The Contrarian: Mid-Season Dynasty Rankings: 51-100
Dynasty rankings are complicated by the very different objectives owners have this time of the year. This gets exaggerated when we move out of the elite range and are suddenly dealing with more extreme player types: young players with a wide range of outcomes, veterans on the decline, mid-career players who offer steady points but minimal marginal value.
I strongly recommend writing a friendly response to every trade offer, including the ones you find borderline offensive. A trade proposal helps you understand which players on your roster are valued by specific fellow owners. In my own negotiations, I’m often surprised which proposals are accepted and which auto-rejected. Informed and engaged owners can have large differences in their personal rankings for completely legitimate reasons.1
No. 51 to No. 60
A season ago, Davante Adams averaged a 53 percent catch rate, 5.3 yards per target, and a 1.1 percent TD rate. This season he’s jumped to a 68 percent catch rate, 8.4 YPT, and 8.1 percent TD rate. Right now he’s the No. 12 receiver in PPR formats. Not yet 24, he may have the most dynasty value of the Packers wideouts.
Over the first month of the season, Golden Tate was averaging a 17 percent target rate and an almost impossibly low 3.7 YPT. Starting in Week 5, his target rate has jumped to 30 percent with a corresponding leap to 8.7 YPT.
Sterling Shepard and Tyler Boyd have both disappointed their true believers. Despite the conflicting narratives, Shepard remains the safer asset as he’s already established himself as a solid option opposite Odell Beckham. The possessor of far better age-adjusted market share production in college, Boyd has the higher ceiling and should be targeted before his eventual breakout.
Kevin White was never the prospect his draft status suggested, but he garnered 26 percent of Chicago’s 2016 targets before the latest injury. That’s above the league average for a team’s No. 1. The offseason promises to be one of upheaval for the Bears, but White has an excellent chance of being the offensive focal point when the dust clears.
Josh Doctson is this year’s version of White, albeit a slightly better prospect2 in a better passing offense. He’s a guy to target now as his value should rebound considerably during the offseason.
DeVante Parker has one of the strangest resumes of any skill position player. In a controversial preseason call, I explained why you should sell the breakout and avoid him at his ADP. I was either right or lucky, depending, but there’s still plenty to like. Even with the Dolphins turning into a run-first unit, he could finish fast or have an Adams-like rebound in his third year.
No. 61 to No. 70
Doug Baldwin owns a ridiculous 77 percent catch rate and manages 9.7 YPT. He had two lonely TDs before exploding for the hat trick against New England. That may just be the beginning of a run similar to his star turn a season ago. I like Tyler Lockett and Paul Richardson, but Baldwin is the star in Seattle.
Over the last two seasons, Emmanuel Sanders has caught only 56 percent of his targets for 7.3 YPT. He’s still being targeted at clear WR1 rates, which might actually be a concern for the 29-year-old. The emergence of any other pass-catching threat at WR, TE, or RB would undermine his floor.
Jordan Howard looks just as Matthew Freedman and Jon Moore advertised. I still recommend some caution for a big back in a bad offense. RotoDoc nailed Carlos Hyde’s deficiencies before the season, but he possesses a solid moat around his touch load when healthy.
Since the beginning of 2014, Delanie Walker has earned 22 percent of the Tennessee targets and caught 69 percent of them for 8.8 YPT. For context, Jordan Reed is at 21-73-7.2.
Derek Carr averages more than two yards more per pass when he targets Amari Cooper, which helps to explain why I view the 29-year-old Michael Crabtree’s TD rate as fluky and unsustainable. He could still have several more WR2 seasons.
The season everyone expected Jeremy Maclin to have in 2015 is happening now. Kansas City is targeting their peripheral options more, but it’s still surprising to see Maclin’s efficiency plunge with his volume (in this case from 8.7 YPT to 6.7). The outlook is somewhere in between, a not altogether appetizing package in a 28-year-old.
While I didn’t have a QB in my top 40, a handful of elite options find themselves clustered together here. Cam Newton’s 2015 was fueled by an impossibly easy schedule, but all three signal-callers possess week-winning potential.
No. 71 to No. 80
Barring a tremendously fast finish with Bryce Petty at the helm, Brandon Marshall will enter next season at 33 years of age and with two poor seasons in his last three.
Doug Martin and Jeremy Hill are good players often considered either terrible or borderline elite based on the vicissitudes of mostly random recent performances and/or injuries. It’s difficult to buy low/sell high in any type of market, but when it comes to the mythical easy-timing play, Martin and Hill come as close as you get.
Jimmy Graham averaged 7.8 YPT in Seattle before his devastating injury and is now averaging 10.2 after his miracle recovery. He averaged 8.6 over his final three years in New Orleans and will probably settle in that vicinity. His market share has actually been slightly higher as a Seahawk – 22 percent to 21 – albeit on less overall team volume.
Tyreek Hill may be the rare OW who ends up as an actual weapon as opposed to mere afterthought.
Zach Ertz is another template-breaker as a TE who thrives between the 20s – when Philadelphia remembers he’s on the team – but doesn’t catch TDs. He’s a good buy for those who are bullish on Carson Wentz and Doug Pederson.
