By: Phillip Caldwell
The Fantasy season is upon us again! That means it’s time to fire up the Dumpster Dives again. If you followed my column last year, you would have been ahead of the game on players like Tyreek Hill, Ty Montgomery, Adam Thielen, and Cole Beasley.
I’m not talking about your normal waiver wire pick-ups and streaming players. I mean the real bottom of the barrel that someone in a 16 team dynasty league with 25 man rosters is going to go hunting and pecking for. Some of these players will turn out to truly be garbage, others are going to win you your league. But as they say, one’s man trash is another man’s treasure.
Each week when I look for candidates for this piece I am going to be searching for players owned in 10% or less of leagues.
Kyle Juszczyk – RB, SF 49ers (0.3% owned)
It’s not often I am going to suggest a fullback, but Juszczyk is a different breed. Out of 148 running backs that recorded carries in 2016, Juszcyk was the No. 22 most targeted running back with 49 targets, and recorded the No. 25 most receiving yards out of those running backs with 266-yards.
That is more targets than Matt Forte, Tevin Coleman, Ezekiel Elliott and Lamar Miller received and more receiving yards than Forte, Miller, Carlos Hyde, or C.J. Anderson, all of whom are being drafted far more often than Juszczyk.
Not to mention he was highly efficient with those receptions. He ranks as the No. 10 running back when it comes to Fantasy Points Per Opportunity with 1.33. Tevin Coleman’s 1.21 ranked No. 14 last year in that same metric.
With Shanahan and company making Juszczyk the highest paid fullback in the NFL, by a wide margin, and their first free agency move for the new regime, I believe they like his versatility and want to make him a piece of that passing game. Now that Vance McDonald has been moved and their top tight end is a rookie, I can imagine Juszczyk stepping into that role in the middle of the field a lot. Expect Tevin Coleman like production that you can pick up off waivers for free.
Bruce Ellington – WR, Houston Texans (0.2% owned)
A “Reception Perception” darling of Matt Harmon’s a year ago, Ellington has been unable to live up to the hype, or let folks down due to multiple injuries during his time in San Francisco. But he has managed to secure a roster spot with the Texans for 2017 and figures to be the primary slot receiver after an impressive preseason snagging eight receptions for 122-yards (15.25 yards per reception).
What is more important for week one though, is the Texans matchup versus the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have an outstanding duo of outside cornerbacks in A.J. Bouye (who came from Houston) and Jalen Ramsey who will largely shutdown the outside receivers.
Since Ellington took 69-percent of his preseason snaps from the slot, he should avoid those cornerbacks and be able to get a larger number of high quality targets from Quarterback Tom Savage in this matchup.
With 4.45 40-yard dash speed he could make the most out of a few mismatches against the weaker interior of the Jacksonville defense.
David Njoku – TE, Cleveland Browns (2.1% owned)
Rookie tight ends get no love. But the Browns paid up for the 6 foot 4 pass catcher out of Miami, and then promptly showed Gary Barnidge the door. Njoku may be considered “raw” by scouts standards, but is extremely athletic with a 4.64 40-yard dash (81st percentile), a burst score of 132.1 (97th percentile) a catch radius of 10.3 (92nd percentile) and averaged 11.2 yards after the catch last year.
Njoku is being given the job to start from day one with fellow rookie quarterback Deshone Kizer. Young quarterbacks tend to look to their big tight ends in “check down” roles in the middle of the field. With Corey Coleman and Kenny Britt listed as the top two receivers, I expect the tight ends to catch Kizers’ attention often as I don’t see Coleman or Britt being able to create too much separation regularly.
Njoku is listed as the third tight end currently, but Randall Telfer is known as a blocking tight end and Seth Devalve has had injury woes himself and only garnered 13 targets total in all of 2016. So I expect Njoku to come in for passing duties and to be a go to target for Kizer.
Trent Taylor – WR, SF 49ers (0.1% owned)
I have to admit, I was introduced to Taylor by a friend, Mike Hauff (@TheFFRealist), and the more digging and preseason watching I did, I had to include him in the week one edition of my column. With Kerley’s departure it cleared the way for Taylor who was slotted behind the veteran on the teams unofficial depth chart
Taylor may not have accumulated as much sleeper hype as guys like Golladay, Kupp, or Taywan Taylor, but his college stats and head coach praise should have him on more radars. Trent Taylor pulled in 136 receptions, 12 touchdowns and a NCAA high 1,803 receiving yards. That is an average of over nine receptions a game and 13.3 yards per reception in his last year of school. A
dd that level of consistent play to what General Manager John Lynch referred to as Shanahans’ “Draft Crush”. Shanahan has spoken a number of praises on Taylors’ ability to separate and run “pissed off” once he has the ball in his hands.
If there is any offense that can make the most out of the 5 foot 8 slot receiver out of Louisiana tech, it is Shanahans’ and now Taylor is going to have plenty of time on the field for the Niners.