That Player You're Holding On To Against All Odds

Do you have a player in your dynasty team(s) that you are holding on to against all odds?

For me, that’s New England’s wide receiver Jakobi Meyers.

No, he certainly isn’t the greatest fantasy asset. He finished the 2021 season as a low-end WR3 in PPR formats, and will will now face increased competition for targets this year. There are certainly more attractive players than Meyers.

But here’s the deal - I actually drafted him in the 2019 rookie draft. In the third round, no less. Nobody had him on their draft boards. He was unranked in most expert rankings. And yet, I felt very comfortable spending my 3.08 pick on him.

He came into the league as an UDFA, and while some had considered him a day 3 candidate for the 2019 NFL draft, it was not a huge surprise that he went undrafted. He was then scooped up by the New England Patriots, who had just spent a first round pick on N’Keal Harry. So Meyers had “training camp material only” tattooed all over his forehead.

But he got a few snaps in the preseason games, and caught my attention there. He made a contested catch in which he displayed fantastic hands, great adjustment and broke a mid-air double tackle. And he was targeted a couple of times when obviously a designed play hadn’t worked out, QB was on the run looking for an emergency solution, and suddenly found an open Meyers.

Still, everybody was sure he wouldn’t make the 53 man roster. And even if he did, he’d be worthless, because the New England QB back then was still Tom Brady. And the GOAT never utilized rookie receivers.

I wasn’t sure, though. I saw a WR who looked NFL ready. A receiver who could stand his ground against NFL defenders. A receiver who could not just run routes, but was also able to improvise, when his QB needed help. I later learned that he was a QB himself in highschool, and had even joined Cam Newton’s talent camp.

I saw a sleeper in Meyers. So I took my chances and drafted him. And he did make the 53 man roster. And he drew 41 targets in his rookie season, that he turned into 26 catches for 359 yards, which was a lot more than what N’Keal Harry saw in his rookie season.

So I kept Meyers in 2020, and saw him gain some FLEX appeal in his sophomore season, while Harry didn’t even reach Meyers’ rookie numbers in his second year in the NFL.

2021 was Meyers’ best year yet, even though the lack of red zone targets limits his upside significantly. But he racked up a respectable 866 yards, while Harry vanished in obscurity.

So here we are in 2022. Meyers got new competition for targets when the Patriots added DeVante Parker during the offseason. Along with Kendrick Bourne, Nelson Agholor, second-round pick Tyquan Thornton and the TE duo Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, Meyers will struggle to draw 126 targets once more.

I’ll still hold on to him. Meyers has proven himself against presumably superior competition before. I don’t see why he can’t do it again. Do I expect him to take another step forward? Not necessarily. Would I recommend to trade for him? Only if you can get him with a discount.

But you won’t get that discount from me. I drafted Meyers when most fantasy managers hadn’t even heard his name. I held on to him when all experts said he’ll be gone soon. Meyers is my guy. Gut feeling is rarely a good advisor in fantasy football, but it served me well with Meyers. And so he’ll be on my roster for yet another year.

Do you have one of these “against all odds” players on your dynasty rosters?

Jameis Winston. Mind you, I didn’t have him when he had his “big season” back in 2019 (5109 pass yards, 33 td’s, 30 picks). I was on hiatus from fantasy football at the time. But I saw what he did, and I thought, this kid is easily comparable to Brett Favre, maybe better. Unlike Favre, Winston went to the Saints to get better. Last year, we saw it, when he threw 14 td’s to 3 picks, until he got hurt. I still have him in 2 leagues, and I may add him in more.

Note the year Favre won the Super Bowl, 1996, he threw for 3899 yards, 39 td’s and 13 picks. Winston’s stats prorated last season: 2841 yards, 34 td’s, 7 picks. Winston is still a work in progress, and he sat on the bench in New Orleans during his 6th season, whereas Favre won his Super Bowl that year.

Note Winston’s injury last season was to his leg, not his rocket arm.

I still have Jameis and plan to keep him. And I’m not a Saints fan, I’m a Raiders fan. But I like Jameis’s chances, especially after they drafted Chris OIave.

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Fully agree on Winston. I don’t expect to see another 5000+ yard season from him. But 4000 yards and 25 TDs with 10 or less INTs would be pretty neat already.

I have him as a backup in a single QB league, behind Trey Lance and alongside Daniel Jones. Going into the season, I’ll probably keep both Winston and Jones. But if I decide to cut one of them, it will not be Winston.

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The key to Winston is his td production. Much like Favre, he can throw the ball through narrow windows. For QB’s like that, this can get them in trouble, but it also allows them to score more td’s than most QB’s. This is why a 30+ td season is within his reach, even if he is being tightly controlled to prevent interceptions.

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