Buy Edelman, Janis in Dynasty
As we did last week in the Wild Card round of this year’s playoffs, we’ll look at the Divisional Round participants and see which players you should consider buying and selling heading in to the off-season. From the looks of this week, wide receivers are up and running backs, much like oil, are way down this week.
Marshawn Lynch – RB – Seattle Seahawks – All season long, it never seemed that Lynch and the Seahawks were on the same page. After failing to run in the potential Super Bowl winning-touchdown last February and failing while running in the first game of the season, things have only gotten worse.
After missing just eight games in his entire career, Lynch missed nine games this season. His 59.6 yards-per-game and 3.8 yards-per-carry were his lowest since his first season in Seattle in 2010. Additionally, it appeared Seattle was a better team without Lynch this season. They were 4-3 with Lynch on the field and 6-3 without him. The backfield was primarily led by undrafted free agent Thomas Rawls who ran for 830 yards on just 147 carries. If Seattle can get similar production out of Rawls next year, they’re better off paying him a tenth of the cost to pay Lynch.
Furthermore, Lynch will be 30 years old before the start of next season and now comes word Lynch might retire. It’s anyone’s guess as to whether he’ll actually follow through but it would still be a good time to cut bait. You can always entertain the thought of Lynch ending up on a rush-starved team such as Dallas or Detroit, but it’s hard to rely on him for your own dynasty team.
C.J. Anderson – RB – Denver Broncos – After running away with the starting running back job at the end of last season to being demoted in the middle of this season, to being the starter again, it’s been a roller coaster for Anderson’s dynasty owners. That kind of volatility and the uncertain future Anderson now has makes him a sell candidate.
Anderson was a feel-good story last year when he came out of nowhere to lead the Broncos in rushing. Expectations were high this year when Anderson had the starting job from the beginning. But after averaging less than four yards-per-carry in every game at the start of the season, Anderson was given a reduced role in favor of Ronnie Hillman down the stretch, seeing double digit carries only three times the rest of the season. Hillman performed well for a spell but declined enough for the Broncos to beef up Anderson’s carries again. Hillman’s the more effective back heading into the conference championship.
Next year will be a different story as Anderson is a free agent and his destination is unknown. As the Broncos have shown, they can roll with a few different options at running back so it’s not a sure thing that Denver will even want him back. And the track record of free agent running backs improving upon their situations is bleak. Anderson had a good run in Denver but now is a great time to sell high.
Julian Edelman – WR – New England Patriots – It was a tough year for Edelman dynasty owners. Edelman battled a foot injury for half the season and only played in nine games after averaging close to 100 receptions and 1,000 yards over his previous two seasons. He led all Patriots wide receivers in yards, and his per-game efficiency is still very high, despite the lack of season-long stats for Edelman this season. This makes him an ideal buy low candidate, especially in PPR leagues.
Despite missing seven games, Edelman was still the Patriots’ leading receiver outside of tight end Rob Gronkowski. He averaged 76.9 yards per game this season, more than last year (69.4) or the year before (66.0). He also scored seven touchdowns in just nine games, which is one more than his career-high of six over 16 games two seasons ago. He also finished as a top-20 receiver according to PFF’s ratings and has a team-friendly contract that should keep him in New England for at least two more seasons.
Speaking of that contract, Edelman will turn 30 before the start of next season, but New England has shown a history of prioritizing cost over age with its receivers. Case in point was Wes Welker’s tenure in New England, which lasted until he was 31. That only ended when the Patriots chose not to re-sign him after his contract expired. In hindsight, it was the beginning of the end of Welker’s career, as he never came close to the same production he did in New England after totaling five 1,000-yard receiving seasons in six years. Edelman chose not to repeat history when his contract expired and he re-signed what some call a bargain contract worth $17 million over four years.
Edelman isn’t going anywhere and should continue to be a productive cog in the New England offense.
Jeff Janis – WR – Green Bay Packers – It might already be too late to jump aboard the Jeff Janis hype train, but if there’s still room (and it doesn’t cost you a fortune), it can’t hurt to buy.
Janis has been a topic in the fantasy world for the last two seasons ad nauseam. But it all came to a head this past weekend with his breakout performance against the Cardinals. It took injuries to Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, but the opportunity led to Janis catching seven balls for 145 yards and two touchdowns, including an incredible Hail Mary to send the game to overtime. The Packers eventually lost the game, but all it did was jump-start the Janis hype for the 2016 season.
Janis’ physical traits are most of his appeal. He checks in at 6’3” and 219 pounds, while running a 4.4 40-time. He toiled away at tiny Saginaw Valley, preventing a lot of pre-draft attention, but the Packers took a chance in the seventh round of the 2014 draft. Since then, however, Janis has received little to no playing time in Green Bay, totaling a measly four catches over the first two regular seasons of his career. But that all changed on Divisional Weekend as Janis broke out on the national stage, just in time for the off-season.
Heading into the 2016 season, Janis should have a much better chance to contribute to the Packers. Veteran James Jones will be a free agent, and there’s talk of Davante Adams losing his roster spot. Additionally, Randall Cobb checked in as the 57th receiver in PFF’s rankings, and Jordy Nelson will be returning from an ACL injury. To say there is plenty of opportunity for Janis would be an understatement. Should he gain more playing time, he stands to benefit from playing with Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks in the league during the prime of both their careers. If you can scoop up Janis at a reasonable price, you should take that chance.