This Week in Dynasty: NFL Week 3
The Cleveland Browns turnaround has finally begun. On Thursday, the Browns, led by Baker Mayfield (17/23 201 yards), won their first game in 635 days. In dynasty leagues, Baker Mayfield is almost definitely owned, except for maybe in the shallowest of single QB leagues. He looked legitimate and in case you had something better to do on Thursday than watch the Browns play the Jets, you should see for yourself. While Tyrod Taylor may never see another start in a Browns uniform, he should still remain owned in superflex leagues as he will become a free agent this offseason. He may not project as a starter but he can definitely play the role of a safe fill in when needed.
Jarvis Landry – Had a big game, and most importantly caught 7 of 9 targets from Baker. While the fantasy value of nearly every Browns offensive player goes up with Baker at QB, it seems that the departure of Josh Gordon and high accuracy of Baker Mayfield may just turn Jarvis Landry into a fringe dynasty WR1. While I don’t think the red zone targets will ultimately be there to put him into the top 10, he is firmly in the top 15 dynasty WR given his very safe floor.
Antonio Callaway – The largest benefactor of the Josh Gordon trade (aside from Bill Belichick) is Antonio Callaway. He caught 3 of 5 targets from Baker but saw 10 targets on the game. He had quite a few contested balls and a possible missed pass interference call in the end zone. While he did have a big drop they seem to want to get him involved, even if with some forced throws.
David Njoku – After seeing zero targets from Tyrod, Njoku caught two passes from Baker and might be on his way to realizing his talent potential. He has the ability to be one of the best in the league, so now would be the time to grab shares in dynasty, he could grow in cost as the season advances.
Rashard Higgins – A training camp favorite of Mayfield, there is some potential for Higgins to carve out a role as the second option, and at just 23 years old he still has room to grow. I’m not opposed to buying cheap just to see how the target share balances out moving forward.
Sam Darnold – While I already had him behind Mayfield and Rosen in the pre-season rankings, he has done nothing for me to think that was undeserving. Despite what Jermaine Kearse thinks, there are not a lot of playmakers in this Jets WR core. Robby Anderson is looking more like the next Travis Benjamin than the next DeSean Jackson so far this year. Things could be very different next year however, as Jermaine Kearse, Terrelle Pryor, Quincy Enunwa, and Andre Roberts are all unrestricted free agents at the end of this season. Robby Anderson will assuredly be back, as he will be a restricted free agent. The WR free agent pool is unspectacular, but does include some names that will likely find new teams such as Golden Tate and Randall Cobb. Still, the future doesn’t look great, and I’m not touching him in single QB leagues. In 2QB or Superflex he is still very much a hold based on age and pedigree alone.
Robby Anderson – I have never been big on Robby Anderson. Even after his breakout year of 68 catches, 966 yards, 5 TD, and 14.2 yards per catch I wasn’t buying. One of the tricks I use to show my skepticism is that those were actually Travis Benjamin’s numbers in 2015. Those stats are nearly identical to Robby Anderson’s 2017 (63 receptions, 941 yards, 7 TD, 14.9 YPC). They both ran a 4.35ish 40 coming out of college, and they both are very lean WRs. Robby Anderson is five inches taller so there’s that. Robby can still have some big games, but the consistency and red zone looks will not be there for him to be a trustworthy fantasy WR, especially in dynasty.
Calvin Ridley – With a weekly stat line that screams “Millionaire Maker”, Ridley led many fantasy and DFS owners alike to victories this week. While this looks promising for Ridley moving forward, this should be viewed as a selling opportunity. Julio Jones is signed through 2020 and Devonta Freeman will still be a large part of this passing offense when he returns. Ridley might be able to net you a player with a clearer path to leading his teams target share. A player that immediately comes to mind is Kenny Golladay. Golladay is a player poised to lead the Lions in targets next year with Golden Tate headed for free agency following this season. More on him later.
Alvin Kamara – Many of us knew the rushing efficiency would regress, but as someone who was skeptical myself of Kamara keeping it up, he has made up for the 3.8 yards per rushing attempt by hauling in 30 receptions through three games. It will be interesting to see how they divide the targets when Mark Ingram returns, who is the better rusher and also had 58 receptions last season.
Ito Smith – If he is not owned in your dynasty PPR league, he should be. With Tevin Coleman almost guaranteed to leave for starter pastures, Ito has flashed some ability that could prove valuable in the years to come.
