Dynasty Risers & Fallers (2020 Fantasy Football)
The stock market is a volatile and tumultuous measure of human emotion, and the same can be said for the dynasty values of fantasy assets… which is fun, I swear. Numerous factors can change the value of a player – recent performance, injuries on the team, the addition of another player, workout videos, camp hype, and so on. This year, in particular, where we as fantasy players will be dealing with an ever-changing landscape due to COVID-19, it is particularly important to keep a finger on the pulse of the market. In this column, we will be taking a look at how quickly the value of players can change. Let’s start with some preseason shenanigans.
Bryan Edwards (WR – LV)
Edwards is a big-bodied receiver and has been garnering a ton of hype throughout training camp. At 6’3″ 215 lbs, Edwards is the second tallest receiver on the (now) Las Vegas Raiders behind Tyrell Williams, who is currently dealing with a torn labrum and is considered week-to-week. Edwards has been garnering a massive amount of hype for the last several weeks since training camp started, drawing numerous lofty comparisons from his quarterback Derek Carr, including comps to Packers elite receiver Davante Adams. Edwards has been taking reps with the first team and is a scorching commodity in the dynasty world. We’ll see what he can contribute in his rookie campaign.
Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)
After his former teammate Melvin Gordon held out, Ekeler proved his worth and that the Chargers would be just fine moving on from Gordon. That said, Ekeler isn’t your typical bell-cow back – he thrives in the receiving game. He finished last year as the RB4 in PPR scoring despite only having 132 rushing attempts for 557 yards. His role in the receiving game is secure, and he projects to see even more opportunities on the ground after Gordon’s heavy workload was left behind. With a change at quarterback after Philip Rivers signed with the Colts, it’s safe to expect some regression from his RB4 finish last year, but his current ADP of RB11 seems like a screaming value.
Gardner Minshew (QB – JAX)
Maybe it’s the mustache, perhaps it’s the jorts, or maybe it’s the swagger… or perhaps it’s all three. Who knows, but #MinshewMania is alive and well after the Jacksonville Jaguars did nothing to threaten Gardner Minshew’s starting QB role this offseason. He showed great flashes last year, and his connection with imposing wide receiver D.J. Chark is nothing to discount. Now with a full offseason knowing he will be the starter, a step forward should be expected. He’s currently going as the QB24, which seems silly. He was the QB19 last year in only 14 games and was only 1.4 fantasy points per game behind Kyler Murray.
Dalvin Cook (RB – MIN)
Is Dalvin Cook a bonafide stud? Absolutely. Is he coming off the best fantasy season of his career? Also yes. Is he someone that has struggled with injuries, is in a contract dispute, and is on a team that just paid up for a defensive lineman instead of extending him. Yes. Very much, yes.
This is not a question of talent — Dalvin Cook is one of the best dual-threat running backs in the NFL and finished as the RB5 despite missing two games last year. That said, the Vikings and Cook have had a bit of a hot and cold relationship this offseason and have recently broken off contract talks. Cook’s outlook for 2020 is robust, but it’s tough to project what his future looks like after this year.
Deshaun Watson (QB – HOU)
Watson lost his favorite target in DeAndre Hopkins when he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals this offseason. With the departure of Hopkins, Watson lost 30.2% of his passing yards from last season, and his favorite safety blanket when plays broke drown. I can’t understate this loss enough – it is catastrophic. Watson is still Watson, but trying to replace what DeAndre Hopkins added to that offense with the likes of oft-injured Will Fuller and new addition Brandin Cooks, still behind a terrible offensive line, is a tall task. Watson’s value is currently as low as it’s been since his rookie season.
JuJu Smith-Schuster (WR – PIT)
Last offseason, Smith-Schuster was widely regarded as a genuinely elite dynasty asset, and why shouldn’t he have been? He posted a solid rookie season at only 21 years old, with 917 receiving yards and 7 TDs. Then, to follow that up, he dropped a massive breakout on the league in his second season with 1,426 yards and another 7 TDs. Smith-Schuster was ascending to elite, “face of the league” status. Going into his third season, the expectations were astronomical. Antonio Brown left town in a flurry of drama, Ben Roethlisberger’s arm essentially fell off and ended his season, and the entire Steelers offense was a train wreck.
Last year’s elite young receiver in the game is now being treated as a fringe WR1, and with a healthy Roethlisberger under center, I expect that to change quite rapidly.
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