Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 17
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report!
We made it, Footclan! We are finally approaching championship weekend. Hopefully, you have a few dynasty rosters that made it all the way to the finals. If not, the beauty of dynasty football is that you can already start planning out trades and potential draft picks to gear up for another run in 2022. And with dynasty values continuing to fluctuate, I will highlight a couple of players below that I believe are trending in the right (or wrong) direction heading into Week 17! As always, you will find a Dynasty Stock Report, an updated Rookie Opportunity Dashboard, and a prospect breakdown of one of the more intriguing wide receivers in the 2022 class.
Good luck this week, and let’s go win a Dynasty #FootclanTitle!
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard: Week 16
Below you will find a summary of each rookie’s performance and usage from this past week. For reference:
- Expected Fantasy Points is a value calculated based on a player’s usage in their offense. The more high-value opportunities they receive (deep targets, red-zone opportunities, etc.), the higher their expected value will be.
- FPOE stands for Fantasy Points Over Expected and signifies efficiency relative to a player’s usage. FPOE is the difference between a player’s actual PPR points and their expected PPR value.
- Red-Zone Opportunities include targets and rush attempts. For quarterbacks, pass attempts are included as well.
If there are any specific metrics you would like me to include, or if a rookie was excluded, let me know on Twitter @FF_MarvinE.
A Few Rookie Observations from Week 16:
- Davis Mills continues to impress as he was by far the most efficient quarterback, ranking as QB1 with 8.4 points above expected
- Michael Carter saw his usage improve drastically from last week, finishing as the RB4 in red-zone opportunities (5). This was also his first top-24 finish since his week 10 performance vs Buffalo
- Kyle Pitts set a career-high target share of 27.3%. He also produced 4.6 yards per route run, the 2nd highest mark of his young career
- Brevin Jordan continues to stand out after a quiet first half of the season. Jordan has finished as a TE1 in 57.1% of his games
- Amon-Ra St. Brown led all wide receivers in Expected PPR points (21.1), but it was Jaylen Waddle who averaged the highest target share at 46%
2022 Prospect Breakdown
Jameson Williams – Alabama, WR
One of the more intriguing prospects in the upcoming 2022 wide receiver class is Jameson Williams out of Alabama. When you take a glance at his overall profile, what will immediately stand out is his late breakout age. In fact, he spent his freshman and sophomore seasons as an Ohio State Buckeye, struggling to produce behind potential first-round receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. In those two seasons, he only totaled 266 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns, which eventually led to Williams’ decision to enter the transfer portal. Come 2021, he made the decision to join Alabama to fill the void left behind by DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle. As we approach the end of the year, it is safe to say that transferring out of Ohio State has paid dividends as he operated as Alabama’s WR1 leading the team in receiving yards and touchdowns in 2021. And per the NFL Mock Draft Database, Williams was initially projected to be drafted outside of the top-100 picks entering this season. But after a stellar Junior campaign with the Crimson Tide, he should be firmly entrenched as a day-one draft pick, with recent mock drafts projecting him in the mid-to-late first round.
If we take a deeper look at his 2021 season, Williams was one of the best receivers in the country. In 13 games this year, he leads the SEC in receiving yards (1,445) and receiving touchdowns (15), while ranking 2nd in yards per reception (21.3). That last statistic should indicate just how explosive Williams was this season, frequently generating deep receptions and touchdowns for Alabama. A lot of this was driven by his outstanding speed and acceleration, allowing him to create separation and additional yards so effortlessly. From a production standpoint, Williams accounted for 31.9% of Alabama’s receiving yards and 33.9% of the team’s receiving touchdowns. In other words, he was a true focal point for the offense generating nearly a third (32.9%) of the team’s receiving production. In total, Williams’ overall profile will not jump out as the most productive in this class. His late breakout age as well as the modest market share numbers (compared to the top tier of this class) may move him down some people’s draft boards. However, the fact that he produced such a dominant season in 2021 does put him in the top two tiers of this class. And as always, draft capital will ultimately determine how successful Williams can be for your dynasty roster. Considering he is currently projected as a first-round pick, he should be locked in as a top-10 selection in most dynasty rookie drafts.
Dynasty Stock Report
After an impressive 2020 season in which he averaged a 19% target share as a rookie, Tee Higgins has taken his production to the next level despite Ja’Marr Chase’s historic rookie campaign. And while Chase received all the attention prior to their bye week, Higgins was still producing flex-worthy numbers as the WR33 in PPR points per game. In fact, from a usage standpoint (as you can see in the chart below), their expected PPR value was nearly identical through the first half of the season. However, unlike Higgins, Chase was producing at an extremely efficient rate as evidenced by his 3.61 Fantasy Points Over Expected (FPOE). After their bye week in week 10, Higgins has completely flipped script and has outproduced Chase over the past six games. In fact, his production and efficiency are currently exceeding Chase’s number from the first nine weeks, averaging nearly 5.8 PPR points above expected.
