The Dynasty Price is Right

Andrew Lightner


Welcome back to the second installment of the new trading series on DLF! I hope everyone enjoyed the first one, and if you missed it, be sure to go back and check it out. The article last week helped preface this new series and gave a few guidelines to how it will run and what will be covered. Plus, I am sure all of you would love to avoid re-reading the same lengthy intro each and every week (head nods at the computer screen. Or phone. Or iPad. Or whatever device you are reading on. Gotta love technology!) So without further ado, let’s get to it.

Last week, my highlighted trade target was Theo Riddick, followed by two others: Breshad Perriman, and Antonio Brown. There wasn’t a ton of action with any of them for me this past week, mainly due to the fact that I own all three of these players in a good portion of my leagues already. However, I don’t want to deprive you of possible good targets simply because I already have moderate to high ownership of them. Therefore some weeks the players I mention will be ones I already own in a bunch of my leagues, and others will provide more trade opportunities for me due to my low ownership.

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Let’s start with our highlighted player from last week. Riddick was actually the player I was able to target the least, due to the fact that I owned him in about half my leagues already, and as I mentioned when covering him; I was not likely to seek him out in leagues where I was rebuilding. That really narrowed down my options, considering in other leagues I simply didn’t have anything I was willing to deal away to acquire him. That said, I sent out three offers for him and all three were accepted. In the first league, I traded a 2016 second round pick for him. I am 5-2 in that league, but with few options to choose from at the running back position.

Not to veer off track here – but if you didn’t read last week’s entry of Burning Questions by Jeff Miller, I suggest you take the time. I am referencing his article because I am in complete agreement with him in regards to strategies in leagues with a 1RB starting requirement (which are all my dynasty leagues other than two). This information may help you understand my team-building strategies, which apply to this trade. Lamar Miller is my go-to starting running back in this particular league, but after him I am left with CJ Spiller and Shane Vereen. (Yeah, I know: not the prettiest!) I roll with Miller week in and out, but adding Riddick to that mix at least gives me another option. I have a formidable lineup outside of the running back position, so don’t necessarily need 20+ point outings out of my starting running back to win games.

The other two trades I made for Riddick were two 2016 3rd round picks, and finally Steve Johnson.

Continuing on to Breshad Perriman, I was able to complete two trades for him; sending Julius Thomas straight up in one, and giving up Ladarius Green in the other. The first deal was on a rebuild team, and in rebuilds I focus on building a stable of running back and wide receiver talent first and foremost (while acquiring first round picks). Trading Thomas away left me with Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz, and Maxx Williams at the tight end position; which I feel is a fine trio for a rebuilding squad. The Green trade was not in a rebuild league, but I already had Travis Kelce and Jordan Reed, so he was expendable to me. Even without taking team makeup into the equation, I think Perriman is a more valuable asset than Green, so I felt it was a good deal.

Finally, we’re at Antonio Brown, who I was unable to acquire in any league. I think there are a couple reasons for this. For one, the fact that AJ Green and Demaryius Thomas (the players I mentioned I would try to parlay a deal with) were both on a bye last week hurt my chances a bit. The other reason which I am theorizing is that a lot of dynasty owners are simply much more reluctant to trade their best players, even if they are struggling. Many owners are fearful of losing a trade, and obviously when stud players are involved there is an increased chance of that happening and it having a larger impact on your squad. So it makes sense that the higher you aim with your trade targets, the lower your percentage of completing trades will be. This is why when you see an owner in one of your leagues place one of their studs on the trading block; you are doing yourself a disservice if you aren’t sending offers for them. It is not often that someone is actively looking to ship out their studs, so when it does happen you should be trying your best to be the one on the receiving end (if the owner’s asking price is a fair one). It’s hard to say whether or not I offered enough for Brown in many of the trade offers I sent out, because over half of them expired without even getting a response. I love dynasty owners that can’t even respond to a trade offer received within three or four days! (That was sarcastic, if you couldn’t tell).

