Ah, what could have been with Mahomes! After a frightful few weeks midseason, his value had flatlined. While hindsight is 20/20, even the staunchest of supporters may have contemplated a fallout. Luckily it never came and Mahomes rebounded in the coming weeks and it all seems like a fever dream at this point. Holding the baby GOAT was the obvious play, but you have to be extra careful with your studs.
Conner still managed to score five combined TDs from Weeks 10-15, but he’s missed Weeks 16 and 17 so we’re a disappointing postseason away from seeing his value dip. I made the argument that TD-dependent scorers like Conner rarely retain value. This still holds and while I’ll be listening to offers this offseason, I would only move him on a win-now if I received a very strong offer. I think it’s time to sell in rebuilds if you haven’t already.
Things have gotten weirder and wackier in the Packers’ QB room. I think Aaron Rodgers’ days are numbered in Green Bay and this offseason will only see Love’s value swell, if only incrementally. Buying him probably won’t come cheap as managers will expect a Jalen Hurts-type upside for every promising young QB while conveniently ignoring the long history of the position’s boom-or-bust tradition.
I wrote about Aiyuk again ahead of Week 10 after a small uptick in Week 9. He didn’t quite hit like I had hoped in the second half of the season, since I ticked up his recommendation from HOLD/HOLD to HOLD/BUY, but he certainly rebounded. To see my 2022 thoughts and evaluation on Aiyuk, see my Weeks 6-9 dynasty recap.
DPJ tripped me up into becoming a believer after consecutive big games, but we probably should’ve seen through it. In Weeks 6 and 9, he totaled six receptions for 187 yards and three scores on eight targets. Volume isn’t everything for receivers as it is for running backs but that target total is a red flag. Peoples-Jones failed to find the end zone in Weeks 10 and beyond. But given the storm brewing with Baker Mayfield and the Browns organization, this pass attack has me backtracking. I don’t mind holding him if he’s my fifth- or sixth-best receiver, but his value plateaued and now slumped, so the value move is to just hold and hope.
My 2022 Evaluation:
Mahomes: HOLD/HOLD (B)
Conner: HOLD/SELL (B)
Love: BUY/BUY (B-)
Aiyuk: HOLD/HOLD (A)
Peoples-Jones: HOLD/HOLD (C-)
WR Robert Woods (Win-Now: SELL, Rebuild: SELL)
QB Mike White/Zach Wilson (Win-Now: HOLD, Rebuild: SELL)
RB Javonte Williams (Win-Now: HOLD, Rebuild: BUY)
Even when healthy, I start to squirm in my pants when players reach age 30. Receivers can sometimes put together a patchwork few seasons but they either need to be built like Larry Fitzgerald to post-up defensive backs or they need to be more quick than fast slot guys who can find soft spots in coverage. Woods fits the latter, but I don’t believe he’ll be able to hold off Van Jefferson and maybe Odell Beckham Jr. returns. I’d rather take a flier on a rookie with any pick I can get for Woods.
I wrote about my evaluation of Wilson in my Weeks 6-9 dynasty recap.
I kept it very brief when talking about Williams and while the perception has shifted a bit, it mostly had to do with one big game in Week 13, when he had 23 carries for 102 yards plus six receptions for 76 yards and a score. The rub is that’s the only game all year he saw more than 60% of the offensive snaps. I think it’s very clear the Broncos will draft a running back now that Vic Fangio is gone and Gordon will be a UFA this offseason. This isn’t to say Williams will be in another split backfield in 2022, but there are some gaps to fill in his arc. Given his price tag and what you’ll have to surrender to get him, I prefer more of a sure thing. All that said, he’s a buy and then some. My 2022 fantasy breakout player of the year status on him still rings true.
