The Forgotten Ones: Great Forgotten Dynasty Values

by Stephen Polacheck · Dynasty Leagues

Every year, there are players we can identify as dynasty values who cost way less to acquire than they should. For whatever reason, players fall through the cracks that have the underrecognized ability to be able to produce fantasy-wise, both in 2021 and the years beyond. PlayerProfiler’s advanced stats and metrics can help us identify players that we can acquire relatively inexpensively in trade or draft at value in a startup. Today we look at one such player at quarterback, running back, and wide receiver.


Kirk Cousins

In a SuperFlex league, it’s likely impossible to acquire one of the top options or young guns. Kirk Cousins is a hidden value QB2, currently being drafted at QB24 per startup ADP. His biggest draw is position stability. He has not had any major injuries in his career and currently holds an uncontested role in Minnesota, with third-rounder Kellen Mond lacking draft capital and elite prospect traits. His contract is large, yet manageable, meaning he likely won’t become a cap casualty. He signed an extension in 2020 that gives him two more seasons, leading up to being an unrestricted free agent in 2023 who will likely be signed as a starter. If Sam Darnold is starting, Cousins will be too. He has, at minimum, three more years of starting QB play, which is just as much as the rookie QBs get, if not more.

The coaching staff also mostly stays the same. Head coach Mike Zimmer returns, and his new offensive coordinator is former quarterbacks coach Klint Kubiak. He is also the son of Gary Kubiak, who happened to be the former offensive coordinator.

For fantasy production, Cousins is a bit volatile. Of his 16 starts in 2020, he had a nightmare 1.5 points in Week 2 versus the Colts, along with four finishes outside the top 20 at the position. On the upside, he threw for three touchdowns in eight different games and had nine fantasy QB1 weeks, with four top five finishes.

The volatility may scare some, but not every quarterback can put up great numbers in half their games with top five fantasy upside.

The current weapons around Cousins are Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen, and Irv Smith, one of the best skill-position groups in football. His efficiency numbers are also very repeatable. He threw for 35 (No. 6 among qualified quarterbacks) touchdowns in 2020 at a high, but manageable, 6.8-percent touchdown rate. He had 4,265 (No. 8) passing yards, with 2,386 (No. 7) being Completed Air Yards. He had an 81.7-percent (No. 2) Clean Pocket Completion Percentage, yet only had a 78.1-percent (No. 35) Protection Rate, which is why the team drafted Christian Darrisaw in Round 1. His efficiency says this type of production is sustainable, and not an outlier year.

While he does have a bit of unpredictability to his weekly performances, he has high-ceiling upside, a stable situation, and an elite arsenal of weapons around him. I don’t suggest trying to use him as my QB in a 1QB league, but in SuperFlex, he’s a desirable QB2 at a cheap cost.

Austin Ekeler

Austin Ekeler is currently being drafted as the RB18 per startup ADP. He’s been a fantasy stud in the past, but he’s being overlooked due to name fatigue even at only 26 years old. The Chargers have other holes and didn’t pursue a running back in the earlier rounds of the draft. His contract is team-friendly at around $6 million per year for three more years. He also has the league’s hottest young quarterback attached to him in Justin Herbert, who favorably targeted the RB position at a 25-percent rate for 156 total targets, the fourth-highest in the league. He only played 10 games in 2020, yet racked up 54 receptions for 403 receiving yards (both No. 5).

His pass-catching is his best asset, and as the points per reception increase, so does his value.

Ekeler averaged 16.5 (No. 9) Fantasy Points Per Game. And that’s with him only scoring three (No. 48) total touchdowns. Assuming positive TD regression with an improved offense and better line, these numbers will only go up. While it is mostly unfair to extrapolate running back stats due to the nature of the position, his injury history is minimal. His only significant time lost was for a hamstring strain and knee hyperextension in 2020. He also missed two games with a concussion in 2018. In four total years, he’s played in 16 games twice, only missing eight of a possible 64 games. These are incredible durability numbers for a running back.

Ekeler may seem like a “win now” type of player with his name familiarity, but he has great opportunity stability and has shown the ability to be an elite fantasy option. Capitalize on this fade, and buy.

Jerry Jeudy

No wide receiver will have a better rookie season than Jerry Jeudy and be this inexpensive again. He’s currently the WR25 per startup ADP. He logged 52 (No. 51) receptions for 856 (No. 30) receiving yards and only three (No. 65) touchdowns. Not the type of production we wanted to see from the receiver who was once regarded as arguably the best in class during the 2020 draft cycle. However, the focus of this argument is based on the opportunity left on the field. He ran 497 (No. 32) routes and drew 113 (No. 21) targets. He had 25 (No. 7) Deep Targets and recorded 1,536 (No. 6) Air Yards. What was left on the field that we don’t see in the yearly totals is represented in the 965 (No. 2) Unrealized Air Yards, 62.8-percent (No. 105) Catchable Target Rate, and eight (No. 63) red zone targets.

In comparison to the other WRs of his class, Jeudy was within 100 yards of CeeDee Lamb, Tee Higgins, and Chase Claypool. He had over 100 more yards than everyone else minus Justin Jefferson. Comparing the ADPs of his sophomore counterparts, it’s odd he falls so far behind. His quarterback play will never be worse than what it was in 2020. At the minimum, it will remain constant, and yet Courtland Sutton will rejoin the offense to draw more defensive focus away.

If Jeudy maintains his efficiency, fixes a few drops, and his quarterback performs better in getting him the ball, he can easily be a 1,100-plus yard receiver with a handful of touchdowns to go with it. This is the most inexpensive he will ever be. Buy while you can.