Tom Brady and Drew Brees are old enough that we could see the 2015 Peyton Collapse at any time, but until that point they provide the most week-winning value of any players at the QB position. Marginal points and current year results matter quite a bit, even in dynasty, and especially as we move into a range where RB and WR values have flattened.
After winning the No. 1 job in his rookie training camp, Tajae Sharpe handled a 24 percent target share during the first month but managed 5.4 YPT and no TDs. His target rate has collapsed to 14 percent since that point, but his YPT has risen to 8.2. He found the end zone for the first time against Green Bay, a preview of his likely status as the Tennessee No. 1 in 2017.
Spencer Ware’s future is uncertain with Jamaal Charles still lurking as a 2017 threat, but the former fullback has impressed in all facets this season, especially as a receiver where he trails only Tevin Coleman in total receiving fantasy points above expectation (among RBs).
No. 81 to No. 90
More gunslingers than true superstars, Carr and Matthew Stafford benefit from strong WR play and wide open offenses. Both could hold down a starting spot for a decade. Any step forward in play would vault them into rarefied air, a scenario that may not be far-fetched with Carr.
Breshad Perriman owns a particularly wide range of outcomes but holds value in this range where field-tilting players are drying up. Elsewhere on the bust front, the Albino Tiger is finally starting to generate buzz.
Still just 24, Gio Bernard represents consistently frustrating but ultimately solid RB2 value. Dion Lewis is the more exciting but more dangerous version of Bernard, replete with injury worries, teammate competition, and week-winning upside.
Latavius Murray and Thomas Rawls headline strong offenses but offer low-moat, early-down production. With pass-catching complements in place, they hold more standard league value.
Coby Fleener is such a bad reality player that Indianapolis let him walk and New Orleans has already de-emphasized him. However, if we sell the idea of talent and buy potential opportunity, there’s a limit to how far he can fall when paired with Brees.
Laquon Treadwell is still very young, but rookie year production is a strong indicator of future value. Without a notable injury or opportunity explanation for his struggles, the red flags here are especially scary. His draft status and collegiate market share numbers also tend to be overstated.
No. 91 to No. 100
Kenny Britt is younger than A.J. Green and is having a breakout season with Case Keenum.
Mired in the midst of a terrible, injury-plagued campaign, Julian Edelman can still repair his value with a big second half. He’s a sneaky trade target for contenders as Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan deal with injuries.
Mark Ingram is a less talented version of Rawls and L. Murray. You’re really hoping for the New Orleans offense to provide the value, but he rarely looks better than the Saints backup of the moment. Theo Riddick is the worst early down runner in football, but an elite pass-catcher in an offense where that’s all that matters.
Devin Funchess and Pharoh Cooper are two of my favorite buy-lows. Funchess has seen his target percentage creep up after a disastrous first month. He owns a 10.5 percent touchdown rate and 7.9 YPT on only a 47 percent catch percentage over that time. The upside is immense if he can draw more targets. (To put that in context, Kelvin Benjamin hasn’t scored during that time period and is averaging 8.3 YPT. He’s being targeted twice as frequently, however.) Funchess was a disaster again Thursday night against the Saints.
Even with the large difference in their draft slots, I had a better first three years projection for Cooper than Treadwell. He’s gotten off to a very slow start as a result of a shoulder injury that’s cost him most of the season, and during that time he lost his third-receiver role to Brian Quick. Relevant items: His awesome college resume and glowing praise from Rams coaches in training camp.
We really like Tyler Lockett – and I’m shocked at his usage this season – but his college career arc and rookie numbers offered reasons for caution to go with the enthusiasm. I recommended fading Lockett as a breakout player during the preseason, but still expected him to separate from Jermaine Kearse and Richardson more than he has.
Matt Forte is a strong buy for playoff contenders, and Ameer Abdullah represents a good target for those in rebuilding mode.
Tyrell Williams may be get buried on a 2017 depth chart that should feature Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin, and Hunter Henry in key roles, but it’s a mistake to disregard the demonstrated production of a 6-foot-4, 24-year-old catching passes from Phillip Rivers.
In my original draft, I had Jamaal Charles next to Purple Jesus, but I’ve taken him off the board due to the extreme injury uncertainty. I do believe his dynasty value is still robust. Let me know which omitted player is the biggest oversight or which player from this group should move into my Top 50.
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- In this week’s Dynasty Command Center, Curtis Patrick wrote about trading Will Fuller for Isaiah Crowell. Fuller is solidly in my Top 50, while Crowell doesn’t merit the Top 100, although he was one of the most difficult exclusions. (back)
- Doctson wasn’t drafted as early and isn’t the same physical specimen, but his college performance was as good as advertised; White’s was not. (back)
- Aaron Rodgers’ yardage efficiency has stayed at 2015 levels, but his TD rate and volume are fueling another excellent fantasy season. (back)
- RotoViz has called Mariota one of the best QB prospects ever and our writers have a high Mariota ownership percentage in the SFB480. We were at least less skeptical of Exotic Smashmouth than most. (back)