Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 18
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report!
If you have made it this far, I want to offer my sincere gratitude. With how busy some of our lives get, I really appreciate every single person that has taken the time to read, provide feedback, and share the Dynasty Report. It is truly a joy to write this piece every week, and hopefully, I was able to help at least a few of you win a dynasty championship.
For the final edition, we will change things up slightly. Instead of the weekly recap for our Rookie Opportunity Dashboard, we will take a look at the entire season. With that, I will also provide a list of statistics and observations for each fantasy-relevant rookie from this season. And as always, below you will find an updated Dynasty Stock Report highlighting four players who are rising and falling in value heading into the off-season.
Also, draft season is right around the corner, so stay tuned for all of our off-season content in the coming months!
Let’s dive in!
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard
Weeks 1 – 17
To keep the dashboard concise, I will only be highlighting the rookies that were fantasy-relevant for the majority of the season. 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 a rookie was missing or if you have any questions regarding the data, let me know on Twitter @FF_MarvinE.
Rookie Observations for the 2021 Season:
- Ja’Marr Chase has had a truly historic rookie year. While he only ranked as the WR19 in expected fantasy points, my usage model had Chase as the most efficient WR this season, scoring 4.5 PPR points above expected per game
- In addition, Chase joins Randy Moss as the only 21-year old WRs to score over 300 PPR points in their rookie year. He also currently ranks 3rd among all rookie WRs in the Super Bowl Era in PPR points per game (18.8), only behind Moss and Odell Beckham Jr.
- Mac Jones was the best rookie QB for fantasy, yet he only ranked QB24 in points per game (13.4) this season. While this QB class has been underwhelming, keep in mind that players like Carson Wentz, Ben Roethlisberger, and Matt Ryan all averaged less than 14 points per game in their rookie year
- In the Super Bowl Era, among rookie QBs who attempted at least 50 pass attempts, Trey Lance currently ranks 3rd in Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt (7.97), ahead of Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, and Justin Herbert. Also, in the two games that Lance started, he averaged 39.4% of the team’s rushing attempts and 60 rushing yards per game
- While Chase is receiving all the attention due to his historic rookie year, Jaylen Waddle has been equally as impressive. My usage model has Waddle as the WR13 in expected PPR points (15.5), ahead of players like CeeDee Lamb and A.J. Brown. And among rookie WRs in the Super Bowl Era, in only 15 games, Waddle currently ranks:
– 17th in PPR per game (15.47)
– 12th in total PPR points (232.1)
– 5th in total Targets (133)
– 2nd in total Receptions (99)
- Amon-Ra St. Brown broke out later in the season, yet he still eclipsed 200 PPR points this year. He is now one of only 34 rookie wide receivers in the Super Bowl Era to exceed that mark
- Elijah Moore has been sidelined since Week 14; but do not forget that since their bye week, Moore is the WR18 in PPR points per game (15.6). I fully expect him to maintain that top-24 upside, especially if Zach Wilson takes the next step next season
- While it may feel like Kyle Pitts had an underwhelming rookie year, he is one of only 5 rookie Tight Ends in the Super Bowl Era to exceed 170 PPR points. The other 4 on this list have had multiple TE1 seasons in PPR per game scoring
- Pitts was also one of only 4 Tight Ends to average at least 13 Expected PPR points this season, along with Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, and Travis Kelce. A legitimate argument can be made that Pitts already belongs in the “elite tier” based on his usage alone
- Najee Harris currently ranks 20th among rookie RBs in the Super Bowl Era in PPR points per game (18.2). Also, this season, he ranks RB6 in my usage model with 18.9 expected points. Volume is king for fantasy, and I anticipate Harris to remain a focal point for the Steelers’ offense in 2022
- While the perception is that Kyle Shanahan prefers a committee approach for his backfield, the team may have found their lead RB for the future. In 10 games this season, Elijah Mitchell ranks as the RB6 in Team Opportunity Share (36.9%) and RB13 in PPR points per game (15.7). In short, Mitchell was a centerpiece for this offense when he was on the field
- Both Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon ranked within the top-26 in expected fantasy points this season. In other words, Javonte’s upside was capped every single week because Gordon was equally involved in the offense. Keep an eye on what Denver does with this backfield in 2022. We already know what Javonte is capable of, finishing with 29.8 PPR points as the lead RB for Denver in week 13
Dynasty Stock Report
Joe Mixon – Cincinnati Bengals, RB
The Cincinnati Bengals are one of the most improved teams this season. While the offense as a whole has taken a massive step forward, part of their success can be attributed to their solid running game led by Joe Mixon. After missing most of last year due to a foot injury, Mixon has been healthy and consistently productive for fantasy managers in 2021. So far this season, he ranks 9th in RB1 rate at 43.8%. Even more impressive, all of those RB1 finishes were within the top-5, which ranks 4th among all running backs this year. Furthermore, Mixon is currently the RB7 in Team Opportunity Share (36.6%) and the RB9 in Yards per Team Play (1.45), proving that he was both heavily involved and efficient for the Bengals.
