With the Senior Bowl practices starting in the next few days, we are officially entering draft season. As such, much of the dynasty focus turns to scouting rookies. To that end, there is a special rookie preview this month, which can be found at the link below:
The dynasty trade value chart is tailored to 12-team PPR leagues a starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, and one flex. It now also includes trade values for Superflex leagues in a separate column. The chart is meant to serve primarily as a guide for trades but can also be a great resource during startup drafts. If the players and picks on each side of the trade offer add up to approximately the same number, the trade would be considered even. If you receive a trade offer that sends you players with a higher total number value than the players you are giving up, the offer is worth strongly considering. Each league is different, so pay close attention to the scoring and starting roster requirements specific to your league.
Dynasty Web Apps
We are previewing an newly designed adjustable dynasty trade value app that takes into account the latest 2022 redraft ADP. It can be found here:
2022 Rookie Picks
As noted above, it is rookie draft season. So let’s start with rookie picks this month. This is the time of year we should begin the process of putting names next to picks. This is a key aspect of properly valuing our own picks. It also allows us to begin the process of identifying our favorite prospects and then maneuvering into the draft spots we are going to need to be in to get our guys.
This section got too lengthy this month, so it is going to be split into its own article coming out in two days. In that article, we will break down some specific player values. Today, we will just list the values of the picks in general.
|2||Patrick Mahomes II||25||58|
Josh Allen QB1
While Josh Allen came up short against Patrick Mahomes II in the playoffs, he showed enough for me (and I suspect the majority of dynasty drafters) to move him up to QB1. Allen has finished as the fantasy QB1 each of the last two seasons. After 2020, it felt right to have Mahomes ahead of Allen because Mahomes had done it multiple seasons. He was safer given there was a chance Allen’s numbers were a bit fluky or that the league might figure out how to defend him. That performance at Arrowhead was enough to cement Allen’s status as a bonafide superstar going forward. Given his rushing edge over Mahomes, it feels right to move Allen to the top. He is the 1.01 in Superflex startups.
Joe Burrow Top 3
The first note at the position last month was the move of Joe Burrow to dynasty QB3 and it felt at the time like that was a little bit out on a limb. It feels much less so today with the Bengals heading to the Super Bowl. The expectation here is that Burrow spends the offseason in the Top 3 at the position and in the Top 5 overall in Superflex startups, leapfrogging Justin Herbert and Kyler Murray. Burrow has better weapons and could start to run the ball a bit more going forward. He has shown increased mobility the further removed he has been from the 2020 knee injury.
Brady Retirement and Offseason Musical Chairs
There are so many moving pieces at the position right now. The somewhat unexpected Tom Brady retirement opens up another starting spot and is going to further increase the imbalance of teams in need of a solid starter versus actual solid starting quarterbacks available.
The few quarterbacks with some proven ability to win games, like Jimmy Garoppolo and Jameis Winston, are going to be in high demand. Both make back-breaking mistakes at times but may be the best of some bad options for QB-needy teams. There will also be some forgotten names who get another chance to start somewhere. Marcus Mariota, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Gardner Minshew, Sam Darnold, Teddy Bridgewater, Andy Dalton, and others are more likely to be in the mix for starting jobs than previously expected. Not all of them will land on their feet but at least a couple of them should. These guys are helped by a relatively weak draft class with few instant starters.
We could also see younger quarterbacks like Jordan Love, Kyle Trask, or Kellen Mond defaulting into starting jobs depending upon how free agency plays out. There have been some recent trades where Trask was moved for late-1st or early-2nd round rookie draft capital. We will see if those were sharp moves or not in the coming months.
Impact of Coaching Changes
Another interesting thing to follow this offseason will be coaching changes. Poor quarterback play is almost always a factor in coaches losing their jobs. We saw that with the Giants, Bears, Jaguars, Texans, and (to some extent) the Dolphins. New coaching staffs with a track record of offensive innovation and quarterback development could give increase the hope that some of these young starters will make a leap forward in 2022. The hire of Brian Daboll by the Giants is a positive for Daniel Jones and should provide at least a little bit of hope he can be salvaged.
There has not been much news of note at the position, so let’s instead look at some of the players who are the most difficult to value right now
When looking at early dynasty startup drafts or 2022 best ball ADP, most of the picks make sense. There are some things that make me scratch my head a bit, however. Seeing Dobbins going off the board as a Top 5 running back in some actual dynasty startups is one of those things. He is definitely a talented young back so it makes sense to some extent. However, he is also coming off of a serious knee injury. There are also some questions about his ultimate upside in Baltimore. The Ravens do not throw the ball to running backs much and have shown a propensity for using multiple backs (Gus Edwards should return). Not to mention Lamar Jackson keeping it himself around the goal line. There are also some offensive line issues that need to be sorted out. In terms of balancing risk versus reward, I am not sold on the case for Dobbins at what seems to be his current market valuation (RB6-to-RB8 range).
