Stefon Diggs is at that point in his career entering the 2022 season where his dynasty value has to be impacted by his age. He remains one of the best wide receivers in the NFL — both in real life and fantasy — but he’s much closer to the end than the beginning. As he enters the final portion of his career, how should dynasty fantasy football managers value Diggs going forward?
Stefon Diggs’ dynasty profile for 2022
After five years in Minnesota where Diggs failed to truly launch, everything changed when he joined the Buffalo Bills in 2020. Diggs posted the best year of his career, by far, in his sixth NFL campaign during his first season with a new team. He averaged 20.5 PPR fantasy points per game, good for an overall WR3 finish (minimum eight games played).
Playing on arguably the best offense in the league with the best quarterback in fantasy, it was no surprise for Diggs to enter 2021 as a consensus top-five wide receiver. However, Diggs undoubtedly regressed. His target share dropped from 29.1% to 26.4%, and his catch rate plummeted from an absurd 76.5% to a still respectable — but not nearly as good — 62.8%.
After catching 127 balls for 1,535 yards in 2020, Diggs caught just 103 passes for 1,225 yards in 2021. It was still a quality year, as he averaged 16.8 ppg and finished as the WR9. No one lost their league because of Diggs. Unfortunately, unlike in 2020, no one won their league because of Diggs, either.
The two best seasons of Diggs’ career are still his two in Buffalo, but 2020 sticks out as the outlier in his career. Can Diggs recapture that 2020 form, or should dynasty managers be looking to move on sooner rather than later?
Fantasy projection for Diggs
The Bills have always been pretty deep at wide receiver. It hasn’t mattered for Diggs yet, and I don’t think it will matter as long as his skills don’t diminish. Diggs is the clear WR1 in an explosive Josh Allen-led offense. We can pencil him in for another 26-30% target share.
Last season, Allen attempted 646 passes. In 2020, that number was just 572. Interestingly, Diggs performed significantly better despite fewer overall pass attempts. Yes, there was one extra game in 2021, but the difference in attempts was a whopping 74.
2020 certainly feels like the best season of Diggs’ career. I wouldn’t expect him to reach that mark again. At the same time, there’s room for improvement upon his 2021 season. As it often does, the answer lies somewhere in the middle.
Allen got off to a slow start last season, which may have contributed to the sizable dip in his completion rate (69.2% in 2020 vs. 63.3% in 2021). With a more efficient season in 2022, Allen can bring Diggs’ catch rate up a few ticks.
Diggs was also second amongst all wide receivers in unrealized air yards. Allen’s deep ball completion percentage was about the same each of the past two seasons. However, Diggs’ unrealized air yards number suggests Allen was missing him deep too often. It will only take a couple of extra connections for Diggs’ ppg to bump back up to the 18-19 range.
Diggs may be actually a bit undervalued this season. He’s still a WR1 and everyone views him as such. Yet, his 2021 season may push him down into the low WR1 range when he’s more of a mid WR1.
What is Diggs’ future beyond 2022?
This is where things get tricky regarding Diggs’ dynasty value. Diggs is still capable of producing at a high level. However, dynasty managers cannot ignore that he’ll turn 29 during the 2022 season.
Let’s talk about the positives first. Diggs did just sign a four-year extension with the Bills. He’s now locked in through his age-34 season. He should have Allen throwing him passes for the rest of his career.
Now for the bad part. Diggs will not be a fantasy-relevant asset for the duration of that contract. It’s structured so the Bills can reasonably get out of it in 2025, after Diggs’ age-31 season. While I do think Diggs has a skill set that will age well, it’s unrealistic to project him as a top fantasy wide receiver for more than three seasons.
What can fantasy managers expect from Diggs?
As with any aging player who is still elite, Diggs’ age presents a challenge for dynasty managers. Given his age, Diggs doesn’t have a place on rebuilding teams. While he can certainly contribute for multiple years, if you’re rebuilding, Diggs will have more value in a trade to a contender than he will on your roster. He’s the perfect type of player to acquire in exchange for young, unproven players/picks if you’re one of those contenders.
Fantasy managers should expect WR1 production for at least the next two seasons. Beyond that, it’s more hoping than expecting. Nevertheless, even if Diggs is reduced to a mid WR2 by the time he’s 31, that’s still quite useful. Ideally, Diggs remains near-elite for three more seasons and then declines steadily, remaining useful for a couple of additional years.