Written by Coach Emerson – (@dynasty_analyst)
This is the second and final edition of this series examining the winners and losers of the NFL free agency period. After discussing the winners in the first article, we will now turn to some of the bigger losers of the off-season. These players’ teams in many cases are rebuilding, and lack offensive talent around them. Others have suffered from off field speculation or incidents that cloud their outlook going into 2022. While each player listed here has immense talent, their dynasty value has suffered since the season has ended. I will assess the reason for each player’s loss in dynasty value, and give an outlook on their 2022 campaign.
While other young QBs were getting new offensive weapons, Justin Fields stands out as a loser this off-season. The Bears didn’t sign an offensive head coach, which isn’t a must necessarily, but it has proven to be a successful recent trend in the NFL. Their best receiving weapons are Darnell Mooney, Cole Kmet, Bryon Pringle, and Equanimeous St. Brown. This is the exact opposite approach the Jaguars took, who hired an offensive coach, and brought in new playmakers. This is why Trevor Lawrence highlighted the winners article, and Justin Fields is highlighting the losers. You’d expect the Bears to do more to make their new franchise QB successful. However with nearly $130 million in projected cap space next season, the Bears seem perfectly content to wait a year to make any big moves. This doesn’t bode well for the development of Justin Fields, who appears in dire need of additional help.
In fantasy, Fields still holds a lofty low end QB1 ranking according to most fantasy outlets. This feels high for a man who had a poor rookie season compared to his lofty expectations. He ranked 31st in total QBR (26.4), and committed 22 turnovers in twelve games. He did display excellent running ability, which showed his high fantasy ceiling. Unfortunately, his passing left a lot to be desired. He only cleared 225 yards passing twice on the season, and had a poor 6.9 yards per pass attempt. These are signs that Justin Fields is going to need help to become the signal caller they envisioned when the Bears moved up to select him in the draft.
It’s hard to see him improving vastly given the offense as currently constructed. If Fields doesn’t have a successful 2022 season then dynasty mangers won’t care how much cap space the Bears have in a year. He will lose value, and be hard to move on from at that point. The Bears could also move in another direction at quarterback with a high draft pick next off season. Because of this, I’m fading Fields at his current second round Superflex ADP.
Carson Wentz is going to be joining his third team in as many seasons, as he will now be the starting quarterback for the Washington Commanders going into 2022. Belonging in the free agency losers article has less to do with his new situation, rather what a third move in three seasons says about him as a quarterback. Reports from The Athletic detailed a player that was troubled in his one season in Indianapolis. He reacted poorly to “tough coaching”, and wasn’t a leader in the locker room for the Colts. This is nearly identical to the information leaked about him during his time with the Philadelphia Eagles. There he was rumored to have poor leadership skills as well, in addition to having strained relationships within the organization. This comes after a year in which Carson Wentz had success as Indianapolis’ starting quarterback. He ranked top ten in the league in total QBR, while throwing 27 touchdown passes to 7 interceptions.
This showed immense improvement from the year prior where he ranked near the bottom of the league in most statistical categories. For fantasy purposes, he was inconsistent, but still ended the year posting high end QB2 numbers. It is everything besides the numbers however that is concerning to me about Carson Wentz. High level quarterback play is hard to come by, yet two teams have let Wentz go that had every reason to make the relationship work.
Rumors about his poor standing with the team plagued him in both cities, and played a part in each team letting him go. He also has glaring weaknesses that don’t show up on a stat sheet. He has the habit of trying to do too much on the field, and making absolutely disastrous decisions at crucial moments. Two straight awful performances to close the season resulted in the Colts missing the playoffs, which was the last nail in Wentz’s coffin.
