Dynasty Hot Routes: Humbling Failures and Eye-Opening Successes

The mission of this article is to make our in-house experts sizzle and bristle over the hot- button issues that face dynasty owners. Our experts make the entire route tree HOT as they address topics from the world of IDP, Devy, Start/sit, Non-PPR, PP R and everything in between. Try not to get burned by all the fiery YAC below! This is Dynasty Hot Routes!

Name a player that you absolutely loved entering the NFL but has failed to meet your lofty Fantasy goals. Why did they fail?

Joshua Johnson @DFF_Cog Eric Ebron and myself… Ooh, what a pair. The heartache I have suffered while flying the Ebron Sigil has surely taken years off my life. I can assure you that I had no white hairs prior to Ebron entering the league (by the way I also have a daughter so that doesn’t help). His college tape showed a seam bursting maven. Yet, many people that I respect and trust, have told me many times that TEs take two- to three- years to develop. I didn’t listen. I predicted a sensational rookie- of- the- year campaign for Ebron where he would catch eight TDs and go over 900 yards receiving. Four years later he has 11 career TDs and he has surpassed 700 yards receiving in just one season. You would think I have learned my lesson. But I am sure you all agree that Ebron is nearly twice the athlete that his new position/teammate Jack Doyle is, right! Yep, I will never give up on Ebron.

On the IDP side, I was so sure that Eli Harold was going to be a 60 tackle/12 sack guy annually. His college showed quick/decisive feet and stingy arm play. Flash forward to now and Harold has been miscast as a 3-4 OLB for the 49ers. In three seasons, Harold has five career sacks and just 84 total tackles while starting 25 of 48 possible games.

Matt Walker @DFF_Walk – I was high on Justin Blackmon coming out of Oklahoma State. He understandably drew quick Dez Bryant comps due to his alma mater and the way they both attack the ball. A strong 2012 rookie season in Jacksonville presented a sky’s-the-limit scenario in Dynasty. Sadly, he was another substance abuse casualty that will likely never take another snap in the NFL (he only turned 28 in January).

Scott Osterloh  @FF_EvilEmpire – I’ve had a few failed experiments in my day, but one guy I really thought was going to come up big out of the 2015 draft was Devin Smith. After a solid career at Ohio State, with track athlete type speed and NFL size (6’1”, 196 lbs.), I was sure Smith would turn into a reliable pro wideout for the New York Jets.  Unfortunately, two ACL injuries and a whole lot of Jets WRs ahead of Smith on the depth chart, make the once enticing 2nd round pick a pre-camp cut candidate.

Name a player that you believed was going to be a bust at the NFL level. Why did they succeed?

Joshua Johnson @DFF_Cog DeForest Buckner has forced me to eat someone else’s lunch after they have vomited it up. I know… What is there not to like about a 6’7,” 300- pound versatile defensive lineman. He is literally a DCs wet night/chiseled Frankenstein like produced specimen. So why the doubt? I just did not see dominance on his college tape. Despite his ridiculous senior year where he had 83 tackles, 17 TFLs and 10.5 sacks en route to PAC 12PAC12 defensive player of the year honors. I saw too many plays where he was just fulfilling his gap assignment and not creating havoc. Plus, I felt like he had too many coverage sacks and not enough quick- hitters. Maybe I was being too harsh.

Matt Walker @DFF_Walk – I was not a believer in Melvin Gordon coming out of Wisconsin. His NFL production has largely been predicated around volume / lack of competition at the RB position. Unfortunately, the Chargers continue to ignore the position. I’m a fan of Justin Jackson, who they drafted in the 7th, but he’s already logged 1,142 college carries which is damning for any sort of sustained success in the NFL.

Scott Osterloh  @FF_EvilEmpire – I was not high on Devonta Freeman coming out of Florida State. And for a year… I was right!  As a rookie, Freeman barely made an impact in the NFL, playing few downs and averaging only 3.8 yards per carry. Atlanta thought the same thing, drafting Tevin Coleman early in the following draft and starting Coleman ahead of Freeman for the first two games of 2015, where Coleman got injured for a month. Since then, Freeman has been a beast on the field and an FF stud in the stats categories, averaging 1400 yards and 11+ TDs a season. In analyzing why Freeman is succeeding, I conclude it is the combination of the Falcons coaching staff playing to Freeman’s strengths – combined with the opportunity that was presented when Coleman went down in early 2015.

Name a 2018 UDFA that you are high on. Why will they succeed?

Joshua Johnson @DFF_Cog – This is bold, but I really like Riley Ferguson out of Memphis. The Dolphins signed him to compete for a roster spot and believe he has the juice to latch on. Do not be overly critical of him because he came from the same system that produced Paxton Lynch. Ferguson has a quick and accurate trigger. I believe he could really run the Adam Gase offense with loads of success. Even if Gase gets the axe this year I would expect some lower tier players to follow him. There is some definite concern about Ferguson’s lanky 6’4,” 210- pound frame. I totally get that, but his wrists are Ron Gant fast. I am also aware that 90% of Ferguson’s highlight throws are to the immortal Anthony Miller.

Matt Walker @DFF_Walk – OFFENSE – Roc Thomas, RB Minnesota Vikings. The 2014 Alabama Mr. Football and Gatorade Player of the Year was trapped behind Kerryon Johnson at Auburn and transferred to Jacksonville State in 2016. He presents as the perfect complement back to Dalvin Cook (sorry Latavius Murray but the end is near) who could flash in a pinch. DEFENSE – Tegray Scales, ILB Los Angeles Rams.  Highly instinctual but undersized LB who doesn’t have much standing in his way in LAR. Donald, Suh, and Brockers could allow Scales to run free and rack up decent TFL totals which was his specialty at Indiana.

Scott Osterloh  @FF_EvilEmpire – I like Akrum Wadley here. He had a bunch of explosive runs in his career at Iowa, can catch the ball out of the backfield, and signed with the Tennessee Titans where Dion Lewis is the only other pass catching back ahead of him. I like Wadley’s upside in an offense on the rise with new OC Matt LaFleur.


I am searching for the meaning of every bump on the pigskin. From leather helmets to a league with no point after attempts, I am researching with a wide shovel. -married/father/music fan/Raider Nation baby/deli meat enthusiast/three-cone extremist

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