Dynasty Buy/Sell/Hold: AFC West

Eric Hardter

We are nearing the crescendo of the NFL off-season. As such, the window for making final roster adjustments is drawing to a close, with the obtainment of actionable game information just over the horizon in September. Put another way, it would not be unreasonable to assert player values are less likely to fluctuate over the next couple of months (pending injuries) as compared to when the regular season is in full force.

In that spirit, I’ve selected players to buy, sell and hold for all 32 NFL teams. This miniseries will be broken down by division, with 12 players highlighted per article and 96 overall. In a 12-team league with 20 roster spots (similar to the DLF ADP), that accounts for 40% of the players!

Before we dive in, a few notes and disclaimers:

  • Player values were obtained from the combination of the most current ADP (pending the lead time necessary for authorship), and the DLF top-250 rankings;
  • The league paradigm is assumed to be PPR and 1QB (players in superflex and/or 2QB leagues would likely have some divergence from those I’ve selected);
  • Opinions on players are my own and do not represent all of DLF; and finally,
  • Exact player values are always going to be dependent on individual leagues and owners, and may not be consistent with the assertions provided herein.

With that said, let’s continue with the AFC West! Players will be profiled individually, with a tabulated summary of all 12 provided at the article’s conclusion.

Denver Broncos

Buy: Jerry Jeudy, WR (ADP = 50.5, Rank = 53.3)

Jeudy’s raw stats aren’t going to overwhelm you, considering his best season resulted in a 67-972-6 line. However, some context is necessary. As a rookie, Jeudy compiled a fine line of 56-872-3 while earning 20 more targets than the next closest player (tight end Noah Fant). While his raw numbers were inefficient, it’s prudent to note that as a team the Broncos had the sixth-fewest completions, seventh-fewest passing yards and eighth-fewest passing scores, while only completing an almost incomprehensible 57.0% of their passes (only Philadelphia was worse).

In 2021, Jeudy came out of the gates hot, corralling six receptions (seven targets) for 72 yards in roughly one half of work, only to then succumb to a high ankle sprain. He gamely attempted to play in the season’s second contest, only to leave early and ultimately miss six games on IR. It was fair to wonder if he ever got quite right, as he was only able to clear 70 yards one more time on what was again a below-average (though slightly improved) offense. The 2022 Russell Wilson experience surprisingly led to another suboptimal team output, though Jeudy once again led the team in receptions, yards and receiving scores.

Have Jeudy’s to-date returns been somewhat disappointing? Sure, given where he was drafted. But while he hasn’t transcended his team’s poor play under center, the fact is he’s been the best receiver over the past three years. With Sean Payton coming in to clean things up, and with Jeudy still only 24 years old entering his fourth season, I’d happily invest at the price of a WR3.

Sell: Courtland Sutton, WR (ADP = 109.7, Rank = 96.4)

While context may have helped with Jeudy’s valuation, it does the opposite with Sutton, as what had the initial look of an ascending trajectory was derailed by a 2020 torn ACL. Since then, and despite staying largely healthy, the soon-to-be sixth-year receiver has only managed to compile 1,605 yards over his past 32 games. Not terribly fast or explosive to begin with (Sutton had below-average marks in the 40-yard dash and vertical jump), it’s fair to wonder if the injury sapped away the veteran’s remaining athleticism, given the fact that Sutton’s separation and contested catch rate both stood at 69th best in the league in 2022.

Sutton will turn 28 during the 2023 season, and Denver added another mouth to feed in second-round receiver Marvin Mims. As I’ve said a few times throughout this series, selling low beats selling lower – per the DLF Trade analyzer he could still be worth a second-round rookie pick, or an ascending player like Pat Freiermuth or Isiah Pacheco. For that price, I’d be happy to cash out, though it’s worth noting he may receive a slight bump over the coming weeks due to teammate Tim Patrick’s torn Achilles.

Hold: Javonte Williams, RB (ADP = 52.3, Rank = 47.3)

At this point last year, I was of the mindset that Williams’ ADP was out of control. He was going as a mid-to-late first-round pick following a good but not great rookie season where he and backfield compatriot Melvin Gordon largely finished at a statistical standstill. Unfortunately, neither proponents nor naysayers were proven correct, as Williams suffered a major knee injury (torn ACL and LCL) after just four games.

A byproduct has seen a fall to a stature as the RB17 per the most current ADP. It also led to the new coaching staff onboarding Samaje Perine on a non-negligible two-year, $7.5 million contract (though much like any contract sans DeShaun Watson, Denver has an out after this season), perhaps to function in Payton’s old Pierre Thomas role. Still, word out of the Mile High City is that Williams’ recuperation has progressed swimmingly, to the point where he may not even miss any 2023 contests. While I’d still hedge against a massive year coming off that injury, given his cost combined with his age (23 years old), he’s now a sensible hold and perhaps even a buy candidate.

