Five Dynasty Questions Keeping Me Up At Night – Part 4
1. David Johnson. WTF?
I don’t think anyone has broken more fantasy football hearts this year than David Johnson. Before the season the excitement was palpable. Kliff Kingsbury and his exciting new offence was going to reignite DJ and put him right back into the mix as an RB1, a genuine league winner for those who kept the faith. Well, not so much.
It’s been a very frustrating season for DJ owners. Flashes of production have come and gone. Just as he seemed to be finding a degree of form his season was derailed by injury. His single touch against the Giants will have lost many people a week and Chase Edmonds explosion that day underlined the fact that the offence was indeed well set to create fantasy points. It suddenly appeared that it was Johnson who was the problem.
Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse the team gave up a conditional pick for Miami’s Kenyon Drake who promptly rushed for 110 yards in his debut just a couple of days after arriving. Drake’s usage since has cemented him as the team’s lead back. On Sunday against the 49ers Johnson had zero touches. Zero touches.
Is this the end of Johnson as a fantasy darling? It seems so. Over and above the competition for touches, he’s looked slow and ineffective when he’s been on the field. There is a hope that this has been down to injuries and that he will ultimately return to his best but right now that looks unlikely.
It’s a tough situation for DJ owners. You won’t get the price that you want to sell, but his value is plummeting and, as ever, with such a premium player his demise has the potential to be a team killer. The only option I can see right now is to hold firm and hope against hope that the summer sees a departure for Arizona and brighter skies in a new setting next year.
2. Should I buy Kareem Hunt?
Kareem Hunt’s demise was one of the more unfortunate events of last season. Hunt had proven to be a premium fantasy asset from the very moment he arrived in Kansas City so his fall from grace, being cut by the Chiefs and the subsequent 8 game suspension was a blow to many owners.
Things didn’t get much better when he signed with the Browns in the offseason. His talent wasn’t likely to have diminished, but his opportunity certainly had. From the lone option for an explosive offence to the back-up to the outstanding Nick Chubb in an attack with much less clarity and structure.
He finally returned to the field two weeks ago serving, predominantly, as Chubb’s back-up. Whilst there is no evidence, yet that Hunt will eat into Chubb’s rushing work, the 17 targets in two games suggests he’s going to play a significant role for the rest of the season.
What is increasingly clear is that Hunt remains an extremely talented back. He’ll be a free agent again in the summer and a year removed from his suspension will likely be significantly less toxic – as soon as he signs somewhere as the lead back he’ll be a hot property so if you want to buy you probably want to get on with it. If you can get him, you absolutely should.
3. Is it the end for Devonta Freeman?
Next seasons promising draft class seems set to offer up an exciting crop of running backs. With a significant influx of new blood, several veterans are going to find their places under threat. Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman is one of them.
Even before he missed the last couple of games his production was uninspiring. 371 yards on 107 carries and no rushing touchdowns is nothing like the performance his supporters expected in the summer. His contribution in the receiving game has helped somewhat with 38 catches, 282 yards and 3 touchdowns but the output is more akin to a third down back than the fantasy superstar that Freeman used to be.
The Falcons can move on in the summer but would have to eat $3.5m in dead money so he may stick around for a final year in Atlanta but it’s tough to believe that the team won’t dip into that impressive draft class.
Freeman will be 28 in the summer, he may still have a little life left in him but his days as an RB1 are a distant memory. If you can find a buyer then feel free to sell.
4. Why on earth am I buying Robbie Anderson?
It’s been a disappointing season for Robbie Anderson. With Sam Darnold well positioned to breakout at the start of the season there was a fair amount of excitement that the former Temple speedster was a serious breakout candidate.
Two productive seasons in 2017 and 2018 hinted that Anderson would emerge as the Jets leading receiving option but the arrival of Adam Gase has greatly reduced his impact. As Gase has continued his trademark of creating a fantasy wasteland beyond whoever his slot receiver it, Anderson’s contribution has been sidelined.
He’s gone from 7 targets a game to 5, 4 catches a game to 2.5 and contributed only 2 touchdowns. Gase and Darnold seem to have a reluctance to use Anderson’s speed to go deep and have made no attempt to increase his usage in the intermediate and short game.
So why, am I buying him wherever I can? Simple. Anderson is a free agent this summer in a class that isn’t filled with exciting options. I think it’s highly unlikely that Anderson is still a Jet in 2020. If he finds a good landing spot – a return to Philadelphia perhaps – then he has the ability to become a significant fantasy producer – you can probably buy him cheap, if you can take the chance.
5. What’s Josh Jacobs worth?
I’ll admit it. I was sceptical about Jacobs as an elite running back option. Alabama running backs have generally disappointed at the next level and I had doubts about the reason behind Jacobs’ limited usage.
As it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. Jacobs has been terrific in his rookie year. Jon Gruden has stayed true to form in using a workhorse back and is getting the best out of Jacobs. He will likely go past 1000 yards rushing this weekend and is on course for almost 1500 yards on roughly 19 carries a game. His passing game usage has been impacted by Jalen Richard but as the season has gone on he’s seen more usage there as well.
He has already established himself as an RB1 for the foreseeable future. He’s only 21 and I can only see five backs that I would definitely rather have going forward. He’s not yet at the level of CMC, Zeke Elliott, Saquon Barkley or Alvin Kamara but after that he’s right at the top of the 2nd tier with Nick Chubb and Dalvin Cook.
On top of his impressive first season Jacobs looks set for years as the lead back in a team on the rise. The first draft class of Mike Mayock looks like a smash hit and should set the Raiders up to be in contention in years to come. That’ll help keep Jacobs relevant.
All in I’m not sure there is a price I’d accept for Jacobs right now. He’s in a great situation, is trending up in performance and has significant passing game headroom to get even better.