Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 8
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report, Footclan!
We have officially made it through the toughest bye week of the 2021 season! While Weeks 9 and 13 will present a new set of challenges, no other week will have as many teams on bye as Week 7 (six teams total). Coupled with the plethora of injuries that we have to navigate around, it is even more crucial to plan out our weekly lineups and make trades/waiver acquisitions to put our dynasty rosters in the best situation to win each week.
As always, 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 7
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. 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 7:
- Despite ranking QB18 on the week in expected points (16.2), Justin Fields finished with five turnovers and 14.9 points BELOW expected. Yikes.
- Once again, Khalil Herbert was a focal point of the Bears offense even with Damien Williams healthy. He had an expected value of 18.6 PPR points.
- Kenneth Gainwell finished the week as the RB10 in Expected PPR Points (17.2) with Miles Sanders injured. Gainwell should be added in all league formats if Sanders misses time.
- Ja’Marr Chase continues to perform at a highly efficient level, finishing with 17.6 PPR points ABOVE expected
2022 Prospect Breakdown
Drake London – USC, WR
If you have been following the college football season you may already know of Drake London, a Junior out of USC who has absolutely dominated this season. London is one of the more physically imposing wide receivers in the 2022 class measuring in at 6’5” and 210 lbs. Because of his size, he often presents as a mismatch against smaller corners and safeties, especially when he lines up in the slot. London also possesses an impressive ability to gain yards after the catch, leveraging hesitations and speed variation to manipulate defenders. In addition, he is not the easiest player to bring down in the open field due to his frame, frequently breaking tackles or slipping away from defenders. A slight flaw in his game is that he is not an elite separator at the line of scrimmage. Regardless, he often finds ways to reel in tightly-covered receptions because of his physicality, outstanding ball-tracking ability, and wide catch radius. Having a background in basketball certainly helps with that as well, often leveraging his leaping ability to snag receptions over smaller DBs.
In addition to his outstanding physical traits and skill, London has one of the more impressive production profiles in this 2022 class. Breaking out at a very young age (18.1 per PlayerProfiler), London was an immediate contributor for the Trojans playing alongside Michael Pittman Jr. and Amon-Ra St. Brown in 2019. In eight games as a true freshman, he contributed 39 receptions, 567 receiving yards, and five touchdowns. While those numbers might seem modest, London showed glimpses of his potential, accounting for at least 20% of the team’s receiving yards in four games. He assumed a more prominent role in 2020, averaging 83.7 yards and 0.5 touchdowns in six games. And while his touchdown market share declined, his overall dominator rating improved to 22%. Furthermore, in a shortened season due to COVID, London finished 3rd in the PAC-12 in receiving yards with 502.
Fast-forward to the 2021 season and London has taken his production to an elite level. In seven games, London is averaging 45.4% (!!) of the team’s receiving yards and 37.6% of their receiving touchdowns. That equates to a 41.5% receiver dominator rating, nearly doubling his market share numbers from 2020. To put those numbers into perspective, Ja’Marr Chase never eclipsed a 40% dominator rating in his college career and DeVonta Smith only achieved that threshold as a 22-year old Senior. London on the other hand will not turn 21 until next July. And assuming he is selected in the first round of next year’s draft, at his current production pace, my prospect model currently has him ranked in the 93rd percentile (see above). Needless to say, London is a very impressive prospect who has both the film and analytics to back up his profile.
Dynasty Stock Report
Jaylen Waddle – Miami Dolphins, WR
In his three seasons at Alabama, Jaylen Waddle showcased some of the versatility and skill that we are now seeing from him in Miami. And after being drafted with the 6th overall pick, it was only a matter of time until he assumed the lead receiver role for Tua Tagovailoa. With injuries to Will Fuller V and DeVante Parker, Waddle’s opportunity came earlier than expected, operating as the WR1 for the Dolphins over the last few weeks. However, with Ja’Marr Chase breaking several rookie records this season, Waddle has been somewhat overshadowed in what has quietly been a productive rookie year. In seven games, he has averaged:
- 8.3 Targets per game (WR21)
- 21.3% Target Share (WR35)
- 14.4 PPR points per game (WR26)
- 0.5 Touchdowns per game (WR23)
- 14.2% Team Opportunity share (WR19)
While there is plenty of room for improvement, among rookie wide receivers, Waddle only trails Chase in several of those metrics. In addition, it is also extremely encouraging to see the Dolphins utilize Waddle as a possession receiver, heavily improving his PPR upside. Of course, the concern for this season is the imminent return of both Parker and Fuller. However, in Week 3 when all three receivers were healthy, Waddle led the group in snap rate (88%) and targets (13). And with the Dolphins currently averaging the 7th highest passing rate in neutral situations, there should be plenty of volume for all three receivers to have their productive games. As for Waddle’s long-term value, I expect that to steadily improve as he settles into that WR1 role, especially with Fuller (pending free agent) and Parker (non-guaranteed contract) facing some contractual uncertainty heading into 2022.
