Written by Mike Krafick @mike_krafick and Josh Johnson @Josh_DFWPulse
It’s Week 16 and it’s time for the final week of the fantasy playoffs, all the hard work and dedication is about to pay off if you are one of the two teams left in the running for a championship. If you are not one of those final teams left this may be your last chance to sell of an aging veteran to one of the teams trying to get that title. I’d like to take a slight detour before we get into the Buy Low/Sell High talk and discuss Trade Deadlines in Dynasty Leagues, this is a very popular topic this time of year and I hear very passionate arguments from both sides every December. I am a firm believer in no trade deadlines in dynasty leagues, I understand why they exist in redraft leagues but I don’t see any reason for them in dynasty leagues……..this is supposed to be fantasy football 365 days a year and what do most people like most about fantasy football, trading. So why should we put arbitrary deadlines on a game that is supposed to be fun? The arguments that I hear most for trade deadlines is that it keeps teams from “buying a championship” and protects the integrity of the league. I would argue that not having a trade deadline keeps all owners involved throughout the entire football season, it gives those rebuilding teams an opportunity to unload some older players for younger assets and draft picks which helps keep the leagues competitive. I’ve been on both sides of these trades over the years and from my experience it almost never works out for the team that mortgages their future by giving up too many draft picks for a “stud player” with great match-ups in weeks 14-16. One example I’ll give you is 2015 week 14 a trade went down in one of my dynasty leagues that had a bunch of owners upset about “the integrity of the league” when a guy gave up Jordy Nelson (on IR) for Calvin Johnson (who was playing New Orleans and San Francisco in weeks 14 and 15), in case you don’t recall what happened Calvin had 1 reception for 19 yards in week 14 and that team was eliminated and Megatron retired while Jordy is the #4 WR in 2016. My only point is that trades made by owners with a short-term mindset almost never work out for dynasty owners, so why not let some of the non-contending teams benefit when the playoff teams start an arms race trying to keep up with the other teams that are acquiring stud players. Well that’s enough of that, let’s talk about some players that you might want to look to buy, sell, or hold.
Blake Bortles – Bortles has been bad, really bad, Brock Osweiler bad. Yet his draft pedigree albeit by the Jaguars should get him a second chance. His massive step back this season does not make instill any confidence with his owners. Maybe his second chance is in Jacksonville with the coaching staff. It’s also entirely possible he is a journeyman, a Jeff George or Kerry Collins type of his time. So much uncertainty from now until week one of the 2017 season has Bortles price dwindling. He is not Blaine Gabbert and maybe a scheme can showcase is talents for the better. Gus Bradley is finally gone and interim OC Nathaniel Hackett who has been in charge since 11-27-16 will likely follow him. Bortles needs a mentor. Someone to tell him what he is doing wrong. Not the always positive “we’ll get em next drive” approach. Given the shallow draft QB pool, Bortles should find plenty of suitors.
Jimmy Garoppolo/Nick Foles/A.J. McCarron – This is for you two quarterback junkies. Consider these one of these three if available. These current backups will demand attention from teams looking to make a change at QB. Jimmy G has one more season on his contract with New England but trade rumors have swirled! Even if he ends up Cleveland, you can rest assured it will be as their full-time starter. He carries that Brady/Belichick luster which most NFL teams envy. Nick Foles has the most experience of the trio and could likely be a starter somewhere very soon. Teams like Arizona, Chicago & Jacksonville should all consider the slinging Foles. Arizona would be brilliant! Do not let his PFF grades bog you down. He is an efficient & effective player when given regular reps. His contract is structured to where KC would have to pay him 10 Million per to be their backup. What is more likely is that they will let him test the waters before offering him any kind of deal. He is likely gone. We do not have some “moneyball” explanation as to why McCarron will be a likely trade candidate. We can tell that there is genuine interest in his serves. We are not in love but vested interest should spawn fantastical intrigue amongst dynasty’s depth chart grinders. Grabbing him now could save you FAAB dollars this summer. He has little in-game/NFL experience but he currently has 43 college/NFL starts compared to Brock Osweiler’s 34. And we have seen what Osweiler has to offer with 14 of those starts coming this year. If these players are all taken there is always the Cody “meh” Kessler and Cardale “the great unknown” Jones. Also do not forget if McCarron is moved the “scrappy” Jeff Driskel becomes the immediate backup to Andy Dalton in Cincinnati.
C.J. Prosise – Every chance I get I’m going to tout this guy as a buy and given that he’s currently sidelined with an injury means this could be your last opportunity to acquire him. Prosise is projected to return for the Seahawks just in time for the NFL Playoffs and a couple big performances could increase his stock significantly. Even if he doesn’t come back for a playoff run he’s still in a position to be at worst the pass receiving back in a committee in 2017 and the way that Thomas Rawls looks since coming back from injury I’m not convinced that Prosise can’t take over as the lead back next season. The Seattle offense is currently the 13th ranked passing offense in 2016, the days of pounding the ball with Beastmode are over, Prosise is the future of the Seahawks running back position.
