Fantasy Football: Dynasty Recap 2021 Week 3 NFL Season

Rookie quarterbacks in question, running backs thriving - Read more about where some of the top dynasty fantasy football assets are headed for the season.
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Fans hoping for an excitement-filled, action-packed week of football were not disappointed. The erratic Las Vegas Raiders took another game to overtime and won in spectacular fashion. The most accurate kicker in league history, Justin Tucker, unleashed and successfully converted a 66-yard blast to carry the Ravens to victory over a distraught Detroit Lions team. The Los Angeles Rams showed that they’re ready for the big time again, handily defeating the Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the back of four Matthew Stafford touchdown strikes. In addition to the spectacular NFL action that took place, there are plenty of new dynasty learnings that need to be unpacked and addressed.

Rookie Quarterback Conundrum:

Well, it’s been three weeks of football, and managers have gotten live-action glimpses of every first-round quarterback and even third-round quarterback, Davis Mills. To say it hasn’t been great would be an understatement. Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones, and Zach Wilson have started all three games, while Justin Fields and Davis Mills just had their first start. The third overall selection in the 2021 draft, Trey Lance has only received change-of-space snaps, rotating in with current starter Jimmy Garropolo.

Lawrence was expected to come in and immediately perform, with many experts viewing him as the most polished prospect to come out of college since Andrew Luck. Through three games, he has 450 passing yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. His 25.9 QBR (total quarterback ranking) is 30th in the league. That’s not what many dynasty managers expected when they spent an early first-round rookie pick on Lawrence. The second selection in the NFL draft, Wilson has somehow managed to be worse than Lawrence, throwing for 468 yards, two touchdowns, five interceptions, and a 22.0 QBR (31st in the league). Mac Jones has taken care of the ball in his short tenure, throwing no interceptions, but only managing a lone touchdown pass. His play has “game manager” written all over it, and considering the performances of the other rookie quarterbacks, that might be all right. Justin Fields started for the Bears in place of an injured Andy Dalton, completing only six passes all day for a meager 68 yards and no touchdowns. Davis Mills stepped into the starting role this week, and despite playing better than Fields, wasn’t significantly impressive. 

Is this painting an accurate picture? None of the rookie quarterbacks that have had significant playing time have performed well. While it’s not ideal, dynasty managers need to take advantage of the situation and try to buy low on some of these signal-callers. Despite only having a small NFL sample size, most of these quarterbacks have significant college film that showcases their talents. They will grow and hopefully succeed at the NFL level; just because it hasn’t happened in the first three games of their career doesn’t mean it won’t happen later this season or in subsequent seasons. This may be one of the only points where dynasty managers in a Superflex format can acquire a quarterback of the future for this cheap. Take advantage!

Running Back Attrition

It’s happening already. It took all three weeks for multiple starting running backs to go down injured. Some will only be out a week or two, with others looking at an extended absence. Dalvin Cook has an ankle sprain that kept him sidelined this week. Josh Jacobs was out with turf toe and could be out multiple weeks. The world-beater, Christian McCaffrey, left the game against Houston with a hamstring strain that didn’t appear to be minor. The Rams, who had already lost Cam Akers to a torn Achilles, had to play without new starter Darrell Henderson. Injuries are a part of the game and no surprise, especially when talking about running backs. 

The real question is what a competing Dynasty manager should do when their star running back goes down. Is it worth trading a promising, young bench player or a future draft pick for the backup to that injured star? In general, the answer should be a resounding no. Most backups are aging backs with little to no value beyond the week or two that they start. Peyton Barber is a perfect example of that, and even Sony Michel has begun to fall into this category. An owner should consider buying in on a handcuff back when that player is young, has draft pedigree, has potential for success in the role, and is likely to retain that role for multiple seasons. In this case, Chuba Hubbard is the perfect buy for a manager with McCaffrey in Dynasty. He’ll fill in admirably anytime McCaffrey is down, and being a rookie with draft capital (fourth round), Hubbard is primed to serve in that role for as long as McCaffrey is with the team. If McCaffrey were to be traded or leave as a free agent in the future, there might even be a chance for Hubbard to take the starting job.  

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