Odell Beckham Jr. – Cleveland Browns, WR
During the 2019 off-season, Odell Beckham Jr. was still being drafted as the WR4 in dynasty ADP. However, since being traded to the Browns, a combination of injuries and a reduction in opportunities has led to a significant drop in dynasty value for Beckham. After averaging about 10.5 targets and 92.8 receiving yards per game as a Giant, Beckham’s numbers have fallen to 7.6 targets and 58.9 yards per game over the last two years in Cleveland. And in five games this season, OBJ has yet to finish inside the top-24, averaging only 8 PPR points per game.
Interestingly, despite averaging a career-high 14.4 air yards per target this season, Beckham is setting a career-low in yards per target at only 6.8. Part of this can be attributed to the quarterback play as Mayfield has only averaged a 30% deep ball completion rate (QB28) and a 73.4% catchable pass rate (QB21) this season. In addition, the Browns rank 31st in neutral passing rate, limiting the opportunities for their receivers. As a result, OBJ’s usage is on par with the likes of Robby Anderson, ranking well outside the top-24 in expected value (vertical line) and efficiency. Looking ahead, Beckham faces a pivotal off-season as his contract is non-guaranteed beyond the 2021 season. Depending on where he lands in 2022 (either extended by the Browns or signed by a new team), his dynasty value could be drastically affected as he approaches his age-30 season. For now, dynasty managers will have to keep Beckham on their bench as he is likely unstartable in most league formats.
Khalil Herbert – Chicago Bears, RB
In the absence of David Montgomery, a new running back has emerged in the Windy City. After Damien Williams was placed on the COVID list, Khalil Herbert was named the starting running back for the Chicago Bears and has taken full advantage of his opportunity. Over the last two games as the starter, Herbert received 18.5 rushing attempts and four targets per game, while ranking RB13 in PPR points per game (18.8). From an opportunity standpoint, Herbert was a focal point of the Bear’s offense, finishing near the top in several market share metrics. Over the past two weeks, he ranks:
- RB9 in Rushing Share (67.3%)
- RB13 in Target Share (14.3%)
- RB4 in Total Team Opportunity Share (40.9%)
To put that workload into perspective, the only running backs who have averaged a higher opportunity share since week six are Najee Harris, Alvin Kamara, and Derrick Henry. With that being said, David Montgomery is still set to return in a few weeks, which limits Herbert’s season-long value. Until then, dynasty managers get to enjoy a high-end RB2 who presents weekly RB1 upside due to his significant volume. In addition, dynasty managers should absolutely target Herbert as his production over the last two weeks has him firmly entrenched as Montgomery’s primary backup. And with Montgomery approaching a contract year in 2022, Herbert could assume a more prominent role if the Bears decide to let Montgomery walk in free agency.
Zach Wilson – New York Jets, QB
Naturally, after being selected with the 2nd overall pick by a team in desperate need of a franchise quarterback, the expectations for Zach Wilson were astronomical. Unfortunately, his rookie year has started off rather shaky, ranking near the bottom in several quarterback metrics. Despite averaging the 16th most passing attempts per game (34.2) in six full games, Wilson ranks QB35 in adjusted yards per attempt (4.6), QB35 in TD to INT ratio (0.4), and QB33 in completion percentage over expected (-8.7). And as you can see in the chart and data below, Wilson truly stands out as one of the most inefficient and ineffective quarterbacks in the league.
While Wilson is a significant reason for the Jets’ struggles, the offensive line has not helped him either. The Jets currently rank 30th in adjusted sack rate at 8.8%, giving up a total of 20 sacks and 59 pressures in seven games. In fact, it was one of those quarterback pressures in Week 7 that led to Wilson’s PCL sprain. Our injury analyst Matthew Betz does expect Wilson to return later this year, with a projected timetable of about two to four weeks. And while this year might seem like a lost season for Wilson and the Jets, we have to keep in mind that most quarterbacks struggle in their first season. So while they are likely to miss the playoffs once again, expect the Jets to fortify the offensive line and tight end position next off-season, giving Wilson added protection and a better opportunity to succeed in 2022.