Mon Nov 25th 2019
Week Eleven and Twelve Review
My Personal Bye Week
I needed a personal bye week last week. Sometimes real life gets in the way of fantasy life, so I missed posting my week in review article and podcast. This week I thought I'd combine weeks and post a review of weeks eleven and twelve together. I'll start with some overall observations over the last two weeks that will allow me an opportunity to talk about the changing dynasty value of several players.
Top Five Observations
Two teams have three-game winning streaks, and it's causing players' dynasty values to rise.
- The Jets and Browns have both won their last three games, and their offenses have suddenly come alive. It was starting to look like both second-year quarterbacks, Mayfield and Darnold, were over-hyped and too highly ranked during the offseason. Both quarterbacks have fallen in dynasty rankings, but now there is a reason to move them up. I have Darnold ranked #14, and Mayfield ranked #15. Josh Allen from the same rookie class has moved ahead of them to #11 in my rankings. I still have some concerns regarding the coaching staff in Cleveland and New York. These winning streaks may save their coaches jobs, but that might not be the best thing for Mayfield and Darnold. Since Kareem Hunt has come off of suspension the Brown's offense has looked vastly different. Chubb has remained consistent as a runner throughout the year, but Hunt has opened up the passing game so that Landry and OBJ are more productive, especially Landry, who has four touchdowns during their three-game winning streak. As for the Jets, Jamison Crowder and Robby Anderson have alternated breakout weeks while Ryan Griffin has become an every-week starting tight end on fantasy teams. Le'Veon Bell, however, has yet to benefit in a significant way during the Jet's winning streak. The Jets have a favorable schedule going forward while the Browns have a tougher road ahead. The next few weeks will go along way to showing us where to value all of these players and if their coaches will be with them next year.
Three back-up quarterbacks blow their chances to become dynasty stashes, and there may be more to come.
- After giving the back-ups several starts to prove themselves, two teams and likely a third have seen enough. Mason Rudolph was benched for Delvin Hodges (something Pittsburg fans have been demanding for weeks) who promptly threw a touchdown pass and won the game in Pittsburg. Ryan Finley was not pulled during the game, but the Bengals announced this week that they are going back to Andy Dalton this week. They saw enough of Finley to determine he's not their guy in the future. Brandon Allen, Denver's back-up quarterback, had another awful game, completing just 40% of his passes against Buffalo. Denver is likely to let Drew Lock the second his injured thumb is well enough to play. From a dynasty standpoint, all of these guys are cuttable now. There is no need to roster them in the hope that they will be named starters next year (Finley and Allen) or future starters (Rudolph). Other back-ups that played well this year, like Gardner Minshew, Teddy Bridgewater, and Kyle Allen, are worth holding on to because I believe they do have a future with their teams and will be starters.
Rookie running backs unable to steal the show like several did last year.
- Last year we saw several rookie running backs steal away the #1 running back role on their teams. Saquon Barkley didn't have to take the job in New York. He was given the keys. Nick Chubb, Phillip Lindsay, and Sony Michel, however, were given the opportunity early and ran away with the jobs in Cleveland, Denver, and New England. This year several players have been given similar opportunities but have been unable to do so. It does not necessarily mean they will be unable to do so in future years. Still, it is a concern because if guys are talented enough to do so, they usually prove it quickly once given the opportunity. Miles Sanders in Philadelphia hasn't been able to do so while Jordan Howard has been out. He's been productive, but he hasn't broken out in a way to hold Howard off once he's healthy enough to play. Devin Singletary has been given 65-70% of the snaps in Buffalo the last five weeks but has not broken out in a way that proves he's a top tier dynasty running back. Qadree Ollison appears to be just a goalline back in Atlanta. He has not been given as many opportunities as I thought he would after Devonta Freeman was injured. I still believe in Miles Sanders and have him ranked as my #13 running back, but I am a little concerned that he did not steal the job once he finally became the starter these last two weeks. I still like Devin Singletary's future in Buffalo even though he has not popped given his opportunities. I have him ranked as my #21 running back. Ollison was one of my favorite late-round picks in last year's rookie draft, but I've had to back off my love for him. I've dropped him down to my #63 running back and have already cut him on some of my teams.
Top-two NFL draft picks see their dynasty stock falling.
