Every year we give our premium content members a team-by-team, player-by-player look at the NFL season that was. The coverage will be in-depth, but because the Dynasty Capsule series begins immediately after the season, we won’t use it to discuss free agency or the draft. Come see us in early May once Mr. Irrelevant is off the board for another 32-article series giving you the same detailed discussion you’ll see below.
Buckle up dynasty fans, because you’re about to be reminded why our motto is, “There is no off-season.”
Odds are that Tyrod Taylor won’t be the Bills starting quarterback in 2018. At least according to the recent twitter poll I ran in which 84% voted no (75 responses). I don’t think the Bills have a better option but given the way they have (mis)handled and (mis)managed Tyrod’s career so far, that’s neither here nor there.
They can save around $9.4 million in cap space by cutting him in 2018 according to www.spotrac.com. For a team that benched him while he was having a career year in efficiency (according to PACR from fantasyadhd.com) that will be tempting. The Bills have not shown a willingness to support Tyrod. Having said that, his career efficiency stats are troubling overall even if his fantasy counting numbers are solid.
His 2017 campaign was enough to solidify his status as a quarterback who can move an offense. Even without support, and he should get a shot at a starting somewhere. I think he can continue to be a viable backup and spot start in good matchups for fantasy as well. His ADP is holding steady in the 18th round according to DLF’s January data.
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Few great careers start by setting the NFL’s all-time interceptions per play and attempt and (probably) per minute record. True, we haven’t seen enough of Nathan Peterman to know what he can be in the NFL. But while normally I’d say that was cause for optimism, the foul taste left in fan’s mouths over the circumstances and performance in his inauspicious start lead me to wonder if he’ll be a viable trade candidate if and when he gets another shot. Having said that he is someone who should be rostered in 2QB leagues.
That’s a long way of saying that I’m not going to roster him but you should feel free to in case I’m wrong.
Another year, another 1,500-plus all-purpose yards and a drop in dynasty ADP. At 29-years-old, LeSean McCoy just can’t get any respect. He dropped another ten places in ADP in January making him a late fourth-round pick in startups. That’s all after finishing as the number seven running back and tenth overall player according to pro-football-reference.com. While I appreciate and share some of the concerns over LeSean McCoy, his talent and ability to produce at this age shouldn’t be one of them.
Having said that, www.spotrac.com suggests that the Bills have a potential out in 2018 with McCoy representing a cap saving of $3.7 million and taking up $5.2 million in dead cap space. The Bills have picks 21 and 22 in the 2018 NFL draft and while I wouldn’t advocate for a running back that high, it’s not impossible to think an NFL team could make that mistake. The Bills roster has a few needs so hopefully, they will be more interested in addressing harder to replace positions. But even if they do, it’s a deep class at the position so they could swing for one later.
Still, McCoy is a firm dynasty hold. His ADP has dropped recently and his performance has remained stable.
Mike Tolbert is what Mike Tolbert is. He’s 32 years old and isn’t under contract for 2018. There’s little-to-no dynasty upside in having him on your roster.
A name that crept into the January ADP on DLF is Marcus Murphy. This may be fantasy players seeing the potential loss of McCoy or just an attempt to roster a younger player (he’s 26) on a depleted depth chart. With an ADP of 240.3, he is a flyer in the very last round of a running back heavy draft. You should probably be aware, however, that he has a poor athletic profile (a SPARQ-x score in the first percentile) and college production (his college dominator is also in the first percentile.) I wouldn’t hold out much hope for his immediate long-term significance.
Jordan Matthews is a free agent in 2018 having come to the end of his rookie deal. I’m not sure how warm he will find the waters of the market. He was extremely limited due to injury and hampered by learning a new offense after being traded from the Eagles. Despite this, I think Matthews is a strong target for dynasty leagues.
An extremely skilled player from the vaunted 2014 draft class, Matthews has a lot of positive indicators while in the NFL. He has not had eye-watering counting stats, but he has been consistently efficient at every depth of target. Using “Receiver Airyards Conversion Ratio” (RACR) we can get a good estimation of a player’s overall efficiency. According to airyards.com and fantasyadhd.com, Matthews’s efficiency rose to an impressive 1.11 on 36 targets. This is something you’d expect from a talented receiver who undergoes a difficult situational change.
His ADP has dropped three and a half rounds in January. Ranked as the WR55, he is now being drafted in the 11th round of a startup draft at pick 42.5.
As a reminder, Matthews is a 6’3” wide receiver who had a 93rd-percentile College Dominator at Vanderbilt and was a 91st-percentile SPARQ-x athlete. He should be an interesting asset in dynasty no matter where he lands in 2018.
