The beauty of playing in dynasty leagues is there is always something to do. Your team may be well out of the playoff race and way down in the standings but, for most leagues, that means a high draft pick. And like the NFL, those high picks can be like gold. Will you use them? Will you trade them? The choice is yours and requires some research, even research that is happening right now. Which players will finish the season strong and be on your radar as you start your rebuild? Some of the tweets that identify those players are below.
Now We’re Cookin’
James Cook vs Patriots:
• 14 carries
• 6 receptions
• 110 total yards (led team)
The Bills rookie RB was IMPRESSIVE tonight 👀 pic.twitter.com/6OVd4AruVr
— NFL Rookie Watch (@NFLRookieWatxh) December 2, 2022
It only took three months but Bills running back James Cook had his best game of the season. He had 115 yards on 20 carries and played just as many snaps as starter Devin Singletary (33-32). For the Bills, it was a much-needed jolt to the run game. Not that Singletary had been bad but Cook is now averaging more than a yard more per carry, 5.4 to 4.4.
It was just the kind of performance dynasty leaguers had been hoping for from Cook ever since he was taken in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft. The former Georgia Bulldog joined a potent offense that seemingly wasn’t happy with their options of Singletary and Zack Moss. Through ten weeks, it seemed like Cook may not have been the answer either after totaling more than 10 carries just once. That changed in week 11 when he totaled his most yards of the season with 86 and then in week 13 when he totaled his most carries with 14. It remains to be seen if this trend will continue this season but it’s trending in the right direction for Cook managers.
Dynasty Impact: The emergence of Cook as the lead Bills back would not just have ramifications for a Buffalo playoff push (along with Cook dynasty managers) this season but beyond. Singletary is a free agent after this season and it’s clear third-stringer Nyheim Hines isn’t the future. Already, Cook is about to catch Singletary in dynasty ADP after giving up a small lead earlier this year.
Cook should widen his lead as the season wears on if these current splits continue. He’ll be a target in the off-season if you’re in the market for a lead running back on an explosive offense.
Those Dynasty Ranks are Lion
Jamaal Williams is having an UNREAL season 🤯 pic.twitter.com/jm67FKfS9u
— PFF (@PFF) December 4, 2022
- Lions Running Back A production: 197 touches, 826 total yards, 14 touchdowns
- Lions Running Back B production: 92 touches, 589 yards, six touchdowns
If you saw this comparison before the season, you would assume A was 2020 second-round pick D’Andre Swift leading the way, and veteran backup Jamaal Williams was B. But even the most casual of fantasy and dynasty players know the insane season Williams is having. Not only has he been the more reliable option out of the backfield for Detroit but he’s leading the entire NFL in touchdowns.
The development has been a pleasant surprise for Williams’ dynasty managers who had little hope after he signed in Detroit to ostensibly backup Swift. But he matched Swift in the running game last year and has blown past him this year.
Dynasty Impact: Meanwhile, the emergence of Williams seriously hampered the dynasty impact of Swift. Widely considered a can’t-miss prospect, Swift was – and still is – considered a top-ten running back in terms of dynasty ADP.
But that will change as the Lions found an equation that works and includes both Swift and Williams getting the ball.
Which isn’t to say Swift still won’t have value. He will continue to be explosive and make big plays but we’ll have to temper how often he gets those chances. He probably won’t see 300 touches anytime soon but 200 is easily feasible. In the off-season, view Swift as an RB2 with RB1 upside but nothing more. Do NOT bet the farm on that D’Andre Swift bellcow breakout season. It isn’t happening.
And if you currently have Swift on your dynasty roster and are offered a top-three rookie pick in 2023 for him – as the DLF Trade Analyze indicates you should expect – I would take the pick. Swift is still young but is clearly in a timeshare while the 2023 class has a few options at the top of its class that could quickly move past Swift in dynasty value (hello, Bijan Robinson).
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) December 7, 2022
It may be hard to believe but former Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield was not just the top pick in the 2018 NFL Draft but continued to be the top quarterback prospect from that class a year into his career. He was well ahead of Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and even further ahead of Bills quarterback Josh Allen when it came to dynasty value. And it was well deserved as Mayfield had, what turned out to be, the best season in his rookie year. He threw for over 3,700 yards and 27 touchdowns (a career-high even five years later) against just 14 interceptions.
It started going downhill the next year when Mayfield’s interceptions went up 50% to 21 despite throwing approximately the same amount of touchdowns (26). And even though he led the Browns to the playoffs in his third season, his stats just never grew. He never surpassed 3,827 yards in the air nor 27 touchdowns in a season. For his career, he’s never been better than a QB2 in fantasy scoring.
Dynasty Impact: Weirder things have happened but it would be a miracle if Baker ever got back to starting regularly in the NFL, let alone be a QB2 in fantasy scoring. Granted, he’s made it further than other 2018 first-round quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen but not by much.
Mayfield caught on with the Rams and could get a chance to shine at the end of the 2022 season but, he’ll most likely be somewhere else in 2023 and as a backup. For those superflex players out there, which is the only format Mayfield will have a whiff of relevancy, don’t be fooled into giving up any assets for him. His career as a starter is, for all intents and purposes, done.
- Dynasty Trending Observations: Christian McCaffrey, De’Von Achane, and the Chiefs’ Running Game - September 27, 2023
- Dynasty Trending Observations: Cam Akers on the Block, Jerome Ford on a Rocket - September 20, 2023
- Dynasty Trending Observations: Chiefs Receivers Drop the Ball, D’Andre Swift Disappears - September 13, 2023