News & Analysis

Dynasty Stock Watch: Long-term fantasy values entering Week 9

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 17: Dalvin Cook #33 of the Minnesota Vikings rushes against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second half during the game at Heinz Field on September 17, 2017 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

This is our bi-weekly check in on the value changes in dynasty fantasy football leagues. We’re heading into Week 9, and the real trade deadline has passed, but fantasy deadlines are still to come.

It was a fairly active trade deadline with several fantasy relevant players changing teams in the NFL. As such, we cover a few of those most affected below but first, let’s review the previous edition of the Dynasty Stock Watch.

Deshaun Watson finally broke out in Week 8 and rewarded his dynasty owners with a five-touchdown game after we recommending holding him. Our buys included Leonard Fournette — still sidelined but still a buy — and Robert Woods, who continued his streak of at least five receptions and 70 yards in every game this season except the opener. Our sells included Matt Breida, who has slowed down and, along with the rest of the 49ers, just trying to make it through the season intact. It also included Nelson Agholor even before the arrival of Golden Tate (see below). And who could forget Colts tight end Eric Ebron, who scored again this last weekend even with the return of fellow tight end Jack Doyle.

Now, let’s see who you should buy and sell in your dynasty league now that the NFL deadline has come and gone.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks

(PFF dynasty rank: 3)

For a quarterback who has been so prolific when it comes to fantasy scoring, Wilson’s 2018 season has been a disappointment. Sure, he’s on pace for more than 30 passing touchdowns, but so are 10 other quarterbacks. Currently, his average of 222 passing yards per game would be his worst total in four seasons. But even more damning is the run game. He has just 77 rushing yards for the season with no scores. This after a season that saw him run for over 500 yards and three touchdowns. He’s on pace to come in under his previous career-low in rushing, with a pace of 176 rushing yards — his previous low was 259.

It’s hard not to pin this on new offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. While Seattle as a team leads the league in rush attempts per game, Wilson is having his worst rushing season statistically. There were doubts about Schottenheimer's play-calling prowess at the time of his hiring, which have proven to have merit. For example, Schottenheimer had exactly one season as a coordinator out of nine, before 2018, where he had an offense finish in the top-10 in scoring and has yet to lead one that finished in the top-10 in yards. And just where does Seattle’s offense rank this season? 26th and 17th in yards and scoring respectively.

Verdict: Sell. I usually take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to quarterbacks in dynasty leagues. Since most only start one quarterback, there are several options that aren’t that different from each other. But Wilson turns 30 this season and his legs aren’t getting any younger. Plus, with Seattle currently sitting at 4-3, it’s not likely Schottenheimer is replaced anytime soon meaning Wilson is stuck with him. I’d get what you can for him before it’s too late.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Minnesota Vikings

(PFF dynasty rank: 8)

It may be hard to believe, but rookie running back Saquon Barkley has already played in more games in his brief career than Cook. Between a torn ACL his rookie year and a hamstring injury this year, Cook’s only appeared in seven games, yet is consistently ranked as a top-10 dynasty running back. He averaged nearly 100 yards of offense in each of his four games his rookie season, scoring twice. He then followed that up by posting the third-best elusive rating in his three games of 2018 while also totaling nine catches over the first two games alone.

Verdict: Buy. Cook is a quasi-buy-low candidate since he’s been off the fantasy radar most of the season. The injuries are certainly a concern but the running back of the young Vikings offense is an attractive spot to be in. In the four games, Latavius Murray has been the started in place of Cook, he’s been fantasy’s sixth-highest-scoring running back. Consider Cook is better than Murray by any measure and the sky's the limit for Cook.

Ty Montgomery, RB, Baltimore Ravens

(PFF dynasty rank: 55)

Ever since his breakout 2016 season that saw him gain over 800 yards from scrimmage on just 121 touches, along with finishing seventh in PFF’s elusive rating, Montgomery has been a popular name in dynasty circles as another weapon for Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. And with no obvious long-term candidate to take over the backfield in Green Bay, a player as unique as Montgomery (drafted as a receiver) had just as good a chance as anybody to be the starter. He was certainly hyped up after that 2016 season but ended up only playing half the 2017 season due to a serious rib injury. The injuries not only sapped his fantasy statistics, but he finished a horrendous 107th out of 116 running backs in elusive rating.

