Dynasty Buy/Sell/Hold Report #3
BUY Geno Smith, QB, Seahawks
OK, guys. It’s been a fun season. But BUY this 32-year-old QB in dynasty?
If your reaction comes anywhere close to that, then you’re helping the “buy” case.
Yes, if we look back on Smith’s career as a whole, it seems a lot more likely that he’ll regress in 2023 than continue his run from this year. A contract that runs out at the end of this season only adds instability. But those factors also help his “buy” case.
This season has run completely counter to everything else he has done in his career, but it hasn’t been fluky. Smith has been legitimately good. He ranks 7th among QBs in Pro Football Focus passing grade. Football Outsiders rates him 8th among QBs by their efficiency metrics. Smith sits 2nd in the league in passer rating, 5th in QBR and 7th in TD rate.
The best part about that last ranking is that his QB7 fantasy total hasn’t been inflated by unsustainable TD production.
The contract remains a big question, and the Seahawks are currently in line to pick 4th in the 2023 NFL Draft, thanks to 1 of the selections they got from Denver in the Russell Wilson trade. But Smith’s performance this year sure seems to have earned another starting turn in 2023. And even if things don’t work out in Seattle, there figure to be other QB-needy teams in the league.
Smith can likely be cheaply acquired in a multi-player trade across dynasty formats. He looks especially attractive as a superflex option.
BUY J.K. Dobbins, RB, Ravens
It’s been a lost 2022 season for Dobbins. But that’s not a big surprise. He’s working back from a nasty left knee injury: a torn ACL, plus LCL and meniscus damage.
The good news is that Dobbins still has age on his side, turning just 24 in December. There’s a good chance that he’s back to pre-injury form in 2023 and beyond, which would be very exciting for his dynasty prospects.
Dobbins put up monster numbers at Ohio State, totaling 4,459 yards and 38 TDs on 6.2 yards per carry across 3 seasons. He was the 55th overall pick of the 2020 NFL Draft. And he ripped off 6.0 yards per carry as a rookie, ranking 12th among 48 RBs in Pro Football Focus’ rushing grades.
Simply put, this kid looked like 1 of the best young runners in the NFL before that knee injury. Now’s your chance to acquire him at an injury discount.
BUY D.J. Moore, WR, Panthers
We’re in year 5 of Moore’s career…
And we’re still waiting for Carolina to solve its QB problem.
Per PlayerProfiler, Moore ranks 87th among WRs in catchable target rate (65.9%). He enters a Week 13 bye with the 6th most unrealized air yards (557).
Yeah… that’s what one of the league’s worst QB situations will do.
Zoom out, though, and you can see a path to a mid-career renaissance.
Carolina currently holds the 5th pick in the 2023 draft. The Bears, in possession of the 2nd pick, sit at 3-9. Houston (1-9-1) is a strong favorite for the top pick. But there’s plenty of time for the Panthers to improve their spot to land a premium passer. If not, a trade-up is certainly possible — especially with Carolina set to welcome in a new regime.
Regardless, as a dynasty player, you’re in the business of buying top-end talent. Moore, only 25, has shown he still has it, despite the ugly situation. He’s hit 100 yards twice and needs just 1 more score to hit a career high.
Already on his 2nd contract, Moore’s currently signed through the 2025 season.
BUY Alec Pierce, WR, Colts
We’ve liked Pierce since way back (earlier this year) when he was just a prospect. He landed in Round 2 (ahead of Skyy Moore) with a Colts team in desperate need of WR help. And he contributed early.
After Week 8, Pierce sat 35th among WRs in total PPR points, with just 1 TD. He was in weekly redraft lineup consideration for 3-WR teams. But he has caught just 4 passes in the 4 games since then, topping 2 targets in just 1 of those contests. That run has coincided with Parris Campbell’s long-awaited breakthrough.
Well, Campbell’s contract runs out at the end of this season. And this team has a lot of money invested in the defense and its latest garbage QB, with Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor moving quickly toward 2nd contracts.
If Campbell leaves, Pierce could immediately become #2 pass-catcher to Pittman – who hasn’t been a target hog among #1 wideouts (20th among all WRs in target share this year).
Pierce remains the tall, fast player we liked at draft time. And the Colts reportedly favored him in red-zone drills over the summer. Even as his targets have recently dipped, he has continued to start. And the QB play should improve (or at least change) before too long.
SELL Josh Jacobs, RB, Raiders
If you’ve been holding Jacobs through this magical season, then congratulations. You have played him perfectly. Now, unless you need him to win you a 2022 title (and there’s nothing wrong with that approach), consider selling before it’s too late.
Jacobs will exceed 1,000 career carries by the end of this season. In the 21 years since the NFL expanded to 32 teams, there have been 70 total RBs to reach 1,000 career attempts. Of those:
– 54 made it to 1,200
– 39 made it to 1,400
– 25 made it to 1,600
We all know that RBs break down, and that it comes earlier than any other position. According to the Aging Performance Table we added to our dynasty rankings formula this season, Year 5 historically starts the decline for a RB. At WR, it has been the peak season, with QBs peaking in years 6 and 7.
