With Week 1 of the 2021 NFL season in the books, most fantasy football managers are just beginning to get a feel for the team they drafted a week or two ago – most of them. The true diehards, the dynasty league players that spend every offseason poring over every small-school rookie and training camp report hoping to find even the slightest edge, have been preparing for this season for months. Week 1 was the first chance to see rookies in real game action, new faces in new places, and provided a whole lot of information that confirmed and confounded previous observations. Every week, I’ll take a look at players whose dynasty stocks rose and sank, forecasting what we can expect moving forward.
RB Elijah Mitchell, RB, San Francisco 49ers
There’s a good chance Mitchell was already owned in your dynasty league prior to Sunday as investing an inexpensive asset (Mitchell was going in the third round of rookie drafts) in any running back playing in a Kyle Shanahan’s offense is a wise investment. As a sixth-round pick out of Louisiana, Mitchell took advantage of Trey Sermon’s surprise inactive status and garnered 19 touches at a healthy 5.5 yards per rush on a 64% snap count. As one of the hottest waiver pickups in redraft leagues, Mitchell’s price has astronomically spiked in dynasty leagues as owners flock to acquire the newest alpha in the 49ers backfield.
However, you need to be cautious when it comes to acquiring Mitchell in dynasty. While he is absolutely worth a significant amount of your FAAB if on waivers, owners should be wary of surrendering significant future draft capital. Despite Raheem Mostert being out for the year, plenty of competent backs remain in San Francisco’s backfield. Sermon was drafted three rounds ahead of Mitchell in the 2021 NFL Draft for a reason, while JaMycal Hasty & Jeff Wilson Jr. (currently on the PUP list) have proven to be viable rushers for fantasy and in real life. A 2022 second-round rookie draft pick is a fair price to pay for Mitchell (and a great price to cash out at as an owner) as any higher price ushers in considerably more risk.
James Robinson, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
Urban Meyer’s Jacksonville debut went poorly as the offense looked remarkably inefficient outside of garbage time and Jaguars running backs were simply garbage. Despite playing 64% of the snaps, Robinson was out-carried by Carlos Hyde 9-5 and caught just three of six targets for 29 yards. While Robinson does have plenty of favorable matchups in the coming months and could certainly help out a contending team, his long-term prospects are currently unfavorable – and sink even further once Travis Etienne’s return is factored in.
Thanks to the memories of last season and perceived scarcity at the running back position, Robinson’s price in your league likely still remains higher than it should be. At best, Robinson is worth an early third-round rookie pick in 2023 and a speculative young piece, such as Gabriel Davis or Henry Ruggs III. For reference, Robinson’s dynasty value is currently lower than Mitchell’s once scheme, opportunity, & surrounding talent are factored in.
Marquez Callaway, WR, New Orleans Saints
Everyone’s preseason obsession had a rude awakening as New Orleans hung 38 on a beleaguered Packers team while Callaway caught just one of two targets for 14 yards. His lack of involvement in the passing game was especially disappointing with Michael Thomas on the PUP list and Tre’Quan Smith on IR to begin the season. Callaway’s stat line can be partially explained by matchup (thanks to Jaire Alexander) and game script (Jameis Winston attempted just 20 passes thanks to a multitude of short fields). With Winston entrenched as the starter moving forward and Callaway’s preseason connection with him looking legitimate, Callaway is still worth a speculative buy at the cost of a later round rookie pick (2022 late second to third) or an aging veteran with a couple of years of production left (think Jarvis Landry).