3 RBs to Trade for/3 to Trade Away in Dynasty

Trade for these Dynasty RBs

By Calvin K (Twitter: @Calvin_SGF)

The running back position is always a tough one to evaluate in dynasty. Aging RBs tend to fall off really fast, but it’s easy for fantasy managers to want to hold on too long given their past production. However, most dynasty managers by now seem to be all in on the “youth movement,” and those older RBs can sometimes be overlooked as a result.

For the most part, though, elite running backs will command immense trade value regardless of their age, and the potential regret of bailing out on one a season too early overshadows the flip side of that in most managers’ minds. Fantasy managers also tend to overreact to situation changes in an RB room, when in reality, a talented RB will usually find a way to produce regardless of situation (see: 2020 rookie class). There are many other factors to consider when analyzing dynasty RB trade value, but these two will be the ones I’ll focus the most on in this article. Below are three RBs that I’d buy and three that I’d sell this offseason.

Buys

1: Antonio Gibson (Washington Football Team)

Gibson is one of many breakout stars from the 2020 RB class, and his price tag in dynasty is extremely reasonable given his potential. Gibson is currently the RB14 in FantasyPros’ dynasty consensus (PPR) rankings, and he is the #26 player ranked overall, a spot that could end up making rankers look foolish. Gibson’s production last year wasn’t great, but as Washington head coach Ron Rivera began to gain trust in him, his touch count increased. The highlight of Gibson’s season was an electric Thanksgiving Day performance against the rival Dallas Cowboys, but unfortunately, we didn’t see much from Gibson after that as he battled a turf toe injury.

Gibson missed two games with the injury in 2020, but even when he was back, he was not the same player. His usual burst wasn’t there, and he wasn’t getting to the line of scrimmage quickly enough, resulting in many minimal gains that he wouldn’t have otherwise had. However, it was clear by that point that Gibson had earned the coaching staff’s trust, and next year, he’s set up to be a workhorse.

The main concern about Gibson coming into the draft was that he only had 33 carries in 2019 at Memphis, and while his dual-threat ability as both an RB and a WR wasn’t questioned, discussions arose about whether he was capable of being a true NFL RB. He put those to rest in 2020, and in 2021, he will undoubtedly be ready to make a huge difference for his team. Now, the lack of workload in college is assumed to be a benefit to his value, as he assuredly has less mileage on his legs than most RBs his age, which could allow him to have a longer career.

Gibson’s target share last year (as well as QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 2020 lack of RB targets) is another concern that is discussed, but those shouldn’t be too worrisome given that he was a rookie and that his general workload increased throughout the year. Fitzpatrick also didn’t play with an RB like Gibson last year (Myles Gaskin, while good, can’t touch Gibson’s receiving ability), so the 38-year-old is likely to be prone to treating Gibson more like a WR in terms of targets. Overall, there aren’t many concerns to be had with Gibson’s fantasy value, and if he can continue to be a workhorse back, he will pay big dividends to his fantasy managers.

2: D’Andre Swift (Detroit Lions)

Yes, Swift does already have a hefty price tag (RB9 on FantasyPros), but that shouldn’t stop you from trying to make a move. The worries over backup Jamaal Williams’ potential role in the offense are at an all-time-high, as Lions offensive coordinator Anthony Lynn had high praise for the newly signed Williams. However, the worries about Swift’s role decreasing are overreactions, and Swift’s talent should thrust him into a workhorse role almost immediately in Year 2.

The quote from Lynn does admittedly look a little worrisome, but keep in mind that he had extremely similiar praise for Swift earlier in the offseason. Jamaal Williams is a decent player, but there’s a reason that he’s been a career backup, and if Lynn decides not to put Swift in a workhorse role come Week 1, I’d expect him to earn it pretty quickly. Swift is an excellent pass catcher as well, and his ability to line up in the slot makes him able to be a three-down guy. Swift’s ability between the tackles also dwarfs that of Williams, as Williams just doesn’t have the same burst and explosiveness of the 22-year-old.

