Although there are many more things to consider
in dynasty leagues compared to redraft leagues, there is a big similarity
involving acquiring and trading away assets. In both formats you
want to (normally) sell high and buy low. The great thing about
dynasty leagues is you can choose to make moves like this in February
and March when hardcore owners are doing everything they can to
improve their teams.
I previously highlighted 5 players I was looking to buy in dynasty
formats, so it only makes sense to look at the other side of the
coin. While each of the following players may very well have a good
season (or more) left, their current situation makes a great time
to sell while you can still maximize value, and avoiding their likely
decline in performance. Picture these players as being on or near
the top of a steep mountain, about to go over the other side and
tumble down the sharp decline.
1. QB Matthew
Stafford, DET: Stafford was having a very solid, yet
unspectacular fantasy year up until Week 17 (meaningless in most
leagues), where he exploded for his second-best fantasy game of
the season. This game vaulted him into the top 10 among fantasy
QBs and thus, gives his owners a little more leverage when looking
to shop him this off-season.
While I am a fan of Stafford’s toughness and overall game,
he has never been an elite fantasy asset, although he’s
had several years of top 10 production. This off-season represents
perhaps the best value Stafford has had in years while the likelihood
of him going anywhere but down is very low.
For the Detroit Lions, it has become painfully clear to just
about everyone that the main ingredient the team is missing is
a consistent run game. In 2017 the Lions were dead last in rushing
yards and rushing yards per attempt while attempting the second
fewest rushes in the NFL. On the flip side, they finished top
10 in pass attempts, as they have the past several years.
With a new defensive-minded coach coming in (Matt Patricia) it
is unfathomable to think the Lions will simply continue their
pass-heavy ways after such a lack of success with that formula.
A more balanced attack may find a few more wins but the chances
Stafford increases or even comes close to his fantasy production
in 2017 is unlikely. Add in an uninspiring receiving corps that
lacks a true No.1 wide receiver and an offensive line that got
Stafford sacked a career-high 47 times last season and it appears
Stafford’s fantasy production is about to take a nose dive.
Depending on your league type and size, quarterbacks may not
be valued highly but Stafford is still barely just 30 years old
and coming off a very productive year so you certainly should
have some suitors in your league. Stafford owners should look
to trade down to a lesser QB for a draft pick or young player
in return. For example, I’ve moved Stafford for Mitchell Trubisky and an early second round rookie draft pick in one league.
Trading down at the QB position in order to acquire more valuable
assets is a strategy I would advocate and it seems like the perfect
time to employ this option with Stafford.
Bryant failed to record a 100-yard game
and appears to have lost the ability to separate from DBs.
2. WR Dez
Bryant, DAL: Unlike the other players on this list
Bryant had a subpar season in 2017 so he’s not exactly a sell-high
candidate. Luckily Bryant carries enough history and name recognition
in the dynasty community to still hold significant value.
The selling points on Bryant are his raw talent, his past performance
as a top 10 fantasy receiver, and the fact that he is still just
29 years old. While you should certainly emphasize these points
while trying to move him, Bryant is all but washed up and anywhere
I own a share of him I’m trying to move him as soon as possible.
On paper, Dez was pretty awful this year. For a guy who got over
130 targets on the season, Bryant failed to record a 100-yard
game and topped 75 yards just once despite playing in all 16 games.
For the third year in a row, Bryant’s catch percentage was
under 55% and his yards per reception (12.1) were the lowest of
his eight-year career. In standard leagues Bryant was barely a
low-end WR2 and his output in PPR leagues was not much better.
Regardless of the stats, it was his play on the field that stood
out to me and screamed “sell me ASAP”. Bryant, while
still bigger and stronger than most defensive backs, never seemed
to separate from the most average of competition. Most of the
catches Dez made were jump balls or plays where he had to muscle
the ball away from opposing defenders. He was clearly no longer
able to beat most defenses with speed or quickness and if I had
to use one word to describe him I’d probably say he looked
On a team that was desperately lacking receiving talent, especially
when Ezekiel Elliot was out, Bryant should have had 155+ targets
but most games, Dak Prescott seemed hesitant to throw in Bryant’s
direction and I don’t exactly blame him. When the defensive
back is draped all over your receiver, I wouldn’t be forcing
many passes to him either.
Whether it was the results of past injuries or he simply just
lost a step, Bryant looked like a very average NFL wide receiver
in 2017. Throw in more rumblings of him being a distraction and
you have the makings of a once elite receiver about to decline
into the sunset. While you are certainly not going to get the
return you could from trading him 1-2 years ago, there are still
plenty of owners out there that will think 2017 was a fluke and
be willing to pay high WR2 value for a player that has posted
solid WR1 seasons in the past. I’d be more than happy to
dump him at that price and am doing so wherever I can.
3. RB Lamar
Miller, HOU: Similar to Bryant, Miller’s 2017 was a
subpar season, however unlike Bryant, Miller finished top 15 at
his position in overall production, making for a great sell to
owners not realizing how mediocre the Texans’ running back season
Up through Week 13. Miller was actually having a good (not great),
consistent fantasy year, averaging about 11.5 fantasy points per
game (standard scoring), 6 total touchdowns, and contributing
nicely in the passing game with 31 receptions. Then Week 14 came
and Miller’s production and usage both took massive hits,
totaling just 195 yards and zero touchdowns in the final four
games combined. It seems, the Texans coaches were giving up on
Miller and it may be a sign of things to come.
