Emerson Beery: @Dynasty_Analyst
The off-season is upon us! This is my favorite time of year for making fantasy trades and doing start up drafts. The season is a long way away, and savvy managers can focus on accumulating value and trading away players they no longer want. Expert rankings and consensus will change a lot from now till the beginning of the season. This is a great time to also take advantage of future trends you foresee, and acquire your favorite players for the 2022 season. My goal in this article is to highlight players that are good buys this offseason, whether it be through trade or in start up drafts. Here it goes!
Sidenote: I will be comparing my position rank of players compared to Dynasty League Football’s generated ADP (https://dynastyleaguefootball.com/adp/index.php?type=startup&myDLF=0)
Deshaun Watson DLF Rank: QB15 My Rank: QB5
Deshaun Watson is likely the most polarizing player in the NFL and in fantasy football. He has only played three full NFL seasons, and in those years he finished as the QB5 in scoring each time. There is no player in the NFL who navigates the pocket, and avoids pressure as well as he does. He’s an elite player, who has as much talent as any QB in the league. Unfortunately, he’s also made extremely poor and reprehensible decisions off the field. This led to him not playing a single game in the 2021 season. On Friday, we found out that Deshaun Watson will indeed not face criminal charges in Texas in regards to the multiple complaints. This doesn’t mean his legal troubles are over, but this was a major step for Deshaun Watson and his return to the field.
I can completely understand why someone wouldn’t want Deshaun Watson on their fantasy team. He’s a hard player to root for, and he might not play a single game in the 2022 season either. However, I believe that in the worst case scenario, he misses the 2022 season, and is a starter coming into the 2023 season. The more likely scenario being he gets somewhere between a 4-8 games suspension. When the NFL makes a decision he will vault back into dynasty rankers top tier of QBs. Purely from a value standpoint, Watson is a good buy at the moment if people aren’t valuing him as a top 5 guy anymore. His ADP is going to rise steeply though from QB15 after the news, so the window is closing.
Mathew Stafford: DLF Rank: QB14 My rank: QB12
Mathew Stafford had a revival season for the Rams last year, not only in winning the superbowl, but providing us with a great fantasy play as well. He finished as the QB5 in scoring, coming in top 3 in yards per attempt (8.1), passing yards (4,886), and passing touchdowns (41). It was a stellar season after finishing no better than QB15 each of the 3 years prior. This led to a massive rebound in value from his days in Detroit, where he was being drafted as a lowend QB2 even just a year and a half ago.
Moving forward Stafford is in a stellar position with the LA Rams. He is part of a prolific offense, with a plethora of weapons, including possibly the league’s best WR in Cooper Kupp. He is only 34 years of age too, which is young for a QB. History tells us he could have another 3-4 prime fantasy years if he sticks with this offense, where they are making signing him to an extension a priority. I don’t have him too much higher in my rankings, but I would take Stafford ahead of Justin Fields. The Chicago Bears are in full rebuild in an offense devoid of playmakers. Draft Stafford, the immediate production, and worry about your 2026 starter later.
J.K Dobbins/Cam Akers: DLF ADP: RB13/RB18 My Rank: RB7/RB11
I throw these two names in the same group because they are in a similar situation. Both are 3rd year RBs with successful rookie seasons, coming off completely lost sophomore years. Returning back from injury, these 2 young running backs have been picked in the 5th round of two Superflex start up drafts I’ve done this off-season. Their current DLF ADP is 43.88 for Dobbins and 63.25 for Akers respectively (Superflex). This doesn’t quite matchup with their lofty top 12 RB ranking according to most experts this off-season.
Dynasty ADP usually lags behind expert rankings, but as people research I expect their ADP to climb. I’ll be buying in that 4th-5th round of Superflex drafts early on, and watch their value rise to the third round come Summer. This has more to do with where I see their market heading, rather than a bold prediction on their fantasy production. Each has major question marks going into the season, and I’ll be buying now to sell later in the Summer when people are looking for RBs.
