Dynasty Trending Observations: What Next for Tony Pollard and Tee Higgins?

Michael Moore

The Super Bowl is over and the off-season is here. For many, it’s a break from the weekly rigors of fantasy football. For dynasty players, it’s just the beginning. Below are this week’s developments that could shape your dynasty team.

Tee It Up

Tee Higgins is, potentially, one of the biggest names on the free agent market. Or the Bengals could franchise tag him and keep him in Cincinnati for another year. We won’t know the answer for a few months which means Higgins’ dynasty value will remain in limbo.

For his dynasty managers, he has produced solid, if not spectacular, returns. He averaged almost exactly 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first three seasons as a Bengal before missing five games in 2023. But while his total numbers declined because of the injury, his efficiency has never been better. Case in point, he averaged 15.6 yards per reception, which is almost a yard more than his previous career high. The fact that he’s managed to do so well despite playing second fiddle to perennial Pro Bowler Ja’Marr Chase is even more impressive. This makes the pending Bengals’ decision to bring back Higgins a big one.

Dynasty Impact: Because of injuries to the Bengals – Higgins, Joe Burrow, etc – the whole offense took a dip when it comes to their dynasty value.

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No one was more affected than Higgins, who started 2023 as a top-ten dynasty receiver only to reach a low point outside the top 20. Hitting the off-season pumped it back up and he has landed at a ranking that is more indicative of his actual value. Remember that even though Higgins was a top-ten dynasty receiver, he never actually finished any of his professional seasons as a top-ten fantasy receiver. He came close, acting as a mid-WR2, but could never claim to lead your fantasy or dynasty team. His range stabilizing in the mid-teens is more in line with what he’s accomplished.

As far as what will happen if he lands on another team? It’s fair to assume his value will be boosted if he’s signed away to be a team’s top pass catcher and there are plenty of teams that need that. If you’re a current Higgins manager and he moves on, I’d entertain trade offers for him that represent the haul for a WR1. But if he stays in Cincinnati, and assuming everyone comes back healthy, that mid-WR2 ranking is exactly where he could and should be.

Tony Up

2023 was not the year that Tony Pollard and his dynasty managers expected it to be. He was finally given the keys to the offense as the starting running back after playing as the change-of-pace back. But between the heavier workload coupled with recovering from a serious leg injury suffered in last year’s playoffs, Pollard wasn’t nearly as effective as before. He had averaged over five yards per carry the previous two seasons but managed just 4.0 yards per carry in 2023.

On the whole, Pollard managed to match last year’s rushing yardage total (1,007 in 2023; 1,005 in 2022) but needed 59 more carries to do it. It was the same story in the receiving game where Pollard managed just 311 receiving yards on 55 receptions compared to 371 receiving yards on 39 receptions in 2022. In all, Pollard saw 75 more touches in 2023 yet dropped from the eighth-highest-scoring fantasy running back down to 18th. Not great, Bob!

But if we’re to attribute his decline in efficiency to the injury, as Pollard himself has done, and he has a full off-season to recover, what will next season look like?

Dynasty Impact: After some off-season hype heading into the 2023 campaign, Pollard’s dynasty value dropped back down to where it was before.

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This is to say that if Pollard could slide back into a highly effective change-of-pace role, in tandem with a grinder, he could see a fantasy season like he did in 2022 when he was a top-ten fantasy running back.

His current team would benefit from such an arrangement and should be able to swing it. Pollard’s down season means he won’t be as pricey in free agency as he could have been. And the Cowboys desperately need depth at the position anyway. Pollard dynasty managers should hold on to him for now in the hopes that Dallas gets him some help.

And if Pollard ends up on another team, all bets are off and his value will fluctuate once again.

El Geno

There are expected to be several teams that change quarterbacks this off-season either through the draft or free agency. But one of those won’t be the Seattle Seahawks after they locked in Geno Smith for one more year. As the tweet above explains, there weren’t a lot of better options for Seattle as their draft pick was too far away from an elite prospect and the free agent class isn’t much better than Smith anyway.

For Smith, it’s been a roller coaster of a career. From entering the league as a starter for the Jets to then bouncing around a few teams and landing a starting spot in Seattle and now making the Pro Bowl for two years running.

So with Smith locked in for at least another season as a starter, what does that mean for his dynasty value?

Dynasty Impact: Smith still has value, at least in superflex leagues, and is a low-cost option for your team if you need a second quarterback. It was only a year ago he was a top-five fantasy quarterback. And in 2024, he’ll have 2023 first-round pick Jaxon Smith-Njigba and DK Metcalf to throw to along with whoever the Seahawks add. His current DLF ranking of 21 seems low and that’s even before the influx of rookie quarterbacks are added to the rankings. He’s got at least another year to be a starter and could have more if he plays well a la Jared Goff. Keep an eye out if you miss out on quarterback in your rookie drafts.

michael moore