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Tue Apr 12th 2022

Off-season Trades

We're weeks away from the NFL draft when we get the final pieces of data for evaluating rookies - draft capital and landing spot. Before I have those last two data points and make final changes to my rookie rankings to prepare for dynasty rookie draft season, I thought I'd review the trades made in my leagues over the last two months. Doing so gives me a chance to reflect on how the dynasty community values players and this year's rookie class. Below are my thoughts on some of the off-season trades made in my leagues.

D.J. Moore <=====> 1.7 and 1.8

  • The two teams involved in this trade must have very different opinions about this rookie class. The team that traded away picks is rebuilding and has the 1.1 in this year's rookie draft, so before this trade, he had three first-round picks to help him rebuild. He decided he'd rather have a bird in the hand with D.J. Moore than the two in the bush with the mid-first-round picks. I have a tier break in my rankings right now at 1.6, so he must have felt the same way. The team that traded to get the two picks is a contending team that did not have any first or second-round picks until now. He must think that taking a stab at two players and hope that at least one hits and allow him to buy back the years of Moore. I don't have Moore ranked as high as most dynasty managers, so I think I'd prefer to take two shots at this rookie class. There is a lot of depth in this year's wide receiver class, so taking two receivers with 1.7 and 1.8 could make this trade work for his team. Drafting Breece Hall at 1.1 and adding D.J. Moore is not bad either. The price seems about right, though I'd prefer the picks.

Saquon Barkley, Chase Claypool, and 1.11 <=====> Damien Harris, DeAndre Hopkins, and 1.6

  • This trade is a one I made in my Freeks league after weeks of discussion with the other manager. He was looking to move Barkley since he has this 1.1 in this rookie draft, and he needs some depth at wide receiver. I had been looking to move Hopkins since I was loaded at wide receiver but needed help at running back. This offseason in this league, I made it my goal to use my wide receiver depth to buy running backs. I'm usually a very decisive trader, but I asked the other manager to allow me a day to think about this trade. As I said before, I have a tier break in my rookie rankings at 1.6, so I hated to move back to 1.11. I also do not like Claypool as much as most dynasty managers, but I was intrigued by the opportunity to buy back the years on Hopkins. Ultimately, I decided that Barkley was worth the cost of moving back in the rookie draft. I believe his injuries have been a bit fluky, and most importantly believe that the Giants have been horribly coached over the last few seasons. Brian Daboll, their new offensively-minded head coach, will make the Giants a much better offensive team. It will hurt to lose Hopkins, but I have 1.9, 1.11, and 1.12 in the rookie draft, so I am confident I can find one or two players who will make my team better in the long run. As for the other manager, he's rebuilding but now has Harris and the 1.1, 1.6, 1.8. and 1.10. Together, we'll have seven of the top twelve picks to improve our teams. I'll win this trade if Barkley and Claypool can bounce back to the superstars they were in their rookie seasons. If not, I'll regret it.

Deebo Samuel <=====> Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Jaret Patterson, and 1.9

  • In the same league as the last trade, I also sold Samuel for a package deal. The 1.9 pick gives me three picks in the first round, and I have secured the Rams' backfield for the next few years. It's a risky trade, but I was willing to make it once the 1.9 was added to the deal. I'm willing to part with Samuel because I believe last year will be the best of his career. He's a fantastic player and one of my favorites, but I think he has hit the peak of his dynasty value. George Kittle and Elijah Mitchell's injuries gave him more opportunities than he will have in future years, and Brandon Aiyuk was out of coach Shanahan's doghouse by the end of the season. My biggest concern for Samuel, however, is Trey Lance. I'm afraid the offense will change quite a bit with Lance leading the team compared to Jimmy Garappolo. The entire offense could be worse, or they could be better, but Lance could eat up the team's fantasy production with his feet. These concerns made me willing to sell Samuel for the right price, and this offer finally felt like the right price. The manager who traded with me is rebuilding, and he has picks 1.3 and 1.7, so he was willing to part with his third first-round pick. He also has Joe Mixon and Najee Harris, making him willing to part with the Rams' duo. I have A.J. Brown, Tee Higgins, and Keenan Allen, so I was more willing to part with Samuel. He had the best running back depth in this league, and I had the best wide receiver depth, so it made sense to make a deal. 

Marquise Brown <=====> Dallas Goedert and the 49ers DST

  • Before you ask, I am in some leagues with defenses, but I don't believe I have seen them involved in any trades, even if just a throw-in like they were here. In this trade, the team that acquired Brown is far more active than the other team, so I assume he made the offer. He noticed that Jared Cook was the best tight end on the other team's roster and offered him Goedert at the right price. I'm sure Brown was not the first offer, but it's where they landed. In a vacuum, I like Goedert as a fantasy asset more than Brown, but knowing that the team that sold Goedert also has T.J. Hockenson, David Njoku, and Albert Okwuegbunam, it makes more sense why he was willing to let Goedert go. He has three great starting wide receivers, so Brown can provide depth or start in his flex position. It's a fair trade, but I think I'd prefer to start Goedert as a flex over Brown most weeks, so I would have kept my Goedert.

