How’d I do in my last article? Who knows. Probably bad. After all, I’m the same guy who bought Mark Ingram midweek only to have him replaced after three carries by Tim Freaking Hightower, who proceeded to roll up more touches than Ingram has received in a single game all year. Not that I’m bitter or anything…
And while I feel like I’ve hit on a decent number of my suggestions this year, I also feel like I’ve missed on more than I have in previous years. If nothing else, it’ll surely make for an interesting season-end postmortem, but I think it’s just been a wacky year in general. Many of the consensus preseason predictions have gone down the crapper, leading to a season of relatively chaos.
But you just can’t get bogged down in it, especially at this point in the year. With half of the fantasy season in the books, you can’t let the chaos that has defined this season define your team as well. One way or another, it’s time to declare your intentions.
Are you a contender or a rebuilder? If you’re a middling team, what is your path to the playoffs, and how narrow is the range of outcomes that will get you there? If you sell out to win, what will your team look like if you don’t? These are the questions you should be asking yourself.
In that spirit, I’ll be asking a series of questions as well relating to some of the moves your teams might consider making. Let’s get started.
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1. If I’m contending, should I sell Odell Beckham for Julio Jones or Antonio Brown?
Blasphemous, right? People like to “tier” their players when they do their rankings, and often times you’ll hear that Beckham, Jones and Brown reside in many rankers’ top tier. Yet whenever you ask the question as to who should be the first overall pick in dynasty, you’ll hear the same old refrain – “It has to be OBJ.”
If that’s the case, he’s in a tier of his own, yes he’s sure not playing like it. Look, we all know Beckham is a fantastic player, and his rookie year is the stuff of legend. But since then he’s been a little bit Benjamin Button-y, and is currently “only” averaging 17.3 points per week in 2016. In fact, dating back to the start of last year, he hasn’t been in Jones’ or Brown’s league, with the former outscoring him by 83.7 PPR points and the latter by 81.0 points. Looking at it as a consistency standpoint, the gap widens. Consider their respective PPR WR1 and WR2 weeks dating back to week one last year:
Both Jones and Brown have higher ceilings, and higher floors. They’re both outscoring OBJ this year. You could likely get an extra piece on top. I’d do it.
2. You mentioned Mark Ingram earlier – is he a buy low?
He sure isn’t a buy high, is he? I don’t get what Sean Payton is doing, and I’m of the belief that he’s still coasting off his Super Bowl years ago. At the end of the day, he’s the most talented running back on the roster, and he was seeing close to 20 weekly touches. Maybe that takes a hit, but there are no sure things in fantasy, especially at that position. I wouldn’t sell for a second, but I’d sure as heck buy for that price.
3. Should I buy an elite running back if I’m going for it?
I know it’s taboo, but you just can’t play scared. By my estimation there are only three true difference makers at the position right now – David Johnson, Le’Veon Bell, and Ezekiel Elliott. I still think Todd Gurley can turn it around, but he just hasn’t been in their class this year.
If you have a surplus at running back, or perhaps a second top-five tight end behind Rob Gronkowski, I’d look to make a deal, especially if you have to start multiple ball carriers. I don’t care that it bucks tradition. Receiver has been no loss volatile than running back this year, and you win games with fantasy points, not “dynasty value.” Fortune favors the bold.
4. Are there any cheaper ball carriers to consider?
Jonathan Stewart, LeGarrette Blount, Frank Gore, Darren Sproles, and Gio Bernard. If I’m buying I’d ship a second, second, second, third and first, respectively. If I’m selling I’d likely accept those same prices, though I’d be a bit more bullish on Gio.
5. I’m a contender/rebuilder/middle of the road team – should I be buying Jeff Janis?
If this was a 1,000-word essay, I’d write “No,” followed by “Screw Flanders” 499.5 times.
6. I’m rebuilding – should I look to “sell high” on Tyler Eifert or Jordan Reed, or are they centerpieces of the rebuilding effort?
