Is Trevor Lawrence a Buy Low or Sell Now?
There will be many discussions around quarterbacks in the 2024 offseason, but one name that could stand out is Lawrence. He was once the generational talent from the 2021 draft class who has since been average as a fantasy quarterback. There seem to be many excuses made for Lawrence since coming into the league. Whether it is coaching, injuries, or missing talent, it has kept Lawrence from seeing more negative fantasy talks. The question is not whether fantasy owners should buy low on a somewhat down season or sell off now.
In 2023, Lawrence was looking to build off his strong 2022 finish, but he was cold out of the gate. In the first nine games, he was QB17 with just two games over 20 fantasy points, making him less desirable to play in lineups. He also only threw nine passing touchdowns, possibly due to the run game stealing touchdowns.
In the second half, things looked better as he finished QB8 from weeks 10 to 18. He even had a four-game span when he was the QB1. He would go on to have five games over the 20-point mark. Outside of up-and-down production, Lawrence dealt with four injuries and a few that seemed like they may be season-ending, but he was tough and played through them. He also lost Christian Kirk and Zay Jones for certain portions of the season. If you look back, one of Lawrence’s best games is when he had his full lineup of weapons around him. He also dealt with a bottom-five offensive line, with only one player graded over 64.0 in PFF line grades.
In the early part of the offseason, selling off Lawrence is a bad move, but as we inch closer to 2024, you may want to see the value you can get for him. In three seasons, He has never thrown for over 25 passing touchdowns. He has 39 interceptions in three seasons with 21 lost fumbles. That is way more than Daniel Jones (49 in his first three seasons), and we call Jones a turnover-prone quarterback. Lawrence isn’t dominating his division with a 10/6 touchdowns-interception ratio over six games.
This past season, he had a bottom-ten run offense that would need significant improvements from the offensive line. His WR1 is a 29-year-old FA in Calvin Ridley. His other receivers/tight ends are all over 27, with some pushing 30. This is not the time to sell on Lawrence, but I don’t think he is this generational talent that was projected for him coming into the NFL. He has an aging team around him that could have his third coach by the 2025 season. Unless the Jaguars go out and get him a WR1, we could see more struggles from Lawrence moving forward.
Can Travis Kelce Bounce Back in 2024?
As we all know, Kelce didn’t feel like Kelce in 2023. For the first time since 2016, he didn’t finish as a top-two fantasy tight end. He would manage to finish as TE3 for the now 34-year-old tight end. Kelce would somehow start strong over the first nine games as the TE1, where he had four games over 13 fantasy points. The second half was a major collapse for his fantasy value as he finished as TE10 with zero games over 13 points. Many assume that age is finally catching up with Kelce, and his days as a TE1 are long gone.
Comparing this year to his career, you can see he hit career lows. He has had his fewest targets since 2017, fewest yards since 2015, and fewest touchdowns since 2019. He also finished with a career-low 10.6 yards per reception, as he has had finished with 12.0 or higher in that same category. Kelce did suffer some early-season injuries with a hyperextended knee and low ankle sprain that could have impacted his late-season games. It could have been the Taylor Swift hype around him throwing off his game, or perhaps it is the age at the end of the day.
Age has not been an issue for some elite tight ends in fantasy history. Four tight ends have been great fantasy assets from 34 years or older. Tony Gonzelez had four seasons over 34 years old with some production. We may have seen the end of elite Kelce, that player who stayed on par with fantasy receivers in fantasy points. None of those tight ends got over 1,000 yards in those later years.
I don’t think Kelce will bounce back to elite status, but he continues to be a solid fantasy tight end. I don’t believe Kelce will be considered a difference-maker at the position, but a tight end who will be consistent but not consistently elite. If someone is willing to give up a first for him, I’d take that deal, but if not, hold Kelce and let him retire on your team.
What Should You Do with Justin Fields?
Another young quarterback from the 2021 draft class will be a hot topic in the offseason. The biggest reason is whether or not he is on the Bears come May 1st. As we know, the Bears own the 1.01 in the 2024 NFL Draft. There is potential for them to take a Caleb Williams (despite rumors he doesn’t want to go there) as they start over at the position. This would likely lead to Fields being traded to another team where his value could dramatically change.
There is also a great chance Fields stays in Chicago, and the Bears trade down and collect more picks. More picks could mean more weapons or protection for Fields to be his absolute best. There is also the chance the Bears will take Marvin Harrison Jr. at the 1.01, which could be a huge boost for Fields. Fields will be a hot topic until the Bears decide on their draft plans.
Let’s look at Fields’ 2023 numbers as he hit career highs in completions, pass attempts, and yardage despite playing fewer games than last year. He has improved his completion % in each of his seasons. He has different moments this season where he was valued as a top-six fantasy quarterback, like in weeks one to five and 14 to 18. The most significant change in his stats was his rushing was down compared to 2022. Last season, he ran for 1143 yards; this year, only 657 yards. Fields again had another up-and-down fantasy season, questioning whether the Bears wanted to keep him. Fields can be good if he does end up somewhere for fantasy. If we take his 17-game pace, he would have finished as a top-five fantasy quarterback.
