Let’s face it, there’s an enormous amount of information out there on Sunday mornings. We’re not going to waste your time by repeating the news and notes about who’s in or out this week, since that’s really not what you visit us for. We’re also not going to do another article on starts or sits this week – we already have the personalized lineup advice for you on the premium content. Again, there are 100 places you can go for that, so no reason to repeat ourselves or others.
The Sunday Morning Huddle goes through each game and states what we’re looking to see from a dynasty perspective. One player will be picked from each team who has dynasty value tied to the game – players at a pivot point where their value could increase or decrease based on opportunity and performance.
Denver at Jacksonville
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With Trevor Siemian reportedly out, it’s time for Paxton Lynch to make a late season start and show how much growth he has under his belt. With Siemian being a game manager and Lynch a first round pick, the assumption here is that Lynch is the eventual starter – but probably not this year. A strong showing here will increase his value quite a bit as we progress through the offseason and rumors swirl about who the 2017 starter will be.
For the Jaguars, Blake Bortles has had a really down year, but that’s well documented. The surprise for the team has been Marqise Lee really stepping up to the plate as one of the more valuable and consistent receivers on the team. The bonus for you is that his value is probably still low, and he isn’t likely to be a focal point of the Broncos defense. Look for Lee to keep it going and deserve a small value bump.
Los Angeles at New England
Another player having a really down year is Todd Gurley. For a myriad of reasons, 2016 just isn’t a good year for him. New England has a long history of trying to take away a team’s top players on game day by scheming against them, and Gurley is likely to be schemed against. While I think most of us still like his talent and long term value, it sure would be nice to see him regain short term value by doing well in a situation like this.
This shouldn’t be surprising with Rob Gronkowski out, but Martellus Bennett has the potential to gain a ton of short term value and long term value with an extended audition in the lead tight end role for the Patriots. He was already likely to get locked up to a long term contract this offseason, but good play over the next few weeks will only make that a certainty. In the event he locks down the number two tight end spot for the Patriots with the upside to fill in for Gronk’s injured times going forward, his value should be going straight up.
San Francisco at Chicago
The 49ers are not a good team, but Colin Kaepernick definitely has what it takes to score fantasy points even on a bad team. The Bears are not a good defensive team. This is just connecting the dots, but Kaepernick clearly has regained a lot of the value he had previously lost, and the potential is there for this trend to continue. He will need to show he deserves a long term starting role to really get his value moving.
I’m going to pat myself on the back for nailing Zach Miller and Marquess Wilson the past two weeks for the Bears. Now that Wilson has demonstrated his rapport with quarterback Matt Barkley and his ability to produce on the NFL level, his value should have received a nice bump and he will need to keep producing to keep it going. Luckily for him and his owners, the 49ers are pretty bad on defense and his likelihood of keeping it going is high.
Philadelphia at Cincinnati
Averaging 15 touches per game in his previous two games, Wendell Smallwood failed to live up to expectations in week 12. The Bengals have a decent defense, and the Eagles passing game has been struggling lately. It remains to be seen if the Bengals will scheme to focus on the pass or the run, but either way Smallwood needs to take advantage of his opportunities or be left in the dust. As a fifth round NFL pick, players don’t often get a lot of chances, and this could be his only one.
With AJ Green out with a partial hamstring tear, Tyler Eifert has been receiving extra defensive attention. Much to the chagrin of anyone who faded him last week because of this, Eifert dominated. Without many other options on the offense, he will need to continue to produce and prove he can stay healthy for the Bengals to be successful. Lucky for his owners, this would also result in an increasing value.
Miami at Baltimore
This year has not been kind to Jarvis Landry’s stats or to his fantasy value. In week 12, he checked in behind Kenny Stills, Dion Sims, and Devante Parker in PPR fantasy points among Dolphins pass catchers. While those players are all decent, this isn’t the production that Landry’s owners paid for when they got him. I’m just going to put him on the continuous downswing for value until he can show he deserves otherwise.
On the flip side, Kenneth Dixon is beginning to surpass Terrance West for playing time and the results have been good so far, with Dixon scoring the second most PPR fantasy points on the Ravens last week – right behind Joe Flacco. Miami has a tough run defense, but Dixon has proven to be valuable both in the running and passing games, so he isn’t the kind of back to put up duds often going forward. All he needs is continued touches and playing time and his value will vault upward.
Kansas City at Atlanta
Big news on Saturday morning is that Jeremy Maclin is once again out. The Falcons are tough against opposing number one receivers, but Tyreek Hill isn’t your typical number one. Last week we saw what he can do against a tough defense, producing three total touchdowns. This should be fun to keep an eye on, as Hill’s arrow has been pointing straight up for a while now and it could continue.
While Julio Jones is clearly one of the NFL’s elite wide receivers, his production has been inconsistent this year. Combining his lack of consistency with his ever increasing age, his value has been dropping in-season, passed in ADP by the likes of players like Mike Evans. Like clockwork, though, his value gets a bump every time he explodes, as if everyone magically remembers what he is capable of. This week looks like it is going to be one of those explosions, so his value will go back up marginally.
Houston at Green Bay
I must be in a connect the dots mood. The Texans passing offense is struggling mightily and the focal point of it, DeAndre Hopkins, hasn’t been fed the ball enough for whatever reason. Meanwhile, the Packers defense is struggling against the pass with a plethora of injuries to key positions in the secondary. I’m not saying this will be a get right game for Hopkins, but if it isn’t then it is clearly alarming for his value in the next several years until Houston finds a real quarterback.
For the Packers, Randall Cobb has been the forgotten man out of the team’s pass catchers over the past month or so. Davante Adams is breaking out in a big way and Jordy Nelson isn’t going away. Then Jared Cooks even exploded for a game. I don’t think this is likely to be a rebound spot for Cobb, and his value arrow is pointing down again.
