Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 17
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report!
Every week, this article will highlight the most impactful storylines for fantasy football from a dynasty perspective. Since the season never truly ends in a dynasty league, changes throughout the regular season can significantly impact a player’s dynasty value beyond this year. To give you a holistic view of the dynasty landscape, you can expect the following segments each 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
And if you are looking for an even deeper look into dynasty football, be sure to tune in every week to the Fantasy Footballers Dynasty Podcast with Borg, Betz, and a Baller!
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard
To keep the dashboard concise, I will focus only on the most fantasy-relevant rookies at each position. For reference:
- Expected Fantasy Points (xFP) are synonymous with 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 each player’s actual fantasy points and their expected fantasy value. This metric will usually fluctuate and regress to the mean (zero), which is why we isolate it from their baseline production (xFP) to determine which players we can rely on.
- Opportunity Share is the percentage of targets and rush attempts that a player accounts for on their team.
Rookie Observations after Week 16:
- In Week 16 against the Vikings, Jahmyr Gibbs averaged the highest opportunity share in his last six games at 29.3%. He received over 20 opportunities and finished the week as the RB7 in Expected Points with 18.8 xFP. While this was certainly an encouraging performance, the Lions’ backfield will face a much tougher matchup against the Cowboys’ defense in Week 17. However, with the Cowboys projected to win by 6.5 points, the Lions could be forced to throw the ball over 40 times. With a more pass-heavy game plan, I expect them to lean on Gibbs over Montgomery in Week 17.
- Tyjae Spears has quietly put together a productive month of football, finishing as a top-20 running back in three of his last four games. In fact, since Week 13, Spears has been the RB28 in Expected Fantasy Points, averaging a 25% opportunity share and 17.6% target share. While he is still a risky option, Spears should be considered a weekly flex option despite operating as the RB2 in the Titans’ offense.
- When fantasy managers needed him the most, Puka Nacua dominated and carried them into the next round of the fantasy playoffs. His 28.5 half-PPR point performance is the second-highest by a rookie wide receiver over the last two seasons, behind only Christian Watson’s Week 10 breakout in 2022. With a favorable matchup against the Giants in Week 17, Nacua projects to be a WR1 option once again.
- Similar to Nacua, Zay Flowers came through for fantasy managers in Week 16. He finished with his second-highest usage value (expected points) of his career with 16.7 xFP. Simply put, he remains the focal point for the Ravens’ passing offense as he commanded a 38.2% target share and 33.1% air yards share against the 49ers. I fully expect a similar performance against the Dolphins in what should be another high-scoring matchup in Week 17.
- Demario Douglas missed a couple of games over the last few weeks due to a concussion. However, in his last four matchups, Douglas has received at least a 25% target share in all but one game. His air yards share exceeded 26% in each of those games as well. So even with Bailey Zappe under center, Douglas projects to be a low-end WR3 based on his recent surge in volume.
- With Ja’Marr Chase out of the lineup, Andrei Iosivas stepped up opposite Tee Higgins. In Week 16, he set a career-high in Route Participation (76%), target share (20%), and air yards share (34%), ranking within the top five among rookie wide receivers in Expected Points. With Chase set to miss more time, Iosivas could be in for another flex-level performance as we head into the final week of the playoffs.
- For the third time in his last four games, Tucker Kraft finished the week as a TE1 in Expected Points (usage value), setting a career-high in target share (23.1%) and targets per route run (26%) against the Panthers. Luke Musgrave did return to practice last week. However, he has not been activated from IR, which means Kraft could have one more opportunity as the Packers’ TE1 in Week 17.
- Bryce Young had the most productive game of his career as he threw for a career-high 312 passing yards, 9.8 adjusted yards per attempt, and 10.9 Passing EPA. He also finished the week as the QB9 in points per game, which was by far the highest weekly finish of his rookie year. While his performance was especially encouraging, the Packers’ defense has been one of the worst in recent weeks at containing the quarterback position. So while he did have an efficient game, I would be surprised if Young repeated this performance in Week 17.
Dynasty Stock Report
D.J. Moore – Chicago Bears, WR
After the Chicago Bears traded for D.J. Moore earlier in the offseason, there was plenty of speculation as to how this could affect his fantasy value. With the Bears operating a very run-heavy offense, would there be enough opportunities for Moore to remain a top-24 fantasy wide receiver? To no surprise, the Bears revamped their play-calling to cater to their upgraded receiving corps, improving in Pass Rate Over Expected by nearly 10 percentage points. As a result, Moore is currently on pace to have his most productive season from a fantasy football perspective with 13.6 points per game, ranking as the WR12 in half-PPR leagues. In addition, assuming he remains healthy, he should also set a career-high in receiving yards with over 1,200 this season. And even though his usage has fluctuated with Justin Fields missing a handful of games, his market share numbers continue to be elite. In 15 games, Moore is averaging a:
- 27.2% Target Share
- 41.8% Air Yards Share
- 96% Route Participation
- 69% Weighted Opportunity Rating
Barring the addition of Marvin Harrison Jr, I would be surprised if Moore is not the WR1 for the Chicago Bears next season. Naturally, the quarterback position will heavily impact his fantasy upside going forward. With the Bears projected to select first overall in the 2024 draft, Moore will likely receive passes from either Caleb Williams or Fields over the next few years. In either case, his situation should only improve as Williams projects to be one of the most elite prospects in recent years. With that in mind, Moore should remain a top-15 fantasy wide receiver in both seasonal and dynasty leagues.
