There’s a cliff to the next tier and the only available player hanging onto it is Tyrod Taylor, but only if Hue Jackson and Todd Haley’s handling of him hasn’t already tanked his value. This is why I think Brissett is an interesting name to monitor. The Colts have made it very clear they do not intend to trade him, but desperate times lead to desperate offers at the quarterback position. Brissett has shown he can play in this league and is an unrestricted free agent after the 2019 season, so if late March comes around and there is still a team without a quarterback, even if his name doesn’t get to media sources it’ll be tossed around in board rooms. Speculate now, then decide what to do with him later.
Jake Butt, TE, Denver
There’s no spinning it, the tight end position beyond the top tier is an unmitigated disaster. Thing is, this is not a new development. We just choose not to remember how bad the position gets come November and December when draft season comes around again. Butt is on injured reserve with his second ACL injury, which is very concerning for his long term prospects. That said, no one emerged at the position in his absence and there’s still a red zone threat void that needs filling for this offense. He’s not going to be a week one starter in 2019, but there are owners still alive looking at players like Vernon Davis, Cameron Brate, and Anthony Firkser to start championship week. Those sorts of decisions are why speculating on Butt right now is a good idea. If in a jam come December 2019 there’s a path to him developing into a quality option.
Buffalo Wide Receivers
Usually I don’t prioritize a diminutive player like Isaiah McKenzie but the manner at which the Bills have deployed him of late has my attention. He’s not just another pint size slot receiver; they manufacture touches for him in the run game too. 5-7 targets without being a red zone threat isn’t the sort of upside I usually recommend one speculate on, but if there’s potential for a few carries as well? That’s a different story. His teammate Robert Foster is still the more interesting option though. The sample size is tiny, but his efficiency marks in that short time are noteworthy. The Bills are not going to be able to repair their entire offense in one off-season, so two more games like recent trends and there’s a path to an inside track to a starting role in 2019.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Cleveland
His career recently appeared on the brink of coming to an end, but he’s had a renaissance with Baker Mayfield and the Browns. The routes are crisp, he’s pulling in both easy and difficult catches, he’s getting them out of jams on both scripted routes and improvised plays; he’s basically doing everything he didn’t do as a 1st round pick with the Ravens. Assuming he stays in Cleveland the depth chart will be crowded in 2019, but if this play continues an opportunity will await whether it’s via attrition or elsewhere come 2020.