Week 16 of the NFL Season is in the books, and it was another chance to learn some about these players and the future. We’re down to likely the last two teams in most fantasy leagues. If you’re one of those, congratulations. If you’re not, you’ve probably been spending time looking at your roster between holiday gatherings, wondering how to be one of those final two in 2022. That begins by making shrewd moves and assessments of your squad. That’s what the Dynasty Stock Watch is all about.
As will be the case throughout the season, I’ll be taking stock of what we’ve learned each week. I’ll be offering one player per position—QB, RB, WR, and TE—who improved their stock and one who saw their stock slip. For those trying to win now and those playing the long game, it’s crucial to pounce at the right time. So, without further ado, here’s Week 16 of the Dynasty Stock Watch.
Stock Up: Davis Mills, Houston Texans
About: Most people didn’t think much of Mills’ selection by the Texans. In a few Superflex drafts, I took him late just in case. The Texans have left Deshaun Watson as a healthy scratch all season, turning to a combination of options, including veteran Tyrod Taylor. But it’s been Mills that’s been the most interesting. He didn’t show a lot in limited work at Stanford, but he’s been surprisingly effective for the Texans to the point it’s fair to wonder if he gets a shot to be the guy in 2022. That was seemingly backed up by Chargers’ coach Brandon Staley, who was complimentary of Mills after the Texans beat the contending Chargers 41-29 on Sunday. Mills is just 2-7 as a starter, but that’s not a reflection of his play. He’s completing more than 66 percent of his passes and has thrown for 2,200 yards, 12 touchdowns, and just nine interceptions. In short, he’s quietly put together one of the better rookie campaigns at quarterback, making him an interesting stash heading into 2022.
Stock Down: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
About: Oh, Baker. While he’s a star for State Farm, Mayfield hasn’t gotten the job done on the field for the Browns. Coming off a playoff berth in 2020, expectations were sky-high for the Browns in 2021. Instead, the team sits at 7-8, a long shot to qualify for the post-season. And Mayfield was dreadful in a crucial Saturday battle with the Green Bay Packers. Despite Mayfield throwing four interceptions, the Browns lost by two points—24-22. In 13 starts, he’s thrown for 2,825 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 11 interceptions. He hasn’t been terrible, but he isn’t getting it done for Cleveland. He’s yet to sign a long-term contract, meaning he could well enter 2022 in the final year of his rookie deal. And it’s possible it won’t be for the Browns, as Cleveland fans are growing restless, and the team is considering its options. Could a change of scenery be for the best for Baker? Maybe. But in terms of dynasty, he feels like a sunk value right now.
Stock Up: Cam Akers, Los Angeles Rams
About: I know, Akers has yet to play a snap in 2021. And he likely won’t see one in the regular season. Meanwhile, Darrell Henderson and Sony Michel have been just fine. So, what gives? Well, when Akers tore his Achilles in the off-season, it felt like a death sentence for a promising young running back. And yet, with three weeks left in the regular season, he was activated off Injured Reserve, a sign he’s healthy enough to be in contention to play. That is a HUGE swing for Akers and a big boon to those who held the faith. With the resurgence of D’Onta Foreman in Tennessee, we’re also seeing more possibilities for running backs returning from this serious injury. We need to see what Akers looks like on the field, and likely we won’t get a complete picture until 2022, but this is an astonishing and exciting development to end the season.
Stock Down: James Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars
About: If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Jacksonville Jaguars might not have any luck at all. One of the lone bright spots for the team, second-year back Robinson, tore his Achilles on Sunday and is out for the year. As witnessed by the recovery from Akers, this might not be as long a recovery as it once was. It might not also be the death sentence for a running back it once was. But it’s a blow for Robinson’s long-term value. He already figured to face increased competition from Travis Etienne in 2022, and he will be entering his third system in three years. Now, there’s a decent chance he’s not at full strength to begin the campaign. There’s no point trying to move him for those holding him in dynasty. You have to hold and hope for an Akers-like development. It’s a tough position to be in heading into the off-season.
Stock Up: Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit Lions
About: I loved St. Brown’s potential heading into the 2021 NFL Draft. While he went later than expected—not taken until the Fourth Round—the landing spot in Detroit seemed promising. There was a lack of competition and a chance for a young pass-catcher to blossom into a star. It took a few weeks, but the promise of all those things is starting to bloom. St. Brown has 98 targets, catching 74 passes for 692 yards and three touchdowns. He’s been particularly hot down the stretch with Dan Campbell at the helm on offense. St. Brown has seen 46 targets in the past four games, catching 35 passes for 344 yards and three touchdowns. That includes nine for 91 yards and a touchdown with Tim Boyle at the helm Sunday. He’s a budding star on a team that’s fun to watch, which is gold for those that snagged him in the second or third round of rookie drafts.
Stock Down: Cole Beasley, Buffalo Bills
About: Beasley has been gold since coming to the Bills, seeing 100-plus targets the past three seasons. This is more about looking to the future, where the Bills have an entrenched star in Stefon Diggs and some excellent young options in Gabe Davis, Isaiah McKenzie, and tight end Dawson Knox. Beasley has seen 101 targets in 14 games, but he’s caught 76 passes for 640 yards and a touchdown. The receptions, yards, yards per reception, and touchdowns all show a decline from past seasons. In addition, the entrenched positions Beasley has held off the field have created issues, as stories have emerged about his fines in 2021 for violating league COVID protocols. Given the decline in production and the emergence of other options, it wouldn’t be a huge surprise to see the Bills move on. In short, now might be the time to maximize value for Beasley.
Stock Up: Dalton Schultz, Dallas Cowboys
About: Schultz was a bright spot for the 2020 Dallas Cowboys in a dismal season. He saw 89 targets, catching 63 passes for 615 yards and four touchdowns. With Blake Jarwin coming back and the rest of the Cowboys’ weapons in place, the question was whether he could be that good again. Through 16 weeks, he’s been better. Schultz has seen 91 targets, catching 69 passes for 733 yards and six touchdowns. He’s been a big part of the Cowboys’ attack and one of the most reliable tight ends in football. The future looks bright for Schultz and for dynasty players who could snag him cheap the past couple of seasons.
Stock Down: Austin Hooper, Cleveland Browns
About: The Browns have plenty of issues on offense. They also have plenty of competition at tight end, with David Njoku and Harrison Bryant competing at the position. That’s not optimal for those who roster Hooper, who had a huge break out with the Falcons in 2019 and signed a rich free-agent contract before 2020. Since coming to Cleveland, he’s caught 82 passes for 752 yards and seven touchdowns on 126 targets in two seasons. It’s not enough volume and production to make him a solid weekly start, leaving those that thought they’d found their man in 2019 looking for other options.
Matthew Fox is a die-hard NFL Fan and Broncos’ homer. He’s a member of the FSWA. You can find more from him on Twitter @knighthawk7734 or as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast, a part of the Campus2Canton Network.