Dynasty Stock Watch - Pre-Free Agency
With lots of activity before free agency officially kicks off Tuesday afternoon, several players have seen their dynasty stock rise or fall. We’ll take a look later in the month to check in on those players that have switched teams, but for now, let’s see which players will have an increase in playing time and opportunities, as opposed to others that you should try to trade now, thanks to their teams’ actions.
Christine Michael – RB – Seattle Seahawks – The recent re-signing of Marshawn Lynch might be the final nail in the dynasty value coffin of Christine Michael. But I would argue that even if Lynch failed to return to Seattle, Michael would still be a sell for me.
Michael entered the league in 2013 with a seemingly ideal situation, entering a run-first offense with an aging back at the top of the depth chart. Dynasty owners were drafting Michael knowing he would not see much action his rookie year but with hopes of him being the best running back in the class. Through two seasons, it appears they got one of those right.
His rookie season was extremely quiet with only 18 carries for 79 yards and no receptions on just 26 snaps as Seattle’s third-string running back. Despite the slow start, Michael was still thought of highly in dynasty circles. But a funny thing happened. Michael never moved ahead of Robert Turbin on the depth chart.
In 2014, Turbin out-snapped Michael 302-74 and outperformed him on just about every level. Turbin rushed for 310 yards on 74 carries while catching 16 balls for 186 yards, compared to Michael and his 34 rushes for 175 yards plus one catch for 12 yards. One would think that if Michael was ready to take over lead back duties, he could at least move up the depth chart. Yet, it hasn’t happened.
The talent may be there, but fantasy football is also about the situation that talent is in. With Lynch re-signing and not showing any signs of slowing down, there’s little hope for Michael to start, let alone flourish. Right now, Michael is a third-string running back with no clear path to starting duties, and I would be trying to sell on his name.
Khiry Robinson – RB – New Orleans Saints – Perhaps no running back saw his hopes more dashed and his dynasty value more diminished than Khiry Robinson. New Orleans is entering salary cap hell and being forced to cut veterans left and right to make room under the cap before the new season starts. Entering the offseason, Robinson was at the top of the Saints depth chart with Mark Ingram set to become a free agent. Then, Pierre Thomas was one of the first players released in 2015. With those two gone, no other running back on the Saints roster had more than 10 carries on the season, and Robinson’s future appeared bright. After all, he averaged a stout 4.8 yards per carry and figured to get a bulk of the 226 carries that would be leaving with Ingram.
When news of Ingram’s re-signing emerged, it clearly relegated Robinson to a backup role. While Robinson dynasty owners would like to see more carries, that’s just not the Saints’ style. Last season, their leading rusher (Ingram) had 226 carries while the second leading rusher (Robinson) had 76—a ratio of nearly 3:1. The year before, the leading rusher (Thomas) had 147 carries while the second leading rusher (Ingram) had 78—a ratio of about 2:1. Robinson seeing a significant bump in carries is just not in the cards, so you’d better sell while you still can.
Marquess Wilson – WR – Chicago Bears – The trade of Brandon Marshall to the Jets caught many people by surprise and immediately vaulted Marquess Wilson into dynasty relevancy. Always thought of as a dynasty flyer, Wilson teased fantasy players with his size (6’4” and 207 pounds) and the potentially interesting situation if he found himself across the field from Pro Bowl receivers Alshon Jeffery and Marshall.
After a rather acrimonious departure from Washington State, Wilson slipped to the seventh round in the 2013 draft. However, he flashed the same ability in Chicago that led him to average 1,000-yard seasons his last two years in Pullman, and he was handed the third receiver position after his rookie year. A broken collarbone prohibited any progress Wilson could have made last season, and he finished with only 140 yards on 17 catches.
Now that Marshall is out of town, things look up for Wilson again. It’s unlikely the Bears spend a high pick at receiver given the number of other needs on the roster. The offense should continue to be pass-heavy after ranking ninth in pass attempts last year and bringing in former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase to call the plays. Wilson may not reach Marshall’s peak numbers, but he’ll be a nice replacement that could flirt with WR3 levels in your dynasty leagues.
Davante Adams – WR – Green Bay Packers – I know what you’re thinking. Why on Earth is Davante Adams on the buy side? Because there is still value there, even if it’s not the value most would like.
Drafted by the Packers in the second round of last year’s draft, Adams’ dynasty value was initially high with the prospect of catching passes from All-Pro Aaron Rodgers looming. Randall Cobb was a free agent after the 2014 season, and Adams had a clear path to starting opposite Jordy Nelson in the foreseeable future. He didn’t disappoint as he tallied 38 catches for 446 yards and three touchdowns, starting as Green Bay’s third receiver in 11 games.
His dynasty prospects were bursting before the recent news of the Packers re-signing Cobb to a four-year deal. While it ensures the Packers will have the same receiver rotation for the next few years and, by extension, the core pieces of a very good offensive unit, it completely deflated any hope for Adams’ dynasty value. Or did it?
Adams certainly will not surpass Nelson or Cobb on the depth chart this year, save for an injury to either one, but Adams should only get better under the tutelage of one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the position. Plus, it’s not impossible for a team to produce three 1,000-yard receivers in a season, with the most recent example being the 2008 Arizona Cardinals and the 2004 Indianapolis Colts. Steve Breaston and Brandon Stokley brought up the rear in those receiving trios, which would lead one to believe Adams is capable as well.
Additionally, Nelson enters his age-30 season while Cobb is viewed as a slot specialist. Both provide a glimmer of hope for Adams to provide the dynasty value that many have hoped he would provide. Adams is a prime buy-low candidate that I’d be happy to stash.