Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 4
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report!
In this weekly series, I will be highlighting the most impactful storylines from a dynasty perspective. While most of this article will focus on NFL players, this piece will also include a brand new segment called the Prospect Watch List. My goal is to provide you with an overview of some of the best prospects entering the league to help gauge 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 will take a look at the most productive FBS Tight Ends. 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 3
To keep the dashboard concise, I will only be highlighting the most fantasy-relevant 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, 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 difference 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 3:
- It was once again a week dominated by the rookie wide receivers, specifically Chris Olave. More on his impressive week in the following segment.
- Garrett Wilson continues to impress. Despite missing a few snaps due to injury, Wilson remained heavily involved and still accounted for over 20% of the team’s air yards and targets. He continues to operate as the Jets’ WR1, finishing each week so far with an Expected Half-PPR value of over 12 points (which is generally the WR2 threshold). Keep an eye on his usage with Zach Wilson returning, presumably this week.
- We finally got the George Pickens breakout game! Beyond his jaw-dropping one-handed catch, Pickens saw a sizable improvement in his usage as he finished with a 22% target share and a 26% air yards share. While Diontae Johnson will continue to be the WR1 for this team, this could be a sign that Pickens is inching his way towards WR2 status ahead of Chase Claypool.
- When regression hits, it hits hard. Jahan Dotson was averaging over eight fantasy points ABOVE expected in the first two games, which completely flipped this past week against the Eagles. While he did see a career-high 19% target share and 11.3 Expected Value, he finished well below that mark with only 2.0 fantasy points. (-9.3 FPOE). Still, the improved volume was encouraging.
- Drake London continues to crush his rookie season. While he did see a career-low Expected Value of only 8.8 half ppr points, he remains a focal point for the Falcons as he once again found the end zone. At this point, you can comfortably start him as a flex option with WR2 upside.
- Alec Pierce had a career-high 47.3% air yards share against the Chiefs. Keep an eye on his usage in the coming weeks!
- Romeo Doubs may be the WR1 in Green Bay. They got him involved early and often, leading to a career-high 23.5% target share. His expected value came in at only 9.7, driven by the low ADOT (Average Depth of Target) of his opportunities. The Packers clearly made an effort to get the ball in his hands quickly, allowing Doubs to generate the 9th most Yards After Catch (48) among wide receivers this past week.
- Dameon Pierce may just be a viable RB2 going forward, averaging 40% of his team’s total opportunities this past week. The only running backs with a higher opportunity share were Christian McCaffrey, Derrick Henry, and Jonathan Taylor.
- After taking a slight step back in his last game, Breece Hall finished this week with 18.9 Expected Half PPR points (RB2). While this backfield continues to be a roller coaster, it was encouraging to see Hall clearly outscore Michael Carter in multiple opportunity and production metrics.
Dynasty Stock Report
Chris Olave was one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft, as he was one of only four wide receivers in this class to grade as a 90+ percentile prospect in my wide receiver model. Historically, first-round wide receivers to grade that highly average a 72.7% top-24 hit rate. And based on what we saw over these last couple of weeks, we may already be in the midst of Olave’s breakout season. For the second week in a row, he averaged over 30% of his team’s targets and air yards, leading to a career-high in Expected Points at 15.9. And with Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry potentially dealing with injuries, I expect Jameis Winston to continue to lean on Olave.
Taking a look at his situation in New Orleans, Michael Thomas should still be around for another season or two as his contract provides very little cap relief over the next two years. And while that may seem like it could limit Olave’s upside, it should benefit him to have a legitimate receiving threat on the other side of the field to keep defenses honest. The slightly bigger concern is the Saints’ long-term quarterback situation. Winston has struggled so far this year, and New Orleans will have very few options to upgrade at QB next season. With a tight cap situation and the lack of first-round picks until 2024, Olave may be receiving passes from Winston for at least another season. Nevertheless, if he can continue to produce at a high level and truly break out, Olave should easily be a top-20 dynasty wide receiver despite their questionable quarterback situation going forward.
