As the chips settle from 2018 NFL free agency, here are five key dynasty players to target.
Mitchell Trubisky (CHI) (QB21 – 170 overall)
Mitchell Trubisky’s rookie season may be best defined by his supporting cast. His best wide receiver was Kendall Wright who finished the season with 59 receptions, 614 yards, and one touchdown. No wide receiver produced more than one touchdown. Chicago also cut deep threat Deonte Thompson early in the season and then added Dontrelle Inman midseason.
The entire offense has been overhauled in the offseason. Chicago fired John Fox and hired former Kansas City Offensive Coordinator Matt Nagy as their Head Coach. They also added former Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich as Offensive Coordinator. Both additions are progressive offensive minds with a history of offensive production.
The Chicago Bears have taken after the 2017 Los Angeles Rams to build an arsenal around their young quarterback. They signed wide receivers Allen Robinson and Taylor Gabriel and tight end Trey Burton. The organization is pulling all in one direction, with the hires and the signings designed to make life easier on their franchise quarterback.
The investment in Trubisky is strong going forward, particularly as a second quarterback where you go early at the position or developing a younger player behind a veteran like Tom Brady or Drew Brees.
If he is available for a third-round rookie pick in a start one quarterback format, it is a fair acquisition price with upside. In premium formats, look to see if Trubisky is valued cheaper than the second quarterback in this class. If Trubisky was valued as a mid-to-late first round pick, he is an attractive trading option.
Jamaal Williams (GB) (RB42 – 135 overall)
Jamaal Williams entered 2017 in a muddled backfield with Ty Montgomery and Aaron Jones, and it took injuries to both players for Williams to secure a starting role.
Williams was criticized early in the season as a plodding running back without the ability to break big plays, a narrative that overshadows his productiveness. Despite a slow start, between Week 9 and 17, Williams averaged 14.9 PPR points per game. Williams also produced two top 3 weekly finishes, one of only 13 running backs to do so in 2017.
Williams has both rushing and receiving ability and is the most prototypically sized option in the Green Bay backfield. Aaron Jones is currently ranked just in front of Williams at RB41, despite sitting behind Williams after returning from injury late in the season.
Williams could have returned a Round 1 rookie pick during the season, but his market has cooled off substantially since. At this point, Williams is at best a late Round 2 rookie pick valuation. If an owner is willing to part with Williams for a pick in that range, he is a cheap investment in a player who has proven himself capable of producing elite weeks in the NFL.
Alshon Jeffery (PHI) (WR19 – 34 overall)
Alshon Jeffery has ceiling and stability above his 19th ranking at the position. Jeffery is attached to Carson Wentz with an aggressive offensive mind in Doug Peterson running the offense. In his first season with Wentz, Jeffrey was targeted 120 times for 57 receptions, 789 yards and nine touchdowns, good for a WR18 finish.
Jeffery’s dynasty stock is devalued for three key reasons.
First, his catch rate, 47.5%, looks concerning at a surface level, but his average depth of target (aDOT) of 14 yards is a top 20 finish for receivers with 40 or more targets. Jeffery’s catch rate is the worst of his career, but only one of his prior seasons was above 60% (60.1% in 2013). However, that stat is not predictive year over year and has little to do with fantasy value.
Second, the offense also has a top four tight end in Zach Ertz. As a result, Jeffery is a player who has a perceived capped ceiling. While Ertz is a strong option in the passing game, Jeffery led Philadelphia in targets (120) in 2017, which is a good threshold for a WR2 in fantasy football.
Third, Jeffery has a history of suspensions (2016) and hamstring injuries earlier in his career.
Despite these concerns, Philadelphia signed Jeffery to a four-year, $52.25 million contract in December, the 12th highest per year contract at the position. Jeffery is locked into a good offense, with a great coaching staff and a great young quarterback, in his prime.
Jeffery is entering the second season with Philadelphia and has an opportunity to expand his role and efficiency. He is currently behind Doug Baldwin, T.Y. Hilton, and Jarvis Landry who are all in uncertain periods of their dynasty future. Jeffery offers safety and WR2 value at a discount off all three players.
Three recent trades include:
Michell Trubisky, 2019 1st, 2019 2nd and 2019 3rd for Jeffery
Cooper Kupp for Jeffery
All acquisitions of Jeffery were at a deep discount and are the types of trade to explore in the dynasty market.
Marvin Jones (DET) (WR29 – 56 overall)
Marvin Jones produced an under the radar top 12 season in 2017 and showed great deep rapport with Matthew Stafford. Jones started slowly with bad cornerback matchups before coming on later in the season. Jones had a high ceiling, producing a top 6 finish in 18.8% of his games, the ninth-best finish at the position.
While rookie Kenny Golladay flashed at times, he is a day two developmental receiver and far from a finished product. With Eric Ebron cut, Golladay could see a growing role stretching the middle of the field, without cutting into Jones’s target share.
Recent trades include:
Matt Breida and a 2018 3rd for Jones
Jones is under contract through 2020 and is a great fit with Stafford’s strengths. Jones is valued as a WR3 in dynasty but can produce as a top 24 receiver over the next three years, with plenty of weekly upside.
Michael Roberts (TE – DET) Unranked
Michael Roberts was the 127th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft out of Toledo. He started slowly in 2017, but gradually saw more playing time as a blocker and occasional pass target in the Detroit offense, behind Eric Ebron and Darren Fells.
Now, Detroit has cut Ebron and Fells signed with Cleveland, leaving Roberts as the de facto No. 1 tight end in Detroit.
Roberts scored 22 touchdowns at Toledo and measured in at 6’4″ and 270 pounds at the 2017 NFL Combine, a strong frame for an NFL tight end.
There are no clear-cut No. 1 tight ends remaining in free agency, so Roberts’s main competition for the job will likely be from the NFL Draft.
Roberts is likely not rostered outside of deeper leagues. If he is not rostered, he warrants a waiver wire addition when possible. If he is available in a trade or a combined rookie and free agent draft, look to acquire for a third-round draft pick.
Jordan McNamara is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Jordan, check out his archive and follow him @McNamaraDynasty