Dynasty Fantasy Football Takeaways: October

Aaron St Denis

As Halloween is here and we conclude Week 8 of the 2023 NFL season, let’s look back on some of the things we learned from the last few weeks.

The offseason was spent analyzing, projecting, and ranking based on perceived opportunity, talent level and a variety of other factors. Once the games transition from paper onto the actual field we begin to see what we got right and wrong.

This is no truer than in ambiguous situations. So, let’s look at some of those situations to see what we learned in October.

The quarterback landscape is a disaster

The Preseason Consensus: Quarterback is deep this year, and you can get by without drafting one of the top 3.

The 2023 NFL season was expected to be one with the deepest quarterback pool we’ve seen in years. Week 8 has come and gone and that has turned out to dead wrong. Through the first half of the season, we’ve seen busts and injuries to quarterbacks at a level unseen in fantasy football history, particularly so in a Week 8.

Aaron Rodgers, Kirk Cousins, Kyler Murray, Deshaun Watson, Kenny Pickett, Anthony Richardson, Joe Burrow, Ryan Tannehill, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, Daniel Jones, Justin Fields, and Bryce Young have all battled some form of injury this season that has caused them to miss at least one game. In the case of Cousins, Richardson and Rodgers are all out for the season.

Those quarterbacks are just the ones who’ve disappointed due to injury, we haven’t even factored in the likes of Desmond Ridder, Mac Jones, Baker Mayfield, Sam Howell, and Derek Carr who has been busts.

The dynasty quarterback market is a grim one at this moment. If you are a contending team who has lost their starter and are looking for a stopgap to get you through the season it’s going to be tough to acquire one.

At this point, you should consider any healthy quarterback who is producing untradeable, especially in superflex leagues.

The 2023 wide receiver class was loaded

The Preseason Consensus: The 2023 wide receiver class featured Jaxon Smith-Njigba and lack any additional high-end upside.

Coming into the 2023 NFL Draft, the outlook for the rookie class of wide receivers was at an all time low. Star of the class, Jaxon Smith-Njigba had been hampered by injuries at Ohio State and most of the remaining players had at least one major flaw that made the class destined to disappoint.

We have concluded the first half of the season and it’s becoming increasingly apparent that there are a handful of high-end receivers in this class.

As of now, there are two rookie receivers in the top-10 in ½ PPR scoring, and neither of them is Smith-Njigba. Puka Nacua and Jordan Addison rank as WR5 and WR10 respectively and have shown league-winning upside.

As far as the dynasty rankings are concerned, we have a handful of rookies crashing the top-50 at the position. In addition to Nacua and Addison, we also have Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers, Marvin Mims, Tank Dell, Quentin Johnston, Jayden Reed, Rashee Rice, and Michael Wilson inside the top-50 receivers. That means that of the top-50 dynasty receivers, 10 of them are rookies. 20% of the most valuable receivers are currently rookies, not bad for a class that was hated on all offseason.

the dolphins are all worth the risk in dynasty

The Preseason Consensus: Tua Tagovailoa is a slightly above average quarterback and a huge injury risk, and his weapons are also aging, and injury plagued. They don’t have long-term dynasty appeal.

Many fantasy managers, myself included chose to avoid most of the Miami Dolphins players in dynasty drafts this offseason. Most of them were either too old, too injured or both.

The running backs are Jeff Wilson, Raheem Mostert and DeVon Achane. Two injury plagued veterans and a rookie. This muddied backfield led most managers away from them altogether in drafts.

The receivers are Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill. Hill stated prior to the season that he plans on retiring in two more years, while Waddle frequently deals with injuries. Those issues combined with their lofty draft cost, left them as undesirable fantasy assets that fell in drafts.

Perhaps the most feared player in drafts was Tua Tagovailoa. Tua showed flashes of 40-point brilliance last season but battled through multiple concussions. Tagavailoa is always one hit away from retirement and as a result he plummeted down draft boards.

At the midpoint of the season, it appears that fading any or all these players was a huge mistake. Except for Jeff Wilson who has been on IR for most of the season, every single one of them has been a weekly matchup winning player. It appears we owe the Dolphin’s an apology.

the rookie qbs are better than the sophomore qbs

The Preseason Consensus: The sophomore quarterbacks would make the next step and become consistent producers for fantasy football.

There was lots of hype surrounding the 2022 rookie QB class before a 2022 NFL Draft Day slide caused them all to plummet down draft boards. If you drafted early in the offseason, before they had draft capital or an NFL team, it’s entirely possible that you heavily overpaid for whichever quarterback you drafted.

From Week 1 of 2022 to Week 1 of 2023, all but two quarterbacks in that class have fallen significantly in value. The only two who rose were Sam Howell and Brock Purdy which is interesting considering they were the lowest ranked and were afterthoughts.

Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis, Desmond Ridder, and Matt Corral all pushed for the rookie QB1 spot at some point during the 2022 pre-draft process, and now all of them appear to be massive busts. Pickett, Ridder, and Willias have seen a fair share of NFL starts and have looked to be below-average NFL quarterbacks, at best. While Matt Corral has battled injuries and bounced around practice squads, never appearing in an NFL game.

On the flip side, the 2023 rookie quarterback class was not expected to be very good and featured five high-end players with huge flaws and long odds. Anthony Richardson and CJ Stroud both started from Week 1, and both now find themselves as top-10 dynasty quarterbacks. Bryce Young has struggled as a rookie but has come on as of late and finds himself as QB20 in dynasty rankings. The two wild cards in the group were Hendon Hooker and will Levis. Hooker is unlikely to play in 2023 due to an injury and will need to be evaluated in 2024, but Levis has now made his first start and lit up the scoreboard with a 4-touchdown debut.

It’s clear to anyone who has watched the first half of the 2023 season that whether they have less experience or not, the 2023 rookie quarterback class is far better than the 2022 class.


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Calvin Ridley is a sinking ship

The Preseason Consensus: Ridley will revert to his previous form and instantly be a top-15 receiver for fantasy.

After returning from injury and suspension after nearly two seasons, Calvin Ridley was expected by many to walk in the door in Jacksonville and immediately be the WR1 and a mid-range WR1 for fantasy.

After a huge Week 1 showing that saw him finish as WR6 on the week, his dynasty stock instantly shot up to a point where he was being valued as WR15 in DLF’s Dynasty Startup ADP. Ridley appeared to have not missed a step and was destined to be the Alpha-WR in Jacksonville. The only problem is that nobody told Christian Kirk.

Since his monster Week 1, Ridley has only finished as a top-25 receiver once, he was WR9 in Week 4. Over that same time frame, Kirk has been a top-25 receiver in six of the seven games, with his lowest finish being WR25 in Week 3.

Kirk currently ranks as WR18, while Ridley ranks as WR38. It’s clear that Kirk is the WR1 in Jacksonville, leaving Ridley fighting with Zay Jones for the WR2 role. His dynasty stock has plummeted as we would have expected, he is currently WR24 in DLF’s October Dynasty Startup ADP. WR24 is still too high. If you have him, sell him now before it falls even further.

We’re through 8 weeks and it’s already been a marathon. Injuries and disappointments highlight the first half of the season, only time will tell what the storyline of the second half of the season will be. Check back in after Week 12 to see how things changed in November.

aaron st denis