When you think about it, it’s not hard to understand why the Lions added a guy like Williams. The departure of Kerryon Johnson and Adrian Peterson left a void at backup RB, a void big enough to where the Lions would’ve been crazy not to add another guy. The addition of Williams hardly means that Swift’s workhorse role is going away, it just exemplifies that the Lions lacked depth at the RB position. The other factor to consider is that Williams and Swift are both similar backs. It would’ve been one thing for the Lions to add someone such as a goal-line specialist who’d be more efficient than Swift inside the five-yard line. However, there’s really nothing that Williams does better than Swift, which should minimize concerns about a potential workload shift.

3: Javonte Williams (Denver Broncos)

It often can be difficult to buy rookies at a fair cost in the offseason given that their managers just drafted them in a rookie draft. However, as rookie fever subsides during the season, it could be possible to get Williams at a cheap price. The reward for a Williams trade would likely be tremendous, as the only other threat to his workload (Melvin Gordon) has his contract end at the end of the year. The Broncos traded up into the high second round to select Williams, showing that they believe in his talent, so even if he doesn’t produce great numbers right away, a jump can be expected near the end of the season or after Gordon leaves.

Williams is an excellent inside running back, and he was probably better than any 2020 college RB in terms of breaking tackles. He’s also a good pass catcher, which, as we know, can help him provide great value in PPR (point per reception) leagues. Williams’ lateral speed is a bit of a question mark, but his ability to drag out extra yards between the tackles is elite, so there’s not much reason to be concerned about his talent.

Denver’s offensive line is questionable, but they are solid at tackle, which will be helpful for Williams. Garett Bolles had a breakout season last year, and he was rewarded with a four-year contract to be the team’s left tackle of the future. Right tackle was definitely a weakness for the Broncos last year, but they should be helped by the presumed return of Ja’Wuan James, who missed most of the last two seasons due to injury.

Denver’s tackles will need to focus on keeping defensive ends inside the box – leaving space for Williams to run laterally – in order to maximize the potential of the running game. Either way though, the future looks bright for Williams, as it’s clear he’s a very talented player. Williams’ current RB22 ranking on FantasyPros probably won’t accurately represent his current trade cost (due to the usual rookie fever), but as the season gets underway, trying to buy him at that price should be a good investment.

Sells

1: Derrick Henry (Tennessee Titans)

Admittedly, it may be a little hard to sell Henry for what you would ideally want want, given that most fantasy managers are now hearing cries of “sell” for the second straight offseason. However, there are definitely still managers that remain Henry truthers, and they will stand by him given last year’s elite production. I’m a Henry fan myself, but the sad truth is that now is the smart time to sell based on running back history in general.

Henry is 27 years old, which is exactly the age where star running backs tend to hit a wall. He also has had two straight seasons with an extremely heavy workload, following up a 321 touch season with 397 the year following. People in favor of Henry will say that he’s an outlier, and while that is true in terms of athletic ability, it doesn’t mean we can just forget about the extremely heavy workload he’s received.

Even if Henry has one more amazing year, it’s still worth it to sell him now. RB drop-offs tend to be quick and abrupt (see: Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell, David Johnson), and because of this, it’s better to sell early than late. Right now, the three guys I mentioned carry very little value in dynasty, so the risk of holding onto Henry for too long is the chance of getting virtually no value out of him in a later trade. Trading him now can garner several rookie picks/role players that can sustain a team for the longer term, and the best strategy is to look for a win-now team to trade with. That manager will likely put more of a premium on Henry’s short-term success, but while he certainly could be great in 2021, Henry is not a good bet for sustaining long-term value at this point.

2: Ezekiel Elliott (Dallas Cowboys)

Elliott is another player who could be a hard sell in trade negotiations, but there are still managers out there who will value him close to his value from last offseason. Elliott had a down year for fantasy in 2020, but that can mostly be chalked up to the injury of star QB Dak Prescott, as well as a barrage of injuries sustained by the offensive line.

Surprisingly, Zeke will only be 26 years old entering this season, however, his heavy workload throughout his first five seasons still makes him a guy you should look to trade away. Elliott has shouldered at least 268 touches in each of his five seasons, he amassed well over 300 touches in three of those while piling up 296 in the other year. Like Henry, Elliott also has a good chance to have success next year, but even if he does, selling him now for a high price is worth it.

