Challenger Deep - Rookie Stashes
In the Pacific Ocean lies the Marianas Trench, also known as the Mariana Trench. At 35,814 feet below sea level its bottom is the deepest point known on Earth -- the Challenger Deep. We all know that Dynasty Football will have rookie sleepers (i.e., Gabriel Davis) that pose as great stashes to round out your bench with potential upside. What about the players flying deep under the radar? These players tend to be the undrafted rookies battling for a roster spot. There needs to be an in-depth understanding of the team’s scheme, depth chart, and player’s contracts when evaluating deep Dynasty stashes.
The underlying factor when evaluating undrafted free agents (UDFA) is that the team signed them. The team saw potential in whom they believe they could benefit the team if they perform well in camp and win a roster spot. This automatically indicates the team believes the player fits their scheme.
Kyle Shanahan’s zone rushing scheme -- utilizing inside zone and outside zone runs. This style of scheme requires the running back to move the ball laterally and cut the ball downfield when the gap is created. The offensive line’s job is to create a natural gap for the running back to provide the one cut necessary for a big play.
It will also be important to note the measurables of the player. The team signing the player is an indicator the player possesses the traits needed to succeed in the system, it is still beneficial to understand why this may be true. The 49ers signed two UDFA running backs this offseason, below are their measurables:
Hasty measurables stand out and would benefit the scheme more -- Ahmed was released on August 25th, 2020.
Majority of undrafted free agent signings are likely to fill out roster space for training camp and see if the player impresses enough to be given a roster or taxi squad spot. It is still important to note the depth chart of the respective team. It is not expected for an undrafted free agent to make the leap up to the number two spot on the depth chart, but they could win a battle for the 4th or 5th spot depending on the depth at the position.
The first two points coincide with the final stance -- note player contracts. A deep Dynasty rookie stash is not intended to be utilized in the first season. This is a player to be believed that can compete for a role in the future. Let's take running backs for example, if a team has a solid one-two punch at running back, there would be no need for them to utilize an undrafted free agent that made the roster (assuming perfect health). However, if the running backs are due for contracts and the team does not want to pay big money to running backs, the UDFA has sneaky value. I will use the 49ers running back situation as an example:
Coleman - signed through 2020
McKinnon - signed through 2020
Jeff Wilson - signed through 2020
Mostert - signed through 2021
Hasty - signed through 2022
When taking in the first two points, Hasty has intriguing value in the 2021 season. Mostert and Hasty are the only current rostered running backs that will be on the team in 2021 -- this does not mean that Shanahan will not draft a running back or not look to bring one in during free agency in 2021.
Having an edge to find the next big star in Dynasty is what will separate the champions from the sackos. In this case, you are finding the next potential role player, but that still counts right? There are notable undrafted free agents that went onto stardom: Tony Romo, Arian Foster, Priest Holmes, and Antonio Gates. The list is not extensive and there are far more defenders to make an impact but it is possible to find a hidden gem. There have been a few notable players recently that are intriguing: Blake Jarwin (2017), Allen Lazard (2018), Preston Williams (2019) -- and a few more if you would want to count Peyton Barber, Zach Pascal, Kendrick Bourne, and Greg Ward as potential flex players in dire need.
Over the last two years, Kendrick Bourne (9) is second in touchdowns for the 49ers, for all skill position players, behind George Kittle (10).
Point being, there seems to be a player or two every year that ends up being a valuable stash. Ensure you are the owner that rosters those players. Here are UDFA’s I am stashing and keeping tabs on during training camp:
Reggie Begelton is considered a rookie, he played in the CFL from 2017-2019
I have prioritized: JaMycal Hasty, J.J. Taylor, James Robinson, Jeff Thomas, and Marquez Callaway -- their situations have intrigued me and passed the three point test noted above.
I am stashing these players if my league has deep rosters. I am intrigued by their profile, team’s scheme, and current expiring contracts. It should be noted that teams will potentially have aging assets with expiring contracts that can be accounted for as well. Most notably, Julian Edelman (34, 2021) -- Mohamed Sanu was cut from the Patriots on September 2nd, 2020. Jeff Thomas is an intriguing speculative add. Thomas is signed through 2022.
This is not flashy and league winning advice. This is advice to position your fantasy team for future success -- whether that be getting the hidden gem or finding a player (for nothing) that you can flip for rookie draft picks or an added piece in a trade. Maybe they can provide sneaky flex play based on matchups or if an injury happens to players ahead on the depth chart. Worst case scenario, you drop the player from your roster and move on.
Zero risk investment.
Potential high return.
Chess not checkers.
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