Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 18

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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!

2023 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

If you want me to include other metrics or have any questions on the data below, let me know on X or Twitter @FF_MarvinE. Data courtesy of @nflfastR.

Rookie Stats and Observations from Weeks 1 – 17:

  • Through Week 17, we currently have three rookie running backs in the top 20 in half-PPR scoring. Of those three, Jahmyr Gibbs leads them in Expected Fantasy Points (or usage value) with 13.6 xFP – which ranks RB10 on the season.  While Montgomery will still be under contract in 2024, Gibbs has shown that he already holds RB1 upside, even if he has to share the backfield for another year.
  • Despite his inconsistent usage, Bijan Robinson finishes the fantasy season as the RB21 in points per game. His usage value (expected points) ranks even higher at RB13. Even with the erratic nature of Arthur Smith’s coaching, Robinson still had a breakout season, showcasing why he was one of the most elite prospects to enter the league in recent history. Assuming Smith is let go after this season, I fully expect Bijan to have his first RB1 campaign in 2024.
  • The most efficient rookie running back was none other than De’Von Achane, averaging +6.3 Fantasy Points Over Expected. We saw that early in the season as he produced multiple top-five performances from Weeks 2 to 4. Although Achane’s efficiency regressed later in the year, he still finished the fantasy season as the RB4 in points per game. Naturally, Achane’s usage will need to improve if we want him to sustain this type of production in 2024. With Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson still under contract through next season, we may need to wait another year for Achane to fully take over the Dolphins’ backfield. 
  • Puka Nacua has had a truly elite rookie campaign. Through 17 weeks, he is the WR9 in points per game (13.4), averaging a 29% target share and 34% air yards share. For context, that ranks as the sixth most productive rookie season by a wide receiver in the last decade, behind only Odell Beckham Jr, Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas. With Cooper Kupp approaching the end of his prime, I expect Nacua to remain a focal point for the Rams for the foreseeable future.
  • Even if we include the game in which he fractured his ankle (played only 13% of the snaps), Tank Dell is still the WR16 in points per game, finishing as a top 20 fantasy wide receiver in six of eleven weeks. If we exclude that game, he would rank even higher as the WR11. Dell is the perfect example of height and weight holding very little value in prospect evaluation at the wide receiver position. In other words, if they dominate in college regardless of their size (similar to Dell), they have the upside to produce in the NFL
  • Jayden Reed’s usage has fluctuated throughout the season, though we did see him break out toward the end of the year. Since Week 10, Reed is the WR8 in points per game (15.0), averaging a 20% target share and an elite 29% targets per route run.
  • Similar to Reed, Rashee Rice broke out towards the end of the season. Since the Chiefs’ bye week, his route participation improved to 75% and his targets per route run remained elite at 27%. While I do think the Chiefs will bring in additional receivers to bolster their offense, Rice should continue to be a focal point for their offense after an efficient rookie campaign.
  • Sam LaPorta finished the fantasy season as the TE1 in points per game. Since 2013, LaPorta has been one of only two tight ends to finish as a top-five option in their rookie year. The other tight end to make this list was Evan Engram in 2017.
  • Dalton Kincaid showed glimpses of TE1 upside with Dawson Knox out of the lineup. From Weeks 8 to 12, he averaged a 21% target share, 16% air yards share, and 84% route participation, ranking as the TE5 in points per game. With Knox under contract for at least another season, Kincaid’s production could remain limited in 2024.
  • C.J. Stroud was by far the most efficient rookie quarterback in the 2023 class. Among quarterbacks with a minimum of 200 plays, Stroud led all rookies in EPA per Play (0.131), Completion Percentage Over Expected (+1.1), and Success Rate (47%).
  • It’s been over three months since we last saw Anthony Richardson on the field. Despite limited playing time, we already saw glimpses of his elite QB1 upside. In his two healthy games, Richardson was the QB10 in Air Yards per Attempt (8.5), QB2 in Rushing Share (35.1%), and QB1 in fantasy points per game (25.3). If he can remain healthy in 2024, Richardson will be a candidate to finish as the overall QB1 next season. 

Dynasty Stock Report

Jerome FordCleveland Browns, RB

Stock Up

After Nick Chubb suffered a gruesome knee injury, there was an opening for one of the Browns’ running backs to take on an expanded role. Jerome Ford took that opportunity and ran with it (no pun intended), leading the Browns’ backfield in usage for most of the season. In 16 games, he averaged a 24% opportunity share, 46% route participation, and 11.7 half-PPR points. Despite not being as efficient as Chubb, Ford still finished the season as a top-24 running back. While his production was a pleasant surprise, I would temper my expectations going forward. Over the last few years, we have seen multiple day-three running backs produce top-30 seasons, only to be replaced the following year. This happened to Phillip Lindsay, Tyler Allgeier, and – most recently – Dameon Pierce. With Chubb also set to return next year, I would take advantage of Ford’s inflated value and package him this off-season to acquire a more stable dynasty asset.

