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 five suggestions:
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Thomas (10-111-0) surpassed the century mark once again, Lacy (4-3-0, 2-17-0) spent his Sunday on the side of a milk carton and Charles is out for the year. Davis (5-13-0, 1-12-0) remained terrible, Boldin (5-102-0) had another excellent game and Harris hasn’t yet played at the time of this writing. Snead (4-55-0) led the Saints receivers, Rawls (1-8-0) took a firm backseat to Marshawn Lynch and Martin was on bye. Smith (3-96-1) secured a long touchdown, Colston didn’t play and Mason was on bye.
With that preamble in hand, I want to do things a little differently this week. Instead of my normal dozen suggestions I want to take a look back at my results thus far in the early season. As such I’ll aggregate the players from each category, rate them as a “hit,” “miss” or “TBD,” and attempt to derive some lessons from what I find. I’m also choosing to exclude last week’s advice, as several of the players listed haven’t yet seen the field since then. All told I think this will be a useful exercise in whether or not my trigger finger was a little too itchy at times.
Let’s get to it with the Tuesday Transactions Quarter Quell!
The Candidates (week of suggestion in parentheses): Sammy Watkins (1), Dez Bryant (1), Ameer Abdullah (1), Tony Romo (2), Marqise Lee (2), Victor Cruz (2), Ben Roethlisberger (3), Lamar Miller (3), Calvin Johnson (3), Kamar Aiken (4), Ryan Tannehill (4) and Antonio Gates (4)
Hits: Miller, Johnson, Aiken, Tannehill and Gates
TBD: Watkins, Bryant, Romo and Roethlisberger
Misses: Abdullah, Lee and Cruz
Lesson #1: Target good players on bad offenses and trust it will turn around
This essentially hits Miller, Johnson and Tannehill, as the Dolphins and Lions were terrible until this past week. When in doubt, trust the talent.
Lesson #2: Give greater consideration to nagging injuries
Watkins, Lee and Cruz are the poster boys here. The latter has yet to take the field, while the former two seem to play roughly once every blood moon. As these players continue to miss time, they become even more attractive buy-low candidates.
As for players with long-term injuries such as Romo, Bryant and Roethlisberger, the jury remains out. However, I see no reason why they won’t pick up where they left off upon returning. In general, I’m still in favor of buying low on proven talent if the price drops due to an expectation of significant time missed.
Lesson #3: Opportunity knocks, but the door isn’t always open
While Aiken has made relatively good on his increased target share, Abdullah has still done precious little. I like him long term, but he’s no doubt cheaper now than he was after week one.
The Candidates: Terrance Williams (1), Ladarius Green (1), Chris Johnson (1), Cecil Shorts III (2), Michael Crabtree (2), Leonard Hankerson (2), Rishard Matthews (3), Devonta Freeman (3), LeGarrette Blount (3), Rashad Jennings (4), Ted Ginn Jr. (4) and Coby Fleener (4)
Hits: Williams, Shorts, Hankerson, Ginn and Fleener
TBD: Green and Jennings
Misses: Johnson, Crabtree, Matthews, Freeman and Blount
Lesson #1: Cream rises; mediocrity doesn’t
None of the “hits” were ever very good players, and they were only able to do very little despite prime situations. In other words, taking a career WR2/3 and feeding him WR1 targets does not make him a WR1.
Lesson #2: Don’t rush to judgment on the extreme ends of the spectrum
I should’ve taken more notice when Johnson secured the RB1 job in Arizona, because he has proven it before. I also shouldn’t have rushed to advise shopping Freeman after the beginning of his torrid start – no, he wasn’t very good as a rookie, but players change. Just ask Le’Veon Bell.
Lesson #3: Context matters
I’m looking at Crabtree specifically here, who I’ve always liked as a player. The Oakland passing offense is actually better than that of San Francisco, and King Crab is no longer receiving WR1 coverage. I should’ve trusted his talent would ascend as it has.
The Candidates: Jarvis Landry (1), Chris Ivory (1), Tyler Eifert (1), Julian Edelman (2), Matt Jones (2), Allen Robinson (2), Brandon Marshall (3), Emmanuel Sanders (3), Tyrod Taylor (3), Duke Johnson (4), Tavon Austin (4) and James Jones (4)
Hits: Landry, Ivory, Eifert, Edelman, Robinson, Marshall, Sanders, Taylor, Johnson and Jones
Lesson #1: Get in on the ground floor
You may look at the “hits” and think I’m a bit full of myself here, but ultimately what I’m looking for are guys whose respective values have increased since I recommended them – I firmly believe all ten fit the bill. So why was I more successful here than in other categories?
Quite simply you just need to see those flashes. Every player listed above came out of the gates hot, in some instances defying expectations. Much like with Freeman in the category above (clearly he’d fit much better here), you have to pounce if you trust what you saw. Price don’t always go down.
Lesson #2: Preseason usage matters
Many of these players were dominating the games that doesn’t matter. And while I’ll forever be hesitant to look at the output of such games, I am definitively intrigued by how these players were utilized. The carryover wasn’t a surprise.
Lesson #3: Sex sells
In the grouping above, we see a lot of young, “sexy” names. When younger players appear as though they’re breaking out, their prices increase at a rate disproportionately higher than their elder counterparts. Marshall, Jones, Sanders and Edelman may still come at a slight discount, relatively speaking, but good luck buying A-Rob, Eifert and Landry at anything less than face value.
The Candidates: Rueben Randle (1), LeSean McCoy (1), Sammy Watkins (1), Jeff Janis (2), Drew Brees (2), Matt Stafford (2), Charles Johnson (3), Bishop Sankey (3), Andre Johnson (3), Brandin Cooks (4), CJ Anderson (4) and Jordan Reed (4)
Hits: Randle, Janis, Stafford, C. Johnson, Sankey, A. Johnson and Anderson
TBD: McCoy, Watkins, Cooks and Reed
Lesson #1: Beware the hype-train all-stars
When you buy a player at his maximum price, you leave little to no room for error. Janis, C. Johnson and Anderson have done nothing all year for their owners, and Cooks has grossly underachieved relative to his off-season price point. Parroting the “sex sells” point above, there will almost always be steady veterans who will come cheaper and likely afford a higher floor.
Lesson #2: It may take awhile, but Teflon fades
Stafford and Randle are the poster boys here as players who always managed to achieve a heightened status in the dynasty community despite a commensurate output. The lesson here is sometimes we’re collectively slow on the uptake, but there will be a point when we catch on – make sure you’ve sold by then.
Lesson #3: Aging curves remain player-specific
While A. Johnson, apart from one good game, essentially fell off a cliff and failed to climb his way back, Brees is back going strong once again. Even McCoy, when healthy, has shown glimpses of his former self. Blanket statements are always dangerous, and it’s no different when gauging the old timers..
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