Week nine has come and gone and we are shifting our focus to week ten but we have to look back to the week that was. The grind of the season is here whether you are comfortably a playoff team at this point or scrambling to make moves to get in a make a run the Nerds staff is here for you guys. Breaking down another five talking points from my takeaways this past weekend. Hope you guys enjoy it and can use it to benefit those dynasty teams over here at the Nerds we want our listeners and readers to win as many championships as possible.
- TE IMPACT
This past offseason the talk of this rookie draft was this was possibly the deepest TE class ever and I myself was a firm supporter of this. I like to build my dynasty teams with TE stashes which is why I play in some crazy deep leagues and especially leagues with taxi squads given the length of time it usually takes for a TE to breakout. We have seen multiple rookies make an impact through nine weeks of the fantasy season which is rare, currently, we have one rookie TE in the top 5 overall and four rookies in the top 24 of TEs. Now, this might not be super surprising to most because outside of the top tier TE is usually streamable to a point even in dynasty leagues. This year we effectively lost two of the top four overall top tier TEs with Olsen going on IR in week two and Jordan Reed being limited in every game. We have to adjust our dynasty strategies and start realizing the impact of TEs on our dynasty rosters. I’ve always been willing to gamble on players like Gronk, Reed, and Kelce because of more than likely even though they won’t play a full 16 games the value they have when playing is effectively a WR. You just can’t make up for the upside they have when they are in your lineup and healthy and that has never been truer than in the 2017 season. This year the true breakout of Zach Ertz has stepped in as the top tier TE with both Reed and Olsen ineffective. Ertz joins Kelce and Gronk as impact TEs so much so that if you placed them in the WR category they would rank as the WR5, WR6, and WR7 respectively in fantasy points per game. Only Antonio Brown and Nuk Hopkins have more fantasy points in PPR leagues than Ertz and Kelce this season. We have to start investing rookie capital in TEs that have potential to make this impact as we are seeing with Evan Engram early on if you can acquire a rare talent like this as a rookie you will have a clear advantage on your league mates. TEs usually don’t cost nearly as much in rookie drafts and can give you a big edge in dynasty leagues I make it a point regardless of roster makeup to draft an upside TE in every rookie draft and urge you to do the same going forward.
- The Gurley Revival
As a dynasty community, we effectively left Todd Gurley for dead after last season. There were some of us that went to bat for him pointing out how terrible Jeff Fisher is but mostly that was because of the price we paid for Gurley in rookie drafts and remembering how effective he was in his rookie season. The hiring of offensive mastermind Sean McVay was definitely a step in the right direction but I’m pretty sure we can all say we are surprised of how much he has turned around the Rams and how fast he has done this. The Rams under Fisher in 2016 ranked last in PPG and through the first nine weeks of 2017 are number one in the NFL. McVay has turned around Jared Goff who looked lost in his short rookie season and added legitimate pass catchers to what is now an exciting offense. The main beneficiary of this is Todd Gurley though as the offense still runs through him and he has not disappointed in 2017. Gurley currently sits as the RB1 overall in PPR leagues averaging 23.4 fantasy PPG coming off a rough 2016 season where he only averaged 12.5 fantasy PPG. Gurley’ value is even higher in points per carry leagues as he is seeing at least sixteen carries and one reception in every game played this season. The Gurley revival is real under McVay and this is only year one think of how much better this offense could be with a better offensive line and more consistent QB play from Goff. The Rams are getting it done against top NFL defenses as well there’s no reason to not start mentioning Gurley’ name again amongst the elite at the RB position for dynasty value going forward.
- Keeping Pace: TEs
Yeah just what you guys wanted more TE content right? Sorry, it’s just one of those weeks and what can I say I’m a dynasty player who values the TE position higher than most. Checked out some on pace stats on twitter for a few TEs I wanted to throw at you guys. As I mentioned already the top tier TEs are who they are and after that, you are just looking for upside or how a guy fits into their offense as far as who you are starting week to week. Jared Cook who moved from the Packers to Oakland this offseason is currently on pace for the fourth most receiving yards amongst TEs this season. Jack Doyle who had a mini-breakout last season as one of Andrew Luck’s’ favorite targets is on pace for 89 receptions this season which would only be second to current TE1 overall Travis Kelce. Also fair to mention Doyle has not and will not play one game with Luck this season this has to be good for his value going forward in dynasty. Last but definitely not least is the star of the 2017 rookie class Evan Engram who currently sits as the TE5 in PPR leagues. Engram has been a top-five TE in each of his last three weeks and without Marshall and OBJ is finding the end zone consistently for the helpless Giants. Engram has this rare size, skill, and athleticism that make him a matchup nightmare if you were able to grab him in rookie drafts he is paying off big time. I don’t mean to repeat myself but TEs are important in this game we play you see the advantage you can have on a weekly basis if you have a consistent performer at this position.
