Deep Dynasty Stashes: 3 Players Who Could Benefit from the Sarkisian Connection
We’re right around the corner from the NFL Draft and about a week into the Free Agency frenzy. This is where we see the most shakeup for dynasty assets and could potentially see role players thrust into prime position to breakout, think Rishard Matthews in 2016.
One of the more aggressive teams has been the San Francisco 49ers as new Head Coach Kyle Shanahan brings in players he’s had success with in the past to help integrate his system.
This got me thinking about the position he left open as Offensive Coordinator of the high-powered Atlanta Falcons. Will the team look to add players that Steve Sarkisian has a history with to help put his new system in place? If so, would any of these players have a chance to emerge as a big time contributor? After digging in, I think there’s a good chance we see at least one former player emerge in Atlanta, and three in particular have pretty exciting potential.
Falcons rookie Tight End Austin Hooper looked really impressive last season. So much so the team let veteran Jacob Tamme walk in free agency. But recently on RotoViz Radio, beat writer Jeanna Thomas mentioned that the team could use more multiple-TE sets under Sarkisian, and this is why I could potentially see him turning to a familiar face.
At Washington, Jenkins posted an 87th percentile dominator rating and led the team in receiving touchdowns in consecutive seasons. The Falcons led the NFL in red zone attempts last year, but no player had more than six touchdowns. If the team wants to make it back to the Super Bowl, adding a TE mismatch to its already prolific offense could be the key. Jenkins is a cut candidate with the Jets, so if that plays out, the Falcons would make sense as a landing spot.
Personality and maturity issues issues led to his demise in Tampa and rumors trace those problems back to Washington. That could ultimately keep him off of the team’s radar. If those whispers are overblown, there’s reason to at least be optimistic on him becoming a top-10 dynasty TE. He didn’t play much in 2016, but over the last two seasons he’s posted 0.10 receiving fantasy points over expectation per attempted (reFPOEPA), a better number than players like Antonio Gates, Kyle Rudolph, Zach Ertz, and Coby Fleener. Keep in mind he did this with the Jets poor-QB play and a rookie QB in 2015. The potential is there for a breakout if he found himself playing with the reigning MVP.
This might seem strange, but with Devonta Freeman seeking a big contract, this could end up being a great landing spot for Sankey. After some disappointing seasons in the NFL, it’s easy to forget how productive he was under Sarkisian in college. Over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Sankey had the second-most rushing attempts, the fourth-most yards and the fourth-most rushing touchdowns. He was one of only 19 players to have 3,3oo rushing yards, 500 receiving yards, and 30 touchdowns in under 40 games played.
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This one is probably more likely. The Ravens just added Danny Woodhead to an already crowded backfield, so Allen’s time with the team may be coming to an end. Sarkisian only coached Allen for one season at USC, but he used him as an absolute workhorse. Here’s a list of comps from the RotoViz Box Score Scout based on his weight and 2014 production.
While Sankey has bounced around the league, Allen has really only had one opportunity in the NFL. His efficiency wasn’t great, but he showed he could take on a workhorse role and be productive, specifically as a receiving back, something Falcons Quarterback Matt Ryan has relied on over the years. Tevin Coleman and the aforementioned Freeman combined for 105 targets last season. The team seems to like third-stringer Terron Ward, but he hasn’t really proved to be a stand out in this area.
We don’t know for sure what changes the new Falcons OC will make, but we can expect plenty of yards and touchdowns. Getting your hands on even the smallest of role players, or potential role players, could end up as a wise strategy. Unless you have open spots, I wouldn’t go stashing these names over my speculation, but if we start to hear whispers of a connection between them and the Falcons, you should pounce quickly. All three of the players were once time RotoViz darlings, not just for athleticism, but also for their collegiate production. Seeing them emerge once again wouldn’t be shocking, especially if they can capitalize on their ties with Sarkisian.