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Dynasty Trending Observations: Preseason Begins Without Jonathan Taylor

What were the dynasty community talking about heading into the weekend?

Jonathan Taylor

At long last, we have game action to overanalyze. Preseason has kicked off and social media will be full of plays and numbers with absolutely no context. Below are a few of those developments with context, graphs, and more.

Travel Taylor

Jonathan Taylor was not the running back we anticipated to have the most drama this off-season but here we are. Just days after requesting a trade away from Indianapolis after learning they had no plans to extend him, Taylor is now away from Colts camp entirely. And while he may say it’s to rehab an injury, it also helps to have the distraction removed for the time being.

This entire turn of events couldn’t come at a worse time for either the Colts or Taylor’s dynasty managers. Indianapolis recently drafted their quarterback of the future in Anthony Richardson and was about to deploy a run-heavy attack that would have featured Taylor. It would have undoubtedly boosted his fantasy value, after a (relative) down year in 2022, with a big, running quarterback to take some of the attention away. All of that is now in flux including where Taylor might end up next.

Dynasty Impact: Just the talk surrounding his situation knocked him off as the top dynasty running back.

And between the lingering injury and the trade/contract stalemate, it might dip even more. It puts Taylor’s current dynasty managers in a tough spot as surely they had built their dynasty team around him and were preparing for a playoff run. Looking at the DLF Trade Finder, the returns in a Taylor trade are all over the place from second-round picks two seasons from now to a 2024 first-round rookie pick to studs at multiple positions.

If you currently have Taylor on your roster and can still get an elite return, I would entertain it. The uncertainty around Taylor will do nothing but hurt his dynasty value. Also, consider what it would take for him to pop back up to number one. He’d have to not only come back healthy but happy with a new contract. And there are few other places in the NFL where he would be able to run wild like he did in Indy.

Sleepless in Seattle

Leave it to Pete Carroll to create confusion where we least expect it. After taking Kenneth Walker in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft, Walker proceeded to total 1,050 yards and nine touchdowns in his rookie season. He was a borderline RB1 in fantasy scoring and his dynasty stock was sky high. He was only entering his sophomore season with nary a contract situation in sight.

Fast forward to the 2023 NFL Draft and Carroll took a running back again in the second round, this time UCLA running back Zach Charbonnet. Charbonnet can run (for example, a 7.0 yards-per-carry in 2022) and catch (over 300 receiving yards in just 10 games, also in 2022) and has the skill set to challenge Walker for snaps. If that wasn’t confusing enough, Carroll took another running back, Kenny McIntosh, in the seventh round. And if that draft capital doesn’t scare you, you don’t remember Carroll turning former seventh-rounder Chris Carson into a two-time 1,000-yard running back.

So while Carroll might have one of the better running back rooms overall, it also creates a fluid situation when it comes to who leads it.

Dynasty Impact: If everyone in the backfield wasn’t hurt we might have a better idea of which running back will come out on top. But as the tweet mentions above, Walker hasn’t seen any practice time yet. Kenny McIntosh just hurt his groin and will be out for a few weeks. At least Zach Charbonnet is back after suffering his injury and looks to have first dibs on preseason carries. This is where all three stack up when it comes to their dynasty value.

Walker and Charbonnet are close enough that the pre-season might just determine who comes out on top. If Charbonnet gets the opportunity and starts rolling with the first-team offense, it would be hard to throw Walker right back in coming off an injury. Using the DLF Trade Finder, Walker is still being traded like an elite running back. It might be worth it to explore such a deal if you’re a current Walker manager.


First up on the pre-season hype train is 2023 third-rounder Nathaniel ‘Tank’ Dell for Houston. Dell lit up Twitter in his professional debut with catches like the one above and a state line of five receptions for 65 yards and a touchdown. It’s the kind of debut that can propel a player sky-high in both redraft and dynasty rankings.

Dell needed it too if he was going to be relevant in either format. Taken 69th overall, he is the rookie receiver tapped to be paired with the Texans’ rookie quarterback CJ Stroud. It was alleged that Stroud and Dell formed a significant enough bond in the pre-draft process that Stroud asked Houston to take Dell. Whether they did at Stroud’s request or not, Dell ended up in Houston and, in a receiver room short on high-end talent, had an opportunity to be relevant early.

Dynasty Impact: Dell had been doing enough in training camp to already see his dynasty value start ticking upwards.

But this first preseason game will jumpstart and it will kick into high gear if he does it again before the season starts. When rookie drafts were happening in earnest earlier this Summer, Dell was typically going in the third round. He’s probably worth a 2024 second-round rookie pick now and could go higher if he starts the season as Stroud’s top receiving option. It’s not a bad bet to make.

Dynasty Trending Observations: Preseason Begins Without Jonathan Taylor
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