In some ways, I am not the right person to summarize Kelvin Benjamin’s status in dynasty. I’ve been lower on him than most since he came into the league. While I capitalized, like a lot of us, on his initial rookie campaign, his college production and low athleticism have always been concerning. However, he also missed the 2015 season with a torn ACL and most of 2017 with a knee strain and Meniscus tear that limited him to eight games. Plus Benjamin did manage the highest RACR of his career (0.79) in 2017, on 51 targets. But, his overall efficiency is troubling. His efficiency has been below the league average for each year except 2017. This speaks to the type of receiver he is, and it makes him more situation-dependent than most.
Benjamin requires volume, and a certain type of volume to produce. While “contested catch specialist” gets thrown around way too much for any player over 6’2” tall, Benjamin has proven this is his main, if not his lone, skill set.
Per overthecap.com, the Panthers picked up Benjamin’s fifth-year option before he was traded, and his 8.4 million salary will become fully guaranteed as of the first day of the 2018 season. It remains to be seen if the third and seventh round picks the Bills sent were a heavy enough investment for the Bills to bring him back and eat his full salary.
He has an uncertain quarterback situation in Buffalo, and may not even return. That makes his eighth round value in DLF’s January ADP a good time to sell. Benjamin is someone I’d want to trade away in dynasty leagues.
Zay Jones is another receiver I was low on in the rookie draft. There’s a pattern here. I’m not a huge fan of rookie wide receivers who only produce late in their college careers. While Jones has a reputation as a stat producer in college, it’s not that clear. In his final year at East Carolina, age 21, he posted 1,700-plus receiving yards and eight touchdowns. But it was the only year he accounted for more than 33% of his teams receiving yards, and he needed 158 targets to get there. Late breakout players have a poor record of hitting in the NFL. While his overall numbers look good, the way they break down is more concerning than his sixth round (!) startup ADP price in September.
Having said that, Jones now benefits from the dubious distinction of being one of only ten rookie wide receivers (out of 58 from the 2017 class) to have dropped in ADP from September to January. He is one of only two wide receivers to drop with an initial ADP in the top 90 picks in September (the other being John Ross.) Jones has fallen 3.8 round in ADP and is now a tenth round startup pick.
The reason is fairly clear. Despite being the only receiving weapon at certain points this season, Jones struggled to produce. He was, at one point, clocking the most inefficient season per target the NFL had ever seen. In the end, he finished with a RACR of 0.3 (bad) having caught 25 receptions on 71 targets for 291 yards and two touchdowns. It looks like the problem he had with efficiency in college have follow him to the NFL.
If you like his college profile more, now isn’t a bad time to target him. Few rookie players actually drop in ADP after their first year, so it’s a unique opportunity, at least. With the uncertainty elsewhere in the receiving corps Jones could see a bump in ADP before the end of the off-season.
Deonte Thompson surprised us in 2017 with some decent receiving games. The last two seasons of Thompson’s career, with the Bears in 2016 and the Bills this year, are his first with more than 30 targets. At 29 years old, Thompson has mostly been a return specialist for the majority of his career. Being drafted in the 18th round according to DLF’s January ADP, he makes for a later round flyer for those looking for a spot starting, deep ball specialist. I wouldn’t target him and would be happy to use him in another trade if it helped tip the balance.
Malachi Dupre was an interesting prospect for deeper leagues when he was drafted in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL draft by the Green Bay Packers. He’s less interesting as someone who was cut and signed off the practice squad to the Buffalo Bills. He’s not being drafted according to January’s ADP, so he could be a very deep roster stash or just a name to keep an eye out for at best.
We did it! We saw Charles Clay coming and benefited from one of the better streamer tight ends in the 2017 season. Or I hope you did. The problem is now, we should be looking for the next Clay play (trademarked!), not the one that just happened. I still think Clay is a quality player at the position capable of being a fantasy starter for an entire season. I’m not against taking clay in the fifth round, as his January ADP indicates. But I don’t think it’s a great value. Part of his appeal, and success, this season was the dearth of targets to being the season, and later when everyone was injured. The target share is less clear at this point.
Clay is under contract until 2019 but he also begins to cost the team more in terms of dead cap money according got overthecap.com. I’d hold him if he’s on my roster but wouldn’t hesitate to trade him if I could either.
Logan Thomas has moved around the league a lot from having been on the Cardinals, Dolphins, Giants, Lions and now the Bills. All the time, he has been dragging around an impressive athletic profile: 81st percentile in SPARQ-x profile, and decent size for the tight end position at 6’6” and 248 pounds. We don’t have college production to evaluate him, however, because he came into the league as a quarterback. His NFL production numbers few and far between. They include nine passing attempts for 81 yards and a touchdown in 2014 for the Cardinals and seven receptions for 67 yards on nine targets for the Bills this year. Those are his only receiving numbers.
The production data is too barren to really form an opinion. He is athletic, and around the right size and age for a tight end to start seeing production (he’ll be 27 in 2017.) As a deep flyer at a streamable position, he could be an interesting name to know.