To keep our finger on the pulse of the dynasty community, I have included this week’s players with the most significant moves in value determined by consensus rankings. A value-above-replacement “Reserve” system derives player value. The system values a “start 9” non-SF 12-team league, along with each starter’s back up for a total of the top 216 (18*12) players. See my previous article on how to value players to further understand this system. The below summaries show the new value in dollars, the change in value in dollars, and the % change in value for each player. All scoring discussions will utilize the full-point PPR format. Note that rankings become available each Friday. There is a natural lag in this data which will not include the player’s current week’s performance.
Top 3 Most Notable Increases In Value
Najee Harris came into the year as the second-ranked dynasty running back. He finished his rookie year third in total points at the position. He followed up 2021 with a 14th-place finish in points and correspondingly fell to 12th in dynasty at running back. In the last month of the season, Najee scored 3 touchdowns, averaged nearly 100 yards, and had just over 2 receptions per game. Najee remains a solid floor player with a likely higher ceiling next year. Overall, offense and quarterback play has hindered him. However, his PFF grade is up three points this year to a respectable 73.5. All of this points to a potential return as a top-10 running back next year.
KTC has him priced at a 2023 1.09. He is undervalued, and I would be willing to acquire him closer to pick 1.05. In looking ahead, Pickett may perform better with a full year under his belt. I expect Pickett to look to check down more. This could get Najee back closer in line with the receptions he saw with Big Ben under center. He has at least two more years under contract with the Steelers, which provides additional job security.
Najee only saw 60% of the snaps in 2022 which is way down from the many weeks of 90%+ he saw in 2021. However, the organization looks at Jaylen Warren positively. Najee may not have as high an upside as he had in 2021 when he owned the backfield exclusively. With the upside to consolidate the job further next year if fully healthy, we could see a return to the top 5 at the position in dynasty.
Dobbins has had some very poor injury luck. He came into the year as the 14th-ranked dynasty running back after sitting out his sophomore year with a knee injury. Dobbins began 2022 slightly banged up and quickly realized his knee wasn’t fully healed. He opted for an additional surgery that had him miss an additional six games. With his injury, he never saw more than a 50% snap count. However, even in super limited minutes, he closed out the season’s last four games with exactly 100 yards a game. All this time out caused his dynasty ranking to fall to 19th at running back. Dobbins remains a high-upside player when healthy. His PFF grade is up 5 points this year compared to 2020 to a solid 76.2. All of this points to a potentially huge upside bet in 2023.
KTC has him priced at a 2023 1.11. That is right on the money at that price. I imagine you can find some owners who were disappointed again this year. They may be willing to part with him at a lower but reasonable price. A month ago, his value was significantly lower. With Lamar potentially on his way out of Baltimore and the run-focused offensive coordinator already gone, there is a lot of uncertainty around Dobbins’ role. In addition, he is in the last year of his rookie contract furthering his future uncertainty. This has all led to a potentially large discount.
In looking ahead, if Lamar is moved, there may be more reliance on the run game to offset the potential quarterback downgrade. Additionally, the Ravens are scarce at wide receiver and had one of the highest drop rates in the league. An expanded rushing role and the ability to check down may be key for Dobbins to increase his value. With the metrics he put up on limited volume, the upside when seeing a higher snap count may be too much to pass up. A case can be made for him to vault back to a top 15 dynasty running back.
To wrap up this younger-running back theme we seem to have this week, we will circle back to Akers. Akers has also had some abysmal injury luck. He came into the year as the 15th-ranked dynasty running back after sitting out his sophomore year except for Week 18 and the playoffs with an Achilles injury. He began 2022 seemingly in the doghouse and never really saw significant snap share until Week 13 of the season. After rumors of potential trades and very poor performances, he rebounded in the last month of the season to average 127 yards a game with 3 touchdowns over that four-game span. All this time out caused his dynasty ranking to fall to 25th at running back. His PFF grade is up 12 points this year compared to 2020 to 80.7, the highest of the three running backs.
KTC has him priced at a 2023 2.03. His value is currently at 2.01, so he is a bit undervalued. You can find some owners who were disappointed again this year and willing to part with him at a lower price as well. A month ago, his value was significantly lower. With the Rams falling from greatness in less than a year and likely continued trade talks this offseason, there is a lot of uncertainty around Akers’ role. In addition, he is in the last year of his rookie contract furthering his future uncertainty.
