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Flip or Stick? George Pickens

Should you sell George Pickens while the preseason hype is high?

George Pickens

If you don’t know me, you may not be aware that I’m a big fan of making dynasty trades. In fact, I co-host a weekly podcast, Dynasty Trades HQ, and a YouTube show, Dynasty Trades in 5, dedicated to the topic. There’s almost no player I won’t trade if the price is right. That said, I do recognize that one of the hardest decisions in dynasty fantasy football is what to do with players when the market is exploding for them. Should you flip these players and attempt to “cash out,” or do you ride the wave wherever it may take you and have them stick to your roster, knowing that their value might never be higher?

As always, one caveat to my “verdict” — you should still look to see what you can obtain in a trade for the players listed below. Even if I suggest a player should stick on your roster, no player should ever be off-limits if the price is right. One additional caveat — my thoughts are subjective. Yes, they will be stat-based, but they will still incorporate my own thoughts on what the stats and situations for these players mean.

George Pickens, WR PIT

In case you are not aware, it is full-on George Pickens season. Pickens capitalized on his camp hype with a great preseason debut, hauling in three receptions for 43 yards, and toe-tapped his way to a beautiful touchdown grab.

Not content with just putting up a good receiving line, Pickens also excited the football world and more importantly the fantasy community when he committed physical and mental assault against a poor unsuspecting DB.

Even before his in-game action, Pickens had been the standout of camp practices, and a couple of weeks ago I went to Twitter to nudge dynasty managers to trade Pickens for a 2023 first, the response was a mixed bag. Some folks understood why. Others disagreed vehemently.

Feel free to read through the entire Twitter thread because I found it illuminating. Nearly everyone who told me I was wrong for wanting to trade Pickens for a 2023 first did so based on how they perceive him to be a top three WR from this rookie class. I find that interesting considering he was the WR9 in rookie ADP in May, which would mean that if people did really rank Pickens that highly, they certainly weren’t committed enough to that belief to act upon it (on a whole).

I certainly understand liking players over other players, but that’s not really where the impetus or desire to trade Pickens comes from. This is the process. Like a wise man once said, “buy for a dollar, sell for two”. If you acquired Pickens in rookie drafts back in May of this year, it cost you the 1.11 to do so, with him being the WR8 of the class. The 2023 class is considered a vastly better draft class than the 2022 class and I would bet dollars to donuts that I prefer whoever the 1.11 of next year’s class would be. But that’s not really the point, the point is that a 2023 first is more valuable than Pickens is today, let alone by the time the draft rolls around. And as we all know picks only accrue in value over time.

Utilizing the Dynasty Trade Analyzer (superflex settings) to determine the value of Pickens vs future 2023 first-rounders shows that his value is less than early, mid, and even late 2023 firsts.

The analyzer has not fully felt the spike of Pickens’ love, but right now it still has him as being less valuable than the future firsts.

As a quick aside, please understand that I do not like Pickens as a player. His prospect profile isn’t one that I would want to rely on to hit. His breakout age and yards per reception were excellent in college, but his other production metrics were lacking. He dominated as a freshman, was less impressive as a sophomore, and then suffered a torn ACL. It’s important to remember the correct chain of events, because I have come across more than a few folks who seem to think his decreased production was due to the ACL injury. If you are a tape grinder or have a prospect model that points to Pickens being an elite, top seven or eight wide receiver then by all means hold onto him unless someone knocks you down with a great offer.

No matter if Pickens is a hold or a sell for you, we can all agree that if you do trade him right now, you can demand a great return.

The Verdict: Flip

Based on the cost of acquisition vs market value, I believe now is an opportune time to trade Pickens away. Remember, only trade him away in the cases when you are getting a proper return. As a DLF subscriber, you have access to a host of tools, including the Dynasty Trade Finder, that we can use to help set a baseline of what you should and should not accept when trading Pickens away.

These first two trades I’ve highlighted are not the types of returns you should get. Even in a tight end premier league, Irv Smith Jr and Rashaad Penny are not nearly enough for me to trade away Pickens. Smith is nothing more than hope at this point of his career, and when comparing his value to Pickens’s present and what it could balloon to, there are very few paths I can see for Smith to approach Pickens’s value.

The second deal is a little closer but still not enough for me to move off Pickens. If I am moving him, I need to be able to capitalize on his hype, and trading for Darnell Mooney is leaving value on the table.

