Dynasty Stock Watch

We are over halfway through the 2023 fantasy season and a lot has happened especially in dynasty- time for a stock watch! We’ve had rookie breakouts, injuries that have impacted playoff pushes, and so much more. The season is flying by – next thing we know, we’ll already be in the offseason!

Risers

CJ Stroud - QB - Houston Texans

CJ Stroud is one of the biggest success stories to follow this season in the NFL. He’s having potentially one of the best rookie seasons at the quarterback position that we’ve ever seen. Currently, he is completing 63% of his passes for 2,962 yards and a 17-5 TD-INT ratio. It looks like CJ Stroud and Tank Dell, another name I could’ve easily put on this list, are going to develop into a dynamic duo for many Sundays to come. Stroud is already considered a round 1 dynasty startup pick, and I have no argument against that. He should no doubt be one of the top non-rushing quarterbacks in dynasty rankings and has a good case to be as high as QB4. It looks like the Houston Texans are on the fast track of their rebuild with some massive hits in their last draft class.

CeeDee Lamb - WR - Dallas Cowboys

Lamb hit a bit of a lull between weeks 3 and 5 where he produced 10.2, 14.8, and 8.9 PPR points respectively. But following Dallas’ bye week, he has been unstoppable. Between weeks 8 and 10 he had 14+ targets, 11+ receptions, 150+ yards in each game, and 3 total touchdowns through those 3 weeks. In week 11 he still produced 16.5 PPR points on 9 targets. He is currently WR3 in total PPR points and WR5 in points per game at the young age of 24. He is proving once again that he belongs in the tier of receivers right after Chase and Jefferson, maybe even making a case to be included in Tier 1 with them.

Sam LaPorta - TE - Detroit Lions

LaPorta still has a chance to join Kyle Pitts and Mike Ditka as the only tight ends to reach 1,000 receiving yards as a rookie with 492 yards through 10 weeks. It’s not exaggerating to say that LaPorta is already one of the top tight ends in the league and whether I agree or not, KeepTradeCut (a crowdsourced ranking site) has Sam LaPorta as the TE1 for Dynasty already. He’s currently TE5 in both points per game and total PPR points as a rookie, behind the big names: Travis Kelce, TJ Hockenson, George Kittle, and Mark Andrews. Buy if you can because his price is going to continue to skyrocket. He still has so much potential to unlock and I fully expect his rise to continue in this Detroit Lions system.

Dalton Kincaid - TE - Buffalo Bills

The future of the tight end position looks like it is in a great position with the emergence of both Sam LaPorta and Dalton Kincaid. Following Week 7 after the Dawson Knox injury, Kincaid is TE3 in total scoring and TE5 in points per game in PPR scoring. Over that 5 game stretch, Kincaid is averaging 7.8 targets, 6.8 receptions, 63.6 receiving yards, and 0.4 touchdowns per game. His offensive and receiving PFF Grades have taken a nice jump and he’s shown to be a top target for Josh Allen in this offense. His price has skyrocketed over this time, but it’s not too late to buy, even with a slightly inflated price. It’s hard to get young tight ends, a position that can provide a huge positional advantage, that shows this much promise, so buy now before his price gets even higher.

Trey McBride - TE - Arizona Cardinals

Just another young tight end that is peaking at the right time as we see some of the old guard shifting away. While Kelce is still dominant, he’s still 34. George Kittle is dominant but has been up and down this year at 30 years old. Mark Andrews is still in his prime but has had some injury issues over the past two seasons. Darren Waller was considered one of the elites for a time but is now 31 years old and has been injured on and off for the past three seasons. TJ Hockenson has been great, but Kyle Pitts fell off after a historic rookie season. 

This group of young tight ends is coming around and developing at the perfect time for the dynasty tight end landscape. Zach Ertz went on IR following week 7, and from week 8 on McBride took the job full-time and hasn’t looked back. He is TE7 in PPR points per game, TE4 in total points over that time, and has accumulated 291 yards and 1 touchdown on 35 targets and 26 receptions. He’s a breakout candidate to watch as the Cardinals now have Kyler Murray back. I can’t imagine McBride giving back any of his snaps if Ertz makes his way back this season.

Fallers

Christian Watson - WR - Green Bay Packers

Christian Watson was on the fast track to being a top-12 dynasty wide receiver after his hot streak in the back half of his rookie season. From weeks 10 to 18 last year, Watson had 51 targets, 31 receptions for 523 yards, and 7 touchdowns. It seemed like the signs were pointing towards Watson taking a step forward in his development as he came out of college as an extremely raw prospect. But he faced injuries to start the 2023 season and it looks like he just hasn’t gelled yet with new quarterback Jordan Love. Love has found his favorite targets in players that he developed with over the offseason: Romeo Doubs, Jordan Reed, and Luke Musgrave. 

