Dynasty Radar - December/Holiday Edition
For those of you that play dynasty fantasy football, you understand the importance of acquiring players at a reasonable price before their cost skyrockets.
Dynasty Radar by Brian Bailey (@TheFFAviator) is a new monthly series that will provide you with a few players who may still be on your waiver wire or ones you can trade for at a minimal cost.
Well … here we are. Twelve weeks into the fantasy football season. So far, it has been a crazy ride with major injuries and Covid-19 impacting when games are played along with causing players to miss time. All in all, fantasy managers/analysts have had to constantly juggle their rankings, waiver wire pickups and starting lineups. This has led many managers to pull their hair out on a weekly basis. Hopefully, you have been able to adjust and make moves along the way to ride the ups and downs of this hectic season into a playoff spot.
For most leagues the trade deadline has come and gone. For this edition of Dynasty Radar, I am going to focus on what you can do as a fantasy manager once trading is reopens in your league. I will also explain what trends you can look for in the last few weeks of the season to educate you when trading reopens in your league.
As always, we need to look at our teams and be realistic about where they are in comparison to others. Did you sneak into the playoffs with the lowest points scored for the year? What are the weaknesses on your roster? Is it time to trade some productive veterans for youth that will give you similar production? Let’s take a look.
ACQUIRING DRAFT PICKS!
If you are in a league that is still allowing trades then please go trade for draft picks from playoff teams! Do it now! During this time of the year, many fantasy managers feel that their team has a real chance to win it all; even if their team is not the strongest team in the playoffs. Most managers that are heading into the fantasy playoffs are willing to part with draft picks in the hope that it will bring them closer to getting that Championship Title. Accumulate draft picks now, otherwise they will be harder to trade for as managers will start to feel rookie fever while doing their research on the next crop of talent in 2021.
Not only will those draft picks become hard to trade for, they will also become more expensive. If you are able to accumulate draft picks now, they will also have the ability to go up in value in the coming months. A way that you can insulate and improve the value of your team is to trade away any aging veteran players or any players that are at the end of their contracts for draft picks. A veteran player can lose value due to their age and possibly the hype of a new younger player who plays the same position, being drafted by the same team. As well, a player that is at the end of their contract could lose value if their team decides to not re-sign them. As you can see, there are many ways for an aging veteran to lose their value. What won’t lose their value are picks going into the rookie draft next year. Accumulating draft picks is a way to minimize risk going into the next season.
You might be asking yourself “which players will be at the end of their contract?” Look it up! Do some research! This is extra information that many fantasy managers don’t look into but could give you an advantage with trades in the future! I like to use the Sportac.com website/resource. You can filter by position and the year that a player’s contract is ending. A few RBs that are coming to the end of their contracts are Chris Carson, Kenyon Drake, Tevin Coleman, James Conner, and Phillip Lindsay just to name a few. WRs include Allen Robinson, Will Fuller, Corey Davis, Curtis Samuel, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Chris Godwin, and Kenny Golladay. A high percentage of the time, players that switch teams see a decrease in production. There is a possibility than one or more of these players won’t resign with their existing team and join a different one in a worse situation. You may also decide to trade one of these expiring contract players for draft picks which can be used to trade for a player in the same tier or to draft a rookie if you keep the pick(s)
WHAT HAVE YOU DONE FOR ME LATELY?
As much as we try not to be, fantasy football managers are highly influenced by what a player has done for them lately - recency bias. If a RB is not getting as many touches as he normally does, we start to devalue him. If a WR has scored over 20 points per week over the last month. we tend to increase and inflate their value in our mind. However, we may not even take into consideration that the last four matchups where that WR averaged over 20 points were against bottom ranking defenses and that he received only 3 targets a game during that same stretch.
As the season winds down and the remaining games are played, how players produce in these final weeks will be ingrained into a fantasy manager's brain. Keep an eye out for players that you feel are out playing their normal production. You may be able to trade them for a premium once trading resumes in your league.
On the flip side this is also the best time to buy those players that have underperformed. For instance, Denver has one of the toughest strengths of schedules for wide receivers going forward. If Jerry Jeudy underperforms to finish the season, you may be able to acquire him at a discounted price from the current manager who may be disappointed with his end of the year performance. Recency bias is something in the fantasy football community that can work for and against you and your roster.
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CUT THE FAT WHILE YOU CAN!
It is always better to get out from a player while their perceived value is still high. Whether it is the situation they are in with their contract or their age. You don’t want to be caught holding onto a player as he falls off a cliff and has little value.
For me, RB Raheem Mostert is one of these types of players. He has already missed a third of the season this year and he is older than most people think. He is almost 29 years old! Hopefully he can put together a run of productive games here at the end of the season and get managers thinking he can maintain his year end performance heading into next season. Recent trades have Mostert going for 2021 2nd round picks. I would accept a 2nd round pick right away!