Fast-forward to the 2018 season and the Packers had emerging back Aaron Jones to turn to (after he missed time of his own due to a suspension), which resulted in Montgomery rushing no more than five times in any game and catching more than two balls just once. In short, there just wasn’t a role for Montgomery anymore and he was shipped to Baltimore, where he should immediately see action — albeit from the likes of Joe Flacco.

Verdict: Buy. It’s not as if Montgomery will be the lead back in Baltimore, but he could take over Javorius Allen’s role very quickly. It’s clear Baltimore has slowly phased Allen out, as he’s had just 13 touches over the last three games. If Montgomery can overtake Allen, he’ll fill a role that allowed Allen to finish as the 27th-highest-scoring running back in standard leagues last year (23rd in PPR scoring) while Baltimore finished 11th in passing attempts that season, as opposed to tops in the league this year.

Golden Tate, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

(PFF dynasty rank: 25)

Despite losing ground to Kenny Golladay this season, Tate was still on pace to do what he’s done the last few seasons in Detroit — rack up 90 receptions for a little more than 1,000 yards and 4-6 touchdowns. But the Lions felt like moving on from the 30-year-old Tate and shipped him to the Eagles Tuesday for a third-round pick. Tate figures to see regular playing time immediately after the Eagles sent a day-two pick with the most likely suspect to lose targets being Nelson Agholor. Both play the slot, but Agholor has been off all season, both before and after the returns of receiver Alshon Jeffery and quarterback Carson Wentz. Or, as our own Scott Barrett explored Tate’s role below:

Verdict: Sell. Even before the trade, Tate was a good candidate to be moved from your dynasty team. He’ll be 31 and is a free agent after the 2018 season but would be a good target for a win-now team in your dynasty league.

Kenny Golladay, WR, Detroit Lions

(PFF dynasty rank: 36)

Golladay was a bit of a sleeper even during rookie drafts last year after coming out of tiny Northern Illinois and being drafted in the third round of the actual draft. But despite being the fourth option in the Lions passing attack his rookie season, he totaled 28 catches for 477 yards and an impressive 17 yards-per-reception average, good for second on the team behind Marvin Jones. Fast forward to this year and, after a hot start that saw him total either 100 yards or a score in four of his first five games, he tapered off a bit with only three catches the last two weeks and has settled in as a solid WR2/3 for fantasy purposes. Because after all, this is the same Detroit team averaging 37 pass attempts per game and who let go of tight end Eric Ebron and his 86 targets last season.

Verdict: Buy low. Even before the Tate trade, Golladay was going to be a great buy-low candidate. This is just his age-25 season, and he is tied to Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford for the foreseeable future. And with fellow receiver Jones getting older, it’s more likely Golladay becomes the top target for Stafford, and soon. The top Lions receiver is a very lucrative position as the leading receiver for Stafford has topped 1,000 yards in every season of his career.

Jordan Reed, TE, Washington Redskins

(PFF dynasty rank: 14)

The good news for Reed is that he’s played in every game this season for Washington. If he continues, it’ll be the first time in his career he’s played in every game in a season. However, the bad news is Reed has been very ordinary in those games. Sure, his 10.6 yards per reception is right in line with his career average of 10.3 but the volume he saw just a few seasons ago isn’t the same. He’s just ninth among tight ends in receptions, 13th in receiving yards, and 13th in fantasy scoring. The difference? Reed doesn’t have the combo of former Redskins offensive coordinator/current Rams head coach Sean McVay along with quarterback Kirk Cousins to sling it. McVay called the plays in Washington for three seasons, two of which included Cousins as the full-time starter. In one of those seasons, Reed was fantasy’s seventh-highest-scoring tight end, when Washington passed it 37.9 times-per-game, and second among tight ends in another, when Washington passed it 35.4 times-per-game. Reed was hurt most of the season last year so it’s hard to say how he would have done with Cousins but without McVay. But this year he has neither with McVay in his second year as the Rams head coach and Cousins in his first year with Minnesota. The results have been disappointing the say the least as Reed is barely on the TE1 radar with Alex Smith at quarterback, and the Redskins only throwing it 32.6 times-per-game.

Verdict: Hold. I certainly wouldn’t be buying Reed, as the situation in Washington isn’t exactly lending itself to fantasy relevance. But I also wouldn’t sell because you never know what coach will end up calling the plays for Reed whether it’s in Washington or somewhere else and the value you’d receive would be a pittance.

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