Now it is time to look ahead. I must say, this week’s highlighted player is one I am excited about. If you are in any of my leagues, please read no further. Thank you!

Thomas Rawls, RB SEA (Deep target)

I didn’t mention anything about him before this because I didn’t want to give away who my second highlighted player of this series was going to be, but Rawls was going to make his way into one of my articles eventually. I even debated him last week instead of Riddick, but I refrained for one big reason: I knew a better opportunity was going to arise. It came in perfect form this week, because Marshawn Lynch finally had another big game.

It was only a matter of time. I knew when that time did come, it would present us with the perfect window to try and acquire Rawls. If you take anything away from this series, it’s this: dynasty is an ever-changing and fluid landscape, where player’s values are constantly in an ebb and flow situation. This is especially true in-season when each week, a big performance (or a dud, for that matter), can drastically change a player’s outlook in owners’ eyes. The wonderful phenomena that occur in the game we love provide us with windows that we need to be aware of. Some of them stay open for a while; some only for a very short period of time. Being able to recognize them and use them to your advantage will undoubtedly make you a better dynasty player. It’s one thing to pick the right players. It’s a whole different thing to also know when to acquire those players.

Let me give you a quick example. Two weeks ago on Twitter I mentioned Stefon Diggs as a player to target – a player who I really like. How many leagues do you think I will be trying to trade for Diggs in this week? Zero. The reason for that is simple: now is the worst time to trade for him, because his price has now risen tenfold due to back-to-back big games. Just because you love a certain player, does not mean trying to acquire him in any given week is the right decision. Dynasty is a marathon, not a sprint. As an owner, it is your prerogative to learn how to identify when the right (and wrong) times are to trade for a player and react accordingly. It is my hope, above all else, that this article series will help you become better at this very important (but sometimes overlooked) skill I believe the best owners possess.

Let’s get back on track by talking about Rawls and why I like him. I have had my eye on him since before the most recent NFL draft. I’m not going to go into depth about my rookie evaluation process, but when I am evaluating rookies in preparation for the draft each year, I always search for some lower-tiered players at each position (especially running back and wide receiver) that I really like. After doing my evaluations; he was one of those players. There are some very good college scouts here at DLF who are probably better at evaluating talent of incoming rookies at the college level in depth than me, so I will refrain from doing so with Rawls: instead my focus is the information we have now in his rookie season in the pros.

First and foremost, Marshawn Lynch is not going to be around forever. ‘Beast Mode’ is getting older, and the tread on the tires is starting to wear. I think he is finally starting to decline. The Seahawks will eventually have to find a new starting running back. While I can’t guarantee that Rawls will be the heir apparent (the Christine Michael fan club will know how risky predicting this is!), there are promising signs that he could be the one to get the opportunity. Most undrafted free agents who get signed by teams don’t find themselves entrusted by their respective club’s brass. Many get signed in camp and eventually cut, or end up as a practice squad player. If they’re lucky (and good), some may end up making the final roster, but remain buried on the depth chart with little-to-no relevance on the football field. Rawls has turned out to not be one of those draft picks. In fact, Pete Carroll and the Seahawks organization felt good enough about him that they traded away C-Mike (his fan club can sit back down now), despite his second round selection. Not only did the team jettison Michael: they also let go of Robert Turbin. This is a major vote of confidence for our highlighted player; as it’s not too often that you find an organization basically clear out their entire depth chart behind the starter.

Our positives don’t stop there. Seattle brought in Fred Jackson to fill out their running back position, which initially made most believe Rawls was going to be third on the depth chart. However, to our surprise, it was not the savvy veteran that has received the playing time behind Lynch; instead it has been the undrafted rookie. This is another huge vote of confidence by Pete Carroll: choosing him over a proven veteran.

