Dynasty League Football


Tactical Transactions: Moves to Make Before Week Three

What are some of the of dynasty moves you can make this week?

Keenan Allen

One was perhaps the loneliest number, but two is suddenly company! Indeed, though it’s perhaps not quite enough data to meet the statistical definition of a trend (hat tip to the concept of p-values which I still only vaguely understand), we can begin to discern tendencies not readily apparent after the 2023 season’s opening week. Continuing, three is a crowd – and it’s this crowd you’ll seek to beat in both your league’s trade market and waiver wire in proactively making the moves to strengthen your dynasty rosters.

Disclaimer time! Now that real, live football is upon us, I need to clarify the overarching rationale behind my advice. As you’re well aware by the fact you’ve come to a website entitled dynastyleaguefootball.com, we’re still taking a long view into account in addition to each player’s weekly (and year-to-date) output. Therefore and for example, when I say a player is a “buy high,” it’s not solely due to the week he just had. Instead, guidance will also take into account his current stature in tools such as DLF’s ADP and rankings, in addition to how he performed.

Much as in previous iterations of this weekly series, I will list one player apiece who I’ve bucketed into the following categories:

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

One last note, as I’m referencing 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 three:

Buy LowPuka Nacua, WR LAR

Week 2 Line: 15-147-0 (20 targets)

Nacua’s emergence as an immediate fantasy force may evoke memories of Odell Beckham’s famous rookie season, but in actuality, the current Raven didn’t post a 100-yard game until his fourth contest (though he notably corralled a trio of touchdowns prior). With that said, success was at least somewhat anticipated with Beckham, given his status as a first-round pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. Instead, I’m reminded of fellow former Giant Mario Manningham, who in the second contest of his second season in 2009 exploded for 10 catches, 150 yards and a score. In one of my leagues I had the first waiver priority and picked him up, though I had a nagging feeling I might be overspending (if you’ve only ever played in leagues with FAAB, you may not inherently appreciate the concept of holding your waiver priority for the *right* player). Manningham indeed went on to have a decent year with a fine 57-822-5 line, but that game ultimately served as his yearly high point. It wasn’t inherently a waste of my waiver priority, but it wasn’t the best use of it either.

I don’t have the same reservations with Nacua, as despite his low draft capital he’s taken the NFL by storm with an aggregate 25-266-0 line through two weeks on a whopping 35 (!!) targets. Sure, Cooper Kupp will return from IR, but he’s on the bad side of 30 and has been suffering through soft tissue injuries. Even if he comes back at full strength, quarterback Matthew Stafford has shown an ability to support multiple fantasy assets, and Nacua has already surpassed uninspiring veteran teammates Van Jefferson and Tyler Higbee. On the year Nacua is the overall PPR WR2 through two weeks despite not yet finding the end zone, which means that even if his volume doesn’t hold up there still remains upside.

In case you skipped the preamble to this article, it’s important to remember that buying “low” is relative to absolute cost, and also that what goes up doesn’t always have to come back down. A quality comparator for Nacua, both stylistically and in terms of draft capital is Detroit pass catcher Amon-Ra St. Brown. After an initially low ADP due to lower-than-expected fourth-round draft capital, the Lion has held serve as an elite asset for nearly a calendar year. Per DLF’s Trade Analyzer, a random 2024 first-round draft pick would only account for about one-third of St. Brown’s value, though if you got in on the ground floor it probably could’ve gotten the job done. I’d have no reservations making that offer for Nacua now – it still might not be enough, but I believe his value is only going to keep increasing.

Buy HighKeenan Allen, WR LAC

Week 2 Line: 8-111-2 (10 targets)

Speaking of Kupp, his positional compatriot across town is doing a heck of an impression! Through two weeks Allen has accumulated 19 targets, which he’s turned into a fine 14-187-2 line, good for a standing as the PPR WR5. This shouldn’t be surprising, as the only thing holding the veteran back over the entirety of his career has been his health, which most recently robbed him of seven 2022 contests.

At 31 years old, it’s hard to assert Allen will have much of an upward trajectory in terms of dynasty value. Still, it’s not as if he’s ancient compared to Kupp (30 years old) or Davante Adams (also 30 years old), yet they seem to get the benefit of the doubt in the minds of dynasty owners.

No, this isn’t a deal you’d be proposing, but rather I’ve used the DLF Dynasty Trade Analyzer to best visually depict the gap in dynasty value despite there being literally no gap in fantasy value (Kupp has yet to play in 2023, and Adams is the PPR WR16). I’m calling Allen a “buy high” because he’s still going to run you at least a second-round pick, and possibly more depending on your trade partner. But as always, buying high beats buying higher, and Allen continues to be an extraordinarily useful fantasy asset.

Sell Low / DropEzekiel Elliott, RB NE

Week 2 Line: 5-13-0, 0-0-0 (0 targets)

As a Penn State fan it pains me somewhat to show an appreciation for the former Buckeye’s NFL career, but Elliott is more than deserving with over 10,000 total yards and 80 touchdowns. Not surprisingly, this compilation required a massive cumulative effort – thus far in his eighth season Elliott is the proud owner of over 2,300 NFL touches (not including preseason, training camp or practice reps), which stack on his 650 touches at the collegiate level. So though he only recently turned 28, it’s unsurprising that he appears even older on the field.

