Dynasty Football Debate: Puka Nacua

by Taylor Michel
2023 Fantasy Football Week 12 Stock Up/Stock Down

Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season was crazy. Between injuries, overperformers, and A LOT of underperformers, we have had a lot to unpack as fans and fantasy participants. There has been a lot of buzz about a rookie wide receiver out of BYU who's now catching passes from Matthew Stafford in Sean McVay's offense, and today I want to examine why one week is not enough to bet your future on. This is Dynasty Football Debate: Puka Nacua.

We have seen this over and over again. A player comes out of nowhere and far outplays their own projections one week only to come back down to earth one week later. Next thing you know you have an asset who is just clogging your roster, and you can't even trade them for decent capital or a player that does produce consistently.

"Cooper Kupp Lite" aka Puka Nacua has been all the rage this week after his impressive Week 1 performance in which he put up 119 yards on 10 receptions in Kupp's absence. Just about every single competitive fantasy league probably watched as a league mate outbid them to land the stud rookie on their roster in redraft leagues. Meanwhile, crafty dynasty players were probably licking their chops knowing they got a steal in the late rounds of their rookie or startup drafts this past offseason.

Is one week enough for us to be making these decisions on Nacua? Should we be going out and trading valuable assets to ensure he's rostered for the long haul?

Dynasty Football Debate: Puka Nacua

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Nacua's Draft Profile

Before we dive into the argument for selling high on Nacua, let's revisit his draft profile before being selected by the Los Angeles Rams. Nacua's scouting report was filled with praise for his physicality, contested catch ability, and potential as an NFL starter.

With a well-built frame and impressive ball skills, Nacua showcased the attributes that made him an enticing prospect. Additionally, his versatility, evident in his ability to contribute as a runner and blocker, added to his appeal.

There was no doubt that Nacua possessed intriguing qualities that could translate well to the NFL. However, as with any prospect, there were areas where he needed improvement, most notably as a route-runner.

While he had the potential to run various routes, his linear explosiveness and physicality often overshadowed his agility. His ability to separate from defenders, especially against press coverage, was a concern. These nuances were crucial to consider when evaluating his long-term fantasy value.
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The Hype Train Gains Steam

After his standout performance in Week 1, Nacua became the talk of the fantasy football community. Connecting with Stafford 10 times for 119 yards on 15 targets, Nacua certainly made a statement.

He was Stafford's primary read on a significant portion (43%) of dropbacks, emphasizing his growing importance within the Rams' offense. The temptation to ride the Nacua hype train and keep him on your roster is understandable, but is it the wisest long-term strategy?
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Why Consider Selling High?

Market Overreaction

The fantasy football community often reacts swiftly to standout performances, potentially inflating a player's perceived value beyond their true potential. While Nacua's Week 1 showing was impressive, it's essential to remember that one game does not define a career. Selling high on Nacua now can allow you to capitalize on the market's overenthusiasm.

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Long-Term Concerns

Despite Nacua's physicality and potential, concerns about his route-running and separation skills remain valid. These limitations could impact his consistency as an NFL receiver. By trading him at his current peak, you can secure assets with a more predictable and proven track record.

Proven Assets

I picked Nacua up from waivers after one of my rookie drafts had ended. Yesterday I traded Nacua, a projected late 2024 first, and an extra 2024 third-round pick for Christian Watson and a projected mid 2024 second-round pick. I wanted to cash in on a more proven asset for the long term.

Watson is the number No. 1 wide receiver in a young offense with a solid young quarterback. I'll take that over someone who will be taking a back seat to Kupp eventually and also plays with an aging quarterback. There's just less stability in Nacua's situation in my opinion. If you can cash in on Nacua for a proven asset now is the time to do it.

Dynasty Roster Balance

Successful dynasty teams often strike a balance between promising young talents and proven veterans. Selling high on Nacua can help you achieve this balance by adding players who can contribute right away while maintaining the potential for long-term success.

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The Future Outlook

While Nacua has undeniable likability and potential, it's crucial to maintain a rational perspective in dynasty fantasy football. His immediate role as a contributor in the NFL is evident, but the timeline for him to become a true star will depend on various factors: how long Stafford sticks around, how soon Kupp returns, the impact of Kupp's return, and the rise of other pass catchers within the offense.

In dynasty leagues, the allure of young, promising players can be enticing, but it's vital to remember that not every prospect fulfills their potential. Nacua's story is still being written, and while it may have started with a bang, the path to sustained success in the NFL can be filled with twists and turns.
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Nacua's meteoric rise following an impressive Week 1 performance presents a prime opportunity to "sell high" and secure proven assets for your dynasty roster. While Nacua's potential is undeniable, it's crucial to remain cautious about overhyping a player based on a single game.

Consider the long-term concerns surrounding Nacua's skill set and the potential to convert his current value into established assets that can provide immediate contributions to your team. Dynasty fantasy football success often lies in making shrewd decisions that balance the allure of potential with the certainty of proven performance. In the case of Puka Nacua, now might be the ideal time to cash in on the hype and secure a more stable foundation for your dynasty team's future.

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1 comment

BRIAN BENNETT September 18, 2023 - 4:30 pm

All I can say on your trade is “Ouch”


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