Even though the fantasy football season is over, if you are in a Dynasty league, you know there truly is no off-season. Evaluation and trading of players occurs 365 days a year whether you are looking to rebuild or add that one piece to propel you to a championship. Last week the TNFF crew discussed their Dynasty Buys for the upcoming 2021 season. This time around the 'EhTeam' will discuss some of their favourite Dynasty Sell players for 2021.
Robert Tonyan (TE - Green Bay Packers)
Robert Tonyan seemingly came out of nowhere in 2020. He carried that anonymity to a TE4 finish in PPR scoring. He was buoyed by a whopping 11 TDs, 5 of which came while Davante Adams was injured. I compare his 2020 season to that of Jared Cook in 2019.
Robert Tonyan 2020 Stats:
59 targets 52 receptions 586 yards 11 TDs
Jared Cook 2019 Stats:
65 targets 43 receptions 705 yards 9 TDs
Obviously there are a few differences between the two players. Tonyan had an unsustainable catch rate of 88% compared to Cook’s 66%. However, Cook had a higher yards per reception at 16.40 compared to Tonyan’s 11.27. The major similarity was their rates of scoring TDs. Tonyan scored a TD on every 4.72 receptions while Cook scored a TD on every 4.78 receptions. That was the best rate of Cook’s career so it is possible that this could be the peak rate for Tonyan as well.
Robert Tonyan has quite a few things working against him moving forward. He is due for regression in terms of catch rate and how often he scored. It is also unlikely that Aaron Rodgers throws for 48 TDs again (his career high). Tonyan only played on 61% of his team’s total offensive snaps. He is also a Restricted Free Agent this offseason so there is a small chance he doesn’t return to the Packers. If he leaves, he will likely land in a worse situation. If he stays with the Packers, there is always the chance they add another receiving option via free agency or in the NFL draft. Last but not least do not rule out the possibility of Jace Sternberger or Josiah Deguara stepping up in 2021. With all these factors in play, it is unlikely we see another top 5 TE finish from Robert Tonyan. Sell high while you still can!
- Craig (@CoachCraigSport)
Antonio Gibson (RB - Washington Football Team)
I’ll admit, I doubted Gibson going into last season and was scared by his lack of usage in college. I will be the first to say I was wrong with that evaluation, and I believe Gibson is a very talented young RB. However, I think people are getting carried away with his fantasy production and overlooking some statistical improbabilities.
In fourteen games Gibson managed to be the RB12 in half PPR formats. This year we remarkably had five rookie RBs crack the top 24. Of this group, Gibson was fourth in rushing yards and sixth in receiving yards. What really boosted his numbers were his rushing touchdowns. Despite having 52 less rushing attempts, Gibson tied Jonathan Taylor for the most rushing touchdowns by a rookie (11) in 2020. Before last season, since 2010 only two running backs have had 11 or more rushing touchdowns in their rookie season (Ezekiel Elliott 2016, Alfred Morris 2012). Ironically, Alfred Morris also did this with the Washington Football Team, which is hopefully the only career similarity between the two.
My second point against Gibson is his receiving work. Although he has proved to be very versatile in the passing game, for some reason the team does not utilize him in this way. Instead J.D McKissic led the league in targets at the position with 110, to Gibson’s 44. This duo led the league in targets at the position which will most likely regress in 2021. I’m getting Josh Jacobs vibes from Gibson’s receiving work - there was a lot of speculation for increased passing usage, however Jacobs finished with a mere 45 targets last season.
As a result, I am looking to cash in on his rookie success and acquire another young back. For example, I would gladly flip Gibson for Clyde Edwards-Helaire who is not only the receiving back on the best offense in the league, but is also being undervalued due to his 4 rushing touchdowns in 2020. Gibson has the talent to be a great fantasy player, however, I am not sure another time will come where you can cash in on him as a top-8 dynasty running back.
- Ellis (@YoitsEllis_FF)
James Robinson (RB - Jacksonville Jaguars)
Needless to say, the undrafted rookie out of Illinois St. had an outstanding season in 2020 with the Jaguars. Robinson rushed for 1,070 yards and seven TDs while catching 49 targets for an additional 344 yards and three TDs. From weeks 1-16 he finished as the RB4 in a half PPR scoring format. So … why is he a sell high then? Wouldn’t we want to keep a young RB (turning 23 in August) on our dynasty roster?
In a dynasty league, I like to maximize my return and minimize risk when it comes to players. His trade value will never be any higher and will surely decrease (possibly plummet) if the Jaguars draft or sign a free agent RB. Even if Robinson has the backfield all to himself next season, what guarantee does he have of not being vultured at the goal line by the Jaguars eventual first overall draft pick and future franchise QB Trevor Lawrence? In the past 2 years at Clemson, Lawrence rushed for 17 TDs! This could turn into another Buffalo Bills and Josh Allen 2020 situation where their RBs have very little upside in the red zone.
