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Trade Time

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Author: Matt “The Jerk” Morrisson (@dynastyjerk)

Hey y’all.  It’s TheJerk here again with another weekly article.  I want to start off by stating the obvious…Mondays are so much better with double MNF games.  I know the reason for the coupled games is unfortunate, but it’s nice to stop and enjoy the little things this season.  A double slate of Monday games is definitely a pleasant surprise.  I did note a few takeaways from Monday’s games.  First, CEH looked fresh and able to take on the 30-carry workload that he was offered.  He rushed 26 times for 161 yards (6.2 yards/attempt) and added four receptions for eight yards.  He was once again denied the end zone as he had a six-yard touchdown run that was nullified by a holding penalty.  In the later game, Zeke had a disappointing day with two lost fumbles (-3 points each in DO).  He continues to lead the NFL in fumbles (5) and fumbles lost (4).  Zeke somewhat salvaged his fantasy night with eight receptions for 31 yards.  I think the biggest story to come out of Monday night is how historically awful Dallas’ defense continues to be. be.  Dallas has allowed 218 points this year or 36.3 points/game.  They are bottom five in total yards allowed and rushing yards allowed.  Continue to start your players against the Cowboys with confidence. 

Well, let’s jump into the meat of the article.  Today I’m going to talk about trading.  After looking back through all my Dynasty Owner (DO) articles, I’ve found that “trading” may be the most neglected topic.  Well, now that we’re halfway through the regular season for fantasy, I think this is a great time to discuss it.  I’m sure everyone reading this has either been involved in a DO trade or have seen a trade occur in your league.  This particular format (as many of you know) makes trading a more complicated, thought provoking task.  In Dynasty Owner, there is no trade deadline where you are unable to make trades.  Instead, all trades made between Week 13 and Week 16 are “frozen” and will not process until after the championship match.  Owners are able to trade players, draft picks (up to six years out), Amnesty Provisions and Dynasty Dollars.  In DO, it would be unwise to make a trade solely on player performance as you need to take into account player’s salaries this year and for future years.  Let me give you an example…

In one of my dynasty leagues that is not Dynasty Owner, Todd Gurley was traded for David Johnson. The trade occurred between Week 4 and 5.  Doesn’t seem like an exciting trade does it?  Both players are the primary back on their team and handle the majority of the carries but are “older” as far as running backs go.  DJ and Gurley (after four weeks) were within eight touches of each other (60 to 68 respectively) and were separated by less than four fantasy points (50.7 to 54.3 respectively).  I’m not giving you this example in order to analyze the trade but rather to admit this is a reasonable swap in a regular dynasty league.  In Dynasty Owner however, Gurley for Johnson is not reasonable, and you already know why.  DJ costs 13 million/year to own, while Gurley is only 6 million/year.  Add in the fact that DJ has two years on his contract while Gurley is on his last year, and you have a very one-sided trade.  In this case, the expiring contract affords the owner additional flexibility when compared to a more expensive contract with additional years.

When it comes to assessing a DO trade, the goals of the trading parties need to be taken into account.  If you are sitting at 6-0, 5-1 or 4-2 and are dominating your league, it wouldn’t make sense to trade away some of the main players that have lifted your team to dominance.  In the same way, if you are sitting at 0-6 or 1-5, you may be looking towards a rebuild and would be willing to trade some of your valuable, expiring contracts.  In this article I’m going to break down some trade examples that would benefit “Contenders” and “Rebuilders.”

Contender Trades

Congratulations on reaching a point in the season where you feel that you can win the championship right now.  That is the ultimate goal, right?  To win?  We talk about rookies, picks and youth in Dynasty Owner quite a bit, but we are trying to do the same thing in the end.  We want to win, and we’d prefer that we win soon.  So here we are…halfway through the regular season, and we are in the top half of our standings.  What can we do to put a stranglehold on our league?  Well, a lot of it depends on how much cap room you have to deal with.  I’m going to provide a list of potential league winners that are affordable to most teams.  In other words, here are some players that you should be able to acquire from rebuilding teams.

Player (Current Annual Salary)

  • Patrick Mahomes ($4,106,447)
  • Deshaun Watson ($3,463,570)
  • James Conner ($790,381)
  • Chris Carson ($616,282)
  • Chase Edmonds ($728,090)
  • Cooper Kupp ($957,940)
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster ($1,048,945)
  • George Kittle ($674,572)
  • Dalton Schultz ($728,090)

This is a non-comprehensive list.  Obviously, there are other players that I would love to trade for and could make a run with, but I’ve selected the cheapest ones that I feel would be easiest to obtain.  Yes, yes, I know what you’re saying…” but there is no way someone is going to trade me Mahomes.”  That may be true, and it may be true for a good percentage of leagues, but I know for a fact that there are teams out there that are under .500 with Mahomes on their roster.  I also know that the majority of those teams have not yet figured a way to keep Mahomes on their team next year for 45 million.  The biggest hurdle to acquiring Pat is probably the fact that whoever owns him hasn’t given up on the season yet.  As the weeks pass, Mahomes owners are going to feel the pressure building and know that a decision will eventually need to be made.  Maybe throw an offer out there, but don’t take it personally when it’s rejected.  Also, I would be trying to shop more aggressively for him if you do have a low cap and have a plan in place to keep his salary for the next decade.

