Top Dynasty Asset & Sell Candidate: AFC South (2022 Fantasy Football)
Several factors go into building a consistently elite dynasty team. One of those is identifying the top player on every NFL team. Another is knowing which players you should trade away before their fantasy value decreases.
Typically the starting quarterback is the top dynasty asset on every NFL team in Superflex leagues. However, they are rarely the top asset in 1-QB leagues. To help you build the best dynasty team possible, I will identify the top dynasty asset and sell candidate for every NFL team.
Today, I break down AFC South teams: the Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, and Tennessee Titans.
The Top Dynasty Asset
Brandin Cooks (WR – HOU)
While he has bounced around the NFL during his eight-year career, Cooks has been one of the more consistent wide receivers. He has at least 1,000 receiving yards in all but one year since his rookie season. Furthermore, Cooks averaged at least 13.8 PPR fantasy points per game every year of his career except the 2019 season, when he dealt with multiple concussions. Despite catching passes from three different quarterbacks over the past two years, Cooks has averaged at least 13 PPR fantasy points per game with each one. After signing an extension this offseason, Cooks is under contract with the Texans through the 2024 season. Until the Texans add a top-tier rookie wide receiver, Cooks should remain a safe-floor WR2 for fantasy teams.
Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)
Taylor is the clear-cut RB1 in dynasty startup drafts. After ending his rookie year as a top-six running back, Taylor was the overall RB1 last year despite playing only 68.6% of the snaps. He finished just under 60 points ahead of Austin Ekeler (the RB2) in non-PPR scoring and just under 30 points ahead of him in PPR scoring. Furthermore, he has averaged over five yards per rushing attempt in both years in his career, including a 5.5 average last season. Taylor is the focal point of the Indianapolis offense and has several more elite years left in his career.
Travis Etienne (RB – JAC)
Unfortunately, Etienne missed his entire rookie year with a foot injury. However, he is 100% healthy and in line for a big year in 2022. The Jaguars added several pass catchers this offseason, but all of them come with questions. Meanwhile, Etienne could start the year as the featured back after James Robinson suffered a torn Achilles to close out the 2021 season. Even if Robinson returns in time for Week 1, Etienne is the running back you want on your team. Robinson is entering the final year of his contract and might not return in 2023. If your league-mate is willing to listen to offers for Etienne, now is the time to make a deal.
Treylon Burks (WR – TEN)
We saw six wide receivers come off the board in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. However, Burks might have the most fantasy value despite being the last of the six drafted. Tennessee traded A.J. Brown to the Philadelphia Eagles on draft night in exchange for the pick they used to select Burks. He will step into the new No. 1 role in Tennessee, replacing Brown and his career 6.9 targets per game average. While the addition of Robert Woods will hurt Burks’ fantasy impact as a rookie, I don’t expect the veteran wide receiver in Tennessee for the 2023 season. The Titans will likely release Woods after the 2022 season, saving $13.8 million in cap space.
The Top Sell Candidate
Davis Mills (QB – HOU)
Many believe Mills is the quarterback of the future for the Texans after they elected not to select one during the 2022 NFL Draft. However, that says more about the draft class than it does Mills. While he had some good moments as a rookie, Mills was only the QB31 on a points-per-game basis, averaging 12.9 per contest. Furthermore, Mills had only five games with over 14.6 fantasy points last season. The Texans didn’t draft a quarterback this year because next year’s class should have at least two elite prospects. Houston knows they will have a top draft pick in 2023 and will grab a quarterback. Trade away Mills to the league-mate who still believes in the hype as soon as possible.
Jonathan Taylor (RB – IND)
How can Taylor be the top asset and top sell candidate? The answer is that Taylor’s value might never be higher than it is right now. Furthermore, the Colts lack a typical sell-high candidate as Michael Pittman and Taylor are the only non-rookies you want on your fantasy team. While he finished last year as the RB1, Taylor did so with only 40 receptions. The last time the RB1 in half-PPR scoring ended the year with under 41 receptions was Adrian Peterson in 2012. With Nyheim Hines expected to have a bigger role this upcoming season, Taylor should see a slight dip in his production. However, don’t trade Taylor away unless you receive a haul for the ages for him.
James Robinson (RB – JAC)
After an outstanding rookie season, Robinson regressed last year. He was the RB7 as a rookie, averaging 17.9 PPR fantasy points per game. Last year, he was the RB25, averaging 12.4 PPR fantasy points per game despite playing in the same number of contests as a rookie. While his yards per rushing attempt slightly improved last year, his role in the passing game took a massive hit. After averaging 7.2 PPR fantasy points per game in the passing game as a rookie, Robinson averaged only 3.8 per contest last year. More importantly, Robinson is coming off a torn Achilles he suffered in Week 16. With a healthy Etienne on the roster, Robinson will see his role decrease in 2022 and for the rest of his time in Jacksonville.
Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
Henry has finished as a top-14 running back in non-PPR four straight years, including last year, despite missing nine games with an injury. However, Henry showed signs of decline last year before the injury. His rushing yards per attempt dropped from 5.4 in 2020 to 4.3 last year. Furthermore, injuries have become a concern. Henry has 900 total rushing attempts over the past three years, playing in 39-of-49 possible games. He was on pace for 465 rushing attempts last year before the injury. While he is built like a tank, the end is near for Henry. Now is the time to sell high to a contender in exchange for a 2023 first-round pick and a younger running back with upside.
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup based on accurate consensus projections – to our Waiver Wire Assistant – which allows you to quickly see which available players will improve your team and by how much – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.