- The NFL's 2016 draft started with two quarterbacks picked, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Wentz quickly rose to be a top 5-10 dynasty quarterback before falling a bit due to injuries in the following years. Goff looked like a bust until Sean McVay arrived in his second year and made Goff into a top 5-10 dynasty quarterback. Now both of them are falling back as younger quarterbacks have proven to be better dynasty quarterbacks. I currently have Wentz ranked as my #9 quarterback, but I'll move him out of the top 12 this week when I update my rankings. Goff moved back to my #16 ranked quarterback after being among my top 8 when the season started. Both of them have very trustable coaches in McVay and Pederson, but they've not been able to get the most out of their quarterbacks this year. I'm starting to think it's not the fault of the coaches, but it's the limitations of the players. Both players are outside of the top 20 in average quarterback points this year. Dak Prescott, who was drafted in the same draft class, has moved far ahead of Wentz and Goff in my rankings. Younger quarterbacks like Lamar Jackson (obviously), Kyler Murray, and the previously mentioned Mayfield and Darnold are also moving ahead of them in dynasty value.
Three wide receivers could be excellent if given better coaching and quarterback play.
- I think I just wanted to write here about three wide receivers who I love to watch and wish were free from their poor quarterback play. Allen Robinson is a top 15 talent, but is held back by the play of Mitchell Trubisky, though he did finally help him out this last Sunday. Even then, Trubisky left a lot on the table. I have Robinson ranked as my #20 wide receiver. I want like to rank him higher, but I can't because of his quarterback. Terry McLaurin could have had two touchdowns last week if he just had a competent quarterback throwing him the ball. I get why Washington is giving their rookie, Haskins, a chance to start, but I wish we could have seen a full season with Case Keenum at quarterback. McLaurin caught five touchdowns in the six full games that Keenum started. He has not caught one since then. I have McLaurin ranked as my #34 wide receiver but would have him ranked much higher if he had a different quarterback. Finally, A.J. Brown, who was my #1 ranked rookie wide receiver last year, is made far less productive because of the quarterback play in Tennesse. Thankfully, in his case, his situation has improved since Ryan Tannehill took over for Marcus Mariota. His touchdown catch and run on Sunday was a thing of beauty. He's already moved past Corey Davis in Tennesee to become the #1 wide receiver. He's also moved past him in my rankings. I have A.J. Brown ranked #30, while Corey Davis is #41.
Week Eleven and Twelve Waiver Moves
As a reminder, I play in dynasty leagues that roster 27-30 players, so the player-pool is very thin. That said, there were some dynasty-relevant players picked up on the waiver wire these last two weeks that may help teams in a playoff push and remain on rosters through next year.
- I picked up Jonathan Williams in a few leagues last week and started him in two leagues last week. He did not disappoint. I used to own Jonathan Williams years ago when he looked to become the lead running back in Buffalo before he was surprisingly cut. I liked him enough to hold him in several leagues the last offseason before cutting him at cutdown time before the season started. It's fun to see him back in the league and making the most of his opportunity. He's a tough, well-balanced runner, and he gets to run behind one of the best offensive lines in the league. He can start on our teams in the coming weeks while Marlon Mack is hurt, and he's worth holding when Mack comes back because he could solidify the back-up role behind Mack in the years to come. He is an excellent dynasty waiver move, especially for teams that have Mack on their roster.
- I picked up Griffin in several leagues last week too. He is the number one tight end in New York and has been playing 85-90% of the snaps while getting highly efficient passes, including red-zone passes. He's scored a touchdown in 4 of the last seven games. Add to that the fact that last week they signed him to a contract extension and this becomes a sharp dynasty move. I am glad I picked him up in several leagues and will watch to see if he can hold off the injured Chris Herdon next year to remain the Jets starting tight end.
- I did not put in any claims for Scarbrough, but I see why many owners in my leagues did. He came off the street to become the #1 running back in Detroit while Kerryon Johnson is injured, and the other Detroit back-ups McKissic and Johnson have proven to be better in the passing game than in the running game. I was not as high on Scarbrough during the 2018 rookie draft as other analysts, so I was not surprised that he bounced around on practiced squads since being drafted by the Cowboys in the 7th round. I don't believe he will be a strong dynasty pick up for the teams that got him off waivers, but he could prove a safe floor this year in non-PPR leagues.
- I put in a few bids this week for Ryan Tannehill. He's been a top 12 quarterback since taking the starting position in Tennessee. If he keeps it up, Tennesee may not draft a quarterback in the draft next year. I'm willing to pick him up to see. He could be a streamable quarterback on dynasty rosters. I hope I'm able to get him off waivers tomorrow.
