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Dynasty Fantasy Football Values That Could Change in Free Agency

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Dynasty fantasy football doesn’t end, which is why the NFL offseason is arguably even more fun in dynasty formats.

Players are changing teams, the NFL Draft shakes things up and can change the fantasy value of plays in the blink of an eye. And that is absolutely going to happen once free agency kicks off, so I thought we would take a preview of some players who can have their dynasty value impacted due to some potential free agency moves.

Let’s go.

 

Javonte Williams, RB, Denver Broncos

Javonte Williams is already one of the best options in all of dynasty fantasy football, but if Denver doesn’t bring Melvin Gordon back, the hype will skyrocket … and deservedly so. During his rookie campaign, Williams essentially split work with Gordon, rushing for 903 yards on 203 attempts, while adding 316 yards on 43 receptions. A tackle-breaking machine at North Carolina, Williams broke PFF’s elusive metrics in college, and it truly did carry over to the NFL level. Williams averaged 3.42 yards after contact per attempt during his rookie season (10th), while only Jonathan Taylor forced more missed tackles than Williams’ 63, and Taylor did so on over 100 more rushing attempts. And finally, Williams broke a tackle every 6.5 rush attempts, the best rate in all of football. He is an absolute stud and all that held him back last year was volume. 

He and Gordon split work, with Williams ultimately averaging just under 12 carries per game. But in the one game Gordon missed last year, Denver used Williams as an every-down back, as he recorded 23 carries and six receptions in a game against the Chiefs, recording 178 total yards and a touchdown. Already seeing a boost with the addition of Russell Wilson, Williams would become a top-10 overall player in dynasty leagues if Gordon is playing elsewhere in 2022.

Leonard Fournette, RB, Free Agent

Leonard Fournette is coming off a stellar season for Tampa Bay, finishing as the RB6 in PPR formats. He separated himself from Ronald Jones and became the workhorse during the second half of the season. Fournette’s dynasty value is very interesting because if he goes back to Tampa Bay, he’d be the lead back with Jones likely gone, but the offense now has question marks after Tom Brady’s retirement. The passing volume was terrific for Fournette, who ranked seventh among all running backs with a 14% target share. He likely won’t see that again, but if he signs with a team like Arizona, Fournette’s value could at worst stay the same, if not rise a bit. Both James Conner and Chase Edmonds are free agents, and if Fournette became the starting running back for the Cardinals, there would be serious upside.

Conner finished as the RB5 last year on the back of 18 total touchdowns. He ranked second among all running backs with 16 carries from inside the 10-yard line, while his 14 goal-line carries were also the second in the league. 

Rondale Moore, WR, Arizona Cardinals

It was a very disappointing rookie season for Rondale Moore in 2021, but it wasn’t entirely his fault. He struggled to find consistent playing time behind DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk and A.J. Green, and the team also added tight end Zach Ertz in the middle of the year. However, his value could climb if Arizona doesn’t re-sign impending free agents Kirk, Green and Ertz. That would lead to Moore likely becoming an every-down player. And sure, the Cardinals could still add a wideout, but as long as Moore is top-three on the depth chart, that is all that matters, as Arizona operated out of three-wide sets around 60% of the time last season. Some more downfield usage wouldn’t hurt either after Moore averaged a comical -0.1 yards before the catch per reception, easily the lowest mark among all wide receivers. Moore’s playing time could skyrocket during his sophomore season and he still does fit the offense well, as Arizona runs as many screens as any team in football. In fact, quarterback Kyler Murray finished the season attempting 78 screens, fourth in the league, despite missing three games.

 

Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots

Mac Jones put together a very strong rookie season, and although the fantasy upside wasn’t there, there is a path to him showing a bit more upside. I’m not saying Jones will finish as a top-10 quarterback or anything, but he did throw for 3,800 yards and 22 touchdowns in a run-first offense that also featured one of the worst groups of wideouts in the NFL. Jones was top 10 in play-action completion percentage (67.8%) and red zone completion rate (60.5%) and now the Patriots will more than likely address the receiver position. They were apparently interested in Calvin Ridley but now I expect their attention to turn to Amari Cooper, Allen Robinson or D.J. Chark, which would be great for Jones. Playing time obviously isn’t an issue for Jones and likely won’t be for a long-time but I do think his dynasty value can see a boost with New England adding more talent on offense around him.

Diontae Johnson, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Over the last few seasons, Diontae Johnson has been one of the most underrated receivers in the NFL. And in 2021, despite playing in an awful, conservative, low-ceiling passing offense, Johnson remained very productive, hauling in 107 balls for 1,161 yards and eight scores. Going into 2022, the Steelers will obviously be looking to upgrade at quarterback after the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger. The offense could easily open up more, but I wonder what Johnson’s target share might look like with a new quarterback. Last season, Johnson saw the second-most targets in the NFL (170), while only Cooper Kupp and Davante Adams saw more first read targets (147). And in 2020, Johnson’s 112 first read targets were second-most in all of football. Of course, JuJu Smith-Schuster is set to hit free agency, which could make this offense even more concentrated, but I am very interested to see what the Steelers passing game looks like next season. 

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