Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 2
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report!
I am excited to continue this series for yet another season, highlighting the most impactful storylines from a dynasty perspective each week. After Week 1, I know it is tempting to tinker with your rosters after a devastating loss. And if you faced a combination of Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, and Ja’Marr Chase, I don’t blame you one bit. Keep in mind, however, that it was only one week and we still have plenty of opportunities to right the ship. As the Ballers would say… “Stay water,” remain active in your leagues, and let’s prepare for Week 2!
While most of this article will focus on NFL players, this piece will also include a brand new segment called the Prospect Watch List. Providing you with an overview of some of the best prospects entering the league will hopefully help in assessing the potential value of your dynasty picks. Since there are quite a few prospects to follow, I will focus on a different position each week. In today’s piece, we start things off with the most productive FBS running backs. 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 college football prospects
Rookie Opportunity Dashboard: Week 1
To keep the dashboard concise, I will only be highlighting the top 5 rookies at each position every week. 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 since it indicates opportunity and potential fantasy success.
- Fantasy Points Over Expected or FPOE signifies efficiency relative to a player’s usage. FPOE is the difference between a player’s actual PPR points and their expected PPR value. This metric will usually regress to the mean (zero), which is why we isolate it from each player’s 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 1:
- The 2022 rookie running back class as a whole was fairly underwhelming this past week. Dameon Pierce was by far the most hyped prospect entering the season; however, his production was far from encouraging after totaling only 4.9 PPR points. Even more concerning, his expected PPR value was only 7.35, nearly 12 points less than Rex Burkhead’s usage (18.9). It is only Week 1 and Pierce’s role in this offense could still improve. However, considering Lovie Smith’s recent comments about his situational role, it might be best to temper our expectations for Pierce heading into Week 2.
- A player that stands out in our opportunity dashboard is Breece Hall, who averaged an impressive 18.9 Expected PPR Value and a 17.5% target share in his first career game. While those numbers are truly impressive, this is partially a product of the Jets having to keep up with the Ravens’ offense. In fact, both Michael Carter and Breece Hall finished within the top 10 in xFP, heavily driven by their receiving usage. I would expect those numbers to decline slightly, especially with Zach Wilson returning in a couple of weeks.
- This brings us to the WR position where another Jets rookie leads the way for this class: Garrett Wilson. Receiving 8 total opportunities, he finished the week as the WR19 in Expected Fantasy Points, ahead of players like Michael Thomas and Juju Smith-Schuster. Equally impressive, Wilson also received three targets inside the 10, though he, unfortunately, did not convert any of those opportunities into touchdowns. And while this offense could drastically change once Zach Wilson returns, it was still encouraging to see both Wilson and Hall used heavily right out of the gate.
- Jahan Dotson finished the week as the WR18 in PPR points (18.0), however, was only the WR44 in Expected Value. I expect some of that efficiency to regress to the mean, which means Dotson will need to improve on his 12.5% target share if he plans to keep up his production. Stash him on your bench for now until we see him command a higher share of Washington’s opportunities.
- The last pair of rookies to highlight are Tennessee’s Kyle Philips and Treylon Burks. Both players were on the field on less than 50% of the snaps but averaged a greater than 15% target share each. Philips was clearly the more productive receiver and should be on your dynasty radar going forward. However, the fact that Burks averaged a 34% air yards share on only 24 snaps tells you everything you need to know about his upside. Expect both receivers to be heavily involved next week, with the potential to be a flex option if they do earn more snaps going forward.
Dynasty Stock Report
Entering the 2022 season, we already knew that A.J. Brown was one of the best receivers in the league. Changing teams, however, clouded his outlook as we generally see a slight decline in production when receivers find a new home. Brown put those concerns to rest rather quickly as he dominated in his first official game with the Eagles. Not only did he lead the team with an absurd target share (44.8%) and air yards share (72.9%), but he also had more targets than DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert… combined.
While those market share numbers are likely to decline, dynasty managers should be ecstatic about Brown’s performance to start the year. As you can see in the chart below, he had a truly elite performance. Not only did he finish above his expected value, but he was also one of only seven wide receivers to finish the week with at least 20 expected PPR Points. And at only 25 years old, his dynasty value is clearly trending in the right direction as he approaches the prime of his career. If Jalen Hurts can continue his ascension, Brown should be in contention as the WR3 behind only Justin Jefferson and Ja’Marr Chase in dynasty ADP.
