Dynasty football is undoubtedly a marathon, not a sprint. With that said, in-season roster management is still every bit as critical as in a standard re-draft format and arguably even more so given the potential long-term ramifications. As such, this weekly piece is here to provide you with a dozen moves it might just behoove you to make.
Continuing, these transactions will be broken down into four categories: players you should buy low, sell high, buy high and sell low. The first two are self explanatory and follow the typical stock market analogy, which is that you should pounce when the market fluctuates in your favor – if you can get the most bang for your buck or scoop up the metaphorical penny stocks who have room to grow, it could be in your best interest to do so. Conversely, the latter two categories represent a contradictory stance, and some might even consider them “desperation” moves – however, it’s my belief that buying high beats buying higher, and selling low is preferable to selling even lower.
Before I dispense my advice though, I want to provide one final disclaimer – these opinions are my own, and if you’re higher or lower on any of the players mentioned below you should absolutely stick to your guns. In that vein, given the small sample size thus far in the season I also believe it’s too soon to irrevocably change an opinion you spent an entire off-season cultivating. As such, for now these recommended moves will vary little, if at all, from my summertime beliefs.
In the interest of transparency, here were my week one suggestions:
Buy Low: Tony Romo, Marqise Lee and Victor Cruz
Sell High: Cecil Shorts III, Michael Crabtree and Leonard Hankerson
Buy High: Julian Edelman, Matt Jones and Allen Robinson
Sell Low: Jeff Janis, Drew Brees and Matt Stafford
Lee (1-13-0) contributed little before getting hurt again, while Romo and Cruz remained sidelined. Shorts (6-58-0) had another modest day, Crabtree (4-36-0) couldn’t build off of his week two performance and Hankerson (3-45-0) similarly fell back down to earth. Edelman (8-85-0) kept doing Edelman stuff, Jones (11-38-0) led the backfield in carries and A-Rob (4-68-0) was a bit of a garbage time hero. Stafford was abysmal yet again (31/45, 282-1-2; one fumble lost), Brees sat out and at the time of this writing Janis hadn’t yet played.
Onto the fallout from week three!
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- Ben Roethlisberger, QB PIT – I could essentially copy and paste what I wrote about Romo last week. Long story short, Roethlisberger has been on a tear in the early part of the 2015 season. In about 2.5 games, he’s accounted for over 900 passing yards and four scores, while completing a massive 75% of his attempts. At worst it’s looking like he’ll be out for six weeks, at which point he’ll be returning to a team boasting Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant, in addition to superstar Antonio Brown. Quarterback is certainly deep, but we’ve already seen a bit of attrition at the position – if your prospective trade partner is feeling the heat under center, now’s the time to strike.
- Lamar Miller, RB MIA – I just don’t get it. Miller was one of the highest-rated ball carriers I chronicled in this year’s Running Back Report, boasting above-average metrics despite running behind a poor offensive line against one of the league’s toughest schedules. And what’s been his reward? A whopping 13 touches per game for a team hell-bent on airing it out despite middling results. Even if Miami doesn’t realize what they have, Miller is only 24 years old and could very well find himself in friendlier confines next year. Should that come to fruition, you’ll be happy you bought low now.
- Calvin Johnson, WR DET – No, the erstwhile top receiver in the game hasn’t kept up with his positional compatriots early on this season, but it’s not as if he’s fallen by the wayside. After a slow start, Megatron has averaged a 9-80-0.5 line over the past two games, soaking up targets (30 total) in the process. Though his game has changed into that of more of an intermediate threat, it’s not hard to believe he still has what it takes to get deep when necessary. The next two weeks (Seattle and Arizona) could be tough, but the schedule lightens up significantly after that – if Stafford can even approach an NFL-average level, expect some fireworks forthcoming.
- Rishard Matthews, WR MIA – Crazier things have happened than Matthews’ “fourth year breakout” and it remains entirely possible he could continue playing well. With that said, the Dolphins paid a third round pick to get Kenny Stills, drafted DeVante Parker with their first overall pick and brought in Jordan Cameron as well. Given the confluence of circumstance here (lack of track record and improving offensive familiarity for the other skill position players), it’s not unreasonable to assert Matthews just played his best game of the young season.
