Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the regular season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
Alex Smith (32)
QB22. QB16. QB19. QB13. These are the last four yearly finishes for Smith, with his lowest coming in his most recent campaign. Now, you know I don’t judge my quarterbacks purely on their year finishes, but Smith is just not a player we can expect to provide fantasy ‘upside’. Outside of a 28-point performance in week one, and 22-point day on fantasy Championship week, Smith didn’t top 20 points in any other game this season. He had one 300-yard game on the year (the opener), and no games with more than two touchdowns through the air. As fantasy quarterbacks go, he’s not one who will win you games.
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The question Head Coach Andy Reid is faced with is at what point does he look for better? If there’s one thing I know about Big Red, it’s that he gets the best out of who he plays at the position (see A.J. Feeley and Kevin Kolb), but just how far can Smith take this team? I don’t expect Reid to necessarily seek out a new starter, but he might add some young competition come draft time. For now, Smith is a starting quarterback, and perhaps a fantasy starter on 2QB or superflex teams – but in single quarterback leagues, he’s nothing more than a desperation backup.
Nick Foles (27)
While Foles is not technically a free agent, his optional salary (team decision) is a whopping $10.4 million for 2017. However, when the contract was first agreed, Adam Schefter reported that number to be “between $6.75-16 million based on 2016 performance“. This is where it gets interesting. He did play well in relief of Smith this year (36 of 55, 410 yards, three touchdowns and no picks) and could be held on to if it’s for the lower number on that scale. If that’s the case, will be given a fair chance to win the starting role? Even if he does, we are talking about the same Nick Foles who has been exposed as somewhat of a phoney after an astonishing 27 touchdown year in 2013. He’s definitely worth rostering in 2QB and superflex leagues on the off-chance he is cut, traded or steps in to relieve Smith from an injury.
Tyler Bray (25)
Bray was a quarterback prospect with ‘arm talent’ – we tend to hear about a few of those before every NFL Draft. Unfortunately, he offers nothing else to go along with a strong arm. He shouldn’t be on your rosters.
Spencer Ware (25)
Ware is a top 50 dynasty asset, according to our January ADP data. That same data puts him at twelfth among running backs, so it’s clear he’s thought of highly right now in the dynasty community. However, I am not on board with this valuation, and I’d urge owners to investigate their options – what can you get for Ware right now?
Despite the excitement and being one of the poster boys for this year’s ‘Zero RB’ strategy, he only had one 100-yard game and five total touchdowns on the season. He finished all the way down at RB16 (below Todd Gurley) and didn’t put up the numbers I’d expect to see in our top 12 running backs. Obviously, he outperformed our expectations heading into the year, but that doesn’t mean he will keep going. Too often, we get enamoured with a player and the ceiling expectation keeps rising. What if they simply did well, but will level off? That’s what I expect from Ware, as opposed to an even bigger season in 2017.
Jamaal Charles (30)
I think it’s safe to assume JC Superstar will be back in Kansas City next year if healthy, but unfortunately we cannot assume his full health will be there. I was among those who thought Charles would enjoy a bounce-back season after missing most of the 2015 campaign with a torn ACL. However, he looked worse for wear (/Ware) all year and after multiple setbacks was placed on injured reserve again, ultimately only carrying the ball on 12 times on the season.
Here’s the deal. The Chiefs will have to pay Charles $3 million as a roster bonus if they believe he will be healthy enough to play in 2017. If that is the case, I will put my faith in NFL doctors and attempt to acquire Charles on the cheap for contending teams. If he doesn’t pass this test and is released, I’m not sure it will be wise to go after him even if he ends up on a running back-needy team with a good situation.
Charcandrick West (25)
West is a backup running back. Like all good backups, there have been times when he has shined or been thrusted into the spotlight, but they don’t mean he belongs there. I can understand holding West on very deep rosters or as a Ware handcuff, but what’s the best that can happen?
Knile Davis (25, UFA)
I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back on the roster, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him cut. But I would be surprised if I see anyone investing in him for their dynasty teams – it’s not going to happen.
Jeremy Maclin (28)
Maclin had an extremely disappointing 2016 outing. Despite the team’s success, he finished with career lows in catches (44), yards (536) and touchdowns (2). (I am excluding the 2013 season, in which he didn’t set foot on the field.) With a groin injury lingering for a lot of the season, I can’t place the sole blame on him, but this offense simply isn’t designed for a strong passing game. Or at least, while Smith is the quarterback it won’t be. He did put a strong 2015 in KC (87-1088-8) so it’s obviously possible that he has more strong years, but it’s not like there’s a lot of volume to be had.
