Welcome to the Dynasty Three & Out, where each week we’ll focus on three players gaining value and three others losing dynasty value based on the latest news and performances on the field.
Note: Any dynasty ADP or dynasty trades referenced in this article can be found at dynastyleaguefootball.com
Kareem Hunt, RB KC
After a full Sunday of action, the kickoff to the NFL season last Thursday seems like an eternity ago, but dynasty owners of rookie RB Kareem Hunt will remember it well. After being drafted in the third round and landing with Andy Reid-led Chiefs, Hunt was a favorite of many dynasty players, but still offered a nice value in both rookie drafts and dynasty startup drafts as the crown jewels of the class, RBs Leonard Fournette, Joe Mixon, Dalvin Cook and Christian McCaffrey, along with WR Corey Davis held down the top spots and much of the attention of dynasty owners. Following the preseason injury to starting RB Spencer Ware, Hunt’s value jumped to what looked like a peak as he moved from a dynasty startup ADP of 81 up to 43 overall in just one month.
That fourth-round value might look like a steal after Hunt’s debut against Super Bowl champion New England on Thursday. Not only did Hunt total 148 rushing yards on 17 carries, but he nearly cracked 100 receiving yards as well, racking up 98 along with a pair of scores. In all, Hunt totaled 246 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns, breaking tackle after tackle and making the Patriots defense look old. While Hunt will surely not match this fantasy production again this season, or maybe ever again in his career, he can still be a highly valuable dynasty option and his value is clearly on the rise. In a series of Twitter polls I conducted last week following the Chiefs/Patriots game, 52% of respondents chose Hunt over Fournette, though this was prior to the Jaguars’ rookie took the field.
Tarik Cohen, RB CHI
While Hunt’s breakout game was somewhat expected, just not to that degree, the NFL debut of Bears fourth-rounder Tarik Cohen came as a major surprise. First of all, Cohen hails from North Carolina A&T, so he wasn’t exactly on the radar of the typical dynasty owner, even after he was chosen early on Day Three of the NFL Draft. Cohen did impress in camp though and the Bears eventually kept him over former starter Jeremy Langford, though he entered Week One firmly behind starter Jordan Howard as well as pass-catching specialist Benny Cunningham. Cohen began to see some action once Cunningham suffered a serious injury and was carted off the field. The speedy Cohen made an immediate impact on the Bears offense as they fought to stay in the game against the Falcons. On just five carries, compared to 13 for the starter Howard, Cohen had 66 rushing yards. As expected, he made his real impact in the passing game, leading the Bears (and all NFL RBs) in targets with 12. After yet another serious injury for WR Kevin White, Cohen could be a routine target for sitting duck QB Mike Glennon.
Throughout the offseason, Cohen’s dynasty value was almost non-existent. It wasn’t until August that he registered a dynasty ADP and even then, he was an afterthought in the nineteenth round. The latest dynasty ADP has him up to 177 overall, but that is sure to see a huge spike come next month. With Howard owners being spooked by a potential time-share situation, he may actually be a nice player to gauge the trade value on, as well.
Cooper Kupp, WR LAR
Yet another rookie with an impressive debut was WR Cooper Kupp, who was the top target in the revamped Rams offense. Kupp hauled in four of his team-high six targets for 76 yards and a touchdown and the Rams entire team looked completely different than the Jeff Fisher led walking dead from recent seasons. As they should, the Rams defense dominated the Colts from the start. If that hadn’t been the case, we may have seen even more pass attempts from QB Jared Goff.
Despite his small school status, Kupp was a favorite of many dynasty players, but still routinely fell to the second rounds of rookie drafts. His dynasty ADP hit a high this month of 115, up from 177 just two months ago, so dynasty players were clearly finally buying in even before his big game. Although Kupp will face some stiff competition for targets from former Bills WR Sammy Watkins, multiple preseason reports have suggested a genuine bond being quickly formed between Goff and Kupp and that can translate into fantasy production on the field.
Allen Robinson, WR JAX
Jaguars WR Allen Robinson has actually been losing dynasty value for much of the offseason. After a breakout season in 2015, which saw him score 14 touchdowns and eclipse 1,400 yards receiving, Robinson disappointed in 2016 and many analysts projected that to continue. Robinson fell from a mid-first round dynasty startup pick all the way to an ADP outside of the top two rounds this month, and that was even before the recent news.
On his only reception of yesterday’s game, Robinson was gently pushed out of bounds, took an awkward step and pulled up. He had to be helped from the field and it wasn’t long until the team ruled him out for the remainder of the game. Following the day’s games, reports began to leak that the team feared a potential season-ending ACL tear was the injury and the Jaguars would later confirm that to be the case.
Injured players are always special cases when it comes to dynasty value. First, they are clearly going to lose value, and they should considering they won’t be helping our fantasy teams until 2018. With that said, the drop that occurs is often overstated and offers a buying opportunity for savvy dynasty players. Very rarely, especially in recent years with ACL tears, do players not return to the field as good as new. So, expect Robinson’s value to tumble, but be ready to take advantage of the plunge.
Brandon Marshall, WR NYG
It felt like a best-case scenario when veteran WR Brandon Marshall was released by the rebuilding Jets and later signed with the crosstown Giants. The Giants passing game has been strong, even with a sometimes erratic QB Eli Manning and Marshall would now get to line up across from WR Odell Beckham, who was sure to soak up more than his share of defensive attention. For the short-term, Marshall was a favorite play of many in Week One when it was presumed Beckham would be forced to sit with an ankle injury. Surprisingly, Marshall was almost a complete non-factor, as he caught just one of four targets for ten yards, even with OBJ out of the lineup.
Marshall’s dynasty ADP has hovered around the end of the top 100 for a few months now, but his trade value hasn’t matched that draft status, and it will only get worse from here. Young WRs Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis, as well as rookie TE Evan Engram each saw more opportunities than Marshall and once Beckham returns, he’ll fall further down the pecking order.
Samaje Perine, RB WAS
For the Redskins, the running back position was a clear area of need following a season in which we saw Matt Jones flail and UDFA Rob Kelley rumble his way to the starting job, to the chagrin of all involved. No matter who the team brought it, whether through free agency or the draft, would surely claim the job in short order. At least that’s what all dynasty owners seemed to think. That someone was rookie RB Samaje Perine, formerly of Oklahoma, whom the Redskins selected in the fourth-round. Once Perine landed in Washington, dynasty owners began chasing him and his value steadily climbed throughout the offseason, hitting a high mark of 74 overall in July.
The Redskins coaching staff was clearly not on board with our presumptions though because the rookie Perine never put together a serious threat to Kelley’s starting job. While Kelley was largely unimpressive in Week One against the stout Philly defense, Perine didn’t even play an offensive snap, checking into the game only on special teams. Once reports of his poor preseason become known and we saw it ourselves in preseason action, Perine’s dynasty ADP began to fall back to a reasonable position, landing at 104 overall currently. We can assume Perine will get an opportunity eventually, especially considering Kelley’s continued below-average play, but until then