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. But even given the small sample size thus far in the season, we already have some actionable data. I believe it’s too soon to irrevocably change an opinion you spent an entire off-season cultivating, but you also don’t want to get stuck behind your peers. As such, some of these recommended moves will vary little, if at all, from my summertime beliefs, while others will represent a stark departure.
In the interest of transparency, here were my week two suggestions:
Buy Low: Bilal Powell, Duke Johnson and Jalen Richard/DeAndre Washington
Sell High: Lamar Miller, Odell Beckham and Quincy Enunwa
Buy High: Kelvin Benjamin, Willie Snead and Tajae Sharpe
Sell Low: Jeremy Hill, Randall Cobb and Golden Tate
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Powell finally got some run over the past two weeks (8-56-0, 12-95-0), acting as a solid FLEX option in PPR leagues. Johnson saw expanded usage (19-122-0, 11-44-0), but hasn’t gotten into the end zone and remains clearly behind Isaiah Crowell. The duo of Richard and Washington has sequestered 25 touches combined over the past two weeks, with Washington leading Oakland in rushing both weeks.
Miller (40-162-0, 7-53-0) has piled up the touches but still doesn’t have a touchdown to his name. Ditto for Beckham (7-121-0; no MNF results as of the time of this writing). Enunwa (10-97-0) has been pedestrian, but has a little more upside due to Eric Decker’s shoulder injury.
Benjamin (3-39-1) was goose-egged in week three, but salvaged his week four with a touchdown. Snead sat out week three and could only corral one pass (1-23-0) this past Sunday. Sharpe (5-63-0) saw 14 targets, but did precious little with them. All told, bad predictions by yours truly given the sample size!
Hill (38-168-2) did all his damage in week three in a surprising effort against Denver, but fell back down to earth in Thursday Night Football. Cobb (1-33-0) could only catch one pass in a week where Aaron Rodgers went off for three scores, and was on bye this past week. Finally, Tate (5-41-0) has been objectively awful this season, and was actually benched on Sunday for running a wrong route. Redemption was mine!
Onto the fallout from week four!
1. DeAndre Hopkins, WR HOU – No, Hopkins hasn’t done much of anything this year, mystifyingly settling in as a PPR WR3. Much of this has been virtue of the past two weeks, where he turned 14 targets into a mere five receptions. With that said, we’ve seen his upside before, even as recently as the first two weeks (12-167-2). If your league mates are selling at any sort of discount, now’s the time to pounce.
2. Julian Edelman, WR NE – With Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm, Edelman piled up 14 receptions over the first two weeks of the season. When Garoppolo went down, the Patriots effectively abandoned the pass and went run-heavy with rookie Jacoby Brissett under center. This has led to a sudden devaluation of the veteran pass catcher, with a recent Twitter poll asserting that Edelman for a “random 2017 second round pick” was a fair deal. With Tom Brady back in week five, this could be your last time for a price reduction.
3. Todd Gurley, RB LA – No, Gurley hasn’t been good this year. In fact, through four games Gurley has only surpassed 3.0 YPC once. However, he’s still getting the volume (at least 20 touches in every game), and converted a couple of scores in week three. Perhaps more importantly, he was able to convert all five of his targets into 49 yards, showing the passing game prowess he displayed in college. The Rams offense is rough, but ultimately I’m still trusting the talent.
1. Matt Jones, RB WSH – Jones received 39 carries over the past two weeks, slogging around in week three versus the Giants before exploding against the hapless Browns on Sunday (22-117-1). Of course, as the Browns are awful, it’s fair to posit Jones won’t see that type of workload of efficiency again soon. Bell-cow running backs are hard to come by, but I just don’t think Jones is going to be that guy. I’d sell him to someone who thinks he still could be.
