What is one of the highlights of the summer every year? Yard sales and the bargains you are able to get at them. The same applies to the NFL offseason during the time between minicamp and training camp, we see everyone taking one thing and putting a spin on it to fit their narrative.
We get all the Instagram, videos, tweets, and reports from beat writers about players. We hear about them being in the best shape of their lives and how they are going to dominate the target share and workloads. What is important is to be able to sift through the nonsense and analyze. Look at the depth charts and realize that more often than not players who aren’t talked about ending up producing more so.
Players who always receive a lot of buzz are the NFL sophomores, those who finished last year strong or played well throughout. What about the guys who didn’t get the targets, reps, or playing time in general? Well, chances are they are still there and - more often than not - they have a chance to see an expanded role in year two with a team. Teams get new staff in place, new philosophies, and new sets of eyes to evaluate them.
Quarterback: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
While everyone is going gaga over Baker Mayfield and expectations are high for Lamar Jackson to become a passer this year, everyone is forgetting about Josh Allen.
Josh Allen quietly had a decent year for a rookie quarterback amassing 2,074 passing yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. He also added 631 yards on the ground and found the endzone eight times. All of this while not having much as far as offensive weapons apart from an old LeSean McCoy and a hot and cold Robert Foster.
This year general manager Brandon Beane made it a point to surround Allen with better protection and better weapons. They signed receivers John Brown and Cole Beasley during free agency to give him an over the top threat and a top end slot receiver. Beane also drafted top-rated offensive tackle Cody Ford, running back Devin Singletary, and pass-catching tight end Dawson Knox.
Buffalo is all in on Josh Allen, and with him being the 17th quarterback drafted on average its safe to say that the least you can do is make a point to take a flyer on him.
Running Back: Kallen Ballage, Miami Dolphins
Earlier I mentioned a change in coaching can affect opportunity for a second-year player. A perfect example of this is Kallen Ballage.
Head coach Brian Flores brought down Chad O’Shea as his offensive coordinator from New England, and we know the Patriots love using running backs in the passing game. Ballage has the skill set to settle into the reliable third-down back which made James White a steal in so many leagues last year. Kenyan Drake should be the bell cow on the ground for the team but as for all of the passing opportunities? Many expect to be trailing in a lot of games this year, it would make sense to go for Ballage.
The best part of Ballage is his ADP. At this point, he is being drafted at 14.04 in dynasty, making him the RB59. Let that sink in: you have a guy who is in an offense with a new quarterback, both of which are pocket passers, which has 96 targets open with Danny Amendola, Frank Gore and Brandon Bolden all leaving town.
Ballage could be 2019’s White. At 14.04 why not take a chance on a guy who can be a reliable flex as a ceiling for you this year? While that may not seem like much it could be a kickstart for a solid career as a PPR machine.
Wide Receiver: D.J. Chark, Jacksonville Jaguars
More staff changes affecting an offense that also introduces a quarterback who is a proven commodity. That is something the franchise hasn’t seen since Byron Leftwich was under center. Jacksonville brings in Nick Foles and his former quarterback coach from his Super Bowl run John DeFilippo to be Foles’ offensive coordinator and play-caller.
Dede Westbrook is favored to be the top receiver in the offense this year but looking back on DeFilippo's time in Philadelphia we can see that the WR2 on his teams averaged 82 targets, 49 receptions, 566 yards, and 5 touchdowns. That would make D.J. Chark the WR23 based on points last year among all fantasy wide receivers.
If I told you that you could draft a potential WR2 who isn't even being taken in the top 60 receivers, why wouldn’t you take him late in a draft when talent seems thin? I'm buying and drafting all the Chark I can this year, as should you.
Tight End: Chris Herndon, New York Jets
Part of what makes Chris Herndon a value is that he is facing a two-game suspension. However, it means people are waiting to draft him and me be shopping him in established leagues.
Herndon is being drafted as the TE12 in dynasty startups based on DLF ADP, which is insane to me. The starting tight end on a team looking to build itself around a young franchise quarterback, who uses his tight end, should not be that low. If he wasn't suspended two games he may be a top 10 tight end based on his potential.
Herndon is a talented blocker, allowing him to stay on the field for all three downs and who won’t lose an opportunity due to the game situation. The more he is on the field, the better chance he has of scoring. Quite simple isn't it?