The weekly Dynasty Stock Market features not only buy and sell candidates, but provides player features, draft projections, trade values or a variety of other relevant topics each week to make sure we’re covering everything our premium content followers are demanding.
This week, we’re featuring some regular price checks.
Dynasty fantasy football is all about one word – VALUE. Although some would disagree, I feel player values are almost constantly changing, due to a variety of events. These could include injury, poor play, off the field occurrences or team dynamics and performance.
Periodically, I closely examine my rankings at each offensive skill position and make the necessary adjustments based on all the factors mentioned above, while watching as many games as possible. What will follow is a log of adjustments that have been made, including players who are moving up the rankings as well as those sliding down. While I will not include every player that changes, I will focus on the players making the most significant moves in either direction. These are players who I feel are experiencing a price (or value) change in dynasty leagues:
Price On the Rise
Ryan Tannehill, QB MIA
Moves from QB19 to QB17
Rookie quarterbacks are the talk of the NFL this season, with five of them earning the week one start for their respective teams. Among that group, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck are dominating the headlines. Even with a starring role on HBO’s Hard Knocks, Dolphins starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill has flown under the radar.
Tannehill’s career got off to a poor start as the Dolphins were manhandled by the Houston Texans as Tannehill threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. This led to many Maimi fans being concerned and fantasy owners quickly assuming this would be a “redshirt” year for the former Texas A&M star. Instead though, Tannehill shook off the week one defeat and has led the team to a 3-3 record. Tannehill’s passing statistics have improved as well, as he’s thrown for a total of 1,454 yards. There is a concern about his 4:6 touchdown to interception ratio, but that is to be expected from a rookie passer. He is producing for his fantasy owners as well. Over the past three weeks, he’sthe QB14, nearly into the QB1 range in twelve team leagues. While you will likely not start him this season, he makes a great trade candidate for you to stash at the end of your bench.
Other Quarterback Risers: Nick Foles, Colin Kaepernick
David Wilson, RB NYG
Moves from RB21 to RB17
I will admit this is a pre-emptive move on my part due in part to my distrust of the dynasty status of New York Giants starting running back Ahmad Bradshaw, along with my general lack of faith for most running backs outside of the top ten. The Giants made running back David Wilson their first round pick last spring and I immediately ranked him ahead of Bradshaw. Bradshaw’s chronic foot injuries coupled with his average NFL talent made him just another running back, in my mind. Wilson was the unknown, but I liked that more than Bradshaw.
In his rookie season, Wilson got off to a bad start. He fumbled early in the Giants week one matchup and earned himself a spot in the doghouse of head coach Tom Coughlin – this would lead to Wilson only receiving eight carries over the first five games this year. He was able to break a long run in week five and totaled 44 rushing yards and then nearly doubled his season total for carries in week six when he rushed seven times for 35 yards.
This week, Bradshaw made his annual appearance on the Giants injury list with his recurring foot problems. Not only is Wilson the most talented of the Giants running backs, he’s the most healthy. Don’t expect Coughlin to just give in and award Wilson with a 25 carry game, but his playing time will increase and he’s already shown electric speed as part of the special teams unit. I have been trying to acquire Wilson in every league and it’s not an easy task, especially with the Bradshaw news. I offered a veteran running back averaging over 15 fantasy points per game for Wilson and was quickly shot down.
Other Running Back Risers: Alfred Morris, Bernard Pierce, Mikel Leshoure, Michael Turner
Randall Cobb, WR GB
Moves from WR19 to WR16
The Green Bay Packers selected wide receiver Randall Cobb in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft and added him to an already stocked pass catching corps featuring Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, James Jones and Jermichael Finley. Many dynasty owners were of the opinion that there would not be enough balls to go around and it would be years before Cobb got his chance to shine. Those of us who remember him from college thought otherwise. Cobb came to Kentucky and was an immediate difference maker. During his time there, he played quarterback and running back, before his focus became the wide receiver position later in his college career. While he was never the biggest or fastest receiver, he ran great routes from day one and always seemed to be just elusive enough to make a big play – that has quickly carried over to the NFL.
