With the NFL Combine now finished and the draft soon to come, one thing is on each dynasty fantasy player’s mind — rookies. Rookies are great, they’re all shiny and new and will help lead our teams to championships down the road. Just because it’s rookie season doesn’t mean you shouldn’t also be acquiring veteran players to help fortify your rosters. In fact, now is the best time to do so while the rest of your league mates are fixated on rookie picks. With that in mind, I’ve identified three veteran players that you should acquire in your dynasty leagues to help win your league championship in 2019.
*All scoring is based on PPR scoring and is average points per game unless otherwise noted
Marvin Jones (WR – DET)
You may have forgotten that Jones is a very good receiver since he missed the final seven games of the 2018 season. At least that’s the feeling I get when looking at the most recent ADP data from Dynasty Football Factory. He’s currently being drafted as the 144th (rounded up from 143.7) player overall and as the WR65.
In the nine games he played last year, Jones averaged 12.9 points per game, good enough for WR28 over a full season. This came off the heels of a WR15 finish in 2017. At the cost of a 12th round startup draft pick or a low-round rookie draft pick, you can secure a wide receiver who’s finished in the top 30 in per game scoring two years running.
Another concern that could depress his price even further are the splits Jones exhibits when Kenny Golladay plays. It’s indisputable that Jones’ fantasy scoring suffers when Golladay plays, scoring 17.54 in five games without Golladay in the lineup and 12.66 in 20 games with Golladay playing over the 2017 and 2018 seasons. This ignores a giant caveat to this situation, though, which is the departure of Golden Tate.
In the two full seasons that Jones and Tate were teammates, Tate averaged 127 targets, 91.5 receptions, 1,040 yards, and 4.5 touchdowns per season. Before he was traded to the Eagles, Tate was on pace for 157 targets in 2018 with the Lions, so it’s not a stretch to think he would have at least met his 2016/2017 averages. Tate’s departure leaves a large target share to be absorbed by the remaining receiving options.
It’s reasonable to assume that Golladay will see an increase in targets, but he was already top 16 in targets last year so his target volume can only increase so much. Kerryon Johnson is likely to see an increase in targets as well, but one would hope that would be at the expense of Theo Riddick. Expect Marvin Jones to reach 100+ targets in 2019, which he was on pace to hit last season (110 target pace), as he did the three seasons before last year. At worst, you should expect him to return the draft value you invest in him while providing WR2 upside.
Lamar Miller (RB – HOU)
One of dynasty Twitter’s favorite offseason activities is replacing Miller. Year in, year out, everyone will remind you that Miller isn’t efficient and isn’t a true bell cow running back. I don’t care, because every season he produces. More important than my opinion on the matter is what Texans general manager Brian Gaines and head coach Bill O’Brien have to say on the matter. O’Brien has repeatedly stated that Miller is the Texans starting running back, and Gaines backed that assertion on February 28 to the Houston Chronicle.
There’s no competition for touches with Alfred Blue an unrestricted free agent who’s likely to depart and D’Onta Foreman still working his way back from a torn Achilles. Foreman was only able to suit up once last year, Week 16, and Achilles injuries can permanently decrease a player’s explosion. While it’s likely they address the running back position in the draft, this is a thin class for difference-making running backs and the Texans have much bigger needs to address, namely on the offensive line, where they ranked 27th in pass and run blocking, according to Football Outsiders.
For as little respect that Miller garners, he’s actually been very productive. Want to a hazard a guess as to the last time he didn’t finish as at least an overall RB2 for the season? You have to go all the way back to the 2013 season when he finished as the RB38.
As I stated earlier, Miller produces season after season. Better than that, he produces week after week. His ceiling is limited, as evidenced by only three RB1 weeks last year, but he provides a high floor with 10 top RB30 finishes in 2018 in 14 games. Miller is not sexy, but he is a veteran piece that can be acquired cheaply (think mid-second round rookie picks), that will never leave you at a disadvantage at the RB2/flex position in your lineup.
Julian Edelman (WR – NE)
For however long Tom Brady decides to play football is how long Edelman will retain his fantasy value. Well, at least through 2019 he will. Edelman is under contract for one more season with the Patriots, in what will be his age-33 season. After this upcoming year, all bets are off. But if you’re trading for Edelman, or drafting him in a startup draft, you do so with the understanding that he is a win-now piece.
Despite playing in only 11 games (through Week 16 of the NFL season) Edelman finished as the WR23 in overall scoring with 187.10 fantasy points. He averaged 17 fantasy points per game, which was good enough for WR15 in weekly output. In his last 67 games beginning with the 2013 season after replacing Wes Welker as Tom Brady’s slot receiver, Edelman has averaged a stout 9.55 targets per game. Despite missing the entire 2017 season due to a torn ACL and the first four games of the 2018 season due to a drug suspension, he was still targeted on 25.7% of Patriot passes last season. Edelman has eclipsed 100 targets in four of his last six seasons.
The only seasons he didn’t hit 100 targets were the 2017 season when he didn’t play at all, and the 2015 season, when he only played in nine games. Now that the NFL Combine has come and gone, rookie fever has become an epidemic. Take one or two of your second-round rookie picks, and offer them to the Edelman owner in your league.