Don't we all wish we could be that guy that grabs a guy like Lindsay off waivers early or as a late-round draft pick? I know I do. I was able to grab him in a couple of leagues just before the season started because I soaked in all the hype on him and picked him off waivers. I know believing the hype is not always advised, however, attention should be paid to every situation. The thing is...what exactly are we looking for?
There isn't a set science to this. If you're new to this game...write it down, tattoo it on the inside of your eyelids, make a song of it and play it into your ears while you sleep. Just remember it.
People who took a chance on Lindsay weren't putting their paycheck on him performing as he did. Owners may have liked him in the offseason, but no one was drafting him in the early rounds.
But he was there.
So what do we need to look for?
Tape guys and stat guys will have you listen to them, but the truth is that it's a mix of both and a bit of something else. Lindsay was productive in Colorado, but his conference wasn't the most competitive, or his schedule wasn't the toughest, or he didn't test in the top bunch of the combine or may not have been invited all together. The Broncos also drafted Royce Freeman in the 3rd round, having people believe that he would contribute along with Devontae Booker in the run game.
There were things to point at and hold on to when explaining why Lindsay wouldn't do much in 2018 if anything. But if we dig a little more, then we should be able to at least see that an opportunity was there, and start asking the right questions.
That means we need to ask questions about and investigate hype when it is presented by a coach or media close to that player.
When Lindsay was hyped in the offseason last year, the questions and answers that should've followed could've been:
Q: Who's in front of him and do they have a hold of the starting job?
A: Booker and Freeman; one is a rookie (in 2018) and the other hasn't shown anything previously to make us believe that he can carry the load and be productive week in and week out.
Q: Does his play in the preseason show that he has a little something to bite on for me to use a late-round pick on him?
A: Yes. He produced in the run game and pass game in 2018 preseason.
Q: Could you see him contributing enough to make you want to take that chance?
A: Freeman came into the league with questions about much he would contribute to the passing game, and Booker never wowed anyone. Also if you didn't draft RB heavy, then why not take that chance.
I know these are easier to answer in hindsight, but they could've been answered. The questions have to be asked, in combination with hype, production, and numbers.
He wasn't the worst athlete and he did produce in college.
This doesn't equal success, but it should be more than enough to grab a player like this with a late-round pick or grab him in early waivers.
With all that being said, let's look at players where we can try to put a case together for when looking to see who could have a chance to be "The Next Lindsay".
Preston Williams, WR, Miami
Q: Did he produce?
A: He was up and down in college but showed dominance at times. (96 rec, 1345 yards, 13 TD in 2018)
Q: How do the numbers look?
A: He didn't face high-level competition much in college but that doesn't mean he sucks. 6'4'' 211 lbs.
His pro day wasn't anything special.
Q: Who's in front of him in the depth chart and do they have a hold of their spots?
A: DeVante Parker but he's either injured or doesn't produce consistently enough. Kenny Still but he's more of a speedster and not a red zone guy. Adrian Wilson who got a new contract last year and shined when he got a chance and will probably play more in the slot.
Q: Has he shown anything to back up any hype on him?
A: He's only played well in the first preseason game this year, but he's going to be a late-round pick anyway.
Q: Is there a legitimate chance he can contribute this year?
A: There's no one in front of him that is irreplaceable. One concern would be QB play but again, it's a late-round pick.
The hype seems to suggest that he'll be, at the very least, involved somewhere this year on offense. And for a team that's trying to find it's best pieces in what seems to be a rebuild mode, he should be given his chances and that should make him worth a flyer.
Keesean Johnson, WR, Arizona
Q: Was he productive in college?
A: Yes. His production increased every year (95 rec, 1340 yards, 8 TDs in 2018).
Q: What do his measurables look like?
A: He doesn't wow you with his combine numbers. 6'1" 201 lbs.
Q: Who's ahead of him on the depth chart?
A: Larry Fitzgerald who doesn't seem to age but at age 35, I'm not sure what percentage of the offensive snaps he'll be getting. Christian Kirk who'll be in his 2nd year but will be new to this offense. Everyone else is still a toss-up to be the No.3 and No.4 receiver on the team.
Q: Can you see him contributing enough to garner a spot on your roster?
A: With the Cardinals revamped system, anyone who impresses will get an opportunity and it seems they like him enough to give him some chances.
Q: How has he looked in the preseason?
A: The offense itself still looks like it has to work out kinks so it's a little difficult to determine who is supposed to be the top WR in this offense but he's caught a couple of throws.
He's been impressing the coaches all offseason and there have been injured players in camp and it sounds as though he's taken advantage of it. He may have an inside track at the WR 3 or 4 and if everyone is fantasizing of big numbers for this offense, then as a late-round pick, I would like to take a chance of having a part of that offense.
Trey Quinn, WR, Washington
Q: When was the last time he did anything?
A: His junior year in 2017 114 rec, 1236 yards, and 13 TDs. He only played in 3 games last year and had 9 rec, 75 yards, and 1 TDs.
Q: What do his measurables look like?
A: His combine numbers won't wow anyone but they weren't terrible. 6' 200 lbs.
Q: Who is ahead of him on the depth chart and do they have a hold of it?
A: Who knows who's landing where right now. The hype on him suggests that he is the lead guy for slot duties. Fresh faces all around mean everyone should be given a shot.
Q: Do you see him performing well enough to become fantasy-relevant?
A: If it's true that he will have the slot duties, then I feel like he's going to have plenty of opportunities as a sort of security blanket for Keenum or Haskins.
"The Next Lindsay" doesn't have to be an undrafted guy to me. Just a guy that may be drafted late or not at all in fantasy drafts. Quinn jumps out to me here because I think he'll be forgotten in drafts and he's a good shot to take because there isn't anyone on the offense that has a spot cemented.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, San Francisco
Q: Can he produce?
A: We've seen him produce before but we've never seen him do it as a workhorse for 16 games. But maybe that's not what you need from him to be productive.
Q: Has he lost a step due to his injury?
A: We can't know that until he hits the field.
Q: Where is he on the pecking order and who's ahead of him?
A: Newly signed Tevin Coleman looks like he'll get the nod for the bulk of the work at least to start the season and there are still Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida who was said to have a part in the offense.
Q: When was the last time he was relevant?
A: In 2017 he had 991 combined rushing and receiving yards, 51 rec, and 5 combined TDs.
Q: How can he contribute this year with so many other players in the mix and will he be healthy enough?
A: I know reports are out there about the possibility of him starting on IR, but even if he does, he would be worth a stash to people who think this backfield is full of players who haven't proven to stay healthy or haven't shown they can handle being a workhorse. And if he doesn't land on IR then he'll be as involved as the rest.
Coleman had a shot to prove himself last year. Mostert looked good when he was healthy but they still used an RBBC when he was playing. Breida seems to always land on the injury report. There were also whispers of a trade earlier in the offseason. We know McKinnon is a home run hitter type of guy, so if he's healthy, he's going to be active somewhere and maybe he'll be that flex guy for you at some time this season. That's worth a late-round pick in my book.
"The Next Lindsay" doesn't have to be an undrafted rookie free agent. If you narrow your search to only that, then you are cheating yourself. Look harder at the players being drafted late or are undrafted. Understand that luck still has to play it's part in fantasy football and ask the right questions. Even the ones you know will pull the argument against you rostering that player.
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