Dynasty Dilemma: Christian Kirk
By Steve Uetz
Always the bridesmaid, never the bride: Welcome to Christian Kirk’s Dynasty Dilemma
Christian Kirk made a splash in free agency as he was signed to the Jacksonville Jaguars; the first of many eyebrow raising signings made by the Jaguars new General Manager Trent Baalke. Kirk was gifted with a four-year $72 million contract, with $37 million guaranteed. Kirk at 25 years old, is entering his 5th season after spending the first leg of his career with the Arizona Cardinals in a mostly ancillary role.
As a college prospect he profiled to be an NFL star but failed to live up to the expectations that his college career and 2nd round draft capitol suggested. The Cardinals mightily struggled in Kirk’s rookie season under short-tenured head coach Steve Wilks and QB bust Josh Rosen. His ability remained untapped as he never led the Cardinals in receptions, always playing in a supporting role to elite veteran teammates like Larry Fitzgerald and DeAndre Hopkins. It wasn’t until the 2021 season where his potential was finally consistently on display as the season came to its conclusion.
Christian Kirk’s dynasty dilemma is centered around the potential offensive role in his new environment. He was paid like a superstar as he is currently earning top-10 WR money, but for fantasy what should concern us the most is opportunities through touches/targets, and the quality of such opportunities. Big money does not always equal big opportunity; see Kenny Golladay from 2021. Will Trevor Lawrence and new head coach Doug Pederson bring out the best in Kirk? Or will Kirk continue to be the bridesmaid and never the bride.
National disgrace Urban Meyer was unceremoniously fired in the middle of the 2021 season, wasting Trevor Lawrence’s rookie year development. The Jaguars are at the start of a new and improved era already as they recently hired Super Bowl winning Head Coach Doug Pederson; a coach who I believe was the perfect hire to jumpstart the development of the young franchise QB.
Among the obvious offensive struggles in 2021 seasons, the Jaguars finished 12th in pass attempts. Being in a top half passing offense across the league is a positive feature for any pass-catching weapon such as Christian Kirk. The Jaguars will most likely once again be a defensively struggling team in 2022, giving the potential of inflated pass attempts and opportunities to Kirk and fellow pass-catchers.
With the departure of D.J. Chark, Kirk is expected to occupy at least the WR2 role for the projected pass-heavy offense. The quality of those opportunities for the pass-catchers are trending up as Doug Pederson has been mostly successful in getting the most of his quarterbacks throughout his coaching career. Bottomline, opportunity and quality of opportunities are on the rise.
With all the recent positive momentum channeling through the Jaguars organization, Kirk is holding unique cautious optimism for seasons to come. Considering the hopefulness of an improved Jaguars offense and how strongly Kirk ended the 2021 season, this presents an advantageous moment to sell.
Kirk finished his 2021 season with career bests in receptions (77), receiving yards (982), yards per target (9.53), and WR fantasy ranking (28th Standard and 26th PPR). Kirk took advantage of his opportunity down the stretch as veteran WR stud DeAndre Hopkins missed 7 total games, including the final four weeks when Kirk had his best four-game stretch. In the fantasy playoffs (weeks 15-17) Kirk was a viable flex play as he had three consecutive games with 9 or more targets. Despite the success, I think the biggest factor in this triumph was DeAndre Hopkins’ absence.
The 2021 season was a career first that Kirk finished as a WR3 and played a full season. Over his first three seasons his final WR rank was as a WR5 in 2018 (STD 57, PPR 58), WR4 in 2019 (STD 45, PPR 38), and WR5 in 2020 (STD 51, PPR 52) while never playing a full season; he averaged missing 3 games per season over that stretch.
Ultimately, the solution of how to handle the dynasty dilemma of Christian Kirk would be to either sell or hold, with a preference to sell.
I do think holding is reasonable for all roster types since there is enough optimism to remain patient in anticipation of how the Doug Pederson era kicks off. Kirk, at 25 years old is in his prime and holds Flex appeal but would be best implemented as an injury or bye week replacement which is universally needed.
Rebuilding Sell: If you have Kirk rostered on a rebuilding team, I would be looking to sell with the allure of the unknowns of an Urban Meyer-less Jaguars offense. I would suggest offering Kirk to a WR needy contending team for future draft capitol.
Contending Sell: If you have Kirk rostered on a contending team, I would be primarily looking to sell to upgrade at the WR position. In an attempt to flip Kirk, I would suggest offering Christian Kirk with a 2nd round rookie pick for a WR like Chase Claypool or Allen Robinson with a 3rd round rookie pick.
My assessment of Kirk is that he holds WR4 value, has a WR3 ceiling, and with only an outlier’s narrow path could he leapfrog into WR2 territory. Overall, I consider Kirk to be an expendable asset among the excess of viable WRs options who hold and have demonstrated higher upside across the fantasy football landscape. Kirk remains the bridesmaid.
Thank you for reading! Follow me on Twitter @FantasyLadder for any further fantasy football discussion, questions, or advice!
Steve Uetz has over 15 years of experience in fantasy football. He enjoys writing fantasy football content and articles. He is very passionate about Auction Leagues. Other than his own fantasy football teams, Steve is a huge fan of the Philadelphia Eagles & Penn State! Steve (@FantasyLadder on Twitter) is very accessible and involved in the Fantasy Football Twitter community! Reach out to him anytime for questions or advice! His primary goal is to help you win your leagues.