Tee Higgins is The Player You Want in Dynasty
By: Jesse Moeller (Twitter: @JMoeller05)
This week we are finding five players to buy at in dynasty. The list will be composed of one Quarterback, one Running Back, one Wide Receiver, one Tight End, and one of My Guys in dynasty. The players I am listing I personally have ranked much higher than consensus. By the start of the 2022 season, these five players will have a higher ADP (average draft position).
QB: Tua Tagovailoa (FantasyPros QB#17 DLF ADP 150.33)
Why is the dynasty community so low on Tua? Saying Tua had a rocky last 16 months is an understatement. Watching Brian Flores play hot potato between Tua and Rayn Fitzpatrick last year did no favors to anyone involved with the team. Now, he consistently has rumors swirling around him if he will be traded for Deshaun Watson or Russell Wilson. I am here to say fade the noise and get a share of Tua at the lowest price he will be in dynasty for the next decade.
It seems almost everyone in dynasty is worried about Tua, due to his perceived poor play and injury concerns. Before digging into the numbers I was worried, as the narrative around Tua and number one pick Joe Burrow seemed to be on opposite ends of the spectrum.
Why are they viewed in such different lights? Both players have dealt with severe injuries and performed similarly as rookie quarterbacks. If you don’t believe me, go ahead and take a peek at the thread Nick laid out below. It helps cut through the noise on Tua. Both players are dealing with bad offensive lines. The main difference is who they are throwing the ball to. Dolphins receivers were unable to separate. Here are the top three receiving options ranked in target separation. Davante Parker 108th, Preston Williams 105th, and Mike Gesicki 39th among tight ends. Putting him in second to last ahead of Zach Ertz. NFL windows are already tight enough, when you have players making it harder on the quarterback that becomes a major issue.
Would you rather pass to Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd, or Davante Parker and Preston Williams? The Dolphins recognize they need to address the skill position talent if they are going to further the development of Tua. Thankfully, they are looking into some premium NFL talent in Aaron Jones and Kenny Golladay. They are also loaded with draft capital to acquire young premier pass-catching talent. The offense will look a lot different in 2021, as the Dolphins hold five top 100 picks in 3,18,36,50,82. Expect them to target receiving talent to help Tua going forward.
Here are some stats to reinforce the point that Tua is an extremely accurate quarterback who had little help from the skill players in 2020. Tua was #2 in accuracy rating, 3rd in catchable pass rate at 80.3%. The Dolphins offensive line did not help Tua out either as they ranked 27th in pass block win rate at 51%. Add that all up, and Tua had the opposite experience as a rookie compared to his time with Alabama in college. Thankfully the Dolphins have $33 million in cap space and lots of ammunition for the NFL draft.
Tua is only 23 years old and can be your QB1 for the next decade in Superflex dynasty. The cost is very reasonable to acquire him. He is worth the 2021 1.07 pick. In 1QB leagues, quarterback value is extremely cheap. His value is the price of a 3rd round rookie pick. Go grab him now and enjoyed the success he will provide to
RB: Antonio Gibson (FantasyPros RB#14 DLF ADP 23.50)
The 2020 running back class is going to be one for the ages. Let’s talk about the one running back from the class that is being slept on. His name is Antonio Gibson, one that should already be on your dynasty roster. Want athleticism? Gibson has it in spades. He compares athletically to Jonathon Taylor, a player the dynasty community has anointed to be the number one overall running back in dynasty. They ran an identical 40-yard dash at 4.39 seconds. Both players have a 99th percentile speed score! (It does not go any higher.)
What about receiving upside? dynasty players love the pass-catching upside of D’Andre Swift, viewing him as the next Alvin Kamara of dynasty. It seems we have forgotten Gibson is a converted wide receiver who spent his first full year as a running back in 2020. Gibson has the track record to be an absolute force in PPR leagues moving forward. Gibson finished the season with 202 PPR points, finishing as the 13th ranked RB of the year. He did this while having a 45.3% Snap Share (39th) and a 47.3% Opportunity Share (34th).
The dynasty community has Cam Akers as a locked-in top 10 due to how he finished the season. That kind of opportunity is what dynasty managers dream of. Why is Gibson not considered a top 10 option moving forward? As Michelle brilliantly lays out below, Gibson was the better overall back last year. Gibson suffered a high ankle sprain in week 13, which put a damper on an incredible start to his rookie campaign. He had 39 targets through 12 games which put him on pace to pass 50 as a rookie. Akers had 14 total targets last year. The underlying numbers show how dynamic of a player Gibson was as a rookie. Gibson was 8th in juke rate, 9th in yards per route run, 12th in breakaway runs, and 13th in evaded tackles.
Add it all up you get a running back in fantasy who has the ceiling to finish as a top-five running back. According to Player Profiler, his value is worth 2021 1.01 in 1QB leagues, in Super flex leagues his value drops one spot to 2021 1.02. I would pay that price in either league to acquire Gibson. His upside is worth that investment.
WR: Amari Cooper (FantasyPros WR #17 DLF ADP 50.67)
With how the season finishedin Dallas, we all forgot how good of a year Amari had considering the circumstances. Amari concluded the 2020 season as the 15th WR, which was a let down considering he was the number one receiver after four weeks. The loss of Dak Prescott hurt the entire offense. The splits with and without Prescott are jarring.
Weeks 1-4: 85.1 Points, 21.3 Points Per Game, WR1 in fantasy. 12.6 Targets Per Game
Weeks 5-17: 151.7 Points,12.6 Points Per Game, WR28 in fantasy. 6.58 Targets Per Game
Volume is king in fantasy, and Amari was on a pace to compete with Marvin Harrisons’ record of 205 targets he set back in 2002. Projecting out the statistics he would have finished as the WR2 in fantasy behind only Davante Adams. The Cowboys offense once again will be one of the best in the NFL. Prescott is assured to be in Dallas for the next four years. The defense is going to guarantee Dallas will be one of the highest passing offenses in 2021 and Amari should gobble up targets.
