Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 3
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report, Footclan!
It has been a wild start to the NFL season. We are two weeks in, and fantasy managers are already facing tough decisions after an injury-riddled weekend of games.
With so many players projected to miss time, their dynasty values will likely fluctuate in the coming weeks. Let’s take a look at who some of those players might be!
If you are new to this series, each week I will provide you with the following:
- Dynasty Tip of the Week
- Dynasty Stock Report
- Bonus Segment (an intriguing statistic, a college prospect to watch, or a dynasty stash)
Let’s dive in!
Dynasty Tip of The Week:
Avoid Trading Elite Players at a Discount
In dynasty football, it is important to “stay water.” The landscape can change so quickly with injuries, depth chart adjustments, and coaching changes that we are often forced to adapt. If you are a fantasy manager with an injured stud such as Saquon Barkley, Michael Thomas, or Christian McCaffrey (to name a few), you are likely at a crossroads heading into week 3.
Should you trade away your studs for a lesser but healthier player and salvage a run at the playoffs? Or would you be better off acquiring draft picks instead?
As a result of these injuries, you are likely receiving interest from one or two teams trying to acquire your injured players at a discount. Regardless of which direction you choose (to contend or rebuild), my advice is to never trade your elite players out of panic. At this time, their value is likely at its lowest, but it should normalize the closer we get to their projected return date.
If you do decide to trade your studs, waiting a few weeks or months might set you up for a better trade. However, you should never feel pressured to trade away an elite player from your roster just because your team is out of contention. If there is a possibility that players such as Thomas or CMC could return healthy and retain their top tier production, I would absolutely hold on to them unless a team is willing to overpay.
Keep in mind, elite RB1s and WR1s do not grow on trees and can set you apart from the rest of the league. There is also no guarantee that acquiring first-round picks will net you a similarly productive player.
Finally, it is also crucial to understand the severity of these injuries and how it can affect players long-term, so be sure to follow our injury analyst Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT) on Twitter. And if you are a Footclan Premier member ($10+ tier), tune in to his weekly show: the Injury Blitz Podcast.
Dynasty Stock Report
Stock Up: Calvin Ridley – Atlanta Falcons, WR
Calvin Ridley entered the season as a likely breakout candidate due to his current ecosystem. On a team that boasts a high-powered offense and a below-average defense, the Falcons were projected to be in several high scoring games. As a result, Ridley was expected to receive plenty of targets to become a reliable week to week starter.
We are now two weeks into the season, and Ridley is the fantasy WR1. He leads all WRs in red-zone targets (22) and touchdowns (4), and is currently 3rd in Air Yards (147). He is also averaging a career-high 21.6% target share for the Falcons, proving that he is a focal point of this offense.
Calvin Ridley 😧
— PFF (@PFF) September 20, 2020
Julio Jones is recovering from a hamstring injury, so expect Matt Ryan to continue to target Ridley heavily. And if he is able to remain healthy and sustain this level of production, Ridley could leap into that fringe dynasty WR1 tier heading into the 2021 off-season.
Stock Down: Saquon Barkley – New York Giants, RB
In Sunday’s matchup versus the Bears, Saquon Barkley, unfortunately, suffered an ACL and meniscus tear as he was breaking a tackle. Prior to his injury, he was on pace to become one of the most accomplished dual-threat RBs over the last few decades. Barkley is one of only nine RBs since 1980 to accumulate at least 3,000 yards from scrimmage, 20 total touchdowns, and 100 receptions in their first two years in the league.
Hopefully, Barkley can bounce back from this injury and return to his dominant self. Per Matthew Betz, he will likely face a longer rehab process due to the meniscus repair. However, he does expect Barkley to be ready by week 1 of the 2021 season. For the Giants offense, this likely means a transition to a more pass-heavy offense that could benefit the likes of Darius Slayton and Evan Engram.
Stock Up: Diontae Johnson – Pittsburgh Steelers, WR
Heading into the season, there was no doubt that there would be one or two fantasy-relevant WRs coming out of this Pittsburgh offense. The assumption was always that Juju Smith-Schuster would be Ben Roethlisberger’s WR1.