The numbers show a player in decline, in terms of both volume and efficiency. Being “teacher” Jerry Jones’ pet saw Zeke’s Dallas tenure last longer than perhaps warranted, but even the Cowboys saw the writing on the wall and released the veteran this off-season. The hope was he could function as a touchdown vulture and short-yardage banger in New England, and he even added a surprising seven targets in week one – unfortunately he could only turn them into 14 yards, to couple with an aggregate 42 yards on the ground at 3.5 YPC. He saw nine fewer opportunities in Week 2, particularly with the Patriots in comeback mode.

All of this is to say that he’s the clear backup behind the significantly more explosive and (at this stage in their respective careers) better Rhamondre Stevenson. As the Pats aren’t looking like a team that will play with a big lead, it’s hard to envision much garbage time. And even if Stevenson were to miss time, would you really feel comfortable starting Elliott? If we answer this question honestly the response will come back “no” – this leaves Elliott as a dreaded roster clogger, with more name recognition than value. I’d happily accept any draft pick in return, and if that’s not possible he belongs on waivers in shallow leagues.

Sell HighGeorge Kittle, TE SF

Week 2 Line: 3-30-0 (3 targets)

In my Dynasty Buy/Sell/Hold article for the NFC West, I highlighted the fantasy pendulum that is George Kittle. This was typified by his 2022 season, where he was either winning weeks for his owners (top-3 player at the position) or helping lose them (TE2 or TE3 tier), with very little in-between. Thus far in 2023, George has again left owners curious, with a mere 49 yards through two contests.

Fantasy aficionados are well aware of the gold mine that is the San Francisco offense, but this comes with its own unique challenges. First and foremost is feeding all the mouths of a legitimate “Big Four” comprised of Kittle, Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. But while I may have led off that listing with the tight end, he lamentably finds himself in the rear of the pecking order.

Statistics courtesy of Pro Football Reference

Seen here, each of Kittle’s three teammates noted above have totaled at least 164 total yards, along with five scores between them. Even quarterback Brock Purdy’s points from running the ball are outpacing the totality of Kittle’s production! Though he may be the most important “real-life” player of the group, it’s not translating to the box score.

Kittle will undoubtedly have good weeks, as it’s hard to imagine there won’t be games where Purdy doesn’t have to air it out more. Also as was the case last year, if a teammate gets hurt we’ve seen Kittle show an ability to step up and function in more consistently. But good luck predicting any of this, and in the interim owners are potentially hamstrung by a “start your studs” mentality while more consistent production may be available for cheaper. Still considered the dynasty TE5 per the September ADP, there remains an exit strategy for owners flummoxed by Kittle’s fantasy production.

Add (Big Bucks)Josh Reynolds, WR DET

Week 1 Line: 5-66-2 (6 targets)

In my off-season piece on candidates for Detroit’s riser, faller and longshot, I didn’t give Reynolds the respect he seems to have deserved. The rationale was simple, and as I laid out at the time he had next to no track record of production, including in 2022 when the Lions were similarly desperate for pass catchers. I thought it might be veteran Marvin Jones who would supply transient fantasy goodness while teammate Jameson Williams was on the shelf, but his Week 1 miscues ultimately led to an early mothballing.

Meanwhile, Reynolds tacked on two scores against the Seahawks to combine with the 80 yards he accumulated against the Chiefs. He’s improbably sitting as the PPR WR12 on the season, one spot and 0.3 points ahead of star teammate St. Brown. With 10 receptions on 11 targets through two weeks, rookie tight end Sam LaPorta may begin to narrow the gap, but for now Reynolds is the slightly preferred second option in the passing game.

Speaking to these offensive fireworks, Detroit’s aerial output has remained as explosive as it was in 2022, with quarterback Jared Goff supplying 131.6 PPR points (65.8 per game) to his pass catchers. Reynolds may not continue scoring the ball as he did in week two, but based on volume and efficiency alone he should at least be able to compile FLEX-worthy numbers until Williams returns. And while I believe in the sophomore and former first-round pick from Alabama, he remains unproven at the NFL level, suggesting it’s not implausible that Reynolds continues to produce throughout the season. While not quite as bullish as I’ve been on other recommendations in this space, 25-35% of your FAAB budget would not be unreasonable.

Add (Pennies)Jonnu Smith, TE ATL

Week 1 Line: 4-47-0 (6 targets)

Have we entered the lands of dynasty depravity here? Sure. But as always it’s prudent to remember that the tight end position is the equivalent of the gif of a floating dumpster fire, and accordingly we’re best served keeping our minds open.

Continuing, Falcons Head Coach Arthur Smith very clearly seems to hate former first-round pick Kyle Pitts. I would love to claim otherwise, but I just don’t see any other explanation for the once and perhaps future stud’s utilization. Somewhat sadly, Pitts is a mere fourth in receiving on the team, and is doing his best Kittle impression with 59 yards through two games.

Enter (the other) Smith.

Laughably overpaid in hindsight (and perhaps regular sight) by the Patriots, the veteran may have found a new lease on life by reuniting with his offensive coordinator from the Titans. While noting the numbers aren’t exactly earth-shattering, there has been a proven measurable difference when the Smiths unite.

It’s a small sample size, but versus the Packers Smith received one additional target compared to Pitts, and turned his opportunities into two more receptions and 32 more yards than his positional cohort. On an offense that can barely support one asset in the passing game this doesn’t move the needle, but it’s at least worth noting. As such, if you have some room at the end of your bench, perhaps due to trading Ezekiel Elliott for a future ninth-round pick (hyperbole, yes), you could do worse than spending 2-3% of your FAAB budget here.

Follow me on Twitter @EDH_27

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Tactical Transactions: Moves to Make Before Week Three
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