Dynasty Buys and Sells: Quarterback and Running Back
December 2, 2016 | Matt Terelle
Welcome to our dynasty league edition of Buy/Sell. One of the most exciting parts about participating in a dynasty league is the year-round aspect of the format. While most redraft leagues are getting ready for the playoffs to begin, the trade season in dynasty leagues is just starting to heat up and should continue going strong well into the offseason. I’ve always found it best practice to take a long-term look at players in dynasty leagues and to avoid making rash decisions based on just one season. Below you will find some dynasty quarterbacks and running backs who I believe you should be trying to buy and sell before the 2017 season begins. As always, with dynasty leagues, it is important to determine whether your team is a championship contender or in a rebuilding stage. This determination will certainly change the value of certain players for different fantasy owners.
Today we will just be looking at quarterbacks and running backs. Stay tuned for wide receivers and tight ends next week.
Don’t forget to check out our DFS Cheat Sheets!
Cam Newton – Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton’s 2016 performance has certainly left something to be desired as he has failed to reach the lofty standard he set during his 2015 MVP campaign. Newton’s play has been largely uneven this season and on the year he has dipped to just the 14th-highest scoring fantasy quarterback. He is completing just 55.8% of his passes, the lowest of his career, and has accounted for just 18 touchdowns (13 passing, five rushing). Newton was most likely a top-three dynasty quarterback heading into the 2016 season and despite his disappointing play this year, he should still be valued as such this offseason. Newton is still only 27, meaning his dynasty owner will be able to lock him in for at least another seven or eight seasons. While he may not reach the 45 combined rushing and passing touchdowns he scored last season, Newton still has top-five upside at the position. Part of his struggles this year can be attributed to Carolina’s problems on the offensive line as Ryan Kalil, their best lineman, has been struggling through a shoulder injury, and Michael Oher has been dealing with concussion issues. This has, in part, led to Newton getting sacked 27 times in 10 games so far. In 2017, with improved protection, we should see Newton’s passing accuracy return to previous levels.
Russell Wilson – Seattle Seahawks
Wilson’s breaking out party was derailed early in the season with a knee injury and an ankle sprain. Wilson’s ability to play was extremely compromised over the first half of the season and he most likely should have taken a few weeks off to heal up. But play he did, albeit not all that well. Wilson was a top-five dynasty quarterback before the 2016 season, often coming off the board after only Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Andrew Luck. Wilson’s long-term outlook remains rosy as the Seahawks should continue to open up the offense as Wilson’s career goes on. Still just 28, Wilson is averaging just a touchdown per game in his 2016 campaign. His value is probably lower than it has been for years and he may be attainable for less than market value in your league.
Matt Ryan – Atlanta Falcons
Ryan has been fantastic this season, currently ranking as the third-highest scoring quarterback in the league behind only Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees. This was somewhat unexpected as Ryan struggled through one of his worst seasons in 2015 and was likely rather cheap in dynasty leagues heading into the year. The Falcons’ offense has turned into one of the most explosive units in the league this season with Ryan at the helm and offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan calling the shots. This is shaping up as the perfect time to start shopping Ryan around your league. With how well Ryan is playing, his value is at an all-time high right now. I have some concerns with the Falcons’ offense long-term as Shanahan should be a hot coaching candidate and may not be in Atlanta much longer. If you can find an owner who values Ryan as a top-six dynasty quarterback this offseason that would be a deal worth pursuing.
Tom Brady – New England Patriots
Even in his age 39 season, Brady is still operating at a high level. He has passed for 2,201 yards and 18 touchdowns in just seven games played following his four-game Deflategate suspension. While it stands to reason that Brady still has a few good years left in him, we have seen in the past that when older athletes lose it, it goes fast. Count me among those who would rather trade Brady away a year early instead of a year too late. Unless my team is in prime position to contend for a 2017 championship, I would be looking to move Brady this offseason in attempts to capitalize on his value before it’s too late.
Running Back Buys
Jerick McKinnon – Minnesota Vikings
Some dynasty owners would point to the scant amount of production offered by McKinnon this season and turn their noses up at him. Instead, dynasty owners should be using this as an opportunity to pick up McKinnon for way below what his market value should be. With future Hall of Famer Adrian Peterson due to make $18 million in the 2017 season, there’s a very real chance the Vikings opt to cut ties with the star back. That would leave just McKinnon and Matt Asiata in the Minnesota backfield. Asiata is just a guy while McKinnon is an athletic freak who was a college quarterback as recently as 2013. He should continue to improve as a running back and could be Minnesota’s featured back as soon as 2017. Nothing is set in stone and things change fast in the NFL, but I’d much rather have McKinnon on my roster than not. He still has tons of talent and is worth a prospective add in your dynasty leagues if the price isn’t too high.
Todd Gurley – Los Angeles Rams
There’s a strong chance that the Todd Gurley owner in your league is not all that impressed by the former Georgia Bulldog’s performance this season. Gurley was a first round dynasty pick in start-up drafts this past summer and so far ranks as just the 20th-highest scoring running back in the league. Gurley won’t turn 23 until this August, so his best years are still ahead of him. While he’s mired on an unimpressive Rams’ offense right now, his outlook could change quickly if 2016’s first overall draft pick Jared Goff turns out to be a quality quarterback. One of the best rules of thumb in dynasty is to invest in individual talent over a player’s situation, which is exactly what you would be doing here. If you can pick up Gurley for less than the price of a top-five dynasty running back you should seriously consider it. Gurley’s value may never be lower than it is right now.
Running Back Sells
Jonathan Stewart – Carolina Panthers
Stewart definitely has his usefulness as one of the rare bell-cow backs in the league on a team that is more committed to the run than most. He is also widely considered one of the most talented backs in the league, boasting a unique blend of speed and power. That being said, Stewart is 29 years old and has been one of the most injury-prone running backs in the league. Over the past four seasons, Stewart has missed 19 of Carolina’s games—not exactly a picture of good health. When all is said and done this season, Stewart will likely finish as an RB2 from a points scored standpoint, which should make him more marketable in trade negotiations. He has three two-touchdown games to his name this year, which has helped offset him averaging just 3.7 yards per carry on the season. Stewart should be an attractive asset to a contending team looking to add a running back to the stable; it would be advisable to ship him off before he hits age 30 in March.
DeMarco Murray – Tennessee Titans
Murray is in a similar situation as Jonathan Stewart. He’s an extremely talented running back who has seen his fair share of injuries over the years and has also seen some heavy workloads over his six-year career. Murray is on pace to log his second 300-plus touch season in three years as Tennessee has not shied away from giving him a heavy workload. His value was at an all-time high after his exceptional 2014 season with the Cowboys, but he should still hold a good deal of value for an owner who is thin at the running back position. Murray should have another good season or two in store, but now is the time to cash in on him.
Thanks for reading, be sure to reach out in the comments section below or @supermt on Twitter with your trade questions or comments.