On the year, Miller failed to run for 1,000 yards and his 3.7
yards per rushing attempt were the lowest of his career by a significant
margin. While still just 27 years old (when next season starts),
the book on Miller seems to be out. He is a solid talent that
thrives as a part of a committee (as he was in Miami) but as a
workhorse back, Miller’s production drops dramatically and
he simply does not have what it takes to be a 18+ touch a game
player. The experiment of making Miller a workhorse, has been
a relative failure and it is clear he is at his best when kept
to a minimal workload. While Miller looks to be a potential 2018
cut candidate for the Texans, the landing spot probably will not
matter too much, as he will most likely become a change-of-pace
back rather than a bell-cow of any team.
With Miller ending the season as a top 15 fantasy back and being
relatively young, there are still quite a few owners that see
him as a top 20 dynasty back. While he may still have some juice
left, I see him being much more valuable to an NFL team than he
will be to a fantasy team going forward, with his best fantasy
seasons already behind him. Cash in while you still can.
It might be painful, this could be the
right to time to sell Julio in order to maximize his return
4. WR Julio
Jones, ATL: I know this one won’t be a very popular
choice because Julio is beloved in the fantasy community, which
he should be, but hear me out.
Jones is coming off an overall solid fantasy season and is still
relatively young enough (29) to be considered a top 5 fantasy
receiver in most, if not all, dynasty leagues. You can likely
get quite the haul of picks and players for Julio without much
effort. While I do not expect a complete, drastic decline right
away, I do believe the time is right to sell Julio while you can
still get maximum value in return.
While Julio has been productive every healthy year of his career,
there are two things that stand out to me regarding his productivity.
First, for his size and talent, he has always been an underachiever
in the touchdown area. He’s posted just one year (2012)
of double digit touchdowns (10), and just 3 touchdowns this past
season, despite playing all 16 games. Whether this is the Atlanta
scheme, defenses taking him away, or something else entirely,
there are now seven seasons of evidence that shows Julio is simply
not a touchdown machine for an elite receiver.
Secondly, while Julio normally gets consistent targets, he is
more “streaky” than people might think. Take for example,
in his best two games combined over the past two seasons Julio
has accumulated 553 yards and 3 touchdowns. If you had him in
your lineup those weeks, which you should have, he probably single-handedly
won you those games. Looking at his other game logs is not quite
as exciting, with just 4 other double digit fantasy point days
in 2017 (standard scoring).
This is not to say Julio was not valuable, he certainly was,
but many people look at him (in terms of production) as more of
an Antonio Brown when I would argue he is closer to a Brandin
Cooks. If you come to grips with the fact that you will probably
miss out on one-two huge games in 2018, but also avoid four-five
“dud” games, it may make it mentally easier for you
to pull the trigger on trading him.
My last point is more speculation but something that does have
some basis in history and fact. Julio has had a history of lower
body injuries. He is also 6’3’’, 220 pounds
with a whole lot of power exerted and a whole lot of miles on
his legs/ankles/feet etc. While he is not much past his prime,
Julio has the type of body that is prone to break down earlier
than smaller, lighter players at his position. While any player
that receives as much work as Julio does has an increased chance
of injury compared to others, the combination of volume, injury
history, age, and body type lead me to believe the end may be
several years closer than what many others may believe.
If you own a dynasty team that is likely 2-3 players away, or
perhaps rebuilding a bit, Julio is a perfect centerpiece to trade
away now while you can get several valuable players in return,
at the same time alleviating some of the inherent risk he carries.
5. RB LeSean
McCoy, BUF: For eight seasons now McCoy has been one
of the most consistent players in all of fantasy football, rarely
falling out of the top 8 fantasy backs in the game and often finishing
in the top 5. 2017 was another great year for the Bills starting
running back, finishing in the top 10 for the position in all
scoring systems. While McCoy has not shown any major signs of
slowing down, he did post a career-low in yards per attempt (4.0)
and was not as consistent on a week-to-week basis.
While I’m still a big fan of “Shady” my logic
in looking to move him this off-season is simple; this seems like
the last time you’ll be able to get max value for him and
I’d rather be a year too early in predicting his decline
than a year too late.
McCoy will turn 30 years old before Week 1 this coming season,
and while there have been several backs to have successful seasons
into their 30’s, it’s a relatively short list. With
nearly 2700 total touches in his career, McCoy has a lot of mileage
on his legs and while he hasn’t missed a ton of games to
injury, he does have a number of lower body injuries on his resume,
especially in the foot and ankle.
Barring an unforeseen trade, McCoy will remain on the Bills at
least another year and this too limits his upside as the team
is in a state of flux at the quarterback position and will likely
field an offensive line that performs below the league average,
especially with the recent retirement of Center Eric Wood.
Holding onto 30 year-old running backs in a dynasty league is
like gambling at a casino; you may win a couple hands here and
there but in the end the house always wins. With a solid 2017
fantasy finish and great name value, McCoy is at a point where
you can really maximize his value, especially to a fantasy owner
that may be on the cusp of a title run and could use a veteran
stud to shore up their roster.
While you should certainly not be giving him away for peanuts,
I’d be happy to move McCoy at a low-to-mid-tier RB1 value
sometime this off-season. All NFL RBs carry some risk but we’ve
seen before that there can be a drastic and sudden decline in
backs over 30. With this in mind, it’s much better to get
solid value for McCoy before it’s too late.