Josh Jacobs: DLF ADP: RB18 My Rank: RB14
Jacobs has done nothing but produce rock solid numbers since entering the league being an RB1 each of the last 2 seasons in PPR, yet he is the RB18 according to DLF ADP. Being only 24 years of age this feels low. Mcdaniels is one of the top offensive minds in the game, who will likely deploy Jacobs in a similar role he’s had the past couple seasons. He’s not a pass catching back (16th in league in rec yards per game for RB), nor does he possess a particularly high fantasy ceiling (RB14 in points per game).
However, he has shown to have a solid floor, with room to grow if McDaniel were to give him more work in the passing game. Jacobs is also 1-2 years younger than many of the RBs drafted ahead of him, and should still have a nice window of production for the next 2-3 seasons. I’ll be drafting him ahead of Montgomery, who’s stuck in a poor offensive situation, and seen just ahead of him in ADP.
Jaylen Waddle: DLF ADP: WR8 My Rank: WR5
It feels like most experts still aren’t putting enough respect on Waddle’s name. My personal WR5 in dynasty, he broke the record for most receptions all time for a rookie WR. Furthermore, there are only 11 WRs since the year 2000 that had more receiving yards their first season than Jaylen Waddle (1,015). Of those names the only player that didn’t end up an elite fantasy WR for a time was Michael Clayton (2004). The dynasty community however was lower on Waddle than most NFL scouts coming into his rookie season, who graded him out as an elite NFL prospect. In dynasty rookie drafts last year, he was generally drafted with one of the last picks in the first round of Superflex drafts. Well behind the first tier of the elite rookies.
Waddle was knocked by many as simply being a big play threat, who had struggled to maintain a consistent role in college for most of his career. Waddle dispelled all those concerns catching over 100 passes his rookie season, but most surprisingly, showed off skill in making plays with short and intermediate routes. He averaged only 9.8 yards per reception, which although low for a player of his profile, which showed he isn’t simply a deep play threat. If Jamar Chase had the season Waddle had for example, he would still be firmly entrenched behind Jefferson as the WR2. Waddle is going to be an elite WR for years to come at an affordable price for one more off-season.
D.J Moore: DLF ADP: WR14 My Rank: WR11
D.J Moore is being faded this off-season a bit, but it’s through no fault of his own. He is top 7 in receiving yards since the start of the 2019 season, the problem is he’s only scored 12 touchdowns in those 3 seasons. I attribute this mostly to the lackluster QB and offense around him that doesn’t get in position to score enough. At worst, DJ Moore is an 1100-1200 yard solid WR2 he has been his whole career, but if he gets a decent QB watch out. If he were to get into the endzone 7-8 times he would be a strong WR1 this upcoming season.
Kyle Pitts: DLF ADP: TE1 My Rank: TE1
It’s not possible to draft Pitts much higher than he is going, but this is just to justify his current status as a first round pick in many start up drafts this off-season. Kyle Pitts had 1,026 yards his rookie season, good for second all time behind Hall of Famer Mike Ditka. Tight Ends have traditionally struggled to produce in their rookie season, and is viewed by the dynasty community as a position where most players will need a year or two to acclimate. For reference this is a list of rookie receiving yard totals for some of the top TEs in fantasy.
- Travis Kelce: 862 yards (first year playing)
- Mark Andrews: 552 yards
- George Kittle: 515 yards
- TJ Hockenson: 367 yards
- Dalton Schultz: 116 yards
- Dawson Knox: 388 yards
- Dallas Goedert: 334 yards.
Bottom line, if Kyle Pitts had scored a few more touchdowns he would have had nearly as good a season as any TE in the league in his rookie season. He only found the endzone once last year, if he can score even just a few more touchdowns that would likely have him as a top 4 scorer at the position this season. Pitts also faced double coverage on a high percentage of plays, as the Falcons lacked a second weapon with Ridley gone. If they were to draft another WR, it would only assist in taking some of the focus that NFL defenses are going to place on him. He is a prolific player that will be a fixture in your lineup for years to come.