- Devonta Freeman, RB ATL – Yes, Freeman played out of his mind against the Cowboys, but prior to that he took a firm backseat to rookie Tevin Coleman and didn’t appear anywhere near dynamic as a rookie. It remains unknown how long Coleman will need to sit, but when he returns Freeman will likely be functioning as part of a timeshare, at best. Much like with Matthews above, my guess is we just saw the high water mark of Freeman’s 2015 campaign.
- LeGarrette Blount, RB NE – I actually like Blount quite a bit and even have him ranked slightly above the DLF average. With that said, Bill Belichick is simply impossible to trust from a fantasy setting (just ask Dion Lewis owners right now), and next week, Blount could see five touches while Brandon Bolden leads the charge (okay not really, but you get the point). Especially if you don’t need him in your starting lineup, I’d look to see if someone else is willing to trust New England’s running back shenanigans.
- Brandon Marshall, WR NYJ – No Bears, no problem! Essentially left for dead upon his trade to the Jets, all Marshall has done is average a robust average weekly line of 7.7-90.7-1 (22.8 PPR points), while never dipping below 18.2 points in any of New York’s first three contests. He still looks like a man among boys, appearing fully healthy for the first time since early last season. Some receivers simply age more gracefully than others, and those who wrote Marshall off are now likely realizing exactly this.
- Emmanuel Sanders, WR DEN – Anyone remember when Sanders was going to be “phased out of the offense?” Quite the contrary, it appears, as the Broncos “WR2” has accumulated 35 targets in three games, while never achieving fewer than 14.5 PPR points so far. It’s true the offense as a whole will go as far as Peyton Manning’s wobbly ducks can fly, but fears of Sanders turning into an ancillary piece due to the arrival of Gary Kubiak were clearly overblown. Though you’ll be buying higher than you would’ve in the off-season, I expect Sanders’ cost to keep rising.
- Tyrod Taylor, QB BUF – Long story short, this guy appears to be the truth. In addition to leading the Bills to a 2-1 record, he’s been a fantasy savant as well, putting forward two top-three fantasy finishes in the process. Though I know these thoughts might seem to contradict what I wrote about Matthews above, the difference is Taylor never got his shot before now – after all, being stuck behind a guy like Joe Flacco is no black mark on one’s record. Now that he finally has the reigns to an offense boasting more playmakers than previously expected, I think it’s time to ride the lightning and expect him to keep improving.
- Charles Johnson, WR MIN – I truly believe Johnson is going to go down as a cautionary tale as to why it’s folly to escalate a player’s off-season price due to such a small sample size of (if we’re honest) somewhat above average performances. To that point, Johnson approached the WR2/3 border according to our off-season ADP, and is still viewed as the overall WR29 in September’s data. To show for it, Johnson has all of six receptions for 46 yards (on only eight targets) through three games. Continuing, he’s currently only fifth in receiving yards on the team, and third amongst receivers. Can he turn it around? Sure, but there’s a chance that perhaps he just wasn’t that special to start with, no matter how much “Metrics Twitter” wanted him to “happen.” For the price, I’d much rather own Mike Wallace and cash out on Johnson now instead.
- Bishop Sankey, RB TEN – That was short-lived, wasn’t it? After putting forth an impressive performance in week one, Sankey has only handled 19 touches over the past two weeks, ceding the bulk of the work to Antonio Andrews versus the Colts. Though I’m aware the theme of this week’s column involves selling young players at what could be perceived as too early, the Titans actions have spoken much louder than their words. They drafted David Cobb and even traded for Terrance West, clearly showing they were dissatisfied with their backfield situation. If you have Sankey as an important part of your fantasy team, you should be too.
- Andre Johnson, WR IND – If you read my 2015 AIR Affair, Johnson’s descent into fantasy afterthought shouldn’t truthfully come as much of a surprise. He was horribly inefficient with his opportunities last season, performing well below the scope of the Texans offense more often than not on a weekly basis. The hope was Andrew Luck could resuscitate his flagging career, but more likely he’s simply done. If anyone in your league still views him as a reclamation project, I wouldn’t hesitate to get out while you can.
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I hear the suggestion to trade Devonta, however I’m also a Coleman owner. I made sure I owned both, as I know that whichever back ends up as the lead dog in Atlanta should be a very productive fantasy back. Unless the deal for Freeman is crazy, isn’t it prudent to see what happens when Coleman comes back? Sure, I’d lose out on his peak potential trade value, but I’d be making sure I don’t back the wrong horse for the Falcons RB position.