- Top Tier – As we stand after week 8 we look at the top 12 dynasty RBs so far. Four of the top twelve backs were preseason “zero RB candidates”. James Conner leading the way with his RB4 position and RB2 for those of you who don’t play in PPR leagues. Tarik Cohen and James White maintaining their top tier rankings strictly in the passing game. While T.J Yeldon who is guaranteed to move down this list when Leonard Fournette and Carlos Hyde start to take over the majority of the RB touches.
- Todd Gurley – I could just copy and paste this every week. How good is Todd Gurley in this Rams offense? Gurley has been so good this season that him sacrificing a touchdown late in the fourth quarter for a team win didn’t even upset dynasty players. Gurley has now been an RB1 in every single game this season. The only back in the NFL to do that. The number one dynasty player in the latest ADP according to DLF.com.
- James White – Only four RBs (Gurley, Barkley, Kamara, and Conner) with more fantasy points than White. Has been an RB1 or RB2 in every game this season. With the lack of depth and injuries to the Patriots RBs, I see no way that White doesn’t finish as a mid to late RB1 for the rest of the season.
- Saquon Barkley – 100 total yards in every game except one this season has the sensational rookie only to MVP candidate Todd Gurley. Barkley has been a huge bright spot for the Giants this season. Three straight games with nine receptions have truly put the dynasty community on notice. Not only in the RB rankings but in overall dynasty ADP he is ranked second only to Gurley. According to DLF, this is the first time since 2013 that RBs have ranked one and two overall in consensus dynasty rankings. Barkley with six RB1 finishes this year playing in an offense that ranks 27th in points per game, his dynasty value might be just scratching the surface of what it can be.
- Adrian Peterson – There’s nobody that could have possibly thought Adrian Peterson would be the RB14 after eight weeks of the NFL season. The 33-year-old late pre-season signing has been excellent this season. Peterson who was dropped in many leagues after last season was a waiver wire pickup for most owners and has rewarded them big time. Peterson ranks third in the NFL in yards after contact even at his age. With at least 17 carries and 96 rushing yards in five of the seven games played this season. The path might just be there for AD to once again prove the people wrong and finish as an RB1 this season.
- Tennessee Titans – Marcus Mariota had all the hype this year with new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and unfortunately for dynasty players that haven’t been the case. Mariota has five touchdowns and 7 interceptions this season with only one fantasy relevant game to speak of. Mariota has set the pace for the struggling Titans offense that ranks 30th in points per game. Mariota is QB29 in dynasty with four games this season without a touchdown. Unfortunately, the ground game hasn’t been much better with the tandem of Dion Lewis RB26 and Derrick Henry RB55. Henry is averaging less than 40 yards per game while Lewis who is dominating the snap count has only seen value in the passing game. The Titans WRs are nonexistent as well with only Corey Davis ranked inside the top 50 WRs. The passing offense has suffered around Mariota’s poor play. Finally, the TE position which has been very poor for the struggling Titans offense. After losing Delanie Walker after halftime of the first game of the season Luke Stocker ranks the highest on the Titans as the TE48.
- Seattle Seahawks – As the changes have happened in Seattle mainly to the defensive side of the football it has affected the once potent Seahawks offense. Russell Wilson currently sits as the QB17 in dynasty and he’s not getting much help this year. Russ has sixteen touchdowns and four interceptions this year which you would look to say that has to be better than middling QB2 numbers, unfortunately, it is not. In today’s pass,-heavy NFL Wilson is being outperformed by Joe Flacco and Blake Bortles. Brian Schottenheimer’s run-heavy approach has limited fantasy production for Wilson. Wilson has only passed for 250 yards once this season and hasn’t attempted 30 passes since week two. Wilson continues to reward those who have stuck with him with his insane red zone passing numbers. However, I don’t see this pace keeping up much as we saw in the Arizona game he could have more games like that in this lackluster offense. The Seattle RBs haven’t carried the load much like we would have hoped the leading scorer is Chris Carson RB33 there are five NFL teams with two RBs ranked higher than RB33. Now injuries and committee approach hasn’t helped but this is one backfield you can’t be excited about starting players from each and every week. A bright spot of the Seattle passing offense has been dynamic Tyler Lockett who currently ranks as the WR24. Wilson actually has a perfect QB rating when targeting Lockett this season. Veteran Doug Baldwin looks all but lost in this passing game since his return from injury. WR103 is where Baldwin sits currently and he hasn’t had a performance better than WR27 since he came back. TE also a lost cause in this offense as Will Dissy who went down early is the TE27. The Seahawks use a TE by committee approach so likely even if healthy this position wouldn’t be reliable for dynasty players.
