The beat goes on in the never-ending life of a hardcore dynasty player. We enter week six and at this point, we should realize which of our teams are contenders and which are pretenders. I know the stats and nuggets are a big part of the W.W.L series for me but I decided this week to discuss some strategy talking points. I have an overactive mind when it comes to dynasty fantasy football and who better to share it with than my fellow dynasty nerds. Enjoy the games this weekend and remember building a dynasty team is always the goal even if this season hasn’t gone your way so far you can always find ways to make your team better.
- Zero RB/Bell Cow Report
Back with more RB takes for you guys after week five. We start with the current RB2 this season Todd Gurley. Gurley has closed the gap with Alvin Kamara and is dangerously close to taking back the RB1 spot. We all know how insanely consistent and effective Kamara has been dating back to last season but Gurley is not far behind him in that category either. In his last nine games, Gurley has 20+ fantasy points with an average of nearly 32 fantasy points per game. As if this number is absurd enough he also has accounted for 44% of his team’s total offensive touchdowns. We all know Gurley is a true workhorse back but playing in an offense this explosive those numbers are remarkable. I have heard the complaints that “Gurley hardly ever face 8+ man fronts” which is true but he also plays in an offense that runs the most 11 personnel (1 RB,1TE,3WR) sets in the NFL. The Rams WRs are supremely talented and they have been on the field on 95% of the plays this season. Gurley single-handedly won many people dynasty championships with his heroics to end last season I wouldn’t bet against that happening again. The great Ryan McDowell tweeted out the weekly finishes of RBs through the first five weeks and there isn’t much of a surprise here. Gurley is the only RB with a top 12 performance in all five games while Melvin Gordon, Alvin Kamara, and Saquon Barkley have four each and Christian McCaffrey, James Conner, and Isaiah Crowell have done this three times each. Crowell and Conner obviously the big win for the zero RB truthers here but the consistency of Gurley, Gordon, Kamara, and McCaffrey really shouldn’t surprise anyone. After last weeks games, we had seven RBs with over 100 fantasy points the big shockers here are both James Conner (RB5) and James White (RB7) are among those backs. Now Conner likely loses his place among the top backs when Bell returns as long as a trade isn’t worked out first. James White should finish as a mid to low end RB1 this season he was personally requested to be on the field more by Tom Brady and causes matchup nightmares every single week. Want more on White? Check this one out of the top twenty players in the NFL in targets per game there’s only two RBs Kamara (10.2) and White (8.8). Austin Ekeler is another curious case for the zero RB crowd as he is RB14 while his running mate Melvin Gordon is RB3. This backfield combo is on pace to put up better numbers than Kamara and Ingram a year ago. More impressively is that Ekeler is maintaining these numbers on only 34% of the snaps and only running 11.6 routes per game. Positive news going forward is even how bad the Cardinals and Cowboys offenses have been this year both David Johnson and especially Zeke have found ways to put up fantasy numbers as lead backs. If the return of Lev Bell is with the Steelers I find it very likely he still finishes as a low end RB1 with only half a season played. The game of tug-o-war between the Zero RB crowd and Bell Cow RB crowd in dynasty goes back and forth for an entire season and I’m just here to cover it for you.
- TE Report
This pains me to write about how bad this position has been this year. It’s like a never-ending game of this could happen or that could happen every offseason but we get to the season and we are smacked in the face with the same reality. The TE landscape in dynasty is really disappointing. We started with losing Delanie Walker and Greg Olsen the opening weekend after already losing Hunter Henry to a non-contact injury in training camp. Currently, five of the top 30 TEs are injured with all but two being lost for the season. We haven’t even made it to week six yet. Another alarming takeaway is Jordan Reed who has returned from injury isn’t even in the top 12 of TEs while the king of the position Rob Gronkowski is the TE7 currently. Alright had enough of the negative yet? Me too let’s talk about the good for TEs and that starts and ends with Zach Ertz. Ertz is ranked number one amongst all TEs in targets, receptions, receiving yards and fantasy points. While the Eagles struggled to find healthy WRs to start the season Ertz benefited greatly with 10+ targets in every game this season. If Ertz were a WR he would rank top ten in targets, receptions and receiving yards while being just outside the top ten in fantasy points scored. He has been a special talent for years now and has cemented his name as the best weapon at TE in 2018. Ertz has been doing this for a few years consistently he has finished as a TE1 every season since 2015. While the Eagles are becoming more healthy at WR there’s a possibility Ertz loses some targets but I wouldn’t bank on that. Ertz along with Nuk Hopkins and Adam Thielen are the only players this season with 10+ targets in every game in 2018. Three TEs rank in the top twenty in the NFL for total targets no surprise with Ertz but joining him are Eric Ebron and Travis Kelce. Ebron has had a nice run with Andrew Luck while Jack Doyle has been sidelined while Travis Kelce does what he does for the Chiefs high powered offense. Couple nuggets on the young TEs and what we hope will be the next risers at the TE position. George Kittle has been amazingly efficient since the injury to Jimmy G with over 11 catches, 200 yards and a touchdown in the last two weeks. Kittle ranks 8th in the NFL among all WRs in yards per catch. Kittle is the only constant in this passing game as a dynasty owner this should bring you all the happiness. Lastly, it’s my favorite David Njoku and maybe I’m slightly biased because I’m a Miami Hurricanes guy but the numbers don’t lie. Njoku saw a season-high in targets, receptions and receiving yards in week five. Baker Mayfield taking over as the starter has boosted Njoku’s value in the Browns offense and since the QB change was made Njoku target share is up 8%. There is plenty of misery at this position in dynasty but it’s important we do look at the promising players as well to keep ourselves from going crazy. Will TE ever be a deep position? Most likely no but we have to take what we can get.
