Josh Reynolds? Am I really considering him as I make my final push for the playoffs (or first round bye)? I’m already in, but if I’m preparing for the best possible lineups in December – this is the guy that’s going to carry me to the title?
Fair questions to be asking yourself. And the answers are, “no” and “no”. This is for those who have already moved onto next year. Yes, there are unfortunately some of those out there (best regards) and this is the most important time of year to be scouring the bottom of waivers for keepers in those leagues that allow you to carry over one or more players year-to-year. Sure, he’s probably already on a roster in deeper dynasty’s and he isn’t a consideration in a shallow keeper, but there are many leagues out there in which he fits – and is probably available.
In an off season littered with off season acquisitions to help out a flailing Jared Goff, Reynolds has floated somewhat under the radar. Cooper Kupp has been the breakout rookie, Robert Woods the emerging veteran, and of course there’s the August trade for Sammy Watkins. Hold-over’s Pharoh Cooper, Mike Thomas, and Tavon Austin have been phased out but there hasn’t been enough room to get Reynolds on the field too – until Woods’ injury anyway. We got a chance to see what he’s capable of against one of the league’s best pass defenses Sunday and he did not disappoint.
A 4th round pick out of Texas A&M, Reynolds was a popular sleeper tossed around throughout the Summer in dynasty circles, but an August trade for Sammy Watkins brought the Josh Reynolds train to a screeching halt. The story behind the Watkins trade does raise some questions about Reynolds, but Watkins is also an unrestricted free agent after the season so all of the reasons to be optimistic about Reynolds will be there again leading up to next season. In an ocean of possession receivers, Reynolds offers the lid popping skill-set the rest of the Rams receiver corps lacks. He’s not a one trick pony/complementary weapon either – he had between 51 and 61 catches in each of his three seasons in college, averaging 16.2 yards (or more) per catch in each of them. While his best trait is making big plays down the field, he’s not one to just run deep routes and pull in the occasional deep bomb. He excels at making catches in traffic at all levels throughout the field – comeback routes, slants and posts in bone crushing hit territory across the middle, shallow and deep outs, and of course – the go. He has the ability to create separation, but even when he doesn’t, he still wins at the catch point anyway.
So why did he fall to the 4th round in the draft? And why is he being discussed as a late season future grab? He struggles in press coverage. There are no reports indicating this is what led to the Sammy Watkins trade, but reading between the tea leaves I don’t believe there is any other explanation for trading what was essentially a 2nd round pick for one year of a player with a similar skill set – albeit one that is a lot more refined with more experience. He was knocked off his routes by more physical corners with frequency in school and given his lean frame (6’3, about 190 pounds) it’s easy to see why. Better technique can be coached though and strength can be developed. Both take time; time the just 22-year-old Reynolds can take advantage of but it is time that this league does not allow for. Time is running out on the (likely) already physically peaked Kupp (will be 25) and Woods (will be 26). Only one of those three can reasonably get significantly better than they currently are – and that’s Reynolds.
But what about 2018? As I mentioned earlier, the makeup of the roster is the same as it was in July. Gurley is the workhorse, Kupp and Woods will work the short and intermediate game, and there will be plenty of Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett. There won’t be a Sammy Watkins though. He’s spent most of his first four years in the league teasing us instead of dominating, like most of us expected, but as he said earlier this season he still thinks he’s that dominant player. And he is not going to get that opportunity in Los Angeles. He will be elsewhere and while there is still three months for Reynolds to navigate before he can see himself in the Top-3 of the depth chart, that is exactly the type of player deeper keeper waiver scourers should be looking for this time of year. Some will hit and others will miss, but your chances are better with a few players like Reynolds than fading players like Donte Moncrief, Willie Snead or John Brown.
This week’s Flavor of the Week is: Just a seed
Right now, he isn’t much. We don’t know what it will become. And we probably won’t have a good idea for several months. But the payoff? The payoff could be huge.