2021 Fantasy Football: Dynasty Sell Highs - Know When to Walk Away, Know When to Run!

Senior fantasy analyst Michael Fabiano presents your best dynasty league sells to deal ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
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The 2021 NFL offseason could end up being the most exciting we've ever seen. There have already been two big trades involving quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff, and Carson Wentz will be wearing new uniforms in 2021. Based on reports, that could be the start of the frantic movement of big-name superstars (Deshaun Watson, anyone?). With that in mind, let’s look at some of the players you should consider selling before offseason movement or age decreases their stock in dynasty leagues.

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Alvin Kamara, RB, New Orleans Saints

Trade Alvin Kamara? Am I insane? Maybe, but hear me out. Yes, he’s coming off a year where he had career bests with 377.8 fantasy points, 1,688 scrimmage yards, and 21 total touchdowns. What does that all mean for me? Regression is coming! Call me a Negative Nancy, but don't you want to be ahead of the curve? Could he have another solid season or two? Sure. But how often does a running back put up bananas numbers past the age of 28? I also wonder how Kamara will perform if the Saints turn to Taysom Hill at quarterback next season. In Hill’s four starts in 2020, the receiving/fantasy totals weren’t all that awesome. I wouldn’t trade him for anything but a king’s ransom, but I wouldn’t pass on dealing him in dynasty leagues just because he’s “Alvin Kamara.”

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

TITANS DERRICK HENRY

Henry is coming off a career season that saw him become the eighth running back in NFL history to rush for over 2,000 yards. It’s a tremendous accomplishment, but it also comes with somewhat of a negative trend that I wrote about back in January. Like in the case of Kamara, regression is coming for Henry, much as it came for the other 2,000-yard rushers who hit that mark in or past their primes. Henry, who will be 27 when next season begins, has had a ton of work in recent years. In fact, he ranks first in touches among running backs since 2019 (regular season and postseason), and it’s not even close. His 827 touches are 122 more than the next highest total (Dalvin Cook – 705 touches). Henry might have another good season or two in him, but the physical breakdown will hit him. I’d deal him for a high first-rounder plus.

DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Arizona Cardinals

I love putting superstar players on the trade block and seeing what offers come my way. Hopkins fits the bill. He’s coming off another impressive season, producing around 18 fantasy points per game in his first run with the Cardinals. He also posted 1,407 yards through the air, which is the third-most in his career. So why sell him? Well, he is entering his age-29 season. That’s not old, but it’s on the cusp of his 30s when we start to see some wide receivers decline in the stat sheets. Hopkins can also garner a ton of fantasy booty in a potential deal, whether it’s draft picks, players, or a combination.

David Montgomery, RB, Chicago Bears

Montgomery finished sixth in fantasy points among running backs this past season, and he did it on the strength of a ridiculous second half. Over his final six games, he scored 154.5 fantasy points and averaged 25.7 points while averaging over five yards per rush. At least part of his success came due to a schedule that was a virtual cakewalk. All six opponents were in the top six in terms of allowing the most fantasy points to backs. That includes the Lions (1st), Texans (2nd), Jaguars (3rd), Packers twice (5th), and Vikings (6th). Montgomery is young at 23, but I don’t see him as a top-10 player at his position. He’ll also have to contend with the return of Tarik Cohen, who will take targets away. Sell Montgomery after what is likely to be his best statistical season.

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Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Cleveland Browns

It’s difficult to sell high on a wideout coming off two straight mediocre seasons and a torn ACL. But he is Odell Beckham Jr., so there’s still some value in his name. In reality, he’s failed to average more than 13 fantasy points in his time with the Browns, and the offense is not conducive to a wide receiver putting up elite totals. So, Beckham Jr. will remain in a less-than-attractive spot to rebound in the stat sheets. He’s not getting any younger either, as OBJ will turn 29 during the 2021 season. It’s time to move on, folks.

