The bulk of free agency is over and the NFL draft looms on the horizon. How has the dynasty landscape changed over the last few weeks? Let's jump in.
Name a quarterback who has seen their dynasty stock increase or decrease based on the last few weeks of changes in the NFL. Describe how this affects their value moving forward.
Cam Newton, NE - I had pretty much written Newton off after last season, but Bill Belichick clearly couldn't handle both the Patriots falling off the map competitively while Tom Brady went and won another Super Bowl in the same year. So he opened up Bob Kraft's bitcoin wallet and started shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild and retool. While I'm not expecting Newton to return to MVP form ever again, I do think Belichick and Josh McDaniel's have given him a supporting cast that far better suits his tendencies. Combine that with an offensive line boost and a defense that gets a bunch of post-Covid returnees and I see positive game scripts in Newton's future. The dual tight end combination of Jonnu Smith and Hunter Henry, alongside legitimate outside receivers in Nelson Agholor and Kendrick Bourne will suit Newton's desire to throw short or intermediate routes or tuck and run. Newton went from someone on your dynasty roster with almost no trade value to someone who could keep you competitive in 2021 if you decide to draft one of the promising rookie quarterbacks and build for the future.
Tyrod Taylor, HOU - Taylor is an interesting superflex dynasty player with the troubles of Deshaun Watson. In leagues where starting quarterbacks have value, Taylor could see some starts as the legal wranglings progress. On the flipside, Watson has seen his value tumble temporarily, and the legal battles could impact him long-term.
Good call on Tyrod Taylor, Jeff. Deshaun Watson already doesn't want to play for Houston, per his own words, and now he's potentially facing a suspension from the league as a result of multiple lawsuits against him. The waters may be muddy in Houston and it's looking more and more like Taylor will have a role in 2021, and it could be significant.
Andy Dalton, CHI - Chicago’s front office brought in someone who can instantly prove themselves as one of the best pass-throwers to ever don the Bears’ uniform. With a superstar wide receiver in Allen Robinson, two pass-catching backs in David Montgomery and Tarik Cohen, and a turnover-happy defense, Dalton has a lot of tools to succeed. Of course, the glaring weakness is the offensive line, a problem that has seemingly followed Dalton everywhere since being drafted by the Bengals in 2011. The veteran quarterback peaked as a fantasy asset in 2013 when he threw for 4,293 yards and 33 touchdowns. Since then, he’s been outside the QB1 conversation. But he’s now essentially guaranteed a starting job heading into the 2021 season, and that alone makes him a decent target in dynasty Superflex leagues. He’ll likely be a low-end QB2, but the opportunity is there for him to lock in a starting job for the next few seasons, making him a sneaky good dynasty asset.
Taysom Hill, NO - Hill could have had a clear path to starting this year if Jameis Winston had signed elsewhere (Chicago was interested). Instead, Winston signed with New Orleans as expected. He should be considered the favorite to start because Hill would have to be significantly better than Winston to win the job. The tactical advantage for the Saints increases when Hill is on the field as a change of pace from the starting quarterback, so Hill doesn't have to be merely better than Winston, he has to be better than the combination of Winston and the changeup his game provides, that it wouldn't if he was the starter. Hill was a top 10 fantasy quarterback last year during his four starts, but now he's barely worth drafting in typical leagues.
I agree, Sigmund. I'd add that Winston probably wouldn't have signed with New Orleans if there was no clear indication of his role with the team. His choosing the Saints over Chicago, or any other team tells me that he believes Sean Payton wants him to be the starter. Winston's dynasty stock grows, while Taysom Hill's stock drops. Still, Hill is an adequate backup and he will have a role with the team, just not to the extent that some people hoped.
Daniel Jones, NYG - Admittedly, I’m not 100% convinced that Daniel Jones will be an NFL starter two to three years from now, but the Kenny Golladay signing was a generous gift to the young QB. Golladay is a 6-4 contested-catch artist who almost single-handedly managed to make David Blough look like a serviceable NFL quarterback two seasons ago (no small feat). Jones’ running ability gives him attractive fantasy upside; he basically just needs to be a decent passer to have QB1 value. The addition of Golladay dramatically boosts Jones’ chances to clear that low bar and aim even higher.
Sam Darnold, NYJ - Sam Darnold has got off to a slow start to his career. Some of the starts can be attributed to Darnold (6.6 YPA), but he has not had a great situation. Injuries have not helped, including Darnold's mononucleosis. Additionally, his former coach Adam Gase has been a drag on the career of other offensive players and his skill position players have been well below average. Some in NFL circles still believe, but the Jets are sitting at two and primed to select Zach Wilson. While some trades have been rumored, recent movements, including San Francisco's trade up, leave few places Darnold could project as a week 1 start in 2021. His value in Superflex leagues should be more along the line of a primary backup than a starter on a developmental trend.
Marcus Mariota, LSV - A deeper dive at an under-the-radar player. It is disappointing to see Mariota back in Las Vegas and unable to get another chance as a starter in the NFL. Washington, Houston, and Chicago all signed quarterbacks, and all have a chance to start and produce in 2021. Mariota is younger and more talented than the quarterbacks signed by those teams. He played well in his one start for Las Vegas last year, throwing for 226 yards and one score while rushing for 88 yards and a score. He brings a level of athleticism to the position that fits the modern game and can produce at a reasonable level if a smart coach can scheme things for him. As it stands, he returns to Las Vegas to back up current starting quarterback Derek Carr.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, WAS - Fitzpatrick is a bold decision-maker, and with a likely full-season (or longer?) window to be Washington's starter, his low value in recent offseasons is now relevant to relevant-plus zone for fantasy. Washington is likely not done with adding weapons to the offense this offseason and the core of Terry McLaurin, Curtis Samuel, Logan Thomas, Antonio Gibson, and J.D. McKissic is already enough to make Fitzpatrick an auto-start in Superflex formats and at least a matchup play with lower-end QB1 upside in start-1-QB leagues.
Carson Wentz, IND - We have seen the best of Carson Wentz and in 2020 the worst. A fresh start in Indianapolis, with a coach who understands him, should see a resolution on whether Wentz is an elite player or just another washout. He will have an outstanding offensive line, multi-pronged and flexible running game, and a reliable and deep receiving room. This is all before the NFL draft where depth should be added. The Colts are unlikely to throw unnecessary fuel at him by draftIng a guy high as the Eagles did. Restoring his psyche should be mission number one for Frank Reich and he is an excellent all-or-nothing buy in dynasty leagues.
Tua Tagovailoa, MIA - Last year's fifth pick in the Draft did not get off to a tremendous start to his career, averaging just 6.3 yards per attempt, and being pulled on more than one occasion in critical moments in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick. However, his dynasty stock has improved considerably of late. Miami has made changes to the offensive coaching staff, and Fitzpatrick signed with the Washington Football Team. The Dolphins also brought in Will Fuller V, who was well-known for greatly improving the play of his former quarterback -- Deshaun Watson. Over the weekend, Miami traded back in the draft, making it less likely they would take a Tagovailoa replacement, and more likely to add help for the young quarterback to succeed.
Jalen Hurts, PHI - The Philadelphia Eagles made a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins by trading back to pick 12. This means the Eagles either believe in Jalen Hurts, or perhaps more likely, they had intel that the first five picks will be quarterbacks. Either way, Hurts appears to be the guy in 2021, which affords him the opportunity to demonstrate his ability to be a franchise quarterback. He has that type of ceiling and his value likely won’t get lower than it is now. Buy while you can.
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