Dynasty leagues are won in December, but the foundation is built in January. The period immediately following the NFL regular season is my favorite time to buy players that I’m confident will either increase in value over the course of the off-season or rebound in performance the following season.
The best way to identify these players is to ask:
- Which players are free agents likely to find better opportunity elsewhere?
- Which players will benefit from a teammate’s departure in free agency?
- Which players are being valued below their positional finish?
- Which players are coming off of injury and going under the radar?
- Which players are coming off of poor seasons but have a history of elite production?
Identifying and buying these players now is the key to fantasy football glory 11 months from now.
Disclaimer: These QB buys are written in the context of superflex or 2QB leagues
Matthew Stafford has been quietly outproducing his ADP for years now. He’s boring and never a trendy, hyped up fantasy pick, yet he has quietly been one of the best fantasy football QBs of the past decade:
Almost every year he has provided bankable mid-QB1 production and turns only 31 years old in February. After one poor statistical season, his January DLF (Dynasty League Football) ADP has fallen to QB21.
However, the primary reason Stafford’s production declined as much as it did is undoubtedly due to his decimated supporting cast.
Marvin Jones missed 7 games due to injury, Golden Tate was traded away midseason, Kerryon Johnson missed 6 games, and Eric Ebron was cut in the offseason. Stafford was missing his top 3 receivers (in terms of yardage) from 2017 for much of the year. He ended the year with guys like Brandon Powell, Levine Toilolo, and T.J. Jones as his top offensive weapons behind Kenny Golladay.
Stafford has almost always produced QB1 numbers when given NFL caliber weapons, and his surrounding offensive talent will be vastly improved in 2019. Golladay is ascending, Marvin Jones and Kerryon Johnson will return from injury, and the Lions will certainly upgrade at WR or TE via free agency and/or the draft.
Buy Stafford now at his massively depressed price and enjoy his QB1 production once again
We ride this train with Andy Dalton yearly. As dynasty owners flock to draft the younger and more exciting options, the sharp owners draft Andy Dalton and enjoy his borderline QB1 production each year. As shown in my article on Dalton last offseason, all he does is outperform his ADP (pulled from myfantasyleague.com):
While these ADPs are actually from redraft leagues, Dalton is even more disrespected in dynasty.
In August of 2018, Dalton’s DLF ADP was QB28. He obviously went on to smash that during the season, sitting at QB16 prior to his season ending injury. His full 16 game pace would’ve been:
3,910 passing yards
32 passing TDs
151 rushing yards
Yet after a high-end QB2 season, Dalton’s DLF ADP is QB28 once again. With AJ Green still dominating, Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd ascending following breakout seasons, and John Ross entering year 3 after showing some sophomore year promise, Andy Dalton may have the best weapons of his career entering his age 31 season. If Tyler Eifert re-signs and starts drinking more milk so he doesn’t break all of his bones, the Bengals suddenly look like one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.
Don’t disrespect Andy Dalton again in 2019. Buy him now and don’t be surprised when he finishes as a QB1 in 2019.
Taylor is an NFL starting caliber QB. While he played a role in robbing us of a full season of Baker Mayfield, Taylor has shown in his career that he is clearly a top 32 real life QB. This offseason he is a free agent, and the Giants, Jaguars, Redskins, Broncos, and Dolphins are all potentially in the market for a new starting QB.
He is likely to get a shot at a starting job this offseason given the weak free agent QB class (Foles, Bridgewater, Fitzpatrick, Bortles*, Tannehill*, Eli*) and weak rookie QB class (Haskins, Murray are the only projected 1st rounders for many). This is fantastic news for fantasy owners, as Tyrod Taylor has shown solid fantasy football upside as a starting QB:
2015: QB15 (14 games)
2016: QB8 (15 games)
2017: QB17 (15 games)
2018: 19 points per game (in two full starts)
Tyrod Taylor’s January DLF ADP didn’t even register, as he was below QB31. As a prolific rushing QB with a history of fantasy success, this is entirely too late. Both Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson have been consistent and often dominant fantasy QBs over the second half of 2018 due to their ability to pick up yardage and TDs on the ground. Taylor has shown in the past that he can absolutely offer similar production next season at a significantly lower cost.
Buy Tyrod Taylor now before he signs with a new team and enjoy similar production to Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson at half the cost.
Thanks for reading the first part of my January dynasty buy series. Be on the lookout for my articles on RB, WR, and TE buys over the coming weeks, and be sure to follow me on twitter @DFF_RyanB