In this weekly column, I typically explore some young players who haven’t made much of a consistent impact to date on their fantasy football teams. Some players may be available on your waiver wire, some may be available via a cheap or moderate trade. Acquiring or not acquiring one of these players could decide how well your dynasty or keeper team does for the next few years. One of these players is taking the Twitter and fantasy-verse by storm, Larry Donnell. He had his own hash tag trending this past Friday. The other, quarterback Mike Glennon, was a surprise starter his rookie year and got demoted due to a coaching change before the start of 2014. Here are my thoughts:
TE Larry Donnell, NYG- Perhaps one of this year’s biggest surprises is the second year Grambling walk-on to the Giants tight end (nfl.com reports he is in his second year and rotoworld.com states that he is in his third season). Of course, every week I try to evaluate at least one player from the Thursday night game and Donnell exceeded all expectations. His versatility playing inline tight end, full back, split out-wide, and as a wingback impressed me. When you first look at him, the young tight end looks all tall and lanky, but his amazing catch radius does the talking. Donnell caught passes at the ball highest point, in his stomach, off his hip, and right out in front of his body in stride.
The Giants tight end runs a bit upright with some awkwardness moving down the field, but still maintains great body control. When Donnell got used as a lead blocker from the full back set, he wasn’t very effective. However, he blocked well from the inline tight end spot or the wingback position, giving good running lanes for the New York backfield to plow through. The second year player runs quick hook routes well as you could tell that Eli Manning trusted him with five red zone targets (he made three of those count, missed a poorly thrown pass, and the defense stopped him short on one). Donnell did a great job of shielding defenders from the ball, selling routes one way and then quickly changing directions. His best catch of the night was his third touchdown grab where he lined up on the outside with one on one coverage with the strong safety. Donnell got to the spot, skied above to get the pigskin, and left his rookie coverage looking silly near the back of the right corner of the end zone.
I doubt that this young tight end has another three touchdown game in 2014, but I think we can take away some things from this amazing effort: 1) Donnell is a true red zone threat. 2) He will catch a high percentage of the passes thrown his way. 3) The tight end will be fantasy relevant when he is on the field. 4) His coaches trust and believe in him, so fantasy owners should too.
QB Mike Glennon, TB- I write this with a heavy heart as most of you know I am a die-hard Steelers fan, and the second year quarterback took it to Pittsburgh. Glennon steps up in the pocket, makes quick decisions, and does not have happy feet, rather he throws without regard to protecting himself. You could see the poise early on when he stayed in the pocket, throwing low and outside to rookie receiver Mike Evans for an early touchdown. He tossed a lot of nice touch passes that were very accurate, high arches on deeper throws, where only the intended receiver could get to the pigskin. The quarterback has a strong arm, but faced adversity from getting play calls late from the sidelines and suffered through a lot of dropped passes. His final statistics do not do him justice as Glennon completed half of his passes for just over 300 yards and two touchdowns.
There was also an overthrow in the fourth quarter where Evans, suffered a groin pull, while trying to get to a deep pass. If they would have connected, the young signal caller would have had a much bigger day. Glennon kept on battling back despite losing an early ten point lead to come back with less than ten seconds left to find Vincent Jackson in the end zone to win the game. I have my doubts that Tampa will become a juggernaut for fantasy production, but dynasty owners could do worse having Glennon as a QB2 or QB3. I have difficulty believing that Head Coach Lovie Smith will go back to journeyman Josh McCown.
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