Football is officially back, and if you’re anything like me, you’ve waited not-so-patiently like a loyal dog at the window facing a driveway when it’s time for it’s owner to come home. Each game gave dynasty owners some sort of storyline to follow. Most of us want to see how our new assets (rookies) will fit in with their team and there were some exciting performances. We also got to see some old faces in new places. It’s always odd and intriguing to see a player in a new jersey.
Since some of the most impactful events which affect your fantasy team happen on the field, I’m going to do something slightly different with Impact Events this year. As always, I’ll report on injury and contract news, but starting today, I’ll analyze how some performances may have an effect on your roster.
Philip Rivers, QB SD
News: The San Diego Chargers and Rivers agree to a four year extension worth over $83 million. The former fourth overall draft pick will be 38 years old when his new contract runs out, likely linking him to the team for the rest of his career.
Analysis: Rivers may be a bit underappreciated in the fantasy industry. Since 2008, only Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers have scored more fantasy points. The dynasty industry in particular seems to have a lack of respect for him as there are currently two rookie quarterbacks and Matthew Stafford being drafted ahead of Rivers in our August ADP. That doesn’t seem right to me. Rivers has almost an annual finish as a top ten quarterback in fantasy, and this contract tells us the Chargers want to keep him in town for five more years. I get the idea of Stafford, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota being younger, but there is no guarantee any of them will be in the league when Rivers retires.
Julius Thomas, TE JAX
News: The Jacksonville Jaguars are confident Thomas will be ready to play by week one. Thomas broke his hand in the team’s game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday.
Analysis: Thomas is another player I believe wasn’t getting the respect he’s earned. With an August ADP of TE6 (79.5 overall), Thomas is a player who is screaming “value” in the seventh round. With the news of a broken hand, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fall even further in some dynasty startups.
[inlinead]Since taking over as the starting tight end in 2013, Thomas has averaged 2.5 ppr fantasy points per target. For context, Rob Gronkowski has only averaged 1.97 points per target. In my opinion, the issue with Thomas has always been lack of targets. If healthy, I believe Thomas will pass his career high in targets of 90. Even when his efficiency drops a bit, he can put up similar numbers with an increase in volume.
DeMarco Murray, RB PHI
News: Earlier this week, Philadelphia Eagles Head Coach Chip Kelly was quoted as saying, “I don’t think you can have a guy carry it 370 to 400 times per season and be successful,” Kelly and “I wanted to have two running backs, and that’s why we got Ryan [Mathews].”
Analysis: I certainly don’t believe Kelly’s intention is to give Murray the 449 touches he got in Dallas last season, but let’s not make any mistake about who is the far superior running back in town. Much is made about the Cowboys’ offensive line, but the truth is, Murray actually averaged more yards per carry in previous seasons with the team. When we’re talking Murray, we’re talking about one of the league’s best running backs.
The contracts of the two players in town show just what the team thinks of them. The team signed Murray to a five year $40 million deal with $18 million fully guaranteed. Mathews received only a three year $11 million with $5 million in guarantees. In 2016, the Eagles can actually cut Mathews and Darren Sproles for only $1 million each while saving $6.5 million.
Phillip Dorsett, WR IND
News: Dorsett caught four passes for 51 yards Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Analysis: I’m obviously the head of the Dorsett bandwagon, but this is just more fuel for my fire. Andrew Luck heavily targeted the rookie wide receiver, and I see this as becoming the norm sooner rather than later. Dorsett still has a very palatable price tag in dynasty, so now is the time to buy. The deep threat averaged 24.2 yards per catch his last year as a Miami Hurricane, and I believe his skills translate well to what the Colts want to do with him.
Many people think the Colts’ wide receiver position is too crowded, but I don’t see it in the same light. TY Hilton will be there long term, but outside of him, there’s not much competition. Andre Johnson will surely get a healthy amount of targets this year, but this could be the final campaign for the 34 year old. The Colts did spend a third round pick on Donte Moncrief last year, but the dynasty community seems to like him more than the Colts actually do. Dorsett could be the best dynasty value on the Colts roster, relative to price.
Ameer Abdullah, RB DET
News: Abdullah carried the ball seven times for 67 yards Thursday night against the New York Jets.
Analysis: The Lions’ rookie running back showed why the team spent the 54th overall pick on him in the NFL draft. Abdullah showed lateral agility mixed with explosion and speed. With Joique Bell missing time due to injury, and there being no other running back worthy of a “workhorse” role, Abdullah could be forced into significant carries during his rookie campaign. The hype will make Abdullah a pricey dynasty asset, but if you believe he’s poised for stardom, there may be no better time to buy than now.
I’ve seen many people talk about how you should not overreact to the preseason, and while I agree, I believe underreacting can be far more detrimental to your dynasty roster. We must work with the information we’re given, and at this point, preseason games mixed with training camp news is what we have. Use this to your advantage this week. See if any of your leaguemates are underreacting to the current news. Fire out some “lowball” trade offers for Dorsett, Rivers or Abdullah (or all three).