Jimmy Garoppolo – Had his best game of the season, we all know how it ended however with a season ending torn ACL. In 2QB leagues he may be a buy. Players I’d consider moving to QB needy teams (if you can afford it) include Blake Bortles, Eli Manning, Case Keenum, and Joe Flacco. If one of those QBs was my 3rd QB and I had a guy like one of the rookies behind, I’d definitely consider capitalizing on the Garoppolo injury.
Matt Breida – 10/90 rushing, 3/27 receiving. We can expect his rushing efficiency to go down but should see an increase of involvement in the passing game. I’m not selling but if he starts getting into the 15+ touches a game, I may look to sell to a RB needy team.
Patrick Mahomes – Continues his dominance. With the offensive weapons they have and how good he has looked, Mahomes has passed Deshaun Watson in terms of dynasty QB value. His range of outcomes for this season most definitely includes the QB1 spot in Dynasty.
Tyreek Hill – Don’t look now but many of Tyreek Hill’s stats (receptions, targets, yards, and touchdowns) have decreased each week since the start of the season. He also sits third on the team in target share. We will see how the target share shakes out moving forward and if Hill can keep his big play ability up (specifically the touchdowns) as defenses continue game-planning around stopping him.
Amari Cooper – Just two catches for 17 yards, Cooper was out earned by Marshawn Lynch (3/22) in the passing game. Jordy Nelson had a monster game (6/173/1) as Amari reminded owners just how much he can burn them on a week to week basis. I am still a believer in Cooper’s ability, and he should see more opportunities as the target share normalizes (Jared Cook leads the team in targets, followed by Jalen Richard and Cooper). Cooper is a hold.
Adam Thielen – He has been dramatically better than Stefon Diggs so far this year. While Diggs has three touchdowns compared to Thielen’s one, Diggs’ catch rate sits at 55% right now. Ultimately Diggs is younger and has the talent upside, I still prefer Diggs in dynasty, when choosing between the two.
Andrew Luck – The final drive for the Colts was indicative of how some fantasy owners plan to use him this season, baby steps…baby steps… baby steps… bench. The shoulder is obviously still a huge concern, however this might still provide a nice opportunity to buy him. He faces the Texans followed by the Patriots, then gets the Jets, Bills, and Raiders. This could be the best week to throw some offers out there as he might see a positive improvement with that schedule.
Dallas Goedert – We all knew how much Carson Wentz likes to throw to his tight ends, but for fantasy purposes this definitely gives Zach Ertz owners some pause. Both big men led the Eagles in receiving and it will be interesting to see how the offense looks when Alshon Jeffery returns. The ceiling is certainly capped for Zach Ertz and those high off a super bowl victory who were talking about taking him ahead of Rob Gronkowski or Travis Kelce can stand down now.
Jordan Wilkins/Nyheim Hines/Marlon Mack – With Mack out the Colts leading rusher was Andrew Luck (on one carry). Wilkins (6/19) and Nyheim Hines (5/18) were unimpressive if not non-existent in the rushing game. Hines did manage to snag all 5 targets throw his way. This offense continues to sputter and the feeling is pretty much identical as it was to start the season. Mack holds the most value with potential to lead the backfield, Hines has 3rd down ability and offers some floor in PPR, while Wilkins appears relatively capped in terms of offensive share, even when Mack is out.
Aaron Jones – Made the most of his six carries going for 42 yards. The offense goes as Rodgers does, and the Packers playing from behind is the worst case scenario for Jones. Jamaal Williams is one of the best pass blocking backs in the entire league, and Ty Montgomery (6 catches, 48 yards) continues to provide a strong outlet in the passing game. Jones remains the highest upside in this backfield, but until the Packers improve as a team, none of them are ideal starters in fantasy.
Tyler Boyd – Insert year three WR breakout cliché here. He has already eclipsed his yardage total from 2017 and looks to finally be grasping the offense. I still would like to see more from Boyd, but I’m starting to believe. Three of the biggest redraft pickups this week in Mike Williams, Tyler Boyd, and Calvin Ridley all turn 24 in the next three months. To put their youth another way, all of them were born after the release of Forrest Gump. That’s all I have to say.
Christian McCaffrey – How about that game from CMC: 28 carries. 184 yards. While C.J. Anderson had two carries for 9 yards. The receptions were down (2 for 10 yards), but his share of the offense remains promising and most importantly he has looked every bit as durable as any RB in the league.
