Trade Time: Rookie Value

By Matt Morrison (@dynastyjerk)

Hello Dynasty Owners, and thank you for joining me in another Trade Time article. The official start of the 2023 NFL season was last night, and we are just days away from the first full Sunday slate of games. I’m happy for NFL games to be starting and writing about one of the most unique aspects of Dynasty Owner…The Trade Calculator.

Here is an excerpt from my first Trade Time article that I think sums up the Trade Calculator nicely…

“The Trade Calculator is something that I have heard numerous requests for from Dynasty Owners, and it has arrived just in time for the NFL pre-season. A trade calculator in itself is not a new invention, but when it comes to Dynasty Owner, it takes on a whole new meaning.  As we know, all of our projections here take into account several factors…

  • Age
  • Fantasy Production
  • Projected Length of Career
  • Salary

All of these are standard for dynasty leagues except for salary. Taking into account a player’s salary takes on a bigger meaning when you are considering trading away one of your Dynasty Owner assets (player, draft picks, Dynasty Dollars or an Amnesty Provision).”

(Published on August 17, 2023)

Here is some more detailed information about the Trade Calculator from my second article.

“…the Trade Calculator is continuously updated.  It takes info and data from several different websites and compiles it into one place. As a player’s stats and team conditions change, so will the player’s value. It might be difficult to see value fluctuations in the off-season, but things will ramp up once players start producing actual Dynasty Owner fantasy points. As I said last week, this Trade Calculator also takes contracts and salaries into account. Real-life NFL contracts and salaries are the most unique aspect of Dynasty Owner, and it is one of the biggest reasons that established dynasty fantasy football players are drawn to the platform. The Trade Calculator takes contract years left and salary into account when it analyzes each trade.”

(Published on August 23, 2023)

Today I am going to present you with two more potential trades that I have run through the Trade Calculator. Both of these trades involve one NFL rookie from this year, and they should be used as a guide to find fair value with a trade partner.

Rookie Value Trades

Jaxon Smith-Njigba ($3,604,327)

 PlayerPositionSalaryYears Left on ContractAgeValue
Team AJaxon Smith-NjigbaWR$3,604,3274215914
 2024 2nd Round2250
Team BGarrett WilsonWR$5,138,5023237747
Results5% In Favor Of Team A    

This is a very simple, yet effective way of showing how the Trade Calculator sees value. On one side. you have a rookie wide receiver in Jaxon Smith-Njigba (JSN) who is the top of his class. He has been compared to elite wide receivers such as Keenan Allen ($20,025,000) and Jarvis Landry ($3,000,000). There is little doubt that JSN will be a producer in the NFL, but will he be a fantasy producer in the way that Garrett Wilson has already shown that he can be?

Wilson finished his rookie season as the WR19 with over 1,100 yards, four touchdowns and 216.7 Dynasty Owner fantasy points. Barring injury, I see no scenario where he doesn’t easily surpass those numbers. This belief mostly stems from the fact that he is now receiving passes from one of the greatest ball throwers in NFL history in Aaron Rodgers ($37,500,000).

So, the simple question remains…would you rather have JSN and a 2024 2nd round pick or Garrett Wilson? My answer is Wilson. I will take the better receiver with the better quarterback who is projected to score more fantasy points over the next three years. Yes, you are receiving a little over 1.5 million dollar discount with JSN, but the fantasy production should make up for that lost salary cap.

Bijan Robinson ($5,489,634)

 PlayerPositionSalaryYears Left on ContractAgeValue
Team ABijan RobinsonRB$5,489,6342148058
 Elijah MitchellRB$915,8922522139
Team BJustin JeffersonWR$3,280,7012419996
Results2% In Favor Of Team A    

This trade is the one that has been the hardest for me to decide on, and I’m not totally convinced that I know which side I want. Team A involves a high level handcuff running back in Elijah Mitchell. He is the backup to the best running back in the league, Christian McCaffrey ($16,015,875). It also includes the consensus 1.01 rookie pick in this year’s rookie drafts (Bijan Robinson). If you just saw this side of the trade, you may be thinking, “I’m not sure there is anything that could cause me to give up Bijan.” That may be true for a lot of you, but take a look at what the Trade Calculator says about fair value with this trade…

Team B is giving up only Justin Jefferson and it is still very close compensation for Robinson and Mitchell. There are a few reasons why I am having such a hard time finding a side in this trade.

  1. Bijan has yet to play a regular season NFL snap. Yes, I think almost everyone who has seen any amount of tape on Robinson knows that he is super talented, and his skillset is almost guaranteed to translate to the NFL. We think that is almost certainly true, but we don’t know for sure. We can’t be 100% sure until we see it for a few months.
  2. Justin Jefferson is on an expiring rookie deal, and he has been given a fifth year rookie option. This means that while he won’t be making $30,000,000 per year yet, his salary will be increasing dramatically. His fifth year option salary is 19.743 million dollars, which is the minimum he will earn in 2024. While Jefferson will of course be 100 percent owned rostered, it does drop his value significantly.
  3. It just feels dirty to give up the 1.01 in a very recent rookie draft for an older and soon to be more expensive wide receiver.


I think which side you land on with this trade will come down to roster construction. Obviously, any Dynasty Owner would rather keep Jefferson while also acquiring Bijan, but that isn’t going to be the reality in most situations.

For what it’s worth, I would slightly take the Bijan side just because I believe the upside of having a rookie RB as hyped as Bijan is close to the most valuable thing you can have in Dynasty Owner. I see very little chance that he loses value going into next season. Running backs are just so scarce and hard to come by in dynasty football.

As always, thank you for reading. If anyone has any suggestions on real trades that were either accepted or rejected that they would like me to analyze, please let me know. I would appreciate it if you followed @Dynasty_Owner on X/Twitter as well as subscribed to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Thank you all. Take care and be safe.