I think better days are to come as Watson continues to get accustomed to Jordan Love instead of Aaron Rodgers, but besides week 5, Watson has yet to eclipse 40 receiving yards. It looks bleak, but there is a physical talent that is still there that may just need more time than we thought to develop into a well-rounded wide receiver as well as develop the chemistry with Jordan Love. While there is hope there, I have my doubts that he will get back to the same type of hype we saw from the 2023 offseason.

Jaylen Waddle - WR - Miami Dolphins

Jaylen Waddle is still generally considered a top 12 dynasty wide receiver, but just this past offseason he was pushing the top 6 in a lot of analysts’ rankings. He’s remained in the top 12 because I believe everyone knows the talent is there and he’s put it on display for two straight years. This year he is having a down season across the board but has been dealing with lingering injuries all season. Paired on top of that, Tyreek Hill is having a historic season as he is within reach of a 2,000-yard receiving season. Waddle has the ability to co-exist with Tyreek as we saw just a season ago, plus Tyreek will hit the 30-year mark before the start of next season. I think it’s just a down year for Waddle and we’ll see a bounce back sooner than later.

Najee Harris - RB - Pittsburgh

Najee was considered by many a top-12 dynasty running back just this offseason. Even if you didn’t love the player and the talent, it was almost a given that he would get volume and was still just 25 years old. Plus, the dynasty running back landscape was in rough shape with aging veterans and unproven rookies this offseason. But as the season has gone along, the landscape has gotten healthier with some breakout players and players just getting healthy. 

Unfortunately for Najee Harris, in that time it looks obvious that he’s lost a step and can’t make anything happen behind an incredibly lackluster offensive line. The team has since turned the starting job over to Jaylen Warren, an undrafted free agent just a year ago, but a player that has that home run ability to cover up some of the deficiencies on this offensive line. While the two players have still split touches fairly evenly despite Warren being named the starter, Warren has dominated the running back receiving game, another facet that made Najee so fantasy-valuable. It seems like the only thing that will get Najee back on track is a new team, and that is at least another year away thanks to his contract.

Geno Smith - QB - Seattle Seahawks

Geno Smith was the comeback player of the year last year after taking the starting job in Seattle following the departure of Russell Wilson. The expectations weren’t high, but he showed time and time again that he didn’t write back to those who wrote him off. He threw for over 4,000 yards, 30 touchdowns, and just 11 interceptions on nearly a 70% completion percentage. On the ground, he added a modest 366 yards and 1 touchdown. This year we’ve seen a legitimate drop in production as he’s on pace for 3846 passing yards on 65% completion percentage and a 19-11 TD-INT ratio. 

While the drop isn’t quite as jarring as it has seemed so far this year, his performances have been very up and down whereas last season he was a model of consistency. Not much has changed in this offense, and the things that have changed should be improvements as they added Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Zach Charbonnet to the offense. So it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s going on. Maybe it’s a lingering injury, maybe the defense has taken that next step so there isn’t as much need for fantasy production as Seattle is still 6-4, or maybe it’s a bit of regression to what Geno really is as a starter in this league. 

While he signed a 4-year contract this offseason, there are easy outs in said contract following this year. The contract still adds some security to his long-term fantasy value, but it’s not a lock that he will stick out the entire four years if there is any continued regression to his game.

Kenny Pickett - QB - Pittsburgh Steelers

Kenny Pickett’s sophomore season has not been going well thus far. He’s completing 60.5% of his passes for 1,722 yards and a 6-4 TD-INT ratio. It’s going to be tough sledding for him to break 3,000 yards and 10+ touchdowns at the pace he’s currently running at and that’s not a sustainable way to retain your job in the NFL. There’s a lot going on with this Steelers offense and a lot of people are calling for Matt Canada, the offensive coordinator’s head, and it’s hard to blame them. 

The offense line is still an issue that hasn’t been addressed in years, but this team has talent. Both Diontae Johnson and George Pickens have shown to be weapons in this league. Pat Freiermuth has been hurt but is a reliable tight end in this league. Both Najee and Warren are above-average backs and this defense is nearly elite. While the blame isn’t all on Kenny Pickett, there is definitely enough to go around for Pickett to get a share or two. He’s not a quarterback I want to roster in dynasty and I’m not entirely sure how long he holds onto that job.