Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 14
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report!
As always, I will be highlighting the most impactful storylines from a dynasty perspective. In addition, we will also take a look at the college football landscape in a segment called the Prospect Watch List. In short, you can expect the following segments every week:
- Rookie Opportunity Dashboard: Overview of rookie performances in the NFL
- Dynasty Stock Report: Recap of the Risers & Fallers in the Dynasty Landscape
- Prospect Watch List: Production Profiles & Analysis for CFB Prospects
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard: Week 13
To keep the dashboard concise, I will only be focusing on the most fantasy-relevant rookies at each position. For reference:
- Expected Fantasy Points or xFP is a value that signifies volume and usage. We want to target rookies that rank highly in this metric, as it could potentially signal future opportunity and fantasy success
- Fantasy Points Over Expected or FPOE signifies efficiency relative to a player’s usage. FPOE is the variance between a player’s actual fantasy points and their expected fantasy value. This metric will usually regress closer to the mean (zero), which is why we isolate it from their baseline production (xFP) to determine which players we can rely on for fantasy
- Opportunity Share is the percentage of targets and rush attempts that a player accounts for on their team
Rookie Observations after Week 13:
- The latest rookie to emerge is James Cook, who finished ahead of Devin Singletary in Expected Fantasy Points (xFP) with 16.2 this past week. Technically, Cook did lead the backfield in usage back in Week 2, though that was primarily in garbage time when the Bills were up by 34 points. Week 13 would be the first time Cook operated as the Bills’ RB1 while they were still in a neutral game script. Assuming he can retain this role, he should be a startable RB2 heading into the fantasy playoffs.
- Zonovan Knight took over the backfield since Michael Carter was unavailable, accounting for 25.3% of the team’s opportunities. He also impressively finished the week as the RB9 in Expected Points (14.4), receiving RB1 usage in his first game as a starter. If anything, this confirms that James Robinson’s dynasty value is on the decline as he played behind both Knight and Ty Johnson this past week.
- Dameon Pierce needed this bounce-back performance as he was trending in the wrong direction over the last couple of weeks. In Week 13, he received a 35.6% opportunity share, which is much more in line with his season average. While the struggles of Kyle Allen and the Houston offense will limit his upside most weeks, Pierce should still be considered a top-24 fantasy running back for the rest of the year.
- Garrett Wilson will be a dynasty WR1 by the end of the season if he continues to perform at such a high level. In three of his last four games, Wilson has received a +25% target share and +30% air yards share, clearly operating as the WR1 for the Jets.
- Speaking of talented rookie wide receivers, we had four rookie wide receivers finish the week with at least a 20% target share and 40% air yards share: Garrett Wilson, Drake London, Alec Pierce, and Christian Watson. It was especially encouraging to see London finally bounce back with a WR1 performance, his first since his Week 2 breakout.
- Greg Dulcich finally returned to fantasy relevance in Week 13 after a quiet last couple of games. He totaled a 38.1% target share and 42.1% air yards share against the Ravens, setting career-highs in both metrics. While the inconsistency remains a concern, Dulcich continues to flash TE1 upside with his versatility and receiving ability.
- Brock Purdy will be the starting quarterback for the 49ers going forward unless they make a surprising acquisition in the next few weeks. He was not overly efficient on his opportunities, ranking as the QB22 in adjusted yards per attempt (5.5) and only the QB15 in points per game (14.3). However, surrounded by multiple receivers who excel after the catch, Purdy should hold some QB2 value in deeper SuperFlex leagues.
Dynasty Stock Report
Does regression even exist for Christian Watson?
Watson has been one of the most productive wide receivers in the entire league, not just among rookies. Ironically, since Week 10, the only receiver to average more points per game in half-PPR leagues is Davante Adams. Now, don’t hear what I’m not saying. Watson has a long way to go before we can crown him the next “Davante Adams” of the Green Bay Packers offense. However, his production over the last few weeks has been truly impressive. Since Week 10, Watson is averaging:
- 23.6% Target Share
- 44.1% Air Yards Share
- 11.3 Expected Fantasy Points
- +11.6 Fantasy Points Over Expected
The number that stands out is his Fantasy Points Over Expected, which is heavily driven by his absurdly high touchdown rate of 26.9%. In fact, per Field Yates, Watson is one of only three rookie WRs in the Super Bowl era to score seven receiving touchdowns in a four-game span. The other two wide receivers are Odell Beckham Jr. and Randy Moss. And while he will undoubtedly have games where he does not find the end zone, his Expected Fantasy Value of 11.6 (WR24) shows that he has commanded WR2 volume in the Packers’ offense. Therefore, if and when regression eventually hits, Watson should remain fantasy-relevant based on his usage over the last four games.
The Patriots have finally found their RB1. Unfortunately, it is not Damien Harris.
