Fantasy Football Dynasty Report for Week 8
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 7
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 7:
- With David Montgomery unavailable due to a rib injury, Jahmyr Gibbs took full control of the Lions’ backfield in Week 7. He finished with a career-high 33.3% opportunity share and was the RB4 in Expected Points (18.2), finally receiving the elite usage that fantasy managers had been hoping for earlier in the season. Even more encouraging, most of his usage came in the receiving game as he also commanded a 20.4% target share. With Montgomery likely out another week, Gibbs should be considered a borderline RB1 regardless of the matchup.
- Imagine trying to predict the Cardinals’ backfield without James Conner. After an RB16 performance by Emari Demercado in Week 5, many assumed they could continue to lean on the rookie. Instead, Keaontay Ingram and Damien Williams split touches the following week. Fast forward to Week 7, Demercado was once again the lead running back for the Cardinals, finishing as a top-23 running back in both usage (12.1 xFP) and half-PPR points (9.5). While their coaching staff’s unpredictability does not instill a lot of confidence in his Week 8 outlook, it was still encouraging to see Demercado produce with higher usage. For now, keep him stashed on your bench as Conner remains on injured reserve for the next two weeks.
- Puka Nacua continues to dominate for the Rams. Most wide receivers never reach a 44% target share or 53% air yards share at any point in their careers. Puka just surpassed those numbers as a rookie. His dynasty value continues to rise week after week.
- If you read the most recent installment of the Expected Points and Opportunity report, Jaxon Smith-Njigba was likely already on your radar as a potential breakout candidate this week. Especially with a very favorable matchup to slot receivers, JSN was primed for the most productive game of his career. He set a career-high 29.2% target share, 82% route participation, and 30% targets per route run, finishing the week as a top-24 wide receiver. With D.K. Metcalf potentially unavailable in Week 8, JSN could be heavily involved again as the Seahawks face a tougher matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
- While Rashee Rice did find the end zone, his usage did not drastically improve as he only averaged a 15% target share and 7.5 Expected Points. His usage value of 7.5 xFP also ranked outside of the top 40 in Week 7 as he continues to rely on efficiency to produce. As a result, until we see a significant change in his market share numbers, his production will remain volatile on a weekly basis.
- Keep an eye on Tyler Scott, who just set a career-high 67% route participation and 52% air yards share in Week 7. While this offense continues to run through D.J. Moore, Scott has clearly emerged as the WR3 with Equanimeous St. Brown unavailable due to injury.
- With Dawson Knox expected to undergo wrist surgery, Dalton Kincaid is primed to take on an expanded workload. In Week 7, Kincaid set a career-high 28% targets per route run, 20.5% target share, and 11.5 half-PPR points. I expect those numbers to only improve as Knox will likely be unavailable for several weeks.
Dynasty Stock Report
Despite facing adversity early in his career, Travis Etienne has quickly emerged as one of the most productive running backs in the league. Even entering the 2023 season, there was plenty of speculation that Tank Bigsby – who was selected in the third round – could limit Etienne’s upside. Instead, over the last seven weeks, he has only solidified his role as the RB1 for the Jaguars, leading the backfield in the following metrics:
- Opportunity Share (35.1%)
- Target Share (12.1%)
- Expected Fantasy Points (15.5)
- Route Participation (64%)
As a result of his expanded opportunity, Etienne is now averaging 18.0 half-PPR points per game, ranking RB5 on the season. Keep in mind that the Jaguars have the 15th most favorable schedule for running backs going forward (sixth easiest in the playoffs), which means his dynasty stock should continue to improve. In fact, considering his age and contract situation (up to two years left on his rookie deal), Etienne should be firmly entrenched as a top-five dynasty running back. Especially with Trevor Lawrence set to lead this offense for the foreseeable future, I expect Etienne and the entire Jaguars offense to continue to produce for fantasy managers.
If you have followed my work this offseason, you are already aware of how much I liked Quentin Johnston‘s profile coming out of TCU. Unlike his TCU predecessors Josh Doctson and Jalen Reagor, Johnston was significantly more productive, finishing top-three in his class in a variety of production metrics. After receiving first-round capital, he graded as a +90th percentile wide receiver in my rookie model behind only Jordan Addison and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Unfortunately, he has been far from productive to start his NFL career, averaging only a 7% target share in six games. Even after Mike Williams was placed on injured reserve, he has yet to take a significant step forward as Joshua Palmer has emerged as the Chargers’ WR2.
