February 25, 2018
Are you a bargain hunter? Does your brain instinctively scan the aisles for those little yellow tags that promise major savings? Do you buy your clothes at the end of the season so you can stockpile hooded sweatshirts for pennies on the dollar? Do you frequent the "free" section of Craigslist and the sample stations at Costco? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, then hopefully you're applying that same thriftiness when building your fantasy team. One of the biggest hurdles many dynasty owners face is looking beyond the star players of today, the ones basking in the glow of the neon arrows pointing to their magnificent stat lines from the past season. That's not to say those guys shouldn't also be on your radar, but don't be afraid to dig a little deeper. For a moment, allow me to divert your attention away from that shiny display case featuring last season's fantasy darlings as we get our hands dirty burrow through the bargain bin. They may not be the talk of the town, but you may want to consider getting these guys onto your roster for the low, low price of almost nothing.
Just a year ago, it looked like the Chiefs had found the successor to Jamaal Charles. Spencer Ware racked up 1368 total yards and five TDs in 2016, but his day in the sun was cut short by a torn PCL in the 2017 preseason. Enter Kareem Hunt, who any non-insane person would have to agree is the team's de facto top dog after an electrifying -- if inconsistent -- rookie season. So what happens to Ware? Well, there are a couple options. Kansas City could turn their backfield into a two-headed beast with Hunt and Ware operating in a Demarco Murray/Derrick Henry "thunder and thunder" type of split to keep the pressure off inexperienced QB Patrick Mahomes. Or, with a bevy of running backs on the roster (Hi, Charcandrick!), they could ship one off to an RB-needy team for a nice chunk of change. While your league mates are exploring trades for Hunt or salivating over Saquon Barkley, you can pick up a pretty solid running back for next to nothing.
It looks like C.J. Anderson will be out of Denver soon enough, which could be good news for Devontae Booker, who looks primed to step up into the role of lead back. The coaching staff is still high on Booker, which may surprise some seeing as he looked pretty rough in the games where he was given a chance to be "the guy." Booker started 6 games in 2016 and never managed to crack 100 yards in a day, averaging 58 yards per game and barely 3.0 yards per carry. But let's be fair: That was his rookie season, and Denver's O-line wasn't creating much space for the young runner to work with. If the Broncos can find a solid right tackle in the draft, Booker's workload alone could ensure a decent stat total this season.
Now is the time to start collecting players with big upside. There are a lot of unknowns this time of the year -- free agency can send players like McCarron anywhere, and you never know what their supporting cast is going to look like come September. Still, McCarron's an enticing quarterback if you were rostering guys like Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, Tyrod Taylor, or Andrew Luck this past season. In the 3 games McCarron has started, he finished with 854 yards and 6 TDs. Pro-rated for a full season, he was on pace for more than 4,500 yards and 32 TDs. You want those kind of numbers on your roster, and if there's a chance of getting them for a song, you need to jump on it. And before you protest "What do you really know about a quarterback's talent after only 3 games?", let your mind drift to a guy named Jimmy Garoppolo.