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Week 14 is complete, and dynasty movement continues. Injuries have created new opportunities or raised long-term questions about players. Elsewhere young players are solidifying their opportunity for playing time and fantasy production. Weekly the Footballguys staff will share their thoughts on the dynasty ranking movement and answer a critical question you may face.
Who is one college prospect who has not declared for the 2023 draft you think could surprise and return to school?
RB Blake Corum, Michigan - Corum had a fantastic season, rushing for 1,463 yards with 18 touchdowns. But a knee injury against Illinois in the second to last game of the season ended his year and forced him out of the college football playoffs. Corum’s size (5-foot-8 and listed anywhere from 190 to 208 pounds) will make testing important for his draft stock. The knee causes him difficulty at this crucial point of his career. The alternative, return to a stocked Michigan program that will include QB J.J. McCarthy and RB Donovan Edwards and attempt to cement Michigan’s return to an elite top-level program. A national championship could be the capper that sees him leave, but if the team falls short, the cards may be lined up for a decision that would have been surprising a month ago.
WR Jordan Addison, USC - Addison is my surprise return back to college football. He turns 21 years old in January, lives in Los Angeles, makes a bunch of money in NIL, and gets to play with Heisman trophy winner Caleb Williams next year. Another year lets him add good weight to his skinny frame, return to form after being injured in 2022, and chase a National Championship.
QB Bryce Young, Alabama - Bryce Young is the player that comes to mind here. Alabama had a relatively disappointing season, losing two games and nearly losing three more. Young created more questions than he answered this year, regressing from his Heisman campaign in every counting statistic and looking more human than ever. He's recently been signing NIL deals, and assuming Nick Saban returns, there is a non-zero chance the projected top pick returns to school for 2023.
I'm a contrarian dynasty GM. I do not follow the college football season particularly closely, and I refrain from rookie draft analysis until the NFL combine. I think there is a lot of value in digesting and acting on what has happened in the 2022 season early in the offseason. Some of my best edges come early in the offseason when we find values or efficiencies that become more discussed in the mid-summer redraft season. I feel this gives me more of an edge than any individual rookie analysis. At the end of the day, the best rookie draft decisions track closely to the best predictor of dynasty success: NFL Draft pedigree. We will not know the NFL Draft pedigree until late April, so I feel comfortable catching up in a March-April rookie draft sprint. That all said, I follow Syracuse closely (hometown team) and expected Sean Tucker to declare, but he hasn't yet.
RB Sean Tucker, Syracuse - Sean Tucker could be the player that decides to come back for another season. The Syracuse running back has always done things a little differently. His Twitter account is a must-follow for his post-game analysis, and he turned down any offers he had to go to a bigger program last offseason, saying he loved Syracuse. We also saw a dip in his numbers this season. While he still rushed for over 1,000 yards, he tended to struggle when teams made him their focus, and there are still concerns over his athleticism. For those reasons, we could see Tucker return to school for another season.
Deshaun Watson, Cleveland - Watson was rusty in his first NFL game since the 2020 season but improved by almost 26 QB rating points in his second game. Watson is an elite NFL quarterback and will produce like one again soon. The Browns have good weapons around him, and his dynasty future is bright.
Jared Goff, Detroit - Over the last two weeks, Jared Goff has been the QB3 in fantasy football. His command of the Lions' offense is impressive, and reports that the Lions plan to move forward with him as their franchise guy doesn't seem outlandish. Goff hasn't thrown an interception since Week 9, and his combination of ball security and confidence has him playing at a career-best level. Goff currently ranks at the bottom of the Top 24, and while he doesn't possess a ton of upside as a Top 12 option, there's enough uncertainty to justify moving him inside the Top 20.
Kyler Murray, Arizona - Kyler Murray tore his ACL this week in a non-contact injury three plays into the game. You would expect almost a year to recover fully, which means he'll miss the rest of this year and the bulk of 2023 as well. Plenty of questions come up after that, which warrant a downgrade in dynasty leagues, as you'll be carrying him for probably the next two seasons. If your league offers a taxi squad/IR position, he may be more attractive, but overall don't expect him to be leading your team again until 2024.
Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh - Pickett is in concussion protocol, now for the second time in his first 10 games. It's too early to say what the longer-term effects of this will be or if it was just two unfortunate incidents in close proximity. From a fantasy perspective, though, you have to be concerned about Pickett's long-term durability. Aside from the increased NFL scrutiny on rushing players back from a concussion, the fear of additional concussions ending his career is real. Unfortunately, you need to be thinking of Pickett as a backup at this point.
Kyler Murray, Arizona - The Kyler Murray injury will have a major impact on his value. I expect Murray to drop in price, which make him a good buy candidate in the offseason. Murray, along with Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Matthew Stafford, and Deshaun Watson, should all be potential buy-low candidates.
Desmond Ridder, Atlanta - Atlanta announced that they would make Ridder the starting quarterback for the rest of the season over Marcus Mariota. The third-round draft pick immediately gets a value bump based on him getting to start the rest of the season. If he plays well enough, the Falcons could decide that he will be their starter next season, providing an immediate return on your investment from last season.
Kyler Murray, Arizona - Murray suffered a torn ACL against the Patriots and now enters a difficult career phase. 2023 is now in question, as a 12-month recovery puts him at the end of the regular fantasy season. More concerning is his future, given his play style and size. Murray has to depend on maneuverability to maintain his high fantasy value. This injury shoves him to the back of the elite dynasty quarterback tier and could be the catalyst for significant change within the Arizona franchise.
Zonovan Knight, NY Jets - While many will look to history to dispute any chance that Zonovan Knight has fantasy relevance past the 2022 season, his skill set indicates he could be a high-value injury replacement upon Breece Hall's return. Over the last three weeks, Knight has been the RB11, using a physical, bursty running style to find success. The Jets have a running-back-friendly scheme and a sophomore running back coming off major knee surgery, giving dynasty managers extended time to capitalize on Knight's dynasty value.
Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City - This season has been a rollercoaster for Pacheco, with development arriving slowly and playing time sparse at times. But over the last two weeks, Pacheco is the RB13, averaging five yards per attempt but splitting time with Jerick McKinnon. While that split will remain consistent through the 2022 season, adding some pass-catching work to Pacheco's violent running style this offseason should result in an expanded, fantasy-lucrative role in 2023.
Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas - Finger injury aside - Josh Jacobs has been a beast this year. He's already set career highs for rushing yards (1400) and rushing touchdowns (11), has almost 1750 yards from scrimmage, and leads the league with 724 yards after contact. He has no competition for carries at this point, and if he can stay healthy the rest of the season, you can expect him to be a 1st or 2nd round pick going into next season.
Joe Mixon, Cincinnati - Mixon was back in the lineup this week and posted over 100 yards from scrimmage on just 16 touches. His production rate remains high, but Samaje Perine looked solid as his backup against the Chiefs two weeks ago. With Mixon back in the lineup, Perine had just four carries against the Browns, but he had 22 yards and a touchdown as well. Fantasy players need to monitor this situation for the rest of the season and be cautious that Perine could cut into Mixon's future production.
James Robinson, NY Jets - Since moving to New York - Robinson's fantasy value has fallen off a cliff. The Jets have committed to being an RBBC for the future, but it appears that Robinson is not part of that committee. He has just 11 touches in his last four games, even with Michael Carter missing time. Robinson was pretty vocal about sitting out the game against the Bears in Week 12, but he continues to be a non-factor in the Jets' playoff hopes. His long-term fantasy value revolves around moving to another team at this point.
Rachaad White, Tampa Bay - Rachaad White is on the upswing. He's taken a big share of Leonard Fournette's work in recent weeks, and Tampa Bay looks for an offseason overhaul. Fournette's contract would allow him to be kept or cut next season, and his recent play has signaled an increasing chance he will be cut. White would be a big riser in such a scenario. This is a good buy- high scenario on White.
James Cook, Buffalo - Devin Singletary is a free agent and, after a hot start, has regressed toward his performance in the first three years of his career. I'd expect Singletary to test free agency leaving Cook a great opportunity in 2023. Cook has looked good in a limited sample so far this year, including some positive showing as a runner, so I'd expect him to benefit in the offseason, particularly if Singletary departs in free agency.
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