- Winning Trades
Alright you won’t get the nerdy stats or information to back up your argument from me here but I thought this was a good talking point. Entering week six it’s possible you have a one or two win dynasty team and you are faced with the worst question as a dynasty owner “Do I blow it up?” This is the question that separates the good players at this game from the great players, I tweeted recently that if you go into every dynasty trade you make expecting to win every single trade you are playing the game wrong. Look at it from an NFL perspective we have seen very good players traded for middle to late draft picks. This is a strategy as dynasty owners we must use more than we want to. There’s nothing worse than sitting with a dynasty team in 2018 with a losing record and you’re staring at veterans on your roster that are underperforming. I’m not saying firesale and give players away but if you refuse to shake things up in dynasty you are headed for years of mediocrity. We often say that bad NFL teams find a way to stay bad much like the Browns and Bills for the past decade. As a dynasty owner if you’re not willing to get aggressive or change the landscape of your team mid-season you are doing yourself a disservice. I agree with the take I heard a few years back that as a good owner you should be throwing out multiple offers a week all over your leagues to firstly improve your team but also to promote activity in your leagues. If you think you can just do a startup draft and set a lineup every week and win a dynasty championship you are sadly mistaken. That’s what the redraft leagues are for in dynasty it’s 365 days a year you should always be looking to improve your team even when football is an afterthought to most of your league mates. Lastly to clarify what I meant when I said you shouldn’t go into every trade expecting to win I didn’t mean just trade to trade. There are times when you have to deal guys you like or that are producers for your team to acquire younger upside players or draft picks and this is totally ok. I love the trade calculators out there that help us get reassurance we are doing the right thing but those aren’t the be all end all for trades. As well as don’t let ADP dictate where you value a guy because things are constantly changing in dynasty. If you’re looking to make every trade heavily favoring you then nobody will want to trade with you and it will limit your chances to become a great dynasty and in the end, it just hurts the league. Let’s all make an effort to be better dynasty owners and make trades.
- RB Usage
Back to the RBs and for good reason. These usage numbers mostly help myself in the leagues where I own RBBC guys. We start with the Eagles after losing Jay Ajayi who was the only back in Philly we figured had a constant role they turn to a true committee. Wendell Smallwood, Corey Clement, and Darren Sproles look to be the backs for the time being. Rumors of Shady McCoy possibly returning to Philly but for now, we focus on what we know. Prior to week six Smallwood has hauled in at least three passes in every game with Carson Wentz at QB. In addition to that, he has seen his snap count go from 30% four weeks ago to 49% in week five. I’m not sold on Smallwood being the back to own in Philly but for the time being, his usage is there. Clement and Sproles both are much more efficient in the passing game so when healthy I see both of them far more valuable for the remainder of the season. Next, up the dreaded Ravens backfield, I touched on this a few weeks back this one is going to be tough all year. Currently, Buck Allen is out snapping and running more routes per game than Alex Collins. However, Collins has more touches and the two are tied for touches inside the ten-yard line. Good luck with this one this committee is a headache every week when setting a lineup. Best case scenario when the weather gets worse it would seem Collins would be relied upon more but there is no guarantee of this. Effectively unless you own both this is rolling the dice every week that you start the right RB. Lastly is the Jacksonville Jaguars and T.J Yeldon. The Jags offense is heavily focused on the RB position as we saw a year ago when rookie Leonard Fournette finished as the RB9. While Fournette is yet to play in a full game in 2018 backup T.J Yeldon has taken over the backfield. Yeldon has played 79% of the snaps in Fournette’s absence and has taken 77% of total RB touches for the Jags this year. Jacksonville just sent RB Corey Grant to IR and signed veteran Jamaal Charles to spell Yeldon. Dynasty owners who stashed Yeldon have to be excited for his usage and with the news of the Jags likely sitting Fournette through the bye that could give Yeldon long-term value this season. Hoping some of these numbers can help not only make lineup decisions but can help in trade negotiations going forward.
- Ten Stats Dynasty Owners Should Know
- Eight Games this season a QB has attempted 55+ passes in a game. Only happened three times all of the 2017 season.
- Alfred Blue in one game as a starter scored more points than Lamar Miller in any of the previous four games that Miller started.
- Josh Gordon played 18 snaps in week five the Patriots passed on every play.
- Derrick Henry has only seen over 50% of the RB snaps in one game this season.
- Adam Thielen has been a WR1 in four of five games played, Diggs has been WR1 in three of five.
- John Brown leads the league in deep targets per game.
- Only one Dolphins WR has 100 yards receiving in a game this season. Kenny Stills week one.
- Deshaun Watson with 300 yards passing and 30 yards rushing becomes the first QB to do that in four straight games.
- Nuk Hopkins and Jarvis Landry only WRs who average over 70 snaps per game.
- NFL offenses are on pace to outscore the total points in 2017 by over 1,000 points in 2018.