One of the best parts of playing dynasty fantasy football is the feeling that you get when you identify a young third stringer that you think has potential and then he reaches that potential while he’s still on your roster and he creates some depth or fills a need that you have on your team. Getting value is fun no matter whether it’s in your dynasty fantasy league or at Best Buy or the car dealership. It always feels good to get more than you paid for. So, with that in mind we’ll begin a series that will be monthly during the off season and then move to weekly during the season..Taxi Squad Targets. If you missed our May edition you can check it out here.
This is meant to find guys who have almost no value now but with one change…injury, trade, development or whatever…will get a chance to prove himself and then has a better than average chance to succeed. This will focus on veterans who’ve produced in the past but have fallen on hard times or guys who have yet to see the field and are developmental guys that are worth a roster spot in a sea of developmental guys who are just NOT worth a roster spot. So, let’s get started.
Bruce Ellington, WR SF – It’s recently been reported that Bruce Ellington has been pegged as San Fran’s slot receiver. This would make perfect sense as Ellington is listed at 5″9″ and 197 lbs. which is a great size to be slipping in and out of zones in the middle of the field. Reports out of OTA’s is that he’s been a standout and while I don’t typically get excited about reports in June, the fact is that SF’s WR corp is entirely up for grabs. Torrey Smith is the “best” they have and he’s no better than a WR3 in fantasy production terms. Behind him are Ellington, Quinton Patton, DeAndre Smelter, Jerome Simpson and a litany of other no names. Ellington is a former 4th rounder who is coming into his 3rd season so it’s entirely possible he puts it together this year and has a quality fantasy season. He’s on flyers in most leagues, you can have him for nothing and reap the benefits later this year.
Mike Gillislee, RB BUF – Gillislee was drafted by Miami but couldn’t stick there due to injuries. He was picked up by Buffalo last season and had to produce due to injuries and did pretty well late in the year, with 47 attempts for 267 yards for a gaudy 5.7 yard per carry average. He also had 3 TDs and 6 receptions. Now, it is clear that the backfield is stacked in Buffalo with Shady McCoy and Karlos Williams clearly above Gillislee and rookie Jonathan Williams a more talented but less experienced back nipping at his heels. The bottom line for me with Gillislee is that if he gets a chance, in Buffalo or elsewhere if he’s cut, he can be a solid producer. He’s not athletic enough to blow your socks off, but he’s a good 4 yards and a cloud of dust type of guy. He produced well in limited action last year, he could be a solid hold for the future.
Trey Williams, RB IND – Williams on the other had, finds himself with very little depth in the Indy backfield and has the talent to breakout if given a chance. He was undrafted out of Texas A&M and is a bit small at 5’7″ 195 lbs., so he’s not going to be an every down workhorse. Matt Waldman did some study on him and came away impressed, you can check that out here. Indy’s backfield is dominated by 34 year old Frank Gore. Robert Turbin, Jordan Todman, Williams, rookie Josh Ferguson and Tyler Varge make up the rest of it and quite frankly there is not a lot of proven talent. With a great training camp the no name Williams could get on the field and make things happen. You want to own him before he does!
E.J Gaines, CB LAR – Gaines was supposed to battle Trumaine Johnson last year for the starting spot across from Janoris Jenkins but he was injured in training camp and the battle was over. Now Jenkins has moved on to NYG and Gaines is really the only other CB on the roster besides Johnson that is starter quality. So, he’s got the opportunity, that’s for sure. When he was healthy in 2014 he finished in the top 10 in CB fantasy scoring in standard leagues. While it’s a risk to assume he’ll get right up there and do it again in 2016, he clearly has the opportunity, he has the skills. He’s doing individual drills but sitting out of 11 on 11 drills in OTAs but that is just a precaution. He will be a full go for training camp and his anonymity is your Gaines!
Jordan Phillips, DT MIA – I saw a recent report out of MIA that Phillips, last year’s second round pick, has leapfrogged Earl Mitchell and has been running with the ones in OTAs. This is significant as he plays next to Ndamukong Suh and with Suh taking most of the attention in the middle, a young, second round pick could thrive at DT. His Quad Score coming out of school was (0.03) which is slightly below the average athleticism of the average DT, though it masks the fact that he had higher than average scores for speed, leg power and arm strength and the negative that drove his score down was agility. So he’s fast and powerful but not as agile as most DTs. If he sticks with the ones through training camp, he could be a sneaky pick up for DT starting IDP leagues.