Welcome to the 2022 Dynasty Football Week 4 Stock Watch article.
One single week in the NFL is often the definition of overreaction theater, much less the week-to-week game of fantasy. Each player has data from which we draw conclusions, and we are forced to use that information to make decisions moving forward. We are especially vulnerable in the first few weeks since we have had no game action for eight months.
We tend to evaluate each week's fantasy performances thinking about the short term; what does the data tell us about what to expect for a defined period of time, or for the rest of the season? But we can also draw conclusions from a longer-term Dynasty perspective.
Who saw their stock rise based on usage or opportunity in Week 3? Who saw it fall due to their own performance or lack of usage? Let’s dive in and find out.
2022 Dynasty Football Week 4 Stock Watch
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It may have taken until the 20th game of his young career, but Trevor Lawrence finally looked like a number one overall pick in a statement win in a tough environment against the Los Angeles Chargers. Lawrence finished the game with 262 yards passing and three touchdowns with no interceptions. That's now back-to-back games with no picks for Lawrence, a vast improvement for the player who led the league in interceptions last year.
In case you forgot how bad Lawrence was his rookie season, his three touchdowns from Sunday are equal to 25% of last season's total touchdown passes. His 6:1 touchdown to interception ratio this year is one of the best in the league now that he is surrounded with capable weapons and a decent coaching staff.
Lawrence has already developed a bromance with Christian Kirk, propping him up as a top-six wide receiver this year. Add in Travis Etienne, James Robinson, Evan Engram, and Zay Jones and this is a core offensive unit that could make some noise in the postseason.
If we had to answer after three weeks whether Allen Lazard or Romeo Doubs would be the heir apparent to Davante Adams' vacated top wide receiver status, the award would have to go to Doubs. Call it recency bias if you must, but Doubs was the object of Aaron Rodgers' desire on Sunday, the first game after the Green Bay coaching staff talked him up all week.
Doubs ended Sunday with eight targets (more than his first two games combined) for 73 yards (again, more than the first two combined) and his first NFL touchdown. He caught every pass thrown his way even though the 9.13 yards per target were the longest of his season.
You could tell on the Packers' first drive of the game against the Buccaneers that the Packers had scripted plays for Doubs. They looked his way all down the field, and even on the goal line, when they ran a short pick play for him to make sure he got in the end zone.
Lazard got a score as well on Sunday, but was more of an afterthought after just four catches for 45 yards. With Sammy Watkins and perhaps older guys like Randall Cobb perhaps out of the picture, this is now the Romeo Doubs show.
In weeks 15-18 of the 2021 NFL season (otherwise known as the most important weeks for fantasy managers), Darnell Mooney was the eighth-best wide receiver in PPR formats. He scored 67 points in four games, and only guys named Kupp, Adams, Jefferson, Samuel, Chase, Diggs, and St. Brown were better. Fantasy managers and analysts saw this trend and thought they had one of next dynasty PPR gems on their hands heading into 2022.
But then the Chicago Bears stopped throwing. Completely.
Through the first three weeks of 2022, Mooney ranks 114th among wide receivers in fantasy points. Guys named Shi Smith, Mike Strachan, and Justin Watson have more points than Mooney. After 140 targets in 17 games last season, Mooney has only 11 this year, which is a pace of just 62 for the season.
I'm not exactly sure what Mooney can do at this stage to improve his position. It's clear the Bears do not want Justin Fields throwing the ball. He is 33rd in accuracy rating on the young season despite the fact that there are only 32 starting quarterbacks in the league.
The Bears throw just under 35% of the time so far in 2022, by far the lowest in the league. If this is the identity the Bears choose to run with this season, Mooney and the rest of the Chicago pass-catchers are sunk.
After being the go-to tight end in Denver since 2019, Noah Fant now finds himself as the guy stuck in the corner just watching among the new tight end threesome in Seattle. To watch guys like Will Dissly and and Colby Parkinson out perform you week after week must be quite emasculating.
To be fair, Fant has more targets (ten) and receptions (nine) than any other tight end on the roster. But unless you are playing in a league where receiving yards and touchdowns are not counted, that is little consolation to you. Fant's receiving yards (45) are more than 30 yards less than Dissly and 40 yards less than Parkinson. Those latter two have three combined touchdowns while Fant has none.
Fant ranks 25th among all tight ends in target share (10%) and 22nd in average depth of target (4.8 yards). I'm no math savant or anything, but when you combine low targets with especially low depth of target, the result is likely going to be not many fantasy points.
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