What is odd to me about Amari is that he is considered an inconsistent player. When you dive into his stats they tell a different story. In five of his first six years, Amari finished with 70+ receptions, 100+ targets, 1000+ yards, and 5+ touchdowns. That shows you a remarkably consistent player. The lone outlier is 2017 where the entire Raiders team struggled to live up to expectations, not just Amari.
It is fairly straightforward to project career-high numbers across the board for Amari in 2021. Attached to the best passing attack in the NFC (sorry Packers), the offensive line coming back to health, and a bottom-tier defense. Yards and points will be abundant every Cowboys game of 2021. Having Amari reach 150 targets would be a low projection this upcoming season. Did you know that Amari more than doubled his slot snaps last year? He recorded 87 slot snaps in 2019, that jumped to 201 in 2020. A jump from 10.7% to 21.6%. That will only increase in the next year as Lamb spends more time on the outside in 2021. Both Lamb and Cooper have a chance to be top 12 WR in 2021. The volume of the Cowboys passing attack will support both players.
The price for Amari is quite reasonable for a player with legitimate top 5 potential at his position. Amari is worth a late 2021 1st round pick in Super flex or a mid-2021 first-round pick in 1QB leagues. That is a price worth paying to help you win a championship.
TE: Noah Fant (FantasyPros TE#6 DLF ADP 86.17)
Noah Fant is in that second tier of dynasty tight ends behind the big three (Kelce, Kittle, Waller) and the best tight end prospect since Vernon Davis in Kyle Pitts 😍. After those four, in my second tier, I have Fant, Andrews, Hockenson, and Goedert. These are the four players most likely to take a step forward and join the elite tier of dynasty tight ends. Let me tell you why Fant is the player you should be targeting.
Imagine how you would feel about Noah Fant if the Broncos decided to upgrade the quarterback position. (Sorry, not sorry Drew Lock stans.) This is the type of player you want to target in dynasty leagues. Someone with Fant’s skillset stands out amongst tight ends. The guy unquestionably exudes athleticism, which is something that inherently matters to the position. Can you name me the last uber-productive tight end that was not an upper-echelon athlete? (You are going to be looking for a while.) Fant checks every box on the type of tight end in fantasy that will make a difference for your dynasty roster.
Fant improved across the board in his second season with the Broncos. His Target Share went up from 13.9% to 19.3%, Snap Share went up from 62.8% to 78.1%, Target Separation per target increased from 1.48 to 2.01, his route participation went up from 56.5% to 75.6%. All indicators of a player becoming a vital part of a passing attack. Fant did this while missing two games in 2020 due to a rib injury. Fant also dealt with the inadequate play of Drew Lock which suppressed the entire Broncos passing attack.
The hype machine has solely been focused on T.J. Hockenson. even though he had a worse year than Fant did while competing with a far worse cast of characters in Detroit. I will bet on the better overall player in Fant every time. Fant is battling the likes of Jeudy and Sutton in Denver. Fant is good enough to earn a 20% target share regardless in Denver. Fant’s value in tight end premium league is valued similarly to Kareem Hunt or Kenny Golladay. If you prefer rookie pick values he is equal to a 2021 late first-round pick. In standard leagues, a 2022 mid-second round pick is the value. I am willing to pay that cost to obtain him.
My Guy: Tee Higgins (FantasyPros WR#16 DLF ADP 34.33)
Why is Tee Higgins a “My Guy”? He is someone that I view as a top 10 dynasty WR and at this point next year will have jumped a full round or two in ADP. Taking him in the fourth round of Super Flex startups is an absolute steal. At this time last year was going at the pick 1.08 in 1QB rookie drafts behind Jeudy 😨, Lamb 🤩, and Reagor 🤢. Sometimes the dynasty community misses on a player, and as a group we absolutely did.
Why did we all fade Higgins last year? One main factor that played into it, was his testing numbers. His workout metrics were doubted coming into his pro day, as he had the ideal “alpha” build at 6’4″ 216 pounds. He ran a 4.59 forty-yard dash and jumped 31 inches in his vertical. Both are considered subpar for NFL wideouts. That lead to the narrative of analysts questioning how good Higgins would be in the NFL. Boy, he proved everyone wrong the moment he stepped onto the field.
Higgins fell into a fantastic situation, being hand-picked by his quarterback Joe Burrow to pair with for the next decade. Let me tell you, Joe Burrow was unquestionably right about Higgins. Higgins finished the season with 67 receptions on 108 targets for 908 yards and 6 touchdowns. Good enough for 194 fantasy points and WR28 on the season. Higgins also missed two games on the season, if he plays those games Higgins storms past 1,000 receiving yards.
Higgins produced even after Burrow was lost for the season in week 11. From weeks 12-16 with Brandon Allen as his quarterback Higgins averaged 4.8 receptions on 7 targets for 55.8 yards and 0.4 touchdowns. That is 12.78 PPR points per game. Showing us all that Higgins can produce no matter the quarterback.
This is a player you are going to want to get before the price skyrockets during the 2021 season. His value in 1QB leagues is the 2021 1.04 pick. In Super Flex leagues the value is the 2021 1.08 pick. I will happily pay that price for him. I would be giddy to have locked up an alpha wide receiver for the next eight years.
Always practice what you preach. Here is a trade I completed to finally get my first share of “My Guy” Tee Higgins in dynasty. I am thrilled with it and come next year this will be viewed as a heist.