Welcome to the dynasty stock report, where we evaluate polarizing players to see whether their stock rises or falls. In fantasy football, we’re dealing with small samples, where any situation can change in 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
Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
For Superflex leagues, Pickett improved his dynasty stock. In the offseason, I leaned into the idea Ben Roethlisberger limited the Steelers’ offense and their pass catchers. Unfortunately, Mitch Trubisky struggled with 5.5 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A) (No. 31) and four out of six games with less than 200 yards passing. Since Week 5, when they handed Pickett the starting gig, he hasn’t performed any better with 4.5 AY/A (No. 34 out of 35).
If we look at Pickett’s eight starts, not including Week 14 because of his injury (concussion), he’s provided a mixed bag. From Weeks 5-8, Pickett averaged 5.5 AY/A (No. 32) and an 80.4% on-target% (No. 10), with the second-worst EPA amongst QBs with 50 attempts. Then, in Weeks 10-14, Pickett’s AY/A slightly improved to 5.7 and ranked 17th in EPA, though his on-target% fell a few percentage points (75.9%).
Sneaky Rushing Upside
At this point, one is probably wondering how Pickett’s dynasty stock went up. From a fantasy points perspective, Pickett averaged 12.1 per game in Weeks 5-8, which increased to 17.2 per game from Weeks 10-13. While the underlying metrics don’t give us confidence, part of Pickett’s issue involves inefficiencies with fantasy points over expected per game (FPOE/G). In Weeks 5-8, Pickett had -7.3 FPOE/G, which rose to -2.5 FPOE/G during the past four, not including Week 14.
Since Week 4, Pickett has the 10th-most rushing attempts and 13th-most yards rushing per game among quarterbacks. While that’s not mind-blowing, it’s similar to the weekly rushing volume of Jacoby Brissett and Geno Smith. Pickett flashed above-average athleticism with a 65th-percentile speed score and 89th-percentile explosion score during the draft process. There’s a good chance the mobility and rushing floor remain an underrated portion of his game.
How To Play It & Historical Comparisons
Using historical comparisons, Pickett looked similarly to Russell Wilson, C.J. Beathard and Ryan Tannehill based on passing EP/G and rushing EP/G. Pickett had the second-highest draft capital at pick 20 behind Tannehill. Beathard was selected at pick 104 and Wilson at 75. Although Wilson has struggled with the Broncos, he posted QB1 numbers as a rookie. Wilson is also an outlier due to his efficiency since he had the sixth-best AY/A at 7.5 in 2012.
Tannehill is probably a better comparison since he went from QB23 to QB16 in Years 1 to 2, then peaked at QB9 in Year 3 until 2020 as QB7. Value Pickett as a mid-range QB2 in dynasty Superflex formats. Pickett should rank near that Kirk Cousins, Derek Carr, Smith and Jared Goff-type range. Given Pickett’s first-round draft capital, he’ll likely be the Steelers’ quarterback for 2023 and 2024. However, there’s a chance they trade for or draft one before that if Pickett doesn’t progress.
Zonovan Knight, RB, N.Y. Jets
Every year, an undrafted player pops up and surprises fantasy managers. Knight is the latest undrafted rookie to see his dynasty stock rise late in the season after the Jets’ top two backs suffered injuries. Michael Carter suffered an ankle injury, then missed Week 13, but Knight took advantage in Week 12 when Carter left the game.
Knight going from the practice squad to more than 100 total yards in his first two career games is quite a leap. Isiah Pacheco is the only seventh-round rookie with at least three contests of 70 scrimmage yards or more in 2022, per TruMedia. Since 2015, Justin Jackson was the only other seventh-round back to post two games of 70-plus scrimmage yards as a rookie. Meanwhile, Knight is the only undrafted rookie to reach that mark for multiple games.
Knight’s Underlying Metrics & Usage
Since Week 12, Knight ranks fifth in yards after contact per attempt at 3.3 and second with a 30.4% broken/missed tackle percentage. It’s a small receiving sample, but he caught all 10 of his targets and tied for the 12th-best yards per route run (1.9) among running backs since Week 12.
The advanced stats look juicy, and he’s overtaken Carter as the Jets’ RB1. Knight boasts a 59% rush share (No. 9) and a reasonable 7.9% target share (No. 32). Carter has a 14.1% rush share, and Ty Johnson ranked close behind with a 7.1% target share. Knight’s usage aligns with the expected points since he ranks 13th in EP/G at 14.2 with a balanced rushing EP (9.2) and receiving EP (5.0).
How To Play It
Logically, we should sell high on Knight in dynasty formats, especially with Hall slated to return in 2023. Using 12 months as a rough recovery estimate for Hall puts back in the second half of the following season. The challenging part about selling Knight involves the trade market for rebuilding or competing teams.
Although Knight went undrafted, he entered the league as one of the youngest 2022 rookies. Breece Hall and Isaiah Spiller finished their final college season at age 20 and were the only two that got drafted in 2022. Can you guess the third rookie who finished their college season at age 20? It’s Zonovan Knight. With dynasty value being so fickle, age is surely one to keep tabs on.
Dynasty Stock Down
Courtland Sutton, WR, Denver
We’re probably cheating and choosing an injured player in Sutton. However, I’m a Jerry Jeudy stan, and injuries keep coming up. With Sutton ruled out in Week 14, Jeudy smashed with a career-high 33.3 PPR, via a career-best three touchdowns. On the season, Sutton’s metrics look solid, with a 24% target share (No. 23) and 26.1% air yards share (No. 27). However, the offensive inefficiencies remain an issue with a career-worst -2.1 FPOE/G (No. 234).
It doesn’t help that Russell Wilson has a career-worst 6.3 AY/A (No. 20) down from his career AY/A of 8.1. The Broncos rank 30th in total offensive EPA/G, 26th in yards per play and 31st in red zone efficiency, per TruMedia. Unfortunately, quarterback issues keep impacting Sutton’s ceiling after a peak season in Year 2 as WR19.
Throughout the offseason, the buzz surrounded Sutton and Tim Patrick before his injury. However, Jeudy bested the trio in yards per route run (YPRR), targets per route run (TPRR) and receiver air-yard conversion rate (RACR) during the 2021 season. The same trend occurred in 2022, with Jeudy averaging 1.93 YPRR and Sutton at 1.66, but they had a near identical TPRRs (Jeudy 22%, Sutton 21%). While the Week 14 touchdowns boosted Jeudy’s efficiency, he ranks 23rd in FPOE/G (2.3), which jumped from 0.9 in Weeks 1-13.
Historical Comparisons & How To Play It
Sutton compared to Kelvin Benjamin, Percy Harvin and Kendall Wright in receiving EP/G and FPOE/G. While Benjamin and Harvin posted peak seasons at the WR2 threshold, it’s not an exciting group for a career arc. There’s a chance Wilson’s efficiency regresses back to his norm in 2023, which helps Sutton, Jeudy and the entire offense.
Sutton’s dynasty stock fell but might’ve held steady based on name value. With the surge of young receivers in DeVonta Smith, Garrett Wilson, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian Watson and more, it might be hard to trade Sutton. Two receivers that might be worth a gamble to acquire include Elijah Moore and Skyy Moore. Sutton feels like a sell since Wilson typically performs better against man defenses, and Sutton performs better against zone, per The 33rd Team’s The Edge.
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