Who are some dynasty long shots that could have big breakout seasons this year? I have a few players below that I feel can do just that.
In this article, I want to take a look at a few dynasty long shots who I feel could produce big fantasy numbers this season, if given the chance to start or at least significant reps. These are players that may have been buried on their team’s depth charts but now may have an opening for them to get their foot in the door to more playing time. As we all know every player is just an injury away from it being their time to shine. Now we have all this Covid-19 to deal with, so every player needs to stay ready to be the next man up. Let’s take a closer look at who some of my dynasty long shots are.
My first dynasty long shots are New York Jet linebackers, Neville Hewitt and Blake Cashman. The Jets looked to have a couple of studs in CJ Mosley and Avery Williamson set to be their starters for this season, but things have changed. Mosley has opted out of the season due to coronavirus fears and Williamson is on the PUP list, as he continues to rehab his way back from an injury. With Mosley out and Williamson still a question mark, the door is open for Hewitt and Cashman to become starters. Both Mosley and Williamson were hurt last season, so the Jets know what they have in Hewitt and Cashman, so they have confidence in them as starters. Cashman has a little harder path to start, as it depends on if or when Williamson plays.
Hewitt really put together a strong campaign in his fifth season in the league. He was able to set career-best numbers in every category. In 12 games played, Hewitt recorded 75 tackles, 44 solos, six tackles for a loss, three sacks, eight quarterback hits, two interceptions, and five pass breakups. He also improved in pass coverage, where he was targeted two and a half times more while allowing 51% completion rate, which was down from 59% the year before. His missed tackle rate of 13.8% is higher than I like, but the volume he could get as a starter makes up for that. His fantasy value last year was in the LB4 range but had he played in the other four games at the same scoring rate, he would have finished as a borderline LB2.
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As a rookie, Cashman had a pretty decent rookie season for the Jets. He would play in seven games starting five contests and would produce 40 tackles, 27 solos, three tackles for a loss, ½ sack, 1 pass breakup, and one fumble recovery. He’s not as good in coverage as Hewitt, which could take him off the field on the money downs. However, he did have a much lower missed tackle rate (7%), than Hewitt. Ourlads have Patrick Onwuasor listed as a starter, ahead of Cashman, but I see Onwuasor as more of a pass rusher, which puts him at outside linebacker. Cashman finished as an LB7 last season, but over a full season, he would project to finish as an LB4. He’s a dynasty long shot, but the opportunity is there.
My next dynasty long shot is the Green Bay Packers, linebacker Oren Burks. The Packers lost both of their starting inside linebackers, BJ Goodson and superstar Blake Martinez, from last season. They brought in Christian Kirksey, but still, have an opening at the other inside spot. This is Burks’s chance to see what he can do in a full-time starting role. Other than Kirksey and Burks, Green Bay only has unproven players or rookies on their roster, so Burks is the next man up. Unless the Packers bring in a free agent to compete for that spot, its Burks’s job to lose. The only other player on their roster that even has a chance would be Ty Summers, who was a preseason standout last year.
Burks has 26 games under his belt but only four starts, which came in his rookie season. Having played as a backup / special teamer he only has 35 career tackles. He’s a rangy, quick linebacker, with speed and he takes good angles to the ball and has only two missed tackles in his career, albeit on limited reps. I know that’s not enticing, but your gambling on the production, based on the volume of reps he will get as a starter. I know it’s a risk but there is no one else to challenge him for the starting role and that projected volume makes Burks a good dynasty long shot.
As I continue with my dynasty long shots, this time I am choosing Jacksonville Jaguar defensive end, Dawuanne Smoot. The Jaguars had a formidable duo in Josh Allen and Yannick Ngakoue, but Ngakoue has been holding out and demanding to be traded all off-season. It remains to be seen if Jacksonville trades him or he continues to hold out, but if either of these happen, Smoot is the next man up. They have a couple of veterans in Cassius Marsh and Adam Gotsis, but I don’t expect either of these cast-offs to challenge Smoot for a starting job. There are some available free agents on the market if the Jaguars wanted to go that route, but they are either too pricy or old for them.
Smoot is one of my favorite dynasty long shots for this year, especially if Ngakoue isn’t in the picture. This will be his fourth season in the league and I look for him to take that next step towards becoming one of the game’s next stars. In his first two seasons, Smoot played in 24 games registering just 24 tackles, three tackles for a loss, and no sacks. Year three for Smoot was completely different and his breakthrough season. He would play in all sixteen games and would produce 17 tackles, six tackles for a loss, all of those being sacks. Pretty impressive that he recorded six sacks, with no starts while only playing 38% of the team’s defensive snaps. Love to see what he can do as a full-time starter.
Provided by: Pro Football Reference