In his rookie season last year, Cobb was primarily a special teams contributor, likely due to all of those great options I mentioned earlier. In fact, with only six games this season, Cobb has already eclipsed his targets and receptions from last season and matched his receiving touchdown numbers. Cobb’s increased playing time comes at the expense of injured wideout Greg Jennings and Donald Driver, who has seen his role on the offense all but disappear.
Cobb’s numbers are good enough to rank him a respectable WR28, but we have really witnessed a breakout the past three weeks, where Cobb’s numbers place him as the WR17. Over the past two seasons, it has been tough for me to place a realistic dynasty value on Cobb, due to my lonely status as a UK football fan. After all, we don’t have many alums to cheer for in the NFL. Recently though, I saw Chris Wesseling of Rotoworld, who was a recent guest on our DLF Podcast, tweet that he would prefer to own Cobb over Jennings. Of course, I agreed with him, but I wondered if others did. I conducted a very informal Twitter poll gauging the value of the two wide receivers. I received nearly twenty responses and every one wanted Cobb on their team over Jennings.
Other Wide Receiver Risers: Dwayne Bowe, Kendall Wright, Roddy White, Josh Gordon, Mike Williams, Reggie Wayne, Jeremy Kerley
Scott Chandler, TE BUF
Moves from TE43 to TE30
After bouncing around (and out of) the National Football League for years, tight end Scott Chandler burst onto the scene for the Buffalo Bills in 2011, serving as a big red zone target. Chandler finished the 2011 season with 38 receptions for 389 yards and, most importantly, six touchdowns. Even with Chandler’s success, this seemed like a position that the Bills would consider upgrading over the offseason. Instead, the team chose to continue with the 27 year old Chandler as their starting tight end and he has picked up right where he left off last season.
Chandler’s numbers in 2011 were good enough to rank him as the TE22, even though a late season injury cost him three games. Through six games in 2012, Chandler has amassed 17 catches for 219 yards and four touchdowns. His four trips to the end zone ties him with Tony Gonzalez for the lead among tight ends. This puts him on pace for 45 catches, 584 yards and 11 touchdowns. With the Bills still in need of a red zone target, look for Chandler to maintain this role throughout the season and possibly beyond.
With Chandler already being 27 and having multiple years out of football, I do not consider him a great dynasty option, but he was well deserving of a jump from the bottom of my tight end rankings. Chandler makes an excellent bye week starter for any team and if you are in a shallow league, you may even find him on your waiver wire.
Other Tight End Risers: Jermaine Gresham, Tony Gonzalez
Blaine Gabbert, QB JAX
Moves from QB24 to QB32
Mark Sanchez, QB NYJ
Moves from QB25 to QB31
What can I really say about these two inept signal callers that has not already been said? Both Sanchez and Gabbert were early first round picks and both have been huge disappointments from the start. The one thing that separates Sanchez is the success that the Jets have had with him as their quarterback. The case could certainly be made that this success was mostly due to the defense and not Sanchez’ play on the field or leadership off of it, but the facts are the Jets have made the playoffs in multiple years with Sanchez under center.
The same can not be said for Gabbert, who has led his Jacksonville squad to only six wins in his two seasons at quarterback. The Jags finished dead last in passing offense in 2011 (Gabbert’s rookie season) and they are in the cellar again this season through five games. In today’s NFL, teams do not have much patience when it comes to their starting quarterbacks. Gabbert is likely to be replaced as soon as 2013.
When it comes to the fantasy numbers, things aren’t much better. Both signal callers had above average week one performances with Sanchez posting over 24 fantasy points and Gabbert totaled over 23 himself. Both players found themselves among the top eight fantasy quarterbacks after one week. While players like Tannehill are showing improvement though, these two are heading in the opposite direction. Over the five week span from week two to week six, Sanchez ranks as the QB29 and Gabbert comes in at the QB33. Yes, that means that both Titans quarterbacks Jake Locker and Matt Hasselback have outscored Gabbert on the season.
I touched on this last week, but neither of these players are truly deserving of a roster spot on your dynasty team as they are just clogging your roster and keeping a player with upside on the waiver wire.
Other Quarterbacks Chopped: Brandon Weeden, Michael Vick, Philip Rivers
Doug Martin, RB TB
Moves from RB11 to RB14
Doug Martin was chosen with the Buccaneers first round pick in the 2012 NFL draft and almost immediately was anointed as the starter in place of the struggling LeGarrette Blount. This starting position, along with his status as a first round pick are likely what led to Martin being overhyped and overranked heading into his rookie season. This move is more of a correction of my previous ranking of Martin.