2020 put a damper on Elliott’s trade value, but he still is ranked as the RB12 on FantasyPros, and there are many managers who would assuredly value him much higher. Elliott has lots of name and production recognition, which helps boost his stock in the eyes of fantasy players. However, he is near that metaphorical wall, so selling him is the smart move. Managers wishing to sell could potentially get a package in return that includes a young RB, such as Antonio Gibson, along with draft picks/role players in addition. Not every fantasy player will be willing to make a trade like this, but because of his past production, there are people who are still very high on Elliott, so current Elliott owners should look to capitalize on a declining asset while they still can.

3: Chase Edmonds (Arizona Cardinals)

I mentioned earlier in this article that I would use two main factors to determine running back buys and sells. For the buys, I like to insist on getting talented guys currently in questionable situations, and as for sells, I (like many others) tend to emphasize elite, but aging RBs. Edmonds, however, is a different case than all of the others in my eyes, simply because I do not believe he has the ability to be a first and second down back in the NFL.

I have said throughout the offseason that I’m out on Chase Edmonds, and the best time to sell Edmonds would’ve been before the signing of James Conner to Arizona. However, he still commands enough trade value in dynasty to where he’s definitely worth sending away. Edmonds is currently FantasyPros’ RB28, near players such as Ronald Jones, James Robinson, and Myles Gaskin, who are all clearly superior in my eyes. All four of these players may struggle to put up numbers due to tough backfield situations, but the main thing that puts Edmonds so clearly below is simple: talent.

To be clear, Edmonds is great at what he does, and his talent for catching passes and being a third-down back is excellent for a running back. However, Edmonds simply isn’t built for a role between the tackles, which is why I expect James Conner to get the clear majority of the carries next year. Edmonds can still put up some numbers as a pass-catcher, but those weren’t consistent enough last year to make him a startable guy in fantasy. Many Edmonds truthers tend to act like he is good between the tackles, but the fact remains that when he’s had to step into the starting role, he’s been extremely inefficient.

In the two 2020 games where he got double-digit carries, Edmonds did not play particularly well. The first example of this was a disastrous 25 carry, 70 yard performance against a below-average Buffalo rushing defense where he just couldn’t get going. The second game had a better stat line (11 carries for 47 yards), but it was also against an Eagles defense that allowed the 11th most rushing yards per game in 2020, and 11 carries is hardly the amount given to a workhorse.

This is obviously a small sample size to work with, but in part, that proves the point I’m trying to make. Edmonds is not experienced in a between-the-tackles role, and the fact that he doesn’t have many games with high amounts of carries show that his coaches are aware of that. To reiterate, Edmonds is a very good backup RB, one who is excellent as a third-down back. However, it’s unrealistic to expect him to transition well to this completely new role. There’s a reason that Edmonds has been a backup for his whole career so far, and it’s not because he isn’t good at his role, it’s because he’s not the type of running back who’s meant to be on the field on all three downs.

Final Thoughts

This article should be helpful for anyone looking to make dynasty trades, however, it is meant to be a guideline, not something to be rigorously and exactly adhered to. There will be some managers with the same thought process as you regarding these players, making them difficult to obtain/sell. My advice when dealing with one of those managers is: don’t force it. Just because a player is recommended as a buy/sell doesn’t mean you should overpay/get a bad return just to get rid of them. If one manager isn’t interested in trading for/trading away a guy, you can always trade with another person instead (if you’re looking to sell), and if no one will pay/ask for a fair price, don’t be afraid to walk away from a potential deal entirely in order to avoid a scam.

Dynasty: 3 Third Year RBs to Trade For

Dynasty: 3 Third-Year Running Backs You Should Buy Right Now!

I know we always hear about the third-year breakout in terms of wide receivers – but what about the running backs? Typically, we see production sooner, but sometimes external circumstances can slow the production like an injury or a crowded backfield. Here are three players you should be buying right now before they break out.