Example Trades for P. Mahomes:

  • J. Jacobs for P. Mahomes & 2021 3rd
  • J. Taylor for P. Mahomes & 2021 3rd
  • 2021 1st & 2022 1st for P. Mahomes

(For the record, I’m not saying I, personally, would make any of these trades, but these are probably in the ballpark of what Mahomes’ owners will ask for).

The identical argument can be made for Watson.  While Deshaun won’t demand as much of a salary cap hit as Mahomes, it will still be unmanageable for most teams.  As owners become more panicked towards the end of the season, see if you can reach out and pick him up.

Example Trades for D. Watson:

  • T. McLaurin & 2021 2nd for D. Watson
  • C. Lamb & 2021 3rd for D. Watson

James Conner, Chris Carson, and (to a lesser extent) Chase Edmonds all fall into the same category for me.  They are cheap, productive backs on short contracts.  Conner and Carson each have a year left on their less than $1 million salary.  Barring injury, both will see large paydays next year, possibly on new teams.  This is the kind of uncertainty that may make a rebuilder sell.  There is a chance that Conner and Carson both make over $10 million next year, and rebuilders may feel it’s worthwhile to sell now for picks.  I would be a buyer for both at the right price.  We have already seen what both of them can do when they are healthy.  In 2019 Conner averaged 17.6 fantasy points in the games that he was healthy.  Through five games this year, he is right on that same pace with 17.4 fantasy points per game.  Conner produces when he plays, and he will continue to be productive through the year.  Carson was more effective that Conner last year and continues to be more effective this year.  He is averaging 19.8 fantasy points per game in 2020.

Example trades for J. Conner:

  • C. Akers for J. Conner & 2021 3rd
  • D. Singletary & 2021 2nd for J. Conner & 2021 3rd
  • 2021 1st for J. Conner

Example trades for C. Carson:

  • T. Higgins & 2021 2nd for C. Carson
  • 2021 1st & 2021 3rd for C. Carson

Cooper Kupp and JuJu Smith-Schuster have both underperformed this year.  Buying them now would be more a testament that you believe they will rebound, rather than buying a player while they’re hot.  Regardless, I see both of these players as serviceable for the rest of the season.  They are both on expiring contracts.  Kupp has already signed an extension worth nearly $16 million/year.  JuJu should get north of 10 million, although it may not be with the Steelers.  Buying them now (from an owner that can’t or won’t pay them next year) is a smart choice.  No matter how much you think they will rebound, they will certainly be a value as they are both currently getting paid $957,940 and $1,048,945 respectively.  Just don’t overpay for them…

Example trades for C. Kupp:

  • 2021 2nd & 2021 3rd for C. Kupp
  • R. Gage & 2021 2nd for C. Kupp

Example trades for J. Smith-Schuster:

  • H. Hurst & 2021 2nd for J. Smith-Schuster
  •  D. Henderson & 2021 2nd for J Smith-Schuster

George Kittle (like Mahomes and Watson) may not be the easiest player to trade for.  He is currently the TE #2 despite missing two games.  I suggest you take a peek at who owns Kittle in your league and see if they are also contenders.  If they aren’t and are up against the cap, you may have some leverage for a trade as his salary will increase to 15 million next year. 

Example trades for G. Kittle

  • A. Gibson & 2021 1st for G. Kittle
  • 2021 1st & 2021 2nd for G. Kittle

I tried to write this based on the idea that each team does not have much cap flexibility as it seems the majority of Dynasty Owners are over 105 million.  These are cheap options that could pay off in the playoffs.  Now let’s turn the discussion around and talk about what you could do if you feel like a rebuild is on the horizon…

Rebuilding Trades

I want to start by saying that the decision to enter a “full rebuild phase” should not be taken lightly.  If you read any of my other articles, then you know I am an advocate for patience.  I prefer to let the season develop and am usually against giving up after six weeks.  That being said, there are scenarios where it may be the smart decision.  If you deem that your best course of action is to rebuild now, then stick around for these trade targets.  It seems like common sense, but as a rebuilder, my primary goal would be to obtain as many first-round rookie picks as possible. 

We know that in DO you have to roster at least 25 players and no more than 30.  So, the most picks you will be able to use in the 2021 rookie draft is five.  My goal would be to first obtain five picks and then try to convert as many of them to first rounders as I can.  It may not be possible as most owners guard 1st round picks tightly, but it’s worth a try.  Also, keep in mind that your first-round rookie picks will, on average, cost more per year than second or third rounders.  Make sure you budget out your picks so that you don’t have to waste any pick on a late round player because you ran out of cap space.  Aside from picks, here are some players I would target if I was rebuilding.

