Hey everyone, hope you're staying warm with this wicked temps in most of the country. In Michigan, we're fighting a foot or two of snow depending on where the wind has blown piles and a balmy -5 degrees. Southern Michigan... of course, I say that like somehow the Southern part implies warmth - we often have snow, but it's usually 30 degrees warmer than this.
In football news, we've had the typical carousel of coaches as teams position and jockey to get their organizations in place so that draft prep can occur. I've ready the word 'toxic' twice in football coaching news this past few weeks, which has me quite amazed. I would think any upgraded position would be a good stepping stone, but top level assistants aren't interested in stepping into management or coaching spots in Cleveland and Miami right now. The ownership in both locations appear to be causing unstability and, especially in Cleveland, not giving the coaching staff time to even have a chance. I saw a little mock article in Cleveland where 14 hours after being hired, they fired their new coach citing philosophical changes. Then in a fake interview with the new coach, he had to ask where the door was so he could leave since he was so new he didn't know the building layout yet. Clever, witty stuff makes me smile.
In real football news, we've had a fairly boring playoff. I mean, games have been good, the Richard Sherman sideshow has been fun and polarizing, but the predicted winners really have won. Were there any upsets? I guess San Diego over Cincinnati was an upset, but not really earthshaking.
I keep looking for the storylines for ripples into next year and we'll be focusing a lot of time on the teams who are having coaching staff changes for article series' this winter in the 'off' season for football.
By now, I've got 10 sleepers I'm watching with interest for my dynasty teams and I'm hoping at least half become relevant in re-draft leagues. I'll be highlighting once each week in my Monday ramblings for the next 10 weeks.
In no specific order, I'll grab a player you may not have heard of who may be usable in 2014 and go deep. First up is Green Bay Tight End, Brandon Bostick:
The player: Brandon Bostick, 6'3", 260 lbs., age 24
History: Brandon was a WR at Newberry College in South Carolina, as well as a fullback at times and also played on the college's basketball team. Quite an interesting blend of skills that just kind of state 'athelete' at a quick glance. Bostick was an effective WR as he often physically dominated the opposing players and was able to carve out space at will. He lead his team in receptions and scoring his senior year. Based on the simple graph of his height, weight and speed the Jets and Packers invited Bostick to rookie camps. The Jets passed, but the Pack decided to offer him a contract - with an offer to try to develop him into a fantasy asset - a west coast offense pass-catching tight end. In 2013, Bostick played in 4 games for the Packers in a complimentary role. He managed 7 receptions for 120 yards and 1 TD.
The situation: Bostick has been tentatively elevated to #1 on the depth chart in Green Bay as both Jermichael Finley and Andrew Quarless are free agents. Finley suffered a neck injury in 2013 and had to have fusion surgery on his vertebrae. He has also stated he won't be taking a discount as he looks for a new contract. Of course, him stating it and the reality may be far apart, but you can bet the fiscally frugal Green Bay Packers won't be paying market price for Finley. If Finley doesn't attract any attention on the free agent market, he could always be back with the Pack if he'll accept a much smaller 1 year contract to prove he's healthy. Quarless is an in-line blocking type TE and doesn't truly project to be a pass-catching weapon. So, by virtue of default, currently Bostick may become a starter in an offense that loves the TE and who will be returning one of the top groups of WR in the game and a newly reinvigorated running game led by Eddie Lacy. Oh, and a fairly decent QB flinging the rock.
Upside/Downside: Absolute boom or bust here for Bostick - he could be the next great pass-catching TE or a simple afterthought. I would guess there's about a 90% chance that Green Bay brings in a veteran who will dual as safety valve and possible mentor as well. If Bostick continues to lurk beneath the radar and Finley doesn't come back, this is a top target for a late round pick and a great slot as your #2 TE for 2014. Dynasty leaguers, of course, can look even longer term than 2014 and the potential here is that he develops in 2014 and really grabs the job in 2015, with or without Finley in his way. Overall, for the price, Bostick should be a superior value and cost little - with upside as a TE1 in 2014. Nice player to be sitting on, but DO NOT OVERPAY - he's still a wildcard and extremely raw, to say the least.
For regular readers you've heard me say this before - ALMOST EVERY PLAYER HAS VALUE - the question isn't 'should I draft Bostick (or any other player) - it's at what point does his value become worth me taking him?" Let's say I think Bostick is (not true) a 6th round pick in 2014 drafts. If that's true, taking him in the 6th round is a complete waste of time. If I'm 100% correct on a sleeper then I've just spent my 6th round pick to get 6th round value. That's not getting ahead, folks, that's just running with the herd. To make our players produce MORE, we have to also study ADP (Average Draft Pick) sheets and find out where people generally are taking him, then lean in a little ahead of that curve if it's a player we really love. Getting Bostick in the 10th round for 6th round value is good, but getting him in the 14th is where gold starts to happen. We'll spend a lot of time before August talking about draft mechanics and how to weave value and ADP together to produce the best positive results. Hang in there, the winter will be full of learning and depth analysis - I'm sure you're going to love what we're cooking up here!