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Kansas City Chiefs

Buy: Isiah Pacheco, RB (ADP = 90.7, Rank = 94.9)

If you’ve played dynasty football long enough, you’ve more than likely been burned at least once by a lightly drafted player who exceeded expectations, only to fall by the wayside when a more heralded teammate emerged. I imagine this is why sophomore and former seventh-round pick Pacheco is going as a mid-range RB3, despite functioning on the NFL’s best offense with the NFL’s best quarterback. Dynasty owners are likely still waiting for the other shoe to drop.

However, it may not be coming, or at least not in 2023 given what little the Chiefs did to address the position (re-signing Jerick McKinnon and only signing UDFA Deneric Prince). Continuing, former first-round pick Clyde Edwards-Helaire appears to be an afterthought as the presumed third man up on the depth chart. After nearly compiling 1,000 total yards as a rookie (and another 262 yards across three playoff games), and with little in the way of competition, Pacheco has a compelling case for a finish more in the PPR RB2 range, which would easily outpace his dynasty value.

Sell: Kadarius Toney, WR (ADP = 105.2, Rank = 116.9)

Certain NFL players manage to evoke a robust response amongst dynasty aficionados. There won’t be any fence-sitting here, and in these instances, a player will either be massively underrated, or incredibly insulated against falling value. Toney represents the latter, as perhaps the current-day receiver version of former NFL running back Christine Michael.

In two seasons Toney has only managed 19 contests, accruing a mere 679 total yards. But this falls secondary to his epic two-game stretch as a rookie with the Giants where he broke defenders’ ankles en route to a compiled 16 receptions for 267 yards, as well as to his sophomore year trade to Kansas City. However, the fact remains that he’s been an unusable fantasy asset since October, 2021, only adding a splash play here and there. More importantly, a player’s upside is not determined solely by what he can do on the field – it must also factor in his ability to stay on the field, earn playing time, and perform on a consistent basis. Put more succinctly, “you can’t make the club from the tub,” and Toney is once again sidelined following arthroscopic knee surgery.

This lack of production coupled with a constant series of injuries should (in my opinion) lead to a value lesser than a ninth-round pick I startup drafts as a WR4. While it’s possible Toney puts it all together, I’d rather bank on history being the greatest predictor of future success (notably, Toney only broke out in college as a true senior). While this ADP range doesn’t include any bulletproof roster prospects, I’d be happy taking my chances elsewhere.

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Hold: Skyy Moore, WR (ADP = 126.7, Rank = 109.4)

On the other side of the value fence sits Moore, a player who clearly is not getting the benefit of the doubt. Moore doesn’t quite have Toney’s explosion, but he’s fast and has good acceleration, and had a much larger collegiate target share and dominator rating than Toney, while breaking out at an earlier age. While his rookie season didn’t yield the anticipated returns, his numbers still eclipsed Toney’s, likely aided by the fact he was able to stay on the field.

It’s true the Chiefs added another second-round receiver in Rashee Rice, but the depth chart also lost 2022’s WR1 in Juju Smith-Schuster. As such projections are that Moore should be able to secure a spot in the starting rotation. Going nearly two rounds after Toney, owners are going to be selling low on Moore if they choose to offload him now – as such he makes for a solid hold as a player likely to increase his value.

Las Vegas Raiders

Buy: Michael Mayer, TE (ADP = 127.0, Rank = 131.9)

Following an NFL Combine performance that merely whelmed observers, Mayer immediately fell 14 spots in the ADP. He regained value through the NFL Draft, but has then subsequently fallen another 20 spots to an ADP of 127.0, which stands as his second-lowest to date. The time-phasing of these movements doesn’t make much sense to me, and may present an opportunity to buy.

If Mayer was punished for his combine performance, the course correction for going to a good landing spot in Las Vegas should have moved the needle and kept it there. No, he wasn’t the first tight end picked as previously speculated, but he only went 10 slots after Dalton Kincaid, and was selected immediately after Sam LaPorta as the fourth pick in the second round. His collegiate production profile is immaculate with a 95th percentile dominator rating and two seasons of 800+ yards at Notre Dame, a team that might be second only to Iowa in terms of producing pro-ready talent at the position. As an 11th-round pick in startup drafts, he has a lot of room to grow.

Sell: Davante Adams, WR (ADP = 31.3, Rank = 21.1)

To be clear, I’m not actually advocating selling Adams. Contending teams should count on another season of alpha production and WR1-level returns. Still, as a player who will turn 31 years old towards the end of the 2023 season, it’s at least now a conversation.

According to the ADP, Adams, Cooper Kupp and Travis Kelce are the only three 30+-year-old players being selected in the top 60 picks. Others like Stefon Diggs and Tyreek Hill are close, but you’d have to go way down to Keenan Allen (more on him later) at an ADP of 63.5 to find the next instance of a 30-something. This speaks to the strong likelihood that, even if Adams balls out, it’s unlikely he’ll gain value moving forward. As such, dynasty team owners rostering Adams need to be very honest with themselves about their likelihood of contention, which may dictate a potential trade. As tends to be the case with productive older players, his value may rise during the season – but if he gets hurt and misses significant time it will drop quickly.

