As we remain in the midst of rookie draft season, it is incumbent upon us to give consideration to all types of trades involving draft picks. As such, and while admittedly narrow in focus, this article seeks to discuss trading out from 2022 and into the first round of your league’s 2023 rookie draft, specifically for contending teams.
The primary motivation here is not only to maximize 2023 draft capital, but to round out your roster with sensible veteran players who may have the ability to help out in a pinch (e.g., injuries, bye weeks).
The thinking here is fairly straightforward. Your trade partner is ostensibly specifically targeting a 2022 rookie, meaning it’s possible that leverage can be applied to squeeze out every last drop of trade value. Additionally, if you’re trading with a non-contending squad, they may have incentive to part with players who function as roster cloggers for them, but who could be of benefit to the contending team.
With the working theory established, let’s dive into the mechanism and results!
First, I went into the DLF Trade Finder app in order to isolate trades with the following specific parameters:
- They occurred during the month of May 2022 (where rookie drafts are likely already occurring, or soon to occur)
- They consisted solely of 2022 and 2023 draft picks (no players involved)
- The 2022 draft picks were later in the round (1.09 – 1.12 for 12-team leagues)
Overall, these parameters yielded seven distinct trades.
From there, I sought to obtain the trade value of each side by utilizing the DLF Dynasty Trade Analyzer tool. This was straightforward for 2022 draft picks, as the analyzer can directly apply values. For the 2023 picks, a range of values was obtained, based upon the projected pick’s stature (early, middle, or late in the round).
While rational minds may differ, I’m of the belief that outside of some very clear scenarios, attempting to guess where your trade partner’s pick will fall is somewhat of a suspect practice. Every year we see rookies, waiver wire additions and traded players serve as league winners, league favorites collapse due to unfortunate circumstances (e.g., injuries), and afterthoughts come out of nowhere to rise to contention.
So while we should all at least attempt to speculate how the upcoming season will unfold, a conservative mindset may be best. As such, the trade values assigned to the 2023 first-round selections (265.1) were based upon a classification of “late round.”
Simple subtraction then yielded the value discrepancy, as noted in the rightmost column. Negative values show Team 2 “winning” the trade, and positive values show Team 1 (the contending team) emerging “victorious.”
|Trade||League Size||Team 1 Receives||Trade Value||Team 2 Receives||Trade Value||Value Difference|
|Trade 1||12 Teams||2023 1st||265.1 – 604.1||1.09 and 3.09||298.2||-33.1|
|Trade 2||16 Teams||2023 1st||265.1 – 604.1||1.13 and 5.10||197.8||67.3|
|Trade 3||12 Teams||2023 1st||265.1 – 604.1||1.09||263.9||1.2|
|Trade 4||12 Teams||2023 1st||265.1 – 604.1||1.11 and 2023 3rd||271.0||-5.9|
|Trade 5||12 Teams||2023 1st||265.1 – 604.1||1.09 and 2.09||359.0||-93.9|
|Trade 6||12 Teams||2023 1st||265.1 – 604.1||1.09, 2.09 and 3.07||399.7||-134.6|
|Trade 7||12 Teams||2023 1st||265.1 – 604.1||1.12 and 2.06||327.3||-62.2|
The primary disclaimer here is that this preface assumes the player trading out of the 2022 rookie draft is in fact the original owner of those draft picks, which we know may not be the case if prior trades were made. However, even were that the paradigm, the trades I isolated may nonetheless function as a blueprint for owners looking to make similar deals.
From there I went to a third resource, the dynasty ADP (May 2022) to identify some potentially useful veterans being selected in the late rounds. Once identified, I plugged them back into the Trade Analyzer to obtain their trade values. The consolidated list is shown below, in order of ascending value.
With all this in hand, let’s revisit this small subset of trades.
This appears to be the lone instance of the contending team “winning” the trade in a decisive manner, regardless of where the 2023 first-round pick falls. As such, and while acknowledging players become slightly more valuable in a 16-team league, the Team 1 owner might not want his or her luck. With that said, these players could function as the cherry on top.
Tyler Conklin: The Jets revamped their offense and signed both Conklin and CJ Uzomah. The former is worth a dart throw, especially in deeper leagues, and could emerge as the third or fourth option in an improving passing game.
James White: In just three 2021 contests White was able to secure 12 receptions on 14 targets. He has what is perhaps the most well-defined running back role on the New England offense.
Mark Ingram: Admittedly long in the tooth, Ingram is the direct backup to star running back Alvin Kamara in what is an otherwise barren ball-carrying corps. In the three games Kamara missed in 2021, Ingram totaled 40 carries and 11 receptions, and could be a valuable piece if Kamara falls again.
Hayden Hurst: If someone asked you which player starts at tight end for the Bengals, would you have guessed Hurst? Cincy tight ends accumulated 83 targets in 2021, meaning Hurst could have some standalone value in what is an emerging passing offense.
Trades #3 and #4
These two trades were fairly even, so similar to Trade #2, the Team 1 owner may be content as is. If additional value is sought, and in addition to the players noted above, the next value tier of veteran players could be considered.
Sterling Shepard: Two things have been true about Shepard over the past few years. The first is that when healthy, he functions as Daniel Jones’ binky. The second is, well, he’s rarely healthy, as typified by a ruptured Achilles last December. Supposedly still on track for a summer return, Shepard has the potential to lead a receiving corps full of question marks.
Austin Hooper: See Hurst, Hayden, except extrapolate for both a worse quarterback and a potentially higher target share.