Week Eleven and Twelve Trades
The trade deadline was two weeks ago in most of my leagues and this past week a few of my leagues, so a lot of exciting trades were made the last two weeks. I didn't get to write about them last week, but I am happy to share my thoughts this week. I was involved in a lot of these trades.
Jarvis Landry <======> Brandin Cooks
- I made this trade last week in my FFPC league. I like Landry more than Cooks straight up. I have Landry ranked as my #24 wide receiver while Cooks has fallen to #28. I like the way Mayfield is playing more than Goff. I also like that Landry is evenly splitting targets with OBJ whereas Cooks is splitting targets with two other players in Kupp and Woods. Cooks' health has become a concern too, with his concussions. It's just been one week, but this trade already resulted in a win for me last week in this league.
Brian Hill <======> Marquez Valdes-Scantling (MVS) and a 2020 3rd round pick
- This trade was made by a contending team that needed some running back help down the stretch while James Conner is injured. I see why he was willing to make the trade. I dropped MVS in this league a few weeks ago, so that tells you how I value him. I believe Lazard is becoming the #2 wide receiver in Green Bay. I like that the other team that is not in contention was able to get a 3rd round pick out of the deal, though. I am not high on Brian Hill's future value, so I like his side of the deal too. Both sides won this trade.
Jared Goff <======> Jameis Winston
- I made this trade last week. I like Winston more than Goff, who has fallen in my rankings as I wrote about above. Winston is my #10 ranked quarterback, while Goff has moved down to #16. Winston may throw the most interceptions in the NFL this year, but he's also on pace to throw the most touchdowns. Ironically, his interceptions sometimes lead to more fantasy points as he has to pass to come back in games. Also, I much prefer his weapons (Evans and Godwin) to Goff's (Kupp, Cooks, and Woods).
A.J. Brown and a 2020 1st round pick <======> Le'Veon Bell and Brian Hill
- I made this trade in a league where I am rebuilding. The other owner is a contender, and I noticed he was weak at running back and also had Devonta Freeman. I offered the trade to help him make a playoff push. I got my #1 ranked rookie wide receiver out of the deal, and the 2020 1st round pick to help me in my rebuild. I would make this trade even if I were not in a rebuild.
Latavius Murray <======> Jamaal Williams
- I made this trade for Murray with the Aaron Jones owner. I thought he would like the handcuff in Williams. I see this as an even trade. I have Murray and Willams currently ranked back to back (#34 and #35). Were Jones or Kamara to get injured, I would prefer to have Murray who already showed he could perform like a top-12 back when Kamara was injured this year. I don't think Williams could perform as well. I like that Murray has three more years on his contract too, and doubt the Saints will draft a running back in the years to come, whereas the Packers might like they did last year.
Ronald Jones, Stefon Diggs, and Brandin Cooks <======> Hayden Hurst, 2020 1st round pick, and 2020 2nd round pick
- This was a massive trade between two teams that are both rebuilding but choosing to do it in different ways. I like the proven player side of this compared to the draft picks. Hayden Hurst is a throw-in who may as well be dropped, so it was mainly a trade of two young proven players in Cooks and Diggs and one upside young player in Jones for two unknown picks. I believe in the 2020 class, and this owner now has three 1st round picks and two high 2nd round picks. He'll have a great time in the draft next year and make his team better, but I think he paid too much.
Carlos Hyde <======> Dede Westbrook and a 2020 3rd round pick
- I made this trade in a league where I am contending but hurting while James Conner is injured. I like the steady floor Hyde has had this year and only need 10-15 points from him per week to stay competitive down the stretch before Conner returns. I drafted A.J. Brown, Deebo Samuel, and Terry McLaurin in this league last year so I could afford to give up Westbrook and a 2020 3rd round pick. Hyde did not help me last week after this trade, but I believe he can help me in the coming weeks as I secure a playoff spot.
Irv Smith Jr. <======> Two 2020 3rd round picks
- This was an aggressive trade by a believer in Irv Smith Jr. He has been way more involved in the offense lately with a season-high 81% of the snaps last week. He is the future in Minnesota, as Kyle Rudolph nears the end of his career. The team that sold Smith is rebuilding and has been picking up a ton of draft picks. I think I like his side of this deal although he's collecting so many draft-picks that a third of his team could be rookies next year and he will have some hard decisions on who to let go.
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