Another RB to trade away is Ezekiel Elliott. Yes, the situation in Dallas had a turn for the worst and all players in that offence took a dramatic hit with the loss of Dak Prescott. Elliott has looked off though in the last month. He looks slow and not motivated to be on the field. I am out on owning him on all my rosters. If I can get a top ten RB in a trade for Zeke then I am taking that without hesitation. Before you say, “ln my league, there isn’t a manager that will pay those prices. They don’t like him.” There is always ONE. There will be someone that believes that once Dak is back, Elliot will return to form and he will have won the trade. For me though, it is all about cutting my losses and mitigating risk. If I pivot off Elliot, I am able to insulate that value and take away the risks that this off-season may have in store for the Cowboys Bell Cow. What if Dallas doesn’t pay Dak to remain as the starting QB? We have seen how Elliot has tremendously underperformed without Dak. What if Dak isn’t ready at the beginning of the season? What if Elliot has really slowed down and/or is not motivated to play? No thanks. There is too much risk for me. Trade him now!!
The next player I am trimming the “Fat” off of my roster this off season is WR Kenny Golladay of the Detroit Lions. Golladay will be looking for a new contract this off-season. Whether it is with the Lions or with another team, Golladay will get paid. This season Golladay has been banged up and the Lions are an organizational and offensive mess. While still being ranked as the dynasty WR18, he has only put up a weekly high of WR20 so far in 2020. Even if he stays in Detroit, the erratic play of QB Matthew Stafford leaves me wanting to move on. I am going to be packaging Golladay with picks or players to move up and get a younger more stable WR.
DON’T BE SCARED TO OVERPAY
If there is a player that you really like and want on your team, don’t be scared to overpay in a trade to acquire him! If you have a feeling about a player who is going to break out next year or improve upon this year’s performance, and want to have on your team - do what it takes to get him! Who cares If you pay more than what is considered “market value.” In the end you get your guy. I did this last year when I bought up shares of Tyler Boyd in as many leagues as I could. I overpaid in some of the trades for Boyd but in the end I was very happy with my acquisition, and in my opinion his performance this year paid off.
This upcoming off-season I am going to be targeting another player for many of my rosters. I am looking to trade for the good ol’ Canadian kid Chase “Mapletron” Claypool who happened to grow up fifteen minutes down the road from where I live! Before the 2020 draft, I had a plan to draft Claypool in all my rookie league drafts. But then he showed out and performed extremely well at the combine, and he was no longer an under the radar prospect. After the combine, Claypool was on many dynasty managers' radars and draft lists. Unfortunately, I wasn’t aggressive enough to position myself during the draft to acquire him in more spots than I did. After this season’s breakout performance with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it will cost me a lot more to acquire Claypool. However, I AM NOT SCARED TO OVERPAY! I want him on my fantasy teams!
Claypool is turning heads with his play, and you can’t help but want to jump on board that train and go along for the ride. It didn’t take him long to make an impact this season and to demonstrate what the rookie WR was capable of. In week 2, Claypool had 3 receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown. It wasn’t until week 4 where fantasy managers got as excited as a 16-year old in the back of a car at the drive-in movies with a hot date. That week he put up a stat line of 7 receptions for 110 yards and 4 touchdowns. What is truly impressive is how the Steelers’ coaching staff are scheming up plays for Claypool to demonstrate his enormous athletic attributes. He is being used on the outside, on quick slants, jet sweeps … there honestly isn’t anything that the coaching staff won’t do to get the ball in the hands of this electric playmaker out of Notre Dame! Claypool is currently on pace for 107 targets, 65 receptions, 890 yards and 15 total touchdowns! Currently, he is the WR11 for the year. Not bad for the second round rookie out of Notre Dame.
Going into next year, the word on the street is that Juju Smith-Schuster will likely not be back with Pittsburgh. This will make Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool as the focal points of the offence. If you listen to the coaching staff, they are raving about this Canadian rookie. QB Big Ben is also touting Claypool’s work ethic; how he prepares himself and his enthusiasm to learn, improve and get better as a WR. Everything you hear and see makes you want to have Claypool on your team.
If you look at some of the trades that have happened lately on the DLF Trade Finder, I believe he is still being undervalued compared to what I forecast him doing in the future. Some current trades are James Robinson for Chase Claypool and Logan Thomas; Will Fuller for Chase Claypool (pre-suspension), Christian Kirk and a 2022 3rd for Chase Claypool, and even David Montgomery for Chase Claypool. I’m sorry but give me Claypool by a mile in all of these trades. If this is the current price tag for him, then I will happily give up a first and second round pick for him. Give me Mapletron!
Thank you for reading my December Dynasty Radar article and be sure to check out all of the great written work from the team at True North. Do you agree or disagree with any of my choices? Please leave a comment or message me on Twitter @TheFFAviator
Editor: Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)
Graphic work: Dan Made Graphics (@DanMadeGraphics)