If Fields stays in Chicago, we already know he has a top-five quarterback upside, but they need to get him another weapon to pair with DJ Moore and Cole Kmet. Tyler Scott is an average player who looks to step in for Darnell Mooney. The new offensive coordinator could help unlock Fields more efficiently so that he can have a big fantasy season.
There are rumors of places where Fields could go, like the Falcons, Steelers, or Raiders, who all have weapons in place for him to succeed. Most contending owners should look to buy low now on the young quarterback with his career in limbo. Owners could easily give up a late first in exchange for his services. I’m either holding or buying low in dynasty until the Bears decide. Fields is not perfect, but he has shown fantasy upside that many in his draft class at quarterback have not shown us.
What is the Outlook for FA Saquon Barkley
The once-star dynasty running back Barkley is once again a free agent in 2024. He was the elite young RB that everyone wanted. Barkley has dealt with injuries in this career, but the last two seasons have been great for Barkley. He is no longer the young back but a 27-year-old getting close to that cliff if he hasn’t already started falling.
In 2023, Barkley missed time early in the season, but after week six, he was fantastic in fantasy. He was RB6 and a little boom or bust in this production, especially in the second half of the season. Barkley even helped folks win fantasy championships with three of five games over 15 fantasy points. He was a big part of the Giants’ lackluster offense and was ninth in red zone touches. Barkley has now finished back-to-back seasons with ten touchdowns. He was the reason for the Giant’s success this season, as he had nine touchdowns in six wins and just one touchdown in eight losses.
Barkley is a free agent, so we don’t know where he will be in 2024 or beyond. He is already 27 and has missed games in four of his six seasons. Age may not be the biggest factor for Barkley since we saw four running backs over 27 years old who have finished as top ten running backs in 2023. If he returns to the Giants, you could expect him to see a similar role as he controls the backfield. Barkley would like to stay a Giant and finish his career with them. If that is the case, Barkley would have RB1 upside for a few more seasons if he sees the targets in the offense.
Barkley could also elect to move on to a team. Last year, teams like the Bucs, Bills, and Ravens made sense for him. A team that does make sense would be the Texans, who have a young core and money to give a player like Barkley a decent signing for a few seasons. He still has RB2 dynasty value, with some RB1 opportunities over the next few seasons. Barkley can be the primary back and dominate in an offense wherever he goes. Contending teams should consider trading their 2024 first for his services, and it may come at a discount right now due to him being an FA.
What is the Outlook for FA Tee Higgins
Higgins has been a solid WR2 in fantasy football, especially when he is healthy on the field. He has put up solid numbers over his career, with three seasons of over 900 yards and six touchdowns. After his rookie season, he looked like a star in the making, but the team elected to draft JaMarr Chase the following season. Higgins was delegated to more of a WR2 for the Bengals rather than its star.
Higgins in fantasy has often been a headache due to his inconsistency for fantasy points. I think we have all dealt with the zero-point games or the one catch for 15 yards. In the same respect, Higgins has also balled out for some big fantasy games with 12 career 100-yard outings. Of course, Higgins has shown when Chase has been off the field that he can fit into a WR1 role well. The bad side to Higgins has been his health over the years. He has missed eight games over the last three seasons. To further dive in, he has also hurt us in-game, with many games him leaving early in games or disappearing at times.
In 2023, he had more games under five fantasy points (5) than over ten fantasy points (4). Higgins would finish solid as WR17 over the final five weeks of the fantasy season. Higgins is a big go-up-and-get-it type of receiver. He would have career lows in 2023 in a contract season, which may have hurt his value.
This would be a big offseason for Higgins as he is at a career crossroads. He has the potential to be a WR1 for a team. The Bengals have the sixth-highest salary cap in the league this offseason. They are still a year away from Joe Burrow’s extension to kick in, so I’m not sure the Bengals want to pay Higgins big bucks. Let’s not forget in two years, they will need to pay Chase, too. If Higgins stays with the Bengals, you’re looking at a solid WR2 with WR1 upside, but we know who he is.
Higgins has the talent to be a WR1 for another team. Teams like the Titans, Patriots, Bucs, and Cardinals could all use a young WR1. Could Higgins explode like Stefon Diggs did when he moved to a new team to be their WR1? It’s possible based on Higgins’s talent and opportunity when given in the past.
My concern with him moving is that we could look at another Kenny Golladay. They are similar build receivers who have both had two great seasons. Unfortunately, Golladay dealt with injuries and was never the same after his third-year breakout. He signed big money with the Giants and has played since the 2022 season.
Higgins has shown after this year’s injury, he can still dominate with two games over 20 fantasy points in the last five games of 2023. If Higgins moves, he may be able to give us WR1 value in fantasy football. This would be a perfect time to buy on the cheaper side for Higgins if you believe he may go elsewhere and be a WR1 value. I feel the Bengals franchise him for the season, and he doesn’t get to be that WR1. I think he is a better sell, and try to upgrade to your receiver position.
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