The trades below, acquiring 2023 firsts in separate deals, are trades I would make nine days until Sunday. The pick is a fungible asset that you can either trade for another, more known win-now player, or hold onto until next draft season. In the second deal, the manager also acquired a 2024 second rounder, which sweetens the pot that much more.

The final deal I wanted to share is an excellent example of stacking assets and acquiring an elite asset at the premier position in 2QB leagues.

For obvious reasons, acquiring Watson is fraught with its own concerns, but being able to acquire a top-six dynasty (talent/production) level quarterback in a start 2QB, six-point passing touchdown for a pick and a rookie wide receiver is a great deal.

I do fall on the “trade away” side as it pertains to Pickens, but not at all costs. If you do want to hold onto him, it’s not as if your fantasy team will fall apart, considering his relatively low acquisition cost. And if you trade him, make sure it’s for requisite value.

Thanks for reading! If you have a player you would like me to discuss in the future please comment below or you can also reach me on Twitter @ShaneIsTheWorst.

Flip or Stick? George Pickens
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Alexander Scott
1 month ago

Great article! I wish I had Pickens stock. I do believe he will be the best Steeler WR by end of season. I would also flip him for a ‘23 1st though as his rookie season may be bumpy.

sbreit
1 month ago

One more trade (from yesterday, safeleagues 511)
George Pickens, Nico Collins
for
Jerry Jeudy, Brian Robinson, 2023 3rd and 4th (SF, TEP)

Mark Boutot
1 month ago

I completely understand the market dynamics involved here. I’m also of the mindset in that thinking a couple steps down the road, the 2023 draft class will show itself and these 1st rounders at some point will become real, living, breathing physical assets. The “hope” in trading away something you can see catch, run, block, and score today for the future is that the future may not be all it’s cracked up to be. I would mention please take yourselves back two years to where we were as a country and compare it to the future, today, as an example, but I won’t. To apply that point to something football-related, please read this story: https://thefalconswire.usatoday.com/2021/06/28/falcons-mock-draft-carson-strong-si-2022/. Spencer Rattler, Carson Strong, Sam Howell. All college QBs mocked in June 2021 to go in the first round of the 2022 draft. Carson Strong, future world, mocked NUMBER TEN! …with chatter about going #1 overall! Carson Strong, reality world, not even drafted! Point is, do we really know how great the 2023 draft class is? We THINK it’s good but how sure are we?

BUT, BUT, BUT I do want to clarify I understand the idea here: use a current asset like Pickens’ fantasy value right now to acquire something else that has, right now, a larger, greater perceived value like a 2023 1st round pick. Take advantage of that. This sort of maneuvering is how to build a winning team. My commentary is that at some point in time that 2023 1st rounder will become a live asset and what if that class isn’t as great as it is thought of now? If you “made some money” or increased your team’s value by flipping, great, you just don’t want to be the one left holding the bag. It’s kinda like trading Bitcoin all the way up to $60k and then circumstances out of your control (like Carson Strong’s knee) crashes the value of Bitcoin to $20k and you’re the one left holding the bag. Meanwhile, George Pickens goes 75-1210-8 (?) in his rookie season and you’re wondering why did I hope and pray for the 2023 draft class??

Just thoughts to consider. Great column, Shane, I like your work!

Reply to  Mark Boutot
1 month ago

I agree with your comment as I have taken this strategy over the last 5 years and created a dynasty team that won its first championship last year and is hopefully set for years to come. With this strategy and was able to amass the following team: QBs Burrow, Murray, Lawrence & Tua, RBs McCaffrey, Chubb, N Harris, Akers, Conner and Sermon, WRs Chase, Jefferson, Lamb, AJ Brown, Bateman & Sutton and TE G. Kittle. I have the 4th and 12th pick in the first 2 rounds this year (draft this weekend) and plan on listening to each and every offer that comes in as I was high on Burks (who I think should be #4) but have cooled on him recently.
In reference to Pickens, I would suggest not trading him as his future QB Pickett looks very solid and any future #1 next year, unless a high #1 may be risky as it looks like Pickens and Pickett are the real deal. I was frankly hoping he would drop to 1.12 but there does not appear to any chance of that happening now.

Last edited 1 month ago by [email protected]
BigDee
1 month ago

I can hear it already – Pickett to Pickens, the PP boys go the distance in Pittsburgh. Gives a new meaning to the bumble bee colors.

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