So as a dynasty manager, what should you do now? If you can trade Johnston away for a 2024 first-round pick, that is an offer that you have to consider. Especially with the elite wide receiver depth in the 2024 class, you can reset the clock and use that pick on another first-round NFL prospect. However, I would guess that most managers are unwilling to pay up for a receiver who has underperformed to start his career. So if your league-mates are only willing to offer a second-round pick at the most, I would much rather hold Johnston as his upside still outweighs that type of return. On a positive note, we have seen his route participation improve to 62% since Williams’ injury, while also leading all Chargers’ receivers in average depth of target (19.3). His potential remains high despite the disappointing start to the year.
Similar to Johnston, Jordan Addison entered the league with an accomplished collegiate profile after operating as the WR1 at both Pittsburgh and USC. In fact, he was my highest-graded wide receiver in my rookie model, ranking in the 94th percentile among all drafted prospects since 2013. However, unlike Johnston who has struggled to produce in his rookie year, Addison has taken full advantage of his opportunities even before Justin Jefferson’s injury. In his first four games, his usage was fairly inconsistent, averaging only a 13% target share and a 21.6% air yards share. Despite that, he still managed to finish as a top-24 wide receiver in two of his first four games.
However, with Jefferson suffering a hamstring injury, Addison has been thrust into the WR1 role for the Vikings. Since Week 5, Addison has been averaging an 85% route participation, 20.1% target share, and 33.5% air yards share. In addition, he is coming off his most productive game as he was clearly the featured receiver against the 49ers, finishing with 14.9 Expected Fantasy Points. While Jefferson remains the WR1 when healthy, Addison has shown that he is clearly the second-best receiver in this offense. And similar to Tee Higgins in Cincinnati, there is a scenario where both Jefferson and Addison can be productive in what continues to be one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the league.
Zach Evans – Los Angeles Rams, RB
Zach Evans was a four-star recruit who played the majority of his collegiate career at TCU. Despite flashing plenty of upside in his first two seasons, we saw his draft stock take a hit after he transferred to Ole Miss. As the season progressed, Evans was relegated to the RB2 role with Quinshon Judkins taking over the Rebels’ backfield. Since then, his dynasty value has continued to plummet as he dropped into the sixth round of the NFL draft. For reference, only 11.5% of day-three running backs have broken out in the league since 2013, which means Evans’ likelihood of producing was already very slim. Although there was some hope that Evans would receive an expanded role after Kyren Williams was placed on injured reserve, that hope was quickly dashed when the Rams signed Darrell Henderson days later. And in Week 7, Henderson and Royce Freeman would be the only Rams running backs to receive any offensive snaps, while Evans was primarily used for special teams. If this was any indication of his future with the Rams, I do not foresee a breakout in the near future.
Prospect Watch List
Michael Mayer, who now plays for the Las Vegas Raiders, was one of the most productive collegiate tight ends in his three seasons at Notre Dame. With Mayer declaring for the NFL, there was a sizable gap left behind for another receiver to emerge for the Fighting Irish. Enter Mitchell Evans, a three-star recruit who only recently transitioned to playing the tight end position. In fact, per Sean Stires of the Irish Breakdown, Evans was primarily a quarterback in high school after only playing tight end briefly in his junior season. With that in mind, it should not come as a surprise that Evans only averaged about 3% of the team’s receiving yards over the last two years.
With a clear path to opportunity in this third season, Evans has taken a significant step forward, averaging an impressive 21.6% receiving yards market share through eight weeks. In addition, Evans is also producing 1.84 receiving yards per team pass attempt, which ranks within the top seven among all Power 5 tight ends this season.
Keep in mind that a tight end’s “peak season” is more closely correlated with success in the NFL than their career average. This means that even though a prospect may take a few years to develop, we ultimately want to see them dominate when they do break out. Therefore, it is especially encouraging to see Evans produce at such a high level, as this should bode well for his dynasty outlook. In addition to production, athletic measurables and draft capital are also important for tight ends. While those aspects of his profile remain uncertain until the off-season, Evans’ breakout still puts him on the map as a potential late-round pick in rookie drafts if he can secure the appropriate draft capital.