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.
Dynasty Stock Up
Christian Watson, WR, GB
During the past two weeks, Watson has scored the second-most fantasy points (PPR) behind Davante Adams. Watson ranks 13th in weighted opportunity rating (WOPR), combining target and air yards share. The five touchdowns scored in the last two weeks boosted his value, with one score coming via a goal-to-go opportunity in Week 11. Throughout the season, the Packers receivers garnered a ton of attention with some boom/bust games.
As an older prospect from North Dakota State, with an underwhelming peak season of 801 receiving yards, Watson’s athletic ability wowed us. At 208 pounds, Watson boasted a 95th-percentile speed score and 97th-percentile freak score. While athleticism isn’t the key aspect with receivers, he posted similar workout metrics to Justin Hunter, Denzel Mims and Martavis Bryant.
Bryant might be the most fantasy-relevant option, as he relied on efficiency with high air yards per target. In Weeks 10-11, Watson averaged 18.9 AY/T, which ranked No. 2 among receivers with five or more targets. That fits Watson’s profile similarly to receivers like Chris Olave, Gabe Davis and George Pickens, who rank as the top three in AY/T.
If Watson had a healthy and high-end quarterback like Josh Allen, he might align with Davis, though Aaron Rodgers used to be an efficient passer. In 2022, Rodgers is averaging 6.8 adjusted yards per attempt versus 7.7 throughout his career.
How To Play It?
If Watson finishes his rookie season strong, we could see his dynasty stock skyrocket like Davis’s in 2022. Although the question marks will surround Watson earning target volume. He averaged seven per game during the small sample of the past two weeks. One could argue those deep-ball opportunities might qualify as a high-value target making up for the lack of opportunities.
Assuming the target quality is average to above average, there’s a scenario where fantasy managers should buy high. On the flip side, Watson seems like a sell-high candidate since he’s unlikely to average two or more touchdowns per game. I might be buying into the recency bias and hype. However, Watson should be in the same dynasty stock conversation as Brandon Aiyuk, Jerry Jeudy, Davis and Rondale Moore. Those might be lofty expectations, but Watson showed the boom/bust outcomes.
Isiah Pacheco, RB, KC
Throughout the offseason, I felt lukewarm about Pacheco. That’s probably due to concerns with Clyde Edwards-Helaire and how the Chiefs’ offense would operate without Tyreek Hill. In Week 1, Pacheco flashed for 12 carries, 62 rushing yards and one touchdown.
The Pacheco stans felt validated via the box score. However, 10 carries and 60 rushing yards came in the fourth quarter since they led 37-7 heading into the final period. They used him as their closer in Week 1, and then he went quiet for two weeks.
In Week 4, Pacheco recorded six carries in the first half, tied with Edwards-Helaire. Then, Edwards-Helaire posted 13 carries for 51 rushing yards to Pacheco’s five for 22 yards. Finally, Pacheco received more than 15 carries in back-to-back games in Weeks 10-11, with Edwards-Helaire healthy until Week 11. Most of Pacheco’s value came in the rushing game, with four total targets since Jerick McKinnon took the pass-catching role.
Pacheco’s Prospect Profile & NFL Underlying Metrics
He’s a difficult prospect to evaluate with his current NFL data. Pacheco boasted the speed and athleticism that translated into a 97th-percentile speed score. He had a 30% career backfield dominator with a peak season of 735 rushing yards in his sophomore season. Deon Jackson compared similarly to Pacheco’s college production and speed. However, Jackson took a couple of years to become relevant.
On the season, Pacheco averaged 2.3 yards before contact (No. 9) and 2.9 yards after contact (No. 12). However, his 8% broken/missed tackle rate ranked 44th out of 50 running backs with 50 carries. In Weeks 10-11, Pacheco boasted the second-best hit-at-the-line rate and only had a carry result in zero or fewer yards 6% of the time. That indicates a combination of Pacheco using his vision and creating YAC, plus the Chiefs having the third-best yards before contact.
How To Play It?
Edwards-Helaire is under contract through 2023, but the Chiefs may bring in another running back via free agency or the draft. As a seventh-round pick in 2022, the team might feel like Pacheco is a steal. Or they feel less attached to the draft capital. Two running backs that provide value nearly entirely on the ground include Jamaal Williams and Brian Robinson.
If Pacheco hardly receives targets, he’ll need to dominate on the ground to give us confidence in his dynasty stock in 2023 and beyond. That said, Pacheco feels like a potential sell based on how he accrues production and his draft capital. Running back value is tricky, but it helps to consider the ceiling scenario for a player’s dynasty stock. As rookies, Khalil Herbert and Gus Edwards posted similar rushing EP/G with a lack of receiving and poor draft capital. Take these comparisons with a grain of salt, given Pacheco’s small sample, though they might be the upside scenarios.
Dynasty Stock Down
D.J. Moore, WR, CAR
We know the story with Moore, who had three straight 1000-yard seasons with four touchdowns each year. Moore performed as a WR2 with WR1 upside, given his elite volume and breakout age of 18.4. The narrative heading into 2022 involved how Moore’s value could improve with Baker Mayfield joining the Panthers.
Unfortunately, more frustrations and inconsistencies occurred, partly due to the poor quarterback play. Through Week 11, Moore ranks sixth in WOPR and second-worst in RACR amongst receivers inside the top 24 in WOPR. The only other receiver with a lower RACR, meaning worse efficiency, includes Diontae Johnson. We know how Johnson’s story goes.
In Weeks 7-8 with PJ Walker at quarterback, Moore appeared to regress with WR9 and WR5 performances against Tampa Bay and Atlanta. Then, Moore fell back to earth in Weeks 9-11, posting similar weak numbers from earlier in the year. Moore has checked the opportunity boxes, but the production hasn’t been there with a 1.7 yards per route run (No. 47). In 2021, Moore averaged 2.0 YPRR (No. 26), which dropped from 2.3 in 2020 and 2.1 in 2019.
How To Play It?
In March 2022, the Panthers signed Moore for a three-year extension worth more than $61 million, with more than $60 million owed in 2023 and beyond. The team invested in the talented wide receiver, but it’s poor timing with one of Moore’s worst seasons.
From 2018 to 2021, Moore totaled 59% of his games with WR3 or worst performances. In 2022, Moore has WR3 or worst production in 82% of his games. Maybe I’m a sucker, but Moore screams buy low with his sinking dynasty stock. One should value Moore similarly to Chris Godwin, Drake London and Garrett Wilson.
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