Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 9
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report, Footclan!
As the year progresses, dynasty values will continue to fluctuate as injuries occur, depth charts are adjusted, and rookies emerge. 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, you will also find an updated Rookie Opportunity Dashboard (market share, red-zone stats, etc.) along with one of the following segments:
- Dynasty Strategy
- 2022 Prospect Breakdowns
- Dynasty Stashes
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard: Week 8
Below you will find a summary of each rookie’s performance and usage for the 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 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 8:
- Justin Fields finally had his breakout game, finishing only slightly below his Expected Value of 26.4 (QB4), while accounting for 28% of the team’s rushing attempts
- Michael Carter’s usage this past week was impressive. He received a 29% target share, totaling 29 opportunities. He led all RBs with an expected value of 31.6
- The Muth is Luth: Pat Freiermuth finished as the TE8 in expected value in Week 8 (11.8)
- Despite receiving a 32% target share and 23.3 Expected Value (WR6), Jaylen Waddle was one of the most inefficient WRs scoring 16.4 points BELOW expected
2022 Prospect Breakdown
Kenneth Walker III – Michigan State, RB
After his five-touchdown performance against Michigan, now is the perfect time to highlight one of the most productive running backs in college football: Kenneth Walker III out of Michigan State. Walker has been truly impressive this year ranking 2nd in rushing yards (1,194) and 3rd in total touchdowns (15) in the nation. When you watch him on the field, his vision and patience immediately stand out, often displaying a unique ability to create positive yards even when running lanes close. Combine that with his outstanding tackle-breaking ability and lateral agility, and you have one of the most efficient rushers in the league. Taking a look at his first two seasons, Walker previously played for Wake Forest where we saw glimpses of his potential. In his freshman campaign, he only received 101 total touches, averaging 47% of the team’s rushing yards and 1% of their receiving yards in 13 games. It wasn’t until his Sophomore year that he assumed a more impactful role. In a shortened season in 2020 (seven games), Walker averaged 17.4 touches (32% market share) and 87 scrimmage yards per game (19% market share). Even more impressive, he accounted for 46% of the team’s touchdowns when he was on the field, totaling 13 in his Sophomore year. Despite his breakout campaign (19.9 breakout age), Walker decided to transfer to Michigan State for a better opportunity to showcase his skillset.
After eight games this season, it’s safe to say that his decision to transfer to the Spartans has paid off. From a production standpoint, Walker is currently averaging an absurd 153.8 yards from scrimmage and 1.9 touchdowns per game. That equates to 34.4% of the team’s total yards, 47% of their total touchdowns, and an extremely impressive 40.7% team dominator rating. To put that into perspective, Jonathan Taylor had a 43.5% dominator rating in a historic, final season at Wisconsin. One aspect of Walker’s game that could be improved is his receiving production, accounting for only 1.4% of his team’s receiving yards in 28 career games. Regardless, assuming Walker remains the focal point for the Spartans, I would not be surprised if he is selected within the first two rounds of the 2022 NFL draft. And at his current production pace, coupled with early-round draft capital, Walker should be a lock as a first-round selection in your dynasty rookie drafts.
Dynasty Stock Report
After a promising second season in which he led the Patriots with 743 scrimmage yards in 10 games, the expectation was that Damien Harris would once again be a key piece for Bill Belichik’s offense. And once Sony Michel was traded away to the Rams prior to the season, it was clear that the early-down role was Harris’ to lose. Through eight weeks, he has finished within the top-36 in PPR leagues in 75% of his games, while finishing as an RB2 or better 50% of the time. In fact, since Week 6, Harris has been one of the most productive and efficient running backs in the league. Over the last three weeks, Harris ranks:
- RB19 in Team Opportunity Share (30.7%)
- RB5 in Rushing Yards (95.7 p/g)
- T-RB2 in Rushing Touchdowns (1.3 p/g)
- RB8 in PPR scoring (19.0 p/g)
What has propelled his fantasy production this season has been the increased involvement and efficiency inside the 20. For reference, last year, Harris converted 2.2 red-zone opportunities per game into only one rushing touchdown. In addition, Cam Newton siphoned 41 rushing opportunities in the red zone with which he scored 12 times. With Mac Jones as his quarterback this season, Harris has seen an improvement in his red-zone opportunity share at 58%, scoring five times in only eight games. In short, it has truly been a productive run (pun intended) for the third-year running back, becoming a focal point for this team’s offense. From a dynasty perspective, Harris’ contract does not expire until after 2022. Therefore, if you are in need of running back depth (which should apply to most contending teams), Harris could be an intriguing trade target who should provide weekly flex-worthy production for the next two seasons.
