Managing your fantasy football roster in a dynasty league is not an easy task. In a re-draft league, you are doing whatever you can to win each week, knowing that you have your team for just one season. In a dynasty league, you’re still trying to win each week, obviously, but there’s a handful of other variables that managers need to be considering on a weekly basis. One of these variables is thinking about young players that can help your team in the future. These are guys who may not be worthy of starting yet, but who could bring value in the long term.
Obviously, I didn’t include young players that are already making a huge impact in the league, such as Ja’Marr Chase, Jonathan Taylor, and Justin Jefferson. Instead, these are players that aren’t huge features in their offense yet and could be available to pick up in many standard 10 or 12 team leagues. They may not make an impact on your roster this year, but will play a key role on your team for years to come. Let’s start at the running back position.
AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers
In deeper leagues, there’s a great chance Dillon is already on a roster. In my 10-team league, I was able to pick him up, and I’m expecting big things from the Green Bay running back in the future and possibly this year as well. We all know Aaron Jones is still there and will most likely be the lead back for the Packers for the next few years. That said, AJ Dillon’s workload has increased significantly recently, with 34 carries for 170 yards (5.0 avg.), 65 receiving yards and a touchdown in the last three weeks. We’ve seen glimpses of star potential from Dillon, including his breakout performance in Week 16 last year against Tennessee.
His combination of size, speed, and quickness were on full display in this game. In a Matt LaFleur offensive scheme that is built around the running game, AJ Dillon would be a great addition to your dynasty league roster.
Rhamondre Stevenson, New England Patriots
After averaging over 7 yards per carry in the preseason, rookie Rhamondre Stevenson lost a fumble on his first rushing attempt in the regular season. Belichick and McDaniels weren’t very forgiving, as that would be Stevenson’s last carry until Week 5. The last two weeks, however, he’s been given a second chance. He has 16 carries, 3 receptions, 85 total yards, and a touchdown over that stretch. Will we see the Rhamondre Stevenson that led the preseason in rushing yards and touchdowns again? Probably not, but he’ll play a much bigger role in that Patriots offense the rest of the season and in the future.
With Sony Michel gone and James White’s production decreasing, it looks like New England’s backfield will belong to Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson for at least the next several years. Picking him up now in your dynasty league could pay huge dividends for your team in the long run.
Bryan Edwards, Las Vegas Raiders
Bryan Edwards doesn’t have tremendous speed, but he’s going to be making plays in this league for a long time. A 2020 3rd round pick out of South Carolina, Edwards is quickly becoming a big-play threat for this Raiders offense. Ever since he stepped foot in Vegas, Raiders players and coaches have raved about his star potential. That included Derek Carr, who described Edwards as a guy that’s “very fun” to throw the ball to. When you’re making plays like this, I think any quarterback would have fun throwing you the ball.
Edwards has 15 grabs for 303 yards through 6 games, and I expect his targets to increase throughout the rest of the season. In a few years, don’t be surprised if we’re talking about Bryan Edwards like he’s a star in this league. If he’s available in your league, get ahead of the game and pick him up now.
Quez Watkins, Philadelphia Eagles
A 6th round pick a season ago, Quez Watkins has come out of nowhere in year two, becoming a reliable target for Jalen Hurts. He has 16 receptions for 311 yards, nearly averaging 20 yards per catch. His downfield speed comes as no surprise, as Watkins ran a 4.35 40 yard dash at last year’s combine. That was 2nd best for receivers, trailing only Henry Ruggs.
With Jalen Reagor not performing up to his expectations, Quez Watkins has started to emerge as Philly’s number two receiver behind DeVonta Smith. While Reagor has more targets, he’s only caught just over 60% of them. Watkins, on the other hand, has converted on 72% of his. On top of that, Reagor’s averaging 8.2 yards per catch compared to Watkins’ 19.4. I expect him to be an even bigger part of the offense in the second half of the season and beyond 2021.
Pat Freiermuth, Pittsburgh Steelers
Freiermuth has cemented himself as the Steelers number one tight end, as his targets continue to increase while Eric Ebron’s are going in the opposite direction. His best performance came last week, when he caught all 7 of his targets for 58 yards. With Big Ben on the cusp of retirement, the biggest concern for Freiermuth is the fact that we don’t know who will be under center for the Steelers in the future. This is a legit concern, but I expect him to be a huge part of the offense regardless.
If you aren’t set at tight end for the long hall, Pat Freiermuth would be a great option if he’s available in your league. It may not be too long before he’s a must start week in and week out.
Tommy Tremble, Carolina Panthers
I included Tommy Tremble as more of a sleeper pick. With the recent trade of Dan Arnold, the Panthers must be high on the rookie out of Notre Dame. In a thin tight end room in Carolina, I think Tremble will eventually overtake Ian Thomas as the Panthers starter. He may not produce much this season, but he could be a sneaky pick up for the long term. Despite the limited number of snaps, he’s already found the end zone twice in his short career, including this red-zone score.
If young tight ends like Cole Kmet and Pat Freiermuth aren’t available, keep an eye on Tommy Tremble and don’t be surprised if he becomes one of Sam Darnold’s favorite targets.
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