As DLF’s Dynasty Trade Month draws to a close, be sure to check out all of the other work we pumped out this month to get you prepared to make some impactful dynasty trades before your rookie drafts begin.
Many players fall off of a production cliff at some point in their careers, plummeting their dynasty value. Getting ahead of that curve – even if it’s a year or two early – is often better than making a move a year or two too late. You need to be mindful of the ongoing ageism that is always part of dynasty leagues, especially if you’re new to playing dynasty. Dumping a player before they’re 30 years old while they still retain some marquee name value is a great way to maximize returns. With that being the case, I will discuss a handful of veteran players you should be looking to trade away while you still can get a significant return in the deal.
Before we begin: a small disclaimer: I didn’t examine wide receivers much because I’ve already covered them as part of the Dynasty Trade Month extravaganza. If you want to see more wide receiver specifics, I looked at three wide receivers to trade for as well as three wide receivers to trade away. Hopefully, you can get some ideas there as you look to shake up your rosters and get yourself ready for the upcoming 2022 season.
Davante Adams, WR LV
I said I didn’t examine wide receivers too much, but I did find someone to get out from under while you can still get top dollar in return. One of the most significant moves in an off-season full of big moves was the Raiders trade for former Packer Adams. Adams is reunited with college teammate and BFF Derek Carr in Las Vegas, and it’s a perfect time to move on.
Here are a couple of recent fantasy trades involving Adams following the move to Vegas, courtesy of DLF’s trade finder if you want to get an idea on a potential return at the moment:
Why is it time to move on? Adams will turn 30 in-season. Although not the death sentence it used to be in the past, you don’t want a dynasty roster clogged with players closer to 30 than 20.
During Carr’s eight-year career, his top receiver has averaged only 124 targets. Adams was accustomed to seeing upwards of 169 targets from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay. With Carr averaging 35 pass attempts per game during those eight seasons, Adams would need to see a 28.5% target share to get near that 170 target volume. Darren Waller and Hunter Renfrow are both reliable, trusted targets for Carr, who have averaged a combined 210 targets over the last three seasons.
Even giving Adams a little bump and thinking he might see 130 targets in 2022, with a 66% catch rate, he’s looking at 85 receptions. Adams has averaged eight yards per target during his career thus far. Assuming that holds, he’s likely looking at approximately 1,040 yards to go along with those catches. With Waller and Renfrow often used in the red zone, I can’t see Adams getting double-digit touchdowns this season. Maybe he’ll get into the end zone seven times. Those totals would give Adams 231 PPR fantasy points, good enough to be the WR20 overall last season, or basically Brandin Cooks.
The upside obviously remains, but the downside is now the lowest it’s ever been with Adams’ relocation to Sin City. As I mentioned in the intro, it’s better to get off of a player a year or two too early than a year or two too late. Adams’ days as an unquestionable top-five option at the position are behind him. Trade him for something good while you still can because I fear the fall in dynasty value is going to be precipitous.
James Conner, RB ARI
It’s never a bad idea to try to flip a player coming off of a career year or outlier season. In 2021, Conner led the NFL in touchdowns, scoring 15 on the ground while adding another three in the passing game. Reaching the end zone 18 times will bump you up the ranks in fantasy points, and Conner ended the year as the RB5 overall. Not too shabby for someone who was selected near the 9/10 turn.
Take your profits and run! Using DLF’s trade finder, you’ll see you’re able to get some decent value in return. This is especially true as of this writing; with Chase Edmonds moving on to Miami, Conner seems to have secured the lead back duty in Arizona for the time being. But Edmonds’ 116 carries and 53 targets are going somewhere. Whether that be Eno Benjamin, a veteran free-agent signee, or an incoming rookie, Conner will have competition coming from somewhere. As soon as something is official, his value will be greatly diminished.
Comparing Conner to other Cardinals’ teammates, using the DLF Change in Player Value tool, you can see he’s the biggest riser in drafts from a year ago. He was drafted 115th last season, and now he’s climbed up to 83rd. So use this information to capitalize and cash in while you can still get something for the soon-to-be-27-year-old ball carrier.
