We’re headed full steam into Week 8 of the 2021 dynasty fantasy season! It’s really fun to see an offseason game plan come to fruition. And hey, even if it doesn’t pan out how you planned, you have next season to build toward.
My weekly bit of dynasty advice for you is how to maintain multiple leagues. I can only speak from my experience, but I feel playing in multiple leagues—even if you really know your stuff and stay on top of all things NFL—is you eventually hit a law of diminishing returns. I’m maxed out at five leagues and even that is probably too much.
Yes, you can set 30 lineups every week and throw out blind bids during a weekly regiment, but inevitably, you have a set of players you like and don’t like. There will simply be too much overlap on your teams past a certain amount. I remember a few years back, I had Bishop Sankey in about half of my leagues. If you don’t know who that is, that’s the point. Talk about a flop! When you have a favorable evaluation year, everything is great. Then you hit a bad season and your league dues are more like charitable giving.
I understand loving the game. I understand loving the strategy and planning. I understand the offseason can be slow and you get the itch for a startup draft. Just try to remember your time is valuable and finite.
Let’s ring the dynasty stock watch opening bell:
QB Justin Fields, Chicago Bears
QB Zach Wilson, New York Jets
A couple weeks back, I wrote about Jalen Hurts and my mistrust of his long-term viability. He is making Blake Bortles’ 2015 garbage time run look like small potatoes. By the way, I’m blown away it was six years ago. Time flies. In any case, Hurts at least flashes minor competence and has the wheels to eke out playable fantasy stats. In the end, I recommended a win-now hold and rebuild sell for Hurts.
I came down pretty hard on Hurts. On Fields and Wilson, we are at DEFCON-1. S.O.S! MAYDAY! ABANDON SHIP!
If you don’t mind further humoring my self-indulgent musings, the NFL needs a minor league. A fully committed and not-about-the-money endeavor to groom quarterback talents.
Let’s go way back for an example: Steve Young. The Hall of Famer sat for about four seasons behind Joe Montana. Most teams that draft a quarterback in the first round don’t have the luxury, but the league has to start somewhere. You may be thinking, “Well isn’t college football like a minor league for the NFL?” Of course it is, but we’re still talking about 21-year-olds jumping into a man’s league with more money than they know what to do with. Imagine your 21-year-old self with a million bucks, the praise and attention of an entire city, all while trying to juggle a playbook, the media, your personal and private life and so on. It’s a lot all at once. So give them more time.
Fields and Wilson need more time but it won’t be on my roster. At best, I don’t believe they’ll ever be NFL starters. At worst, stick a fork in ‘em.
RB Khalil Herbert, Chicago Bears
WHOA NELLY! In a game that was immediately forgettable for the Bears, the rookie runner was a beacon of hope. Herbert ran with purpose, burst, surprise and tenacity. He made multiple above-replacement plays. That’s a term I use for when a guy just pops on screen and delivers that something extra that makes him look special.
I strongly feel this is a running back controversy in-waiting. David Montgomery is more than good. He’s a productive three-down back. But after watching Herbert, no coaching staff could possibly just leave him on the sidelines. Here’s the thing, though: I don’t like trading for running backs. They’re so volatile and injury-prone that even the best ones are always at-risk. I either draft them or add them off the waiver wire. Trading for a back almost always results in you overpaying.
After Herbert’s dynamite Week 7, you would have to overpay. It’s tempting to want to buy and his stock will probably continue to rise; however, I would advise hoping to identify next year’s Herbert instead of trading for him. I will call him a price check, meaning you should ask about him just to see what it would cost while erring on the side of passing him over. For the sake of argument, the most I would pay right now is a 2022 late second.
Rebuild: PRICE CHECK
WR Kalif Raymond, Detroit Lions
It’s crazy to me that Raymond is in his sixth year after signing as an undrafted free agent after the 2016 draft.
