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Dynasty Buy/Sell/Hold Report #2

By Alex Korff | Updated on Tue, 01 Aug 2023 . 11:48 AM EDT

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BUY James Cook, RB, Bills

Cook has earned only 23 touches through 6 games. He’s posted 1 drop and 1 lost fumble in the small sample.

Frankly, his dynasty value couldn’t be much lower.

Look past the early struggles, though, and you’ll find reasons to buy in.

Cook showed off his playmaking ability in Week 5, reminding everyone of his 4.4 speed.

Sure, that garbage-time score didn’t change how the coaching staff utilized him in Week 6. The rookie saw only 2 touches in that one. Quietly, though, he moved up to the #2 spot on the depth chart ahead of Zack Moss, who was inactive at Kansas City.

Good news for Cook’s 2022 value.

Longer term, it’s important to note that Devin Singletary will enter free agency in the spring. Our guess is Buffalo won’t pay to retain him after using a Round 2 pick on Cook.

So, why hasn’t Cook moved past Singletary on the depth chart? Isn’t that a red flag?

Nah. Singletary’s been a reliable back this year — and that’s what the pass-happy Bills need. He’s averaging 4.5 yards per carry. And he’s tied for 9th league-wide in Success Rate, which, per Football Outsiders:

Represents the player's consistency, measured by successful running plays (the definition of success being different based on down and distance) divided by total running plays.

Play the long game here, and see if you can acquire Cook at a discount only 6 games into his career.

BUY Kyle Pitts, TE, Falcons

BUY Drake London, TE, Falcons

There’s nothing wrong with these guys.

Pitts ranks 10th among 28th qualifying TEs in both Pro Football Focus receiving grade and yards per route run. Both marks are down from 2021 but are still strong for a 22-year-old, 2nd-year TE.

This is the same elite prospect who tested as a 97th percentile athlete, was drafted 4th overall (highest ever for a TE) and tallied the 2nd most receiving yards by a rookie TE in NFL history.

London’s peripherals are also strong. The 1st-round rookie has commanded a 29% target share through his first 7 NFL games. He ranks 4th among all 84 qualifying WRs and leads all rookie WRs in Pro Football Focus receiving grade. And London’s 2.03 yards per route run is good for 20th among those 84 WRs and 2nd among rookies (behind Chris Olave).

HC Arthur Smith is just smothering any chance of viable pass-catching production in Atlanta. The Falcons have dropped back to pass on just 42% of their snaps so far this season. And it’s only gotten worse lately, with an absurdly low 39% pass rate over the past 5 weeks. Atlanta is averaging just 21.4 pass attempts per game. That’s 2nd lowest league-wide – only because the Bears are also going historically run-heavy. No team since the 2009 Jets has finished with fewer than 25 pass attempts per game.

It’s nearly impossible to post strong pass-catching numbers in this environment. And, frankly, we don’t expect things to change this season.

But Pitts and London are screaming long-term buys based on their talent profiles. The Falcons should land a QB upgrade via free agency or the draft this offseason. And hopefully Smith is canned sometime soon so we can get a 21st century offense up and running in Atlanta.

BUY Rashod Bateman, WR, Ravens

It’s been a funky start to Bateman’s pro career.

He missed the entire preseason and the first 5 games of the 2021 regular season after undergoing early-August groin surgery. When he returned, he played just 6 of his 12 games with a healthy QB Lamar Jackson.

Bateman’s 2022 got off to a strong start: 167 yards and 2 TDs across the first 2 games. Then he went down with a foot injury in Week 3 and missed Weeks 4 and 5. Bateman returned in Week 6 – and Baltimore threw it just 16 times.

So he hasn’t returned much through his first 1-and-a-half seasons. But we remain high on his long-term outlook.

Bateman checked all the boxes as a prospect. He was a 3-year producer at Minnesota, was an early declare, tested as an 81st percentile athlete and got 1st-round draft capital.

And, while it’s been a rocky 2022, Bateman ranks 5th among 84 qualifying WRs in yards per route run. He’s been good.

We’ll see where the rest of this season goes for Bateman, who’s still on the injury report with that foot. But he’s a long-term, bet-on-talent dynasty buy.

SELL Wan’Dale Robinson, WR, Giants

It’s been a nice little start to Robinson’s rookie season. (Pun intended.) After going down with a knee injury in the opener, he returned to post a 3-37-1 line on limited snaps in Week 6. Then he led the Giants with 8 targets and 6 catches on a 69% snap rate this past week.

In total, Robinson has drawn 13 targets on just 51 pass routes – a strong 25.5% rate. That’s encouraging for the “targets are earned” crowd, which we’re loosely associated with.

But context is important. Robinson is competing for targets right now with arguably the worst WR corps in the NFL. That’s obviously not something we can bet on continuing long term – whether WR Kadarius Toney actually gets on the field at some point, or the Giants bolster the position this offseason.

