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Dynasty Watch: Buying Breakouts

Dynasty rankings are in constant flux, and staying informed is the key to making roster decisions for your fantasy football team. The Dynasty Watch series highlights some key takeaways from each week’s games.

There’s no greater feeling than watching one of the players on your dynasty roster break out. None.

You just graduated from med school at the top of your class? Great job honey, I’m so proud of you! Of course not as proud as I am of Kenny Golladay for being fourth in air yards to start 2018. Hey, I’m sure some day you’ll have the 14th-most PPR points for a wide receiver through the first two weeks of the NFL season too. Maybe then Daddy will love you as much as he loves Kenny.

Amid all your horribly failed rookie draft picks that lay busted on the waiver wire,1 there’s always at least one guy you got right and you watched blossom into a full-blown NFL star. That’s the guy you’ll remember, the guy that keeps you donating money to your league-mates year after year, even as your team goes down in flames.

If you’ve been a RotoViz reader for years now, or even if you just joined this offseason, hopefully you already have some of these breakout players on your roster. They’ve started the year hot, and you’re ready to ride them to the championship and glory.

Or not.

Your leaguemates are also watching that player they’ve always wanted break out on your roster. The envy is palpable. There may be no better time to sell a player than when his arrow is pointing straight up.

So let’s leverage some of the tools in the Weekly Stat Explorer to calibrate expectations on some young dynasty assets that have been creating buzz through the first couple weeks. Are the breakouts going to continue, or has the hype gone too far?

Tyler Lockett

SeahawksWRsWeek2-2018

Tyler Lockett hasn’t posted the gaudy target totals we’d like to see, but he’s making the most of his opportunities so far with two touchdowns through his first two games. He’s also leading the Seahawks in air yards and WOPR  while averaging 16 PPR points.

Lockett is under contract until 2021, tied to a good QB, and has no competition from other good, young WRs on his team. He has a strong long-term outlook.

The elephant in the room for this season though is the eventual return of Doug Baldwin from a knee injury. Baldwin has been the Seahawks top WR in recent years, and if he returns healthy, and Dr. Budoff believes he will, he’ll likely garner a higher portion of the opportunity than whichever WR he pushes to the bench.2

The Seahawks historically have not thrown the ball much, and despite trailing both games so far this season, they’re still in the bottom half of the league for pass attempts. A target from Russell Wilson is worth more than a target from most other quarterbacks, but Lockett will need to maintain his target share to continue producing this season.

He’s probably not going to continue averaging a TD per game, and Baldwin’s return may put a slight squeeze on his opportunity.3 He’ll also have to contend with Brian Schottenheimer’s desire to run the ball, where any less-favorable game script could put a squeeze on everyone’s targets.

Lockett’s hot start may last until Baldwin returns, but his floor with Baldwin back on the field will make it difficult to confidently plug him into your starting lineup. He’s a sell for contenders looking to shore up their lineup, but a solid buy for rebuilding teams.

Tyler Boyd

BengalsWRsWeek2-2018

Tyler Boyd was one of the hottest waiver pickups after his huge Week 2 performance, but hopefully you were listening to Shawn Siegele this offseason and already had him on your roster.

John Ross will eventually command a larger share of the team’s air yards, and he already has a surprising 50 percent of his targets coming in the red zone. But Boyd has been the clear number two WR throughout the preseason and now extending into the first two games.

With A.J. Green not going anywhere until at least the end of 2019, Boyd and Ross will be fighting for the WR2 role in Cincinnati for the foreseeable future. Just how much is that role worth?

2017 was a huge outlier season for the Bengals and Green was hurt for half of 2016, so perhaps the best recent season to look at is 2015, where Green shared the field with two good WRs in Marvin Jones and Mohamed Sanu. Jones managed 103 targets that season and parlayed his strong season into a big deal with the Lions. Boyd is currently on a similar pace, and could easily finish as a top-36 WR with that type of workload.

Bengals2018SoSWRs

Boyd doesn’t have the same draft capital as Ross, and the fact that it took Boyd until his third year to break out means it will take longer for opinions on him to shift. With a very favorable upcoming schedule, Boyd is a buy since he can still be had for relatively cheap in many leagues, and a hold if you already own him.

Chris Godwin

BuccaneersWRsWeek2-2018

It may feel like the Buccaneers are slinging the ball all over the field, but they’re actually just 26th in the league in pass attempts. Ryan Fitzpatrick has just been amazingly efficient thus far, so many of his passes have been converted into big fantasy point totals for his receivers.

Chris Godwin is currently trailing DeSean Jackson by a bit in WOPR, but he’s converted both of his red-zone targets into TDs whereas Jackson has relied on long plays for his scores. Godwin’s hype has been building since his strong finish to 2017, so even though his production has been modest so far outside of the TDs, his price is climbing fast.

There was concern that the ball may be spread around too much with so many weapons on Tampa Bay’s offense. That’s been somewhat true so far, and the primary victims have been Cameron Brate and the running backs. Godwin has a solid 16 percent market share through two weeks, but he’ll need more than that before you can trust him as an every-week starter outside of deep leagues.