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Smith-Schuster finished a respectable 16th in fantasy points among wideouts last year, and at 24, he’s still one of the younger, more talented players at his position. Those are the positives. The negatives are that Smith-Schuster is a free agent and landing with a team that throws the ball nearly 65 percent of the time (as the Steelers did last season) is unlikely. If he stays in the Steel City, who will his quarterback be when Ben Roethlisberger retires? Also, the target share could be uneven with Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool in the mix. If I could move Smith-Schuster now, I’d do it.

Adam Thielen, WR, Minnesota Vikings

Thielen has produced solid numbers in his career, including a 2020 campaign when he scored a personal-best 14 touchdowns. He also averaged just under 17 fantasy points per game. This all makes Thielen a perfect sell-high player. Why, you might ask? Well, he’ll be 31 when next season begins. That’s not old by any stretch, at least not for a wideout, but he’s already hit his ceiling. Thielen is also no longer the top option in the Minnesota pass attack, as Justin Jefferson grabbed that role with two hands in 2020. If I could deal with Thielen for a younger wideout or maybe a second-rounder, I’m all in.

Chris Carson, RB, Seattle Seahawks

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Carson finished this past season 19th in fantasy points among running backs, and he did it despite missing four games. He was 14th on a points-per-game basis, and his 4.8 yards-per-rush average was a career-best. Those are your main selling points. The reasons to sell him are still clear, however. He’s entering his age-27 season, so he might have another good year or two before the inevitable decline comes. He is also slated to become a free agent, and he could struggle to find a suitor that will pay him during an odd salary cap season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Carson has also missed five games and been limited in others due to injuries since 2019, and his ball security has come into question. His dynasty league arrow is pointing downwards.

Tyler Lockett, WR, Seattle Seahawks

Lockett finished eighth among wide receivers in fantasy points this past season, but it was a deceptive top-eight finish. He produced 53 points in a single game, which made up 20 percent of his total points. What’s more, 42 percent of his 265.4 points came in just four games, one of which was in Week 17 after most fantasy leagues had already ended. Lockett also failed to score more than 12.3 points in 10 of 16 games (62.5 percent), and he was held to single-digit points in seven of 16 games (43.7 percent). He’s also going to turn 29 in September, so I’d deal him now.

Marquise Brown, WR, Baltimore Ravens

Brown finished just 36th in fantasy points among wide receivers this past season, but he did increase his stock down the stretch. Over his final four games, Brown ranked 18th and averaged a solid 15.6 fantasy points. He’s also entering his third season, which is when so many other past wideouts have broken out. The reason why Brown won’t join that list is the Ravens offense. In 2020, Baltimore ran the football almost 56 percent of the time. Their offense also ranked dead last in passing snaps, wide receiver routes run, and targets. So while he has age, speed, and potential on his side, Brown isn’t likely to reach great heights in fantasy land. I’d look to deal him right now.

DeVante Parker, WR, Miami Dolphins

Parker came into last season with heightened fantasy expectations, as he had produced his best NFL totals in 2019 (15.4 PPG). Unfortunately, his numbers dropped when the Dolphins turned the offense over to Tua Tagovailoa compared to his totals with Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. The Dolphins have a lot of cash to spend this offseason and draft capital, so they may add a potential No. 1 wide receiver like LSU's Ja'Marr Chase or Alabama's Devonta Smith. Parker will also be 29 at the start of the 2022 season, so now's the time to sell him for draft picks in all fantasy dynasty leagues.

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Robert Tonyan, TE, Green Bay Packers

Tonyan is coming off a career season that saw him finish an impressive fourth in points among tight ends. He also caught 88 percent of his targets (it helps when Aaron Rodgers is your quarterback), and his seven red-zone touchdowns ranked tied for fourth at the position. The problem with Tonyan is that he’ll be 27 when next season starts, and the regression monster is coming in 2021. It’s also concerning that he ranked a very unimpressive 24th in targets among tight ends, and there’s a chance the Packers add a wide receiver in the offseason. Forget about an increased target share! Now’s the time to sell Tonyan after his magical season because it won’t happen again.

Michael Fabiano is an award-winning fantasy football analyst on Sports Illustrated and a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA) Hall of Fame. You can follow Michael on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram for all of the latest breaking fantasy football news and the best analysis in the business!