By now, you have already heard the news that Derrick Henry is set to miss an extended period of time as he recovers from a foot injury that he suffered against the Colts. According to Mike Vrabel, Henry could possibly still return later this year though there seems to be no timetable set for when that could happen. As a fan of the game, it hurts to see a player suffer a significant injury especially when they were in the middle of a historic year. Prior to Week 8, Henry was the clear-cut RB1 for fantasy averaging 26.6 PPR points in seven games. To put that production into perspective, his PPR average would have ranked 14th in fantasy football history, only a few spots behind seasons from LaDainian Tomlinson and Priest Holmes. Unfortunately, filling the gap that Henry leaves behind in your dynasty lineups will not be an easy task. However, Adrian Peterson, who seems to be set to join the Titans as their potential RB1 should still be available in your dynasty waiver wires.
As for Henry’s long-term value, I do have some slight concerns. In an off-season article titled “The Lifecycle of a Dynasty Running Back,” I highlighted the career arc of a running back based on historical data. As you can see above, the study showed that most running backs experience a decline in production starting at age 29. In addition, only 12.3% of all RB1 seasons over the last two decades have come from players 29 or older, meaning the chances of Henry producing another RB1 season after 2021 are already low. However, the common theme among the late-career RB1 producers is that they averaged multiple top-12 seasons prior to age 29. Henry does fit that mold, offering some hope that he could be a similar outlier later in his career. In addition, per our injury analyst Matthew Betz, the estimated time of recovery could range between 8-to-12 weeks, which puts Henry at risk of missing the rest of the fantasy football season. So while I do think trading Henry away makes perfect sense for most dynasty teams, considering his value is at an all-time low at the moment, it might be best to hold on to him at least until the off-season when he is back to full health.
Cordarrelle Patterson is in the midst of the most productive season in his nine-year career. And while he certainly does not profile as a prototypical running back, his hybrid skill set is what makes him so valuable for fantasy managers. In my expected fantasy points series from this off-season, I highlighted that a running back target in a PPR league is nearly 2.52 times more valuable for fantasy than a rushing attempt. Even in a standard league, a target is worth 1.27 times more than an attempt on the ground. Those running back targets become even more valuable inside the red zone. Therefore, despite only ranking as the RB29 in team opportunity share (24.1%), Patterson has been the RB6 for fantasy – 19.2 PPR points per game – heavily driven by his involvement in the receiving game. Through seven games, he is the:
- RB9 in Target Share (15%)
- RB4 in Red-Zone Targets per Game (1.14)
- RB4 in Receiving Yards per Team Pass Attempt (1.22)
It also helps that Patterson is currently 4th among running backs in touchdown rate (33.3%) inside the 20. And while his efficiency could eventually regress to the mean (17.4%), he should still maintain his RB1 upside assuming he continues to receive those high-value touches. For dynasty purposes, considering all the injuries at the running back position, Patterson should still provide plenty of value to a contender. As a rebuilding team, I would strongly consider trading him before your league’s deadline due to his murky long-term value. At 31 years old, Patterson could be on an entirely different team next season as he approaches free agency in 2022. And while I view him as an RB1 for the rest of the year, I would not be surprised if this is Patterson’s first and only top-12 fantasy season for the entirety of his career.
Laviska Shenault has not quite lived up to expectations despite what seemed to be a clear path to opportunities this season. Especially with D.J. Chark suffering a year-ending ankle injury, dynasty managers (like myself) were hoping that Shenault would be peppered with targets leading to several productive PPR games. But since Week 5, we have seen players like Dan Arnold and Jamal Agnew take on more prominent roles to fill the void that Chark left behind. As a result, Shenault trails both of those receivers in target share, targets per route run, and receiving yards per team pass attempt. In short, he has operated as the 4th option among this Jacksonville receiving group, severely hurting his fantasy upside.
As you can see in the chart above, Shenault is located in the bottom left quadrant with a WR48 expected value while also performing inefficiently on his opportunities. And through 8 weeks, he is currently only the WR59 in PPR points per game, essentially making him unstartable in most league formats. It also doesn’t help that Trevor Lawrence is currently the QB32 in completion percentage over expected (-6.1 CPOE) while averaging the 10th most air yards per attempt (8.5) through the first eight weeks. Combine that with his inconsistent opportunity share, and dynasty managers are likely forced to pivot away from Shenault at least for this season. Unless something drastically changes later this year, I expect his WR26 dynasty ADP to consistently drop by the end of the year. Long-term, however, at only 23-years old, I do think Shenault can still be a productive receiver especially as Lawrence continues to develop and improve.