Dynasty Stock Watch: Fantasy News to Monitor (May 17)
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.
Every year, we see shiny new rookies become the new hot thing, leaving second-year players looking for scraps of attention. This week, I want to highlight a few of these players to target in trades, as they could break out in Year 2.
Treylon Burks, WR, Tennessee Titans
Treylon Burks was a polarizing player to begin with last year, and that is carrying over into his second season. Burks was a big fantasy disappointment, only producing 88.1 PPR points. He battled multiple injuries throughout the year, which never let him find his groove. He did flash upside though, with two top-24 finishes — both in the only games he saw 8 targets.
With a wide-open depth chart this season, Burks is set to command the majority of targets for the Titans, giving him a huge opportunity to produce gaudy numbers. If he can refine his game in his second season, his fantasy ceiling should take a leap. I’m trying to acquire him before his coming breakout.
James Cook, RB, Buffalo Bills
James Cook was a bit of a disappointment in year one as the Bills really limited his touches for much of the season. He was hyper-efficient on his work, averaging 5.7 yards per carry, second among players with over 80 attempts. He was also top 15 in the league in missed tackles forced per attempt with 0.21, en route to over 250 yards after contact. Even as an undersized back, he is a very good runner between the tackles and against stacked boxes (2.6 yards per attempt).
Heading into 2023, Cook is set to see a significant increase in attempts now that Devon Singletary has moved on. The Bills did add Damien Harris and Latavius Murray, but both are depth/change-of-pace additions for a team that ran the ball an average of 26.4 times a game in 2022. On top of this, Cook’s 1.5 yards per route run was top 15 (min. 20 targets). His dual-threat ability makes it easy to see how he can see 18-20 touches a game, this workload on the Bills' explosive offense makes a top-20 finish obtainable.
Jahan Dotson, WR, Washington Commanders
Jahan Dotson entered the NFL on a tear inside the red zone, with four touchdowns in the first four games, finishing as a top-24 fantasy receiver in three of four weeks. He missed the next five weeks with an injury, though. It took him some time to get back up to speed upon his return, but he finished the season with three more top-24 finishes, two in the top-12. He ended the season with an impressive seven touchdowns on just 35 receptions.
Heading into 2023, the Commanders are giving second-year quarterback Sam Howell a chance to start. With this and the addition of Eric Bieniemy, this offense could be much more explosive. If so, Dotson will be a huge beneficiary, especially if they get into the red zone more often, where he saw 20 targets (33% of his total) in 2022. It is easy to see how Dotson can emerge as a steady flex player with WR1 upside weekly.
George Pickens, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
George Pickens was a huge question mark entering his rookie season after an ACL injury derailed his final year at Georgia, but he flashed upside. Pickens started slow but eventually turned it up, finishing the season with 801 yards and 4 touchdowns on 52 receptions, good for 166.5 PPR points. Once Kenny Pickett took over, we saw Pickens' numbers increase, his PPR points per game jumped by 6. He averaged the same 1.4 yards per route run as teammate Diontae Johnson, and Pickens was exceptional in contested situations, catching 75% of his contested targets.
This year, I expect Pickens to be heavily involved in the Steelers' offense — potentially supplanting Johnson as the lead target. His ability to win in the red zone will be a huge factor in this jump, so with an improved offense the hope is he improves on his four scores from last year. With this will come even more fantasy production and consistency, helping him reach the top 24 fantasy wide receivers.