Damien Harris

Damien Harris overtook Sony Michel as the lead back last year in New England and I personally see nothing changing in that backfield. In the three games where both players were active (I know small sample size, but they both had injuries last year), Harris out touched Michel 41 carries to 17. With the passing down back, and James White being an unrestricted free agent this offseason, assumed not to be brought back, this makes 62 running back targets available. Damien Harris is actually a competent receiving back, having 52 career receptions for Alabama during his college career. I expect Damien Harris to inherit the role with some J.J. Taylor worked in. Damien Harris will not be a league winner for your dynasty team. BUT getting a lead back who can have a 100-yard rushing game any given week for a late rookie 2nd can bolster up any team’s running back depth or be a solid set-and-forget RB2 for a needy team.

Tony Pollard

One of my favorite buys this offseason, with or without owning Ezekiel Elliot. Though I do believe Zeke is still the unquestioned starter, he did show a decline over the back half of 2020.  This opens the door for Pollard, who is a BIG play waiting to happen. Pollard was one of only five running backs to have multiple rushing touchdowns over 40 yards. The others included Derrick Henry, Aaron Jones, Miles Sanders, and Jonathon Taylor. Whether we see Pollard unleashed or not, he still is the best handcuff in all of fantasy football, which we saw last year. When Ezekiel Elliot was out Week 15, Pollard exploded onto the scene. He finished #1 overall running back that week and scored 31.2 PPR fantasy points, rushing for 69 (nice) yards and 2 touchdowns while also catching 6 passes for 64 yards on 9 targets. Tony Pollard is only one Ezekiel Elliot injury away from being a Top 5 Running Back. That being said, he may have stand-alone value if Mike McCarthy has his way with the offense. We saw in Green Bay that McCarthy likes to use multiple running backs and already Pollard went from 86 carries in his rookie year to 101 in his sophomore campaign, while also doubling his targets from 20 to 40. Pollard has earned a bigger share of the pie in Dallas. Tony Pollard is a lottery ticket at worst, but I think he is so much more than that. At a minimum, he will have flex appeal for your dynasty team.

Miles Sanders

The most expensive on this list, but the one with the most upside. Now we all expected the breakout last year with him having 2nd round start up draft ADP. Miles Sanders was expected to ascend into Top 12 running back territory, but he let us down finishing RB23 on the season. I know he burned a lot of fantasy managers last year, but this creates the buying window. As mentioned before with Tony Pollard, Miles Sanders was one of only five running backs with multiple 40+ yard rushing TD plays. So, the BIG play is there. With Doug Peterson leaving, along with his obsession of a Running Back by Committee approach gone, we can truly see Miles unleashed. Now with a Dual-Threat QB in Hurts presumably under center in 2021, we will more than likely see lanes open up for Sanders. We saw Sanders’ best game of the season in Jalen Hurts’ first start versus a very good run defense of the New Orleans Saints, in which he scored 29.6 PPR points while rushing for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also catching 4 passes for 21 yards on 5 targets. With a full offseason and an offense built around the read-option with a workhorse workload, we will see Miles Sanders be the player we all thought he would be last year.

Any questions you can always find me @KidFlashFF on twitter.

3 Dynasty TEs to Trade Away

Trade away these dynasty TEs now!

The Synopsis:

The 2020 regular season saw a dry spell on the tight end position in terms of receiving yards, but there was a higher count of touchdowns compared to the past two seasons. Travis Kelce was the clear reign of the throne amongst all tight ends this season, logging over 1400 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns while Darren Waller was the only other tight end to reach the 1000 receiving mark, with 1196. TJ Hockenson came in third with 723 receiving yards, a promising outlook for the youthful tight end. 

Although this NFL season was way different than any other, next season is a new season, and it is important to load up on promising young talent for the dynasty league you are in… or perhaps let go of the talent that failed to show up when it mattered the most. 

Kyle Rudolph (MIN):

Rudolph used to be dubbed as ol’ reliable for the Vikings until this disappointment of a season. With the stellar season performance of WR teammate Justin Jefferson and the emergence of young, fellow TE Irv Smith Jr., it is no surprise why Rudolph’s performance greatly declined this year.

Rudolph, unfortunately, could not finish the last four regular-season games due to a foot injury landing him into the injured reserve, but that still does not account for the inadequate performance and involvement he had on the Minnesota offense he had before his injury, posting up a 28-334-1 season line while Smith Jr. posted up a 30-365-5 line, indicating that Smith Jr. is the preferred red zone threat over Rudolph. 

