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3 Post-Hype Dynasty Targets (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Shane Manila | @ShaneIsTheWorst | Featured Writer
Feb 21, 2019

Curtis Samuel did well with the opportunities he received and can gain even more work in 2019

Post-hype players are those that entered the league garnering much praise which translated into high value in dynasty leagues. However, the luster has faded a bit for this trio. As such, now is a good time to target these players via trade at a reduced rate.

*All scoring is based on points per game and excludes players who played fewer than 10 games

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Nelson Agholor (WR – PHI)
Entering the 2018 season, things appeared to be lining up for Agholor. After two difficult seasons, which included a mental break during the 2016 season, he finally broke out and finished as the WR25 in standard scoring and WR26 in PPR scoring in 2017. With Alshon Jeffery expected to miss some time as he recovered from offseason shoulder surgery, Agholor looked poised to return value on his ADP of WR42. 

With 27 targets and 16 receptions without Jeffery in the lineup, he certainly had the opportunity to put up fantasy points. He only mustered 117 receiving yards and one touchdown despite the massive volume he saw in those first three weeks. For reasons not entirely clear, he was used similarly to a running back in the passing game with a minuscule 4.33 yards per target in those three weeks. His aDOT of 9.9 yards for the season ranked 51st in the NFL and was almost a half yard less than his 2017 aDOT.

The Eagles’ offense looked disjointed for most of the year, likely owed to Jeffery missing the first three weeks and Carson Wentz missing the first two weeks. After the slow start to the season, they traded for slot receiver Golden Tate, who played his first game with the team in Week 10. Though he saw a dip in snaps and routes run in Weeks 10 and 11 with Tate playing out of the slot, it was quickly apparent that Tate wasn’t the answer to the offensive woes and Agholor’s usage increased beginning in Week 12.

Though he was quiet the next few games, he broke out in Weeks 16 and 17 when the Eagles needed to win out to get into the playoffs. He finished as the WR7 and WR11 to end the year while flashing to 12 yards per target over those two weeks. Agholor ended up setting career highs in targets and receptions and finished just 32 yards off the career high in receiving yards he set in 2017. The most significant factor in his decreased scoring was a lack of touchdowns, scoring only four on the year after setting a career high with eight the prior season.

Golden Tate is a free agent, and the Eagles are already over the salary cap and will not be bringing him back in 2019. The wide receiver position falls behind more pressing needs entering the draft for the Eagles as they need to address positions along the offensive and defensive lines. With Jeffery healthy, Agholor won’t have the pressure or the coverage associated with being the Eagles’ lead receiver and can slide into his customary WR2 role for the team. Carson Wentz is also expected to be fully healed from his transverse fracture and will be another year removed from the torn ACL and LCL injuries that hampered him in 2018. Look for Agholor to bounce back and produce closer to a WR2/WR3 than the WR4 numbers he put up the past season.

Curtis Samuel (WR – CAR)
With an ADP of 2.06 in 2017 dynasty rookie drafts, going off the board before Cooper Kupp, Chris Godwin, and Kenny Golladay, Samuel has failed to live up to his fantasy and NFL Draft capital (second round pick) so far. Sometimes when a player struggles to transition to the NFL, it’s hard to pinpoint where the issue(s) may lie. This isn’t the case for Samuel. After playing in 40 of 41 possible games for Ohio State, he’s only played in 21 of 32 possible games for the Panthers. He missed time during the preseason of his rookie year due to a recurring hamstring injury then missed Week 1 with a high-ankle sprain, missed Week 4 with a back injury, and finally missed the final eight games of the season after a severe ankle injury he suffered in Week 10 against the Dolphins. Samuel finished his rookie year with a final stat line of 15 receptions and 115 yards receiving with no touchdowns in eight games.

The 2018 season started just as bad, if not worse. He underwent “minor” heart surgery in the beginning of September and ultimately missed the first three games of the 2018 season. I remember thinking at the time when his heart surgery was announced that Samuel might not ever see the field again. In leagues with smaller rosters, I even dropped Samuel with that thought in mind. I could not have been more wrong.