Jahan DotsonWashington Commanders, WR

Stock Down

Earlier this season, many dynasty managers were hopeful that Jahan Dotson would finally emerge as the WR1 for the Commanders. However, that never materialized as he only accounted for over 20% of the team’s targets in four of his 16 games. In fact, his usage value of 6.9 Expected Fantasy Points was third among Commanders’ wide receivers, finishing behind Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel. Factor in the uncertainty at the quarterback position and Dotson’s dynasty value has taken a significant dive in recent months. For context, earlier this year, Dotson ranked as high as the WR18 in dynasty leagues. Since then, his ADP has dropped significantly to WR41 according to Keep Trade Cut. Until they solve their quarterback situation, I expect Dotson’s value to continue to decline as we head into the off-season. 

Tucker KraftGreen Bay Packers, TE

Stock Up

One of the most surprising developments in the 2023 NFL draft was the Packers’ selection of two tight ends within the first three rounds. As prospects, Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft were both exceptional, checking many of the boxes we look for in a rookie tight end. With that in mind, it was disappointing to see them land on the same team, limiting each other’s opportunities to start their careers. However, with Musgrave being placed on injured reserve, Tucker Kraft was thrust into the TE1 role for the Packers. Since Week 12, he has averaged an 85% route participation, 15% target share, and 8.6 fantasy points per game, ranking TE9 in that timespan. Keep in mind, similar to the Ravens’ situation with Mark Andrews and Hayden Hurst, I highly doubt the Packers will keep both Musgrave and Kraft long-term. Therefore, now is the perfect time to invest in Kraft as he has proven that he can be an effective TE1 in the NFL, whether that be with the Packers or another team.

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Russell WilsonDenver Broncos, QB

Stock Down

Prior to Week 17, the Broncos decided to bench Russell Wilson for financial reasons, as they would owe him over $35 million in guaranteed dollars if he were to suffer a long-term injury this season. To ensure that he would pass his physical, the Broncos started Jarrett Stidham in his place. This was a surprising move, considering their slim playoff hopes were still alive heading into Week 17. Despite numerous questions about his future with the Broncos, it’s essential to note that Wilson’s contract carries a significant cap hit through the 2024 season. According to Over the Cap, even if they released Wilson after June 1st, the Broncos would still accrue a $35 million dead cap next year. Additionally, there would be $18.4 million in dead cap in both 2025 and 2026, even if he is no longer on the roster. Due to these significant cap implications, it’s unlikely that Wilson will be cut or traded after this season, tying him to the Broncos for the foreseeable future.

Prospect Watch List

While we are still waiting on a few running backs to declare for the draft, Trey Benson has officially decided to join the NFL in 2024. A four-star recruit in 2020, Benson has had an eventful collegiate career. As you can see above, he initially committed to Oregon but suffered a horrific knee injury, tearing his ACL, MCL, and meniscus in his true freshman season. Despite recovering from his injury, Benson never got a chance to showcase his talent and potential at Oregon as he was playing behind Travis Dye, Anthony Brown, and CJ Verdell in 2021.

As a result, Benson transferred out of Oregon and committed to Florida State where he would take on an immediate role in 2022. In back-to-back seasons, he would lead the Seminoles in touches out of the backfield, finishing with over 1,100 scrimmage yards in both campaigns. However, Benson never fully dominated Florida State’s production, only averaging about a 19.7% weighted dominator rating in two seasons. If we use the more predictive metric in Scrimmage Yards per Team Play, his production profile looks even worse. For context, the most productive collegiate running backs usually average over 2.00 Yards per Team Play in a single season. The elite NFL prospects such as Jonathan Taylor, Bijan Robinson, and Breece Hall have exceeded that threshold multiple times in their collegiate career. In the case of Benson, he only averaged 1.34 Yards per Team Play in his best season. If we compare that to all drafted running backs since 2013, his campaigns would rank accordingly:

  • R-Sophomore: 47th Percentile (2022)
  • R-Junior: 44th percentile (2023)

And while his injury did affect his usage in 2021, keep in mind that he was barely involved as a true freshman even before he suffered his knee injury in December of 2020. On a positive note, Benson seems to be moving up draft boards as the NFL Mock Draft Database currently has him projected as a second-round pick, behind only TreVeyon Henderson. Because of that, he will still hold plenty of value in rookie drafts. However, due to his average production and efficiency, Benson projects as a riskier pick for dynasty managers as we have seen players with his profile break out at a lower rate in the NFL.

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