Entering the 2021 season at age 31, it is safe to trade him away given the other explosive options on offense Kirk Cousins has in his arsenal, with the likes of Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson, and Irv Smith Jr. It is best to include him in a package deal for a better TE option 

Greg Olsen (SEA):

Another dinosaur tight end that will be an easy drop going forward is Greg Olsen. Going into next season at 36 years of age, he is very prone to sustaining any sort of injury that will leave him on the sidelines. If the Seahawks choose to continue keeping him on the roster, he might see a reduced role given his season line of 24-239-1. 

Fellow tight ends Jacob Hollister and Will Dissly produced similar lines of 25-209-3 and 24-251-2, respectively. With the incline of DK Metcalf’s performance and Tyler Lockett’s skillset at Russell Wilson’s disposal, the tight end corps are not considered the main threats in the Seattle offense. As both Hollister and Dissly are under 28 years of age and are capable of posting up the same results and more, Olsen most likely will ride the backseat behind the two. 

It is important to note Dissly’s success last year before he suffered a serious Achilles injury during October 2019. Dissly has shown his talent beforehand and given that he is only 24 years old, his boom potential is bound to happen anytime soon. 

Tyler Higbee (LAR):

Tyler Higbee had that memorable stretch of incredible football during the final regular season games in the 2019 season. Unfortunately, the same type of performance was not replicated anywhere in the 2020 campaign, except that week 2 hat trick TD performance. Higbee hit a dry spell from weeks 3 to 12, scoring under 10 points in PPR formats in that stretch. Although there was a little improvement after week 12, it was not enough to solidify a TE1 spot during the fantasy regular season.

Higbee capped the season with a respectable 44-521-5 line but it should be considered how three of those touchdowns came from the week 2 performances. Two additional factors to take into account of Higbee’s declining performance is Jared Goff’s passing inconsistencies and the shared involvement of tight end Gerald Everett. Everett concluded the regular season with a respective line of his own, demonstrating a 41-417-1 line. Everett did not have that one blockbuster game like Higbee did, but he did manage a couple games over 10 points (PPR). 

Regardless, with Goff’s passing inconsistencies, the undeniable WR talent with Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods, the growing potential of RB Cam Akers, and sharing snaps with fellow tight end Everett, Higbee is not bound to find success as he once did during last year’s phenomenal stretch. Some owners still believe highly of him because of what he was able to produce, but with many offensive choices to go with in LA, Higbee’s ceiling is very limited and it is best to use him as leverage to trade him for a better dynasty tight end.  

Dynasty: Sleeper RBs to Trade For

Here are sleeper RBs in dynasty to trade for

By: Ravi Krishnan (Twitter: @MasalaESPN)

In an otherwise weird and catastrophic year, one of the positives from a sporting standpoint was the successful completion of the 256-game NFL regular-season slate. This also meant a relatively smooth execution of the 2020 fantasy football season.

In fact, from a fantasy perspective, the 2020 season brought out a handful of positive surprises; foremost of these was the emergence of unheralded Running backs as potential cornerstones — for their NFL teams as well as for your fantasy teams. Many such examples abound — James Robinson, Myles Gaskin, Nyheim Hines, JD McKissic, to name a prominent few. None of these players was on the draft radar in even the deepest of leagues, and each of these players ended 2020 as a Top-30 RB.

My article for this week portends more of the same in the future; I look at four Running backs who will not sniff early-round ADP (Rounds 1-4) in the 2021 fantasy football drafts, but there is a reasonable chance for each of them to finish 2021 as potential studs.

  1. Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

Final 2020 Half-PPR Ranking Among RBs: #32

Projected RB ADP in early-2021 Mock Drafts: #35

Potential 2021 Ranking: Top 10

The much-hyped Arizona Cardinals offense flattered to deceive in 2020, with the team sputtering towards the end scoring a mere 19 points in its last two games. The injury to Kyler Murray was a reason, but a less-obvious factor was the relative unavailability of Chase Edmonds at full strength.

One thing that became obvious during the season was that when healthy, Chase Edmonds (not Kenyan Drake) is the propeller in the Cardinals backfield. He is a rushing threat in a prototypical way, averaging more than five-yards-a-carry (not counting the last two games). But his more potent value is as a pass-catcher — as is attested by his 402 yards on 53 catches in a limited role.

