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Dynasty Risers & Fallers: Chris Olave, Dameon Pierce, Austin Ekeler (2022 Fantasy Football)

Sep 26, 2022
Dynasty Risers & Fallers: Chris Olave, Dameon Pierce, Austin Ekeler (2022 Fantasy Football)

Welcome to the first in-season dynasty risers and fallers article of 2022, which will be coming at you every Monday.

With Week 3 wrapping up, it’s the best time to take inventory of what’s going on around the league with player roles and utilization. Week 1 begins to paint a picture, in Week 2 things become clearer, and in Week 3 we can officially declare a trend is in place. Even more so in dynasty where we can evaluate young players on the field and identify veterans who are seeing a shift in usage, good or bad.

I’m here to help you take note of these trends and provide some player takes along the way. Just like the first two weeks, Week 3 gave us a lot to talk about. Let’s get to it.

Risers

Chris Olave (WR – NO)
Olave has commanded 26 targets across the last two weeks, tied for the most in the league with Stefon Diggs and Marquise Brown. On Sunday, he turned 13 targets into nine catches for 147 yards and 23.7 PPR points, sixth most among all wide receivers. The rookie’s strong performance was aided by early exits from both Michael Thomas and Jarvis Landry, but Olave’s involvement in the passing attack topped those two before their departures. In the short term, it’s tough to trust Winston and the Saints’ offense while the long-term outlook is a cloudy one, but Olave looks the part of a go-to player.

Jalen Hurts (QB – PHI)
How much further can Jalen Hurts rise at this point? I’ve had him as a mid-tier QB1 since the end of last season, but many fantasy managers have remained skeptical. Hurts silenced the skeptics with a dazzling performance against the Commanders to the tune of 340 passing yards, three touchdowns, 20 rushing yards, and 27.6 fantasy points. Hurts racked up 147 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns through the first two weeks, accounting for a great deal of his fantasy success, but he put on a clinic through the air on Sunday while proving he can get it done both ways. He became the first player ever to record at least 900 passing yards and 100 rushing yards through the first three weeks. Standing as the QB3 on the season, the reasons for keeping Hurts outside of the elite tier of dynasty quarterbacks is shrinking if they haven’t evaporated already.

Romeo Doubs (WR – GB)
Doubs racked up 73 yards and a touchdown, catching all eight of his targets from Aaron Rodgers. His 21.3 fantasy points in Week 3 were eighth best among wide receivers through Sunday night. After a hot preseason, Doubs was mostly quiet through the first two weeks but capitalized on the absence of Sammy Watkins and Christian Watson on Sunday. He played 55 snaps, one less than Allen Lazard, but ran 34 routes compared to Lazard’s 32 and saw two more targets than Lazard. Rodgers still loves looking Lazard’s way in the red zone, but he hadn’t done much else to establish himself as the team’s WR1. Perhaps there’s a crease for Doubs to find his way into that role.

Khalil Herbert (RB – CHI)
All the offseason hype and chatter about a potential split backfield in Chicago led to just 13 carries and two receptions for Herbert through the first two weeks. That changed on Sunday when David Montgomery left the game with a leg injury (day to day), and Herbert wasted no time proving that he deserves a role in the offense. The second-year back tallied 157 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries, adding two receptions for 12 yards en route to 30.9 fantasy points. He led all running backs in Week 3 scoring, and although Montgomery’s injury doesn’t appear to be serious, Herbert may have done enough to see his usage increase going forward. Those that invested in the offseason (raises hand) could be in line for the reward they sought after when they acquired him.

Dameon Pierce (RB – HOU)
Nobody’s stock rose as rapidly as Dameon Pierce‘s did during the preseason, but that train came to a screeching halt when we were faced with the reality that Rex Burkhead is still a favorite of the coaching staff. Pierce carried the ball 11 times in Week 1 and 15 times in Week 2 before toting the rock 20 times in Week 3, generating 80 rushing yards and a score to go with two catches for 21 yards. His 18.1 fantasy points are by far the best of his young career, but out touching Burkhead 21-7 is what’s most encouraging. It’s important to remember, however, that the game flow helped dictate this usage. Pierce is still susceptible of losing work to Burkhead when the team is playing from behind. His dynasty stock is on the rise as he garners more work and success, but he may not see this volume week in and week out.


Fallers

D’Andre Swift (RB – DET)
I wrote about why Swift was a sell after Week 1, and now we are seeing my concerns play out on the field. In reality, Swift was overvalued coming into the season, but for those fantasy managers who valued him as a top-tier dynasty back, his usage is concerning. The big plays he ripped off in Weeks 1 and 2 masked the volatile usage but when he’s not picking up chunk gains, his fantasy output is minimal. Jamaal Williams is getting all the goal line work along with most of the carries between the tackles, while Swift is playing passing downs and mixing in elsewhere. Last season, the team spent less time around the goal line and featured fewer options in the passing game, but it’s a different story now, and Swift’s value needs to be reevaluated.

Austin Ekeler (RB – LAC)
Ekeler played 34 snaps, ceding 27 to a combination of Sony Michel and Joshua Kelley. He ran 26 routes and saw eight targets but carried the ball just four times for five yards. His 48 yards receiving on eight grabs left him with a respectable 13.3 points, but the elite ceiling we saw from Ekeler last season is not only gone, but it’s also completely unattainable. His red zone usage has evaporated, and he has yet to cross the goal line. His receiving work offers a safe floor, so if you can convince somebody to buy him for that reason, then it’s time to move on.

Darnell Mooney (WR – CHI)
The good news is that Mooney more than doubled his fantasy output in his first two weeks combined with his performance in Week 3. The bad news is that it took just 4.3 points to do so. Mooney is clearly the team’s top pass catcher, as he ran 59 routes and led the team in targets with five. He’s also a very talented player, but the unfortunate reality is that he’s attached to a sinking ship that is the Bears offense. Maybe that’s a bit harsh, but I have no faith in Justin Fields, and it seems as though the Bears don’t either. He’s worth holding onto in hopes that things get better or there’s a quarterback change in the future, but he’s unplayable as it stands now.

DJ Moore (WR – CAR)
Admittedly, I thought Baker Mayfield would provide an upgrade for DJ Moore and the Panthers’ offense. Of course, that hasn’t happened, and things may have gotten worse for Moore. You’d have to squint at the box score to notice that he even played on Sunday after recording just one catch for two yards. He carried the ball twice for 13 yards to reach 2.5 fantasy points, the fewest total he’s produced in a full game played since Week 3 of his rookie season in 2018. His talent is undeniable, but with just 88 receiving yards on the season, it’s difficult to envision a scenario where things get much better for Moore – at least until the Panthers find a real head coach and a franchise quarterback.

CTAs

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