Looking Ahead: Mid-Season Keeper and Dynasty Targets
In Fantasy Football, it’s absolutely critical that fantasy owners look ahead and try to beat their competition to the punch. This is especially critical for keeper and dynasty leagues. Today, we’re going to take a look at some targets for keeper and dynasty leagues that may be currently undervalued.
TJ Hockenson, TE, Detroit Lions
TJ Hockenson put on a show in his first career NFL game to the tune of 6 receptions (on 9 targets) for 131 receiving yards. In fact, Hockenson’s debut stat line was the best in NFL history by a tight end. So far this season, the eighth overall pick from the 2019 season has made 22 catches on 38 targets for 296 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns in eight games. Historically, tight ends take about a year to acclimate to the NFL, and the fact that Hockenson is fantasy relevant as a rookie shows a lot about his future potential. Hockenson will likely be a trendy mid-round pick next year and could break into the upper-echelon of tight ends as a sophomore, much like fellow Iowa tight end George Kittle did in 2018.
Devin Singletary, RB, Buffalo Bills
Devin Singletary may be gifted a great situations as the Buffalo Bills bell cow back next year. His 36-year-old co-starter, Frank Gore, has his contract expiring at the end of the 2019-2020 NFL season, so there’s a strong possibility Gore decides to go to a different team or even hang it up altogether. While Singletary had only received twenty carries prior to week 9 in 2019, he was extremely effective averaging 8.6 YPC (172 rushing yards total) and showed he was a decent pass catcher. But last week he showed why he should be a player you invest in. Against the Washington Redskins, Singletary finally got a true bell cow number of touches, carrying the ball 20 times for 95 yards and catching three passes for 45 yards bringing his yearly totals to 40 carries for 267 rushing yards and 12 catches for 103 receiving yards. He’s earned the larger role and there’s a good chance that he expands on it next year.
Royce Freeman, RB, Denver Broncos
Royce Freeman is going to be an interesting player for next season. While Phillip Lindsay is likely going to be the primary ball-carrier in Denver next season, Freeman has proven himself to be no slouch taking 93 carries for 374 rushing yards (4.0 yards per carry) and 27 receptions for 181 receiving yards. In fact, Freeman is on pace to hit all the criteria of the “Mixon Formula”, a tool I created to potentially make it easier to find breakout running backs each year. This past year the formula may have helped you identify Dalvin Cook or Austin Ekeler’s breakouts, and there’s a possibility that if everything breaks his way, Freeman is that guy next year. Now is the perfect time to buy with Freeman only having five carries for 15 yards last week for Denver, who only ran 40 plays all day. For fantasy teams out of the playoff picture, a guy like Freeman is a solid keeper/dynasty target.
Miles Sanders, RB, Philadelphia Eagles
Miles Sanders was going into the season, with an ADP of 68th overall in standard leagues. But in terms of his workload the rookie has been brought along slowly, splitting work with Jordan Howard. However, despite not getting a bulk of the workload, he’s performed well in his limited workload with 76 carries for 336 rushing yards and 22 receptions (on 27 targets) for 305 receiving yards. These numbers in combination with Sanders’s age put him on pace to be a “Mixon Formula” candidate for next season. If Jordan Howard decides to leave via free agency this offseason, Sanders could have his fantasy value explode.
Matt Breida, RB, San Francisco 49ers
Matt Breida has been one of the most underrated RBs over the past few years. Last season he had 153 carries for 814 rushing yards (5.3 YPC) and 27 receptions for 261 receiving yards. This season in split duties with Tevin Coleman, he’s taken 99 carries for 524 rushing yards (5.3 YPC) in seven games. And with Breida being a free agent next year, it’s possible that he joins a situation where he’s the main back and with his talent he could be a top 15 fantasy back.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Green Bay Packers
While Aaron Jones is the head honcho of the Green Bay Packers running committee, Jamaal Williams has proven himself to be a very strong complementary piece. Over the course of the season so far, Williams has taken 52 carries for 228 rushing yards (4.4 yards per carry) and caught 25 passes for 166 yards. This puts Williams on pace to hit all of the criteria of the “Mixon Formula” and makes him a potential breakout candidate for next season. With Aaron Jones under contract only through 2020, there’s a possibility that Jones holds out to start next season for a bigger pay day, and Jamaal Williams is given the opportunity to shine much like Austin Ekeler has received with the Los Angeles Chargers this past season.
Christian Kirk, WR, Arizona Cardinals
Christian Kirk is a perfect fit for the Cardinals offense, and that’s been on display with the 53 targets in 6 games he’s received this year. On a per game basis this season, Kirk actually averages more targets per game (8.83) than legend and fellow teammate Larry Fitzgerald (7 targets per game). And next year, with Larry Fitzgerald potentially out of the picture, Captain Kirk’s target share could grow further. Now might be the cheapest you’ll be able to get Kirk for a few years.
Will Dissly, TE, Seattle Seahawks
Dissly performed strongly before getting knocked out for the season with a torn ACL. But prior to the injury, in weeks 1-5 where he was healthy and played a full game he had 23 catches on 26 targets for 262 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns. He had the second best catch rate (85.2%), sixth best yards per pass route (3.01), and fifth best yards per target among tight ends (9.7). Next season he’ll only be 24 and entering his third season, so there’s a strong chance he makes another leap. And based on his season-ending injury, there’s a strong chance that Dissly is on waivers of most leagues without an injured reserve spot (only rostered in 8.2% of ESPN leagues as of October 31st). If your team is out of the playoff picture and Dissly is available in your keeper/dynasty league, I’d do my best to acquire him.
Derrius Guice, RB, Washington Redskins
Derrius Guice has only played one-half of professional football so far in his NFL career, but his upside is sky high. Fellow Washington running back, Adrian Peterson, will be 35 by the time next season comes around and only has $750,000 of his contract guaranteed, meaning there’s a strong chance he isn’t on the team next year. Washington’s primary third down back, Chris Thompson, will be a free agent. This means that most of the work next year will likely be divided between Guice and Bryce Love. Considering that Guice is better built for the lead back role at 5’11”, 225 pounds he has the inside track. Now is the best time to get Guice cheap before he plays at the end of this season and showcases what he can do. Remember, this is a player that was compared to former NFL star, Marshawn Lynch, prior to the draft so why not take a shot on him?
Bryce Love, RB, Washington Redskins
Some people may be wondering how I’m going to put two running backs from the same team on this list. But I believe that both Guice and Love have value in keeper or dynasty leagues, and owners out of the playoff picture should try to acquire both. Bryce Love is going to miss the whole season, but the supremely talented RB is a player to look out for next year. In college, he was a Heisman candidate, with 2118 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns in the 2017 season. He’s got the breakaway speed that you can see for yourself in the GIF above. And considering he’s available in most leagues right now (less than 1% owned in ESPN), he’s the perfect cheap target for keeper or dynasty leagues.
Irv Smith Jr, TE, Minnesota Vikings
Irv Smith Jr. was one of the Vikings top picks this past season, getting selected in the 2nd round (50th overall) of the 2019 NFL Draft. As a rookie so far this year, Smith Jr. has only 19 receptions on 23 targets. But part of that is due to the steep learning curve of the position. But on the bright side, Smith is picking it up a bit. Over the last 4 games (weeks 6-9), Smith has 14 catches on 17 targets for 143 receiving yards. And looking ahead to next offseason, there’s a strong chance that current Vikings starting tight end, Kyle Rudolph, could be cut which would provide Irv Smith Jr. with a lot more work.
Are there any players that you think are great keeper/dynasty targets? Feel free to leave a comment below on your thoughts or send me a tweet @3li_handles
(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)