Pre-Draft Dynasty Landmines | A Michael Carter Warning
In Dynasty Fantasy Football, there are many pitfalls to be aware of. The Dynasty Football Rankings will change after the NFL Draft. Which players should Dynasty gamers be wary of heading into the NFL Draft?
There was an entire offseason of optimism. Michael Carter, The Jets fourth round selection in the 2021 NFL Draft, had done enough to make Dynasty managers and early best ball drafters excited enough to start dreaming. Could they have an RB2 on their hands?
Carter had consistent drumbeats heading into his rookie year and an open backfield ahead of him. It took a few weeks, but the fantasy points were there when he started receiving touches. 14.8 Points in Week 5, 16.4 Points in Week 7, and then a perfect storm of opportunity and game flow with 32.2 Points in Week 8. Carter scored another 18.8 Points in Week 10. Carter’s season was derailed by an injury and as a result he missed a few weeks before a forgetful final two weeks. The point is he had flashed just enough to stay heavy on drafters’ minds.
The Jets were quiet in the offseason, bringing in no RB competition. Jets GM Joe Douglas referred to Carter as “Young MC.” The drumbeats started back up again, and Carter was suddenly a potential Dead Zone RB in redraft and found money for Dynasty managers.
Day One Can Change Things
Day 1 of the NFL Draft was cause for excitement, with New York improving their offense with Garrett Wilson and adding two more impact players on defense. Carter’s managers sat back, getting ready to watch Day 2, knowing that if they survived Pick 38, Carter would retain his offseason buzz.
Logan Hall left the board with the 1st pick in Round 2, followed by Christian Watson and Roger McCreary. The cross-town Giants picked next at pick 36. The selection was in, and the Jets had traded two spots up. This proved to be a proverbial gut punch to Carter managers, and it was followed by a verbal haymaker with nine simple words: “The Jets select running back Breece Hall, Iowa State.”
It was a tale as old as time, and it happens every NFL Draft. When one door opens, someone else loses value. Darwinism and game theory combine. Shocking picks can and will occur when NFL teams are on the clock.
Dynasty managers rostering the following players should expect many stressful moments throughout the NFL Draft.
Tony Pollard RB, Dallas Cowboys
Pollard finished as RB8 Overall in 2022, finally overcoming Ezekiel Elliott (and Jerry Jones) as the Cowboys clear fantasy RB1. Pollard was dynamic and WON weeks for fantasy managers with seven games with 19.8 Points or more. He went down with an injury in the fantasy playoffs, but any long-term concerns were put to bed with Dallas franchise tagging him AND announced they were moving on from Elliott.
Pollard managers should be relaxed but not entirely comfortable. Dallas picks No. 26 overall. This should be too late for Bijan Robinson. They will not move up to draft him unless Jerry gets that itch. Jahmyr Gibbs would be a terrible addition for Pollard Dynasty managers, and while 26 seems early for Gibbs, never say never. Gibbs will command targets, and a valuable part of Pollard’s game would be diminished.
After that, avoiding potential second-rounders like Zach Charbonnet and Roschon Johnson would help, but those sorts of backs would not damage Pollard too much in 2023.
Travis Etienne RB, Jacksonville
This one is more of a hunch than a concern. Two years ago, Etienne dusted the Dynasty value of James Robinson. While Etienne is a different player and profile, a first round selection in his own right, he could still be a sneaky bet to lose some value during the NFL Draft.
Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson started the 2022 season by handing the rock to Robinson, not Etienne. While Etienne had some fantastic fantasy moments in 2022, there were also some troubling weeks production-wise. He did finish as an RB2 and averaged 12 PPG, with four games of 18.9 Points or more. He also had 21 touches in Jacksonville’s playoff win over Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old Etienne is solidly placed at RB6 Overall in our Dynasty Rankings. However, one major red flag is his 7.8 percent Target Share.
Etienne managers should sleep soundly. This talented player will be a Dynasty asset for a long time. I expect Jacksonville to draft an RB, but how about – for the sake of Dynasty Managers’ mental health- they do it on Day 3 and not Day 2?
Rachaad White RB, Tampa Bay
This one stings – a lot. White is a player we have gushed over at PlayerProfiler and on the Sonic Truth Podcast all off-season. Leonard Fournette was released, and Chase Edmonds was the only Free Agent addition. White seemingly has the RB1 job all to himself, and on paper, he should see a significant volume increase with a chance at being the focal point of the entire offense.
White, a third-round selection in 2022, was No. 11 among all RBs with 50 receptions in 2022. The pass-catching element of his game should hold up for multiple seasons. But to take the next step in 2023, White has to avoid several backs in this upcoming draft. Bijan Robinson is the obvious land mine here, and Jahmyr Gibbs would be catastrophic.
For White’s Dynasty managers to breathe a sigh of relief, avoiding a Day 1 or Day 2 running back would be a significant win. Is it too greedy that I want him to avoid any competition in the fourth round?
Tyler Allgeier RB, Atlanta
I traded away my Allgeier shares in Dynasty. If he can survive the draft, he will have a solid role in a run-heavy offense with a chance of keeping up his torrid pace from the end of last….oh wait, what am I even saying?
To survive this draft, Allgeier will have to be like Neo in The Matrix, fighting off dozens of Agent Smiths, and Allgeier does not have the profile of Neo.
