Mon Mar 1st 2021
Off-season Moves I've Made
Moves I've Made Since Super Bowl Sunday
It's really disappointing that the NFL Combine did not take place this weekend. This would normally be the time of year that I would watch the Combine and write about which players' values increased and decreased due to their athletic testing. We'll still get some of it through players' Pro Days, but it's not the same as watching them all compete simultaneously.
Instead of watching the Combine, this weekend I looked back at my most recent off-season moves. As a dynasty freek, I'm always working to improve my teams in the off-season by making trades and tilling the waiver wire. Here are ten moves that I've made in recent weeks that will give you an idea of how I view these players' dynasty value.
Players Acquired Via Trade
Miles Sanders <-----> Terry McLaurin
- I made this trade in my 10-team half PPR league. In a vacuum, I favor McLaurin slightly more than Sanders, but Sanders was the player I wanted, given this team's roster construction. The team I traded with is loaded at running back while my team is loaded at wide receiver. We've exchanged several trade offers since the season ended and finally came to this agreement last week. In this league, you must start two running backs. I have Christian McCaffrey and Melvin Gordon with no depth behind them, so I was eager to add Sanders, who I like more than most dynasty analysts. Sanders is my 8th ranked dynasty running back, whereas DLF ranks him 14th. Philadelphia has too many team-needs to draft a running back or pick one up in free agency. They also just tagged Boston Scott as an exclusive rights free agent, signifying that they intend to keep him on their team. The Eagles' new head coach, Nick Sirianni, gave Jonathan Taylor the ball plenty last year, and I believe he will do the same with Miles Sanders. The offense can't be any worse than they were last year when Sanders averaged 13 points per game, 19th in the league. I need a solid young RB-2 to pair with my starting pass catchers, DeAndre Hopkins, A.J. Brown, Keenan Allen, CeeDee Lamb, and George Kittle. While I love McLaurin and have him ranked as my 15th dynasty wide receiver, I was willing to trade him away since I have so much depth at the wide receiver position, including two young players in Brown and Lamb. McLaurin scored 12 points per game last year, 20th in the league. This trade was very even and helped both teams solidify their starting rosters, two of the league's best rosters.
Logan Thomas <-----> Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Quintez Cephus
- I made this trade in my 12-team tight end-premium league. Thomas's trade looks lopsided until I tell you that it's 1.75 PPR for tight ends, and Thomas finished the season as the 44th highest scoring player in the league last year. The other owner put Thomas on the trading block, and we began a series of offers and counteroffers. Thomas is the player I've been trying to acquire the most this offseason after his 119 targets, 72 catch season. Only Travis Kelce and Darren Waller had more targets than Thomas last year, and I've made a philosophy switch over the last year to valuing tight end targets more than touchdowns, especially in tight end premium leagues. I believe last year was not a fluke for Thomas, but it's the start of a late breakout for the converted quarterback. I think Thomas will be an integral part of the offense no matter who is playing quarterback for Washington next year. This league has five flex positions, so Thomas will be in my lineup every week alongside Travis Kelce. I've been shopping Mostert and Wilson (more on them later in the article), so I was happy to trade them away, but I was less happy to trade Cephus, who could very easily be the WR-1 in Detroit next year if the team does not re-sign Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay. That said, I believe Detroit will address wide receivers in the NFL draft and give more opportunity to wide receivers with draft capital than Cephus, who was drafted in the 5th round last year. Trading three for one allowed me to move some guys off my taxi squad, too, in a league where other teams can steal taxi squad players.
Saquon Barkley <-----> A.J. Brown
- I made this trade in a dispersal draft in a 10-team half PPR league. Three teams were in the dispersal draft, which included rookie draft picks and 90 veteran players. I won this league last year largely due to Jonathan Taylor's great end of the season and trades I made for Stephon Diggs (giving away J.K. Dobbins) and Mike Evans (giving away Raheem Mostert). The Barkley manager started the dispersal draft by selecting three running backs (Derrick Henry, Saquan Barkley, Josh Jacobs) and a tight end (George Kittle). He quickly realized that all of the high-valued dynasty wide receivers had been drafted and had some buyer's remorse. My starting wide receivers were DeAndre Hopkins, Stefon Diggs, A.J. Brown, and Mike Evans. As much as I love A.J. Brown (he's my 6th ranked dynasty wide receiver), I couldn't pass on my first opportunity to have Barkley on my team. I can now start Barkley, Taylor, and Miles Sanders in this team alongside Hopkins, Diggs, and Evans. I still have Barkley as my 2nd ranked dynasty running back. His shelflife will not last as long as A.J. Brown, but I believe he can help me win a few more championships in the next few years and be more consistent than A.J. Brown, who is more boom to bust from week to week. Plus, as you'll read next, I added younger wide receivers to my team during this same dispersal draft.