Tee Higgins <=====> CeeDee Lamb

  • This trade was another one of my trades, and I bet most dynasty managers will disagree with what I did. I traded Lamb for Higgins. I first made the offer the week of the NFL Super Bowl, but the other manager rejected it. A month after the Super Bowl, he made the same offer to me. I second-guessed myself a month later and tried to get honest about if I only made the previous trade offer in frustration as Lamb's production tailed off last year while Higgins's soared. I went back and looked at their fantasy production over the last two seasons, and they were almost identical, especially if you go by points per game that they played and were not injured. At the time of the trade, I considered both to be WR-2s on their teams, but I liked the future of the Bengals with Joe Burrow a bit more than the Cowboys with Dak. Barring a career-ending injury, Burrow will play longer than Dak, so I accepted the trade when considering Higgins's future with Burrow. Once Amari Cooper was traded to the Browns, however, I began to question my decision. Even as the WR-1 in Dallas, I still see Lamb and Higgins equally. They are my 9th, and 10th ranked wide receivers. As a Cowboy fan, I may live to regret this, but I doubt the other manager or I will regret the trade too much. Both players will continue to be great.

Rashaad Penny <=====> 1.11

  • After he re-signed with Seattle, Penny received a spike in his dynasty value, leading dynasty managers to decide if he was a buy or sell candidate. I landed on the buying side and placed a few offers to teams but could not get a deal done. Here's an excellent example of a price check on Penny. In the eyes of some, this first-round rookie in the 2018 class is once again worth a first-round rookie pick. I offered second-round picks to acquire Penny, and I thought that was aggressive. I don't think I would have offered a first-round pick for him. The team that sold Penny is the returning champ and did not have a first or second-round draft pick, so he was happy to part with Penny to draft a younger prospect in this year's class. I think it was a wise decision. If Penny gets his head right and plays as he did at the end of last season, the new Penny manager would get the best of this trade. If the champ hits on his 1.11 pick, he won't regret buying back the years.

Albert Okwuegbunam and 3.2 <=====> 2.8

  • I made this simple trade to move up in this year's rookie draft because I have a tier drop off in my rookie rankings about pick 20. I was able to part with Okwuegbunam because I have Dallas Goedert, Zach Ertz, Logan Thomas, Brevin Jordon, and Mo Alie-Cox on my roster, which is more tight ends than I like to roster already. After Noah Fant was traded to Seattle, I tried offering Albert O to several teams but could not get a deal done. I thought his spike in dynasty value warranted it, but this was the best deal I was offered after making offers and putting him on the trading block.

David Njoku <=====> Corey Davis and Tyler Higbee

  • Like Albert O, Njoku's dynasty value spiked when Austin Hooper was cut by the Browns and Njoku was given the franchise tag. His value spiked even more after Deshaun Watson was traded to the Browns. Whether the manager with Njoku made trade offers after this spike in value or the manager with Davis and Higbee sought to buy Njoku, the hype around the Watson trade created this dynasty trade. Njoku has far more upside than Higbee, even though Higbee has had better seasons than Njoku. That said, the addition of Davis in this trade initially made me favor the package part of this trade. Davis, however, could lose a big piece of the pie on the Jets with Elijah Moore healthy and the strong rumors that the Jets plan to draft a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL draft. They're big question marks around all three of these players, so it's hard to judge. The Higbee and Davis side have produced for managers before, but their dynasty value is only going down from here. Njoku still has a chance to see his dynasty stock grow, so he's the best asset in the trade from that standpoint. I call this one even, given that factor.

Travis Etienne and 2.8 <=====> 1.6 and a 2023 2nd round pick

  • Etienne was a top-three pick in most of my rookie draft last year, but after his first-year injury has been traded for 1.6 in this league. The team who had Etienne must have made several offers because I was offered Etienne for my 1.4 and a 2023 second-round pick. I'm rebuilding that league, and so is the team looking to trade Etienne for picks. I would have traded Etienne for my 1.4, but as a rebuilding team, I did not also want to give a future second-round pick. Thankfully, for his team's sake, he found a contending team that would give a little more than I was willing to give for Etienne. It's not a strong running back class, so I don't think the team that sold Etienne will find his replacement at 1.6, but it does get him a great position to get a top wide receiver. I would have liked the trade more if he did not also have to give up 2.8. As a rebuilding team, I would have held onto that pick instead.

Ezekiel Elliot <=====> 1.10 and a 2023 2nd round pick

  • Zeke is a volatile player at this point in his career. Dynasty managers are wondering if his lack of production to end the season was due to nagging injuries or if it's the beginning of the end for him. Tony Pollard's looming threat to take away his touches is concerning too. In this trade, we see two managers on different sides of the coin with Zeke. These teams are contenders too, so this trade was not about selling just to get pieces to rebuild. The price seems about right to me. When contending, I tend to be the type of manager who will ride my best players until they die, so if I were the team with Zeke, I would not have sold him at this price, but I can see the other side of the coin too. It's always shocking how fast running backs can fall.

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