Dynasty Stock Watch: Fantasy News to Monitor (March 16)
Welcome to the Dynasty Stock Watch, a weekly article where I address the changes in the dynasty fantasy football landscape. This will help us as managers stay current on the most recent headlines, while also allowing us to look at player and team trends to stay ahead of the curve.
Panthers, Bears, Oh My
Maybe the most significant offseason move so far came last week, when the Bears traded the first overall pick to the Carolina Panthers in return for a boatload of picks and star receiver DJ Moore. This move has drastically changed the outlook of quite a few players when it comes to dynasty values.
First is Moore, who joins a team that passed a league-low 43.8% of the time (for comparison, Carolina was 28th at 50.51%). This is very concerning when it comes to fantasy, but then of course the Bears really lacked any pass-catching options for most of 2023, as Darnell Mooney missed significant time with an injury and Chase Claypool wasn't added until Week 8 via trade. That left the Bears relying on lower-tier receivers like Equanimeous St. Brown and Dante Pettis. Tight end Cole Kmet led the team in receiving yards with only 544, while Mooney led the team’s wide receivers with 493 yards in only 12 games.
Moore will likely give a boost to the passing game while also helping third-year quarterback Justin Fields take another step toward stardom. It is best to keep your expectations reasonable though, as Moore is unlikely to finish inside the top 15 in PPR scoring in this offense due to lack of volume. This will be one of the first seasons he has to really compete for a target share, which could result in him seeing under 115 targets for the first time in four years. Additionally, the Bears hold the ninth pick in the draft and very well could bring in another playmaker to only limit Moore's upside even more.
On the flip side of the deal, the Panthers now hold the first overall pick. You’d have to assume that pick will go toward their quarterback of the future, though we don’t know who that will be yet. No matter who it is, they are not stepping into an overly favorable position. With Moore now gone, the Panthers' wide receiver group consists of Terrace Marshall, Laviska Shenault and Shi Smith, none of whom has panned out so far.
For now, Marshall is the only player we should have interested in rostering here, as he has a chance to become the true perimeter weapon in this offense who is relied on in the red zone, where he saw 25.6% of his 47 targets last season. With a solid prospect profile and second-round draft capital, there is still hope he can become a solid weekly asset. If the Panthers decide to pass on adding much receiver help in the draft or free agency, he is in line for a decent target share that will lead to flex-level numbers with WR3 upside.
Jakobi Meyers Is a Raider
Jakobi Meyers was one of the premier names on the market at the wide receiver position this offseason. He is coming off his third straight season of 700-plus yards and over 50 receptions, and also put up a career-high six-touchdown season in 2022. He has established himself as one of the better slot technicians in the game, as he has played over 64% of his career snaps from the slot. He also has shown an ability to create after the catch as he has over 200 yards after the catch in each of the last three seasons. With a career 64.7% win percentage on contested catches, he is also very strong at the catch point. And he only had one drop in 2022, a career low.
In Las Vegas, Meyers will become one of new quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's favorite targets, which should help a bit. The Raiders did pass the ball over 69% of the time in 2022, but a significant portion of these targets went to star Davante Adams, who will continue to command the room and see the most success as a fantasy asset. Meyers will be a solid flex/WR3 player like he has been his entire career, making this a very lateral move for his dynasty value.
David Montgomery Joins the Lions
After four solid years in Chicago, David Montgomery has moved onto a team he torched regularly, the Detroit Lions. Over his career, Montgomery has rushed for over 3,600 yards and found the end zone 26 times. His 2,515 yards after contact were over 69% of his total yards produced (get this man an offensive line!). This also led to him forcing 185 missed tackles, one of the highest totals in the NFL over the last four years. Now, he did lack much explosiveness, only producing 21 runs of 15 or more yards on 927 career attempts. So there is definitely more to be desired, but that's not why he is a Lion.
Montgomery is set to take over the role held by Jamaal Williams the past two seasons, which led to a franchise-record 17 rushing touchdowns in 2022. Montgomery will become the short-yardage/off-speed complement to D'Andre Swift. This is nothing new, as Montgomery split carries with Khalil Herbert last season and finished as a top-25 running back in PPR scoring. Yes, it is unlikely we see the Lions scoring as many 1-yard touchdowns as they did last year, but if Montgomery sees 150 touches and falls into the end zone a few more times this year as opposed to last, it's likely he is a top-20 option in PPR scoring, and for this reason, I am still very in on him for dynasty moving forward.
Rashaad Penny Takes His Talent to Philly
Former first-round speedster Rashaad Penny signed a deal with the Eagles this week, reviving his fantasy value once again. Now, Penny still has his injury issues looming over his head, but when healthy he is one of the most explosive one-cut runners in the league. Over the past two seasons behind a suspect offensive line, Penny has managed to average over 6 yards per carry and produce over 4.2 yards after contact per attempt. He produced 29 runs over 10 yards, 19 of which went for over 15 yards in the last two seasons – In both years over 50% of his yards came on these explosive runs.
The Eagles possess one of the best offensive lines in football coming off a season where they finished top five in the league in rushing with over 2,500 yards and 32 touchdowns on the ground (leading the league). They were also third in the NFL in first-down rush percentage at 29.6%. Now, add the explosiveness of Penny and we may have a match made in heaven, Penny as of today is a hold in dynasty … unless you’re rebuilding, then sell, sell, sell. If healthy, it's likely he finishes as a top-24 option in 2023 – but that's a big if, as he hasn’t topped 10 games in a season since his rookie year in 2018 and has played five or fewer games in two of the last three years.