In week one against the Carolina Panthers porous run defense, Martin carried the ball 24 times for a season high 95 yards. From that point, his carries, yards and fantasy points all decreased week by week until he had a bounce back game in week six. Martin’s current totals put him on pace for over 1,000 rushing yards on 269 carries. The concern is his lone touchdown through five games. His backup, Blount, on the other hand has two scores and has seen his carries increase each week this season.
Martin, at only 23 years of age, has his whole career ahead of him and looks to be a fine RB2 for dynasty teams. With many somewhat disappointed in his early season production, he even makes an alluring buy low candidate if his owner is frustrated enough, but he is not yet a dynasty RB1, which is where I, and others, had him ranked.
Other Running Backs Chopped: Chris Johnson, DeMarco Murray, Ryan Williams, Andre Brown, Jonathan Dwyer
Andre Johnson, WR HOU
Moves from WR18 to WR22
It happens to the best of them.
At age 31, we are seeing the decline of Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson before our eyes. Now in his tenth season in the league and having battled injuries throughout his career, Johnson is finally slowing down. He has gained over 1,000 receiving yards on five different occasions. In fact, in each year that he has played in all 16 games, Johnson has over 1,000 yards, except for his rookie season where he came up only 24 yards shy. Johnson also has multiple seasons finishing among the top ten fantasy wide receivers. Basically, if Johnson has been on the field, he has been a reliable fantasy starter for a decade.
That may not be the case any longer.
Johnson’s 2012 season was off to a great start as he hauled in eight passes, gained 119 yards and scored a touchdown in week one – that effort placed him among the top five wide receivers for that week. Since week one, Johnson has not broken the 100 yard plateau and has only one touchdown. In the past five weeks, Johnson ranks as WR31. I know Johnson will continue to post some great games this year and beyond, but that is not something we can assume on a weekly basis.
I am always hesitant of owning wide receivers on my dynasty teams once they are beyond the 30 year old mark. With that in mind, I was able to move Johnson in a package deal this offseason that netted me wide receivers Demaryius Thomas and Antonio Brown. Owners would be lucky to get Brown alone for Johnson now and Thomas is in an entirely different tier. The more I look at this, my ranking of Johnson as WR22 may even be too high for the former stud wide receiver.
Other Wide Receivers Chopped: Greg Jennings, Titus Young, Steve Smith (CAR), Greg Little, Rod Streater, Robert Meachem, Laurent Robinson
Jermichael Finley, TE GB
Moves from TE6 to TE13
The struggles of Packers tight end Jermichael Finley the past two years, and especially this season, have been well covered. Finley just can’t seem to hang onto the ball. Although he has caught 24 of his 35 targets, or nearly 69%, he seems to come up short when he is needed most. Finley will be a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, but the whispers that he will not return to Green Bay have already begun. Much like teammate Greg Jennings, there is concern for how Finley might perform on another team. Another team that does not have the best quarterback in football passing him the ball.
The good news for Finley owners is he does have two TE1 (among top 12) seasons in the past four years and is on pace for a career high in receptions. The bad news is his yardage is down and he only has one touchdown on the year. This could be attributed to the balanced offense or the expanding role of wide receiver Randall Cobb, but with veteran Greg Jennings missing multiple games and Donald Driver only hanging around for moral support, the opportunities should be there for Finley and they just aren’t. In fact, he is currently ranked as the TE20 – that is not someone who deserves automatic start status in our fantasy leagues.
I have been down on Finley for a while now, but now I have dropped him out side of TE1 range down to TE13. Finley is not a player I feel comfortable starting on a weekly basis and his future is uncertain. Finley is unquestionably one of the most athletically gifted tight ends in the game, but I think his dynasty value comes from those monster games he produced in his breakout 2009 season. With the emergence since then of players like Jimmy Graham and Aaron Hernandez, Finley does not stand out as much as he once did.
Other Tight Ends Chopped: Jacob Tamme, Tony Moeaki, Zach Miller
Follow Ryan on Twitter @RyanMc23