Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Examining ‘Injury Discounts’

Shane Manila

Welcome back to the DLF Mailbag, the preeminent mailbag in all the dynasty fantasy football land. This year I’ll be answering questions from you via Twitter, Discord, or the old-fashioned way (via email).

Free agency is now far behind us. The 2023 NFL Draft has now come and gone. It’s the quiet season until training camps open, but that doesn’t mean the questions ever stop. While it may be the dog days of summer, and seemingly nothing is going on, this is a great time to evaluate your rosters and see what changes or upgrades can be made.

Step it up


I love getting player questions, and trade questions, but what I like is looking at rosters and trying to figure out which direction to go and how to get there. A couple of general notes before we dig into the roster:

Considering that the roster has five hammers in Deshaun Watson, Jaylen Waddle, Chris Olave, Saquon Barkley, and Kyle Pitts – out of nine starting slots – and three future firsts, I’d say this roster is closer to competing than not competing. If this is the first time you’ve seen me use the term “hammer” it just refers to a player who is a needle mover, a player with week-winning upside, a player who can put up crooked scores.

The starting lineup is small, only nine, which means depth is less important. You should focus on acquiring hammers, and when making trades, we don’t want to be on the receiving end of two-for-ones, we want the strongest singular asset in any deal.

The quarterback room is the first thing I look at in a superflex league. Watson is elite, and Richardson has the upside to be elite. I have some concerns with Anthony Richardson, so if I could use Richardson and one of my 2025 firsts to tier up to Justin Fields, (per current DLF rankings) or a 2024 first to get up to Lamar Jackson I would do so. But if you just want to hold Richardson and bet on his upside, I’m fine with that as well since Russell Wilson should be able to get through at least the 2023 season while Richardson gets his feet under him. Move on from Trey Lance – the Dynasty Trade Finder can help guide you. I prefer a Dameon Pierce-like deal for the specific roster shared above, as a running back is of greater need.

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A wide receiver room with Olave and Waddle is very good, and having the Amari Cooper stack with Watson is a nice cheap stack. If we truly want to push for a title, I would look to pair Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Jameson Williams and see if we can get a Stefon Diggs tier of receiver. This isn’t a move I would look to make on every roster, but considering the assets and age of core players on this roster I would look to make it here.

Only one note about the running back, and this is more borne of my own philosophy than anything else, but if I could tier down from Barkley I would look to do so. I would try to move Barkley and a second-round rookie pick for someone in the Najee Harris range and a future rookie first, even if it’s a 2025 pick.

Injury discount

Buying and selling players with injuries or injury concerns is one of the rites of passage of any dynasty league. When looking at when you should sell, I think we can all agree that the worst time to move a player is immediately after they sustain an injury. The sharks smell blood in the water whenever a player is injured and the lowball offers usually come en masse. Akin to this thought process is knowing you shouldn’t trade a player (unless you are receiving full value) once they are ready to return from a long-term injury.

As an example below is an example of a trade I would make sending away Tua Tagovailoa because you’re getting full value (+) for him.

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Contrary to the trade above, the one below is selling short. Trading a QB1, albeit a low-end one with injury concerns, for a WR2 and a second-round rookie pick is a loss.

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Why you would make the deal above now makes little sense to me. You held onto Tagovailoa through each of his injuries last season, including a season-ending one, only to trade him away two months from the start of the season, when every report is that he’s on track to be healthy come week one?

The thought process behind that confuses me when you’re selling at a loss on the player. Even if you think about the opportunity cost lost in a worst-case scenario, what have you lost by not making this deal? Let’s say he suffers another concussion and is ultimately forced to retire, are you truly going to be impacted by not having traded for a low-end WR2? No, you would not be materially affected by that. Is the potential downside of losing out on a WR2 greater than the potential upside of a QB1? No, it is not. Based on the risk versus reward ratio there’s no reason to accept a low-ball offer for Tagovailoa right now.

League settings

It could be because I play in a lot of leagues with like-minded people, but I don’t ever really see many divisive league settings. If you’re old like me, you remember the wars that were fought over superflex, PPR, and tight-end premium, but those battles were decided some time ago, with superflex and PPR becoming the standard.

I think there are still two settings that people will still butt heads over. Whether the startup draft should be an auction draft or a snake draft is usually a lively debate. Anyone who prefers auction will tell you it’s fairer, and it takes more strategy than a snake draft. I don’t agree, but that’s the argument.

Whether starting rosters should start two tight ends is also a fun topic. I am firmly opposed to starting two tight-end leagues, only because of just how poor the production is at the position outside of the top tier. Some may feel that brings more value to the position, but I am not a fan.

And though not a league setting exactly, my favorite ongoing debate is which platform to use for the league. I have become a giant fan of Sleeper, but there are still folks who prefer My Fantasy League (MFL). That’s the debate I want to hear about. So if you don’t mind, just let me know which platform you prefer, and why, below in the comments.

shane manila
Dynasty Fantasy Football Mailbag: Examining ‘Injury Discounts’