From a dynasty perspective, there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic regarding Mixon’s situation. He is surrounded by a young quarterback, an improving offensive line (14th in adjusted line yards), and two of the best wide receivers in the league. Furthermore, he did sign an extension that has him linked to the team through 2024. One important note regarding his contract is that the Bengals do save upwards of $10 million starting in 2023 if they release him. But assuming he continues to produce and, most importantly, stays healthy, he should continue to thrive in Zac Taylor’s offense. As a contender, I would absolutely hold on to Mixon as he should help you make another run at a dynasty championship in 2022. But for rebuilding teams, considering Mixon is already on his second contract approaching his age-26 season, now might be the perfect time to trade Mixon at peak value.
Joe Burrow (25): 4,165 yards
Joe Mixon (25): 1,159 yards
Ja'Marr Chase (21): 1,163 yards
Tee Higgins (22): 1,029 yards
The Bengals are the first team in NFL history to have a 4,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard rusher and 2 1,000-yard receivers all 25 or younger in the same season. pic.twitter.com/esaVoV50YV
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) December 27, 2021
After breaking out as a member of the Detroit Lions, Kenny Golladay took his talents and “smoooooth route running” to New York as he signed a four-year $72 million deal this past off-season. While there were concerns regarding the quarterback play and offensive line for the Giants, there was always a possibility that volume alone would make him a top-24 wide receiver. Unfortunately, the exact opposite happened this season as Golladay currently ranks 2nd on the team in target share per game (16.5%) – well behind Sterling Shepard (20.9%) and only slightly ahead of rookie Kadarius Toney (16.2%). And as you can see in the bottom left quadrant of my chart below, not only does Golladay rank outside of the top-24 in expected fantasy points, he was also one of the most inefficient receivers in the league.
While Golladay’s season has been a massive disappointment, a majority of his struggles can be traced back to the Giants’ quarterback play. Despite ranking 12th in neutral passing rate this season (53.3%), none of the three quarterbacks on the Giants roster rank higher than QB27 (Daniel Jones) in Completion Percentage Over Expected. In fact, Jake Fromm and Mike Glennon rank 56th and 52nd among *checks notes*… 56 qualifying quarterbacks. Yikes! The good news, however, is that Golladay’s contract holds a massive dead cap for at least one more year. As a result, it is very unlikely that the Giants move on from him this coming off-season. In fact, it is more likely that Shepard is the odd man out, considering his contract situation and recent injuries. But unless they find a massive upgrade at quarterback for next year, Golladay will likely continue to disappoint dynasty managers in 2022.
Zach Ertz – Arizona Cardinals, TE
Zach Ertz has been one of the most productive Tight Ends dating back to his breakout season in 2015. In those six years, he was a top-12 TE in five seasons while ranking as the TE3 in PPR per game (13.3). Of course, the only blemish in those six seasons was his 2020 campaign in which he finished as the TE28 in PPR leagues. And while it seemed his career was heading for a decline, Ertz showed us that he can still produce TE1 numbers if given the right opportunity. Ever since being traded to Arizona, we have seen Ertz return to form as one of the more reliable fantasy TEs since week 7. As a member of the Cardinals, Ertz ranks:
- TE6 in PPR per game (11.6)
- TE8 in Target Share (20.5%)
- TE10 in Route Participation (81.8%)
- TE11 in Yards per Team Pass Attempt (1.37)
While those numbers are not necessarily elite, Ertz has proven that he has plenty left in the tank. And while most tight ends tend to decline at age 30, we have seen plenty of players produce much later in their careers. In fact, in my Dynasty Lifecycle series from this past off-season, I outlined that Tight Ends who produce multiple TE1 seasons (ideally 4+) before age 31 are more likely to remain fantasy-relevant in the latter stages of their career. As a result, I mentioned Ertz as a player who could re-emerge for fantasy assuming he found the perfect opportunity. And while Arizona’s high-flying offense is the ideal landing spot, Ertz is unfortunately in the final year of his contract. That alone brings some uncertainty to his dynasty value heading into the 2022 off-season. However, if he can find himself back with the Cardinals (or a similar offense), do not be surprised if Ertz continues to produce well into his mid-30s.
By now, you have already heard the news that Antonio Brown was assumed to be cut from the Buccaneers’ roster after leaving the Jets game early. Per Bruce Arians, the coaching staff wanted Brown to go back on the field, which he refused to do. According to reports on Monday, his ankle injury may have been the reason why Brown refused to re-enter the game. Despite the rumors that he gave up on his team, Brown claimed in a statement released on Wednesday that he suffered fractures to his ankle and will undergo surgery that will end his season early. Oddly enough, he still remains on the Buccaneers roster while never being officially cut by the team. It is truly an unfortunate situation as he was in the middle of a resurgent season, averaging the 9th most PPR points per game (17.3) at the WR position. In addition, he was on the verge of receiving nearly $1 million in contractual incentives had he finished the season healthy. For now, we will need to keep an eye on this situation as I assumed Brown would return to the Buccaneers in 2022. Especially with Chris Godwin’s ACL injury and pending free agency, Tampa Bay could have brought him back on another one-year contract, likely leading to another productive fantasy campaign. But with Brown’s now likely fractured relationship with the coaching staff, he may need to find his next opportunity on a different team.