Dynasty/Devy values: Fantasy risers and fallers in college, NFL
Similar to redraft leagues, dynasty and devy fantasy football leagues see stock fluctuations throughout the season. However, they are not always as obvious since these fantasy owners are playing both a short and long-term game. This series will examine some dynasty and devy options who are emerging or fading as a result of injury, performance, or opportunity.
Dynasty stock up
Most fantasy players might see Jets next to the name and run, but don’t. Anderson is the fourth-ranked wide receiver over the past three weeks, having scored a touchdown in each. The second-year wide receiver has been a bright spot for Josh McCown and the passing game, setting himself up for a future role beyond 2017. He’s a deep threat (his six catches on 20-plus yard routes are tied for seventh) and can be an outside receiver (87 percent of routes) for the team as they make upgrades to the offense.
The trade of Kelvin Benjamin to the Buffalo Bills opens up a door for someone to emerge. Samuel, the hybrid rookie, saw a season high in snaps (49) last week along with highs in receptions (three) and yards (23), and added a 14-yard rush. While he has been largely used outside (67 percent) this season, he actually saw an uptick in slot usage (50 percent) this past week. Given Samuel’s ability to play multiple spots and his plus athleticism, Samuel could be worth a slight buy high before he really breaks out.
The post-Adrian Peterson era has been very good to Kamara. In the four weeks since Peterson’s departure, he is ranked third at the position in fantasy scoring. He is sixth during that time in receptions (17) and tenth in rushing yards, the latter being a surprise. If Kamara continues to be used more in the running game, he should see those big gains that have defined his college and professional career.
Derby’s inclusion on the list seems odd considering the quarterback situation in Denver but there is reason for optimism. Jake Butt, the Broncos rookie tight end, was moved to injured reserve two weeks ago. Also, after averaging two targets in the first three weeks, Derby has had at least three targets — including a seven-target game — in every week since. He is also 20th in routes run at the position, meaning the team is committed to him as a receiving option. Derby is worth a stash in dynasty leagues to see if the team solves their issues at quarterback.
Devy stock up
Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
More of a reminder than an emergence, Freeman has been on fire over the last four games. Despite zero rushing touchdowns, Freeman is sixth in rushing yards over that time and is fourth in yards after contact and third missed tackles forced on rushes. He has the size (6-foot, 238 pounds) that NFL teams like and has redeemed himself after a midseason slump.
Marcell Ateman, WR, Oklahoma State
Like Freeman, Ateman is a specimen physically. At 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, the Cowboys receiver is a clear second option behind potential NFL first-round pick James Washington. That said, he has four receptions in eight of nine games this year and is 11th in the nation in yards per route run. Considering he missed all of 2016 with a broken foot, Ateman needed a big season to remind scouts of his potential.
Dynasty stock down
Beathard has had issues as an NFL quarterback, but he has been effective as a fantasy signal-caller. Over the last two weeks, he ranks 12th in fantasy scoring, just ahead of Drew Brees. Beathard is a strong rusher and is willing to take chances down the field (his eight deep throws are tied for 10th in the last two weeks). Now, with Jimmy Garoppolo in the fold, Beathard may get a few more starts but the team appears to have moved on from the rookie in the long-term being anything more than a backup.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco receiving group has been a mess all season. The hope was that new signees like Pierre Garcon and Goodwin would thrive in Kyle Shanahan’s system. While Goodwin has had flashes, it is clear that he is no more than a depth option and specialist. At only a 44 percent catch rate and zero touchdowns, Goodwin has been inconsistent, even on deep passes where he has two drops on just 11 targets.
Smallwood has seen a decrease in snap count over the last five games, culminating in a season-low six offensive plays against Denver. Now, with the trade for Jay Ajayi, Smallwood is further down the depth chart. He is the team leader in routes run, but did not see any this past week. With LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement establishing their roles alongside Ajayi, Smallwood looks to be the odd man out.
Among qualified tight ends, Jesse James ranks 40th out of 42 tight ends with just 0.89 yards per route run. While the Steelers clearly use James as their primary tight end at the position, he is not a priority in the offense. Targeted on just 12 percent of his routes run, James is not seen as even a secondary option in the offense. After his two-touchdown performance in Week 1, James has failed to reach the end zone or exceed 40 receiving yards in a game. Time to let this outlaw ride off into the dynasty sunset.
Devy stock down
Bo Scarbrough, RB, Alabama
Hyped before the season, Scarbrough has fallen down the depth chart and has lost playing time. After seeing 38 percent of the snaps in the first six games, above his 29 percent snap share last year, he has plummeted to 25 percent over the last three weeks. Add in just two missed tackles and two receptions during that time and Scarbrough has done little to help his draft stock lately. Another end-of-season streak would save what has largely been a forgettable year.
Trenton Irwin, WR, Stanford
Some pegged Irwin as a sleeper to become a top-60 NFL draft pick before the college season, but he has done nothing to prove that prediction right. With just one game over 50 receiving yards and the emergence of running back Bryce Love, Irwin has faded into the background. Considering Irwin is ranked 273rd in total routes run, NFL teams will need to speculate on his future, something that is high risk for devy players to rely on front offices to do.