Welcome to the dynasty stock report article, where we evaluate polarizing players to see whether their stock rises or falls. In fantasy football, we’re dealing with small samples, where a situation can change into the following year. Each league is different, and each manager values their players differently.
The goal of these dynasty stock articles is to use the recent or season-long data as a guide on how to value players. Should we buy, sell or hold these players? How do these players compare historically? Let’s dive into three players seeing their dynasty stock rise or fall in 2022. Feel free to reach out if you have a suggested player to analyze.
Dynasty Stock Up
Josh Jacobs, RB, LV
Jacobs is a league winner in 2022 after posting a ridiculous performance of 303 total yards in Week 12. Per TruMedia, Jacobs became just the fourth running back with more than 200 rushing yards in a game since 2009. He became the 12th RB to have more than 40 fantasy points in one game and the eighth with more than 45 since 2019. Regardless of the off-season narrative when the Raiders declined Jacobs’ fifth-year option, the data pointed towards an elite running back.
Last season, Jacobs’ receiving metrics trended up from earlier in his career with a 12% target share (No. 12) This season, his 13% share (No. 11) is another increase. With Jacobs’ added receiving ability, it raises his fantasy floor and upside, especially for a running back already dominating the rushing attempts. Even his receiving EP/G increased from 4.2 in 2020, to 6.6 in 2021 and 6.1 in 2022. Even his advanced stats remain off the charts, with 3.6 yards after contact (No. 2) and a 28% evasion rate (No. 1) among backs with 100 carries.
The intriguing part about Jacobs involves his age, as he’ll be 25 years old during the 2023 season. Based on age, Jacobs should have solid value for the next two to three years, with the receiving aspect helping his longevity. Using the RotoViz Screener, with rushing and receiving EP/G through a player’s first four years in the league since 2010, Jacobs compares closely to Travis Etienne, Miles Sanders and Jonathan Taylor, though Jacobs outproduced Etienne and Sanders. He also compares to another former elite back Todd Gurley.
Demarco Murray also came up as a comp, and unfortunately, he fell off after a massive workload of 392 carries in 2014. Murray went from the Cowboys to the Eagles the following season and shared the workload with Ryan Matthews to finish as RB15 in PPR. In Year 6, Murray bounced back with the Titans as RB5 with the fourth-best EP/G. Gurley had two consecutive peak seasons of RB1 and RB3 in Years 3 and 4, which trended down in his fifth season to RB14.
While fantasy managers might not value Jacobs like Taylor, maybe there’s an argument their dynasty stock should be tighter given age, production and underlying metrics. Unfortunately, it’s unknown where Jacobs will play as an unrestricted free agent in 2023, which muddies the dynasty waters.
How To Play It?
Given Jacobs’ age and production, he seems like a buy-high candidate. However, there’s a scenario where he signs with a messier backfield or there is team context that could negatively impact his dynasty stock. Many top comparisons for Jacobs peaked in Years 3-4, with a low likelihood of reaching another level in Years 5 and beyond. However, Murray might be the outlier based on the volume he earned with the Titans, evidenced by the third-most opportunities in 2016.
If you’re rebuilding, try and move Jacobs for a first-round pick, with room for a little more. Regarding a player swap, the logical move would include acquiring a 2022 rookie WR like Drake London, Jameson Williams or Treylon Burks. I began my research thinking we should buy high on Jacobs, but the data indicates otherwise. The age might play a factor for Jacobs as a Year 4 player that won’t turn 25 until 2023, plus the potential to land in an upgraded offensive environment.
DeVonta Smith, WR, PHI
Two players I loved heading into 2022 included Smith and Garrett Wilson. One reason was their later average draft position (ADP) versus the team’s WR1 in A.J. Brown and Elijah Moore in redraft leagues. Wilson has regularly appeared in my weekly high-value touch report thanks to some dominant performances. As a rookie, Smith averaged a 23% target share in Weeks 1-8, with 10.4 PPR/G. When the Eagles established the run towards the second half of 2021, Smith’s target share remained similar (22%) with 11.6 PPR/G.
With Brown joining the Eagles in 2022, some people had concerns about the target volume if the team remained run-heavy. However, another scenario involved the Eagles’ passing volume and efficiency improving with Brown as an elite receiver garnering attention. While it might be difficult for Brown and Smith to feast in the same week, there has been room for both.
Eagles Team Context & Historical Comparisons
With Dallas Goedert healthy (Weeks 1-10), Smith ranked second on the team in target share (24%) and air yards share (24%) with 7.9 air yards per target. From Weeks 11-13, the Eagles’ offense consolidated with Smith and Brown, though Smith led with a 30% target share and a 39% air yards share. Smith’s 1.81 yards per route run and 0.55 weighted targets per route run in Weeks 1-10 increased to 2.13 YPRR and 0.79 wTPRR during the last three weeks. In fantasy football, we’re regularly dealing with small samples, and Smith went from a solid WR2 role to pushing toward a backend WR1 usage.