Amari Cooper – Before you overreact and tell me how freaking crazy I am just hear me out. Amari Cooper is a stud, he’s a phenomenal prospect that that could be one of the best Wide Receivers in the league but right now he’s not even the #1 WR on his own team. Derek Carr has made shown that he will look to other receivers on the Raiders in clutch situations, guys like Seth Roberts are getting more red zone looks than Cooper. Initially I thought it was a fluke or some random small sample size thing but this is a trend that has gone on for almost two full seasons. On the season Crabtree is leading the Raiders with 21 Red Zone Targets (8 TD’s), Seth Roberts has 20 Red Zone Targets (5 TD’s), and Cooper has been targeted in the Red Zone only 12 times (4 TD’s). I am in no way saying that Cooper is someone you should give up on or cut loose getting whatever you can in return, but if you can get full price for him then you might want to cash in. Cooper is looking like a top 5 startup pick in 2017 and with the numbers he’s putting up right now it could be the time to see what you can get. Throw him on the trade block in your league, you’ll likely get some low ball offers but chances are you’ll see one of the owners in your league that are willing to give you full retail price.
Julio Jones – Julio Jones is and has been one of the most dominant players at the Wide Receiver position since coming into the league in 2011, I’m not going to make an argument against that. But he is going to be 28 years old in February and has dealt with nagging lower body injuries over the course of his career. He has had huge statistical games like the 12/300/1 game in week 4 against Carolina this year but he’s also had a couple of duds this year as well. If you take a look at Julio’s career stats he’s had some very inconsistent production, he has 2 seasons with over 100 receptions but only one season with 10 or more TD’s. That is and has been my problem with Julio over the course of his career is the way that he is used in the offense and the lack of Red Zone targets and TD’s that he gets, he’s never put together that 100/1400/10+ season like AB and OBJ have recently. Assuming he plays in weeks 16 & 17 this year he will have missed a total of 18 games over his 6 year career, more than a full season worth and some of those games he started he was used as a decoy. One big take away I had from the Megatron retirement is that these big tall athletic receivers with multiple lower body injuries are much more likely to decline rapidly the closer they get to age 30. I’m not saying Julio is going to fall off a cliff or retire in the next year or two but I’d much rather have the steady production from a player like Antonio Brown or a younger player like OBJ (similar arch-type). There’s a good chance that someone in your leagues still sees Julio Jones as the best WR in fantasy football and expects him to keep up his production for another 5 or 6 years, I am not one of those owners.
Adrian Peterson – I heard someone say the other day that they would give a 3rd round rookie pick to acquire Adrian Peterson, I realize that is not likely how everyone values him but there is no way that you would get the same return in trade that you could have at the beginning of the season. If you’ve stuck with A.P. this far there’s really no reason to trade him away now unless you are totally rebuilding. Does anyone think that Peterson will be back with the Vikings in 2017? I really do not, he is owed over $11 million in base salary next season and will count as an $18 million cap hit for Minnesota. So there’s a very good chance that he’s with a new team next season and could find himself in a much better situation. I’m not expecting him to sign with some other team and be an RB1 in fantasy at age 32 but when a name brand player like Peterson moves to a new team there is a significant amount of excitement and optimism around that player producing at a high level. My argument for holding Peterson is that he will likely see an increase in value if/when he signs with another team, I’m not expecting him to help anyone win a title this year or even next but cashing out now would be a mistake. Being successful at trading in dynasty is often more about timing than anything else.
Spencer Ware – At the beginning of the season Spencer Ware looked like a top 10 fantasy running back but over the past several weeks he’s come back to earth with his production. I am expecting to hear some more talk about Jamaal Charles returning to the Chiefs backfield as we get closer to the NFL Playoffs but as a Ware owner I’m not too concerned. Charles will turn 30 years old next week (12/27) and he’s had multiple serious knee injuries in his career. Spencer Ware has shown this season that he is a 3 down back and I’m expecting him to be the lead back for the Chiefs heading into the 2017 season. He’s had at least 10 carries in every game this year except for one (due to injury) and has at least 1 reception in every game played this season. I see Ware as a low end RB1/high end RB2 for the next couple of years, unless someone is really willing to overpay I want to keep him on my roster.
Good luck in your finals match-ups, toilet bowls, and DFS for those that are totally out of the running this week. Comment below or find me on twitter @mike_krafick and let me know what you thought of the Buy/Sell/Hold players and where you stand on Trade Deadlines in Dynasty Leagues.