Since dynasty rankings change from year to year, value can be found throughout the rankings to build a stronger and deeper roster. We’ll call these players hidden dynasty assets. Whether it is a young post-hype sleeper that’ll turn into the next year’s in/year out starter, a player that can be flipped for greater value in the future, or even an aging veteran that can help your team win this year, value can come from many places. These gems will not necessarily be dynasty free agents or deep rookies to monitor during camp, but this will serve as a list of players that have the chance raise their dynasty stock and provide long-term as well as short-term value. Over the next four articles, I will present different Hidden Dynasty Assets for the four skilled positions. Beginning with the quarterback position, I will highlight a few player values to capitalize on this upcoming season.
Carson Wentz, PHI (QB16 & 125th Overall)
Last year in his rookie season, Wentz threw for nearly 3,800 yards with 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. For comparison, Jameis Winston threw for 4,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while Derek Carr went for 3,300 yards with 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions in both of their rookie seasons. I bring up both of these young quarterbacks to look up their current value in startup drafts. They are ranked back to back with Carr getting the slight edge over Winston but both are being taken as a top 5 dynasty quarterbacks.
I do not think that Wentz will become a top 5 quarterback overnight, or maybe even ever, but the opportunity for a big season is sure there. One big season from the young quarterback could boost his dynasty stock into top 5 at the position based on his age alone. This offseason the Eagles added Alshon Jeffery to a one-year “prove it” deal. When healthy, Alshon is a huge red zone target sure to boost Wentz’s touchdown numbers from last year. As the yardage totals were above average for Wentz his rookie year, adding more touchdowns to his stat line would greatly increase his dynasty value. Wentz is also able to continue to build chemistry with Jordan Mathews, Nelson Agholor, and Zach Ertz, who should all see a slight uptick in touchdowns as well.
If there is a time to trade for Wentz it might be before the season starts, while his stock is still cheap. He began last year on a tear throwing for 2 TDs in 3 of his first 4 games. I think that potential for Wentz goes beyond this year and I believe he is a very talented quarterback, but one big year could be enough value to trade him next year and capitalize on the value if needed. All in all, I think that the Eagles have greatly improved their receiving corps but with Jeffrey on a 1-year contract, this could be the perfect time to invest in Wentz as a big second year is not out of the question.
Carson Palmer, ARZ (QB29 & 246th Overall)
As I mentioned earlier, this list will not exclusively include young dynasty free agents or deep rookies. To that point, Carson Palmer is the prime example of a Hidden Dynasty Asset who is past his prime. Even with Palmer past his prime and close to retirement, he is the only quarterback outside of the top 20 with top five potential. I’m not telling everyone to drop everything and trade for Palmer, but if you have a quarterback need to fill, you can get Palmer for almost nothing.
“Why am I claiming that Palmer has top five potential?”
He is only one year removed from throwing for over 4,600 yards, 35 touchdowns and 11 interceptions which put him as, you guessed it, QB5. Additionally, Palmer finished last season as strong as any other quarterback. After the Cardinals week 9 bye, Palmer went on to throw for over 250 yards and had multiple touchdowns in all but 2 games. There are a few differences for the Cardinals’ offense as a team between the past two seasons, but no major changes have been made. One difference is that they lean more on star running back David Johnson to score, which will limit the upside of Palmer as he threw 35 touchdowns in 2015 compared to throwing 26 last year.
Another key difference was the absence of John Brown last season due to injury. With this being Brown’s contract year, I’d be willing to bet that he stays on the field more and puts up numbers similar to his 2015 stat line of 65 catches for 1000 yards and 7 touchdowns. This would be a huge upgrade for Palmer who thrived when Brown was good in 2015. Adding a healthy Brown to the always consistent Larry Fitzgerald will bring Palmer back to that top 5 quarterback potential as defenses will have to mainly focus and respect David Johnson. As the 37-year-old Carson Palmer will never be an attractive pickup in dynasty leagues, this Hidden Dynasty Asset could easily provide enough upside for any team that has a need at quarterback and, at a very cheap price.
Andy Dalton, CIN (QB17 & 140th Overall)
My favorite Hidden Dynasty Asset is the 29 year old Andy Dalton, who is coming off of his 6th season as the Bengals starting quarterback. In those 6 seasons he has posted 3 seasons as a top 12 quarterback and in 2015 he was on pace to be a top 5 quarterback before getting injured in week 14. In 2015, he posted a stat line of 3,250 yards with 25 touchdowns and only 7 interceptions by week 14 and was right there with Carson Palmer for the MVP race. As for 2016, Dalton had to adapt to a new receiving corps but was still posting QB1 numbers prior to top target A.J. Green going down in week 10. Dalton also lost tight end Tyler Eifert and receiving back Giovani Bernard at different points last season so his decrease in production is justified.
This season, the Bengals decided to sure up the offensive skill positions in order to give Dalton a plethora of weapons. With their first two picks of the 2017 draft, they took speedster John Ross and the versatile back Joe Mixon. John Ross will be used as an elusive weapon intended to take the top off of opposing defenses and with Eifert healthy, attention should be taken off superstar A.J. Green. In addition, Joe Mixon will be added to the backfield of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard. Mixon is my favorite rookie running back and will be used to improve upon the weak 2016 running attack. If the Bengals can stay healthy, the new additions are sure to free up the entire offense for Dalton, who has already proven to be capable of putting up top 12 numbers.
Dalton is being drafted as a backup quarterback in dynasty startups but has the ceiling to be top 5 at the quarterback position. At 29 years old, Dalton is at the prime of his career and could not get any cheaper to trade for. Dalton is an proven quarterback with a young team behind him and I see no reason as to why he can’t be competing to be a top 5 quarterback for the next 5 years. If you have a need at quarterback, or if you want to sure up the position for the future, Dalton won’t cost much, has very limited risk, and is the prime quarterback to target.
Paxton Lynch, DEN (QB35 & 270th Overall)
The final Hidden Dynasty Asset is the only true sleeper I am going to recommend investing in. Lynch is most likely a free agent in standard sized dynasty leagues and free in startups, unlike the other quarterbacks I mentioned earlier. Some people forget that one year ago the Broncos traded up to snag Lynch with the 26th pick.
Coming out of Memphis Lynch impressed with his size, arm strength and athletic ability to make plays. In order to win the starting job over Trevor Siemian however, Lynch will have to improve his decision making and be accurate, day in and day out. The Broncos traded a 3rd round pick to move up 5 spots to take Lynch so I am pretty confident that he will be the Broncos starting quarterback sometime in the near future. As Lynch played in only 3 games last year he could still be a year away from starting and depending on how big your league is, it might not be worth rostering this year if he is not.
Lynch is also in a great position to develop as a quarterback. The Broncos receiving corps is on the older side as far as dynasty goes but is extremely talented nonetheless. Trusted veterans Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders probably have 2 or 3 productive years left but incoming rookies Carlos Henderson and Jake Butt look to be a solid foundation for the future. Additionally, the Broncos have a solid running game led by C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker, and one of the league’s top defenses.
A solid team around the young quarterback will alleviate some of the pressure put on him to win right away and will allow Lynch to develop his skills. With that all being said, John Elway had to have had something to do with trading up for Lynch last year and I view him as a high upside quarterback who has the opportunity to start for a very formidable Broncos team.
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