2022 Dynasty Football Week 9 Stock Watch

by Ryan Kirksey
2022 Dynasty Football Week 18 Stock Watch

Welcome to the 2022 Dynasty Football Week 9 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. We are forced to use that information to make decisions moving forward. 

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 8? Who saw it fall due to their own performance, lack of usage, or because of trades? Let’s dive in and find out.

2022 Dynasty Football Week 9 Stock Watch

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Stock Up

Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

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We certainly don't know the fully formed versions of either Justin Fields or Kenny Pickett yet. But the versions we have from the last four weeks show us that Chase Claypool just got a massive upgrade at quarterback, and is now part of an aged-24-and-under core for the Chicago Bears that should develop into something very special in the coming years.

After an extremely slow start to the season, Fields is now up to sixth in fantasy points per game from Weeks 5-8. He has been asked to throw more, and he has been more accurate and he has taken fewer sacks.

Also partly due to the havoc he can cause with his legs, Fields is ranked fifth among quarterbacks in fantasy points per drop-back. More specifically to Claypool, Fields has improved tremendously with the deep ball. Fields now ranks fifth among quarterbacks in air yards per attempt, which should complement Claypool's game.

Claypool has had to stick closer to the line of scrimmage this year because of the deficiencies displayed by first Mitch Trubisky and then Kenny Pickett. His 9.5-yard aDOT is the lowest of Claypool's three-year career. It's clear from his first two seasons he is more comfortable catching deep balls. His 13.2 and 11.4-yard aDOT figures from 2020 and 2021 should roll back around with Fields as his quarterback.

The jury is still way, way out on Kenny Pickett after five games. He has had his moments, but he often looks downright horrific. Claypool is now freed from that burden and can develop a long-term rapport with Justin Fields.

Jakobi Meyers, WR, New England Patriots

Jakobi Meyers, on the other hand, doesn't seem to care who his quarterback is. He is putting up numbers when Mac Jones plays. He is putting up numbers when Bailey Zappe plays. And he is putting up numbers when they split time in a game.

His latest effort was a masterful 12-target, nine-catch, 60-yard, one-touchdown game. That's now three scores in his last four games, and yet I am old enough to remember when people were saying Meyers didn't have a nose for the end zone and could not score.

Now with a 25.6% target share, Meyers is tied with guys like DK Metcalf in the top-20 among all wide receivers. And despite all of the quarterback musical chairs, Meyers is now seventh in fantasy points per route run and top-12 in fantasy points per game. With no other consistent wide receiver presence for the Patriots, it is often the Meyers show when they are not running the ball with their stable of rushers.

Now completely healthy from a knee injury scare earlier in the season, Meyers is proving to be indispensable to both the New England Patriots and fantasy managers. Since that injury, he has more touchdowns (3) in those four games than he has in the rest of his career (2). This is just the start for a highly-regarded wide prospect and if one of his quarterbacks ever matures into a legitimate starter, you are going to want Meyers on your dynasty team.

Stock Down

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Kareem Hunt, RB, Cleveland Browns

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One of the bigger surprises of Monday's trade deadline was Kareem Hunt remaining on the Cleveland Browns after the deadline. He made clear he wanted out, the Browns had D'Ernest Johnson waiting in the wings to be a competent backup to Nick Chubb, but no deal was reached, so Hunt remains in Cleveland.

The next step for Hunt is to enter free agency in 2023 as a 28-year-old running back. There were, of course, no guarantees that Hunt would have landed in a spot where he would be 1) used in a feature role, or 2) be considered a long-term answer at the position, but now we now he will remain behind one of the premier running backs in the game, and likely be unhappy doing so.

Hunt has been one of the best pass-catching backs in our game for some time (he is 10th in the position in catch rate), but has also shown serious chops as a runner. He has five seasons of more than 4.0 yards per carry and has shown he can be a workhorse back.

But for now, fantasy managers and dynasty managers must sit and wait. He remains a flex option for 2022 as he still sees 48% of the snaps for Cleveland, but with an uncertain future ahead and Hunt entering the running back twilight years, his best chance at finding a team that needed to feature his skill sets may have passed him by.

Irv Smith, Jr., TE, Minnesota Vikings

There is probably no other NFL player who had a worse Trade Deadline day than Irv Smith, Jr. First, he finds out his ankle injury will likely sideline him the rest of the season (the team is projecting 8-10 weeks). Second, the Vikings traded for T.J. Hockenson, the former Detroit Lions tight end who is known as a decent pass-catcher and who is fully under contract next year as well.

Smith, on the other hand, enters unrestricted free agency in 2023 coming off a major injury and will be looking for a new home. Dating back to his days with Logan Thomas and Vernon Davis, we know Kirk Cousins loves to throw to tight ends, and because of that, Smith has been on fantasy sleeper lists for several years. Smith is still just 24 years old, so he has ample time to locate a new team, make his presence felt there, and prove he can be an on-the-field contributor.

But it's the "on-the-field" part that has been an issue for Smith. He has all the talent in the world but will now miss significant amounts of time for the second year in a row. He has had back, groin, and meniscus injuries with have severely hampered his ability to produce on the field. But the talent is there. Smith ranks second in the position in target separation this season, 11th in true catch rate, and had already seen six red zone targets (eighth among tight ends). But his future is no longer with the Vikings which, combined with injury, makes him a very risky dynasty asset moving forward.

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