Perk up, dynasty owners! A Fourth of July hangover is not acceptable. There is action to be had and opportunities to improve your rosters right now. In fact, some of the biggest bargains are barking for attention just before training camp begins. Wait until training camp and those bargains could be gone.
You see, situations are about to come to light involving two young players who were once the toast of the dynasty community. Once these situations sort themselves out and the news becomes common knowledge, your opportunity will be gone.
What am I talking about? Well, I have no inside sources on this —just common sense —but I can tell you there are two guys you should buy low immediately. One, you can get for next to nothing: Bills running back Marshawn Lynch. The other, Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, will likely have a cost, but his value is uncertain enough that you should be able to get a major discount on him.
Lynch has free-fallen faster than a veteran on his last leg. The two-time 1,000-yard rusher (2007 and 2008) and top-10 overall seasonal pick is now third on his team's depth chart, behind rookie C.J. Spiller and ultra-productive veteran Fred Jackson. However, he has worked out his off-the-field issues, has no health concerns and is still only 24. In other words, the kid can and will play somewhere. It's foolish to think that he will just fade away after being selected 12th overall just three years ago. I literally got him for free as a throw-in in a larger trade last week. You should ask the Lynch owner in your league if you can do him a favor and "take him off your hands."
Acquiring Lynch will pay off in one of two ways. He'll either get traded to a team such as Seattle, Tampa Bay, New England or even Philly and play a major role (which is what I envision happening), or he will step in when Spiller or Jackson suffers an injury and be productive for a few games in 2010.
Also, his contract is up after this season, meaning he'll be looking for a new home at the age of 25 next offseason, when teams such as Atlanta and Washington could be looking for fresh legs.
As for VJax, he has entered the Brandon Marshall phase of his career. His offseason mirrors what Marshall has gone through the last couple of years: improved statistics and status, off-the-field issues and contract negotiation struggles that ultimately led to a rift between player and organization. Jackson, like Marshall, is a raw talent with a huge ceiling —not to mention that, at 6-5, he is huge himself.
I can tell you that VJax dynasty owners are nervous. He was suspended for the first three games of 2010 and has indicated that he might even sit out the season if he isn’t traded or given a long-term contract. The whole thing has them angry and irritated. So, my advice is to pounce on this golden opportunity to buy low. Jackson is far from a throw-in like Lynch, but his value is as low as it has been since 2006. Test the waters with the Jackson owner in your league. Dangle a couple of nice pieces, but leave your studs out of the discussion.
Like with Lynch, one of two things will happen: Jackson will get traded (probably to a team such as Washington), or he'll return to the field after Week 3 and impress the Chargers into extending him. Either one bodes well for his fantasy value. (I’m not overly worried that he simply won’t play.) The guy is a stud, capable of hauling in double-digit TDs for the next five years. Don't pay an arm and a leg for him if his owner demands it, but put feelers out to see if you can get him on the cheap, especially if you are in a non-PPR league.
Take advantage of these opportunities to add pieces to your championship puzzle. Acquiring guys at the right time by buying low is the difference between taking your family to dinner with a smile on your face on a Sunday night in December, or pouting while doing chores on the weekends all season long.
Paul Hickey is the lead contributor for Athlon Fantasy Football and operates the website NoOffseason.com, a 365-day resource for obsessive fantasy owners who eat, breathe and sleep fantasy football. While the site appeals to all fantasy heads, there is a special emphasis on dynasty formats and IDP leagues.