I pooh-poohed the Titans at the time. They were 8-2 and sitting pretty on a six-game win streak despite injuries and up-and-down play on offense. They finished 12-5, closing with 4-3. I think every player has stunk it up so badly that we’ve sunk past SELL and we’re stuck with holding them. Sure, you want to keep Derrick Henry in win-now, but can you really be excited with anyone else? You may view A.J. Brown as a buy, but his 2021 hurt his value as it showed his floor is actually quite lower than what we expected after an impressive 2020. Tannehill was thought to be a low QB1 and while he’s a rock-solid QB2 in superflex, is there much difference between him and Derek Carr or Carson Wentz? D’Onta Foreman and Dontrell Hilliard gained a bit of traction as handcuffs or deep bench stashes. Julio Jones… My dear, sweet Julio. I suppose you can be excited for Nick Westbrook-Ikhine as a flex play, but he’s still severely limited in upside given the Titans’ run-first approach. He’s eating because Brown is not. Regardless of how far this team goes in the postseason, there are more questions than answers on offense.
My 2022 Evaluation:
Woods: SELL/SELL (B+)
White/Wilson: SELL/SELL/SELL (A)
Williams: HOLD/BUY (B+)
I was perfect in Week 12. Didn’t get anything wrong because we took off for Thanksgiving.
QB Russell Wilson (Win-Now: BUY, Rebuild: BUY, Superflex: BUY)
QB Mac Jones (Win-Now: HOLD, Rebuild: HOLD, Superflex: HOLD)
RB Christian McCaffrey (Win-Now: HOLD, Rebuild: SELL)
RB Antonio Gibson (Win-Now: HOLD, Rebuild: BUY)
I spent a lot of time hashing out scenarios on Wilson staying in Seattle or going. I’m still not convinced the team opts to keep him and send off Pete Carroll instead, but we’ll see how it plays out. Maybe his eagerness to leave has more to do with management than Carroll alone. I view 2021 as a coupon code you can submit at checkout when making a trade offer for Wilson. His value is a teensy bit lower now because we’ve seen no reprieve from the Seahawks’ struggles and the offseason will certainly be chock full of articles asking “should he stay or should he go?” This is the epitome of a buy-low.
Jones, the most pro-ready QB in the draft, turned out to be the most pro-ready QB. Surprise, surprise as I stated, the rookie’s trade value peaked. And has since declined and perked back up after a big Week 17 game against Jacksonville. My evaluation of Jones would be best summarized as he enjoys a coaching staff that knows precisely what his limitations are and asks him to do nothing beyond that. There are perks to that, à la 2020 Ryan Tannehill—he is to me Alex Smith or Ryan Fitzpatrick 2.0. Unless the Patriots add a no-doubter WR1 like Davante Adams or Chris Godwin. Knowing the Patriots, they will prefer to get cute and add Allen Robinson and Michael Gallup and continue to skirt by on the efficiency of 8-yard curl and comeback routes. I’m very begrudgingly holding Jones but I’m praying some overzealous Pats fan buys into the hype and is willing to overspend.
McCaffrey’s second big injury this year forced me to come back with a told-ya-so analysis. CMC’s value took the dreaded second dip going from near untouchable headed into Week 1 to wavering in late October to a new low at the start of 2022. Shockingly, the dynasty gluttons are still holding relatively firm. Young bucks Jonathan Taylor, Najee Harris, D’Andre Swift and Javonte Williams are the clear new wave at the position, but no veterans have done much to push CMC off the value ledge. Alvin Kamara, Nick Chubb, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook and Austin Ekeler are all on his heels, though. McCaffrey turns 26 this summer, and I have no doubt he could still be a top-two running back with 15-plus healthy games played. I just don’t believe he’s capable of that and would prefer to cash out while I can still fetch 90 cents on the dollar for him. I also wrote about him in my Weeks 6-9 recap.
My outlook on Gibson still boils down to my read on his talent rather than focusing on his usage and production. Like Terry McLaurin, all of Washington’s playmakers are handicapped by a wildly inconsistent offense. I’m still not sure if Taylor Heinicke is really the answer here, and it also seems Ron Rivera has job security. Giving a coaching staff and unproven players time to blossom is a valid move, even if I don’t necessarily believe there’s much of a silver lining. Ultimately, Gibson is in a steady situation to see 15 touches per week and about 60% of the snaps. While the shine has worn off, I wouldn’t mind kicking the tires for a price check, but we’re looking at him like a mid-RB2 now. Is 2021 his floor? Ultimately, I believe it’s closer to his floor than his ceiling, which is why I like him as a slight buy-low value.