He was able to play and played pretty well at that. In 13 weeks, Samuel produced one WR1 week, two WR2 weeks, and four WR3 weeks on 39 receptions 494 yards and five receiving touchdowns. While that stat line isn’t earth-shattering, it does provide a sign of his ability and upside. He was also used, if sparingly, in the running game with 84 yards on eight attempts and two more touchdowns. Seven touchdowns on 47 total touches is not a sustainable rate, so you should expect some regression in 2019.

As the season progressed, Devin Funchess was phased out of the offense, and the Panthers began to utilize D.J. Moore and Samuel more often. You can see below that from Week 11 through Week 16 Samuel increased his snaps, routes run, and targets while Funchess saw a steep decline in each category.

Player Week Snap Share Routes Run Targets
Curtis Samuel 11 33.30% 12 7
12 87.70% 26 2
13 88.50% 33 11
14 85.30% 34 8
15 100.00% 28 4
16 85.40% 46 13

 

Player Week Snap Share Routes Run Targets
Devin Funchess 11 88.90% 33 8
12 DNP DNP DNP
13 47.5% 18 3
14 36.8% 13 3
15 20.8% 4 1
16 24.4% 16 4

Funchess was targeted 74 times last season and is expected to move on via free agency, which would presumably allow Samuel’s target share to increase. Though he’ll be behind Christian McCaffrey in the pecking order, it’s difficult to envision McCaffrey siphoning off additional targets, and he could even see a decrease. McCaffrey led all running backs last season with 124 targets, ranking 24th overall. D.J. Moore will undoubtedly see an increase from the 82 targets he saw last year too.

Samuel is the type of player that can do more with less, though. His 2.10 fantasy points per target ranked 16th for all wide receivers during the 2018 season. Samuel’s 51 catchable targets ranked 44th at the wide receiver position, leaving him with just 3.9 targets per game, which gives him a lot of room for additional usage.

There’s also the possibility the Panthers decide to use him more as a rushing weapon since he averaged 57 rushing attempts in his three seasons in college. Samuels will never be a WR1 or WR2,  but he can be a solid WR3 with spike weeks thrown in here and there. As we near rookie drafts, I’d recommend sending out offers of a second-round rookie pick or two to try to acquire Samuels.

Tevin Coleman (RB – ATL)
The fantasy and real-world football arrow seemed to be pointing sky high for Coleman in 2018. Atlanta’s starting running back, Devonta Freeman, was forced to leave the Falcons’ season-opening loss to the Eagles early. He then missed the next three weeks, returning against the Steelers, only to suffer a new injury and never be seen again during the 2018 season. With free agency pending after the 2018 season, Coleman was provided a prime opportunity to show the NFL he could thrive with a larger workload, while also increasing his value in dynasty leagues.

Instead of improving upon his RB18 finish in 2017, he fell to an RB26 finish in 2018. While that is disappointing considering the additional workload, you should know Coleman increased his scoring from 11.6 fantasy points per game in 2017 to 12.1 per game in 2018. But average scoring can be skewed by spike weeks, so let’s look at Coleman’s week to week finishes.

YEAR  2017 2018
RB1 Weeks 3 2
RB2 Weeks 4 4
RB3 Weeks 4 5

His weekly finishes are similar to his 2017 weekly finishes. While it’s true Coleman played in one more game in 2018 than 2017, he didn’t see a significant increase in workload. In 2018, Coleman touched the ball 199 times compared to 2017 when he had 183 total touches. He was more efficient in 2018, averaging 5.4 yards per touch compared to 5.1 in 2017 and increased his yards per carry from 4.0 yards in 2017 to 4.8 yards in 2018.

The only part of Coleman’s game that suffered was his yards per reception falling from 11.1 in 2017 to 8.6 in 2018, which is likely owed to his aDOT (average depth of target) dropping a full four yards per target from 2017 to 2018. Coleman is a player that brings to mind something I often discuss on the DynastyTradesHQ podcast, which is the need to recalibrate your expectations for a player and react accordingly.

This time last season, it was easy to imagine Coleman transitioning into a bell-cow role after moving on from Atlanta post-2018. After failing to carry a full workload last season, it’s evident he’s better served playing in a committee. In that role, he’s has had two RB2 seasons and one RB3 season during his four seasons in the league. While Coleman likely won’t ever be an RB1, he’s still a valuable piece that you can plug into your flex or second running back spot every week.

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Shane Manila is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Shane, check out his archive and follow him @DFF_Shane.

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