By: Rich Pallarino @rpallarino_
As a preface to all of my posts, I would just like to say that picking players each week that are either a riser or faller for dynasty purposes is challenging and comes with a ton of risk. Taking into account each player’s age, situation (contract status, team salary cap, relationship with management and coaches, etc.), system of choice, among other variables is what is thought about when making a determination.
Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs – Alex Smith is the surprise of the year. He’s played exceptionally well this season and is most importantly, playing for a new contract. Smith’s passer rating is 107.2, he’s thrown for 23 touchdowns, and for 3,239 yards thus far. This season is far from over and Smith’s numbers will improve. You may ask yourself, well, why is he a faller? Here’s why:
Smith is in his final year of his deal with Kansas City and will be 34 years old by the start of next season. With Andy Reid’s job status pending on these upcoming weeks, a new quarterback is sure to come. And they have Patrick Mahomes. Not only did they select him, but they traded up to get him. A year behind Smith is what Reid wants for his future quarterback. Mahomes is the riser and Smith will most likely end up with his third franchise since being drafted in 2005. While being on three teams isn’t a bad thing, it’s the lack of offensive talent Smith will have if he’s not wearing a Chiefs uniform next season.
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens – Joe Flacco has never been a top choice for fantasy owners in a dynasty, but he has started in many leagues especially, two quarterback leagues. This season has been far below average for the 10 year veteran out of Delaware. He’s thrown 11 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. While his TD/INT ratio is 1, his yards per game average is at 178.7. That’s the lowest of his career. Baltimore has invested a ton of money into Joe Flacco, but the return on the investment isn’t paying off. Get rid of Flacco if you own him and make sure to laugh at the next guy that picks him up.
DeMarco Murray, RB, Tennessee Titans – DeMarco Murray will be 30 years of age by the time next season starts. For a player who has averaged 19.4 touches per game, has dealt with his fair share of injuries, and is splitting carries with Derrick Henry, overall the future isn’t looking bright for Murray. To add to all of that, Murray has a clause in his contract that allows his to be released or traded and not hit the salary cap in a negative way. His cap savings would be upwards of $6,500,000.00. See below:
While it is most likely possible that Murray lands on his feet somewhere else, his production will diminish and the Titans will look to Henry as their future three-down back. Get rid of Murray for a solid piece in return, as his value is higher now than it will be this offseason.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Doug Martin is known as “Mighty Mouse,” and this year his numbers are as quiet as a mouse. Martin’s total yards in eight games this season is abysmal (436 rushing & receiving), his touchdown total is awful (2), and his yards per carry is lower than my GPA (3.2). In the middle of a 5 year contract, Martin is really not earning his money. His career numbers are solid, but he’s only had two healthy seasons, which have ironically been his best. The first good year was his rookie season and then his fourth season aka “contract year.” Martin may get cut by the Bucs, but he should definitely get cut by you, if you own him.
Brandon Marshall, WR, New York Giants – I was never a believer in curses, until Brandon Marshall joined the Giants this season. As a person who lives in New York City, it’s very irritating to see a team go 11-5 in the regular season last year to, now, looking like the Jets projected record of 2-10. The Mara and Tisch families have fired their head coach and general manager earlier this week. That is the start that they will clean house, which indicates that Brandon Marshall, among others, will not be with the team next season. The Giants need to sign other players and Marshall’s salary, along with his lack of production, injury, and bad presence is just a recipe for getting cut. If Marshall is one your roster, I’d highly suggest trading him for a pick. This season would’ve been the easiest for Marshall to produce, but he just couldn’t stay healthy nor put it together when he was healthy earlier this season.
Kenny Britt, WR, Cleveland Browns – Kenny Britt is one of the most disappointing receivers in recent memory. While he has never been on teams with great quarterbacks, he’s never seemed to reach his full potential. Britt is in Cleveland on a 4 year deal, but has a situation similar to DeMarco Murray’s. Britt can be out after next season and have a dead cap of $3,250,000.00 according to Spotrac.
In 9 games this season, Britt has 38 targets and caught 18 balls. That translates to a 47.4% catch percentage, which is the second lowest of his career. While Britt deals with terrible quarterback(s), other talented receivers (Njoku, Gordon, and Coleman), and an age issue (30), it seems as if his fantasy production will be diminished.
*Editor’s Note: this was written a few hours before the news of Britt’s release.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Cincinnati Bengals – It kills me to write this about one of the most talented players in all of the league. But, Tyler Eifert is holding down your dynasty fantasy team. Year after year, fantasy owners are hyping him up, and rightfully so, but health is the biggest cloud over Eifert. In five seasons, Eifert has played in just 39 games. While doing so, he has scored 20 touchdowns and reeled in 127 receptions. Per game, Eifert is a steal for where most dynasty owners selected him or even picked him up, but the lack of field time is limiting a dynasty team’s growth. Look to trade Eifert somehow, and grab picks or a WR2 for him.
Julius Thomas, TE, Miami Dolphins – Julius Thomas is one of the most overrated tight-ends in the league. Thomas is very talented, but fails to put it altogether. In his last 21 games, Thomas seven touchdowns, which is solid, but he only has 643 yards on 67 receptions. While in Denver, Julius thrived with Peyton Manning as his quarterback. Now, between Jay Cutler and Matt Moore throwing the ball to him, fantasy scoring has become more and more difficult for Thomas. He’s more a DFS play, not a tight-end for your dynasty team.