Cordarrelle Patterson, RB/WR ATL
If there has ever been a perfect example of a sell-high veteran coming off of a career year, this is it. In 2021, Patterson somehow amassed 38% of his career rushing yards, 21% of his career receiving yards, 38% of his career touchdowns, and 19% of his career receptions as a 30-year old in his ninth NFL season. I bought cheaply in several spots a year ago, and now I’m planning on selling high – and you should too.
Looking at a couple of trades this month, I would be beyond thrilled if I could come away with Brandin Cooks or a 2023 second for CPatt.
Alvin Kamara, RB NO
Prior to last season, the most carries Kamara saw during his then four-year career was 194 in 2018. Last year, for various reasons, the Saints gave him 240 carries. He averaged 3.7 yards on those carries after previously averaging 4.6 per carry heading into 2021. Heavy rushing volume just isn’t, nor should it be, part of Kamara’s game.
He saw 100 or more targets in three of his first four seasons, then only had 67 targets last year. He topped 80 receptions each year he was in the NFL, and last year he only recorded 47. He only played 13 games, but the season was also expanded to 17 games. The missed time obviously contributes to the numbers decline, but his heavy usage in the running game likely contributed to his injury and missed time too. No matter how you break it down, it’s a mess.
This off-season, Kamara and the Saints lost long-time head coach Sean Payton and replaced him with the defensive-minded Dennis Allen, who did nothing of note offensively during his last time as a coach with the Raiders. Despite keeping long-time offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael in place, who has been the OC since 2009, nothing here seems to be trending in the right direction.
If you’ve played dynasty long enough, you know many of the top players’ values plateau for a few years, then they either fall off of a cliff or slowly dwindle downward. Looking at Kamara’s DLF Ranks over Time page, you can witness the plateau in real-time. Could we see it extend outward for another season or two? Sure, but we know the drop is coming for the 26-year-old. Even if the skillset remains unchanged, his surrounding cast is diminished from years passed. Nevertheless, Kamara still has a ton of name value. You would be doing yourself a huge disservice if you didn’t let leaguemates know he was available
Travis Kelce, TE KC
Kelce has remained one of the top options at the position for several seasons. The most incredible part, to me, is that he’s managed to stay shockingly healthy over his career. Kelce has played at least 15 games for eight straight seasons. Now entering his age-33 season, the clock is ticking. To put things in perspective, Kelce is only five months younger than Rob Gronkowski, and people act like Gronk is among the league’s elder statesmen. How much longer could he really have left?
Digging into his contract situation via Spotrac, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Kansas City move on from Kelce heading into the 2023 season when he’s 34. We just saw the Chiefs trade Tyreek Hill to Miami, and there’s no reason to think Kelce couldn’t follow him out the door in the next season or two.
Speaking of the Hill trade, let’s imagine you’re a defensive coordinator facing the new-look Chiefs. What are you going to do on every play? That’s right, double cover Kelce. No matter who the team brings in to “replace” Hill, very few, if any, players will command the same respect from opposing defenses that Hill did. Kelce is another year older and should be facing tougher defensive matchups than he’s been accustomed to.
The DLF trade finder shows that there is still a robust market for Kelce’s services. Getting 2023 first-round picks for a TE who will be 34 when those picks are on the clock is an incredible value. Even without a solid option at the position, if you move on, tight end is the one position where you can find usable players on waivers and successfully stream week-to-week. It’s time to move on before his return in trades starts to look like Jimmy Graham‘s.
It’s always hard to know when to pull the trigger and move on from established veterans who are known commodities on your roster. There is a delicate balance of what you’re getting in return; how many years will the player still be a viable fantasy asset, team needs, and overall roster construction.
I’ve been burned in the past, holding onto players like Julian Edelman or Todd Gurley too long, and can’t get them off of my roster. On the other hand, I’ve traded good players who still have a good season or two left in them after their help led me to fantasy success for five years. Between the two options, I felt much better with the latter. Having aging guys clog up your roster as you wait for them to retire because nobody will give up anything more than a late fourth-rounder is my version of fantasy football hell.
If you have any of the above players, make some offers, pull the trigger, and get out now!
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