Fantasy football Week 2 is similar to Week 1, where it’s typically full of overreactions. The sky is falling for some and those are the types of managers that we want to take advantage of right now. Below, I take a look back at Week 2 from a dynasty perspective and put on a label on players who you should buy-low, sell-high, or hold onto for the foreseeable future.
Rashod Bateman is quietly becoming the alpha receiver the Ravens have long been searching for. Bateman posted 4-108-1 on seven targets against the Dolphins, including a 75-yard touchdown where he reached a top speed of 21.48 mph (faster than any GPS data posted by “speedster” Hollywood Brown). Not only is Bateman lighting up the box score, but his underlying numbers are also even better. His 32% TPRR and 3.55 YPRR (via PFF) are elite. Bateman also has an aDOT of 16.0 and ranks fifth in YAC. Bateman is on the cusp of a dynasty WR1. Gobble up as many shares as possible, if you can get him at a WR2 price.
Market Analysis: Hold
Trevor Lawrence was a consensus Super Flex 1.01 dating back to 2021 rookie drafts but his value was quickly smeared by former head coach Urban Meyer. In fact, Lawrence threw 25% of his pass attempts to Laviska Shenault or Laquon Treadwell last season (via The Athletic’s Nate Tice).
Two weeks into the 2022 season and Lawrence seems to have taken some big steps. He ranks sixth in EPA per play at QB and fifth in ESPN’s QBR. His completion percentage has also improved to 68.1% despite only having a few legit NFL pass catchers at his disposal. Lawrence appears to be on his way to a true talent elevator, going 25-30 for 235 yards and 2 TDs against the Colts. I’ll admit, much of Lawrence’s projection is tied to a competent Jaguars front office and coaching staff. But, his arm talent and mobility remind me of Justin Herbert. Retooling dynasty teams should target Lawrence as a centerpiece to build around.
Market Analysis: Buy
Dynasty teams that held onto or acquired “Slant Boy” over the past couple of seasons have to be pleased with Michael Thomas’ hot start to 2022. Thomas has posted 11-122-3 on 17 targets so far this season. However, some of the underlying numbers are a bit concerning. Much of Thomas’s fantasy production has come via touchdowns, something he is unlikely to sustain. Thomas has registered a 1.63 YPRR (per PFF) this season, far from his peak (2.46, 2.64, and 2.82 from ’17-’19). The Saints have also played in negative game scripts so far, and yet Thomas is being out-targeted by rookie Chris Olave. Time to cash out while the box score stats still look respectable.
Market Analysis: Sell
Najee Harris will be 25 years old entering next season and he plays behind one of the worst offensive lines in football. And yet, some analysts in the dynasty community still value Harris as a RB1 strictly as a volume play. Well, Najee ranks 55th out of 73 qualifiers in PFF’s elusive rating and he is tied for 40th out of 40 running backs in breakaway runs of 15 yards or more (something he hardly excelled at last season). Better days are likely ahead for Harris. But, I would target Drake London or Garrett Wilson and offer Najee in a 1-1 trade.
Market Analysis: Sell
Kyle Pitts’ sophomore season is off to a sluggish start, to say the least. The emergence of Drake London has overshadowed Pitts, leaving little meat on the bone for him to produce. Pitts has totaled just four receptions for 38 yards thus far, and his 0.67 YPRR is abysmal.
But, fear not!
Pitts is still only 21 years old and exploded for 1,026 yards along with a 2.02 YPRR as a rookie — arguably the most prolific rookie tight end season since Hall of Famer Mike Ditka. The current situation in Atlanta is concerning — Arthur Smith seems content leaving his Lamborghini parked in the garage. But, Smith and Marcus Mariota will not be in Atlanta forever. They have Desmond Ridder waiting in the wings or the could opt to select one of the highly-touted rookies in the 2023 class to lead a team of high-end surrounding talent. That alone makes them an under the radar offense to target entering the 2023 season. Now may be the only buying window to acquire Pitts for the foreseeable future. Strike now, if you can.
Market Analysis: Buy
Rarely does a backup quarterback enter the fold and have the potential to improve a team’s passing game. With Jimmy Garoppollo at the helm, that may be the case with the 49ers for the remainder of this season. Aiyuk lead the team in target share last week at 33% with Garoppolo taking snaps for the majority of the game.
In addition, Aiyuk finished the 2021 season as a WR2 from Weeks 6-18 after emerging from Kyle Shanahan’s dog house. Aiyuk may never be an elite WR, but he does boast a respectable career 1.73 YPRR. If Deebo Samuel continues working in a hybrid “wideback” role, Aiyuk has a chance to lead the Niners in receptions. His 2022 camp chemistry with Trey Lance is also notable if Lance returns as the starting QB again next season. Aiyuk’s slow starts historically give way to massive finishes. Don’t let a QB change distract you from the explosive nature of Kyle Shanahan’s offense.