Fantasy football Week 1 is always a week full of overreactions and there might be no better time to make deals and take advantage of your emotional leaguemates than right now. Below, I take a look back at Week 1 from a dynasty perspective and put on a label on players who you should buy, sell, or hold onto for the foreseeable future.
While Melvin Gordon III is still in Denver, Javonte Williams may never see a true bell-cow role. However, after his first game with Russell Wilson under center, Williams simply looks like one of the premier running back talents in the NFL. Setting career highs in both targets (11) and receptions (nine), Williams also led all running backs with five forced tackles missed via reception, per PFF.
The combination of explosiveness paired with high value touches is the kind of usage fantasy players salivate over. Williams has emerged as a dynasty RB1 with the upside to approach Jonathon Taylor-level value. Get on board now, while you still have the chance.
Market Advice: Buy High
Dotson was often times the last of the 2022 first-round receivers selected in rookie drafts. Poor breakout age and a lack of target domination at Penn State were (valid) concerns. However, after flashing in Week 1, it’s time to take Dotson seriously. Dotson posted a 3-40-2 receiving line that included both a red zone target and an explosive downfield catch. More importantly, Dotson ran routes on 47 of 49 Carson Wentz dropbacks (per ETR) — it’s clear the staff views Dotson as a starter. This brings us to the Wentz conundrum; as long as he is firmly entrenched as the Commanders starting QB, the Washington passing game will be middling at best. Dotson should be valued as a WR3 in dynasty formats but his upside may be capped and his performance inconsistent (i.e. McLaurin, Terry).
Market Advice: Hold
The former dynasty WR1 of yesteryear, Juju Smith-Schuster showed the football world “Yeah, I’m thinking, I’m thinking, I’m back!” Juju lead all Chiefs receivers in routes, including eight first-half targets from Patrick Mahomes before the newly revamped offense started to take their foot off the gas. It is also encouraging to see JuJu’s aDOT increase to 10.3 in Week 1, much-improved from the 6.9 and 6.0 aDOTs he respectfully posted during Big Ben’s final two seasons (sorry, retirement tour). Smith-Schuster may be a smash this year, proving that Mahomes is a true talent elevator. However, let us not forget that JuJu is signed to a one-year deal with less-guaranteed money than Marquez Valdes-Scantling. If Smith-Schuster prices himself out of the Chiefs plans, or if they simply decide to move on from him after the 2022 season, fantasy players may be in for some bad Juju.
Market Advice: Sell High
Oh baby, what a welcome gift Cam Akers gave to dynasty owners after a Week 1 goose egg in primetime. First of all, Akers was below Darrell Henderson in the backfield pecking order. Additionally, according to Adam Schefter, the Rams also planned to use rookie Kyren Williams on passing downs before an ankle injury on the opening kickoff ended his night. This leaves the former second-round pick without a clear-cut role.
Achilles injuries have long been the kiss of death for RB production, and it seems like Akers still has a way to go. On the bright side, the Rams are built like a stars & scrubs team. Meaning, that if Henderson misses time, they may have no choice other than to lean on Akers. Hopefully, Akers’ health continues to improve as the season progresses.
Market Advice: Sell Low
The dynasty rollercoaster ride continues for the rap artist formally known as Young Joka. To recap, Kadarius Toney was potentially overdrafted by the former Giants regime after converting to receiver during his time at Florida. As a rookie, Toney proved the haters wrong becoming one of eight rookie receivers with a YPRR of more than 2.00 (albeit on a small sample of routes). That list includes the likes of Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Arthur Juan Brown, Deebo Samuel, Chris Godwin, Terry McLaurin, and Hunter Renfrow.
Fast forward through an offseason riddled with soft tissue injuries and trade speculation and you end up with just seven Week 1 snaps. Toney’s usage was concerning as he was not targeted once. However, he did gain 23 rushing yards on two carries and looked as explosive as ever. Toney has, and may always be a risk. But if he ever makes his way out of the coach’s dog house, Toney has the talent to be a dynasty WR2.
Market Advice: Buy Low
The Dameon Pierce hype train went off the tracks in Week 1. After gaining steam all preseason (and being listed as the Texans starter), Pierce only managed 20 snaps in a positive game script. While the stock of the fourth-round rookie may have finally normalized, brighter days are ahead. Rex Burkhead of all people is the only “real” competition standing in the way of a Pierce breakout. Texans coach Lovie Smith also seemingly realized his mistake and has promised to learn from it. While the outlook remains positive long-term, a lack of significant draft capital caps Pearce as a low-end RB2 in dynasty formats.
Market Advice: Hold