In the interest of full disclosure, I crowdsourced this one to Twitter the other night, following Eifert’s and Reed’s big week seven performances. The majority was in favor of selling them off, due to the perpetual injury risks. With Reed, I certainly get it – his injuries (concussions and hamstrings) are chronic, and each one is going to be worse than the last. He’s arguably the second-most talented tight end in the league, but you can’t score points from the bench. I think I’d look to sell him, but wouldn’t accept anything less than a projected top 4-5 2017 first round pick, or something like Hunter Henry and change.
With Eifert, I’m a bit more bullish. We know he can score the ball, but it appears he’s going to get a lot more use between the 20’s with the off-season defections of Marvin Jones and Mo Sanu. Yes, he’s oft-injured as well, but his are flukier and unrelated to one another – if you weren’t on board with selling Gronk after his myriad of maladies, why are you selling Eifert? I’m holding. If I was selling, I’d want a top-three pick in return.
7. Who should buy Alshon Jeffery?
Everyone. Contenders, rebuilders, middle of the road teams, it doesn’t matter. I know he hasn’t been what we’ve expected this year, but he’s truly only had one “bad” game this year (note: I have no idea what he’s going to do Monday night), he’s young, and he won’t be a Bear next year. If this is hill I die on, at least it’s a nice, tall hill with a lot of upside.
8. Do any other pieces on the Bears interest you?
Perhaps a discounted Kevin White, but that’s about it. Cameron Meredith and Zach Miller have some transient 2016 value, but there’s a chance both lose their jobs come 2017. I don’t want any part of those running backs either – it wouldn’t shock me if the 2017 starter comes through the draft.
9. Do I have to adhere to traditional “contending” and “rebuilding” targets?
I feel like the creepy guy in the alley whispering to passers-by, but I truly need to let them in on a little secret. Come closer. Right there. Okay…
If you’re rebuilding, your goal is to add value. If a team is selling a veteran who you think could still have as much or more value at this point next year, why not buy him? Yes, you could make the argument his scoring points hurts your draft pick, but so what – there are going to be multiple talented player in next year’s draft. Just add value to your team.
If you’re contending, you can buy youth. I wouldn’t torpedo my chances of winning this year in order to do so, but if you have bench depth, or think you can get a comparable, younger starter, do it. You always want to win if you have the chance, but at the end of the day it’s still dynasty football.
10. Who’s buying or selling who on the Seahawks offense?
I’d be looking to buy Russell Wilson, CJ Prosise, Doug Baldwin and Jimmy Graham. The former two will likely be somewhat expensive, but Wilson might come at a bit of a discount due to the fact he hasn’t scored a touchdown since the Bush administration. Baldwin will be forever undervalued, but he’s still the team’s leading receiver, and could explode a la 2015 if Wilson gets right. Graham is back to being a top-five dynasty tight end.
I’m holding Christine Michael. I understand the argument to sell him, given Prosise’s potential emergence and the impending (in theory) return of Thomas Rawls. But you probably aren’t getting much, and at the end of the day he’s a free agent come 2017. He’s put enough on tape to get a shot somewhere else.
I’m selling Rawls, as well as Tyler Lockett. I just don’t see the former ever returning to anything other than a committee, and he’s now faced leg injuries in both of his first two years. I never understood the hype for the latter. He was relatively useful in year one, but he’s fighting Jermaine Kearse for scraps behind Baldwin and Graham in a low volume passing offense. He’ll likely go down as a better NFL player than a fantasy stud.
11. Are there any teams whose players you’re avoiding completely?
In the wise words of MacGruber, never ever say never ever. But I’m not really at all interested in the Bills, 49ers, Lions and Texans. Sure, there are some useful names in the bunch – Sammy Watkins, Carlos Hyde, Eric Ebron, and DeAndre Hopkins come to mind. But I’m just not convinced any of them are worth the price. I’d likely be a seller, regardless of situation, assuming I could still get 95 cents on the dollar.
12. What should I accept for Jeff Janis in a trade?
Screw Flanders Screw Flanders Screw Flanders…
Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27
You can find his (typically strong and hopefully reasonable) opinions on Twitter at@EDH_27.