Dynasty Stock Watch 2016: Week 14
By Brian Hawkes (@bdhawkes)
At this stage of the season, your 2016 fate has probably been decided: either you’re a contender or a pretender. That being said, it’s a great time of year to assess your team’s chances to continue it’s success, or begin to restock for the future. Let’s take a look at some players who have had successful 2016 seasons, some who have been a disappointment, and some who may be ready to breakout. These are the guys you should sell, buy, and hold following week 13!
Matt Forte RB NYJ – The 30 year old Forte has been one of 2016’s more impressive players at the running back position. He’s also been a lone bright spot for a New York Jets team that has fallen from it’s 2015 pedestal. Without question, Forte’s success in 2016 is likely to lead him to a role in 2017…the question is, however, how much beyond 2017 does Forte offer? Following the 2016 season, Forte is owed $6 million dead money in 2017 by the Jets. This financial commitment signifies he is part of their plans for at least one more year. However, in 2018, we see his dead money drop to a modest $1 million. Combine this with the fact that he will be 32 years old entering the 2018 season, and we are entering an offseason that includes a loaded running back draft class – we have all of the makings for his situation to drastically change by 2018 at the latest (retirement or change of scenery). With these factors in mind, I’m selling Forte before his situation changes for the worse.
Frank Gore RB IND – See all of the reasons noted above for Mr. Forte…although Frank Gore’s situation becomes dire this offseason. Gore, 33 years old, is due $0 in dead money in 2017 – meaning he can be cut without much consequence following the 2016 season. To his credit, he has been incredibly healthy and productive this year, but with an impressive crop of running backs in this year’s draft – you play the role of GM; Do you pay a 34 year old Gore $4 million (what he made in 2016) as a one year patch, or pay a 22 year old rookie $12 million over the next 4 years (if drafted highly) to provide some stability and upside?
Jonathan Stewart RB CAR – I feel like a broken record…Stewart will be 30 years old as he enters the 2017 season, and he will be due a healthy $8.25 million ($3.5 million dead money). These numbers drop off even more in 2018 where he is due $2.5 million ($1.5 million dead money) – which makes him a prime candidate for a restructure or potential cut anytime between this offseason and the start of 2018. Add to this the lack of depth behind Stewart, and you can bet rookie running backs will definitely be on the Panthers radar in the upcoming draft (sorry Artis-Payne truthers).
Todd Gurley RB LA – Gurley has been a huge disappointment in 2016. He entered the 2016 season as Dynasty Football Warehouse’s RB1 in startup drafts…and he’s finished as this years RB24. His lack of explosive runs has drastically dropped off from his rookie year, and that has completely crushed his yards per carry. In fact, with no runs beyond 25 yards this season – his explosive runs are non-existent. Add to this, his genius coach has allegedly been extended for two more seasons – the future looks bleak for Gurley. His disappointing production, and a situation without much hope in sight may lead his current owner to sell…and I would encourage you to reap the benefits of a deal like that. Let’s not forget disappointing sophomore year Doug Martin had, or the disappointing 2012 season LeSean McCoy had, or the rookie disappointment we saw out of the emergent 2016 version of Melvin Gordon…The point is, it is possible for players to have down years and once again rise to success. Above all, it comes down to talent – and Gurley has that. Buy him while he’s attainable at a bargain basement price.
DeAndre Hopkins WR HOU – For all of the reasons noted above for Gurley- buy DeAndre Hopkins! He’s incredibly talented, and he’s not tied to the Texans organization for the long-term. In fact, his rookie contract is up following the 2017 season. If things continue down the path they have been for 2016, do you think Hopkins will opt to stay in Houston?…or take his talents to a better situation?
Devante Parker WR MIA – Parker had a stellar close to the 2015 season that carried his 2016 preseason ADP into an alternate universe. Unfortunately for him, he’s had another up and down sophomore campaign…that is ironically closing with success, yet again. The point is, Parker has been a productive NFL wide receiver for two stretches in each of his first two seasons. If you believe in his ability, and these limited samples of production – hold onto him. He hasn’t been the healthiest player thus far, and perhaps that has played a part in his inconsistency. I’m hoping he can remain healthy, and show the true talent he offers over the course of a full season in 2017.
Eric Ebron TE DET – Ebron has had some productive stretches in 2016. He’s also battled injuries throughout the year, and that has left his value in no man’s land. The former 10th overall pick has shown enough, however, to be a player you want on your dynasty team as he’s moved past his issue with drops, and appears to be seeing consistent targets from Matt Stafford. Ebron’s trajectory says he’s on the right path, and that he’s also due for some positive touchdown regression (only one touchdown on the season; week one).