In case you didn’t know, DLF has a YouTube channel! We post FREE video content over there at least five days a week covering dynasty trades, strategy, and player analysis. For my videos specifically, I write out a script to basically read when I record, but I realized that script could be turned into written content for anyone who doesn’t want to watch YouTube to read too! So, without further ado, here is an “article-ized” version of one of my recent videos covering dynasty alternatives to highly valued players!
Being able to trade down within tiers at positions, while still maintaining production, is by far the easiest way to add draft capital or more assets in general to your roster, and that will be the point of this series throughout the off-season. The way this will work is I will show you stats from two similar players, but one is valued at a premium in startup drafts or trades and the other is valued as the generic version, and then we’ll break it down.
First up, we have a quarterback comparison. Our premium quarterback just turned 25 years old, and over his last 17 games, has averaged per game, 30 pass attempts, a 64% completion percentage, 250 passing yards per game, 1.7 TDs, 0.7 INTs, 7.6 rushing yards, 16.9 fantasy points per game, with 13 top-24 weeks and six top-12.
Our generic quarterback is 32 years old, and over his last 17 games, has averaged per game, 33.5 pass attempts, a 70% completion percentage, 252 passing yards per game, 1.8 TDs, 0.6 INTs, 21.5 rushing yards, 19 fantasy points per game, with 16 top-24 weeks and 10 top-12.
To further feed the comparison, both quarterbacks supported two top-15 wide receivers in 2022, both of them were drafted by AFC East teams, and both were backups to Ryan Fitzpatrick at some point in their careers.
Those last two probably gave it away, but if you haven’t guessed yet, our premium player is Tua Tagovailoa, currently valued as QB13 in March ADP and the generic quarterback is Geno Smith, currently valued as QB25.
Tua Tagovailoa, QB MIA to Geno Smith, QB SEA
So why the discrepancy? Well, I think because it’s Geno Smith, right? No one believed that he would be even a remotely competent quarterback for Seattle heading into last season, let alone do what he did in throwing for almost 4,300 yards and 30 touchdowns while continuing to support both DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett as top-15 fantasy receivers.
Look, I get it, it’s an outlier season and only a matter of time before Smith comes crashing back down to earth, and when he does, he’ll be a 33, almost 34-year-old quarterback on the verge of being replaced by a rookie and completely dead for dynasty… or… maybe this is the new Geno Smith and he can be a reliable fantasy quarterback for the next two-three years as he plays out his brand-new contract with Seattle.
The numbers speak for themselves here: 16 top-24 weeks in 2022, out of 17 weeks in the season. In fact, they were all top 20 weeks, not just top 24. So only one game last year was he not startable in superflex leagues, plus 10 of his 17 games were QB1 weeks, so he should’ve been started in basically every league, 1QB or superflex. That is insane production for a player we had written off before the season even began.
Honestly because of that production, I really could’ve compared him to almost any quarterback valued higher than him, but I chose Tagovailoa for a couple reasons: 1) I think he’s the one who most of you out there who have him are wondering what to do with him and 2) He fits the comparison a little closer as a player whose primary reason for being so productive is because of the receivers he’s throwing to. So Tagovailoa is the quarterback I would most like to trade down from right now. He has upside and he is younger, but there is also risk involved with all the concussions he suffered. If he has a couple more, his career is really in jeopardy.
According to our Trade Analyzer, the difference between Tagovailoa and Smith right now is the 1.03 to 1.04 in superflex leagues. That is an enormous gap in value for two players who could realistically score the same in 2023, or Smith could again just straight up out-produce Tagovailoa like he did in 2022. Not to mention the 1.03-1.04 is prime rookie quarterback range this year where you could get one of Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, or the homerun swing on Anthony Richardson. So, you just turned a semi-risky quarterback in Tagovailoa into two quarterbacks in superflex: one who can produce now in Geno Smith and one to build around in the rookie.