Will Robinson ever finish as the RB4 or higher again? Most likely not. In my opinion, he has already experienced his ceiling and best season. His future production and value can only go down from here. I am willing to cash out and sell high!
- Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)
Kareem Hunt (RB - Cleveland Browns)
Kareem Hunt has been a reliable fantasy producer for the Cleveland Browns since joining the team in 2019. In his last two seasons, he’s finished as a RB2 or higher in PPR scoring. In 2020, he finished as the RB10. However, when we are looking at him through a dynasty lens, there is some cause for concern.
If we look back at last season, Hunt finished with 841 yards on 198 attempts and six TDson the ground. 51 targets came his way through the air. Hunt made 38 receptions for 304 yards and five TDs. Those numbers are not bad by any means, but are they sustainable?
2021 it appears the plan for the Browns backfield may be similar to that of 2020, although we’ve yet to embark on free agency and the NFL Draft. As it stands now, the Browns backfield should be a two-headed attack once again with Hunt “competing” for carries with Nick Chubb. And without a doubt Chubb is a talented player.
Chubb actually ended as the RB11 in PPR scoring in 2020. He finished the year with 190 attempts totaling 1,067 yards and 12 scores. That is literally double the rushing touchdowns than Hunt, 226 more rushing yards and an additional 1.4 yards per carry on average. The kicker however is that Chubb played four less games and a majority of Hunt’s production came during the four-game stretch that Chubb was sidelined with injury.
If Chubb is able to stay healthy in 2021, it seems obvious the Browns are going to give him a considerable workload. For now, Hunt will likely continue to be the team’s third-down tailback, meaning he will still have some relevance in fantasy football.
For those that play dynasty, it may be time to start thinking long term, and sell on Hunt while there’s still decent value to be had.
Nate Williams (@NateWilliamsDFS)
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Clyde Edwards-Helaire (RB - Kansas City Chiefs)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire (CEH) is a very polarizing player to grade this off season. On the one hand, he screams BUY: 1st round draft pedigree, attached to a high powered offense, and just 22 years young (as of April 11th). Some will forgive his rocky rookie season, however, I am not of that mindset. Currently being drafted as the RB13 in DLF mocks ahead of Miles Sanders, Ezekiel Elliott, Josh Jacobs and Aaron Jones - good for 38th overall in SF startup mocks! His current ADP does not make sense, and I believe all the other RBs I just mentioned have a case to be drafted ahead of CEH.
Now I get it, RB reigns supreme, right? Well, not in Kansas City. The Chiefs rushed the ball 403 times, good for 1799 yards in 2020. They passed the ball an astonishing 630 times, 3rd most in the NFL. These are both career highs for Patrick Mahomes in his young career. That leads us to the “other hand” when discussing CEH. While yes, the Chiefs DID run the most running plays of Mahomes luxurious career, it had them finish 15th in total rushing yards and just 22nd across the whole NFL in attempts!
So what does this mean for CEH? Edwards-Helaire rushed the ball 181 times
for 803 yards on the ground and saw 55 targets which translated to 297 receiving yards in 2020. 1100 scrimmage yards isn’t bad for a 21 year old in his rookie season, but we have to ask the question - Why did he only see a 50% snap share? Is that going to increase? Even if it does, how does that affect his target share and overall volume and production?
He saw 231 opportunities in his rookie season - a healthy portion for a 5’ 7”, 207lb running back. I can’t see that number fluctuating by more than 20-30 opportunities per season, so really, how much upside does he have?! He found the endzone five times in 2020 - a rather low number for a starting RB. This leads to my biggest concern - red zone usage & efficiency. CEH saw 35 red zone touches inside the 20 and only converted on 11.4% of those attempts for just four TDs! Inside the 5 on the ground he only saw 10 touches and converted just one of them into a touchdown! Not good. (He also scored one through the air.)
So, generously projecting him to have 15 more red zone opportunities (50 - which would be more than Kamara, Zeke, A. Jones and Hunt all had in 2020) and converting at a full 5% higher percentage (so 16.4%) would give him a disappointing 8.2 total red zone TD’s… adding just 18 points to his overall finish. I couldn't help it, I had to do the math, so I gave him some lofty projections. If he sees 20 more targets (75 total) and averages 10.3 yards per target (2 more than he averaged in 2020) he’ll have approximately 13 more receptions and 134 yards. Add that plus the TD numbers to his 2020 production and we have a total of 220.4 PPR points - which would have been 2 points ahead of Kareem Hunt for the RB10 finish. Even if his workload and efficiency increases his upside is basically the RB9-10. If it DOESN'T increase or he regresses at all, his value will absolutely plummet. I’d like to sell high while he still has perceived RB1 value.
