Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 4
Welcome back to the Dynasty Report!
This article will highlight the most important storylines 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: Week 3
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 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
- 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 a dominant week for De’Von Achane as he produced 49.3 half-PPR points against the Broncos. More on his impressive and historic performance in the Dynasty Stock Report.
- With David Montgomery out, Jahmyr Gibbs took over as the lead running back for the Detroit Lions. However, while he set a career-high in opportunity share (30.6%), his expected fantasy value (12.5) was lower than in Week 2. That was largely due to the mix of his opportunities, as his target share declined by 20 percentage points while his rushing share improved to 55%. So despite the increase in total opportunities, we would ideally like to see Gibbs’ target share improve simultaneously with his rushing share to truly elevate him into RB1 territory.
- Zach Charbonnet had the most productive game of his career in Week 3 as he accounted for 16% of the team’s opportunities. While this qualifies as flex-level usage, there was no question that Kenneth Walker was far and away the RB1. For comparison, Walker nearly doubled Charbonnet’s usage value at 17.0 xFP. We did see Walker’s snap share shift down to 51% while Charbonnet’s improved to 43%, though it remains to be seen if this will ultimately tip the scales in Charbonnet’s favor.
- While he was not the most productive rookie receiver, Josh Downs had by far the most opportunities this past week. He totaled over 12 targets on a 28.6% target share – a career-high in both metrics. His Expected Fantasy Value of 14.6 also ranked within the top 20 at the wide receiver position. And while some of this was likely driven by the shifting gameplan with Gardner Minshew under center, it was still an encouraging game as Downs continues to settle in as their primary slot receiver.
- Tank Dell continued his ascent as one of the primary options for C.J. Stroud. His 55.7% air yards share is one of the highest by a rookie in a single game over the last two seasons. The only rookie wide receivers to exceed Dell in this metric since 2022 are Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave, and Christian Watson. Keep in mind that Nico Collins and Robert Woods will remain involved, though Dell has shown he can be a serviceable flex option depending on the matchup.
- Zay Flowers has been the WR1 for the Ravens over the last three weeks. He leads them in target share (29.7%) and expected fantasy points (11.8), averaging flex-level usage and production to start the year. With OBJ and Rashod Bateman struggling to stay healthy, Flowers and Mark Andrews may be the only viable receiving options from this offense.
- Sam LaPorta had a historic performance in Week 3. His 35.5% target share is the third-highest in a single game by a rookie since 2015. In addition, his 12.6 xFP is also a career-high as he continues to move up into TE1 territory both in redraft and dynasty formats.
Dynasty Stock Report
De’Von Achane – Miami Dolphins, RB
While size was always a concern for De’Von Achane entering the NFL, his talent was never in question as he possessed one of the more accomplished profiles in the 2023 class. As a result, he was graded as an 81st-percentile prospect in my model, behind only Bijan Robinson and Jahmyr Gibbs. Fast forward to Week 3 and Achane had one of the most productive games by a rookie in recent history. Over the last 20 seasons, his Week 3 performance ranks second among all rookie running backs in half-PPR points. The only rookie to outproduce him was Doug Martin who scored 53.2 points with the Buccaneers back in 2012.
As you can see in the rookie dashboard above, Achane’s numbers are heavily weighted toward efficiency, as he scored +31.6 Fantasy Points Above Expected. Of course, we should not expect him to score multiple touchdowns or average over 10 yards per touch anytime soon. However, we can still be encouraged by his improved usage and efficiency, as he led the Dolphins’ backfield with a 30.9% opportunity share and 17.7 expected fantasy points. While the Dolphins will continue to use a committee, Achane has likely secured the RB2 role at the very least, even when Salvon Ahmed and Jeff Wilson return from injury.
Over the last two weeks, we have lost J.K. Dobbins, Nick Chubb, and Aaron Rodgers to season-ending injuries. Unfortunately, Mike Williams now joins that list as he tore his left ACL in Week 3. Williams’ injury will be a significant loss for the Chargers as he was in the midst of a career year. He was averaging the highest target share of his seven-year career (22%) to go along with an impressive 31.5% air yards share. And while Keenan Allen was clearly the lead receiver for Justin Herbert, Williams’ role was crucial in unlocking the potential of this new offense under Kellen Moore. Fortunately, as Matthew Betz discussed in the injury report, he should make a full recovery in time for next season. However, this also means that Williams will be coming off a major knee injury approaching his age-30 campaign, significantly hurting his dynasty value. On a positive note, this should pave the path for Quentin Johnston to claim the WR2 role for the Chargers.
James Cook – Buffalo Bills, RB
Entering the 2022 draft, James Cook was one of the toughest evaluations at the running back position. While he did receive second-round draft capital, his profile was far from perfect as he never truly dominated in his time at Georgia. In fact, in his four collegiate seasons, he never exceeded a 16% team yards market share as he played behind Zamir White and D’Andre Swift at various points in his career. Regardless, the Bills clearly saw his potential as they invested a second-round pick in Cook. While he spent most of his rookie year in committee, the 2023 season is shaping up to be his breakout campaign as the Bills have fully committed to Cook as their lead running back. He currently leads the Bills’ backfield in the following metrics:
- Opportunity Share (29.1%)
- Target Share (12.3%)
- Rushing Share (48.9%)
- Expected Fantasy Points (13.6)
- Half-PPR Points (12.8)
What continues to limit his upside is his lack of involvement at the goal line as he is currently only fourth on his team in opportunity share (13%) inside the 10. Regardless, as you can see in the chart below, Cook remains within the top 20 in expected fantasy points. In other words, despite his lack of usage at the goal line, he should be considered a high-upside RB2 for dynasty managers going forward.
It seems like ages ago when Antonio Gibson was a productive running back for fantasy football. However, we are only two years removed from his RB19 campaign in 2021. Since then, Brian Robinson has taken on a more prominent role for the Commanders’ backfield, relegating Gibson to backup duties. This is especially prominent this year as the gap continues to widen between Robinson and Gibson. Through three games, Gibson is only averaging a 10.3% opportunity share, a 9.8% target share, and 4.4 Expected Fantasy Points (xFP). This places him outside of the top 60 in xFP, making him essentially unstartable in most leagues. The good news for dynasty managers is that Gibson could find himself on a different team next season as he approaches free agency in 2024. Until then, he will likely remain on your bench unless a drastic change in the offense forces him into a more prominent role.
Prospect Watch List
So far this season, the top running backs of the 2024 class have struggled to produce as most of them are recovering from injuries. On the other hand, we have seen a few running backs emerge as we head closer to the 2024 draft. One of those players is Kansas’ Devin Neal, a four-star recruit who is currently in his third year. A patient and shifty runner, Neal has been one of the most efficient running backs in college football this season, leading the Big 12 in yards from scrimmage and total touchdowns. From a production standpoint, Neal’s profile is shaping up to be one of the better ones in this class. He has never averaged below a 20% team yards market share and has continued to improve every single year. In addition, Neal is having the best season of his young career in 2023. As you can see above, he is setting career highs across multiple metrics, accounting for nearly a third of the Jayhawks’ offense. For context, below are the percentiles for each of his collegiate seasons using the metric Yards per Team Play:
- Freshman: 81st Percentile
- Sophomore: 74th Percentile
- Junior: 86th Percentile
While his production profile is far from perfect, Neal has been a consistent and effective producer every single year. And while most mock drafts currently have him projected as a day-three pick, I would not be surprised if his stock continues to climb as we approach the 2024 NFL Draft.