Julio Jones: Yes, he’s been supremely frustrating the past two years, but his goose isn’t quite yet cooked. Matthew Freedman tweeted out a wild stat that over that time period, Jones has averaged a robust 10.4 yards per target. You won’t be getting prime Julio, and the injury risk is real, but there’s a chance he emerges on the right offense.
Robert Tonyan: See Shepard, Sterling, except extrapolate for both a much worse quarterback and (somehow) and even less solidified pass-catching corps.
JD McKissic: Death, taxes and McKissic catching a ton of passes and frustrating the heck out of Antonio Gibson owners. Across 27 contests with the Commanders, McKissic has compiled 123 receptions and 133 carries, showing standalone value regardless of his backfield compatriots. Much like White above, he has the most predictable role on the team.
Raheem Mostert: Miami’s backfield is a mess, with Mostert, Chase Edmonds, Sony Michel and Myles Gaskin all seeking to lay claim to the crown. And while Edmonds might have been paid the most, Mostert has history with new head coach Mike McDaniel, and is undoubtedly the most explosive of the four, averaging 5.7 YPC for his career. Edmonds has fizzled every time he’s been presented with load-carrying responsibilities, and may be best utilized as a change of pace. It won’t be an upset if Mostert leads the team in touches.
The contending team is sacrificing some value here (again, in the theoretical world where the 2023 first-round pick is later in the round), and in addition to the players noted above could look towards:
Will Fuller: No, he hasn’t signed, and yes, he’s a headache to own. But when healthy (another big “if”) he offers big-play potential unmatched outside of guys like Tyreek Hill.
Jamaal Williams: Both Williams and “starter” D’Andre Swift played in 13 2021 contests, with Williams finishing with 153 carries and 26 receptions, and Swift concluding with 151 carries and 62 receptions. Swift is clearly the preference in the passing game, but Williams had standalone value as a flex play, as well.
Evan Engram: Engram’s time in New York effectively boiled down to a chicken/egg scenario. Were his stats down because the offense as a whole suffered, or did he contribute to said suffering because he’s simply not very good? In the instance of the former, there’s some intrigue here with the Jaguars, where there are targets to be had behind fellow off-season signee Christian Kirk.
Jarvis Landry: There exists a scenario where it’s Landry, not Chris Olave or Michael Thomas, who emerges as the team’s WR1. I’m not going to hold Landry’s 2021 season against him given the team’s dysfunction on offense, though it’s notable he went over 840 yards in each of his three other seasons with Cleveland.
Here again, Team 1 has let value leak away. In addition to the players noted above, additional targets could have included:
DeVante Parker and Jakobi Meyers: One of these two should emerge as New England’s top wide receiver. With an improving Mac Jones, this could yield WR2/WR3 type of value.
Zach Ertz: Following some early acclimation, Ertz had a fire finish to the 2021 season, his first in Arizona following a midseason trade from the Eagles. In his final seven games, Ertz secured at least five receptions in six contests, with nine or more targets in four games. DeAndre Hopkins is suspended for the first six weeks of the 2022 season, meaning it could be Ertz functioning as the team’s primary pass-catcher.
Odell Beckham: Much like Shepard, Beckham was hurt late in the season, tearing his ACL in the Super Bowl. While it’s likely he won’t be available early in 2022, he was in the process of rehabbing his value with the Rams, scoring seven touchdowns in 12 games with the team. While he’ll likely never return to the height of his powers, he could very well find a place in a contender’s starting lineup if he continues his return to form.
Kenny Golladay: In his first season with the Giants, there’s no sugar-coating how underwhelming Golladay’s play was. However, as noted previously, the team needs a pass-catcher to emerge as a primary option, and Golladay is only two years removed from two consecutive years of over 1,000 receiving yards.
Melvin Gordon: Javonte Williams truthers absolutely loathed the return of Gordon to Denver, but it was a sensible move from the team’s perspective. On an equivalent number of carries, it was the veteran who slightly outgained the rookie, and supplied four additional scores. Williams eclipsed his teammate’s production through the air with more receptions, receiving yards and aerial scores, though Gordon was actually slightly more efficient at 7.6 YPR, while securing 28 receptions and two receiving scores on his own. Consider me one who sees more of the same in 2022, with Gordon continuing to show his worth and delay Williams’ ascension to the dynasty throne.
Robert Woods: Incredibly, Woods’ trade value of 67.3 identically matches Team 1’s trade deficiency. Woods appears likely to be the team’s leading target aggregator while rookie Treylon Burks gets up to speed, and has sneaky value as a player who prior to 2021 had a stretch of three straight 900+ yard seasons (with two over 1,100 yards).
Trades #5 and #6
It’s in these two trades where Team 1 appears to have left the most value on the table. In addition to some mix of the players described above, pie in the sky targets would include:
Cordarrelle Patterson: A surprise RB1 in 2021, Patterson has even less of a depth chart hurdle to clear in 2022, with Mike Davis moving on to Baltimore. With the Falcons likely to be rather bad (sorry to say), Patterson could be a major benefactor of playing catch-up, as he does most of his damage through the air.
Tyler Boyd: Despite being surpassed by teammates Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase, Boyd nonetheless had a respectable PPR WR3 finish in 2021. With three prior years yielding at least 70 receptions, he may still be the forgotten man on offense. He has standalone value, and makes for a fine hedge should injury unfortunately befall one of his two star teammates.
Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27.
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