However, two weeks into the season, Diontae Johnson leads this offense in target share with 32%, which ranks 4th among all WRs. He is also 6th in the league in WOPR (weighted opportunity rating) at 0.70, which is a weighted average of both target share and air yard share. And to round it out, per Rotoviz, he is 2nd in the league in targets (23) and 5th in expected Fantasy Points (35.5) at the WR position.
Juju will remain a key part of this offense, though it might be time to give Diontae Johnson the credit that he deserves. He outplayed Juju last year, and is on pace to do so again in 2020. Now might be the time to trade for Johnson as his value will only increase from here if he continues his outstanding play.
Stock Down: Curtis Samuel – Carolina Panthers, WR
The addition of Robby Anderson has affected Curtis Samuel more than I had initially anticipated. I projected Samuel to be the WR2 in this Joe Brady offense, though that clearly has not materialized. Samuel trails both D.J. Moore and Robby Anderson in target share, receiving yards, yards after catch, and WOPR.
In addition, Samuel is currently averaging career-low air yards per target of 7.9, which is a significant decline from his 2019 average of 14.2. His role as a downfield threat has seemingly transitioned to Anderson and Moore. And while Brady is utilizing Samuel in the run game – 5 rushes for 31 yards – the decline in receiving upside makes him an unreliable WR5. While his 2020 outlook is not optimistic, Samuel will be a free agent after this year. He could be in a much more favorable situation to start the 2021 season.
Stock Up: Jonathan Taylor – Indianapolis Colts, RB
When Marlon Mack suffered a torn Achilles in week 1, some assumed that Jonathan Taylor would be splitting snaps with Nyheim Hines for the rest of the season. After both RBs received 15 touches each, Jonathan Taylor would go on to dominate the touches and snaps in week 2. Hines would be on the field for only 12% of the snaps, while corralling one reception. Taylor, on the other hand, would receive a workhorse role of 28 total touches on 67% of the snaps. If we take a look at total opportunities (rush attempts + targets), Taylor ranked 3rd in week 2 with 28 opportunities, only behind Josh Jacobs (30) and Ezekiel Elliot (29).
Jonathan Taylor put him on skates 😳
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 20, 2020
Through two weeks, Taylor is 7th in total opportunities (43), 5th in receiving yards (76), and 12th in PPR points per game (16.9) among all RBs. And if he continues to receive 25+ touches per game, Taylor will undoubtedly be an RB1. Set him in your lineup and never look back as he should be an every-week, reliable starter going forward.
Stock Down: Courtland Sutton – Denver Broncos, WR
In his first week back from a shoulder injury, Courtland Sutton would suffer an ACL tear that will sideline him for the rest of the season. Prior to his injury, he was on his way to a dominant fantasy game. He was up to 106 air yards on 6 targets, while catching 3 receptions for 66 receiving yards.
As fantasy managers, we were all excited to see what this Denver Broncos offense could do with Sutton as the lead WR. Unfortunately, that will likely have to wait another year. For now, his dynasty stock is trending downward. Keep an eye on his ADP as Sutton could be an excellent trade target somewhere down the line. And in his absence, Noah Fant, Jerry Jeudy, and K.J. Hamler will be the focal point of this passing offense.
Bonus: Dynasty Stash of The Week
Jalen Guyton – Los Angeles Chargers, WR
For our dynasty stash of the week, I wanted to highlight a player who has been receiving consistent snaps in a potentially ascending offense: Jalen Guyton, second year WR out of the University of North Texas. Guyton possesses an impressive athletic profile for a receiver. And despite being overshadowed by both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, he has been on the field quite a bit over the last two games – averaging 57.9% of the snaps.
The Chargers offense has not been very impressive, though Justin Herbert might just change that. It was only one game; but in his first start, Herbert averaged a better yards per attempt (+2.5), completion percentage (+14% points), and air yards conversion rate (+7% points) than Tyrod Taylor. For Guyton, this could mean more opportunities down the line. In fact, he hauled in Herbert’s only passing TD of the day. Add him to your dynasty roster if he is still available, just in case his opportunity expands.