With the metrics he put up at the end of the season, there is reason to believe he is not done. Akers is the riskiest play on the list but has shown glimpses of his upside again. As with all running backs, opportunity will drive value more than talent, and with opportunity up in the air, so goes his value. Dynasty is a game of variance, and this is one of the more prominent boom-or-bust players in the league. I would certainly wager my draft capital on this bet. All of this points to a potentially huge upside bet in 2023, with the possibility of complete obscurity as well.
Top 3 Most Notable Decreases In Value
Hopkins came into the year as the 36th-ranked dynasty wide receiver, with his suspension and age hurting his value. He finished 2020 10th and 2021 18th in PPG. Hopkins followed 2021 with an 11th-place finish in PPG. He rose a spot to 35th in dynasty at wide receiver, a more sizable jump on an age-adjusted basis. In the last month of the season, Hopkins sat out two games and averaged 32 yards on 4 catches in the two games he did play without Murray. Hopkins remains a solid floor play, but his upside may be limited as he reaches 31 years of age by the start of next season. His PFF grade of 73, while respectable, is down heavily front the high 80s and low 90s he reached in his prime. All of this points to a player on the decline.
KTC has him priced at a 2023 2.03. He is slightly undervalued, and I would be willing to acquire him at 2.01. In looking ahead, he is currently on the trade market. His landing spot will likely cause his value to swing, but likely with not as much risk to the downside. The Cardinals already have a solid receiving core, and Murray is a middle-of-the-pack passer. Hopkins could be a solid flex player for a contending team at a draft cost that is typically in the range of a dart throw.
Bateman has spent nearly half of his first two years injured. He came into the year as the 20th-ranked dynasty wide receiver after finishing 70th in PPG in his rookie year, coming off a groin injury. Bateman began 2022 healthy but left mid-way through his Week 8 matchup with a foot injury. He then opted for surgery that shut him down for the remainder of the season. While he did reach 100 yards in one of his games this season, his targets are still very low and were only aided by a couple of touchdowns scored in the first two weeks. The lack of productivity and time off the field has caused his dynasty ranking to fall to 36th at wide receiver. His PFF grade in his first two seasons remains in the low 60s.
KTC has him priced at a 2023 2.02. That is right on the money at that price. However, 2.02 still has enough value that it may be worth flipping the player for a pick to reset. If you believe in the player, it makes sense to give it another year, but I would have liked to see more flashes of upside to date for me to want to hold. Bateman remains an unknown prospect entering his third year, which bodes poorly for his likelihood of future success.
In keeping with the general injury theme, Tua has taken some serious hits that have led him to miss time this year. He has had multiple concussions, leading to the firing of the doctor who examined him and allowed him to come back in the game. He missed the first round of the playoffs and will miss the pro bowl from the series of concussions he suffered.
Tua entered the year as the 16th-ranked dynasty quarterback and moved up four spots to finish 12th. He finished 24th in PPG in 2021 and followed that up with an 11th-place finish this year. When Tua is on the field with his new top-end wide receiver talent, he is a solid quarterback. Tua finished in the top 4 at the position, four weeks this year. However, his other finishes never cracked the top 10 leading to a boom or bust outcome. He threw for 25 touchdowns with only 8 interceptions. With this accuracy, he improved his PFF score from around 68 to 82 in the last year, which is a significant jump.
KTC has him priced at a 2023 2.04. However, his value is currently in the second and third-round dart throw area. If Tua can stay on the field, his value could ascend to a late first. However, unless a quarterback is towards the top of the position, their value is limited as WR/RB value in the draft will trump that of quarterback by a wide margin.
At quarterback, I would do what I have to do to remain competitive but not look to overpay. This position is seemingly overpriced in 1QB leagues and tough to replace outside of older veterans. I would rather acquire players like Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers, who are coming off awful seasons, Derek Carr, who is looking for a landing spot, or Geno Smith, who is coming off a career year and who are all priced well below Tua. I would pocket that difference in value to spend on other positions with more upside on a hit.