Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 18
Welcome back to the final Dynasty Report of the season, Footclan.
It has been an emotional week of football. What started as an exciting week of championship matchups ended with a somber reminder that life can be short and fragile, even for the super athletes and football players that we watch each weekend. Amid the outpouring of support for Damar Hamlin over the last few days, there was one quote that stood out. On SportsCenter, Ryan Clark said this:
“This is about Damar Hamlin. It’s about a young man at 24 years old who was living his dream, who a few hours ago was getting ready to play the biggest game of his NFL career. There was probably nowhere else in the world he wanted to be. And now, he fights for his life. We should remember that these men are putting their lives on the line to live their dream; and tonight, Damar Hamlin’s dream became a nightmare for himself, his family, and his entire team.”
On many occasions, I have been guilty of being frustrated when a player is unable to gain that extra yard or make that extra push to get into the end zone. Selfishly, I wanted them to perform better for my fantasy matchups. But when you put it all into perspective, these players risk their lives every day for the sake of our entertainment.
Naturally, for fantasy football, we have to analyze player performances, deciding who to start and sit each week. However, these last few days have taught me that even when evaluating these players, we need to remember that they are husbands, brothers, and sons that are loved by so many for much more than their abilities on the field.
Damar Hamlin, we are all rooting for you to pull through.
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard: Weeks 1 – 17
To keep the dashboard concise, I will focus only 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
- Since we are reviewing full-season stats, all metrics below are on a per-game basis
If you would like me to include other metrics or have any questions on the data below, let me know on Twitter @FF_MarvinE. Data courtesy of @nflfastR.
13 Rookie Observations from the Fantasy Season:
- Despite playing with multiple quarterbacks this year, Garrett Wilson leads this rookie wide receiver class in Expected Fantasy Points. He finished as the WR19 in my xFP model (11.4) and was one of only two rookie receivers to finish within the top 24 in fantasy usage. Assuming the Jets can find a more permanent solution at the quarterback position, I fully expect Wilson to have an even better season in Year 2.
- Chris Olave was the other rookie wide receiver to finish within the top 24 in Expected Fantasy Points per game this season. He was also the only receiver to account for over 40% of his team’s air yards. Similar to Wilson, Olave should be a popular breakout candidate in 2023.
- Despite leading this wide receiver class in target share at 29.3%, Drake London is only the WR52 half-PPR scoring and WR36 in fantasy usage. That is heavily driven by play-calling as the Falcons lead the league in early down, neutral situation rushing rate at 60%. Keep in mind, this team could look very different in 2023, with potentially a brand new coaching staff to lead the offense. As a result, London could be much more productive next season if they employ a pass-heavy scheme.
- Treylon Burks continues to be one of my favorite trade targets in dynasty football. Despite dealing with injuries, Burks averaged at least a 25% target share or air yards share in 60% of his games. In addition, he finished as a flex wide receiver (half-PPR) in four of his last five performances, marking a significant improvement from his early-season production.
- Christian Watson’s full-season stats are not as eye-catching due to his inconsistent role early in the season. But since Week 10, Watson has been truly impressive, averaging a 22.3% target share, 39.6% air yards share, and 11.2 Expected Fantasy Points (WR20). And despite only ranking as a WR2 in usage, Watson leads all wide receivers in that timespan in Fantasy Points Over Expected at +4.2 per game.
- Dameon Pierce is the RB5 in opportunity share through Week 17, leading all rookie running backs in this metric. As a result, he also leads his class in Expected Fantasy Points at 12.9, providing high-end RB2 value for dynasty managers this season.
- It may be easy to forget but Breece Hall was on his way to an elite rookie season. Even if we include the game in which he left early with a knee injury, Hall was the RB16 in Expected Fantasy Points (12.7). Equally as impressive, he was by far the most efficient rookie scoring +2.4 Points Over Expected per game. As a result, Hall would rank as the RB8 in half-PPR leagues on a per-game basis, breaking out as an RB1 in his first season.
- Since the Rashaad Penny injury, Kenneth Walker III has been dominant for dynasty managers. In that timespan, he is the RB9 in points per game (15.1) and the RB15 in Expected Fantasy Points (12.8) – right in line with both Hall and Pierce. Penny will be an unrestricted free agent this year, so I expect Walker to lead this backfield going forward.
- Since becoming the starter in Week 6, Brian Robinson Jr. has been one of the most heavily utilized running backs in the league with a 30.1% opportunity share and 11.3 xFP (RB22). The lack of receiving work will continue to limit his upside; however, he should remain heavily involved as an early-down rusher for the Commanders in 2023.
- Rachaad White’s immediate fantasy value will hinge on how the Buccaneers approach Leonard Fournette’s contract this year. Regardless, even with Fournette on the team, we have seen White perform as a flex running back in six of his last seven games. In his only game as a starter in Week 12, he received an elite 37.1% opportunity share and was the RB15 in half-PPR scoring. In other words, if Fournette is traded, White immediately vaults into RB1 consideration.
