Dynasty League Football


Tactical Transactions: Moves to Make Before Week One

Eric Hardter kicks off a weekly series offering up some suggested moves to make in your leagues.

Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

This is the week! You’ve spent all off-season honing in on your approach, and now it’s time to (hopefully) reap the benefits of your diligence. You now have just a couple of days left before speculation turns into box score statistical goodness.

To aid in this process, I will list one player apiece on a weekly basis who I’ve bucketed into the following categories:

  • Buy low
  • Buy high
  • Sell low
  • Sell high
  • Add (Big Bucks)
  • Add (Pennies)

As a reminder, and for one last shameless plug, I recently concluded my off-season Dynasty Buy/Sell/Hold series across all eight NFL divisions! You can also refer to these pieces for my additional longform thoughts on roster moves to make. The final installment featured the NFC West.

One last note, as I’m leveraging DLF ADP and rankings, advice herein is for a 12-team, non-superflex setting with full PPR scoring. Divergent league settings (both for starting positions and scoring) hopefully shouldn’t render this advice as not actionable, but it’s an important disclaimer nonetheless.

With that preamble in hand, here are the tactical transactions you should consider before week one:

Buy Low – Sam LaPorta, TE DET

I’ve spilled much ink over the past couple of months on the Lions rookie and see no reason to deviate now. The highlights include LaPorta’s draft capital, collegiate profile, pro readiness, barren positional depth chart, overall lack of pass catchers on the offense, and being tied to a quarterback who slung it for 4,400+ yards and 29 scores in 2022. Despite this conflation of reasons for fantasy prosperity, the former Hawkeye’s ADP has been in something of a stasis since he was drafted.

If LaPorta performs as he’s capable of, he won’t be viewed as the TE10 much longer. Even if you feel comfortable at the position, there are so few legitimate game changers with elite upside. Given this, it won’t take long for the needle to move, and he won’t be a “buy low” for much longer.

Buy High – DeVonta Smith, WR PHI

I promise, this will be the last week I go back to my “greatest hits” from my Dynasty Buy/Sell/Hold series, but it’s not as if much has happened over the past few weeks to change my stance on Philadelphia’s WR1b. WR12 is indeed steep draft capital, but I’d actually prefer Smith over multiple players in front of him, including Stefon Diggs, Cooper Kupp, Chris Olave and Jaylen Waddle. For the latter two especially, I’m not sure why a gap of 6-8 ADP slots (noting these are important ADP slots in the late first to mid second round) exists.

Though this could be viewed as a negative check mark, Smith has accrued his numbers on a low volume, albeit highly efficient passing offense. His rookie year was very similar to Olave’s, and while Waddle outpaced him in 2021, the two were within five PPR points in 2022, showing Smith clearly made up the gap. I recognize there isn’t a huge difference in the respective valuations of these players, but I could see a universe where Smith actually becomes the preferred asset in the next couple of months.

Sell Low – Devin Singletary, RB HOU

Though news as recently as September 4, 2023 asserts the Texans backfield will be a timeshare, I’m not buying it.

Image from The Athletic.

Dameon Pierce was legitimately the only bright spot on a moribund Texans offense in 2022, functioning as the only efficient asset in the running game. Meanwhile Singletary was the least efficient runner in Buffalo, likely aiding in their decision to not re-sign him. The Texans needed a warm body behind Pierce, given a league-worst depth chart last season, and that’s how I view his addition to the roster. So while I recognize it was still the pre-season, actions speak louder than words – and Houston’s actions assert Pierce is going to receive the bulk of the load, with Singletary as nothing more than the second guy in the pecking order.

Sell High – Chris Olave, WR NO

Please see notes on Smith, DeVonta, above. It’s nothing inherently against Olave, but he seems to be riding a wave of momentum that has outpaced similarly producing players at the wide receiver position.

In addition to Smith, I find it surprising that Olave’s value eclipses that of Tee Higgins, and is nearly a full round ahead of fellow sophomore Drake London. By no means do owners “have” to sell players just because they’re highly valued, but if the ADP consensus is indeed reflective of the multitude of leagues, it may be possible to cash out now, receive similar (or possibly higher) production, and even get something of a sweetener on top.

Continuing, there may be some small reason for concern. I’ve never subscribed to the “well they needed someone to throw to” theory, as it’s still a player’s job to get open and make the plays. But it’s at least notable that the second- and third-leading receivers on the Saints last year were a tight end and a running back. Rashid Shaheed was highly efficient, turning his 34 targets into a whopping 488 yards, but no other New Orleans wide receiver even broke the 300-yard barrier. Michael Thomas (remember him?) is returning and by all accounts is healthy, so there could be less meat on the bone for Olave this year – while noting once again he’s not a surefire “sell” candidate, reasons for pessimism exist.

Add (Big Bucks) – Demario Douglas, WR NE

Albeit for small school Liberty, Douglas led the team in most statistical categories over the past two seasons, while also adding some intrigue on the ground in 2022.

Statistics from Sports Reference.

Continuing, he’s being labeled as one of New England’s expected breakout players, and has even been likened to Victor Cruz by the NFL Network’s Peter Schrager. While I would assume JuJu Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker will function as the team’s top receivers, intrigue remains behind them, with 2022 afterthought Kendrick Bourne apparently next in line. If you’re betting on the rookie securing duties in 3WR sets, and if Douglas is available on your league’s waiver wire, I believe he’s worth between 50-60% of your FAAB dollars.

Add (Pennies) – Andrei Iosivas, WR CIN

With fellow rookie Charlie Jones reportedly playing through a labrum tear and not at 100% strength, it’s been Iosivas who has been stepping up in the preseason. In doing so he’s commanded a massive 26 targets across three games, while noting his efficiency has been lackluster by virtue of turning them into a 12-129-1 line. Still, it’s clearly a step in the right direction for the sixth round pick.

As shown by his measurables, Iosivas brings significant size and athleticism with him. He’s also potentially only an injury away to claiming a spot in 3WR sets, due to potentially having passed Jones and only needing to compete with NFL vagabond Trenton Irwin. 2023 viability will be hard to come by, but if you have the roster space I could see spending 5-10% of your FAAB dollars to keep Iosivas at the end of your bench.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27.

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Tactical Transactions: Moves to Make Before Week One
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