Hold: Jakobi Meyers, WR (ADP = 117.7, Rank = 128.0)

Meyers is likely to stand as something of a perma-hold on dynasty rosters. It is likely the stench of being a UDFA will stick with him, despite two straight seasons of 65+ receptions and 800+ yards. He even started scoring the ball, with six receiving touchdowns in 2022 on the way to a finish as the PPR WR29. It’s not sexy, but it’s bankable WR3 or flex-worthy production.

It’s unclear what’s going to happen with teammate Hunter Renfrow, but Darren Waller was shipped to the NFC, meaning there’s room for scraps behind Adams. This anticipated place in the pecking order likely explains why Meyers received a three-year, $33 million contract ($21 million guaranteed), which, to the point above, should stand as significantly more relevant as compared to where he was(n’t) drafted. Going off the board as a mid-range WR5, Meyers should easily eclipse his ADP, and I’m somewhat dumbfounded he’s leaving the board after the mercurial Toney as discussed above.

Los Angeles Chargers

Buy: Mike Williams, WR (ADP = 89.7, Rank = 82.8)

Over the past four seasons, Williams has compiled an average line of 4.0-64.4-0.34, good for a weekly 12.5 PPR points. His ceiling in 2021 resulted in a finish as the PPR WR14, the 0.5 PPR WR12, and the zero PPR (standard scoring, for those who dabble) WR11. Though there is an out after this season, Williams is currently signed through 2024, and thereby tied to ascending signal caller Justin Herbert.

Given this, I’m a bit surprised he’s going as a WR4 per the ADP, as even in a 2022 season where he missed four contests he still finished as the PPR WR33. I get that the Chargers selected rookie Quentin Johnston in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft, but there are no guarantees he’s going to fundamentally alter a passing paradigm that already requires course correction after wasting 259 targets on the combination of Josh Palmer, Gerald Everett and DeAndre Carter. If he can stay healthy (which he’s largely done dating back to 2018), Williams is going to have a big role in the offense.

Sell: Austin Ekeler, RB (ADP = 21.3, Rank = 22.5)

Much of what was written above for Adams can be applied here to Ekeler, while hypothesizing a 28-year-old running back is fairly similar to a 30-year-old receiver. It’s true Ekeler lapped the field in 2022, finishing as the overall PPR RB1. But it’s also true he received a likely unsustainable 127 targets in the passing game, enabling him to shatter his previous best of 92 catches.

Perhaps more importantly, 2023 stands as likely to function as Ekeler’s final season with the Chargers. On one side, this could make it likelier they ride him into the ground with no future vested stake – as such, and once again much like with Adams above, contenders should hang tight. However, there’s appreciable downside: if an increased workload results in injury, he’s going to lose value. Additionally and for 2024 onward, a new team might not utilize him in the same way as he’s been to date. There’s nuance here assuredly, but these are some of the considerations for which owners should be accounting.

Hold: Keenan Allen, WR (ADP = 63.5, Rank = 90.6)

I touched on Allen above, in noting that he’s coming off the board in a more “age-appropriate” early sixth-round setting. This renders him as WR32 by ADP, which is significantly lower than what he puts up in the stat sheet. However, at 31 years old, there’s no reasonable scenario that results in Allen gaining value over the next year, except normal in-season fluctuation when we all remember that scoring points is more valuable than the sexiness of our rosters.

When healthy Allen is a machine, with 1,100+ yard campaigns the last four times he played a full season. Health was unfortunately a bugaboo in 2022, but the veteran still compiled a fine average weekly line of 6.6-75.2-0.4 (16.5 PPR points). Essentially an older, higher-scoring version of Meyers above, Allen’s boring production is always going to exceed his value – unless you’re blatantly trying to tank and sell off older parts, Allen has the looks of a player who will likely retire on your roster.

The tabulated list of the players discussed here is shown below.

Conference Team Buy Sell Hold
Name ADP Rank Name ADP Rank Name ADP Rank
AFC West Denver Broncos Jerry Jeudy 50.5 53.3 Courtland Sutton 109.7 96.4 Javonte Williams 52.3 47.3
Kansas City Chiefs Isiah Pacheco 90.7 94.9 Kadarius Toney 105.2 116.9 Skyy Moore 126.7 109.4
Las Vegas Raiders Michael Mayer 127.0 131.9 Davante Adams 31.3 21.1 Jakobi Meyers 117.7 128.0
Los Angeles Chargers Mike Williams 89.7 82.8 Austin Ekeler 21.3 22.5 Keenan Allen 63.5 90.6

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27.

eric hardter
Dynasty Buy/Sell/Hold: AFC West