Russell Wilson – Denver Broncos, QB
Entering the season, many expected the Denver Broncos to be one of the most improved offenses in the league, producing multiple top-tier players for fantasy this year. Shockingly, in three games, the Broncos do not have a single offensive player in the top-12 at any position. In addition, they have also been the worst red zone offense so far this season, scoring on only 14.3% of their trips inside the 20. It all starts and ends with Russell Wilson, who has been far from efficient to begin the year. Wilson is currently averaging the lowest adjusted yards per attempt, touchdown rate, and quarterback rating of his career. And after leading all quarterbacks in Completion Percentage Over Expected since joining the league in 2012 (+5.5), Wilson is only the QB22 (-1.9) in that metric this season.
Needless to say, these trends are absolutely concerning. However, I do believe there are brighter days ahead. Per our Strength of Schedule tool, Wilson has the easiest fantasy schedule among quarterbacks going forward. So while his fantasy value may be trending in the wrong direction, I would still hold on a little longer to see if this talented offense can turn things around. And with a proven track record as one of the most accurate and efficient quarterbacks over the last decade, I do expect him to bounce back this week against a Raiders defense that has allowed the 4th highest adjusted yards per attempt this season.
While I was fully on the Travis Etienne hype train entering the year, I can’t deny that James Robinson is clearly the RB1 for the Jaguars. Despite suffering an Achilles tear late last season, he is currently one of the most involved running backs in the league. Through three games, Robinson is the RB3 in half PPR points per game (17.8), while averaging the 15th highest opportunity share (29.4%) among all running backs this season. From a fantasy usage standpoint, we can see in the chart below that Robinson is one of the most productive and efficient players at his position, sitting right next to Saquon Barkley and Nick Chubb. And while his efficiency could regress in the coming weeks, Robinson’s 8th-ranked fantasy usage value of 13.4 Expected Points should continue to carry his production going forward. Looking ahead, keep in mind that Robinson is currently in the final year of his rookie deal, approaching restricted free agency in 2023. And considering Etienne is still under contract for two more seasons, it would not surprise me if the Jaguars did not commit to Robinson long-term. Since his future does come with some uncertainty, I would gauge Robinson’s trade value in your dynasty leagues to see if you can cash out at peak value before he approaches free agency.
Allen Robinson’s dynasty value continues to decline, barely making an impact for dynasty managers to start the year. While he did have a top-24 performance last week, his production was heavily rooted in efficiency, scoring a touchdown on only a 14.3% target share and a total of five opportunities. As mentioned previously, players who rely on efficiency are extremely volatile for fantasy purposes due to their weekly potential for regression. And sure enough, Robinson received the same number of targets this week, but left managers disappointed as he was unable to find the end zone once again. Unfortunately, this will likely be the reality for Robinson going forward unless we see an increase in volume. And though he remains tied to this offense for at least another season due to his cap hit, Robinson can not be trusted in your lineups based on his usage to start the season.
Prospect Watch List: Week 4 – Tight Ends
Tight end is usually the least exciting position to scout in dynasty. While it is absolutely crucial to have an elite player at that position to win your leagues, rookie drafts rarely provide you with an immediate contributor for your fantasy teams. However, based on a recent article I wrote on early-career collegiate production, research shows that day one tight ends who produce early in their careers have one of the highest fantasy hit rates (top-12 season) at 85.7%. In short, if you are going to spend rookie draft capital on a tight end, it should be on a first-round prospect who was a focal point of their collegiate offense.
With this information in mind, one of the few prospects in next year’s class who could meet the above criteria is Michael Mayer, tight end out of Notre Dame. Currently projected as a day-one pick, Mayer has been nothing but productive since his true freshman season. In his first two years, he accounted for 20.5% of Notre Dame’s receiving yards while averaging an impressive 1.64 receiving yards per team pass attempt. To put that into perspective, not a single first-round TE since 2013 has averaged those numbers in their first two seasons in college. This includes highly-touted prospects like Eric Ebron, T.J. Hockenson, and Kyle Pitts. Even more impressive, as you can see in the table above, Mayer is on his way to an even better Junior season. And while some project him to be less athletic than the prospects I mentioned above (based on combine testing), that should not take away from his impressive production profile and well-rounded receiving skillset. So if he does truly receive first-round capital in the 2023 draft, Mayer should be an impactful contributor for your dynasty teams right out of the gate.