News & Analysis

Dynasty/Devy values: Fantasy risers and fallers in college, NFL

By George Kritikos
Oct 25, 2017

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NEW ORLEANS, LA - JANUARY 02: Baker Mayfield #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners reacts after a touchdown against the Auburn Tigers during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 2, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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

Orleans Darkwa, RB, New York Giants

Over the last three weeks, Darkwa is ninth in the NFL in rushing yards but only 19th in fantasy PPR scoring. That largely has to do with a lack of touchdowns (one) and only five receptions during that time. Darkwa is getting a lot of yards after contact (3.71) in the last three weeks since his elevation to primary running back but is struggling to break tackles with just one on 38 rushing attempts. He should continue to serve as a top-24 fantasy running back but could see increased competition this offseason if the team looks once again to the NFL draft for more depth.

Chris Moore, WR, Baltimore Ravens

A great athlete, second-year receiver Moore is starting to see a bigger role within the Ravens offense. Granted, that offense is among the worst in football, but they appear to be looking to assess their young players like Moore. In the last two weeks, Moore has played two-thirds of the team’s offensive snaps and has seven targets in each of those games. He is a deep threat (average depth of target of 18 yards) but with the 26th-most routes run in those two weeks, Moore could be a guy who gets the volume while having the explosiveness to maximize its benefits.

Jonnu Smith, TE, Tennessee Titans

Unlike the previous two, Smith hasn’t had a sudden breakout. Instead, he has largely confirmed the pre-draft talk around his sure hands and plus athleticism. Smith is playing 58 percent of the team’s offensive snaps and his yards per route run ranks 22nd at the position, the latter largely due to gaining over 70 percent of his yards after the catch. That 7.2 yards after catch per reception ranks 11th, ahead of Rob Gronkowski and teammate Delanie Walker. Smith is a stash for dynasty owners but might see a slight discount as other rookie tight ends have broken out early.

Elijah McGuire, RB, New York Jets

The surface numbers are not very kind to McGuire, but there is reason for optimism. A big week against the Jaguars has been muted the last three weeks by a two-yards-per-carry average. Hidden beneath that is the fact McGuire is averaging 2.3 yards per carry after contact, meaning he is getting hit behind the line of scrimmage frequently and having to produce on his own. McGuire also has more missed tackles forced on runs than the other Jets’ running backs. There is talent here and is worth the speculation, even if the team is struggling to help him out.

Devy stock up

Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Considered a fringe prospect by some before the season, Mayfield is authoring another impressive season. Increases in his completion percentage (73.5 percent) and yards per attempt (11.5) both lead the nation. He also has the highest passer rating on deep passes, completing 68 percent of them with eight touchdowns against zero interceptions. Mayfield has shown the accuracy and playmaking abilities to succeed in the NFL and could see a similar offseason of divisiveness among analysts that downplayed Deshaun Watson.

Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

An early 223-yard effort against Florida Atlantic put Taylor in a position to get out of Saquon Barkley’s Big 10 shadow, but conference play has Taylor seeing Heisman hype. In the last three weeks, Taylor is averaging 198 yards rushing and has broken more tackles (24) during that time than any other running back. Just a freshman, expect Taylor to be a top-10 devy option this offseason and a potential first round NFL draft pick.

Dynasty stock down

Brett Hundley, QB, Green Bay Packers

It’s still early in Hundley’s tenure as the Packers starting quarterback, but early returns are not good. After a three-interception struggle against the Vikings, Hundley could not complete 50 percent of his passes or eclipse 100 yards against the Saints. His ability to run the football along with the surrounding offensive talent should help prop Hundley’s fantasy numbers up, but the Packers are still a playoff-contending team so the leash will be short. Add in the eventual return of Aaron Rodgers and Hundley’s best hope is playing well and an offseason trade. Long shots at best.

Lamar Miller, RB, Houston Texans

Miller has had a ho-hum season overall and now D’Onta Foreman is starting to produce. The rookie has broken seven tackles compared to Miller’s nine despite roughly half the rush attempts and is averaging a half yard more after contact per rush attempt. Miller remains a fine option as a receiver but Foreman is showing to be more explosive and more creative, creating what is now a timeshare. With Miller’s injury history and the team’s success, the trigger could be quick if Foreman continues to look good.

Terrelle Pryor, WR, Washington Redskins

Among the most hyped offseason signings, Pryor going to Washington had fantasy owners excited for the possibilities with strong-armed Kirk Cousins at quarterback. A good Week 1 including 11 targets, six targets, and 66 yards unfortunately has been one of the few highs of the season. The low, this Monday, included less than 50 percent of the offensive snaps and just four targets. Pryor has just one deep target reception after wrangling eight last year on 32 targets (tied for third) and with second-year player Josh Doctson starting to perform, Pryor may enter this offseason a much less interesting free agent.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

It is difficult to have a “stock down in dynasty” section without mentioning Bryant. The recent trade rumors are largely fueled by Bryant’s continual insistence to move on or not re-sign when his contract ends. While his performance is down, that is expected considering the time away from football and the strong personnel at the skill positions. Bryant could get a label as a bad influence for teams, making him a tougher sell as a trade piece or as a player to add to a team. Monitor this situation closely.

Devy stock down

Kyle Davis, WR, Auburn

Coming out of high school, Davis was seen as one of the best wide receivers in the country. He had won the MVP award at The Opening, an offseason camp, and shocked observers with his physicality combined with great speed and acceleration. Unfortunately, beyond a few big plays, Davis never really found his footing with Auburn. And now, he has been dismissed for violating team rules. It will be a long road back but Davis is capable of dominating at a lower level and rehabilitating his career.

Trayveon Williams, Texas A&M

In a strange season, Williams started the year with a 203-yard rushing game and has since been placed in a timeshare and struggled to break big runs, not having a single 20-yard run since that Week 1 game. A 1,000-yard rusher as a freshman, Williams is averaging two less yards per carry and breaking tackles at less than half the rate of 2016. He still has time to rebound and prove himself but at the very least, Williams isn’t the surefire prospect many thought going into the 2017 season.

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