Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 4
Welcome back to the Fantasy Footballers Dynasty Report, Footclan!
We are now three weeks into the season, and the dynasty landscape continues to evolve. With injuries to players such as Christian McCaffrey, J.K. Dobbins, and Raheem Mostert, we have seen Chuba Hubbard, Ty’Son Williams, and Elijah Mitchell assume a more prominent role. Naturally, dynasty values will continue to change as other players emerge and depth charts are adjusted.
As always, keep in mind that managing a dynasty team will require year-long engagement, with a balanced view of both the short and long-term outlook of your team. Therefore, each week, I will be highlighting some of the dynasty risers and fallers in the form of a Dynasty Stock Report. My hope is that this article can be a go-to resource on your journey to a dynasty #FootclanTitle.
In addition to the Dynasty Stock Report, each week I will be providing you an updated Rookie Opportunity Dashboard (market share, red-zone stats, etc.) along with one of the following topics:
- Dynasty Strategy
- 2022 Prospect Breakdowns
- Dynasty Stashes
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard: Week 3
Below you will find a summary of each rookie’s performance for the past week. Monday Night Football games may be initially excluded but will be added as data becomes available. For reference:
- Expected Fantasy Points is a value calculated based on a player’s usage in their offense. The more high-value opportunities that 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. It is the difference between a player’s actual PPR points minus 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 3:
- Najee Harris‘ productive week in which he averaged a 33% target share led to an impressive 31.3 expected PPR value
- Even though he was inefficient, Chuba Hubbard‘s usage equated to an expected value of 18.8 PPR points
- Ja’Marr Chase was by far the most efficient WR scoring 11.7 PPR points above expected
- Jaylen Waddle led all rookie WRs in targets (13) and expected value (18.6 PPR points)
- Pat Freiermuth had a higher expected PPR value than Kyle Pitts
- All rookie quarterbacks continue to perform inefficiently, though Mac Jones did lead the group in usage (25.7 Expected Points)
Dynasty Stock Report
One of the more pleasant surprises in the 2021 season has been the breakout of Chargers wide receiver: Mike Williams. If you have rostered Williams throughout his NFL career you already know just how disappointing he has been in his first four seasons in the league. Since 2017, Williams has never finished a season inside the top-40 in PPR per-game scoring. In addition, he has only finished in the top-36 in 30.4% of his games (PPR), barely performing as a flex-worthy receiver for fantasy managers. However, in three games this season, Williams has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the league. He currently ranks:
- WR6 in receiving yards (295)
- T-WR2 in receiving touchdowns (4)
- WR2 in total PPR points (79.5)
- T-WR1 in first downs (16)
— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2021
In addition, Williams is currently averaging a career-high target share (25.6%) and weighted opportunity rating (0.62), proving that his production is driven primarily by an increase in overall volume. Furthermore, his involvement in the red zone has also boosted his fantasy output. Williams currently ranks as the WR2 in red-zone opportunities (8), converting them into four touchdowns at an efficient 50% rate. Keep in mind, this is only a three-game sample size and Williams’ efficiency could regress. However, dynasty managers have to be ecstatic about his potential breakout season. And if he continues to perform at such a high level, the Chargers may have no choice but to extend Williams beyond 2021, locking him in with Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen, and Austin Ekeler to form a lethal offense for years to come.
Denzel Mims, the second-year wideout out of Baylor University, has seen his dynasty stock plummet throughout the 2021 season. Earlier this year, his dynasty value was hovering around WR38 early in the pre-draft process with plenty of hope that he could break out in his second year. However, with the addition of Corey Davis and Elijah Moore, it became clear that Mims is no longer a focal point of the Jets offense. So despite a somewhat promising rookie year in which he averaged a 19% target share and 29% air yards share, Mims’ dynasty value dropped all the way to WR72 entering the season. Three games into the year and Mims is firmly buried in the wide receiver depth chart playing behind Braxon Berrios and Keelan Cole.
As a dynasty manager, you might be wondering what to do with Mims now that he is nearly droppable in most dynasty leagues. For now, I would still hold on depending on your options on the waiver wire. According to Mike Garafolo from the NFL Network, the Jets have “recently turned down trade inquiries involving Mims” despite his reduced role in their offense. If these rumors are true and teams are trying to acquire him, his value could still improve if he is traded to a more wide-receiver-needy team. If that were to happen, as a dynasty manager, I would take the opportunity to trade him away and recoup any lost value. For now, Mims’ dynasty stock will continue to decline especially if he remains a healthy inactive in future Jets games.
