Welcome to the DLF mailbag; the article series that answers *your* questions in long form. It can be difficult to give a detailed response to your questions on Twitter so this series is designed to do just that. It’s a deep-dive on the questions you have been rolling around in your dynasty mind. If you have something you’d like discussed in this format, please send me a message on Twitter @MattPriceFF and include #AskDLF in your tweet. Let’s get into it!
Is the success of the 2020 wide receiver class leading to dynasty players over-valuing the 2021 class? Are they expecting the same result even though it’s an outlier?
I guess I don’t feel like the 2021 wide receiver class is being overvalued, at least relative to the entire class. In the last 30 days, five wide receivers have been going in the first round of rookie drafts. That number jumps to 11 when you add the second round.
The thing that sticks out the most to me in recent one-quarterback league rookie drafts is the fact that Trey Sermon and Michael Carter are firmly in the first round. I think you could argue running back is the overvalued position in 2021.
When I sat down to answer this question, I expected the reason the perceived value of this wide receiver class is higher than usual would be the lack of first-round running back talent after the top three. In 2020 we had five running backs we were sure would hit. That’s two to three more than we have in the 2021 class. Forcing Sermon and Carter into the first brought the 2021 number to five as well, but I question having them that high over receivers like Rondale Moore and Elijah Moore.
I think if there is more hype around the 2021 wide receiver class it’s due to the lack of talent at running back and not because of any influence the success for the 2020 class may have.
Is it time to trade Christian McCaffrey, Nick Chubb, Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Derrick Henry, etc., and how do I possibly return fair value?
Can you spot the buy target?
If you aren’t competing in 2021 then the answer is yes. Keep in mind though, with the probable exception of Derrick Henry, they will still have some value a year from now barring catastrophic injury.
If you’re a playoff team in 2021 I’d have a tough time moving any of these guys without a great return. If you’re not competing I think you have to be willing to take a little less than you think they are worth if you really want them off your roster. Outside of McCaffrey, I think you’ll have to take less than two firsts in terms of pick value if you want a quick sale. You can probably get two firsts and a little more for McCaffrey but you’ll have to hunt for the right team to get two firsts for everyone else on your list.
Pivoting to a wide receiver in the same range might be an easier move to make. Players like DK Metcalf, CeeDee Lamb, Ja’Marr Chase, Calvin Ridley, etc can serve as excellent stores of value if you need to de-risk for the rebuild and can’t make a trade for future picks.
With the top of ADP being so dominated by young running backs and wide receivers who have already shown an ability to finish as high-end fantasy options, how should we be valuing aging stars who still have the likelihood of finishing in the upper tiers at their positions?
This is an age-old question in dynasty and isn’t easy to answer. Let’s start by examining the value portion of the question because the same player can be valued very differently depending on the strength of the roster he is on. This is one thing that makes the dynasty game so fascinating and nuanced compared to redraft fantasy football.
Aging but productive vets have two very different value tables. One is based on their production and how it is valued by the team that currently rosters that player. An older player like Julio Jones will be much more valuable on a team that is ready for a championship run than he will be on a team looking to rebuild for the future. This seems pretty obvious but how to deal with that situation may not be.
The other side of a player‘s value is how the trade market in your league sees that player. Within an individual league’s trading ecosystem, there exists multiple markets depending on where teams are at in their building process. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that in a 12-team league, a third of the league is ready to compete, a third are rebuilding, and the final third are somewhere in the middle. A player like Jones is valued differently in all three markets.
A contending team should be holding on to Jones if he is already on the roster because the likely return on investment is less valuable than the production the team will receive over the next season or two. A rebuilding team should be looking to sell even if it’s at a discounted price. The production of an older player does not help their team. It does the opposite by hurting their ability to secure a better draft slot in the following season’s rookie draft.
Luckily those teams have two potential markets within their league to make a deal. The teams in the middle are in the worst position. They need to decide as soon as possible which direction they want to take their team. Sitting in the middle is death in the dynasty format because you aren’t winning and you aren’t losing enough to get a top rookie pick. What these teams do with a player like Jones depends on if they think they can become a competing team without sacrificing their future or if it’s time to sell their aging players to play for next season. If they decide to sell they only have one true market as potential buyers.
That might be a lot to digest so let’s break it down into what you should be doing with these types of players depending on the stage your team is at
- Strong contender: hold/cautiously buy where you can get a discount
- Strong rebuilder: Sell even if it means not getting “full” value but pick your spots. These players become more valuable on the trade market the closer we get to the regular season.
- Middle-of-the-road team: In most cases, sell. Unless you are fairly certain you can make a playoff run with a few trades that don’t sacrifice assets you’ll need if things blow up in your face.
That will do it for this edition of the mailbag! Thanks for your questions and I’ll see you next time!