Dynasty Buys and Sells: Wide Receiver and Tight End
December 15, 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 wide receivers and tight ends 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.
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Wide Receiver Buys
By now, Hopkins’ 2016 issues have been well-documented. The talented wide receiver has struggled to replicate the dominant numbers he posted in 2015, mostly due to the poor quarterback play of offseason acquisition Brock Osweiler. Hopkins currently has 60 catches for 701 yards and four touchdowns, with only one 100-yard game to his name. This has significantly lowered the value of a player who was generally considered a top-four dynasty asset heading into the 2016 season. On the bright side, Hopkins is still only 24 years old and remains an extremely talented receiver. As we know, situations in the NFL can change quickly. Osweiler will likely have just one more season, at best, to prove he’s the man to lead the Houston offense. If he doesn’t show marked improvement in 2017, expect Houston to aggressively look for someone else to run the offense. It wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the Texans brought in some outside competition to push Osweiler this offseason. Hopkins should still be regarded highly as a long-term dynasty asset, even if it may be another season or two before he pays off.
Keenan Allen – San Diego Chargers
A Week 1 torn ACL derailed what was supposed to be Allen’s big coming out party this season. The fourth-year receiver was well on his way to a big game with six catches for 63 yards in just one half of football. Allen has had two straight seasons cut short by injuries now, causing the “injury-prone” tag to be slapped by his name. You should be aggressively pursuing Allen as he’s shown that he can be a rock-solid WR1 in dynasty leagues when he’s on the field. The injury-prone label can cause fantasy owners to do strange things, including selling highly talented players such as Allen for below market value. If you can find an owner in your league who values Allen at anything less than a dynasty WR1, then you should jump at the opportunity to acquire his services.
Wide Receiver Sells
Jordy Nelson – Green Bay Packers
Nelson has bounced back from ACL surgery to post yet another strong season for the Packers. Through Week 14, Nelson has 75 catches for 913 yards and 12 touchdowns. While he’s still going strong, the main concern with Jordy is that he will be 32 heading into the 2017 season. While he surely has another year or two of elite production left in the tank, this offseason is the time to start considering shopping him around your league. As we saw this season with Brandon Marshall, it doesn’t take very long for a great situation to deteriorate in fantasy. Granted, much of Marshall’s struggles have been quarterback related, but I’m sure most owners who have him in dynasty wish they sold him last offseason while his value was up. Nelson should be an attractive add for a team that is in win-now mode and should still fetch a nice return via trade.
Julian Edelman – New England Patriots
With Tom Brady now 39 years old, the question must be asked: How much longer can he keep playing at a high level? Edelman’s value is tied really closely to that of Brady’s and can reasonably be expected to decrease significantly whenever Brady either: A) hangs it up, or B) suffers from diminished skills. Don’t forget the fact that Edelman himself will be turning 31 this spring and has been somewhat injury-prone over his career. Don’t get me wrong, if I’m a contending team I would love to have Edelman around. But if not, this offseason is the time to start looking to strike a deal.
Tight End Buys
Eric Ebron – Detroit Lions
Ebron was set for a big breakout this season before dealing with ankle and knee injuries. The signing of Anquan Boldin didn’t help matters either, as Boldin siphoned away a lot of the middle of the field work that was expected to go to Ebron. It is well known that tight ends take longer to develop in the NFL and Ebron has been no exception. I still like the third-year tight end long-term and think he’s worth pursuing in dynasty leagues. Boldin is 36 and is on just a one-year deal with the Lions, so he very well may not be back next season. That would serve to increase Ebron’s value as we move forward.
Hunter Henry – San Diego Chargers
Henry has bucked the long-standing expectation that rookie tight ends struggle in their first NFL season. The rookie out of Arkansas has thrived in his limited chances this season, even though he has taken a back seat to future Hall of Famer Antonio Gates. From a dynasty perspective, you should hope that Gates plays one more season after this one, so Henry’s price stays down long enough to snap him up in leagues. If Gates does hang it up this season, then Henry’s price will probably prove too exorbitant, although it would still be worth checking in with his owner. Henry has 29 catches for 402 yards and six touchdowns this season, all while playing on just 62% of San Diego’s offensive snaps. That number is increased due to some heavier workloads he saw earlier in the year when Gates missed two games.
Tight End Sells
Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
The most recent back injury to Gronk is a concerning one as the star tight end has back concerns dating back to his college years. Those issues were part of the reason a player of his talent slipped to the second round of the NFL draft. Gronkowski’s most recent injury was a herniated disc in his back which required surgery and will cause him to miss the rest of the 2016 season. While he can be reasonably expected to return at full strength for the 2017 season, at some point you have to wonder just how much these mounting injuries will take a toll on him. Add in the weeks where he is listed as questionable, plays as a decoy, and posts poor fantasy outings, and this is the time to see what you can get for Gronk on the trade market. There should be an owner in your league who values him as an elite-level dynasty asset, even though those days are likely fading away.
Thanks for reading, be sure to reach out in the comments section below or @supermt on Twitter with your trade questions or comments.