What else do we have to endorse Rawls with? Fortunately, we have been able to get a glimpse of his game due to Lynch’s injury earlier in the season. He had the first meaningful carries of his rookie year against the Chicago Bears, and what did he do with them? He ran for over 100 yards, averaging 6.5 yards per carry. Not too shabby for an undrafted rookie! The following week, he had 17 carries against the Lions and was not nearly as effective; only gaining 48 yards. However, the game that impressed me the most was against the Cincinnati Bengals, in which he ran for 169 yards and a touchdown. While the Bengals run defense isn’t known as one of the game’s elite, they aren’t slouches either. When I went back and watched Rawls in this game, I came away very impressed. He looked decisive, showed power and good drive in his legs, and even displayed burst and speed in his 69 yard touchdown run. He isn’t a ‘speedster’, but seeing a second gear that can get away from defenders is a definitive plus, considering most would regard him as more of a power than finesse back.

We have enough information to feel good about the future prospects of Thomas Rawls. We have words of endorsement by his head coach in the off-season, followed by actions that backed up those sentiments when the Seahawks overhauled their running back group behind Lynch. It was taken even further when Rawls, not Jackson, was given the heavy workload when Lynch missed time. Finally, we have a sample size on the field to analyze and process. With all of these positive factors, he is one of my personal favorite future running back stashes and trade targets. This week is a great time to try and acquire him after Lynch’s good game against the Niners, which made Rawls more of an afterthought in some people’s minds. Known as one of the best running offenses in the NFL, even the possibility of having the next starting tailback in Pete Carroll’s offense is one that could end up being very lucrative, at a price that won’t really hurt you if he doesn’t take that title.

Some players I would consider trading for Rawls would be Ladarius Green, Zack Ertz, Joseph Randle, Philip Dorsett, Chris Johnson, Charcandrick West, and Willie Snead. I’d even trade last week’s featured player Theo Riddick for him as well. When I make these player suggestions, this is merely to help give you an idea of possibilities and help give a value range. One reason I am sometimes hesitant giving concrete trade ideas by naming specific players like this is because there are many variables to consider that could change this: league settings, roster sizes, roster makeup, starting requirements, whether a person is contending or rebuilding, and many more. As far as future draft picks are concerned, I would comfortably give up a future second rounder for him or a pair of third rounders. Every situation is completely different, so it’s sometimes hard to pigeonhole a player’s value by giving exact names as I did above. My suggestion is to use this more as a tool to help decide what kind of value to give up – would it be a good buy, or would I be paying too much?

Before we end our second installment of The Dynasty Price is Right, here are my other two trade targets.

Randall Cobb, WR GB (Premium target)

My original thought last week was that this would be Mike Evans, however he had his coming out party on the season, which ruined that plan! Instead, we’ll go with the number one target for the best quarterback in football. After starting the season with three straight double-digit fantasy weeks, including a MONSTER week three, Cobb has had three straight single-digit clunkers going into Green Bay’s bye week. Don’t let that fool you: he’s still awesome. Owning Aaron Rodger’s best weapon is never a bad idea, and Cobb is still only 25 years old. I would easily give up TY Hilton for him, despite his big performance this past week.

Dorial Green-Beckham, WR TEN (Middle target)

DGB’s value seems to have quite a wide range between owners. He may not quite be the value of a middle target, but I believe he is more valuable than most players who would be considered a deep target. However, I do know some people aren’t high at all on him: I was able to get him quite cheaply earlier in the season in a few of my leagues, and am going to try to do so again this week. Heck, I even saw him dropped in three of my leagues just two weeks ago. Three! He should definitely not be hitting the waiver wire, but the fact that he did (shockingly), is proof that his value range is very large. If you like Green-Beckham’s upside as much as I do, you should at least send a feeler offer out there to see where his owner values him in your league(s). I included him now because his snaps are only going to increase the further along we get into this season. I want to get him now, before a big game boosts up his trade value while I am trying to buy low.

That’ll do it for this week, ladies and gents (hmm, that actually makes me curious if any ladies are actually reading this). Check back in next week and hope you enjoyed what you read! Go out there and send some offers!


andrew lightner
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