Dameon Pierce – Houston Texans, RB
After a productive rookie year in which he finished as the RB22 in points per game, Dameon Pierce has slowly seen his usage fade this season. While part of that is likely driven by an ankle injury that caused him to miss extended time, it was still surprising to see Pierce lose his workhorse role midway through the year. For context, since returning from injury, Pierce is only averaging an 11.1% opportunity share and 3.9 Expected Fantasy Points. His usage in the receiving game has declined as well, only averaging a 12% route participation over the last five games. Instead, Devin Singletary has taken over the RB1 role, leading the Texans’ backfield with a 28.2% opportunity share over the last five weeks. Keep in mind, with Singletary approaching free agency, the Texans will likely look for a long-term solution at the running back position next offseason. However, based on recent trends, Pierce’s time as the featured running back is coming to an end as they could look to free agency or the NFL draft for an upgrade.
David Njoku – Cleveland Browns, TE
Even with the injuries to Nick Chubb and Deshaun Watson, the Browns’ offense has produced multiple fantasy-relevant players this season. That includes David Njoku, who is on pace to have his most productive season in his seven-year career. Through 15 games, he is the TE6 in half-PPR scoring (9.8), finishing as a TE1 in 60% of his games. As you might already expect, his improved production is heavily driven by his top-tier usage:
- 21.1% Target Share
- 78% Route Participation
- 22% Targets per Route Run
- 9.2 Expected Fantasy Points
For context, the only tight ends currently with a higher usage value (expected points) than Njoku are Travis Kelce, T.J. Hockenson, and Evan Engram. Keep in mind that Njoku will still only be 28 years old next season, while still being under contract through the 2025 campaign. As a result, he should be firmly ranked as a top 10 dynasty tight end as he will likely remain a focal point for the Browns over the next two seasons. While the quarterback position does offer some uncertainty, Njoku has proven this year that he can still produce TE1 numbers regardless of the passer.
Jerry Jeudy – Denver Broncos, WR
Jerry Jeudy finally had his breakout campaign in 2022, finishing as the WR20 in points per game. However, that season is looking more and more like an outlier as Jeudy is on pace to finish outside of the top 50 in half-PPR yet again. In fact, Jeudy has not had a single top-24 performance this year as Courtland Sutton has assumed the WR1 role for Russell Wilson. From a usage standpoint, Jeudy’s market share numbers are not drastically different from his breakout season, averaging a 19.5% target share and 34% air yards share through 15 games. But with Denver operating as a run-heavy offense (25th in Pass Rate Over Expected) and with Wilson targeting the running backs at a higher rate, Jeudy’s fantasy production has taken a sizable hit this year. Fortunately for dynasty managers, Jeudy could find himself on a new team next season. Due to the Broncos’ lack of cap space in 2024 and their recent addition of Marvin Mims, both parties would benefit from parting ways this upcoming offseason.
Prospect Watch List
Blake Corum, a four-year player out of the University of Michigan, is one of the most polarizing players in the 2024 class. If you only look at his most recent season, you might be underwhelmed by his performance, only averaging 4.8 Yards Per Touch and a mediocre 1.37 Yards per Team Play. To put that into perspective, among running backs drafted since 2013, his senior season would only rank in the 45th percentile. However, keep in mind that Corum suffered a torn meniscus late last year, which likely affected his efficiency early in 2023.
A better indication of his upside in the NFL is his junior season. Before his injury, he was in the midst of an elite campaign and on pace to become a day-two pick in this year’s NFL draft. In fact, before he tore his meniscus in 2022, he was averaging 1.97 Yards per Team Play and over 31% of the team’s scrimmage yards in 11 games. That would have ranked in the 83rd percentile, drastically ahead of his senior campaign. Assuming his efficiency will only improve the further removed he is from injury, I still believe Corum could be a valuable dynasty asset for fantasy managers. As always, draft capital will be a strong indicator of his upside at the next level. As of today, the NFL Mock Draft Database still has him projected as a late-day two pick – a decline from last year due to his slightly inefficient senior campaign. And even though Corum will likely rank behind several wide receivers in the 2024 class, I will still gladly select him in the second round of rookie drafts. For a deeper breakdown, check out my offseason series titled “An Early Look at the 2024 Running Back Class,” and be on the lookout for Prospect Profiles on the site starting in February.