Player (Current Annual Salary)

  • Jacob Eason ($841,816)
  • Dak Prescott ($30,144,000)
  • J.K. Dobbins ($1,432,359)
  • Cam Akers ($1,543,258)
  • Saquon Barkley ($7,798,688)
  • Henry Ruggs ($4,167,906)
  • Marquise Brown ($2,946,835)
  • Parris Campbell ($1,193,984)
  • Adam Trautman ($1,124,850)

In addition to compiling draft picks, the primary targets you are going to want to trade for are young, high upside players.  First on my list is Jacob Eason.  You’re going to have to wait at least one to two years to see any return on Eason, but I think he will be worth the wait.  He has not played in any game this season and currently sits behind Phillip Rivers and Jacoby Brissett on the depth chart.  Eason is obviously on a cheap rookie contract and should be relatively inexpensive to trade for.  If you can handle him not playing for two to three years, he could provide value before his rookie contract expires.

Example trades for J. Eason:

  • 2021 3rd & 20 million DD for J. Eason
  • Amnesty Provision & 2022 3rd for J. Eason

There is a good chance that Dak Prescott is available in the Free Agent Auction for your league as he is only owned in 63.92% of leagues.  Assuming he is owned in your league and that you are able to fit his current contract ($30,144,00) under your cap, he should be traded for.  With one third of leagues already dropping Dak, you should be able to pick him up for very cheap.  I believe he will come back next year ready for the season opener and return as a Top 5 quarterback.

Example trades for D. Prescott:

  • Matt Ryan for D. Prescott
  • Tom Brady for D. Prescott

J.K. Dobbins (RB 40) and Cam Akers (RB 90) have both underwhelmed this year so far.  Both have received far less opportunity than I (and most analysts) had estimated they would, even for rookies.  Each is the most talented back on their team and both situations are, quite honestly, baffling to me.  Regardless, I see much brighter years ahead for both backs.  I predict both will become their team’s primary rusher next year, and both are on high power offenses.

Example trade for J.K. Dobbins:

  • K. Drake & J. Washington for J.K. Dobbins

Example trade for C. Akers:

  • J. Conner for C. Akers

Saquon Barkley is another unique case like Dak Prescott’s.  As you all know, Saquon is out for the remainder of the season with an ACL tear in his right knee.  While Saquon is 100% owned, you may find a panicked owner who has tunnel vision and is only looking at the current year.  If you do find a seller, it will no doubt be expensive, but it also may be worth it.  I would suggest trying to trade a player like A. Jones or J. Mixon for Saquon. You will be cutting salary for next year while also receiving a better player.

Example trades for S. Barkley:

  • A. Jones for S. Barkley
  • J. Mixon for S. Barkley

Henry Ruggs, Marquise Brown, and Parris Campbell are three of the fastest receivers in the NFL.  They are all 23 years old or younger and can all be obtained for cheaper than they should be.  Henry Ruggs can be obtained due to his relatively expensive rookie deal.  (He was the first wide receiver taken in the 2020 draft at 12th overall).  He was also injured for Week 3 and 4.  Buy Ruggs from an owner looking to make a run who is not necessarily concerned about the next few years.  Marquise Brown has disappointed this year as half of his games have tallied less than 10 fantasy points.  In addition, his best game resulted in 20.6 fantasy points.  Like the Ruggs’ owner, Brown owners may be looking to move on.  Parris Campbell has been on IR since Week 2 when he injured his left MCL and PCL.  His return date has yet to be determined, but that really doesn’t matter much to you if you’re rebuilding.  Worst case, Parris will be back at the start of next year and, barring further injury, he’ll look to be a top, young talent again.

Example trade for H. Ruggs:

  • C. Edmonds for H. Ruggs

Example trade for M. Brown:

  • D. Henderson for M. Brown

Example trade for P. Campbell:

  • 2021 2nd and 10 million DD for P. Campbell

The final player on my list is a deep sleeper.  Adam Trautman was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.  In fact, the Saints traded their remaining draft picks (picks 130, 169, 203 and 244) in order to move up and draft Trautman.  He surely has the draft capital invested in him and depending on what the Saints do with Jared Cook next year, he may take over as the primary receiving tight end as soon as 2021.  At any rate, a trade for Trautman will likely not pay off for at least a couple years, but it will pay off at some point.

Example trade for A. Trautman:

  • 2021 3rd & 10 million DD for A. Trautman

Once again, this is not a comprehensive list, and there are many more young players I would love to own.  However, these are the players I think you’ll have the easiest time acquiring.  I thank you all for sticking with me and I hope to see you on the next one.  Take care and be safe.

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