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Dynasty owners don’t play week to week, they play long term. However, dynasty owners still need to analyze different aspects of weekly matchups to determine the best time to sell or buy a player.

Make sure you don’t buy that hot rookie too soon and don’t sell the aging veteran too late. Each week, I will analyze different matchups across fantasy football with a dynasty frame of mind.

Let's take some time to see what matchups might pique the interest of dynasty league owners for Week 14 of the 2017 season. Here are some Week 14 matchup previews for dynasty league owners to monitor.

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Eagles at Rams

LeGarrette Blount vs Jay Ajayi vs Corey Clement

It is extremely crowded in the Philadelphia backfield and before too long, someone will need to step up and take this job. Several weeks ago it was clear cut that LeGarrette Blount was the lead back and the Eagles had a ton of options behind him. After bringing in Jay Ajayi for a fourth round pick though, the Eagles have an embarrassment of riches in the backfield. Dynasty owners will need to know how this shakes out heading into 2018 though. This is turning into the Patriots backfield situation. Just like in New England, you know someone in that backfield is going to take control but who is it? You either have to get all of them or you have to take a chance and hope you picked the right one.

Blount was signed this offseason after scoring 24 rushing touchdowns in two seasons for the Patriots. He hasn’t offered any numbers that jump off the page and has barley been a flex play this season. Blount currently sits at RB29 in standard formats. It’s extremely concerning for Blount looking at the snap counts though since Ajayi joined the Eagles. Since the trade prior to Week 9, Blount continues to lead the backfield, but the numbers are very close.

Player Week 9 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Total
LeGarrette Blount 16 30 37 14 97
Jay Ajayi 16 30 37 14 83
Corey Clement 28 19 15 28 90

 

It’s important to note that Clement received almost twice as many snaps as Blount or Ajayi in a very important game against the Seahawks. The pace of the game would lead you to believe that the Eagles had Clement in as the receiving back, but Clement has just as many receptions (four) as Ajayi since he joined the Eagles. That could make things blurry for fantasy owners heading into 2018, but not so much for me. We will discuss that more later though.

It’s great when you look at snap counts, because it shows you who is on the field the most. More time on the field equals more opportunities to score points. Volume is an argument that most people will use when looking at starting a player. I get it, same concept as above. The more opportunities the better. I always argue there is a difference between volume and quality volume. In Los Angeles, Melvin Gordon leads his backfield by a wide margin. He currently has 207 rushing attempts to Austin Ekelers’ 41 attempts. Gordon though is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry. He is only top 10 in rushing yards because of his volume. So since Week 9, which Eagles running back is doing the most with his attempts?

Player Total Yards* Touches Yds/Att
LeGarrette Blount 217 45 4.8
Jay Ajayi 257 34 7.55
Corey Clement 192 30 6.4
* Since Week 9

 

Ajayi is the clear winner as it comes to effectiveness. Clement and Ajayi both have the advantage of adding receptions to their touches while Blount has not had a reception since Week 9. As I mentioned above, this is turning into the Patriots backfield. Any player in any given week could lead the backfield snaps, someone else could lead the touches and someone else could actually get the fantasy points. During Ajayi’s first week, Clement led the touches and scored three touchdowns, more than he had all season up to that point. No one called that right?

Long term, there is no confusion about this backfield. Blount may still be leading the backfield in 2017, but he will be moving on this offseason. Blount was signed to a one-year deal and was signed really late in the offseason. Even after 18 TDs last year, teams were not jumping at the opportunity to add him to the depth chart. Even though Blount, Ajayi and Clement are the only ones mentioned right now, don’t forget that the Eagles still have Wendell Smallwood and 2017 fourth round pick Donnel Pumphrey on the roster.

Ajayi has been the most effective back for the Eagles since the trade. Overall though, he has to be one of the biggest busts in 2017 based on ADP. He was the RB4 or RB5 in most drafts and hasn’t come close to those expectations. There is a reason the Dolphins moved him for just a fourth round pick. Ajayi has long term issues with his knees. There is no telling how long they may actually hold up. He could be done this week, next year or a couple years down the road. Anyway it goes, I am not going to trust his knees to remain healthy. In redraft leagues, absolutely take a flier at the right price. Dynasty owners should steer clear though.

In dynasty leagues, Clement is the Eagles running back to be owned. He will offer the most upside moving forward. When Blount is out of the picture next year, Clement and Ajayi will have an equal split. The Eagles will want to keep Ajayi healthy which will lead to plenty of opportunities for Clement. This offseason will be a great opportunity to move on Clement. Ajayi looks like he could finish the year strong and based on past performance and hype, people will want as many Ajayi shares as possible. In a perfect world, you will own Ajayi and Clement.

This Eagles offense will only get better and Wentz will be the next Aaron Rodgers. It will be a fun offense to watch and the running backs will benefit from great weapons around them. We have only heard about Wentz because of his stellar play this year, and rightfully so. Typically, you hear more about a MVP candidate than a running back committee. However, Philadelphia’s run game deserves a ton of credit and maybe has helped Wentz to some of his success this year. The Eagles run game ranks second with 143.3 rushing yards per game, third with 375 rushing attempts on the year and fourth with 4.6 yards per carry.

 

What to Watch For

This game in particular is going to be fun to watch. The Eagles are coming off a tough loss against the Seahawks and will be facing the Rams in what could be a preview of the NFC Championship game. The Rams defense is giving up 122.8 yards rushing per game, which ranks 27th in the NFL. They are also giving up 22.15 fantasy points against running backs this year, the second most of any team. Wentz has it in him to take over a shootout and go against the best.

In this game, on the road, the Eagles will look to control the game though. They want to keep Jared Goff and Todd Gurley off the field as long as possible. When you have the luxury of three running backs, all of which are performing well, controlling the game becomes a lot easier. Over the last four weeks, the Eagles backfield has averaged 27.25 touches per game and Wentz has averaged 33.75 attempts. Wentz is going to keep his attempts under 30 this Sunday though and let his backs do the heavy lifting.

 

More 2017 Dynasty League Strategy