Well I stepped out for a bit, but I’m back now and – wait…, what the hell? Antonio Brown is on the RAIDERS? Odell Beckham’s on the BROWNS? DK Metcalf did WHAT? I think I have some catching up to do. So in honor of this wild last month of NFL (off the field) action, I’ll run through some of the biggest dynasty stock changes that resulted from all the chaos (be it trades, free agency, or draft related).
- Antonio Brown, WR, Raiders
Well that didn’t feel right to type, but it’s our reality now. And more importantly, its Antonio Brown’s reality. He is now removed from the Pittsburgh drama, but no matter your thoughts on Ben Roethlesberger’s locker room presence, this is a real downgrade in QB play for Brown. Derek Carr has struggled to develop since a brief flash of potential in 2016 and Amari Cooper saw a boost in production as soon as he left Oakland. That said: Brown is still one of the best receivers in the game. I believe he has a skillset that should age well, and he has a coach with a long history of working with older receivers which will likely lead to massive targets shares. After rumors of landing in Tennessee or Buffalo, Oakland isn’t disastrous for Brown.
Stock: Slightly Down
- Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Browns
It’s wild that arguably the 2 best receivers in the NFL were traded within days of each other, but here we are. OBJ is now a Brown, and that means he moves from the washed up Eli Manning to Baker Mayfield. I have argued for years that as popular and well known as Beckham is that he has really been underappreciated. Seeing him play with an exciting young QB with excellent feel and accuracy will be a treat and should really highlight how badly Eli Manning and an outdated offense held him back. It probably won’t be easy, but if you can buy Beckham at this point I would do it – there’s no wide receiver I would rather have.
- Baker Mayfield, QB, Browns
Obviously Mayfield’s stock goes hand in hand with the Beckham trade. Adding an elite WR will help any QB, but the Browns have a whole bundle of excellent weapons for Baker to utilize. I would value Mayfield over any QB not named Pat Mahomes moving forward.
- LeVeon Bell, RB, Jets
Bell almost certainly lost money by sitting out a year (though the value of his health and the year off is for him to decide), but he still got quite a large financial commitment from the Jets. There’s no doubt he will be their workhorse back and be relied upon to make life easier for Sam Darnold. I can’t imagine he will be able to match the fantasy production he had in Pittsburgh where he caught 75 passes or more 3 times, but Bell was still an elite back the last time we saw him play. This also isn’t a bad situation. I’m marking this as stock down for Bell, but don’t overthink an elite workhorse RB with a big contract and young QB.
Stock: Slightly Down
- Mark Ingram, RB, Ravens
Beckham, Brown, and Bell certainly made more headlines, but I don’t know if any move was more surprising than the Ravens giving $15 million over 3 years to a 29 year old back coming off a 645 yard season. When I wrote a few months ago that Ingram’s value would likely be hurt by any move that wasn’t just staying in New Orleans, I certainly didn’t see this coming. This is a substantial commitment to Ingram, and on top of that it’s an excellent fit. Baltimore wants to run, run, run, and the presence of Lamar Jackson will only make things easier for Ingram.
- Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers
Signing a 2 year, $8.5 million contract with San Francisco was just about a worst case scenario for owners who invested heavily in Coleman expecting him to strike it rich in free agency and finally become a team’s lead back. In the end, Coleman didn’t even get as good a deal as the older Ingram. The contract suggests minimal investment (and therefore commitment to giving him touches) from the 49ers, and Matt Breida and Jerrick McKinnon will likely steal touches throughout the season. Despite the offensive wizardry of Kyle Shanahan, this move hurts the value of all 3 backs.
- Golden Tate, WR, Giants
Now it’s Tate who gets the unlucky job of trying to make Eli Manning look like a capable starting QB. Unfortunately, Tate isn’t quite the freak talent that Beckham is and this is a difficult task. At 31 and coming off a 74 catch season, Tate is already trending in the wrong direction. The situation with Eli and the fact he’ll still be splitting looks with Sterling Shephard and Evan Engram in the intermediate part of the field doesn’t bode well for a rebound to his previous 90 catch levels. This is all pretty negative from me, but I do think if you can acquire Tate on a WR needy contender for a late 2nd pick that he can be a solid contributor and value – just realize his value is on the decline.
- Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma
Murray has had a tumultuous draft cycle with the usual rumors of a lack of work ethic and leadership that seem to accompany any quarterback who is viewed as more of a runner than a natural passer. Yet Murray, a recent MLB 1st round pick, is a natural passer too, and at the combine he measured in at just a hair over 5’10. That’s… not very impressive at all for an NFL QB. But with rumors circulating he wouldn’t even hit 5’9, it was a bit of a relief. Ultimately Murray’s stock, like most rookies, is heavily dependent on who and by who he is selected in the draft, but his measurement at the combine and subsequent pro day were two potential hurdles cleared without a hitch.
Stock: Slightly Up
- DK Metcalf and AJ Brown, WRs, Ole Miss
Metcalf blew up the combine with an insane 4.33 40-yard dash and 40.5 inch vertical combined with a 6’3”, 228 pound frame. He also busted out an incredible 27 reps on the bench. That said: Metcalf also had a mind bogglingly poor 3 cone drill, and I have questions about why he didn’t produce more in college, but I will save digging into that more for my final prospect rankings. There’s no arguing that he was a major winner at the combine and should go on Day 1 of the NFL draft which is a huge positive signal for future NFL success.
Metcalf’s teammate Brown also had an excellent combine and the debate can rage on over who is a better prospect. Metcalf is bigger and faster, but Brown still posted strong numbers, measuring in at 6 foot tall, 226 pounds, and running a sub 4.5 40-yard dash.
- Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
Fant ran an incredible 4.50 40-yard dash at 6’4” and 250 pounds, further building the hype over the dynamic tight end. Not many tight ends can run that well, and Fant has a chance to be a rare weapon next season at a position where dynasty value seems hard to come by. Landing spot as always will be huge, but I love the thought of Fant in an offense like the Rams’ or Colts’.
- Tony Pollard, RB, Memphis
- Ryquell Armstead, RB, Temple
- Tony Isabella, WR, Massachusetts
These aren’t the biggest names or the best prospects, but I mention them here because all 3 caught my eye at the Senior Bowl a few weeks ago. And at the combine their performances, once again, stood out.
Isabella ran an eye-popping 4.31 40-yard dash showing he has not only the quickness, but also the speed to thrive at the next level.
Armstead measured in at a sturdy workhorse size of 5’11, 220 pounds and ran a surprising 4.45 40-yard dash. Despite his impressive Senior Bowl performance, I did not expect a sub 4.5 forty yard dash from Armstead, but I am pleasantly surprised.
Pollard was the least impressive at the combine as he is leaner than Armstead at 6’ and 210 pounds and slower with a 4.52 40-yard dash, but those numbers were still good enough to keep me interested.
I will be very interested to see where all 3 finally land in the draft.
Inevitably there will be plenty more twists and turns to the NFL offseason, and the draft in particular will lead to countless more value changes, but the news over the past month has given us plenty to think about and reasons to trade as we finalize our pre-draft rankings and close in on the most exciting part of the dynasty offseason.
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