With the recent news of a three game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy due to a sexual assault in 2016, Jameis Winston‘s dynasty prospects have come in to question. What should fantasy football owners do with the seemingly mercurial quarterback? Let’s take a look at a few things to answer that question.
Digging into Wintson’s numbers using the famous RotoViz Screener app, there were a few surprising finds. The narrative in many circles is that Winston is not improving or becoming a franchise QB. However, many key stats prove otherwise.Winston has improved his completion percentage every year since his rookie season. Last year he increased his yards per attempt while also decreasing his interception frequency.
Despite playing in just 13 games, two of which were shortened due to injury, Winston was making significant strides and performed as well as or better than some other big name quarterbacks, namely Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Ryan, Derek Carr, and everyone’s favorite free agent QB this past offseason, Kirk Cousins.
Winston was the best of the five in yards per attempt and adjusted yards per attempt, and tied Cousins for passing fantasy points over expected per attempt. In fact, apart from his interception rate (and therefore also his AYA), Winston’s season was comparable to those of Philip Rivers, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Matthew Stafford.
The most important takeaway from all this is that Winston’s 2017 season was actually very good, and he has made progress. Comparing his first three seasons to those of Brady, Stafford, Andrew Luck, and fellow 2015 draft class member Marcus Mariota, Winston looks the part. Plus he is only 24 years old.
So the performance is there, but what is the cost to acquire said performance? In Winston’s case, it does not seem to be as much as one would think, and, despite dynasty leagues being designed for the long term, the three-game suspension seems to be contributing to his depressed price. Using the Dynasty ADP app, we see that in the past week Winston’s ADP in startups has dipped below Carr’s. Over the past month Winston has fallen out of the tier with Luck, Stafford, and Mariota, and is now being drafted two to three rounds later, and sometimes even more.
Unproven rookies Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, and Josh Rosen have recently leapfrogged Winston in ADP, as well as second-year players Pat Mahomes and Mitchell Trubisky. It’s possible Winston’s price has fallen too far.
So Buy or Sell?
If we were to take into consideration only performance on the field, Winston’s current price in dynasty points towards a pretty obvious buy. However, off-the-field issues have made that decision a little less clear. Despite the “negotiated settlement” to have a reduced suspension of three instead of six games, any further transgressions by Winston could end up in a season-long or even lifetime ban. Obviously this would be disastrous for a multitude of reasons. Winston does have a spotty track record, but he has apparently taken steps to better himself, such as eliminating alcohol from his life.
All that said, this comes down to a matter of preference. If you are the type of fantasy player who ignores off-the-field stuff and just looks at on-the-field performance, then the price seems right to acquire Winston and reap the possible benefits. If you are the type who takes off-the-field behavior into consideration on your fantasy teams, then selling for a good price at this point might be tough, but hopefully I’ve given ammunition to make any trades go more smoothly. Whichever side you fall on, good luck and happy trading.