As a massive supporter of Travis Etienne, it hurts me to put him in the “stock down” section of my article. However, despite his impressive draft capital and production profile out of college, his opportunities in the NFL are likely to be limited going forward. While I was hopeful that this season could lead to a more expanded role, it seems James Robinson is set to be the starting running back once again. This past week, Robinson led the backfield, commanding the highest opportunity share at 23.2%. On a positive note, Etienne led the group in target share at 10.5% and was equally involved in the red zone. As a result, he finished slightly higher in xFP, scoring 9.90 in Expected PPR Value compared to Robinson’s 9.11. However, the overarching storyline is that Jacksonville will clearly employ a running back by committee, severely capping the upside of both running backs for this season. Keep in mind that Robinson will be a restricted free agent after this year. And considering Etienne will still have up to three years left on his rookie contract after 2022, the Jaguars could opt to let Robinson go. For now, hold on to Etienne as he will offer weekly flex-worthy production, with the potential to increase his dynasty value as soon as next off-season.
There were high hopes for Curtis Samuel when he signed a 3-year, $34.5 million deal back in 2021. Unfortunately, a pair of groin and hamstring injuries severely limited his first year with Washington. As a result, we saw his dynasty ADP plummet to WR78 heading into the 2022 season.
Based on this past week, however, dynasty managers may be heavily rewarded if they held on to Samuel as he put on an impressive performance against the Jaguars. He finished as a top-12 WR in both PPR production (19.2) and Expected PPR value (17.9) while leading the Commanders with an elite target share at 27.5%. Even more encouraging, Washington clearly had a plan for Samuel as they ran specific plays to get him involved, even inside the red zone. Now, he approaches a favorable matchup against a Lions defense that was crushed by A.J. Brown this past week. And while Terry McLaurin’s 10% target share will likely improve, Samuel’s connection with Wentz is undeniable. Though we should probably wait another week to truly confirm his role in this offense, Samuel’s early involvement is an encouraging sign for his redraft and dynasty value.
It was a rough week for the rookie out of North Dakota State. Christian Watson’s first target came on the first play of the game for the Packers, which should have been a guaranteed 75-yard touchdown to start his career. Instead of basking in the glory of a game-tying score, he dropped the ball and struggled to get anything else going the rest of the game. And while Watson certainly will have more successful games, the underlying production metrics are slightly worrisome coming out of Week 1. First off, Watson only averaged an 11.5% target share with a total of 5 opportunities (one of them being a rush attempt). However, of his 4 targets, one of them came from Jordan Love when the Packers were clearly out of the game. Romeo Doubs, on the other hand, led all Packers wide receivers with a 14.3% target share – with all five of his targets coming from Aaron Rodgers. Even more concerning, Rodgers seemed to favor his running backs quite a bit as both Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon either tied or exceeded Doubs’ target share in Week 1. As a result, Watson seems to be the 4th or even 5th option in this offense. And unless he can prove himself and capitalize on his already limited opportunities, his rookie season will likely leave dynasty managers slightly disappointed after selecting him in the first round of dynasty drafts.
Prospect Watch List: Week 2
- Sean Tucker continues to have an outstanding season, currently ranking second in Total Yards per Team Play at 2.18. This comes after a Sophomore campaign in which he totaled over 1700 scrimmage yards on an impressive 38.3% weighted dominator rating. In short, Tucker is positioning himself to be a top-3 running back in a loaded 2023 class, performing at a truly elite level for the second season in a row.
- Despite being a 4th-year prospect, Evan Hull out of Northwestern is another player to keep an eye on. After totaling 213 yards against Duke this past weekend, he currently leads all P5 running backs in a variety of metrics and is one of the most productive receivers at his position. Breaking out in his redshirt Sophomore year, it seems Hull is on his way to an even more successful season in 2022. And while he is not currently projected to be drafted in any recent mocks that I have seen, that could change quickly if he can continue to build off of a strong start to his fourth season.
- Tank Bigsby out of Auburn is another intriguing prospect set to enter the 2023 draft. He currently ranks 11th among P5 running backs in Total Yards per Team Play in what is shaping up to be an improved campaign from the previous year. So far in 2022, Tank is setting career-highs in yards per touch, yards per team play, dominator rating, and receiving yards market share. And in three seasons, he has never had a campaign below a 23% total yards market share, indicating that he has been heavily involved since his true freshman season. So while he is projected to be the 4th or 5th running back selected in the 2023 class, this should not take away from his impressive collegiate career. The fact that a prospect with Tank’s profile is slated to go later in the first round of dynasty drafts is just a testament to the depth of this upcoming rookie class.