- Oakland Raiders – The Raiders offense had all this hype with Gruden coming to town and boy has this been a disappointment. Oakland ranks 28th in the NFL in points per game and the fantasy performers have suffered. Derek Carr the QB26 hasn’t found success with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Four of those seven touchdowns came in an overtime game against the Browns. Carr has been pulled multiple times this year and his days in Oakland seem to be numbered much like ex-teammates Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper it’s fair to say he needs a change of scenery. Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch just headed to IR after posting RB28 numbers in his first half of the season. That leaves Doug Martin and Jalen Richard to pick up the backfield touches and neither RB ranks in the top 30. The WR position seems to be exciting coming into 2018 with Cooper, Jordy, and Martavis Bryant. The letdown has been real with Jordy being the only Raiders WR ranked inside the top 50 as WR46. Bryant saw one target in the first game as Cooper’s replacement. Jared Cook the main bright spot in the passing game as the TE5. Cook is a huge sell high candidate when you look at his numbers. In two games Cook has 17 catches for 290 yards and two touchdowns in his other games he hasn’t caught more than five passes and has only broken 50 yards twice.
The point of this was to observe really bad dynasty offenses. It’s always the logic of “somebody has to run the ball” or “somebody has to catch passes” and while this is true it’s not always a solid strategy. The Bills passing offense, for example, has been an avoid in dynasty for years and that hasn’t changed. This hopefully doesn’t reach that level of bad because these offenses all have major upside but for the better part of this season they have been not startable in your leagues.
Instant Trade Reaction
- Demaryius Thomas – In the past, I’ve put out full-length articles detailing trade impact from a dynasty standpoint. Midseason this is much tougher to do especially given the low success rate WRs, in particular, have when changing teams. Randy Moss is really the only success story when detailing WRs changing teams and producing from one year to the next and Moss was traded during the NFL draft so having a training camp with his new team benefited him greatly. Now, Thomas, the ex-Bronco is traded to the Houston Texans who are riding a six-game winning streak. Ironically enough DMT has been a forgotten piece of the Broncos pass game with Case Keenum targeting Manny Sanders more frequently. In his first game with his new team, DMT will play his former team this weekend. DMT was only averaging seven targets per game and was on pace for his lowest number of receiving yards since 2011 with 800. The narrative that Thomas will be a Will Fuller V replacement isn’t exactly where I see him in this offense. While Fuller handled a 22% target share for the Texans passing game I see DMT winning more in the short yardage area as his game is more of being a possession WR. We can’t forget DMT has been a top 16 WR in each of his last four seasons and the upgrade from Keenum to Watson should increase his fantasy numbers. Playing WR on the other side of Nuk is a gift in itself. Not sure how long Thomas hangs around the Texans but he’s an interesting buy low for a playoff run he can be a low-end WR2 to finish the season.
- Golden Tate – It’s rare to see a WR who is in the top 12 in the entire NFL in WR targets get traded at the deadline. This is what we have with Golden Tate moving from Detroit to the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles. This is one move I think could really benefit dynasty owners in 2018. Tate is coming off 90 receptions in his last four seasons and while his TD numbers are low he brings a lot to a struggling Eagles offense. Tate handled 27% target share for Matt Stafford and the Lions and enters a Philly receiving core he can instantly help. Tate has run over 70% of his routes from the slot which to me spells the end of Nelson Agholor as a startable WR. Tate wins in short yardage continuously and with the lack of running game for the Eagles he can be used on screens and short passes to help move the chains. Doug Pederson gets the most out of his talent and giving up a 3rd round pick for Tate makes me believe he will utilize him to the best of his ability. Tate may cut into the short area targets Zach Ertz regularly sees but Ertz is a touchdown machine so I wouldn’t worry about his value being affected too much. Tate remains a starting WR2 in dynasty leagues with the Eagles.
Buying and Selling: WR Edition
- Julian Edelman – As a contender, Edelman is a guy I’m targeting before my deadline to boost my WR core. Three straight WR2 finishes or better since his return. Two touchdowns in his last three games as Gronk is becoming faded out in this Pats offense Edelman continues to see his role grow. Edelman is probably the cheapest he’s been in dynasty in a few years looking to add reliable WR production for the stretch run than Edelman is your guy.
- Larry Fitzgerald – Doesn’t it seem like we do this every season? Fitzgerald even though he’s playing on statistically the worst NFL offense has turned in two great weeks. Fitzgerald had his first WR1 performance of the season with Byron Leftwich taking over as the offensive coordinator in Arizona. This is a cheap add for any dynasty team contending and one that the risk is worth the reward every time.
