Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 8
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 look at the most productive Running Backs in College Football. 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 7
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 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
Rookie Observations after Week 7:
- Before diving into this week’s data, I wanted to briefly highlight Breece Hall after he suffered a season-ending ACL injury this past week. From a dynasty perspective, this obviously hurts his immediate value and will likely cause his dynasty ADP to dip. However, at only 21 years old and with three years left on his rookie contract, I remain hopeful that Hall will recover fully and eventually reclaim top-tier RB1 status. This should be very similar to Saquon Barkley‘s timetable, offering some hope for dynasty managers. I will also continue to reference this article by Matthew Betz, which provides some outstanding insight into the fantasy impact of ACL injuries for running backs.
- I have mentioned his name countless times in this segment, but Dameon Pierce continues to produce at an RB1 level. Plug him into your lineups with confidence.
- After a stellar game in Week 6, Kenneth Walker III put together another impressive performance. Accounting for 38% of Seattle’s opportunities and operating as a true focal point for their offense, Walker finished this past week as one of the most efficient running backs with +14.7 Fantasy Points Above Expected. And over the last two weeks, Walker is the RB10 in Expected Fantasy Points (14.5) and the RB2 in Points Above Expected (+8.9). With this type of usage and efficiency, Walker should remain a weekly RB1 going forward.
- While several rookie wide receivers have struggled in recent weeks, Chris Olave just continues to produce. Since Week 2, Olave has ranked within the top 15 wide receivers in usage in four of five weeks, remaining a heavy part of this offense, even after a quarterback change. Despite the imminent return of Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas, Olave should still be a WR2 most weeks.
- George Pickens’ involvement in the Steelers’ offense continues to improve. Since Week 3, he is the WR33 in both half-PPR points per game (9.9) and Expected Points (10.3). While those numbers are not going to win you most weeks, he has proven that he can be a serviceable flex option for fantasy managers. With Kenny Pickett averaging 48 attempts in his two healthy starts this season, Pickens should receive plenty of targets despite the presence of Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool.
- Greg Dulcich is quickly approaching TE1 dynasty value as he continues to flash his receiving ability. His involvement as a receiver should not surprise anyone as Dulcich was one of the most productive Power Five tight ends in his final two seasons at UCLA. In two games, his involvement continues to rise, eclipsing the 20% target share mark for the first time this past week.
Dynasty Stock Report
Gabriel Davis – Buffalo Bills, WR
Gabriel Davis was one of the most heavily-debated wide receivers entering the season.
- Will his target share improve?
- Is he too reliant on efficiency?
- Can you trust him in your lineups every week?
To answer the first question, in six games, Davis is only the WR76 in target share at 13.3%.
No, that is not a typo.
And while he did deal with injuries earlier in the season, he has yet to eclipse the 20% target share mark in any game this year. In fact, in his last 21 games, Davis has only exceeded that mark in two matchups. At the same time, despite low volume, Davis is the WR10 in points per game (13.9) and the WR1 in Fantasy Points Over Expected (+5.9 FPOE) this year. In other words, Davis is currently the most efficient fantasy wide receiver. Surprisingly, Stefon Diggs is right behind him as the WR2 in FPOE at +5.2. These data points tell us a couple of things:
- The Bills’ offense can and should produce two of the most efficient wide receivers in the league because they arguably have the best quarterback in the NFL. We can simply call that the Josh Allen effect.
- Davis will remain a volatile option every week, but that should not deter you from rostering or starting him each week.
Fellow TFFB writers Matt DiSorbo and Matthew Betz collaborated on an awesome article this off-season discussing volatility and why we should embrace it in fantasy football. While their focus was primarily on Best Ball, I think we can also apply some of their findings to our standard leagues. Yes, Davis has a lower floor, which we see in his 8.3 Expected Fantasy Points (baseline production based on volume). However, playing with Allen provides him with an upside that other receivers simply do not possess. As long as you build your dynasty teams around multiple high-floor options at other positions, Davis is the nitro button on your roster that can win you a matchup on any given week. And assuming he is tied to Josh Allen for the foreseeable future, he should remain a borderline top-24 wide receiver in dynasty formats.