After a tumultuous start to his career playing for Adam Gase, Sam Darnold may have found a new home in Carolina. In three games this season, his performance is vastly improved as he is averaging career highs in passing yards per attempt (8.3), yards per game (296), and Quarterback Rating (99). In addition, he has also been heavily involved as a rusher around the goal line, adding three rushing touchdowns this season. Naturally, part of Darnold’s improved performance is due to his supporting cast, upgrading from an older Frank Gore and Jamison Crowder with the Jets to Christian McCaffrey and D.J. Moore with Carolina. However, we should not discount the improvements that we are seeing from Darnold’s overall play.
First off, we have seen Darnold make better decisions as a passer. Not only is he setting a career-high in completion percentage (68%), he also ranks within the top-12 in completion percentage over expected (CPOE), which is one of the more predictive metrics for quarterbacks. Essentially, CPOE measures a player’s accuracy relative to the difficulty of their throws. A quarterback who throws it deep frequently will have a lower expected completion rate than a player who consistently dumps it off to their running back. The fact that Darnold ranks 11th among quarterbacks in CPOE (+4.9) through three weeks, ahead of Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady, is extremely encouraging and a significant improvement from his first three years (-0.6 CPOE). For fantasy purposes, he currently ranks as the QB12, which means dynasty managers should be able to start him comfortably most weeks. And with players such as Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz slowly losing value in the dynasty landscape, Darnold should be considered a mid-range QB2 if he can maintain his improved efficiency this season.
Eric Ebron is coming off of a season in 2020 where he finished as the TE13 in PPR per game, averaging 9.6 points for dynasty managers. He also finished as a TE1 in 53.3% of games, while averaging a 15% target share in a crowded Steelers passing offense. Despite a productive year, however, Pittsburgh still opted to address the tight end position this past off-season. When they drafted Pat Freiermuth in the second round, the writing was on the wall regarding Ebron’s future on this team. Regardless, my assumption was that the transition to Freiermuth would at least take a few months, giving dynasty managers several productive games with Ebron.
Three games into the season and Freiermuth has already been the more efficient and productive tight end between the two. While Ebron does lead all Steelers’ tight ends in snap percentage (49.7%), Freiermeuth is not that far behind at 46.7%. The bigger difference is in their total opportunities and yards as Freiermuth has more targets (10), receiving yards (82), and touchdowns (1) through three games. Ebron, on the other hand, has only caught one pass despite seeing seven targets. Couple that with the emergence of Najee Harris and the continued development of Chase Claypool, it is becoming increasingly evident that there are not enough opportunities to keep Ebron fantasy relevant in this offense. For now, dynasty managers should hold onto Ebron as he approaches free agency in 2022.
Hunter Long, third-round rookie tight end out of Boston College, has had a very quiet start to his NFL career. Through three weeks, he has been on the field for 9.5% of the offensive snaps, not registering a single target in that timespan. And as long as Mike Gesicki is healthy, his role will likely remain capped for the immediate future. So why should you hold onto a player who has barely contributed on his own team? First of all, Long entered the NFL with an intriguing college profile. He redshirted his first season at Boston College but was extremely involved in his final two years. From 2019 to 2020, Long accounted for 24.5% of the team’s receiving yards and 17.5% of the team’s receiving touchdowns in 22 games. Long’s best season would be his redshirt-Junior year when he recorded 685 receiving yards and 57 receptions, of which 60% resulted in first downs.
Because of his solid production profile, Long graded as my rookie TE3 entering the draft behind only Kyle Pitts and Pat Freiermuth. His third-round capital only solidified that ranking. But as I mentioned earlier, Long will likely not receive much of an opportunity this season. However, after 2021, both Gesicki’s and Durham Smythe’s contracts are set to expire. If the Dolphins decide that they want to prioritize Emmanuel Ogbah (DE) or Will Fuller in free agency, Long could step into a more prominent role in 2022. And according to Sleeper, he is only rostered in 40% of dynasty leagues. Therefore, if you have an open spot on your bench or taxi squad, Long could be an intriguing depth piece for your dynasty teams.