Detroit at New Orleans
A player that I do think is looking a value rebound squarely in the eye is Marvin Jones. Beginning this week, he faces a series of teams that should give him favorable matchups. A number of smart people are stacking this game in DFS, and Jones has the combination of explosiveness and negative recency bias that one would look for as a daily dart. I don’t think he gets back to where his value was after three weeks this year, but it should rebound at least some starting now.
Speaking of players needing a rebound, Brandin Cooks went from featured player early in the season to sharing the featured workload with Michael Thomas to not even being targeted in week 12. Will that turn around? Even if it does, Cooks now has a floor of zero, so his range of outcomes has been impacted by the emergence of Thomas to the point that his volatility is high enough his value is moving down.
Buffalo at Oakland
Oakland knows how to put up a lot of points and can play pretty good defense, even if they also give up a fair amount of points. They seem to come up with the big play in clutch moments. This week, Tyrod Taylor gets the honor of trying to keep pace and avoid big negative plays. I’m not sure that he can do it, but if he manages to fare as well or nearly as well as Cam Newton did, then he is deserving of a value increase.
On the flip side, Oakland really needs to improve at shortening the game once they have a healthy lead. To that end, Latavius Murray needs to step up to the plate and create consistent yardage to close out games. His healt and volatility from play to play have been issues for him throughout his career, and I am not sure that we can expect those things to change. While the backfield trio of Murray, DeAndre Washington, and Jalen Richard is a good one, they may lack the clock killing grinder they need. Oakland may invest at running back in the draft if they can’t get what they need out of the players on their roster.
Tampa Bay at San Diego
The Buccaneers have a healthy Doug Martin back, and they probably couldn’t be happier. He didn’t score any touchdowns last week, but he didn’t need to for the team to win in Seattle. His yards on the ground helped enough against a tough defensive front. Now he gets to tee off against a weaker defense, and after comments earlier in the season from coach Dirk Koetter stating they wanted to rein in Jameis Winston, I expect we might see a healthy dose of Martin through fantasy playoffs and a corresponding value increase.
Returning from injury, Travis Benjamin was pretty much a non-factor. He has been good at times this season, but Tyrell Williams looks like the guy who got the biggest jump in value for the team. In 2017, the Chargers will regain Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson from injured reserve. Where does that leave Benjamin? Unless he can be a key cog in the offense the rest of the way this year, he could be the odd man out come next year so his value will go down.
New York (Giants) at Pittsburgh
Another player with a surprising zero point outing last week was Sterling Shepard. The rookie has a ton of promise, though, and Eli Manning reportedly apologized to Shepard for not targeting him. Add on that beat reporters are expecting a healthy dose of targets to go to Shepard this week, and I think we have a bounce back candidate for value. Victor Cruz won’t garner as many looks going forward as he did last week. Consider that an outlier.
The Steelers continue to be an odd team to write about in that the big three players – Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, and Le’Veon Bell – don’t have much room for their values to move up, and they certainly aren’t moving down. For me, that leaves Ladarius Green as the man that still has the most room to grow in the offense as he is phased in after returning from injury. I have no projections I’m comfortable with that would explain what that really means, but he could be moving up if he produces.
Washington at Arizona
For the past month, Rob Kelley has been everything the Redskins needed at running back. Now that he has a track record, he still needs to do enough to prove to the team they don’t need to address the position in the 2017 NFL Draft. Given their deficiency at the position, I consider the team very likely to draft a running back. While he may continue to do well this season, his value has to be peaking right now. I consider him a value down regardless of production due to situation.
After exploding around a month ago, JJ Nelson has done very little since. This is still an exploitable situation for the wide receiver, as John Brown is having injury issues, Michael Floyd is inconsistent and in a contract year, and Larry Fitzgerald, while playing well, is at an age where he could simply fall off of a cliff. What Nelson needs to do is step up consistently in order to earn a role beginning in 2017. If he can’t do that, his value will likely just move down.
Carolina at Seattle
Last week, Kelvin Benjamin found the end zone for the first time since week four. Also last week, a wide receiver with similar size in Mike Evans burned the Seahawks for two touchdowns. While Benjamin hasn’t been awful this season, he also hasn’t been fantastic. What I want to see is him keep scoring touchdowns – the ability to produce in the red zone is one of his strongest traits. A healthy share of receptions and yardage will keep his value afloat, but it can only really increase if the touchdowns return.
Seemingly the only healthy running back for the Seahawks with a skill set worthy of touches in the NFL, Thomas Rawls is primed for a big workload. While I don’t doubt that he can produce when healthy, I do doubt that he can consistently stay healthy. This game for Rawls comes down to two things for me: can he handle the hefty workload, and if he can, can he come out unscathed so he can go again next week? If he checks two out of two boxes, value up.
Indianapolis at New York (Jets)
You may have heard that Revis Island has a new inhabitant every week. On track to play, TY Hilton seems likely to buy a timeshare on Revis Island on Monday night. A fantastic deep threat playing against an eminently burnable defense for big plays, this one almost makes too much sense. Even if Andrew Luck doesn’t play, I think Hilton can get one big splash play in and likely a small value bump.
The Jets were fortunate to have Quincy Enunwa bounce back in a big way last week as both he and Brandon Marshall put up big games. While Marshall’s status for Monday night is in question, we may get a glimpse of what Enunwa can do in a featured role. Even if Marshall does play, the Colts defense is beatable for a number two receiver. Really what we want from Enunwa is consistent production. If he blew up last week, can he still put up, at minimum, middling production this week? That remains to be seen, and is a crucial piece to the puzzle of figuring out Enunwa’s dynasty value.