- Despite a disappointing season for the Broncos, we saw glimpses of TE1 upside from Greg Dulcich. What stands out in his production profile is his ADOT (or average depth of target) as he was one of only six tight ends this season to average over 20% of the team’s air yards. In other words, he was utilized in both the deep and intermediate game in the Broncos’ offense. Assuming the new coaching staff continues to leverage his skill set as a versatile receiver, Dulcich should be a TE1 sooner rather than later.
- Kenny Pickett was the QB22 in Expected Fantasy Points and finished with a -4.6 FPOE per game, heavily driven by his league-low 1.7% touchdown rate. I do expect that number to regress closer to the mean in 2023. On a positive note, he was the QB13 in Completion Percentage Over Expected (min. 200 plays), ahead of players like Tua Tagovailoa and Kirk Cousins.
- Brock Purdy has been impressive in his five games as a starter. Among quarterbacks with a minimum of 100 plays this season, per RBSDM, Purdy is the QB3 in EPA per Play (0.248), QB7 in Success Rate (50.7%), and QB20 in Completion Percentage Over Expected (+0.8). So despite the imminent return of Trey Lance, Purdy is an intriguing trade target in SuperFlex leagues as he has clearly shown that he can be a productive starter in this league
Dynasty Stock Report
Jerry Jeudy – Denver Broncos, WR
Jerry Jeudy was one of my favorite breakout candidates this season. But despite ranking outside of the top 24 in half-PPR points per game (generally the WR2 threshold for a breakout), Jeudy has flashed plenty of upside when healthy. Especially over the last four weeks, he has transformed into a WR2 in both volume and efficiency, sitting in the top right quadrant of my usage chart below.
Keep in mind, Jeudy was dealing with an ankle injury that limited him for multiple weeks in November. Once his snaps improved in Week 14, Jeudy has been the WR7 in half-PPR scoring (15.6) and the WR21 in Expected Fantasy Points (11.0). Even with the return of Courtland Sutton, Jeudy continued to lead the team in target share at 25.2%. So while the year has been slightly disappointing for the Broncos’ offense, fantasy managers should be encouraged by Jeudy’s progression in his third year. In addition, if they can find themselves an upgrade at both head coach and offensive coordinator, we might finally see the Jerry Jeudy breakout that we have been anticipating for many years.
Michael Gallup – Dallas Cowboys, WR
It was a tough start to the season for Michael Gallup, who missed the first three games of the season as he was recovering from his ACL tear. However, with the departure of Amari Cooper, there was plenty of optimism that Gallup could elevate his game as the WR2 for the Cowboys once he was fully healthy.
Unfortunately, from a fantasy perspective, Gallup has struggled to produce even with Dak Prescott in the lineup. Since Dak’s return in Week 7, Gallup is only averaging a 16.1% target share and 7.6 Expected Fantasy Points, clearly playing behind both CeeDee Lamb and Dalton Schultz. This is likely in part due to injury, per Matthew Betz’s research this off-season, as we have seen wide receivers similar to Gallup struggle in their first season back from an ACL tear. As a result, I expect a much more productive year in 2023 for Michael Gallup, who should remain an integral piece in one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
Jahan Dotson – Washington Commanders, WR
To start his rookie year, Jahan Dotson immediately flashed upside as he finished three of his first four games as a WR2 in half-PPR leagues. However, a hamstring strain forced Dotson to miss multiple games earlier this season, halting what seemed to be a breakout campaign for the rookie receiver. Naturally, once he returned, his snaps and opportunities were limited as he continued to recover from his injury.
However, since reclaiming starter-level snaps in Week 13, Dotson has been one of the most heavily utilized wide receivers in the league. In his last four games, he is the WR13 in half-PPR points per game (13.6) and the WR16 in Expected Points (12.0). The improvement in volume is especially encouraging as he was heavily relying on efficiency to produce earlier in the year (13.2% target share in his first four games). By contrast, over the last five weeks, he led all Washington wide receivers with an impressive 24% target share and 34.3% air yards share. As a result, Dotson continues to trend in the right direction, quickly becoming the WR1 in the Commanders’ offense.
Derek Carr – Las Vegas Raiders, QB
Derek Carr’s time with the Raiders may be coming to an end as the team recently decided to start Jarrett Stidham to look toward the future. Unfortunately, this clouds his future with some uncertainty as Carr could be on a brand new team next year. Contractually, the Raiders could save over $30 million per year if they do decide to move on from Carr, which almost guarantees his departure from Las Vegas. On a positive note, there are multiple teams like the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts, and the Washington Commanders who could use an immediate upgrade at quarterback and could provide Carr with an excellent supporting cast to produce next year. However, until we receive more clarity this off-season, Carr’s dynasty value will remain in flux as the Raiders transition into a new era in 2023.