Dynasty Trending Observations: What Next for Brandon Aiyuk?

Michael Moore

Dynasty leaguers are officially in purgatory when it comes to the NFL schedule. Free agency has concluded but the NFL Draft is still weeks away. What we’re left with is trade talk, team visits, and more. Below are a few of those developments and how they could affect your dynasty roster.

As Aiyuk Would Have it

San Francisco 49ers receiver Brandon Aiyuk picked the best time to have a career-best season. In his fourth professional season, he turned 105 targets into 75 receptions for 1,342 yards and seven touchdowns and was an integral part of a 49ers offense that propelled them to the Super Bowl. For Aiyuk, it was the peak of a career that has been steadily ascending since he was taken 25th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Of course, it now means that he’s expected (and deserves to) get paid very soon. He does have one last option year on his rookie contract and will be a free agent after that but Aiyuk is widely expected to be extended to a massive deal.

Where he signs that deal is another question. Aiyuk made waves this week after a cryptic Instagram story and then following up with an appearance on the podcast above. He is not shy in explaining how he feels and no one disagrees. But the NFL is a business and it remains to be seen if the 49ers will pony up. It is one of the bigger headlines heading into the NFL Draft.

Dynasty Impact: As mentioned above, Aiyuk has gradually climbed both real-life and dynasty rankings starting his career as the 46th-ranked receiver in Dynasty ADP up to 14th.

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Ironically, his real-life fantasy rankings have fared even better, ranking as a low-end WR3 in fantasy scoring in each of his first two seasons and shooting up to a top-ten option last season. Aiyuk is the rare, young dynasty asset whose dynasty ranking is lagging behind his actual production.

The good news for Aiyuk, and his dynasty managers, is that he should still be able to produce fantasy numbers like he has no matter where he ends up. The recent history of wide receivers traded in their prime has been quite good for everyone involved. Consider that Stefon Diggs, Davante Adams, and Tyreek Hill all made All-Pro or Pro Bowl teams the year they switched teams.

Aiyuk dynasty managers have nothing to worry about this off-season. Whether it’s in San Francisco or some other location, Aiyuk is a WR1.

Dobbins and Weaving

If JK Dobbins‘ career ended tomorrow, it would be one of the biggest disappointments in recent memory. After being selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, Dobbins quickly became an important part of the Baltimore running game. On just 134 carries in his rookie season, he totaled 805 yards for an obscene 6.0 yards-per-carry average. He added nine touchdowns which helped propel him to finish in the top 20 in fantasy scoring.

To say expectations were high heading into his sophomore season would be an understatement. Dobbins established himself atop the depth chart and he was being drafted very high in dynasty startups.

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But as the chart illustrates, it wasn’t meant to be. Dobbins tore his ACL in the preseason of 2021 and has never been the same. He missed all of the 2021 season and most of the 2022 season thanks to more injuries. He was healthy going into the 2023 season before suffering another major injury, tearing his Achilles. Now his value has never been lower and, unlike Brandon Aiyuk, is cratering at the absolute worst time as he awaits a new deal in free agency.

Dynasty Impact: Dobbins’ dynasty value has never been lower, barely registering as a top-50 running back. It doesn’t help to not be employed but now that the first wave of running backs have signed in free agency, it’s players like Dobbins who are up next. Dobbins has been cleared for football activities and is still just 25, despite suffering a lifetime’s worth of leg injuries.

According to our Trade Analyzer, Dobbins is currently valued as a late, third-round rookie pick. With such a weak rookie running back class, that pick might be worth the risk that comes with Dobbins. His value will undoubtedly increase once he signs with a team and all it takes is one injury (to another player) for him to suddenly be back in the starting lineup.

If you’re rebuilding your dynasty roster, Dobbins makes less sense. But if you’re a perennial playoff team and drafting toward the later part of your rookie drafts, he could be an option.

Watson Cold

Like JK Dobbins above, Green Bay Packers receiver Christian Watson had approximately one full season to show what he could do before the injuries set in. He did miss a few games (a sign of things to come) but in his 14-game rookie season, he totaled 41 receptions for 611 yards and seven touchdowns in what turned out to be Aaron Rodgers‘s final season in Green Bay. He finished in the top-25 in fantasy scoring among all receivers and was primed to become Jordan Love‘s top target.

But it wasn’t meant to be as the injuries started immediately after the 2023 season began. It’s mainly been hamstrings that have tripped Watson up as they did to start and end his sophomore season. All told, Watson played in just nine games, totaling 28 receptions for 422 yards and five touchdowns.

So while it’s great that Watson and the Packers are committed to getting him healthy for 2024 and trying to address the root cause of the issue, the perception won’t go away anytime soon.

Dynasty Impact: Watson has had all off-season to heal and has avoided setbacks. If I were a Watson dynasty manager, I’d be looking to deal. The DLF rankers still have him 38th on our receiver rankings. Yet three Packers receivers outproduced Watson last year. They were all younger than Watson – Romeo Doubs (23), Jayden Reed (23), and Dontayvion Wicks (22).

According to our DLF Trade Analyzer, Watson still has some value. If you’re a current Watson dynasty manager, I would move him for anything close to what you see there.

michael moore