The Price is Right: Week Ten

Andrew Lightner


Welcome back to my weekly series; I hope all you readers have been enjoying it so far! Not only for the enjoyment of it because you love to read all things dynasty, but I also hope this series has helped you identify trade targets and how to properly distinguish the appropriate times to buy particular players. Just keep in mind that these articles are based on my own personal values and opinions on specific players; I am not always right when it comes to players, and so if you feel differently about anyone I target in these articles than by all means go with your gut. But in a broader spectrum, whether you agree or disagree with certain players, the overall concept of this article I believe is a skill all the truly great dynasty owners possess and incorporate into part of how they run their teams.

If you read my article last week, I mentioned that the trade deadline of my leagues has passed. Normally I have used the first portion of my weekly series to go over my personal trade activity based on my recommendations. That format is going to have to change a little bit now starting with this one. So instead, I have looked on twitter with the #dynastytrades hashtag to try and find the players I discussed involved in any deals. With that said, let me share with you what I was able to find for the players highlighted in last week’s article. These are not trades I have witnessed personally, so I can only say that these are legitimate trades (or offers made) to the best of my knowledge.

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Trade 1: Eric Ebron and Donte Moncrief for Travis Kelce

– to me, this is a case of Kelce still riding his name and off-season hype value over substance. Don’t get me wrong, Kelce is still my TE3 and I still love his talent. But his name is carrying him over his production a bit in my opinion. Ebron has some real life deficiencies in his game, but receiving is his strength and that is what produces us fantasy points. He’s quietly been showing good progress this season when healthy and gives us some optimism on his future outlook. Add in Moncrief (my highlighted player last week) and I think this is a great return for the owner giving up Kelce.

Trade 2: DeMarco Murray, John Brown, and late 2016 3rd round pick for Matt Jones and Breshad Perriman.

– I don’t understand this trade at all. Jones and Perriman have both been mentions of mine previously and players I really like to buy, but this is buying at a price way too high. The owner who was giving up Murray and Brown really sold low here, and while certain circumstances selling low can be advisable, this is not one of those cases. A few trades like this and you can cripple your team’s overall value quickly.

Trade 3: John Brown for Donte Moncrief

– This is an even swap for me as I really like both of these players. I still think Moncrief has the higher ceiling than Brown does and is also younger, but overall they are quite close for me personally and it’s really tough to decide a clear winner in this trade, as I think both probably have about equal value right now.

Trade 4: Donte Moncrief and late 2016 first round pick for Lamar Miller.

– Lamar Miller has been much better from a fantasy perspective this past month, but I am taking the other side here. I think Moncrief has a little more value than Miller overall, so a first round pick definitely puts it over the top for me, even if it is a late one. The person trading for Miller did preface by saying he was a contender desperate for a running back after losing Le’Veon Bell, so I do understand the logic. I just think he gave up a tad much to acquire Miller.

I was not able to find any trades involving Randall Cobb. This doesn’t surprise me too much, as stud players simply don’t get dealt near as often as lower tiered players. Let’s go ahead and dive into my trade targets for this week!

Demaryius Thomas, DEN (Premier target)

I know what you must be thinking…Of course you would pick a player from your favorite team to highlight, you homer! Admittedly, he is indeed one of my favorite players on my favorite team, but hear me out as I have my reasons that go beyond any biases! I’ve been hearing a lot of chatter surrounding the wide receiver we all know as DT, and I am here to try and debunk all of that for you. This all stemmed from a conversation I had with a friend of mine who also happens to be a fellow dynasty owner in several of my leagues (and one I have much respect for). During this conversation which was focused on trade talk, he made a statement that was a bit shocking to me: Demaryius Thomas is not an elite wide receiver. Whoa! I couldn’t believe what I heard (and disagree for what it’s worth), but he’s not the only one I have heard that was down on DT. This is telling me that people are lowering this guy in their rankings, and I am going to tell you why you should seek out his owner in your league and see if he is one of these people down on Thomas. Send out a feeler offer and find out, because I think anyone thinking he’s no longer an elite wide receiver and lowering his value as such is making a mistake; a mistake you can be capitalizing on.

I just want to start by giving you some statistics on the Denver wide receiver:

– 2014: 111 receptions, 1,619 yards, and 11 touchdowns; making him the WR2 that season.

– 2013: 92 receptions, 1,430 yards, and 14 touchdowns; making him the WR5 that season.

– 2012: 94 receptions, 1,434 yards, and 10 touchdowns. (I wasn’t able to go back that far in my leagues’ history to see where that landed him in the fantasy finishes.)

Needless to say, those are some monster numbers for three straight seasons. But, I can hear the first argument against him now. 2012 was also the year Peyton Manning became a Bronco, so you could argue that he made DT that good. I won’t deny that having one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time would obviously help any wide receiver. However, I have two rebuttals to refute any claim that Peyton made DT the wide receiver he is. Let me start with the first one. In 2011, Demaryius Thomas in his last five games of the season had 25 catches, 448 yards, and three touchdowns. If you were to take these numbers and translate it into a full season of production (remember, this was only his second season in the league, so he only played sparingly for a good portion of that season. He only started five games that year.) So taking those last five games and pacing it out into a full 16 game season, those numbers would become 80 catches for 1,433 yards and just under ten touchdowns. Manning was not a Bronco in 2011, yet Thomas was already breaking out as shown in his sophomore year in the NFL. Manning did not suddenly turn some average wide receiver into a great one; he just happened to become a Bronco at the same time that Thomas was ascending and becoming the wide receiver he is now.