By now you already know that Christian McCaffrey was traded to the San Francisco 49ers in a deal that sent multiple picks to the Carolina Panthers. While this obviously solidifies McCaffrey’s dynasty outlook, it hurts the long-term value of players like Ty Davis-Price and Elijah Mitchell. Arguably, Mitchell takes the largest hit as he was clearly the RB1 for this team before his MCL injury. Interestingly, CMC has a zero-dollar cap hit every year going forward, which means the 49ers could easily part ways with him if things do not go as planned. But considering the picks they traded away, they are obviously banking on McCaffrey’s health and plan to rely on him heavily for the foreseeable future.
This situation should also put Dameon Pierce’s future into perspective. We have seen this with Michael Carter, Phillip Lindsay, Myles Gaskin, and now Elijah Mitchell. Regardless of how productive they are, day-three running backs are easily replaceable. Despite breaking out as a rookie, Mitchell will likely be nothing more than a fantasy backup to McCaffrey going forward.
If you read last week’s dynasty report, you already know that Wan’Dale Robinson was bound to improve in fantasy production based on his underlying usage metrics. In Week 6, he led all Giants wide receivers with a 16% target share, despite only playing on 23% of the team’s offensive snaps. This week, his snap share improved to 69%, while also accounting for 27.6% of their targets. To provide some context, he was the WR14 in target share in Week 7, ahead of players like Chris Godwin and Ja’Marr Chase. While they are not necessarily deep targets, as evidenced by his 12.4% air yards share, Robinson should still be productive in PPR leagues as the short-yardage option for Daniel Jones. From a dynasty perspective, his stock should only improve as this coaching staff continues to make a concerted effort to feature him in their offense. Considering the draft capital they invested in him and the question marks surrounding Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney, Wan’Dale should remain an integral part of this team going forward.
Jalen Tolbert – Dallas Cowboys, WR
With Michael Gallup recovering from a knee injury earlier this season, there was a lot of optimism surrounding Jalen Tolbert’s upside after the Dallas Cowboys invested a third-round pick in the former South Alabama wide receiver. While he was an older prospect entering the league, spending five years in college, he was still an intriguing player due to his production profile. He accounted for over 30% of South Alabama’s receiving yards and touchdowns since 2019, operating as a lead receiver in his final three years. But despite all the positives in his draft profile, Tolbert has been far from productive to start his career, struggling to find consistent snaps and opportunities. While rookies can always improve as the season progresses, it is still concerning that both Noah Brown and Simi Fehoko (two day-three picks) are currently ahead of Tolbert on the depth chart.
Prospect Watch List: Week 8 – Running Backs
Zach Charbonnet – UCLA
A senior out of UCLA, many projected Zach Charbonnet to declare for the 2022 draft. Especially in a class that was very top-heavy with Breece Hall and Kenneth Walker, Charbonnet could have slotted in as the RB3 or RB4 in this year’s draft.
Before we dive into his production, one of the negatives in Charbonnet’s profile is that he returned for his fourth year. You might be asking yourself why that even matters. If you followed along during draft season, you likely already know that early-declare prospects (players who enter the NFL three years after high school) usually have a higher fantasy hit rate at the next level. As a result, we generally favor prospects who enter the league as soon as they are eligible. While that is true for all positions, draft capital and college production remain the two of the most important factors in evaluating a prospect. Therefore, when assessing Charbonnet’s potential, we should not let his “declare status” overshadow the positives in his profile.
Based on the current trajectory of his senior year, we can safely say that he improved his stock and production profile by returning for another season. As you can see below, he is currently setting career highs in yards per team play (2.21), yards per touch (7.7), and weighted dominator rating (29.8%). And while there were some questions regarding his receiving ability based on his time at Michigan, Charbonnet has quieted those concerns as his receiving yards market share continues to improve at UCLA. From a draft capital standpoint, he should be selected within the first three rounds per the NFL Mock Draft Database. It would also not surprise me if he was selected as high as the second round, making him a very intriguing prospect for dynasty teams. Keep in mind, Charbonnet will likely rank outside of the top five due to the elite talent and depth of this class; however, that should not diminish his profile and upside at the next level.