The Wait COULD be Worthwhile
By Collin Kral
As we all know, the offseason is most dynasty players' favorite time of the year. This is the time of year where we all want to make as many trades as possible which means trying to get out from under players while they still carry value. We all have players sitting on our bench that we drafted a few years ago who we hoped would turn into great fantasy assets, however, we get tired of waiting. It can be very difficult to remain patient to allow players to come into their own, especially after how spoiled we were by the 2020 draft class, but we need to remember that should not be viewed as the standard for rookies. Out of the players I am going to cover it’s safe to say they are buy low or hold players, but the important takeaway is we all play dynasty because we want to build a team which means we have to allow some players to develop longer than others.
After a sophomore campaign of 66/1,107/6 it appeared that Gallup was ready to take the next step in his third year and be a solid fantasy option for the next several years. However, that all changed after the Cowboys drafted Ceedee Lamb. Once Lamb came in it looked as if Amari Cooper, Lamb, and Gallup were all going to split targets but Gallup would be the odd man out. As we all saw, Gallup did struggle more in his third season but his target share was not much less than Cooper and Lamb. Cooper saw 130 targets, Lamb saw 111 targets, and Gallup still managed 105 targets. However, even though Gallup still saw over 100 targets, he still only put up a 59/843/5 stat line.
Even though Gallup struggled after the addition of Lamb, here is what we have to look forward to in the very near future. After the 2021 season Gallup is a free agent and will have the chance to get the target share he deserves. However, there is one other option as well. The Cowboys just gave Cooper a very lucrative deal that may be handcuffing the team going forward, but the Cowboys happen to have an out. After the 2021 season the Cowboys could choose to cut Cooper with a $6 million cap hit instead of paying him $20 million. This could allow the Cowboys to offer Gallup a team friendly deal (compared to Cooper), giving Lamb and Gallup the opportunity to be the top two receiving options on the Cowboys. Either way I foresee Gallup becoming at least a consistent WR2 in the near future.
Slayton had a unique opportunity the moment he came onto the scene in his rookie season. In his rookie season he had to compete for targets with Sterling Shepherd, Golden Tate, and Evan Engram. Not only is this a weaker core of receiving options to compete with, but many of these players suffered various injuries over the course of the year. This allowed Slayton to put up a stat line of 48/740/8 stat line. As a rookie this shows a lot of promise and many people expected a step forward. However, Slayton sophomore year was extremely similar to his rookie campaign with a 50/751/3 stat line. As you can see, the only regression was touchdowns but stayed consistent in catches and yards.
After being a bit surprised by Slayton’s regression, there are a few things to look at as to why this may have happened. This past year the Giants run game was nothing that needed to be feared or even respected. With Saquon Barkley being injured, they were relying on Wayne Gallman and Devonta Freeman. I believe this also played a huge role in the sophomore slump for Daniel Jones. With an abysmal offensive line and the 24th ranked rushing attack in yards per carry, it is easy to understand how this may have resulted in the passing game to suffer. Next season when Barkley returns and hopefully an improved offensive line, I expect the passing game to improve and for Slayton to make steps forward from his rookie season.
Phillip Lindsay shocked the league in his rookie season when he ran for 1,037 yards at 5.4 yards per carry. Lindsay faced a lot of doubters because of his 5’8” and 190lbs stature and still managed to have a solid sophomore season even after many thought his rookie season was a fluke. In his sophomore year he ran for 1.011 yards at 4.5 yards per carry. Unfortunately going into his third season, Melvin Gordon joined the Broncos and took over the lead back role leaving Lindsay with a limited role as a change of pace back where he put up 502 yards at 4.3 yards per carry.
This offseason Phillip Lindsay is a restricted free agent so he does not have a clear path to a larger workload but there is potential. If Phillip Lindsay does have the opportunity to find a new opportunity I do not expect for him to be a lead back, but to split time with another running back. In this situation I believe Lindsay’s best traits will be used and he will be a great depth piece at running back.
James Washington is a player where we have not seen much of an upside so this will require a lot of patience. In his rookie season he barely saw the field and only saw 16 targets. A large part of this had to do with playing behind Antonio Brown and Juju Smith-Schuster. However, in his sophomore season he took some steps forward and had a 44/735/3 stat line in a very dysfunctional offense. Because of his steps forward I believed he would continue to trend in the right direction, however, he found himself behind Juju, Diontae Johnson, and Chase Claypool.
Unfortunately, Washington has one more year before his rookie contract is up and he will have the opportunity at a fresh start in a new situation. The only way I do not see him leaving the Steelers is if he makes huge strides forward with Juju leaving in free agency this offseason. Washington is a player that can be acquired essentially for free and could potentially be a nice depth piece to your roster in a couple of years.
As I mentioned earlier with Slayton, Jones was set up for failure with a bad run game and a terrible offensive line. With expected improvements to the run game, offensive line, and additional offensive weapons, I expect Jones to bounce back.
Cohen will always be a gadget player, but because of his unique skill set he is a nice addition as a 3rd or 4th running back in ppr formats. The Bears do not have a large arsenal of weapons so I expect Cohen to generate a large amount of touches after returning from injury.
Samuel has struggled with injuries since entering the league, however he has been incredibly explosive whenever he gets his hands on the ball. I completely understand the fear of his injury history, however, if he can manage to stay on the field more often, he will be a very valuable piece.
If you happen to own any of these players it is important to be patient and not to give these pieces away for “free” because their value has recently taken a dip. If you do not happen to own these players, and you are trading with a team that does, this is a great opportunity to try to get them added on top of any deal, as their value is much lower than I expect it to be in a year or two.