Now let’s go from talking about the past and fast forward to this season. In eight games so far this year, Thomas has 61 catches for 745 yards and one touchdown. So over a 16-game season he is on pace for 122 catches, 1,490 yards, and two touchdowns. Other than the large drop in touchdowns, these numbers are very similar to what he has put up for the past three plus years now. Touchdowns are the most unpredictable stat to rely on from a year-in, year-out basis in my opinion; even though Thomas’ touchdown totals have been pretty steady each season. I would guess that he puts up more than one touchdown the second half of this season and that disparity will even itself out some. There is this perception out there that because the Broncos offense isn’t the juggernaut it has been accustomed to being the past few years that no one is producing at a high level. If you look at the numbers for Thomas, that simply isn’t the case. He still has scored double digit fantasy points in every single game thus far. You know who you can’t say that about? Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, AJ Green, and Randall Cobb. Thomas, even with only having one touchdown so far, is still currently the WR11 in fantasy points. Let me now tie this in to my next argument. Everyone is saying that Manning is having the worst year of his career and his skills have deteriorated now; that he’s finished. If Thomas wasn’t an elite wide receiver and was simply a product of Manning being one of the best, then he should be having a bad season too, right? In fact, I could even argue that Thomas this season has made Manning better and has saved him on several occasions rather than vice versa.

This takes me to my next point in pointing out the faultiness in people suddenly souring on Thomas as a top notch wide receiver, as it correlates with what I mentioned in the above paragraph. I hear this argument against Thomas constantly being used to knock him down in dynasty rankings; and that’s the whole argument that he won’t be as good once Manning retires. Wait a second….Manning is playing awful this year, yet Thomas is still producing WR1 numbers? So how is it then that losing a finished Manning who isn’t good this year to begin with be some sort of gigantic drop in quarterback play once he retires? To me, that whole argument is completely overblown and also contradictory because these same people using the whole Manning retirement argument are the ones saying he’s completely finished. But Andrew, Brock Osweiler isn’t any good. Really? How do we know that, and what can you possibly base that on when he hasn’t played? Often times, I think people want to correlate an unknown into a big negative. The fact is we don’t know at all what Osweiler will be, and trying to just assume he’s awful and then predict others’ downfall on this notion that’s nothing but a complete guess is not good process. Even if he was awful, we have seen wide receivers produce with bad quarterback situations such as DeAndre Hopkins and Josh Gordon a couple seasons ago.

The fact is, Thomas has been one of the best and steady fantasy wide receivers for a few years now, including this season with an awful Manning throwing to him (okay, I’m trolling a bit there, but we all know that’s what plenty of people have been saying about the man known as the sheriff). I scoff at anyone who tries to tell me that this guy isn’t an elite wide receiver; and I think his numbers speak for themselves and proves he’s one of the best. I also think that I have been able to help disprove all the negative rumblings I’ve been hearing surrounding Thomas. But these people are clearly out there, and if one of them owns Thomas and is in your league, that gives you a great opportunity to get one of the truly premier wide receivers at a discount. I especially love buying him if you are contending right now, by pairing your mid-to-late first round pick with a lower talent in the range of Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews, or Martavis Bryant. Or if you could swap Sammy Watkins for him, I would do that without hesitation.

Stefon Diggs, MIN (middle target)

Diggs may not completely fit into this series’ mold anymore, but he did finally have a pedestrian week this past week. Perhaps this gives you a small window to buy him now before his value gets even higher. You won’t be buying low exactly, but this is an instance where I recommend buying high now and jumping on before it raises even more. I have mentioned him in my articles before, and I will tell you for me personally that I have been on this guy since college and I think he’s going to end up being a stud. I am a firm believer, and if I turn out to be right, you’re still not going to be paying a ‘stud’ price right now. I like Diggs more than Davante Adams, Martavis Bryant, and John Brown. In fact, he’s right in the mix for me personally with Brandin Cooks, Jordan Matthews, and Donte Moncrief. If I could swap one of those three guys for Diggs and a little extra, I probably would.

Josh Gordon, CLE (deep target)

We all know all the big red flags here, so I am just going to keep this short. It seems like ages ago, but it was only two seasons ago when he was the fantasy WR2 despite missing two games. He’s still only going to be 25 next season, and will be a free agent in 2016, which means that he could get out of the wasteland that is the Browns. Even with all the red flags and suspensions, his upside is still undeniable. Risk is only relevant to the price you pay for him. So though he was considered this huge risk, if you’re giving up a low 2016 2nd round pick or a couple 3rd’s for him (or a player of that value range), that’s a very small risk compared to a massive reward should he happen to get it all figured out. To me it’s worth it.

As always, I really appreciate everyone who takes the time to read my articles, and hope you enjoy them. DLF is all about the readers and its members when it all comes down to it, so our goal as writers should be giving you content that is not only informative, but enjoyable; and I hope my series is both for you.


andrew lightner
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