Laviska Shenault <-----> 1.10
- In the same dispersal draft, I traded away my first-round pick (1.10) for Laviska Shenualt. I may have overpaid a little bit since Shenault was a second-round rookie pick in last year's rookie drafts, but I saw enough in Shenault to trust what I have seen of him in the NFL compared to a player I've yet to see in the NFL. Urban Meyer had just been hired as the Jacksonville head coach when I made this trade, and he had already been outspoken about his love for Trevor Lawrence as if there was any doubt that he'd be drafted 1.1 in the NFL draft anyways. The pairing of Meyer, Lawrence, and Shenault made me willing to give up my first-round pick to add him to my team. Shenault scored four touchdowns in his last six games of the season and averaged 11.6 fantasy points per game during that time. He finished the season on a high note with awful quarterback play. I'm banking on significant improvement next year with Lawrence at quarterback.
Darnell Mooney <-----> 2.10
- I continued to add youth at the wide receiver position by trading away my second-round pick to add Mooney to my team in this dispersal draft. Mooney quickly surpassed Anthony Miller as the team's WR-2 in his rookie year with 98 targets compared to Miller's 79. Allen Robinson is certain to leave Chicago in free agency, leaving a massive hole in the passing game (158 targets). It may be unclear who will be playing quarterback for Chicago next year, but Mooney is sure to get well over one hundred targets and was worth giving up a second-round pick to add to my championship team. Come rookie draft time, I'll be sad not to have a first or second-round pick in this league, but I'm thrilled to run out a starting lineup of Barkley, Taylor, Sanders, Hopkins, Diggs, and Evans while I allow Shenault (my 40th ranked wide receiver) and Mooney (my 43rd ranked wide receiver) to develop into future starters on my team.
Players Acquired Off Waivers
In leagues where the waiver wire is still open, there are two players I've added to my teams. These are bottom-of-the-roster guys for sure, but that's just the type of players to invest in at this time of the off-season.
- Donald Parham technically played his first NFL season last year after playing well in the shortened 2020 XFL season. He's a mammoth of a man at 6' 8" and 237 pounds. He only had ten catches last year for the Chargers, but three of them were for touchdowns. He has the size to be a serious red-zone threat. Hunter Henry is a free agent and was not drafted by the new Chargers' coaching staff. If Henry signs elsewhere in free agency, Parham is poised to get a starting role on a team with a dynamic second-year quarterback, Justin Herbert. Parham can become an excellent weapon in the passing game but is very limited in his blocking ability. Logan Thomas, a converted quarterback, learned to block and become an every-down tight end. Perhaps Parham can do the same in time. If Henry re-signs with the Chargers, I'll quickly drop Parham from my teams, but if Henry signs with another team, I'll be thrilled to have him on my teams.
- Harmon was my top-ranked rookie wide receiver in the 2019 class before the NFL draft. After he fell to the 6th round of the NFL draft, I lowered him quite a bit in my rookie rankings, but I've continued to believe in his ability even though he has not proved a thing. Injuries have prevented him from proving he can be starting wide receiver in the NFL or not, but the players who have played in his absence while injured have also yet to prove themselves. There is still a big question mark around the WR-2 position in Washington behind Terry McLaurin, and I'm willing to bank on the most talented player. Cam Sims and Steve Sims have shown flashes but are both undrafted free agents without draft capital. Antonio Gandy-Golden was drafted in the 4th round last year and missed almost all of the season with an injury. The position is up for grabs. I'm happy to bet on Harmon to win the job and drop him at roster cut-down day if he does not.
Players I'm Shopping
- I've been trying to trade Deebo for a late 2021 first-round pick but have yet to find any takers. I'd be willing to do the same for an early second-round pick and plan to send those types of offers in the coming weeks. However, it's more likely that I'm going to need to sell him during the season after he has a great game or two. Samuel was one of my favorite players in the 2019 draft. I had him ranked higher than most dynasty analysts, which is likely why he is on so many of my teams. I still love the talent and the way he is used in the 49ers offense, but he just can't stay healthy. He's been injured most of his first two seasons in the NFL, and I believe that's going to keep happening. What I loved about him most is what I now hate about him most - his reckless play with the ball in his hands. He's a great runner and loves to run over and through people, but to his own peril. Plus, George Kittle is the top pass catcher in this offense, and Brandon Aiyuk's stellar rookie season proved that he could do much of what Samuel can do but stay healthy doing it. Samuel will be good for a few spot starts here and there in fantasy lineups when he is healthy, but that's not enough to warrant a position on my rosters anymore.
Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson
- Speaking of 49ers, I've grown tired of the running back carousel in San Fransisco. In most leagues where I have Mostert and/or Wilson, I've been trying to sell them, as I did in the trade for Logan Thomas mentioned above. I love watching these guys play, and I love the 49ers scheme for running backs. I'm just tired of the question marks they bring to my lineup each week, given their injuries and coaching staff who try to keep both backs healthy by splitting their workload. I've sold all but one of my shares of these running backs but hope to be rid of them all by the time the season starts.
- I've been shopping Hardman for a second-round rookie pick but so far have not had any takers. In one of my worst trades of the last year, I traded Logan Thomas for Hardman. It's my only share of Hardman, and I am very eager to get rid of him. The target share in Kansas City is weighted too heavily to Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill. As dynamic a player as he is, Hardman just will not get enough opportunities to gain dynasty value. Most dynasty managers recognize this, so I suspect I will need to sell Hardman (like Samuel) after a good game or two next year rather than during this off-season. I'm willing to trade him for a 2021 second-round pick, but not for a third-round pick. I think there is more value waiting it out for a breakout game or two next year.
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