Titans/Jags – I’m going to ignore discussing this game, it was that ugly. Both teams manage to be 2-1 but there were no takeaways from this game for fantasy purposes. If you disagree go ahead and comment to tell us what we missed aside from the realization that Derrick Henry will never realize the hype bestowed upon him.
Philip Lindsay/Royce Freeman – Lindsay went 3/3 in punches landed to a grounded opponent while also adding 20 yards rushing on four carries before being ejected for the aforementioned CompuBox numbers. Royce Freeman saw 13 carries for 53 yards and a touchdown as this backfield continues to underwhelm. Most people who finally started Lindsay we’re treated with disappointment while most owners who finally benched Freeman thought “Oh damn, a touchdown.” Freeman is still the preferred back to own in dynasty but Lindsay’s value should not be deflated at all after the ejection. Both are strong holds for me.
Evan Engram – Only suffered a sprained MCL and is considered week to week. Owners dodged one there just as the Giants offense decided to perk up a bit. Sterling Shepard (80 yards, 1 TD) was/is the biggest benefactor of any Engram time missed.
Will Fuller V – Had a big day (5/101/1) and now has back to back 100-yard, one touchdown games. In his only two games of the season Fuller is looking every bit as effective as he was last year when Deshaun Watson was behind center. With an underwhelming rushing offense, it seems a near lock that Houston carries two top 30 fantasy WRs throughout the season.
Mike Williams – Went for 4/81/2 in a little bit of a breakout. He has officially trumped Tyrell Williams as the WR2 on this team. At 6’4” 220, we could see him emerge as a consistent Red Zone threat for Philip Rivers and the Chargers.
John Kelly – Another week, another inactive for John Kelly. Kelly had a nice preseason but remains inactive. With JoJo Natson breaking his hand, Kelly could be considered in a return role, so definitely keep an eye on him. In deep leagues he is definitely worth owning if available. If you own Gurley, you probably already own Kelly.
Josh Rosen – Despite the poor start (4/7, 36 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT) he should be an improvement to Bradford. Christian Kirk went 90 yards catching 7 of 8 targets. The offense should see a boost with Rosen but will not be without its hiccups. Kirk was a preseason favorite of mine in PPR and has serious long term potential taking over the slot after Larry Fitzgerald retires. I still rank the rookies Baker>Rosen>Darnold for those keeping score.
Chris Carson – Finally a workhorse in Seattle not named Russ. Carson saw 32 carries in this one and the biggest takeaway for me is the buy opportunity this provides for Rashaad Penny. While I still like Carson, I’m not buying anywhere, and the rushing game should open up a bit with the return of Doug Baldwin allowing for more offensive flexibility to keep defenses guessing.
Tyler Lockett – He’s been great this year and there’s no reason he can’t maintain the target pace even after the return of Doug Baldwin. As a locket owner I would be pleased if not excited about that 3-year extension he signed in the offseason.
Geoff Swaim – This was the Cowboys leader in targets, receptions, and yards. This is the team that let Dez Bryant go. This is the team Jason Witten walked away from to be a mediocre at best announcer on Monday Night Football. This is the team whose play calling deficiencies have been highlighted as basic ever since Tony Romo left. There’s nothing else to talk about. Aside from Ezekiel Elliott, there are no players on this team that I am interested in owning/acquiring in dynasty.
Kerryon Johnson – Saw the same number of carries as LeGarrette Blount (16) and doubled his yardage, going for 101 yards to go with two receptions. Hopefully this is a sign of the times for both Johnson and Blount as we should see the latter slowly have a reduced role moving forward with Johnson becoming more of a featured back. The Lions are 1-2 but have three fantasy relevant WR. The talent of that WR core should allow for more rushing opportunities moving forward and Kerryon Johnson stands to benefit and raise his dynasty stock tremendously.
Kenny Golladay – I mentioned him earlier, but of all the big seasons from guys like Chris Godwin, Mike Williams, Tyler Boyd, and Calvin Ridley, Golladay is the one I want the most in dynasty. The opportunity to be the top target for Matthew Stafford is already there this year, and will almost certainly happen next year. If the window to buy has a crack left in it, its time to explore options for acquiring him now.
Sony Michel – Saw the bulk of carries (14) for the Patriots while taking a backseat in the passing game. It seems like the Patriots offense is still figuring things out, and with an offense set to have Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman in the near future, I wouldn’t dare to predict the offensive style moving forward for anyone aside from Gronk being Gronk. Michel owners should be happy they at least gave him a shot, and maybe he sees more opportunities playing from ahead as the Patriots get back to their old ways.