Robinson was a fun prospect coming out of Kentucky and certainly looks capable of making a fantasy impact. But we’re also talking about a 5’8, 178-pounder with the shortest arm length and wingspan of all WRs in the database. The ceiling here is capped – likely around WR3 level.

If there’s an owner in your league who believes Robinson is the next stud WR, cash in your chips now.

SELL Khalil Herbert, RB, Bears

Monday night presented a terrific development for Herbert’s usage, making him much more interesting … for 2022 redraft leagues.

The natural extension to Herbert growing his role would be to picture him as successor to David Montgomery, who’s playing out the final year of his rookie contract. But how often do we actually see RB succession play out like that? Can you name the last Day 3 NFL Draft pick to toil behind a starter for 2 years and then take over the lead job after he left? Austin Ekeler maybe?

If you believe that Herbert is about to become Ekeler, then by all means keep him. We’d bet, however, that if Montgomery does leave this offseason, the Bears are just as likely to add a significant backfield competitor as turn the keys over to Herbert. Think Michael Carter coming off a nice rookie season only to see Breece Hall arrive; or Elijah Mitchell watching the 49ers draft a 3rd-round RB and then trade for Christian McCaffrey.

Herbert’s a fine young player who might well have some helpful fantasy seasons ahead of him. But if someone in your league is willing to buy him now as 2023 Bears lead RB, then go ahead and sell.

SELL JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Chiefs

We saw a writer for another fantasy football site tweet Tuesday that he has moved Smith-Schuster up to 16th overall in his dynasty rankings. Not among WRs. Overall.

That’s an extreme example – and if you find this particular tweet (not looking to really call him out here) – you’ll find plenty of pushback. But it illustrates the kind of valuations that are possible on Smith-Schuster right now.

He’s coming off a pair of tremendous fantasy outings, each with more than 110 yards and a TD. He has emerged as the best bet among Chiefs wideouts the rest of the way, drawing 8 targets in 5 of 7 games. He now sits 10 targets, 12 catches and 125 yards ahead of Marquez Valdes-Scantling for the season.

But JuJu Smith-Schuster is also still on just a 1-year contract. Sure, he might sign a multi-year extension with the Chiefs ahead of the 2023 campaign and be tied to Patrick Mahomes for several more seasons. But he also might not.

Before the Week 6 TD vs. Buffalo, Smith-Schuster was putting up a meh season. And the past 2 offseasons found the league only mildly interested in a sub-26-year-old wideout with a historic start to his career. Given that only 1 of them has a 2023 contract with Kansas City, it’s statistically more likely that Skyy Moore is Mahomes’ lead wideout next season than Smith-Schuster.

If you don’t find that starry-eyed JuJu buyer in your league, then there’s nothing wrong with holding on to him. But now looks like a great time to test the market.

HOLD A.J. Dillon, RB, Packers

What else can you do with the big guy, really?

You can’t buy him – at least not as the primary piece of a trade. He’s currently failing to deliver on opportunity in Year 3. Dillon’s downticks in playing time and touches 2 of the past 3 weeks suggest disappointment from his coaches.

But you also can’t sell the guy. Who’s buying for a meaningful price right now?

Dillon sits 30th in expected PPR points among RBs on the season, a ranking that was higher before the recent downturn in opportunities. He’s 35th in PPR points at the position. So he hasn’t been totally worthless. (Just close.) And he’s an Aaron Jones injury away from starting.

The Packers have many issues on offense and will continue to need to lean on their backfield. And Dillon is still the guy who checked in 23rd among RBs in expected PPR points last year – as well as 23rd in actual PPR points. Fantasy players were collectively excited about his near future entering this season.

Barring a big offer from a Dillon fan, he’s worth hanging on to for a potential rebound over this year’s 2nd half or next season – the last on his rookie contract.

HOLD Breece Hall, RB, Jets

Losing Hall to a season-ending ACL/meniscus injury is a total gut punch.

This guy was on his way to becoming one of the best RBs in the league, with help from some dynamic, big-play ability.

His rookie season ends with 681 total yards in fewer than 7 full games…

But here’s the thing: Hall turns just 22 next May. There’s absolutely no doubting his game at the pro level. And odds are he’ll suit up for the 2023 opener.

If you're a contender, you might be tempted to flip him for slightly less than market value to keep your title dreams alive.

But we’d caution against it. Hall could easily stick as a 5+ year RB1. And if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that Hall exited Iowa State without durability concerns. This knee injury isn't some continuation of a trend.

If anything, we’d consider acquiring Hall at a discount – especially if you’re in rebuilding mode.

Alex Korff Author Image
Alex Korff, Product Manager
Alex is an engineer by trade and focuses a lot on the game theory and the “value” of players. He spends most of his time in spreadsheets and building new fantasy football tools.
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