One of the biggest questions we may face this offseason is what to do with Christian McCaffrey. He has missed most of the past two seasons and will turn 26-years old this offseason. While 26 is not ancient, it is typically on the tail end of a player’s prime at the running back position. Normally, long-term builders like myself find it impossible to pull the trigger on running backs in this age range in the first couple rounds of a dynasty startup because of how much their value is likely to decline within a year or two. But is McCaffrey different enough to make an exception? People use the term “unicorn” in sports when talking about a player who is just so different from everyone else. For fantasy at least, McCaffrey was just that. His last full season he scored 19 touchdowns, caught 116 passes, and racked up 2,392 yards from scrimmage. If he even approaches those types of numbers again, the math says he can pay off his current dynasty valuation in full with just two elite seasons. At that point, he is still just 28-years old and anything else would be icing on the cake. Given his receiving ability and the lack of wear and tear the last two seasons, he could be a player who bucks some of the aging trends.
The case is a bit harder to make for Derrick Henry, who is a bit older and does not rack up the receptions like McCaffrey. He is a player who is built differently, however. Given his work ethic, he too could extend his prime.
This is another player who is difficult to figure out right now. Let’s start with the positive. He has first-round draft capital and was a player who flashed major upside in college. He has a strong rapport with Trevor Lawrence from those days and has major receiving upside. He already seems to be recovered from the Lisfranc injury that cost him the entirety of his rookie season, so we should not dock him for that. The sacking of Urban Meyer could also be a major positive if a new coaching staff decides to use Etienne as a full-time running back. On the other hand, this was a terrible offense last year. James Robinson is still around. Plus, the new coaching staff will not necessarily have as much invested in Etienne given he is a leftover from the previous regime. This is a spot where following the coaching search and tracking the new staff’s early comments for any hints about Etienne’s potential role will be key to getting a read one way or the other. Read the tea leaves correctly and this is either a sell high or buy low opportunity.
While none of the stats count for our fantasy teams, the playoffs are still a strong barometer for where players fit in the overall hierarchy of the league and can be a good gauge of where things are likely to head in the future. With that in mind, there have been some clear winners from the first three rounds of the playoffs.
- Ja'Marr Chase has solidified his spot atop the dynasty rankings. As a 21-year old rookie, he put up 100-plus yards in each of his first two playoff games. Then, even facing double coverage on most snaps, he put up a solid 6-54-1 line against the Chiefs.
- A.J. Brown gets a little boost even though he played just one game. It was such a strange, injury-riddled season for Brown. He had some massive weeks and then stretches where he did nothing. His 142-yard game in the playoffs is just another data point to help us feel more confident in him going forward.
- Deebo Samuel and Cooper Kupp carried over their elite play from the regular season. Seeing both dominate on the biggest stage has helped cement their status as elite fantasy options in the short term. Samuel especially received a boost in terms of how he is viewed and his dynasty value seems to have ticked up off those key plays he made.
- Gabriel Davis was the biggest winner of the playoffs. He had one of the most productive receiving days in NFL playoff history against the Chiefs. Some are selling high on this performance, viewing it as fluky and thinking he is more the player we saw in the regular season. This is a spot where I think we saw something real that is going to have major carryover into the 2022 season and beyond. Josh Allen may be the league’s best player and Allen leaned on Davis in the biggest moments of his young career. With Emmanuel Sanders and Cole Beasley fading in relevancy, there is a boatload of upside for Gabriel moving forward. Put me down as a buyer here.
QB Musical Chairs
While we discussed this in the quarterback section, there is going to be a major impact on player values based upon how all of the quarterback movement plays out.
- What do you do with Davante Adams when he is a free agent whose status is in limbo? Even if he does return, who would be throwing him the ball, Aaron Rodgers or Jordan Love?
- Chris Godwin is in a similar boat with both his own status in the air and questions about who would be throwing him the ball if he returns to the Buccaneers.
- Diontae Johnson, D.J. Moore, Terry McLaurin, Mike Evans, Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Chase Claypool…the list of top receivers with quarterback uncertainty feels like it is at an all-time high.
|23||Robert Tonyan Jr||2|
- Expect the value of Kyle Pitts to keep creeping up in comparison to the top players at other positions. When you think of what you want in an early-round dynasty pick, Pitts checks almost all the boxes. He should have an incredibly long career ahead of him. He has a realistic shot to provide a major advantage at his position. He is not situationally dependent. In fact, it may be the opposite if you think Matt Ryan is holding him back.
- Pat Freiermuth may also end up being a slow and steady riser this offseason. He put up impressive numbers as a rookie and did it with a quarterback who struggled most of the season. This is a spot where he is going to need Pittsburgh to get lucky finding a Roethlisberger replacement. Long-term, there is real upside here.
- Irv Smith is a forgotten name who could end up being a popular trade target in the coming months. There is no guarantee Adam Thielen is going to be back in Minnesota and it opens up the possibility of Smith taking over as the de facto WR2 in Minnesota. Smith is still just 23-years old.