And lastly, not to sound like a CEH hater, but Andy Reid used Darrell Williams this year and Damien Williams in 2019, and we saw how potent this offense can be when rotating these guys. I think with Williams (presumably) coming back in 2021, we can expect a similar usage and production for CEH in 2021. He can still be a viable RB2 and will have weeks where you’re excited to own him, but I think his peak value is now while he still has the “shiny new toy” ring to him.
I'll leave you with my last concern for CEH - he’s the third option in an offense that focuses heavily on passing the football. Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes are the gas that makes this engine go. Clyde’s like the wiper blades - not essential, important to have... but very much replaceable!
Julien Barnett (@ThePointAfterFF)
Miles Sanders (RB - Philadelphia Eagles)
Simply put - I don’t trust Miles Sanders. There’s no predicting what he’s going to do in the Eagles’ offense. When healthy, sure he can be a RB1 (top 12 back), but 2021 is going to be another year of seeing if he actually breaks out and realizes his potential. QB Jalen Hurts is going to be running this offense, and we don’t know what kind of offense it will be. Is it going to be a run-first offense? How many carries is Hurts going to take away from Sanders? Between that and Sanders’ injury history, we really have no idea. There are just too many questions on what he is going to be in 2021 and beyond.
On the other hand, you can get a lot for Sanders in a dynasty league. Rotoviz has him ranked as their RB14 (two above him are 2021 rookies who haven’t even been drafted yet and we don’t know what their situation will be). If you’re willing to shop him, the return you can get may be too good to pass up. I recently traded him for Jerry Jeudy, A.J. Dillon, Jamaal Williams, a 2021 rookie draft 2nd round pick, and two 2021 4ths. Even if you’re a contender, you can get a good haul for him and you don’t have to worry about the mess that is Philadelphia’s offense. So, shop him and see what you can get.
- Matt (@TEXASTROJAN2004)
Brandon Aiyuk (WR - San Francisco 49ers)
Brandon Aiyuk is coming off a year where he was gifted an opportunity he had to take advantage of to stand out among the crowded weaponry in San Francisco. Aiyuk missed time himself, but so did George Kittle, and Deebo Samuel; plus six different running backs saw time in the backfield. The 49ers first round draft investment became the number one target by default over Jordan Reed, Richie James and Kendrick Bourne.
Brandon Aiyuk ended up WR31 in 2021 averaging 15.4 PPR points per game, which was good for WR17. Now as great as those two numbers may sound for fantasy owners, let's dig deeper into life with and without Deebo and Kittle. When both Kittle and Deebo missed games (four games to be exact), Aiyuk produced 2.1 less fantasy points, two less targets, one less reception; however, he did average four more yards. When Kittle and Aiyuk both played in 2021 (six games), we noticed the biggest impact on Aiyuk’s game; he produced 6.8 less fantasy points, five less targets, nearly three less receptions and 25 less yards.
George Kittle proved a significant loss for the 49ers offense and also proves to be the alpha of this offense. Look no further than Deebo Samuel’s splits playing with Kittle and without, it's four less fantasy points and nearly half the targets and receptions. If you are looking at a receiver in San Francisco look no further then George Kittle or else it could be a roll of the dice.
Aiyuk produced as a WR2 in 58% of games, and five of seven games as a WR2 or better came without Kittle. When looking beyond the beware of Kittle perspective, Aiyuk really didn't stand out like other rookies including Justin Jefferson or CeeDee Lamb in the advanced metrics department. His yards after catch was middle of the pack at 28th, yards per reception was disastrous at 58th and his target separation was 89th despite a cushion allowed by DBs that ranked 31st.
Although he was also missing his starting quarterback much of the season, the 49ers enter 2021 with a bit of a question mark at quarterback right now. Shanahan seems set to go forward with Jimmy G., but the rumours are swirling that they are looking at bringing in a new QB. So, we can conclude one thing is for certain, there is one alpha dog in San Francisco and that's George Kittle and he should be here to stay for a while. Unless an Aiyuk owner has some luck with the injury bug again, the ceiling for Aiyuk may be tough to truly achieve and that for me makes him a sell and avoid.
- Connor (@connorten)
Thank you for reading this article. Agree or disagree with any of our choices? Hit any one of us up on Twitter or check us out on truenorthffb.com.
Editor: Joe Simonetti (@joesimonetti77)
Graphic work: Dan Made Graphics (@DanMadeGraphics)