Dameon Pierce RB, Houston
Pierce has higher draft capital than Allgeier and less offensive skill position competition around him. There are no Drake London‘s or Kyle Pitts types in the building in Houston. While Dynasty and Best Ball managers have been guarded with their approach to Allgeier, there has been optimism with Pierce. One huge Bijan-sized problem: Houston has the No. 12 overall selection in the NFL Draft.
Even if Pierce survives the No. 12 pick, with a new coaching staff, all bets are off- especially for Day 3 backs like Pierce. Picks No. 33, No. 65, No. 73, and No. 104 are all potential landmines for Pierce.
Javonte Williams RB, Denver
Stop it, Theo. Enough is enough. I have already seen my Javonte Williams shares beat up this off-season. Can you leave him off of here? In Dynasty, when it rains, it pours.
What a difference a year makes. Last year, Williams looked like a top-five Dynasty RB. Young, with explosiveness, vision, and pass-catching ability, Williams checked off all the boxes you wanted to see from a foundational piece of your roster. A torn ACL and lost season later, Williams is now facing the prospect of missing at least a large portion of the season. Add in the new coaching staff in Denver, and Williams’ long-term outlook as a Bronco has a few question marks.
If Sean Payton and the new regime were to use one of their two early third rounders on a running back, it would tell you all you needed to know about how they view Williams’ health.
Mike Williams WR, Los Angeles Chargers
Williams is in a good spot right now in early Best Ball, solidly being drafted around WR20 land. For the past two seasons, Williams’ produced WR2 level numbers- 15.4 PPG in 2021 and 13.6 PPG last season. But Dynasty managers have many hurdles to overcome on draft day.
Keenan Allen has returned to Los Angeles, and even at age 31, he remains a target magnet. Williams had an 18.2 percent Target Share in 2022. If he dips lower than that, he is on shaky ground and should be treated more like a boom or bust low-end WR3. At age 28.5 with potential for increased target competition, Williams could be a sneaky bet to lose value on NFL Draft day if Los Angeles adds a talented WR like Zay Flowers or Jordan Addison.
Brandin Cooks WR, Dallas Cowboys
Cooks made the in-state journey from Houston to Dallas, and there is optimism he will thrive in a WR2 role opposite CeeDee Lamb. With no Dalton Schultz, there should be more emphasis on WR targets in the Cowboys passing attack. To move from a potential bottom-five offense with the Texans to a potentially elite one in Dallas, Cooks Dynasty managers have reasons to rejoice.
But could Dallas draft another WR in Round 1? Cooks already has to deal with the presence of Michael Gallup, and adding another pass catcher could make his weekly production unusable. He could fall into WR4 land if Dallas drafts a player like Quentin Johnston or Flowers.
Treylon Burks WR, Tennessee
This one is not pleasant to write about. Burks is a player I have rostered on multiple Dynasty teams. The 2022 first rounder has a chance at a big breakout in 2023. He played in only 11 games last season and had a disappointing final stat line, but he flashed talent and big play ability and was playing some of his best football of the season before his injury.
There is little to no target competition standing in Burks’ way. However, there is one player that Burks managers should want to avoid – Jaxon Smith-Njigba. Tennessee is desperate for pass catchers, and Smith-Njigba is the best one in the entire draft. Smith-Njigba is also the sort of target hog that could limit Burks.
A counterargument is that playing alongside another talented WR would help Burks. In the long run, this is probably true. But Burks’ chances of putting up WR2 numbers in 2023 would go down significantly. I would have Elijah Moore paired with Garrett Wilson vibes if Smith-Njigba was selected at No. 11. This offense could struggle this season and supporting multiple high-scoring fantasy skill position players is probably out of the question.
Rashod Bateman WR, Baltimore
Bateman has struggled with injuries throughout his career in Baltimore. The 2021 first round pick has played only 18 games in two seasons. Baltimore spent massive money to bring in Odell Beckham Jr. as a Free Agent. Bateman managers have rationalized this with the valid argument that the Ravens needed a wide receiver. Bateman is still in a great spot to see a high snap share in a consolidated target tree with Beckham Jr. and Mark Andrews.
There is one significant hurdle for Bateman managers: the No. 22 overall pick. If Baltimore were to draft a Flowers or Jordan Addison (a Maryland native), Bateman would be the biggest Dynasty loser on the team.
Evan Engram TE, Jacksonville
Engram was rejuvenated this past season. His strong play down the stretch helped Dynasty managers, as Engram shined in the Doug Pederson-Trevor Lawrence led Jacksonville Jaguars passing attack. After years of fantasy frustration in New York, Engram finished as TE5 overall and was the TE1 during the fantasy playoffs. His Dynasty value has indeed regained a significant amount of value.
Jacksonville chose to use the Franchise Tag on Engram instead of rewarding him with a long-term contract. He looks pretty safe for 2023, but if the Jaguars use an early selection on a player from this deep and talented class of TEs, there will be several questions about Engram’s long-term value.
All other TEs
This is a transformative TE class. There will be at least eight selected by the end of the third round. There are some obvious players in big trouble for both 2023 and beyond. Some of those players include Gerald Everett of the Chargers, Juwan Johnson of the Saints, and Irv Smith of the Bengals. All of these guys could turn into complete dust because they are already pretty dusty right now. But with a class like this, some perceived low-end TE1s and high-end TE2s could take a Dynasty gut punch. Greg Dulcich and Dawson Knox are sneaky bets to lose some value.
Look for our Dynasty Winners column next week as I take a look at some players who not only survived the NFL Draft but gained dynasty value.