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. If you’re higher or lower on any of the players mentioned below you should absolutely stick to your guns. With that said, I believe there’s also enough of a sample size thus far in the season where we can begin to diverge from our off-season assessments.
In the interest of transparency, here were my week four suggestions:
Aiken (4-78-0) led the Ravens in receiving, Tannehill was on bye and at the time of this writing Gates hadn’t yet played. Jennings (11-46-0, 4-21-0) played well in a close win, Ginn was on bye and Fleener (2-9-0) couldn’t string together another good performance. Johnson (9-22-0, 6-55-0) was a maven out of the backfield once again, Austin (3-22-0, 2-6-1) found the end zone once again and Jones (2-77-1) continued his season-long tear. Cooks (5-107-1) saved his day with a touchdown as time expired, Anderson (11-22-0, 2-18-0) again couldn’t get anything going and Reed didn’t play due to a concussion.
Onto the fallout from week five!
- Jamaal Charles, RB KC – This one is simple – when you have an immensely talented player, you take any possibility you can to buy low. Yes, Charles suffered an ACL tear and will be lost for the season. And yes, the next time he takes the field he’ll be 29 years old. With that preamble in hand, we’re still talking about a running back who, in eight years in the league, has yet to average under 5.0 YPC. The last time he returned from an ACL tear he put up over 1,700 total yards, and I have no reason to believe he can’t come back from this one just the same. If he’s owned by a contender, I wouldn’t be surprised if you could snag him for a lesser talent like Mark Ingram or Latavius Murray.
- Demaryius Thomas, WR DEN – According to recent data courtesy of Ryan McDowell, Thomas has “slipped” to an October ADP of the overall WR8. While it’s fair to reason this is because the top tier is crowded, this effectively means he’s losing the metaphorical “tiebreaker” when stacked up against his elite peers. No, Peyton Manning hasn’t played well this season, but DT has still managed to accumulate a weekly 7.6 receptions for 83.2 yards. If and when his scoring picks up, this QB-proof receiver will pay dividends if you can acquire him for 90 cents on the dollar.
- Eddie Lacy, RB GB – Yes, Lacy has been a bit Jekyll and Hyde so far this season, but even despite the few hard weeks he’s still averaging 4.1 YPC. His lack of receiving so far this season is concerning (just seven receptions on the year), but much like Thomas above I expect his touchdown rate to increase. Despite the emergence of several younger ball carriers, I still have Lacy ranked as my dynasty RB2 and would be looking to buy if others didn’t.
- Knile Davis, RB KC – Essentially the mirror image of Charles above, Davis is a terrible player whose value is elevated due solely to situation. In his three-year career Davis has only eclipsed 4.0 YPC seven times in 32 games where he received carries, and has only gained a modicum of traction due to his combine numbers. Nevertheless, his efforts in shorts and a t-shirt haven’t precluded him from falling behind Charcandrick West on the depth chart, so be sure to sell now while unsuspecting buyers still think he has a shot at fantasy relevance.
- Dwayne Harris, WR NYG – I’m honestly a fan of Harris, and thought he was a little underrated during his time in Big D. He was similarly buried early on this season, but the release of Preston Parker and inability of Victor Cruz to get healthy combined to give him a shot as the slot-man for the Giants. Last week he was able to 5-51-1 line, and with in-game ailments to Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle, Harris put up a box score of 6-72-0 on this week’s rendition of Sunday Night Football. Ultimately though, the odds are slim he maintains his place in the pecking order – however, with owners facing byes and injuries, and looking to stay afloat any way they can, shopping Harris for a future pick could be a prudent move.
- Anquan Boldin, WR SF – Much like Harris above, I’m a believer in Boldin’s ability. And while he’s had two games with at least 18.0 PPR points, his three others have led to fantasy ruin. Unfortunately, Boldin simply isn’t QB-proof anymore, and Colin Kaepernick could best be described as schizophrenic. While I’d still prefer Boldin in a best-ball setting, I’d use this high-water mark to strike while the iron is hot. I simply don’t trust the guy throwing him the ball.
- Willie Snead, WR NO – What do the numbers 4, 4, 5 and 6 have to do with one another? Stumped? Let’s try this quartet then – 6, 7, 6, and 11. Still nothing? Well then how about these – 44, 44, 89, 141?
The first sequence represents Snead’s weekly receptions over the past four weeks. The second shows his targets over that same period, with the last one describing his yardage. In other words, this is a player on the rise.
While Brandin Cooks had a good fantasy bottom line, it was aided by a last-second touchdown with the Saints down 29. By this point, Snead had already accumulated his stats, along with leading the team in targets. No, he wasn’t anywhere near the radar prior to the season, but he very well might be the most fantasy relevant pass catcher in the Bayou.
- Doug Martin, RB TB – We all know the pre-season narrative on Martin – he hadn’t performed well, injuries sapped his explosiveness and sophomore Charles Sims was primed to eat into his workload. As we all know from the past two weeks, this couldn’t have been any further from the truth. One week after posting 143 total yards and a score, Martin pasted the Jaguars for 158 yards and a trio of touchdowns. More importantly, though Sims has seen work, Martin has sequestered eight receptions during this timeframe as well. While some may see this as a “sell high” opportunity, I think the Bucs have found a formula that works – get their best runner the ball as early and as often as they can. Though I wouldn’t count on this type of touchdown binge every week, Martin is clearly nowhere near his fantasy deathbed.
- Thomas Rawls, RB SEA – After a ho-hum week four performance, Rawls bounced back by dropping 169 rushing yards on the previously stout Bengals run defense. This was actually his second 100-yard game of the season, as he piled up 104 on the Bears just two weeks earlier. In other words, he’s a legitimate ball carrier and, at worst, a must-have handcuff for Marshawn Lynch owners. With Lynch’s future beyond 2015 definitively in flux, Rawls could be the guy to fill his massive shoes. As such, I’d anticipate his price continuing to climb, meaning you should get in now while you can.
- Torrey Smith, WR SF – Take what I wrote about Boldin above, and now imagine applying it to the second target in the offense. In other words, yikes. I was a big fan of Smith and always believed there was more polish to his game than he showed prior to 2014. Unfortunately, it’s entirely possible he might just do two things really well – go deep and draw pass interference penalties. I’m not anticipating much of a bounce-back, and would truthfully sell for a second-round pick in a heartbeat.
- Marques Colston, WR NO – Old and ineffective is no way to be, either in the NFL or a dynasty setting. Add in a separated shoulder that could threaten some missed time and we now have the trifecta necessary for total value loss. Colston had several great years as a fantasy standout, but nostalgia won’t get you anywhere in this game. You might only be able to get a fourth round pick, if anything, but it’ll likely be worth more than Colston only a few short months from now.
- Tre Mason, RB STL – Prior to the season there was a school of thought that stated rookie phenom Todd Gurley was going to take a good portion of the season to round into form, and that even when he did there would still be plenty of work for Mason. So yeah, about that…
Over the past two games Gurley has exerted a stranglehold on the Rams’ RB1 job, toting the rock 49 times for 305 yards while chipping in another two receptions. During that same period of time Mason has only been able to siphon away four carries, falling well behind the rookie, and even third-down back Benjamin Cunningham for that matter. The simple truth is Gurley is a true three-down back and is better than Mason in every facet of the game. And barring a trade, Mason is stuck behind him for another two years, at least. You’ll likely only get peanuts, but it seems impossible Mason’s value is going to climb back up anytime soon.
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