The Buccaneers will end up with some more pass-heavy game scripts going forward – part of their lack of pass attempts can be attributed to drives that end quickly due to extremely long TDs – but neither Fitzpatrick nor Jameis Winston are going to throw for 400 yards every game.

Godwin is an excellent prospect who looks like he’ll have a bright future in the NFL. It might take an injury to a teammate though for that bright future to include winning fantasy championships this year. He’s absolutely a player I want to own long-term, even with Mike Evans locked into a major role for years to come. On teams that need production in 2018 though, the hype surrounding Godwin makes him an ideal trade candidate who can fetch a premium starter with a higher ceiling.

Keelan Cole

JaguarsWRsWeek2-2018

The least pedigreed player on this list, Keelan Cole might have the best setup for immediate success. His market share numbers and WOPR are actually a little worse than Godwin’s. However where Godwin has Evans, Jackson, and O.J. Howard as hurdles to clear on his path to dominance, Cole has only Donte Moncrief, Dede Westbrook, and Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

The key difference between Cole and Godwin is perception. Godwin came out of college with hype. He’s fantastically athletic, productive  in college, and was drafted in the third round. Half of Twitter will even tell you that he’s already a better player than Evans.

Cole on the other hand went undrafted. He plays for the Jaguars, a team with a reputation for wanting to run the ball and play defense, while Godwin is on the suddenly high-flying Buccaneers. Fitzpatrick is out there bringing sexy back while Blake Bortles still floats around on the waiver wire in many leagues.

Who scores more fantasy points the rest of this season though? My money is actually on Cole. There are a lot of circumstances, such as injuries, that could change that evaluation and tip it in Godwin’s favor, but based on trades I’ve seen it seems like Godwin is still being valued above Cole in many leagues.

Cole may end up with some more lean weeks like he had versus the Giants in Week 1, but he also will have some more games like his WR7 overall Week 2 against the Patriots. Cole already has the most 100-yard receiving games of any player on this list4 and he’ll add some more before the season is over.

Try to buy Cole if his owner thinks he’s selling high off a solid Week 2, and hold him if you already own him as his trade market likely hasn’t caught up to his value yet.

Kenny Golladay

LionsWRsWeek2-2018

The Lions WRs have been blessed with juicy game scripts so far this season, but Golladay’s market share numbers indicate that his raw numbers aren’t a fluke. With a WOPR just one point  below Golden Tate’s team leading 0.57, Gollday has been a central part of the offense.

One offseason prediction that came true so far is that the targets Eric Ebron vacated when he was released have gone to Golladay  instead of the current Lions TE duo of Luke Willson and Michael Roberts. While game script has certainly helped, the Lions are consistently in the top half of the league in passing.

KennyGolladayWeek22018

With two top-24 WR games already under his belt, Golladay looks like a player that you can start with confidence. His next matchup comes against New England, a team that has given up the most points to opposing WRs so far this year. He won’t average 100 yards a game for the rest of the season, but Golladay plays on virtually every snap for the Lions so he won’t need an injury to grab a larger piece of the pie. If either Tate or Marvin Jones did get hurt though, Golladay could explode, as the Lions lack many other credible options in the passing game.5

Golladay is a buy or hold in all formats. He can probably start for most dynasty teams right now and he has a clear path to WR1 status if Tate leaves in free agency at the end of the season.

Sleeper of The Week

Each week I’ll use this space to highlight a player for deep dynasty leagues where every player already getting significant touches is already owned.

As I watched the Bears dismantle the Seahawks on Monday night, I saw a player on the sideline I had completely forgotten about. Keenan Reynolds, former Navy QB and holder of a slew of Division I rushing and TD records, was on the Seahawks active roster and even played five offensive snaps.

Reynolds was drafted as a WR by the Ravens in the 2016 draft but has mostly bounced around on practice squads since then. He was signed by the Seahawks early in the offseason and then cut and signed to the practice squad before the start of the regular season. His Week 2 appearance was his first NFL game action.Keenan Reynolds BSS2

 

Since he converted positions, we don’t really have any idea yet of what Reynolds could be as a WR, but his ability with the ball in his hands in college was undeniable, and he still holds the record for most rushing TDs in Division I history.6

Reynolds is not a guy you need to run out and add, but as previously mentioned there is a lack of talented, young receivers on the Seahawks roster. Pete Carroll has always been willing to give shots to hard-working players, no matter their draft pedigree, so this may be Reynolds’ best chance to stick on a roster and show that he’s starting to learn the WR position. Keep an eye on him in deep leagues.

 

  1. Here lies Dorial Green-Beckham, last of his name.  (back)
  2. Likely Jaron Brown  (back)
  3. I actually think Lockett will maintain most of his share of the work and that Baldwin is more likely to steal targets from Brandon Marshall, Jaron Brown, and Will Dissly, but it may affect Lockett too.  (back)
  4. Tied with Lockett at three. Locket has played a full 31 more games than Cole already though.  (back)
  5. Sorry to all you big T.J. Jones fans out there.  (back)
  6. Ahead of  Adrian Peterson  (back)

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