The fantasy football trade market is the fastest way to upgrade your team and the most efficient one. This goes for both season-long and dynasty leagues. You can take advantage of poor tendencies and logic from other owners in your league who tend to overreact to the “what have you done for me lately” line of thinking.
In dynasty leagues, it’s important to factor in future coaching changes, future offensive schematic changes, how the draft will impact certain players, and more. The time to start thinking about all of this is now when you still have an opportunity to take advantage. Today, we’ll break down the players who you should be looking to buy in your dynasty leagues right now.
Mariota’s miserable 2017 stat line looks more like something you would see from a quarterback from the 1980s, with 10 touchdowns against 14 interceptions. His stock is at an absolute low since he was drafted and the luster he carried into the 2017 season due to his red-zone success and dual-threat upside has worn off. Now is the perfect time to buy in on Mariota with the Titans season destined for disappointment and no one to blame more than the offensive scheme. The Titans will shake things up on offense this offseason and that will only help Mariota’s stock rise. If Mariota can return to full health in 2018 and the same can be said about his rookie first-round pick Corey Davis — one of PFF’s favorite 2017 draft prospects — he could easily be a 2018 difference maker.
Frank Gore’s seemingly ageless run with the Colts should finally come to an end this offseason as the team is unlikely to re-sign him for his age-35 season. Mack has looked as advertised in our draft guide this rookie season — talented but very raw. Mack needs seasoning as a runner and still tends to bounce too many runs outside — a key con in his draft profile from our college staff. Still, the upside is obviously there, as evidenced by forced missed tackle rate, and there’s the possibility that he faces little competition in 2018 with the Colts focused on filling their many other roster needs. The bonus upside of potentially playing in an Andrew Luck offense is just icing on the cake.
Burkhead is the first Patriots running back in a while who does a little bit of everything. That’s what has made him such a fantasy gem down the stretch run of 2017. Injuries derailed the early part of his first season in New England, but now he has arrived. Burkhead is not a typical buy-low candidate, since he’s currently on a hot streak, but it’s possible his value hasn’t been fully realized just yet in the fantasy community. Burkhead is currently operating as the Patriots goal line back who also gets used frequently in passing routes. Buy in before the Patriots offense clicks back into form and Burkhead becomes more of a borderline RB1 in fantasy owners’ eyes. Burkhead is a free agent this offseason but it’s tough to see the Patriots letting him get away in free agency.
Watkins has flashed the big-play ability when given the opportunity this season. More importantly, he has also flashed the ability to be leaned on as the No. 1 and produce in a high-volume role. The Rams only gave him the opportunity once, but Watkins turned seven targets into six receptions for 106 yards and two touchdowns back in Week 3. Most importantly of all, Watkins has stayed healthy after returning from the same surgery that Julio Jones underwent and has since been fine. Watkins is a free agent and the chance of him inheriting a high-volume role makes him a buy-low candidate. It’s difficult to envision his situation getting worse.
Corey Davis, WR, Tennessee Titans
Davis was a top-five prospect on our overall draft board and it’s easy to see why after he dominated at the collegiate level. So far, his talent hasn’t translated to the NFL level, but a lot of that can be explained by the hamstring injury and reinjury he suffered at the beginning of training camp and then again once the season started. If you buy Davis now, you’re still acquiring the same overall unique talent with the opportunity of emerging as a young and talented quarterback’s No. 1 target but now the price has significantly dropped.
Shepard finally flashed some of what we saw during his Oklahoma days during a two-game stretch for the Giants just before he missed action with migraines. In Weeks 9 and 10, Shepard racked up 141 yards on 11 receptions. The most important aspect of Shepard’s game that has improved when healthy in year two is his ability to create yards after the catch. The game has slowed down for Shepard, and that’s clear by his play on the field, and he could inherit a much better situation in 2018. For starters, the Giants can walk away from Brandon Marshall’s contract with no dead cap hit. Also, the Giants will likely focus this offseason on improving their offensive scheme, quarterback, and offensive line positions. All of these will help Shepard get more fantasy points.
Graham’s contract finally runs out at the end of 2017 and it’s difficult to imagine the Seahawks allocating the cap space to extend him unless they plan on drastically overhauling their offensive design to feature Graham. Thus far, Graham has been a glorified red zone specialist for the Seahawks. If Graham joins an offensive scheme with a coordinator who plans to use him more between the 20s, like we saw during his New Orleans Saints days, Graham could jump right back into that rare category of fantasy tight ends.
Pryor’s 2017 was a wash after breaking out as a high-volume target hog on the Browns in 2016. Pryor has undergone ankle surgery early enough to where he is expected to be fine for 2018 and it’s nearly impossible to imagine him in a Redskins uniform again given how they utilized him in his first season. Pryor is still relatively young and learning the position. If he joins the right situation, you can be buying a WR1 at a massive discount.
Kirk Cousins, QB, Washington Redskins
The Redskins franchise is plummeting with multiple players calling out teammates and coaching after another ugly loss in Week 14. Don’t get caught sleeping on the possibility that major changes could be coming for the Redskins this offseason that would start with finally walking away from Cousins. The decision would be to not sign him to a long-term contract, as another franchise tag seems unlikely given the cap hit that would occur. If Cousins is forced to leave Washington, he will find a difficult time finding an offensive scheme that is more quarterback-friendly and better-suited for his specific skill set.
The Jaguars will likely decide between Lee and Allen Robinson this offseason. Both players are unrestricted free agents. There’s also a possibility that they move on from both given the new direction of the franchise. The Jaguars emphasized physicality in their first offseason when they signed Calais Campbell and drafted Leonard Fournette and Cam Robinson in the first two rounds of the 2017 NFL Draft. If they do decide to keep one, Robinson seems like the best bit given Lee’s extensive injury history and Robinson’s ability to force defense attention. Lee seems like he’s at the peak of his value right now and it’s worth getting what you can for him in your dynasty leagues.