Through 13 weeks, Rhamondre Stevenson has asserted himself as the lead running back for the New England Patriots. As a result, we have seen Harris’ fantasy value decline significantly throughout the season. After averaging a career-high 25% opportunity share and 13.4 half-PPR points in his breakout campaign, those numbers have declined to 20% and 7.8, respectively. More importantly, his involvement in the red zone has diminished as well, declining from 3.2 opportunities to 1.8 per game in 2022. His contractual situation also provides some uncertainty to his dynasty value as he will be an unrestricted free agent this upcoming off-season. Unfortunately for Harris, there are several impressive college running backs set to enter the NFL in 2023. Factoring in a deep free agency class and his opportunity to find another RB1 role is rather limited. Therefore, it is difficult to envision him as anything more than a high-end backup running back for fantasy purposes, especially if he remains with the Patriots beyond 2022.
Treylon Burks belongs in that group as well, despite his uneven rookie year. After returning from his turf toe injury, we are starting to see glimpses of his potential as he continues to improve in both snaps and opportunities. In Week 11, he set career-highs in multiple metrics – including target share (29.6%), air yards share (41.8%), and Expected Fantasy Points (14.6) – ranking as the WR10 in fantasy usage. He would follow that up with a WR15 performance that was partially boosted by a “fumble recovery touchdown” after Derrick Henry lost the ball near the end zone. Regardless, Burks still posted a 17.6% target share and an impressive 38.4% air yards share in Week 12. And in his last game, he was seemingly on his way to another productive performance as he caught his only target for a 25-yard touchdown reception before being ruled out with a concussion.
Needless to say, it has been a tumultuous rookie year for Burks. From multiple injuries to inconsistent opportunities, we have yet to see a sustained breakout similar to Olave or Wilson. However, based on his prospect profile entering the NFL and the improvements we have seen in recent weeks, Burks might be my favorite trade target in dynasty football considering the upside he possesses long-term.
Heading into the season, the Los Angeles Rams were considered the favorites to win the Super Bowl once again after signing multiple free agents (Allen Robinson and Bobby Wagner) and extending both Aaron Donald and Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately, this season has gone in the opposite direction as the Rams currently have a losing record. As a result, it should not come as a surprise that Stafford was recently placed on IR due to a neck injury, ending his disappointing season.
Statistically, Stafford took a sizable step back in multiple metrics. His touchdown rate of 3.3% is the second-lowest of his career, while his adjusted yards per attempt of 6.4 ranks near the bottom as well. Part of the decline in production is driven by the struggles of the offensive line as they are currently the 4th worst in adjusted sack rate (9.3%) per Football Outsiders. On a positive note, Stafford actually saw an improvement in his Completion Percentage Over Expected at +0.3 (QB18), after ranking as the QB25 in that metric last year. In other words, relative to the difficulty of his throws, Stafford has been more accurate this season.
With these numbers in mind, I do not believe Stafford is entirely done for his career. He should have a couple more productive seasons left in him, though it will depend on how the Rams address their offensive line. They have to find a way to make improvements, otherwise, they could experience a similar outcome next year. For now, Stafford’s dynasty value will continue to decline as the Rams face some uncertainty heading into 2023.
Prospect Watch List: Week 14 – Running Backs
For many, TreVeyon Henderson and Braelon Allen are the running backs that initially come to mind when discussing the 2024 running back class. However, Raheim Sanders should also be in the conversation after a stellar sophomore year. In fact, Sanders leads all 2024 eligible Power 5 running backs this season in Total Yards per Team Play at 1.93, clearly ahead of Allen and Henderson (who struggled through injuries).
Sanders entered Arkansas as a 4-star recruit and already possessed an NFL-ready frame at 6’2” and 210 pounds. With his size and speed, his ability as a powerful runner was immediately on display as a true freshman. However, his opportunities were mostly limited as he accounted for only 11.9% of the team’s scrimmage yards as part of a running back committee. His breakout campaign would have to wait until 2022 when Sanders became the focal point of the Arkansas offense. In 12 games this year, Sanders has averaged 141.1 scrimmage yards and an impressive 30.2% weighted dominator rating. In addition, it was also encouraging to see him flash some of his receiving versatility as he accounted for 9.8% of the team’s receiving yards.
To put his production into perspective, since 2013, there have only been three early-declare running backs drafted in the first three rounds who exceeded the following thresholds in their sophomore season:
- +210 pounds
- +30% Weighted Team Dominator Rating
- +7% Receiving Yards Market Share
- +100 Scrimmage Yards per game
Who were those three running backs?
In other words, if Sanders is drafted with day two capital at a minimum, his sophomore season would place him among some elite NFL running backs. Especially if he can replicate his production in 2023, he should easily be ranked within the first tier of the 2024 running back class.