It’s fantasy playoff time! For those dynasty managers who are still alive, the off-season can wait. But for most, the off-season is here. We’re just in the beginning but the tweets below are just a few of the developments to monitor heading into the 2023 season.
George Kittle rocking the Jimmy G “Feels great baby” shirt after the win 😂 pic.twitter.com/IZ232JgJfM
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) December 16, 2022
It’s been a tough year for fantasy tight ends not named Travis Kelce. The heir apparent as the next top player at the position – the Falcons’ Kyle Pitts – had a disaster of a season before ultimately being shut down for the season with an injury; the Raiders’ Darren Waller only played five games all year, and Ravens TE Mark Andrews is proving last years 1,300-yard campaign was a fluke as he’s averaging just 55 yards per game.
This brings us to 49ers tight end George Kittle. Injuries took him out of the first two games of the season but when he did play, he wasn’t providing the elite production his dynasty managers were used to. Before Thursday’s game against Seattle, he had just four games all year where he totaled more than 40 receiving yards and just three games in which he scored. Luckily, Kittle’s week 15 performance came during most league’s fantasy playoffs which will undoubtedly redeem him with the dynasty managers who have been patiently keeping him in starting lineups. But what about next season and beyond?
Dynasty Impact: It’s fair to say the days of arguing over fantasy’s top tight end are over. Kelce has that spot locked up until he shows a decline which, as long as Patrick Mahomes is around, might not be for a while.
But Kittle is still very good, is a key element of a very good offense, and has a very good coach at the helm. He’s even proving he can produce, whether it’s Jimmy Garoppolo under center or the Cinderella story that is Brock Purdy. And with the level of uncertainty amongst dynasty tight end ranks, you wouldn’t be blamed for keeping Kittle in the top five which is where he is on our DLF rankings. Don’t treat him as a unicorn in the off-season trade market but as a very good starter who should produce for a couple more seasons.
I NEVER SEEN THIS IN MY LIFE. HOW IS THIS POSSIBLE.#RAIDERS WIN, WOOOW
Former #Patriots Chandler Jones too!pic.twitter.com/TsZBgN8va4
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 19, 2022
It wouldn’t be Twitter Observations without talking about the most talked-about play of the week and possibly the entire season. In a play that defied all logic – from the run up the middle with three seconds left to the ill-fated lateral attempt – it was still amazing to see. For dynasty managers, it happened to feature the two most popular Patriots when it comes to dynasty leagues, Rhamondre Stevenson and Jakobi Meyers. No matter what they do the rest of the season, 2022 may forever be remembered for that play for both of them.
It’s a shame, too, as both have had excellent 2022 seasons.
For Meyers, he’s averaging the most yards per game of his career and his three touchdowns are already more than the two he scored last year. His 640 yards lead the team and his 52 receptions are second only to…
…Rhamondre Stevenson! Stevenson has not just been a revelation for the Patriots but one of the biggest breakout fantasy studs in the entire NFL. He has already totaled 1,300 yards from scrimmage and scored six times. Whether you’re in a PPR league or not, he’s been a top-ten fantasy running back.
Dynasty Impact: The Stevenson breakout has led plenty of fantasy teams to their league playoffs and eventual championships. Just don’t expect Stevenson to do it again, at least not in New England. The last time Bill Belichick had the same running back lead the team in rushing for more than two seasons was Corey Dillon way back in the mid-2000s. BB simply doesn’t keep them around. If I was a current Stevenson dynasty manager, I’d look to cash in during the upcoming off-season when Stevenson will be at peak value. Better to be a year early than a year late, especially when it comes to running backs.
Meyers is a little different. Belichick seems to keep his pass-catchers around more. Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Julian Edelman are all examples of players who led the Patriots in receiving for three seasons or more. Meyers is currently in his third season leading New England in receiving so he’ll join the impressive list above. He is a free agent after the season but if he re-signs in New England, expect him to keep his value.
Hurts (Not) So Good
Eagles QB and MVP candidate Jalen Hurts is uncertain to play Saturday vs. the Cowboys due to a sprained shoulder that he suffered during Sunday's win over the Bears, per league sources.
Hurts was hurt late in the third quarter, when Bears' DE Trevis Gipson drove him into ground. pic.twitter.com/KsWbMkCszW
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 19, 2022
Luckily for dynasty managers, one-two week injuries to players don’t have nearly the same effect as they do in redraft leagues. But for a player like Jalen Hurts, whose gift of bulldozing defenders can also be his curse, it’s something to monitor. Hurts is in the middle of an MVP season but is set to miss next week’s game due to a sprained shoulder he suffered. I say apparently because he managed to finish the game while throwing a deep ball to AJ Brown right on the money but it’s not surprising that Hurts is banged up.
Part of what makes Hurts so valuable is the run game, similar to another (former) Eagles quarterback, Mike Vick. Vick could run with the best of them, topping 500 rushing yards in several seasons on his way to several top-ten fantasy finishes. Hurts is well on his way to the same path, after totaling at least 700 rushing yards this season and last. The good news for his dynasty managers is he’s proving to be much more accurate than Vick ever showed. Hurts’ 67% completion percentage this season is a number Vick never recorded while Hurts’ five interceptions are lower than any total Vick had in seasons where he played more than ten games.
Dynasty Impact: Hurts’ passing numbers are what boosted his fantasy value this season. He topped 700 yards rushing last year and repeated that feat this year but the passing numbers are what have put him in the MVP conversation. But the injury could slow that train down if it takes him out a game or two which is something Philadelphia would gladly take if it meant a healthy Hurts for the playoffs.
Injuries in general are something to monitor with Hurts. He missed a week in 2021 with an ankle injury and now this injury with his shoulder. By comparison, the two quarterbacks ranked ahead of Hurts in our dynasty rankings – Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen – haven’t missed a game in three seasons. As long as Hurts is running the ball, it’s more chances for him to get banged up. If you don’t want that risk, you’re better off trading for a more traditional pocket passer who racks up fantasy points by air.
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