14 Sep Week 1 Dynasty Snapshot
Week 1 Dynasty Snapshot: Who should we be excited/concerned about?
We finally made it to NFL Week 1 action, and it did not disappoint! From Thursday Night to Monday Night, we saw plenty of games that came down to the wire. It’s natural to overreact to what we see at the start of the season. We obviously want all our off-season debates settled right away, but make sure not to put too much stock into September games. With that being said, we can still have some takeaways to help guide our valuations of players going forward. I’m going to break down a few of my favorite dynasty buys this Summer and how I feel about their Dynasty outlook, post Week 1:
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Campbell was one of my top sleepers this off-season. He struggles to stay on the field but is usually productive in games that he plays in full. This was not the case in the Colts’ season-opener, as he only had a single reception on three targets. I expected Campbell to see a boost in volume while Hilton was on IR, but it appears that Zach Pascal has leaped-frogged him on the depth chart. Pascal saw five targets and scored twice.
There is a chance that Indianapolis chose to ease the oft-injured Campbell back slowly since he was dealing with an Achilles injury at the end of training camp. The snap counts will need to be monitored closely between Campbell and Pascal over the next two weeks. I have no interest in any receiver beyond the top two in this offense.
There aren’t many left on the Rashaad Penny train at this point. He has shown big-play ability at times throughout his career and even started to challenge Chris Carson for the lead role before his catastrophic knee injury in 2019. Injuries have been his downfall, as he cannot stay on the field.
The latest issue is with his calf. We have already seen reports that he will be shut down for at least “a few weeks” and might even be placed on IR. Penny does appear to be the clear number two behind Carson. Alex Collins was inactive for week 1 and Penny is the only other back equipped to handle a lead role if Carson were to go down. Because of that, I’m still holding onto Penny if this is only a 2–3-week injury. If he is placed on IR and signs point to an extended absence, that is likely the final straw for him and I would move on in fantasy (for good!).
Twitter is littered with Leonard Fournette vs. Ronald Jones debates. The training camp beat reporters favored Ronald Jones although it was clear that Fournette and newly acquired Gio Bernard would be involved in some capacity. I was under the impression that Jones would be the early downs lead back, while Bernard handled passing downs and Fournette acted as a spell/depth option.
Fournette operated as the lead back in the opening game against Dallas, with Jones and Bernard mixed in occasionally. That was until Jones fumbled and was sent back to Bruce Arians’ “doghouse” (a place that he is quite familiar with). Arians decided to put Jones on ice and let Fournette takeover the remainder of the game. I understand that many people are already done with Jones, but the fact that Fournette only managed 59 total yards with 14 touches confirms that Jones is the superior talent. He lost the fumble on an excellent play by the defender and Arians had to send his message. “Rojo” doesn’t have the league-winning ceiling that we all want from our depth players, but I still believe in him as a fantasy flex option, when needed.
I mentioned his teammate, Parris Campbell, earlier as someone I’m not encouraged by. Pittman was not much more productive than Campbell was, but I don’t have as much concern. While Campbell came off the field in two-wide receiver sets, Pittman operated as the clear number one wideout.
Pittman’s four targets were behind Zach Pascal (five targets), but it was an off day for the entire Colts’ offense. Wentz was constantly under pressure so there was no time for downfield routes to develop. As a result, the running backs dominated target share as Jonathan Taylor and Nyheim Hines combined for 15 total targets (39-percent of Wentz’s attempts). There are some new pieces on the offensive line, so we might need to give them time to gel. Better days are ahead for Pittman (not in Week 2 against the Rams though).
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If I had to choose just one “my guy” for 2021, it would have been Laviska Shenault. I was a huge fan of his prospect profile and was happy to take advantage of his injury discount going into the NFL Draft. Many believed he would push for first-round draft capital, but he had core muscle surgery in the off-season and got banged up during the combine so was unable to participate in most of the drills. His rookie year production was nothing special, but I saw enough of his playmaking ability to believe that a QB upgrade would vault him into fantasy relevance. That’s exactly what Jacksonville got when they drafted Trevor Lawrence.
In week 1, Shenault led the team with seven receptions (on nine targets). Marvin Jones and DJ Chark received most of the downfield targets, so it looks like Shenault will play a role similar to what Deebo Samuel does in San Francisco. Short, quick passes that will allow him to use his YAC (Yards After Catch) ability to move the ball. He only racked up 50 yards this past week, but if he continues to get the volume that he saw, he’s going to start breaking off more big plays and can become a reliable WR2 fantasy option.
D’Andre Swift was one of the more controversial fantasy picks going into this season. He doesn’t get as much hype as Jonathan Taylor or Antonio Gibson, but Swift had an impressive rookie season. Despite sharing the backfield with Adrian Peterson and Kerryon Johnson for the first part of the year, he still managed a Top 20 RB finish because of his efficiency. Most fantasy managers love him as a prospect, but the team situation going into 2021 made lots of people hesitant.
The off-season was filled with negative narratives surrounding Swift: Head Coach Anthony Lynn referring to Jamaal Williams as their ‘A’ back, the groin injury that he struggled with in camp, a downgrade at Quarterback going from Matthew Stafford to Jared Goff, and even the pre-game beat reports stating that Swift would be eased in behind Williams this week. After dropping down in drafts all Summer long, Swift came out in a tough matchup to lead the league in RB targets (11). Both him and Williams ended up as Top 5 backs on the week. As Swift gets healthy, I expect him to see even more work. If week 1 was a sign of things to come, Swift is shaping up to be one of the best values in drafts.
A hardcore St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan, Andrew found a passion for football via the St. Louis Rams’ “Greatest Show on Turf”. He works in IT sales during the day, but much of his free time is spent obsessing over his Dynasty teams.