Smith compares similarly to T.Y. Hilton, Marquise Brown, John Brown, Diontae Johnson and Jaylen Waddle in receiving EP/G, targets, size and draft capital. Waddle, Marquise Brown, and Smith were first-round picks with the rest going later in the draft. Hilton improved to WR11 in Year 3 while Marquise Brown finished as WR20 and Johnson finished as WR8. It’s within the range of outcomes for Smith to post WR1-type numbers in Year 3, as he already showed in Year 2. Assuming the Eagles’ offense maintains their high total offensive EPA/G (No. 2), we’ll want some redraft and dynasty stock in Smith and Brown for the next few years.
How To Play It?
In Weeks 1-10, Goedert garnered a 20% target share with a 19% share in 2021, so there’s a chance he’ll continue impacting Smith’s opportunities. After concerns around Hurts as a passer, he improved from 6.7 adjusted yards per attempt (No. 15) in 2021 to 8.3 (No. 3) in 2022. The on-target percentage (76% to 73%) and catchable target rate (86% to 83%) remained similar, but Brown and Smith likely helped with the improved efficiency.
Like Brandon Aiyuk, Smith appears undervalued, with another high-end receiver demanding targets on their offenses. I’m high on receivers like Smith and Aiyuk because they earn opportunities with the talent to post week-winning numbers. Hold or buy high on Smith, though the return of Goedert might lower the ceiling. Smith will likely retain or improve his dynasty stock in 2023 and beyond.
Dynasty Stock Down
Alvin Kamara, RB, NO
Talk about an age cliff for Kamara. The Saints’ offensive has declined outside of Chris Olave. After five straight RB1 seasons, Kamara’s EP/G remained high at 16.4 (No. 7) in 2022. However, the efficiency tanked from a peak 2020 season as the RB1 with 6.4 FPOE/G (No. 2) to -0.5 (No. 111) in 2021 and -0.2 (No. 81) in 2022.
The Saints rank 22nd in total offensive EPA/G (-1.56), which improved from -4.09 (No. 23) in 2021, per TruMedia. From 2017 to 2020, the Saints ranked second in offensive EPA/G (6.35), though Drew Brees and Sean Payton likely played a significant role.
As noted earlier with Jacobs, maybe we should’ve expected the decline in Years 5 and 6, though Kamara remained one of the elite pass-catching running backs. Kamara is one of six backs to garner more than 50 targets in six or more seasons since 2010, according to TruMedia. He had 90 or more receiving opportunities in four seasons, one more than Austin Ekeler (3) during that timeframe. While receiving profiles can help sustain a player’s value like Kamara, his dynasty stock has fallen in 2022.
Historical Comparisons & Underlying Metrics
On the surface, it appears Kamara’s dynasty stock screams sell now or several months ago. However, let’s look at the underlying metrics to identify if it’s luck or skill dropoff. In 2021, Kamara’s 2.0 yards per route run ranked second for RBs behind Christian McCaffrey. While that’s solid, Kamara’s receiving metrics unsurprisingly dipped. The rankings below come with a minimum of 50 targets for running backs.
- 2017: 3.0 YPRR (No. 1)
- 2018: 2.2 YPRR (No. 4)
- 2019: 1.7 YPRR (No. 8)
- 2020: 2.4 YPRR (No. 1)
- 2021: 2.0 YPRR (No. 2)
- 2022: 2.0 YPRR (No. 2)
Kamara still boasts the second-highest YPRR at 2.0 behind McCaffrey in 2022, so that’s positive. His target share is elite, with four straight seasons of 20% or higher, and he had 19% during his rookie year. If the rushing and receiving opportunities remained consistent, then his main issue is the inefficiency.
In 2022, Kamara averages 1.8 yards before contact (YBC), 2.1 YAC and a 14% evasion rate, versus 1.2 YBC, 2.5 YAC and a 17% evasion rate in 2021. However, in 2020 and 2021, Kamara had a higher YBC, yet his YAC and evasion rate ranked higher or remained similar.
That could indicate some run-blocking issues and a mix of Kamara’s inability to create yards before contact. He was hit at the line around 34-36% of the time before 2021, which jumped to 43.8% (2021) and 41% (2022).
How To Play It?
At this point, Kamara’s dynasty stock has fallen gradually throughout the season. If we fast forward a year from now — where will Kamara’s value lie? While the receiving metrics and overall opportunities remain consistent, there’s a chance for a steep decline. The Saints owe Kamara $9.4 million in 2023, and there’s a potential out in 2024. Kamara has a back-loaded contract with $32.6 million due in 2024 and 2025.
The Saints could feed Kamara touches in 2023 with money invested since they’re unlikely to trade him away. They could also draft and sign another younger running back to take away touches, though Kamara’s receiving skills haven’t dipped. It’s within the range of outcomes where Kamara extends his fantasy value, given the balanced rushing and receiving workload. Now, or during the offseason, Kamara probably won’t fetch much in the trade market, so you’ll have to hold. Two names I would consider acquiring for Kamara include James Cook or Rachaad White or a rookie second-round pick or two. Running back value is unstable, especially with non-elite options, so trade with caution.
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