Dynasty Stock Watch - May
With this year’s crop of rookies getting their first practices in, it’s time to check in on the dynasty stock of those players they’re looking to help or, in some cases, replace. There are several fluid situations around the league that you’ll need to pay close attention to as your rookie dynasty drafts draw close.
T.Y. Hilton – WR – Indianapolis Colts – After the Colts surprised the football world by selecting receiver Phillip Dorsett—who is strikingly similar to Hilton in style and skill—in the first round of this year’s draft, Hilton dynasty owners should start preparing for the worst. Hilton is a free agent after 2015, and until such time that the Colts actually re-sign Hilton to a long-term contract, Dorsett should be viewed as the logical choice to replace him.
It’ll be a huge disappointment for Hilton to not continue his career in Indianapolis where he has the luxury of playing with the best young quarterback in the league. Statistically, he’s improved every year since since he entered the league three years ago, culminating last season with 82 catches, 1,345 yards and seven touchdowns. All that production has led to Hilton possibly commanding close to $10 million per season on his next contract. However, Andrew Luck will also be eligible for an extension, which will force the Colts to surrender a huge chunk of their salary cap to keep him. That move is a no-brainer. But while it’s possible the Colts could also re-sign Hilton, why not draft a player similar in stature and skill set to fill that receiver role at a fraction of the cost? Dorsett is already flashing those skills in practice, which will only fan the flames of Hilton’s possible exit.
Hilton has the talent to succeed in another location, but the Colts gig is one of, if not the most, attractive for a receiver in the entire league. Not being in Indianapolis with Andrew Luck will severely drop Hilton’s dynasty stock.
Alfred Morris – RB – Washington Redskins – Even before this year’s draft, Alfred Morris’ dynasty stock was trending downward. After a blistering rookie season that saw Morris rush 335 times for 1,610 yards and 13 touchdowns, Morris has failed to match any of those numbers since, primarily due to the loss of his “workhorse” status. At the time, Morris was one of the few backs in the league to have over 300 carries, finishing third in that category behind only fantasy studs Arian Foster and Adrian Peterson. It was one of his few redeeming qualities, as Morris was never viewed as a passing-down back, contributing very little in the passing game.
But with the loss of Mike Shanahan and his zone-blocking, run-heavy offensive scheme, the opportunities for Morris just aren’t there anymore. His carries have dropped from 335 in 2012 to 276 the next to 265 last year. Couple that with the fact that Morris has also lost his per-carry effectiveness, from 4.8 yards that rookie season to 4.1 last season, and there’s little left to like about Morris long-term. The Redskins likely feel the same way after drafting running back Matt Jones in the third round. I’d get off the Morris train while he still has one valuable season left in him.
Mike Evans – WR – Tampa Bay Buccaneers – While Evans dynasty stock was already elite, it got even higher with the addition of quarterback Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay’s first-round choice and the first pick overall in this year’s draft.
Last year, between veterans Josh McCown and Mike Glennon, the quarterback position in Tampa posted a combined -19.4 PFF Rating along with a 21/20 touchdown/interception ratio and completed just 57 percent of its passes. Despite that, Evans still managed to score 12 touchdowns while averaging 15.5 yards per reception during an impressive rookie season. Evans will be just 22 when this season starts and will be able to grow along with Winston, who, even as a rookie, cannot do much worse than the quarterbacks he will replace.
Joe Flacco – QB – Baltimore Ravens – While Flacco should never, and will never, be considered elite by either NFL or dynasty standards, he is poised to take a step up this season. He already notched career highs in yards and touchdowns last season, but some key additions could help him set new career marks again.
Let’s start with the draft. Baltimore replaced free agent receiver Torrey Smith with receiver Breshad Perriman in the first round. Perriman is a bigger, faster version of Smith and will be counted on to stretch the field. In the second round, Baltimore actually traded up to address their unresolved tight end issue and selected Maxx Williams. After being teased by Dennis Pitta more than two years ago, Baltimore attempted to plug the leak his injuries left with a string of veterans like Dallas Clark and Owen Daniels, neither of whom remain with the team. Instead, Williams will get an early opportunity to flash the skills that made him the first tight end taken in this year’s draft. Between the two, Flacco has young weapons to utilize for years to come.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade from last year is picking former Bears coach Marc Trestman to replace outgoing offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, now the head coach in Denver. If previous history is any indicator, Flacco should see more pass attempts with Trestman, who, last year with the Bears, helmed the second-most pass-friendly offense in the league with nearly 64 percent of their plays coming through the air.
An upgrade among the surrounding talent plus the increase in opportunities equals good things for Flacco. You won’t be crazy for making a move for him.