Dynasty Risers & Fallers: Comparing Value (Fantasy Football)
On the most recent Fantasy Footballers Dynasty Podcast, Mike, Betz, and myself discussed a few players that are fluctuating in our dynasty evaluations.
Placing worth and value on someone in dynasty is a tricky science. Not only do we need to contextualize each player based on the league format (3 WRs? SuperFlex? TE Premium) but, in general, forecasting 2-3 years in advance is a fool’s errand sometimes. The goal is to compare a few players and give evidence for why they could be more valuable in a dynasty league a year from now or is it time to get out?
Elijah Moore, WR, Cleveland Browns
Age: 23.0 / Contract Status: two more years on rookie deal
Moore had only 66 targets in 16 games and I watched them all. Woof. He was creating separation but the timing looked off between the plethora of QBs (Flacco, Wilson, White) throwing to him. He had a 54.5% catchable target rate but 5th in true catch rate. Dude has hands. In 15 career games where Wilson played, Moore averaged 2.1 catches which was pitiful. Cleveland lacked a true slot WR in 2022 with Amari Cooper actually leading the team in slot receptions. Rookie Cedric Tillman and Moore have very different skillsets so if you project a jump in Cleveland passing volume, Moore could be a sneaky beneficiary considering how much we love the talent. Watson was recently quoted talking up Moore “… that’s what he’s been since he’s walked in the building. He’s motivated, ready to work, asking me questions. . . . Whatever I need him to do, he’s going to do it. He’s just like Amari [Cooper], very quiet but he just puts in the work. All the guys love him, he’s a great addition, and we’re excited to have him.”
Value Comparison: Mid 2nd Rounder? Elijah Moore or veteran RB: D’Onta Foreman?
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, Detroit Lions
Age: 23.5 / Contract Status: two more years on rookie deal
Ranked as WR7 in our startup rankings, the underlying metrics remain that he is elite: a 28% target share, 2.40 YPRR, and 29% TPRR. It’s difficult to envision a better runout this off-season: Jameson Williams suspended, rookie TEs like Sam LaPorta generally are slow to produce in the first few seasons, and creative play-caller Ben Johnson returns for another season. There were discussions of Jared Goff potentially being extended which might be a good thing for his target share. You’re getting a much younger version of Keenan Allen: a PPR machine commanding targets on an offense that could be an absolute train for the next 3-4 years.
Value Comparison: Amon-Ra or Chris Olave? Top-5 rookie pick in 2024?
Cam Akers, RB, Los Angeles Rams
Age: 23.9 (turns 24 in a month) / Contract Status: Final Year of Rookie Contract
Weeks 13-18 last year: Avg 19.3 opps per game, 16.4 fpts per game
Taken in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft, Akers went from fantasy darling, to out for the year, to plodding Super Bowl champion to in the doghouse for most of 2022. Yet he was reborn from Weeks 13-18, averaging 19.3 opportunities per game and 16.4 fantasy points per game winning people championships out of nowhere! The Rams only added 7th-round pick Zach Evans to the mix, making Akers once again a tantalizing dice roll for 2023. It’s year four and we still don’t know how to correctly evaluate who Cam Akers is and what he means for dynasty managers. A contract year is the motivation many players need but he could evaporate into nothing next week if he looks at Sean McVay the wrong way. He’s hold as a fringe RB2 for this year and a roll of the dice for 2024 & beyond. Could he see a 2nd contract like Miles Sanders?
Value Comparison: Akers or D’Andre Swift? Aaron Jones? Zach Charbonnet? Late 1st round in 2024?
George Kittle, TE, San Francisco 49ers
Age: 29.5 / Contract Status: 3 more years under contract… potential out after 2024
Kittle is one of my favorite players in the NFL. He’s a highlight machine and we love watching the passion he plays the game with. But, this is fantasy football folks and Kittle’s end-of-season run with Brock Purdy was likely a bit of an outlier when you consider his entire career. He had seven TDs over the final month compared to averaging four TDs per season in the previous five years of his career. He’s as volatile as they get which can be fun when he’s on a roll but regression can hit you like a ton of bricks. In Marvin Elequin’s Lifecycle of a Dynasty TE, he notes there tends to be a drop-off in high-end TE production once TEs hit the threshold of 31-32 years old. He’s TE6 in our dynasty startup rankings. Getting out now while people still view him as a top-5 TE might be advisable.
Value Comparison: Kittle or late 1st Round Pick in SuperFlex? Treylon Burks?
Mike Evans, WR, Tampa Bay Bucs
Age: 29.8 / Contract Status: Final Year under Contract
He is currently the consensus 82nd overall in our startup rankings in the Dynasty Pass but you could be left holding the bag soon. He turns 30 in August, enters a contract year, and last year’s numbers need to have some context. In Week 17, he exploded for 207 yards and 3 TDs; that’s 43.7 points that won people championships. However, that equates to 18.4% of his season total in receiving yards, 50% of his TDs… in ONE GAME! OC Byron Leftwich is gone, Tom Brady is gone, and the entire offense could change with new OC Dave Canales aboard. Does the passing volume go down? Oh, and Baker Mayfield may be an issue…
Baker Mayfield was objectively the NFL's worst QB in 2022.
How are you approaching Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for fantasy in 2023? pic.twitter.com/mWHb8qnm38
— Matthew Betz (@TheFantasyPT) May 18, 2023
Value Comparison: Evans or Marvin Mims? Samaje Perine? Early 2nd in a SuperFlex?
James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills
Age: 23.6 / Contract Status: Year 2 of Rookie Contract
It’s tough for sub-200 pound RBs to be truly difference makers in fantasy. The draft capital seems to be at odds with the utilization in the Bills’ offense. Perhaps that changes in 2023 and Cook becomes an every-week RB2 in his age 24 season but as a between-the-20s RB, he might be capped. Damien Harris and Josh Allen function as the goal-line backs and since 2018, Bills RBs have ranked 26th, 23rd, 30th, 30th, & 31st in fantasy points scored correlating with Allen’s arrival in Buffalo and his goal-line domination. We know targets are more valuable than carries in fantasy football so the Bills ranking top-5 in pass rate over expectation again is the lone hope you have in Cook hitting a ceiling outcome in dynasty for the next 2-3 years.
Value Comparison: Cook or Alvin Kamara? Isiah Pacheco?