Dynasty Stock Watch 2016: Week 5
By Shaun Laibe (@ShaunLaibe)
With four weeks in the books, teams around the NFL (and in your dynasty league) are starting to take shape. The best teams are easily identifiable, having hit on the majority of its draft picks, trades, and waiver acquisitions. On the opposite end of the spectrum you have the teams where the once decent players go to die. These teams will have missed on most of their rookie picks and have plenty of injuries to boot. As a shrewd dynasty owner, now is the time to assess the teams within your league, as well as your own, and determine what moves to make and with whom to make them.
Terrance West RB BAL – Terrance West is coming off one of the best performances of his career, rushing for 113 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries in a loss to the Raiders. The Ravens has just parted ways with Justin Forsett and with that, West has seemingly staked his claim as the Raven’s lead back. Week 5 will bring the return of Kenneth Dixon, Baltimore’s 4th round draft pick out of Louisiana Tech. Dixon wowed in the combine, but has yet to see the field while battling injuries. While I don’t expect Dixon to take the starting gig immediately, he should slowly eat into West’s playing time and could eventually become the team’s lead back. Sell high on West while you can.
DeMarco Murray RB TEN – After a dismal year in Philadelphia, DeMarco Murray has came back stronger than ever with Tennessee. He has been the top scoring running back in PPR leagues through the first four weeks of the season. Mike Mularkey installed a run first offense in the offseason and Murray has been the primary beneficiary. With that said, many NFL pundits have blasted Mularkey’s system as being archaic and detrimental to Marcus Mariota’s development. After a 1-3 start, Mularkey has fingers pointed at him once again. If he loses his job, the run first offense will likely go with him. Murray’s value is peaking now, the ideal time to sell high.
Matt Ryan QB ATL – There are two types of people in this world. There are those who have been burned by Matt Ryan after a quick start and there are those who are about to be burned by Matt Ryan. Which are you? If you are the latter, I must warn you that we have seen this before. When healthy and fresh, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are arguably the best QB/WR combo in the league. Unfortunately, this Atlanta Falcons team has routinely faded down the stretch. I will boldly predict Ryan will have no more 500 yard passing games in him this season.
Terrelle Pryor WR CLE – Terrelle Pryor has been one of the most intriguing players in the league thus far. After a failed career as an NFL Quarterback, he has completely remade himself as one of the best Wide Receivers in the league. And boy has he made it look easy. With the injuries to RGIII and Josh McCown, head coach Hue Jackson has turned to the former signal caller to lead the team, albeit in a different role. Whether he is spread out wide or taking an occasional snap in the wildcat formation, Pryor has become the team’s go to superstar. Rookie QB, Cody Kessler, has taken a liking to Pryor, targeting him 23 times in two starts. With all of Pryor’s success, we must remember that this is a small sample size. Your league mates will likely not give up the top end value in which he should command in return. Until they do, hold strong and continue to reap the benefits.
Christine Michael RB SEA – If you told me before the season that we’d be talking about Christine Michael as a borderline RB1, I would have laughed you right off of the internet. But yet, here we are. Seattle’s offense has struggled mightily through the first few weeks, finally hitting its stride when Michael burst for over 100 yards and 2 TDs in Week 3 and then added a receiving TD in week 4. While Thomas Rawls continues to miss time with injuries, the team has desperately signed the former Bills and Saints castoff CJ Spiller to fill the void. At 29 years old, Spiller is certainly not the long term solution. Christine Michael might not be either, but he has filled in admirably for two weeks and should continue to do so… at least until Marshawn Lynch decides to come out of retirement.
Odell Beckham Jr. WR NYG – For whatever reason, Eli Manning has taken it upon himself to make Victor Cruz relevant again. This is much to the chagrin of Odell Beckham Jr. owners everywhere. With the decreased opportunity and increased attention paid by opposing DBs, OBJ has been visibly frustrated so far this season. Your league mates have surely noted this point, but for the love of god, don’t give up OBJ for anything less than another top end dynasty asset in return.
Tyler Eifert TE CIN – Nobody needs Tyler Eifert to return from his injury more than the Cincinnati Bengals do. The Bengals offense, led entirely by AJ Green thus far, has been downright abysmal in the red zone, converting only 30% of their trips into touchdowns. Last Thursday night’s game was no different as we saw Mike Nugent kick five more frustrating field goals. Tyler Eifert was a touchdown machine in 2015, scoring 13 TDs in only 13 games played. With the team’s need for a red zone threat being so great, the output is sure to follow. Eifert is the kind of player that can completely swing the tide for your team. Go get him before the price skyrockets.
Golden Tate WR DET – Clearly, Golden Tate has been a complete disaster for fantasy purposes so far this year. His most recent debacle, a 1 reception for 1 yard game in Week 4, has likely put Tate’s owners on tilt. While I won’t be suggesting you to start Tate right now, I do think we’ve hit rock bottom on his value. Despite his woes so far this season, Golden Tate is no slouch, having caught 90 or more passes each of the last two years. Not many other receivers in the NFL can state that claim. The Tate owner in your league is most likely looking to upgrade, giving you the ideal chance to buy low and see if he can rebound. Tate is a gamble, but isn’t that what fantasy football is all about?
Todd Gurley RB LA – The Los Angeles Rams have had one of the worst offenses in the league through four weeks, yet somehow the team has managed a 3-1 record. Head Coach, Jeff Fisher, is not exactly known as an offensive genius and Gurley has struggled mightily because of it. His 2.6 yards per carry is easily among the worst in the league. In spite of that, Gurley is still a premier talent and should trend upwards over time, especially if Jared Goff eventually takes over for Case Keenum. Trading for Todd Gurley is not going to come cheap, but he may now be a little bit easier to pry from that stingy owner’s hands than he was prior to the season.