The team will need to evaluate its personnel in line with its offensive scheme, and in doing so, the writing is on the wall that Chase Edmonds is the better RB for the team. In a best-case scenario, he takes over the primary RB role. At worst, we will see close to a 50:50 split with Drake.

  • Zach Moss, Buffalo Bills

Final 2020 Half-PPR Ranking Among RBs: #52

Projected RB ADP in early-2021 Mock Drafts: #29

Potential 2021 Ranking: Top 20

Buffalo’s offense has been on turbo-mode all season, buoyed by the emergence of Josh Allen as a much-improved QB and the signing of Stefon Diggs as a certified #1 WR. Also, of importance has been the sustained slot-receiving value provided by Cole Beasley, another 2020 signing.

In an otherwise solid scoring offense, though, there has been one latent issue — the lack of a consistent rushing game, neither in scheme/play-calling nor in the on-field performance by Devon Singletary or Zach Moss. Singletary was the incumbent starter but tallied only 687 rushing yards on 160+ carries. Moss was not much better — 481 yards on 112 carries.

The key difference was that Moss was the preferred goal-line back and hence scored more TDs (4) than Singletary (2). Going forward, there is limited incentive for the Bills to retain Singletary in his current role; the team has much more to gain in evaluating Moss as their high-draft pickup from 2020.

In early-2021 mock drafts, the two RBs are going back-to-back (Singletary at #29 and Moss at #30), but if I was to hazard a guess, Moss has a much higher ceiling to crack a Top-20 ranking, given his potential and his recent draft capital. Singletary can be a useful piece, either in Buffalo or for another team, but 2020 has clearly shown that he cannot be a workhorse back.

  • AJ Dillon, Green Bay Packers

Final 2020 Half-PPR Ranking Among RBs: #94

Projected RB ADP in early-2021 Mock Drafts: #32

Potential 2021 Ranking: Top 20

Ok, so this is admittedly a left-field choice. Aaron Jones is one of the best backs in the league, and Jamaal Williams has proven to be flex-worthy all season. So, what makes me look at rookie AJ Dillon as a valuable RB to trade-for in 2021?

Well, there are two aspects to drive my viewpoint. One, the Packers made a conscious decision to invest a high draft pick on Dillon (2nd-round) knowing fully well that they had two highly qualified RBs on the roster. So, obviously, they wanted to keep their options on whether to pay Aaron Jones his deserved price-tag as a Top-five RB.

With the Packers likely to be more than $20 Million over the 2021 salary cap, there is a decent probability for Jones not to be a Packer next season. Second, in the opportunities he received, Dillon was stellar — 242 rushing yards on 46 carries, including a 24/121/2 TD blast versus the Titans in Week 16.

The rookie is an optimal confluence of speed and size and promises to be the workhorse replacement for Aaron Jones if the latter is not re-signed.

  • Tony Pollard, Dallas Cowboys

Final 2020 Half-PPR Ranking Among RBs: #36

Projected RB ADP in early-2021 Mock Drafts: #41

Potential 2021 Ranking: Top 20

Like the aforementioned case in Green Bay, we have the situation in Dallas where the backup Tony Pollard has proven his capabilities in an ample manner, should anything were to happen to Zeke Elliott, the presumed starter.

The key difference between the Green Bay and Dallas situations is that unlike Aaron Jones, Elliott has already bagged his goldmine contract (in 2020) from the Cowboys. So, to move away from him is far less likely.

However, on-field, Pollard has been the better performer — more explosive, a better option as a pass-catcher, and offers greater flexibility to the Cowboys play-calling when he is in the game. In the absence of the traditionally strong Dallas offensive line, and, especially after losing Dak Prescott early in the season, Elliott was far less-effective and was closer to a plodder than the power-rusher that we had been used to in years past.

Given the ramifications of his contract, Zeke will remain a Cowboy. But I firmly believe that he will cede a substantial portion of his workhorse role to Pollard, or the latter will get dealt to a different team for him to have a more prominent role. Either ways, Pollard should be on your trade-for radar in 2021.

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