The odds of making it in the league as a wide receiver from that starting point is nigh impossible. First off, it’s rare that a receiver makes it this deep into a career without an impact season. Just to survive that many add/drops from real NFL teams, the contract issues and overcoming the inevitable cap casualty results. Bottom line, when I see him with the ball in his hands, he looks crazy explosive. He jumps off the screen and slaps you with his burst.
Raymond looked absolutely legit in Week 7 in what turned out to be a really fun game to watch. The Lions-Rams matchup had all the hype and lived up to it. Besides D’Andre Swift being a joy to watch and all those trick plays, Raymond was the highlight for me.
Even with me flabbergasted with his potential, this is not your average buy situation. His numbers on the year are still nowhere close to reliable. At best, he’s an afterthought for the near-bottom of your roster. However, I want boom-or-bust backups and Raymond is that. I would avoid making him the centerpiece of a trade. Try to make him the final piece to a trade. Let’s engage in a little subterfuge and add him as a, “Okay, I think we’re close. How about you tack-on Kalif Raymond and you’ve got yourself a deal!” All the while, we’re cackling like some evil villain for landing the best receiver on the Lions. Let’s just hope Detroit figures out to keep him involved.
Rebuild: BUY, ADD-ON
2022 1.01 Rookie Pick
Hey, somebody out there is staring into the 1-6 or 0-7 abyss.
It’s time to unfortunately start thinking about the first overall pick in your league’s 2022 rookie draft. The presumptive pick is still debatable. I don’t want to get into player evaluations. We’re still too far out and I don’t want to sway anyone’s opinion this early. I do have a favorite for the pick and it’s Ohio State WR Garrett Wilson, but I also really like Arkansas WR Treylon Burks. Considering there currently is no undeniable standout pick, that adds to the tenuous value of next year’s 1.01.
Let’s instead focus on whether there is any value to the pick. My immediate judgment is that this is an incredible buying opportunity. Right now, people are so high on the 2023 1.01 (thank you Bijan Robinson), that the 2022 class offers value. Generally speaking, these classes even out. There are ups and downs, but let’s bet on ourselves to make the right pick rather than get overly concerned with a “down” year for prospects.
Saquon Barkley was supposed to be the next big thing and was locked-in at the 1.01. We see how it plays out sometimes and that’s well within the range of outcomes possible for 2022. Regardless of the draft class, we want the best players—so let’s finesse a way to get the pick.
If somebody has already traded away the 2022 1.01, then we’re in trouble because the person who sees the value in 2022 1.01 has the pick. It’s not a death sentence, but ideally what we want is the guy who thinks less of it and wants to flip it.
We can initiate conversations about Burks or Wilson in a group chat. Send out a video clip or GIF of a 2022 draft prospect to see where people's heads are at. “Sure, that’s a nice play, but he’s no Burks!” We may learn something, we may not. It’s worth investigating. Finding a way to gain information is part of the game. Let’s try to turn a fun conversation about the game and its players into an opportunity to help our team.
If I were putting together a 1-for-1 deal for the 2022 1.01 pick, I’d offer Amari Cooper as a starting point. Give or take, Cooper is in the 37 to 42 pick range of a startup draft for me. I feel that’s where the value of the 2022 1.01 is at right now.
On a win-now team that somehow already has the likely 2022 1.01, I’d hold and see if anybody wants to overpay. I want to gain a top 20 startup draft caliber player. In this situation, we have the nuts. We’ve got a good team and the top pick. Let’s hold out for the best deal possible or just not make it if it’s not presented to us.
For rebuilds, always make yourself available to trades and trade talk. We may need to trade for a 2022 mid-first to sweeten a deal for the 2022 1.01. In a rebuild, we want to find a way to learn the bare minimum to extract the pick. That often boils down to trial and error in trade offers. Make the 1.01 holder a legit offer and try your best not to lowball. We want to always seem reasonable and malleable enough to hear a trade partner out. It’s okay to be stubborn and opinionated, but your trade partner doesn’t have to know that you are.
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