He is likely on his last chance as he looks to rebuild his reputation with the Washington Commanders. The Commanders actually feature a fairly attractive opportunity for a quarterback. Mclaurin, Gibson, Thomas, and Samuel form a solid group of weapons. It is fairly similar to the situation Wentz had in 2021 with the Colts where he had some success. Nonetheless, I am completely out on Carson Wentz going into 2022. He simply doesn’t have the intangibles to be an NFL quarterback. Players don’t gravitate towaed him, and he comes up smallest in the biggest situations.
One more poor season and he will likely be a backup for the rest of his career. In dynasty leagues, I have him as a borderline QB2 hovering in the top 25 range for me. He will likely have value as a QB2 this season, but he’s going to be on a short leash as a starter. If I was rebuilding, it would be paramount to me to get some value for Wentz this off-season while you still can.
Kamara has had a rough start to the year both professionally and off the field in 2022. This has led to a significant drop in his dynasty ranking since the end of last season. It started off with Sean Payton announcing he was stepping away from football in January. The Saints decided to hire in house, promoting defensive coordinator Dennis Allen to head coach. Payton’s departure is a huge blow to Alvin Kamara, as he was one of the most respected offensive minds in the league. Greg Allen on the other hand has a background exclusively on the defensive side of the ball. When he was a head coach with the Raiders, his offenses ranked 18th and 23rd respectively in his two full seasons. Not awful, but a downgrade in playcalling and creativity is to be expected.
Next, on the eve of the NFL Pro Bowl, a video emerged of the all star running back assaulting a man with other members of his entourage. The video itself was hard to watch, and the man appeared to suffer significant injuries from the altercation. Kamara has had his case continued to April 25th, but a likely suspension is coming for him and it’s hard to tell how long that could be at this point. Additionally, the Saints emerged at one point as the rumored favorite for Deshaun Watson before he was traded to the Browns. The Saints offense took a significant step back in 2021 without Drew Brees, and Watson would have immediately elevated them into a very good unit. Missing on him leaves major question marks at the quarterback position going forward.
As a result of these events, Kamara has lost value in dynasty leagues, and his 2022 outlook is grim as well. The best quarterbacks on the Saints roster are Jameis Winston and Andy Dalton. They will be a candidate to draft a rookie quarterback in next month’s draft, but it’s unlikely it will be someone ready to start right away. There aren’t many talented receivers outside of Michael Thomas either, who has his own question marks going into this season.
As a whole, the Saints project to be a below average to poor offense. This doesn’t bode well for Kamara’s value after this year. Running backs have a much harder time scoring fantasy points in poor offensive situations due to a multitude of reasons. These include less time on the field, and fewer scoring opportunities. At the age of 26 years old, Kamara would need an outstanding season to not lose significant dynasty value by next year. Given there are major question marks about his 2022 outlook, I’ll be selling now while he still holds RB1 value in some eyes.
Pitts is another player who’s lost a lot of 2022 value this off-season. Pitts is still my dynasty TE1, and it’s not close. However I’m dropping him considerably in my redraft rankings as I think he could struggle to produce elite numbers consistently this year. Ryan is now an Indianapolis Colt, leaving Marcus Mariota as the new quarterback in Atlanta. Mariota’s numbers aren’t bad for a starter, as shown by his above average QBR and yards per attempt. However, he was benched in 2019 due to an inability to create offense and stay healthy. Concerns he didn’t lay to rest in his two years as the Las Vegas Raider’s backup quarterback.
With what could be the worst wide receiving corps in football, the Falcons will likely struggle mightily on offense. This will lead to Pitts being the focus of defensive game plans like he was last season. Scoring opportunities will come few and far between as well, which doesn’t bode well for a man coming off a single touchdown reception. In redraft leagues I think it’s safe to fade Pitts to the mid-low TE1 ranks. He’s too talented not to have a good season, but the upside won’t be there with Mariota as his quarterback. In dynasty Pitts is still the clear and obvious TE1. If anyone is dipping him in their rankings, or are looking to sell after a poor start, I’ll be acquiring. This is just a temporary setback for the phenom prospect.