It’s always a bit of a let-down to realize just how quickly the NFL season passes. Months and months of buildup are followed by a short-lived whirlwind of actual football. The calendar has turned to a New Year, your favorite team’s playoff dreams are being dashed left and right, and the fantasy playoffs are a fading memory. This year we thought we’d go ahead and take a hard look at our annual predictions series. We’ll see who was very right, who was very wrong, and try to pick a true winner for each category. Here are the categories we tackled:
- Fantasy MVP
- Fantasy Rookie of the Year
- Sleeper Rookie of the Year (outside our top 24)
- Bust of the Year
- Fantasy Sleeper
- Best Dynasty Buy
- Best Dynasty Sell
- Fantasy Comeback Player of the Year
We’ll continue our retrospective by taking a look at our picks for Best Dynasty Buy.
James Conner, RB PIT
Conner has a dynasty ADP of 191.67 as the RB61 in August’s DLF data, which is up from 202.67 in July but down from its peak of 123.25 in November of last year. What happened? Why did people pump the brakes on this kid after a relatively minor injury? The Steelers have Le’Veon Bell for 2018 and let’s be real here, the dude practically belongs on the Avengers. He’s a damn superhero, but the Steelers are not giving him the long-term contract he wants and he’s going to be in a different uniform next season. As a result, they are going to run him until he pukes and then they’re going to run him again. Conner has looked really good in the preseason and has shown he is capable of being a complete three-down back. Why people are taking roster cloggers like Doug Martin, Kenneth Dixon and C.J. Anderson over him is beyond me. – Eric Olinger
It’s funny how a pick here from Olinger was really more about next year – but it paid off for owners this year. We talked about the Le’Veon Bell in the Best Dynasty Sell article, and that situation applied once again here. Nobody saw that coming, including Eric here, but it worked out all the same. If you bought Conner at his off-season price, you laughed all the way to the dynasty bank.
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Nick Chubb, RB CLE
This is mostly a value move. Chubb was drafted into a quagmire depth chart behind one of the most valued receiving backs in the NFL in Duke Johnson (who just signed a long-term contract) and a veteran who has finished in the top 12 at the position in Carlos Hyde. I can’t argue against any of that. But I know Nick Chubb was as promising a rushing talent as any from this year’s draft class. And while I don’t’ know the future, I do know I’m almost guaranteed to be surprised by what I find when it gets here. Given those two things, Nick Chubb looks like the ultimate buy-now dynasty running back. – Peter Howard
This all about value here. Many owners will look at the roster and see Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson ahead of Chubb. The Browns can easily move on from Hyde’s contract in 2019 and while Duke Johnson is an efficient receiving threat as a running back, his role as the more traditional back is less defined. Chubb is one of the most promising pure rushing talents in this draft class, Saquon Barkley included. As owners tire of seeing Chubb on the bench, I’ll do my best to target him at a lower price. – Pete Lawrence
Both Peter and Pete landed on Chubb as a good buy. A lot of folks really liked Chubb’s talent, but most didn’t expect him to pay off so soon with Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson in town. Because of that, you could have had yourself a young, great looking starting running back at a discount. Not a huge discount mind you, but he was a great buy nonetheless.
Jay Ajayi, RB PHI
The Eagles brought Ajayi along slowly in 2017 and it seemed they didn’t really want to give him a heavy workload. But he steadily squeezed LeGarrette Blount out of the picture until he owned the starting role towards the end of the season. Assuming he can stay healthy, Ajayi has the chance to be a high volume back in 2018, which very few others can say. Given he’s available at a discount, this seems like an excellent opportunity to add a reliable runner. – Tom Kislingbury
This was a bit of a tough break pick for Tom. I don’t fault him at all, as I myself own Ajayi in a couple of places and expected a better 2018 out of him. It’s hard to predict injury, and we failed to do so again. I thought Ajayi would be an integral part of that Eagles’ offense, and even when healthy it didn’t seem to be panning out.
Ricky Seals-Jones, TE ARI
I’ve already written over 1,500 words on why you should buy Ricky Seals-Jones immediately given he’s in line to get a healthy target share this season in Arizona. Plus, Seals-Jones has played in 87% (27/31) of snaps with the first-team offense this preseason. RSJ is still criminally undervalued (182.67 ADP) and if he’s suspended for a game or two for his July arrest that price could drop even more. – Josh Brickner
I feel bad for Josh here, as I’ve been there. You sometimes really fall in love with a guy and plant your flag in him all over the place, and it doesn’t always work out. Such was the case with RSJ. He showed some real flashes in 2017, and he was the starting tight end in the desert. But that offense never really “turned over” like some had hoped, and instead burst into flame in a bad way. RSJ may have just been collateral damage.
I think there is an argument that Phillip Lindsay was the actual best dynasty buy, but I don’t really think a lot of people were buying him in the off-season. I have a feeling his name will come up in another article in this series, however. Once again, I think one of our writers nailed it here with Eric Olinger picking James Conner. Getting the kind of production in such a value pickup is rare. Conner finished the season as the RB6 in vanilla PPR, and that was with missing a couple of games late. He also made the “Le’Veon Bell is replaceable” argument a thing, which is quite a feat in itself. Now he may have cost a few folks some championships considering he missed weeks 14-16, but hopefully you weren’t totally relying on Conner to win the championship. He at least helped get a lot of teams to the dance in the first place.
Who was your best buy in Dynasty this past season?
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