As the trade deadline approaches, both in the real NFL and across our many dynasty leagues, so does our final opportunity to tinker with rosters in a major way before the offseason. Regardless of whether your team is a contender, pretender, or rebuilder, there are moves to be made to put your team in a better position for future championships.
When considering the list below, it’s important to remember that dynasty is a long-term game. Just because you’re the #1 seed in your league doesn’t mean you should ignore the opportunity to add a long-term asset at a discount. Value is value, regardless of situation.
- Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons
Freeman has lost a bit of his luster since his explosive breakout in 2015. Tevin Coleman siphons some of the Atlanta backfield’s production, Freeman has battled a handful of injuries and now finds himself on IR, and Ito Smith has stepped in nicely this year in his absence. After at least 1500 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015 and 2016, Freeman failed to reach 1200 yards and only posted 8 touchdowns last year. Considering all of the above and the recent influx of RB talent from the last 2 draft classes, it’s without a doubt right for Freeman to have lost his top-5 dynasty RB standing. According to Dynasty League Football’s October ADP, however, Freeman has slipped all the way to RB-15 and #35 overall, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him continue to slip as the season progressed.
At that price, I have a hard time believing Freeman isn’t an excellent buy opportunity. He doesn’t turn 27 until March so you should still have a few years of production from him. Meanwhile, the Falcons crowded backfield looks like it will get a little less crowded next season. Coleman is set to be an unrestricted free agent and it’s unlikely the Falcons will commit any money to him when Freeman signed a lucrative 5 year extension a year ago and Ito Smith proving to be a capable option. Even if the price Freeman costs seems steep today, I’m betting it will feel good to have him in the lineup next season and realize he will yet again be the talented lead back of a good Falcons offense.
- Rashaad Penny and Ronald Jones, RBs Seahawks and Buccaneers
I talked about both Penny and Jones in my 2018 RB class review a few weeks ago so I will keep this brief. These are two players who received large commitments from their teams. Neither sits behind a truly talented starter. And both have the necessary athleticism to play at the NFL level. If a panicked owner would rather try again in 2019 with a 2nd rounder or late 1st I would jump on that (though I still strongly prefer Penny to Jones).
- Amari Cooper, WR, Cowboys
Amari Cooper is coming to the end of the rope as a high-end dynasty asset – It’s put up or shut up time. Admittedly, Cooper has been in a rough situation over the past couple years after putting up near unprecedented numbers for a receiver of his age in his first 2 seasons. Cooper also hasn’t helped himself with frequent drops and apparent confidence issues, and at this point his value is being buoyed only by his early career success.
Personally, I think moving to Dallas to be Dak Prescott’s number-1 receiver is a step up for Cooper, or at least a chance to see him in a new light. For better or worse, this is Cooper’s last chance to be a true #1. But the Cowboys clearly believe in him to be that, and that should count for something. I expect Cooper to earn a high level of targets and the change of scenery should benefit him. After hearing many people comment that Dallas would actually be a worse situation for Cooper, I’m willing to dangle a 1st round pick to frustrated Cooper owners and see if I get any bites. He has as much a chance at success as any rookie WR will next season.
- Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Julio Jones has apparently retired from scoring touchdowns. Over the past season and a half he has just 3 touchdowns on 229 targets including a big fat ZERO this year. For comparison, Julio caught 40 touchdowns on 777 targets before 2017. That’s a shift from one touchdown every 19 targets to one every 76 targets. Even if Julio never returns to his prior touchdown rate it would be nearly impossible for him to not regress towards the mean and post a higher touchdown rate moving forward.
It’s not like the talent has left him. Despite his complete lack of touchdowns Julio is still a fantasy WR1. In PPR leagues he ranks as WR12 in points and WR9 in points per game. If the touchdowns ever DO return… look out. Meanwhile, the lack of scoring has become a common talking point and put a bit of a negative light onto Julio. Contenders should buy now before the touchdowns return.
And A Few More Names to Consider:
- Jimmy Garoppolo, QB, 49ers
- Dalvin Cook, RB, Vikings
- Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
- Corey Davis, WR, Titans
- Doug Baldwin, WR, Seahawks
- Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
The key here yet again is to target talented injured players and underperforming high draft picks and big-ticket free agent items. If there is one thing to take away from this post, it’s that. Any player on this list may ultimately hit or miss. But over the long haul, if you can implement a strategy of targeting talented injured players during the dip in their value and prioritizing team investment over small production samples, you will be a better dynasty owner for it.
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