Many fantasy players wondered whether the Raiders declining Jacobs’ 5th-year option ahead of this season signaled that the new administration didn’t like the veteran back. His career-high workload has proved that wasn’t the case. They simply understand that RBs wear down. So a huge guaranteed salary in Year 5 didn’t make a lot of sense.
If Jacobs does hit the open market after this season, then he should certainly look attractive. But 2nd contracts haven’t been kind to heavy-use RBs. At best, he finds a suitor who envisions a repeat of 2022. That would mean just the normal risks for Jacobs:
How soon will he decline?
Can he stay healthy enough to repeat the workload?
Does he find similar success in a new system?
There would also be risk, however, that he lands with a team that wants to cut his work way down – as is the approach in most NFL backfields now.
However his 2023 and beyond plays out, it’s far more likely that Jacobs sits at his fantasy peak right now than it is that he climbs further. If you can maximize the payout, however, you could set your team up for such a climb.
SELL Jamaal Williams, RB, Lions
Williams might return more than you think from a contender in your dynasty league. It’s rough at RB – and Williams has been a TD machine all season. He leads the league with 13 rushing scores, including 5 over his last 3 games.
Of course, there’s not much long-term value here. Williams will turn 28 this coming April and is scheduled to hit the free-agent market the month prior. He’s had a solid NFL career but hadn’t topped 153 carries or 601 rushing yards in any of his first 5 seasons.
Don’t go looking for a huge return. But if you’re not in the mix to win a title this year, now’s the time to cash in on Williams.
SELL D’Onta Foreman, RB, Panthers
This makes 2 straight years we have watched Foreman deliver multiple 100-yard games to help a backfield that suddenly needed him. Remember what happened last time?
A run-heavy Tennessee team let him walk, and the market produced just a 1-year, $2 million contract.
A run-only RB simply isn’t a valuable asset in the NFL … unless you’re Nick Chubb or Derrick Henry (and Foreman ain’t). So if you’re worried about missing out on long-term production from Foreman … don’t.
When deciding whether to trade him, your only considerations need to be:
- How much do I need him in this year’s playoffs?
- How much can I get for him on the market?
Both answers will vary wildly by team and league. So evaluate your roster, see if any contender(s) in your league need a RB and then determine whether moving Foreman can help you long term. A Round 2 rookie-draft pick would be a nice return (and attainable in many places).
SELL DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals
Even at 30, Hopkins has proven highly useful this season. Across 6 games — 5 without Marquise Brown — he’s ranked as the WR6 in points per game. He’s excelled in the short ranges with a 77.8% catch rate on a 9.6-yard average depth of target.
To some degree, Brown’s absence distorted Hopkins’ output. Rondale Moore also missed Week 12. The Brown/Moore duo will return for next season — and potentially beyond.
Ultimately, letting go of Hopkins now is a defensive measure. And it’s not just about hitting an advanced age. He’s no longer the dominant, early-career player we saw several years ago. His PFF receiving grade (80) is still solid — but it’s a far cry from his 5-year average (88). Hopkins’ yards after catch per reception (2.7) also represents his lowest mark since 2015.
A season of regression from Kyler Murray only makes it easier to deal Hopkins now.
SELL Christian Watson, WR, Packers
We were anti-Watson during the pre-draft process. Sure, the Green Bay landing spot always provided an excellent year 1 opportunity. But we haven’t seen much to change our long-term projection.
Playing through a troublesome hamstring for much of the year, Watson’s totaled 22-353-6 in 9 games. Yeah — a 27.2% TD rate. That’s easily the highest among all WRs with 30+ targets. And, of course, it’s unsustainable.
Aaron Rodgers supplies an excellent deep ball arm. Historically, he’s graded near the top of PFF’s grades in deep passing. He’s 11th this year — despite a bothersome right thumb injury. But Rodgers, 39, is unlikely to stick with the Packers beyond 2023.
So, Watson owners have a Gabe Davis-type, boom-or-bust asset who’s firing on all cylinders right now. He simply doesn’t have the long-term QB stability — or the overall profile – to make us believe he’ll develop into a complete WR1.
HOLD Tony Pollard, RB, Cowboys
It wouldn’t be a bad idea to put Pollard on the trade block and see what kind of offers come in. He’s had a huge November, surely spiking his dynasty value.
But this isn’t a guy we’d be actively looking to deal away. Pollard has flashed explosive ability since the moment he hit the NFL field, averaging 5.2 yards per carry and 8.4 yards per catch for his career. He’s finally gotten an expanded role this season – and remained super efficient. Pollard has carried 14+ times in each of Dallas’ last 4 games and averaged 5.6 yards per carry over that span. He ranks 6th among 43 qualifying RBs in Pro Football Focus’ 2022 rushing grades.
Pollard’s future is a bit uncertain as he heads toward free agency in March. It’ll be tough for the Cowboys to re-sign him considering the massive cap hits still on the books for RB Ezekiel Elliott. But we’re confident in Pollard landing a significant role elsewhere.