- Death of an Offense
All the upside was there before the season started for the Tampa Bay Bucs and after hard knocks especially it seemed everyone was buying in. Jameis, Evans, DeSean Jackson, Rookie TE O.J Howard and a revival of suspended RB Doug Martin could make this group special, especially for dynasty purposes. This just simply and sadly hasn’t been the case in 2017. Jameis who currently is the QB21 behind Aaron Rodgers who hasn’t played a game since week six is now reportedly being shut down for multiple weeks and possibly the season. Mike Evans was the most targeted WR in the NFL a season ago and currently sits as the WR10 in PPR leagues with some very inconsistent performances. The Bucs will now turn to veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to lead the offense this is not good. I still have hope for Evans with Fitz because we saw in his time with the Jets he will force feed the number one WR even if it costs him multiple interceptions a game. DeSean Jackson who was in line for a huge season with Jameis potentially is unstartable with Fitz under center, I can’t think of a worse QB in the league that fits what Jackson does more than Fitzpatrick. Jackson likes to get deep and his fantasy value is in deep touchdowns with Fitz’ poor decision making and overall weak arm I just don’t see how this works out well. I think there is upside to be had with Martin and mostly Sims out of the backfield and the TEs Brate and Howard could see more targets. Bottom line is this offense with all that hype coming into 2017 has flopped big time for dynasty owners and we are stuck watching TB games again just for the Mike Evans show.
- The RB Report
Why not end this week’s article with the RB report. Four rookie RBs remain in the top 12 this week and honestly, we could be looking at five if Dalvin Cook wasn’t hurt. Kareem Hunt who still hasn’t found the end zone since week three held his position as RB2 although that was likely because Fournette, Bell, and Gordon did not play last week. The RBBC in Philly and Denver seem to be mind-boggling going forward as Ajayi scored in his first game as an Eagle but wasn’t on the field in multiple red zone packages while rookie Corey Clement scored three total touchdowns on Sunday. Devontae Booker led the Broncos in snaps at RB for the first time this season as C.JAnderson again seemed to be banged up. The current pace that the Ravens are on shows us that there is value to be had every week with Buck Allen even with Woodhead’ return likely Joe Flacco is currently averaging 5.3 yards per attempt which is the worst in the NFL. The lack of trustable pass catchers for this abysmal Ravens offense gives zero RB guys hope with both Woodhead and Allen. The combo of Kenyan Drake and Damien Williams looked decent for Miami against the Raiders with Drake getting slightly more snaps and carries and them both seeing six targets each in the passing game. It’s an unpredictable backfield going forward but currently, I would trust Drake more for the time being. PPR leagues are what gives zero RB truthers hope the current league leaders in receptions at RB are CMC with 54, James White with 43 and shockingly Carlos Hyde with 40 after a nine-catch performance on Sunday. Another PPR stud who I was admittedly wrong on is saints rookie RB Alvin Kamara the guy is good and fits this Sean Payton offense perfectly. Kamara is on pace for 1,300 yards, 76 receptions, and 10 touchdowns. Kamara is a prime example of going to get your guy in rookie drafts while the community and data and opinions of analysts might tell you Perine or Mixon are the first round talents if you believe in what you see take Kamara in the first. Will you be laughed at during the draft? Oh most definitely but what you don’t want is to miss out on a guy you believed in the whole time.
Alright, Nerds that wraps up another week of What We Learned. I look forward to seeing what the back end of the dynasty season holds for us. Keep building those dynasty powerhouses and make those tough decisions as the trade deadline approaches if your league has them. I’ll catch up with you next week and as always listen to the podcast Rich and Matt put out quality stuff every week and hit any of us up on twitter to discuss dynasty anytime. Enjoy week ten Nerds!