I’m somewhere in the middle, so if you can approach an owner who views him as an ageing 500 yard receiver on a ‘nothing’ offense, I’ll pay up. If you have to pay for the man who put up back-to-back 1000 yard and eight-plus touchdown seasons but had a down year due to injury, I’d probably look elsewhere. If ADP data is anything to go by (WR44, 76th overall), there will be a nice window to buy him over the summer when we fall in love with our youngsters.
Chris Conley (24)
Conley didn’t score a touchdown all year, but did match Maclin for catches and top him in yards with 530. Although he is supposedly a size/speed freak, it doesn’t seem to translate to his game as he’s churned out very mediocre stats and performances through two years. He’s worth holding on to if you can spare a spot for the unknown, but I can’t envision a bright fantasy future for the 24-year-old (who was born in Turkey, of all places. Irrelevant fact I know, but still interesting).
Tyreek Hill (22)
‘The Freak’ was one of 2016’s biggest breakouts and risers, now sitting at number 61 in the January ADP data. With his highlight-reel plays and performances, he was the talk of the town towards the end of the regular season. Don’t get me wrong, he’s electrifying and excellent in the open field – but there is no way he keeps up the pace of long touchdowns. Or at least, there’s no way he keeps it up enough to provide meaningful fantasy statistics regularly. 61 catches? Great. 12 total touchdowns? Fantastic. He won some games for the Chiefs, but I’m interested in if he can win for your fantasy teams.
Unfortunately, I believe his fantasy production was so touchdown-based that it will be very hard to sustain. He’s not a pure receiver (only two games with over six catches and two with over 70 yards), and not a running back (24 carries over 16 games), so how will he score points? I am cautious about throwing Cordarrelle Patterson’s name out as a dynasty value comparison because I feel he’s overused when we are talking about overhyped players, but Hill falls into his category. He’s an electrifying gadget player who over-performed, and the hopeful side in us pictures a world where he scores a long touchdown every game and adds more volume. I think now would be an ideal time to move on from Hill.
On a non-dynasty note, be sure to read this piece by ESPN’s Mina Kimes on the rookie. If anything, it’ll give you an insight into why Joe Mixon’s ‘talent’ will trump his ‘off-the-field’ issues once the pads are on.
Albert Wilson (24, RFA)
Every once in a while, we have a ‘Bert Alert’, but they are way too infrequent to fool you into starting him anywhere. Through three seasons, he hasn’t topped 500 yards in any and only has five total touchdowns. Don’t waste a roster spot on him that could be used for someone with potential.
De’Anthony Thomas (24)
Tyreek Hill is literally everything Kansas City wanted Thomas to be. He’s expendable to us, and likely expendable to the Chiefs now. There’s a chance another team attempts to use him in a gadget role, but that doesn’t our dynasty teams.
Demarcus Robinson (22)
I can’t envision much of a role as the fifth receiver on an Alex Smith-led offense, so don’t worry about him for now.
Travis Kelce (27)
Travis Kelce was the top scoring fantasy tight end this season, but it feels like he did it quietly. Perhaps it was the low touchdown total (four), or maybe it was that his TE1 score (221 PPR points) was the lowest by a top scorer at the position since 2006 (to put that in perspective, Gary Barnidge and Greg Olsen both scored more last year as the TE4 and TE5). Despite that, I am more impressed with his increase in catches (85) and yards (1125) than anything else. That yardage total wasn’t just first among tight ends; it was also top 12 in whole league ahead of some of this year’s star receivers (Tyrell Williams, Terrelle Pryor, Kenny Britt and many more).
Yes, we can safely place Kelce in the top ‘non-Gronk’ tier of tight ends, but just remember it’s all relative. Our TE1 would still finish way down as the WR18 or RB11 at other positions and almost 200 points behind the top back and 100 behind the top receiver – at his current value, if there’s an opportunity to get a star at another position, do it.
Demetrius Harris (25)
Harris scooped up his first career touchdown this year (in his third year as a pro), but won’t take any meaningful snaps or balls away from Kelce. Our roster spots are too valuable to be used on average tight ends.
Ross Travis joins Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis and De’Anthony Thomas in the ‘player with two first names’ crew, but that’s about all he has to offer. O’Shaugnessy was active in all 16 games this year, and had minus one receiving yard, so there’s that.
As well as editing for DLF, James writes for Sky Sports and can be found on Twitter at @JS_Football