2. Brian Quick, WR LA – Quick had his fourth good professional game in five seasons on Sunday, and there was much rejoicing. I’m not sure what exactly it is about this guy, but to me people expect an impending breakout the way they expect Josh Gordon to magically one day come back and play football. I just don’t see it happening. Meanwhile, teammate Tavon Austin (though he hasn’t played well this year) put together a fine season in 2014 and all anyone does is shake their heads and chuckle. Mind-boggling. For the price, I’d much rather have Kenny Britt.
3. Carlos Hyde, RB SF – On the surface, the numbers look good. Over the past two weeks Hyde turned 36 carries into 177 yards and three touchdowns. We need to look closer though. In a week three blowout loss to the Seahawks, both of Hyde’s scores came with under eight minutes left with the ‘Niners down 34. And while he looked good early against a poor Cowboys defense, he only got two touches in the fourth quarter with San Francisco trailing. So you’re essentially betting on San Francisco jumping out to a huge lead and keeping it (not likely), or more trash scores like in week three. I’m selling on that possibility.
1. DeMarco Murray, RB TEN – As the overall PPR RB1, you’re obviously buying high on the veteran ball carrier. And while I certainly wouldn’t rank him as the dynasty RB1, the fact is he’s producing right now and has a monopoly on Tennessee’s backfield touches. As mentioned above, high volume runners really just don’t exist anymore, so why not make a play on one of the few that are left?
2. Jimmy Graham, TE SEA – In what might just be the most under-the-radar big story of the season, Graham looks like an even better version of the guy we remember from New Orleans. Now playing a larger complement of snaps, the big tight end has converted 12 of 17 targets over the past two weeks into 213 yards and a score. Easily supplanting off-season puff piece all-star Tyler Lockett as the team’s second aerial option (though rumors of a knee injury for the diminutive sophomore cropped up this week), Graham is receiving the high-efficiency targets from Russell Wilson we wanted to see last year. Given the volatility and lack of upside at the position, it’s fair to posit Graham might already be a top-three dynasty option at tight end again.
3. Michael Crabtree, WR OAK – No, he’s not going to go for the turkey of scores every week (or probably even again this season). But the veteran has had at least nine targets in three of four games, accumulating at least seven receptions and 87 yards in each of those contests. In the game he didn’t, he still managed to get in the end zone to salvage his day. Amari Cooper is obviously the future (and still the present) in Oakland, but Crabtree remains arguably the team’s top target, and I doubt he’s going away anytime soon.
1. Jeremy Langford, RB CHI – Owners breathed a small sigh of relief when, during the 2016 NFL Draft, the Bears seemingly ignored competition at the running back position for the underwhelming sophomore. Head Coach John Fox took it another step further during the preseason, when he gave Langford a near monopoly on first team work. Unfortunately, when the calendar turned to September we saw more of the same inefficient plodder going down at first contact. His high ankle sprain was a breath of fresh air for the offense, with rookie Jordan Howard looking fantastic in week four. It’s likely Howard’s job now, with little to no remaining dynasty value for Langford.
2. Brandin Cooks, WR NO – In week one Cooks turned nine targets into 6-143-2 line, good for a finish as the week’s PPR WR2. In the three games since, Cooks crashed hard, with 23 targets turning into a mere 12 receptions and 112 scoreless yards. In those weeks he was the PPR WR35, WR90, and WR64 (with MNF left to go). I claimed Cooks was essentially a high-end boom/bust guy this off-season, and thus far the numbers have agreed with that assessment. Still ranked as a dynasty WR1 by some, I’m absolutely selling if that’s the going rate.
3. Spencer Ware, RB KC – Ware absolutely went off in week one, likely winning weekly matchups and daily games alike. Since then though he’s been held out of the end zone and has only caught four passes. His Sunday numbers look good, but that was due to a long garbage time run with the Chiefs down big to the Steelers (see: Hyde, Carlos). With Jamaal Charles returning, ostensibly healthy, after the Chiefs’ bye, I think we’ve seen the best of Ware in 2016.
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