We’re about one-third of the way through the 2022 fantasy regular season (Crazy, right?!). A common theme for my write-ups is finding value in players. The best dynasty rosters trade away and acquire players at the most opportune times based on how the market views them. These four players are experiencing major value shifts, and I will discuss my thoughts on their future and suggest what to do if you have, or want, them on your dynasty roster.
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Dynasty Trade Value Check
On the Rise
If you have played dynasty for over three years, you know the 2020 rookie class was highly anticipated, to say the least. At the top of the list of dynamic receivers was Alabama’s CeeDee Lamb, whom the Cowboys drafted with the 17th overall pick. Unfortunately, Lamb has hovered in the middle-to-low WR2 range for his first two seasons, leaving managers wanting more. In addition, the departure of Amari Cooper this off-season led to questions about whether Lamb could step into an “Alpha” role. So far, he has answered the call.
The biggest knock on Lamb in previous years has been his target share. Typically, elite wideouts will command 28%+ of their team’s total targets. Meanwhile, Lamb failed to surpass 20% in his first two seasons. However, this season, Lamb leads the NFL through five weeks with a staggering 35% target share (according to Player Profiler), and his 50 targets are the 7th-most in the league. In addition, Cooper’s absence has led to more downfield targets for Lamb: His Air Yards share is the 2nd-highest among all receivers, and he’s seen a career-high aDot (average depth of target) of 10.4 yards.
The result of his performance so far is WR16 on the season. This isn’t a massive jump from his previous seasons, but we’re likely looking at his floor right now. Dak Prescott was injured in Week 1, and Lamb has been producing with backup Cooper Rush. He’s also only seen two red zone targets on the season, which I expect to climb quickly, especially once Prescott returns. I’m very interested in acquiring Lamb shares and willing to pay a rookie 1st rounder plus more to get them. We are on the brink of this superstar wideout reaching his full potential, so buy in while you still can.
good catch_CEEDEE LAMB OMG 🤯 (via @nfl) pic.twitter.com/yAIBBAcDek
— SportEnquirer (@SportEnquirer) October 5, 2022
Miles Sanders has been one of the most polarizing running backs for fantasy over his career. After a hot start in his rookie season, he’s since been inconsistent and often injured. During an interview this past summer, Sanders expressed frustration over his usage. His message to fantasy managers was: “Don’t draft me.” Unfortunately, many took heed to his advice, and his average draft position plummeted into the RB3 range.
Fast forward to October, and Miles Sanders is a Top-12 running back going into Week 6. Fears of a committee backfield are long gone in Philly, as Sanders is now clearly established as the lead runner. His 71.7% opportunity share (team RB targets + carries) is 11th-best among all running backs. He’s also handling most of the goal line work with five carries inside the 5-yard-line. No other back on the team has more than one.
Sanders has always been a highly efficient runner, touting a career average of 5.0 yards per carry. Now that he has consistent volume to pair with his efficiency on a high-powered offense, we should expect his resurgence to continue. However, many are hesitant to believe and view this as a sell window. I’m looking to become trade partners with those managers and will happily take him off their hands for around a late rookie first-round pick value.
Miles Sanders backfield touch share by week
57.7%- 71.4% – 76.2% – 78.4% – 85.0%
— TJ Hernandez (@TJHernandez) October 11, 2022
Heading in the Wrong Direction
I’ve been an avid supporter of Terry McLaurin since his 2019 rookie season breakout. Carson Wentz was supposed to elevate him into WR1 territory, but Curtis Samuel and rookie Jahan Dotson have other plans. Samuel is currently the team leader in targets and has out-targeted McLaurin in every game this season. Washington’s first-round pick, Jahan Dotson, has also quickly carved out a role for himself. He’s averaging 5.5 targets per game, and his three redzone TDs lead the team.
This talented wide receiver corps has been outstanding for Carson Wentz, but each of them cannibalizes the other’s fantasy ceilings. Since McLaurin was drafted the highest by a wide margin, he comes out as the loser. With that being said, don’t rush to trade him away now. He will eventually score a few TDs and have boom games which will raise his value back up. I’m viewing him as a high-end WR3 going forward, with the upside to slide back into the Top-24 range if the TDs pickup.
#Commanders Target leaders:
45 Curtis Samuel
33 Terry Mclaurin
22 Jahan Dotson
20 Antonio Gibson
20 Logan Thomas
14 John Bates
McLaurin leads the team with 326 receiving yards.
Dotson most TDs — Four
— George Carmi (@Gcarmi21) October 11, 2022
There was lots of speculation surrounding the Rams backfield this off-season. Last season, Cam Akers made a miraculous return to the field for the playoffs after tearing his Achilles in July 2021. He reclaimed the lead role right away with carry counts of 17, 24, 13, and 13 in each of the four postseason games. So when the Rams allowed Sony Michel to walk in free agency and waited until Day 3 of the NFL Draft to take a running back, it seemed clear that Los Angeles was confident in Akers and Darrell Henderson going into 2022.
The Rams have had one of the league’s worst rushing attacks through five weeks. Akers has paced the team in carries for all games since Week 2, but he’s done very little with the opportunity. Outside of Week 3, he’s had fewer than three yards per carry and single-digit fantasy points in every game. In addition, he’s a complete non-factor in the passing game and usually comes off the field on third downs and two-minute drills. Sean McVay continues to give him touches, but we have to wonder how long that will last.
Akers has been one of the biggest running back busts of 2022 to date and a significant miss for analysts (including myself) that spent the summer touting his upside. You can’t move him for much value in dynasty right now. It’s best to hold and hope he can work his way back into peak form at some point. Although, the history of running backs coming off of an Achilles rupture doesn’t bode well for him.
The five worst rush yards over expectation totals this season, per @NextGenStats.
Derrick Henry, -41
Joe Mixon, -45
Cam Akers, -49
Chase Edmonds, -60
Najee Harris, -72
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) October 11, 2022
Breece Hall: The fantasy landscape badly needed a new stud running back. We might have gotten that with Breece Hall’s breakout game in Week 5. The Jets tailback surpassed Michael Carter in snaps, carries, and targets on his way to a top-5 RB finish on the week. However, the most exciting part is his involvement in the passing game. His 29 targets are the fifth-most among running backs in 2022. Unfortunately, it’s probably too late to try and acquire him now. If you do have shares, hold onto them for dear life!
Cade Otton: Most managers are constantly looking for a reliable TE if they don’t have one of the few elites. Cameron Brate missed Week 5 due to a concussion, so Cade Otton made his first NFL start for the Buccaneers. The fourth-round pick saw seven targets and caught six of them for 43 yards. Don’t expect him to become fantasy relevant anytime soon, but with rookie TEs we are only looking for a glimpse of potential. Nevertheless, it’s a great sign that he could earn targets while Mike Evans and Chris Godwin were on the field. Keep an eye on Otton.
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