- Manny Sanders – The most expensive of the three Sanders value has just been boosted. DMT traded has made Sanders an even more reliable dynasty WR. Sanders currently the WR6 in dynasty has been great week in and week out. In many of my leagues I’ve found Sanders over and over again on bad teams with bad records and have sent offers out trying to acquire him. Most smart dynasty owners who are struggling should be looking for draft picks or young players and that’s what I’m willing to offer to acquire Sanders.
- DeVante Parker – It’s rare as a dynasty owner we get second or third selling opportunities for upside WRs who have underperformed. This is exactly what we have with Parker after his career high 134 yards in week eight. Parker has always been a guy I’ve liked but his tenure with the Dolphins and Adam Gase has been full of injuries and inactive. Parker still has all the upside in the world but I’m not holding out hope with Tannehill and Osweiler being his QBs. Sell Parker now while his value has come back and don’t overthink it.
- DeSean Jackson – This is a no-brainer as good as the Bucs offense has been for dynasty performances if there’s one guy I’m selling it’s Jackson. He gets Fitz back at QB this week who he has caught 80% of his passes with an seen most of his fantasy production with. Jackson has 275 yards and three touchdowns in his first two games with Fitz as the starter. Jackson the WR17 is holding value in dynasty leagues and as a struggling team he is a must sell for draft picks.
- Sammy Watkins – For those of you who have followed me or my content for some time should know how much this one hurts me. Sammy was always my guy but you have to take the emotions out of dynasty if you want to win. Taking the players you like the most isn’t a great strategy all the time. Watkins has been on a tear in the Chiefs offense finishing as a WR3 or better in each of his last six games he’s started and finished. While Tyreek Hill has been up and down and the focal point of NFL defenses Sammy saw a season-high in targets last week. Watkins history of injuries and boost in value has me pushing you to sell him as a nonplayoff team. I can’t spend too much time on this topic I’ll change my mind I’m the president of the Sammy Watkins fan club.
Hanging With Mr. Cooper
- The Trade – Amari Cooper was dealt to the Dallas Cowboys for a 2019 first round pick. In many analysts opinions, the Cowboys overpaid and I can see that being a reality but the talent Cooper possess makes me think personally the Cowboys didn’t overpay. The glaring need at number one WR has hurt this team in all aspects and honestly, N’Keal Harry is likely the biggest name in the 2019 draft at Wr who the Cowboys likely wouldn’t have a shot at regardless.
- The Good – Many Cooper haters forget how talented he truly is. Amari Cooper is second only to Randy Moss with over 1,000 yards before age 22. Cooper also ranks third all-time in NFL history with over 1,000 yards and 70+ receptions in his first two seasons. We can’t forget that Cooper is Alabama’s all-time receiving yards leader with fourteen games of 100 yards or more as well as holding the Iron Bowl record for receiving yards.
- The Bad – Cooper since his great first two seasons has had a rough go with the Raiders. Averaging only 3.5 receptions and roughly 48 receiving yards. Currently, as the Wr67 in dynasty, his value has all but plummeted in the eyes of most dynasty owners. Cooper has eighteen catches in two games this season and four in the other three combined. In those three games, Cooper has broken 10+ yards just one time.
- The Ugly – Three and a half seasons in Oakland Cooper has seen three different offensive coordinators and has never led the Raiders in targets. Cooper has led the NFL in drop rate since 2015 on catchable passes. The struggles to get targets in the Raiders offense has haunted Cooper’s numbers with him only breaking 70 yards four times in 21 games played in Oakland.
- My Take – Fairly biased here because I probably own Cooper more than any other single player across all of my dynasty leagues. Cooper needed a change of scenery badly and luckily he was granted that. Now moving to Dallas doesn’t scream upside with their 29th ranked passing offense. Dak and Zeke have a run-first approach but bringing along Cooper should make this offense more dynamic. Scott Linehan is attempting to save his job and has already praised Cooper for his skill set and willingness to learn. Cooper has already been rumored to play a lot of snaps this week and with Linehan’s history of targeting WR1’s in his time as a coordinator has me excited for Cooper’s value. The extra week off during the bye week for Cooper to learn the Cowboys playbook should be a bonus to get instant production from him. I still have hope for Cooper at only 24 years old with two seasons over 70 catches and 1,000 yards under his belt. If nothing else we should see how talented he is with actually getting the majority of the target share in Dallas.