In fantasy football, a player’s value changes from season to season. If you want to be a successful owner, it’s important that you identify these trends and pass on players if they’re valued to high while seizing opportunities to buy low on players whose value is on the rise. I’m going to highlight three players whose value is trending upward heading into 2014.
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts
Luck finishes 2013 ranked fourth among quarterbacks in total fantasy points and he spent half of the season without Reggie Wayne and the whole season working behind one of the worst offensive lines in the NFL. The Colts allowed their quarterback to be pressured on 220 throws this year which is the fourth highest total in the league and they let him get hit on 62 of those attempts; the Houston Texans were second, allowing their quarterback to get hit 49 times. If the Colts can beef up their offensive line this offseason and replace Darrius Heyward-Bey with someone who can actually catch the ball, then Luck should certainly be able to build on what was a very successful 2013 season.
Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
Patterson is an absolutely electric talent out on the football field, but for some reason, it took the Vikings half of 2013 to figure out how to use him. Things started clicking in the second half, though, and the results were fantastic. Prior to Week 11, Patterson hadn’t played in at least 50 percent of the Vikings’ offensive snaps in a single game; from Week 11 on, though, he played in at least 50 percent of the Vikings’ snaps in every game. Since that time, Patterson scored at least eight fantasy points in five out of seven games and in two of those games he hit the 20-point mark.
The most encouraging thing about Patterson heading into 2014 is that the Vikings have realized that he is just as big of a threat out of the backfield as he is through the air. Patterson got at least one carry in each of his last five games, in four of those games he received at least two carries and in three of those games he scored a rushing touchdown. Patterson is truly an incredible playmaker when the ball is in his hands; he finished 2013 with the 32nd most fantasy points among receivers and I would be shocked if next year he didn’t finish within the top 25.
Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins
Reed missed the last six games in 2013 due to a concussion, but before the injury he looked like the next big thing at tight end. Reed took over as the Redskins’ starting tight end in Week 6 and in the five games he started in before he went down with his concussion, he totaled 31 catches for 381 yards and two touchdowns; in three of those five games Reed had at least nine fantasy points. Many people were quick to compare Reed to Aaron Hernandez and I believe that to be a pretty accurate comparison. Reed has an incredible combination of size and athleticism and is a matchup nightmare for any defender. Reed produced like a TE1 for five weeks before being knocked out with a concussion; he should pick up right where he left off in 2014.