*WOPR: Weighted Opportunity Rating (Air Yards Share + Target Share)
So while Chase will garner most of the praise due to his historic rookie season, we should not ignore the fact that Higgins might just be a top-20 dynasty wide receiver as well. Naturally, as both receivers operate as the 1A and 1B in this offense, there will be weeks when they will cap each other’s upside. However, there will also be plenty of instances (such as week 16) where both players finish as WR1’s for fantasy. And with Joe Burrow locked in as their quarterback for the foreseeable future, do not be surprised if both receivers continue to dominate for dynasty managers in 2022 and beyond.
Many dynasty managers, including myself, were excited for Terry McLaurin to finally have a quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick that could potentially unlock his upside. And considering he had Dwayne Haskins, Kyle Allen, and Case Keenum throwing him the ball for his first two seasons, there was plenty of room for improvement for this offense. Unfortunately, a hip injury for Fitzpatrick has forced Washington to pivot to Taylor Heinicke, who has been inconsistent from week to week. As a result, McLaurin’s production has suffered heavily as he has finished outside of the top-36 in PPR scoring in 66.7% of his games this season. For comparison, that only happened 33.3% of the time in 2020, with McLaurin finishing inside the top-36 in 10 of his 15 games. And if you started him at all over the last five games, he may have cost you multiple matchups, averaging only 5.7 PPR points. Even if we remove the game against Dallas in which he left early due to a concussion, McLaurin is still only averaging 7.1 points per game since week 12.
Based on talent alone, McLaurin should be considered a top-20 wide receiver, proving in his first two seasons that can be a WR2 for fantasy at the very least. However, until Washington fixes their quarterback situation, dynasty managers may need to temper their expectations heading into 2022. In addition, keep in mind that McLaurin was also an older wide receiver entering the NFL. As a result, he will be approaching the final year of his rookie contract as a 27-year old wide receiver. So not only will there be uncertainty regarding his production next season, but it is also entirely possible that McLaurin finds himself on a new team approaching his age-28 season. For now, fantasy managers will need to hold to McLaurin as his stock continues to trend in the wrong direction.
With 8 running backs drafted in the first three rounds, the 2018 draft class was filled with so much potential that never truly materialized. In fact, half of those running backs are no longer with the team that drafted them, with Saquon Barkley, Nick Chubb, and Ronald Jones as the only ones to produce at least one top-24 season. Rashaad Penny is the only other RB that still remains with his original team. Though after multiple injury-riddled seasons and the emergence of Chris Carson, Penny never truly received an opportunity to lead the Seahawks offense for an extended period of time. However, heading into championship week, he might just be a league winner for the dynasty managers that have held on to him for all of these years. Over the last three weeks, Penny is the RB14 in team opportunity share (31.2%) and the RB10 in team rushing share (61.1%). He has been a focal point for the Seahawks offense while ranking as the RB6 in PPR points per game (17.6).
— NFL (@NFL) December 26, 2021
Interestingly, whenever Penny has been used as a lead running back, he has produced RB1 numbers every single time. In the four games in his career that he was given at least 15 opportunities, Penny averaged 22.9 PPR points while finishing as a top-10 running back in each of the matchups. Assuming he finishes the year strongly, Penny could see his dynasty value improve as he approaches free agency in 2022. Whether he returns to the Seahawks or another team decides to give him an opportunity, if he remains healthy, Penny could be an affordable flex option for dynasty managers next year. Until then, his fantasy stock continues to rise as he approaches a favorable matchup against the Detroit Lions in week 17.
As a fourth-round draft pick, the likelihood of Kenneth Gainwell producing a fantasy-relevant rookie season was already very slim. However, I still held out hope that with Miles Sanders struggling early on in the season, Gainwell could carve out a consistent role in this backfield. Through 16 weeks, he currently sits behind both Boston Scott and Jordan Howard on the depth chart. In fact, Howard was picked up mid-season when Sanders suffered an ankle sprain in week 7, even with Gainwell already on the team. What is even more concerning is that coming out of their bye week, he set season lows in snap share (8.5% and 3.4%) while only receiving 2 total opportunities over the last two games. From a dynasty perspective, there could be multiple changes to this backfield on the horizon. Sanders approaches the final year of his rookie contract in 2022, while both Scott and Howard are set to hit free agency, potentially leading to added opportunities for Gainwell as soon as next season. For now, keep an eye on how Gainwell closes out the year with both Sanders and Howard suffering injuries that could jeopardize their week 17 availability.