The analyzer also has players like Drake London, DeVonta Smith, Travis Etienne, and DK Metcalf, all as options to fill that gap too instead of the rookie pick, all of which I would take in a heartbeat in this deal. So, you have some options here if you have Tagovailoa and want to break him down into multiple pieces, or if you don’t have him, maybe just go buy Smith outright as your QB3 if you’re contending this year. Send your 1.11 or players like Alvin Kamara or Rashod Bateman to a rebuilder and get a quarterback who could honestly be your QB2, but you bought at QB3 prices.
Next, we have a wide receiver comparison. Our premium wide receiver turns 26 at the beginning of April, and over his last 17 games, has averaged per game: 7 targets, 4 receptions, 52 yards, 0.4 touchdowns, 11.7 fantasy points per game, with six top-24 weeks, and five top-12.
Our generic receiver just turned 25 a week ago in March, and over his last 17 games, has averaged per game: 6.7 targets, 4.5 receptions, 60 yards, 0.5 touchdowns, 13.5 fantasy points per game, with five top-24 weeks, and three top-12.
To further feed the comparison, both WRs were late first-round picks, they’re both currently in the NFC, and they both will be playing with essentially a new quarterback who they didn’t play with in 2022. (I’m sorry, I really couldn’t find any better comparisons between the two…).
But if you haven’t guessed yet, our premium player is DJ Moore, currently valued at WR18 in March ADP and the generic player is Brandon Aiyuk, valued at WR32 in March ADP.
DJ Moore, WR CHI to Brandon Aiyuk, WR SF
So why the discrepancy? This one is similar-ish to the quarterbacks above – we just trust the higher-valued guy more. In this instance, I think we can all agree Moore is an extremely talented wide receiver who hasn’t gotten a really good opportunity to truly explode for fantasy because of bad quarterback play. Aiyuk has been the WR2 on the Niners basically since he came into the league and has never really been too trustworthy for consistent production because he’s in the Niners’ offense.
But now Moore is in Chicago as the WR1 for Justin Fields and because that has been perceived as an upgrade for Moore’s value, he’s been a hot player in dynasty conversations everywhere. But notice that I said “perceived upgrade” because I actually don’t think it is. Yes, I do think Fields is the best quarterback Moore will have played with in the NFL, but I’m not really sure how good that actually is for Moore. Chicago doesn’t throw like… at all. They make the Ravens look like a very pass-happy team, that’s how little Chicago threw the ball last year.
I actually had a running joke at the beginning of last season that Darnell Mooney had an elite target share, but a 30% target share on 15 pass attempts is only like four-five targets, which is not good raw volume.
And that’s the issue I think Moore is going to have because as Chicago’s WR1, he should see an elite target share like he did in Carolina at 27%, but even if Chicago increases its total pass attempts by 100 to 475, that’s only 130 total targets, and again that’s assuming Moore keeps his target share AND Chicago is closer to 500 attempts than 400. A 27% target share on 425 attempts is 117 targets, almost exactly what Moore had last year when he was the WR25 in fantasy, averaging 11.7 PPR points per game. That production is fine, but also extremely replaceable.
Aiyuk saw very similar target numbers last year and broke 1,000 yards as well, which is why he was the WR15 in fantasy, averaging 13.5 points per game. But in our ADP, Moore is valued well ahead of Aiyuk despite Aiyuk being more productive in 2022 and a year younger.
According to our Trade Analyzer, the difference between the two is a mid-23 second. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, but if you’re getting the same player production-wise, why not take the extra shot on another player?
Or instead of the pick, you can get Tyler Lockett, or Cam Akers, or James Conner if you’re contending and want production now. You just got an extra starter to move laterally at your WR2 spot.
Also in this value range is a 2025 first, which I could totally see getting done if the person giving you that first doesn’t care about picks two years in the future, but again, you just moved laterally at wide receiver and added a first to do it. Who cares when it is, it’s a first! This is free dynasty money that you should be trying to take advantage of now and those types of moves are what separates the savvy dynasty player from the casuals.
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