Sell These Three Over the Hill Running Backs
By: Jesse Moeller (Twitter: @JMoeller05)
What is the age apex for running backs? It is the average age for peak fantasy seasons from running backs who finish as RB1 or a top 12 fantasy running back season. @jlarkytweets does a great job of breaking it down into two tweets.
Well who are some big name running backs approaching or past age 26 this upcoming year? You would be surprised the list of big name running backs that are hitting that threshold in 2021. According to FantasyPros dynasty ADP here are the top 24 dynasty RB that will be over 26 by the start of next year. I am listing the players ADP along with age in parenthesis.
Dalvin Cook RB3 – (26.1)
Alvin Kamara RB5 – (26.2)
Derrick Henry RB6 – (27.8)
Ezekiel Elliot RB10 – (26.2)
Aaron Jones RB11 – (26.9)
Austin Ekeler RB16 – (26.4)
Kareem Hunt RB21 – (26.1)
You may be saying those are some of the best backs in the league. While that is true, how many of these running backs will hold similar values next year? The short answer is almost none of them will. The fall for running backs happens faster than any other position in the league. They also give you the quickest return upon entering the league. Dynasty is about young ascending running backs, not aging veteran running backs.
Dynasty is always about winning. Not just the short term, but the long term as well. There is a long, long list of managers who have held onto running backs for far too long in dynasty. The list is full of names this last decade of past there prime running backs like LeVeon Bell, Todd Gurley, James Connor, David Johnson, Mark Ingram, Leonard Fournette, DeMarco Murray, Devonta Freeman, Lamar Miller, Doug Martin and so on.
All these players at peak value could have gotten you at a minimum gotten you a first round pick plus a promising young player. Have you tried trading away Gurley or Bell? It almost impossible to get anything of value for them as they are viewed as assets with no upside.
Lets list three of these running backs coming off career years, and why it would be a perfect time to sell them.
Kamara had a remarkable season in 2020. He finished as the RB1 with a whopping 376.80 on the year, scoring over 40 points more than the second best running back this year. It is the 20th best fantasy season of all time by a running back. The overall stats are 187 carries for 932 yards, Kamara added 83 receptions for another 756 yards while totaling 21 touchdowns this year.
What a year it was for Cook. Coming off his second 300+ touch season in a row Cook silenced all the doubters. He produced a monster season of 1,557 yards on 312 carries while catching 44 balls for another 361 yards. Cook accumulated 1,918 total yards and 17 total touchdowns for a total of 332.80 fantasy points. Finishing the year as the RB2, behind only Kamara.
Will Henry ever slow down? At this point you have to wonder if Henry is even human as he put his second consecutive season over 300 total touches. It was a banner year for Henry, as he became the eighth running back in history to run for more than 2,000 yards on 378 carries. He was a workhorse as he had the 19th most rushing attempts ever by a running back.
You might be saying I don’t want to sell Kamara, Cook, or Henry. It is extremely unlikely that you will get another top 12 season from all three of these running backs next year. You know how many top 12 or RB1 seasons these running backs have? Kamara is the leader with 3, Cook and Henry both have 2. Do you know who the active leader is? Adrian Peterson with 7, followed by the eternal Frank Gore with 5.
The list of career RB1 leaders are below. It shows that in todays NFL it is increasingly difficult to put together more than 3 RB1 seasons in a career. Guys like Austin Ekeler and Joe Mixon only have 1 season of being an RB1. With the 2020 class having Jonathon Taylor, J.K. Dobbins, Cam Akers, D’Andre Swift, Antonio Gibson, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, and James Robinson all coming into the league the past year, it shows how deep the talent is at running back position.
While it is hard to sell the top running back at peak value, it is always best to get the maximum return you can for any player. These three players will never have higher values in dynasty than they currently do. If you are able to flip any of them for one of the young 2020 running backs plus a first round pick that is a deal you should always take. Would you rather have Alvin Kamara or a young rb/wr the likes of (Swift, Dobbins, Claypool, Jeudy) plus a 1st round pick?
1st round picks will appreciate in value every year until the league rookie draft. You do not have to draft a player, as you can use them to trade for a proven fantasy producer in fantasy before the rookie draft. By staying true to this strategy you will continue to be a dynasty contender every year.