The fantasy football trade market is the fastest way to upgrade your team, and also 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. Below, we’ll break down the players who you should be looking to make a move on in your dynasty leagues right now, whether it’s to try to acquire them or move on from them.
Garoppolo-mania has swept the Bay area and rightfully so. Since the new addition was named the starter, the 49ers are 3-0 and Garoppolo is a big reason why. Garoppolo is averaging 336 passing yards per game, a whopping 8.9 yards per pass attempt, and he has the fourth-best PFF pass grade over this span. Garoppolo is doing all this with Marquise Goodwin as his No. 1 and only real receiving threat and behind an offensive line that grades No. 22 in pass-blocking. The 49ers have the early draft capital to provide weapons to build around Garoppolo and don’t be surprised if they hand him Saquon Barkley in Round 1 to go along with more offensive weapons in the middle rounds. No team has more incentive to draft and build on the offensive side of the ball than the 49ers.
Crowell proved in 2016 that he can be one of the NFL’s elite per-touch runners when given a heavy workload. Last season, Crowell ranked third in the NFL in average yards per carry after first contact. He also led all NFL running backs in the percentage of his runs that went for 15-plus yards. In 2017, the story has been different as the Browns have mixed in Duke Johnson on a more consistent basis. Things can only get better for Crowell in 2018 as he’s set to hit unrestricted free agency and the brand-new Browns regime doesn’t seem likely to re-sign him. Crowell can do damage in a more efficient offense, with an NFL caliber quarterback, and with more volume. He is still just 24 years old.
Dixon has flown under the radar in dynasty leagues as a forgotten man after his 2017 season was derailed by injury. However, the Ravens have spoken highly of Dixon throughout his tenure with the team. More importantly, what Dixon flashed on the field in 2016 and throughout his collegiate days is a runner who can consistently force missed tackles and create yards after contact. This trait landed him on many breakout lists before the 2017 season and he can still earn a key role in the Ravens offense in 2018 with Alex Collins on the roster as the team’s passing-down back who also works in a timeshare on the early downs.
Joe Williams, RB, San Francisco 49ers
If you believe the post-draft reports, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan pounded the table to select Williams in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Williams is the perfect fit for Shanahan’s one-cut running scheme, but his rookie season was derailed by injury. Williams will return healthy in 2018 and in a much better situation. The offense will be the same, and that’s a good thing for a young back, but the players around him will have changed. Williams will join one of the NFL’s upcoming high-upside quarterback in Garoppolo and his competition could get a lot easier. 49ers lead running back Carlos Hyde is set to hit unrestricted free agency, and although Hyde had a strong first half, his style doesn’t fit what Shanahan wants to do.
Don’t forget about 2015’s breakout wide receiver star just yet. Robinson has an opportunity to emerge as a Keenan Allen-like value in 2018 redrafts, which means you should be nipping this in the bud and buying now for dynasty leagues. Robinson’s biggest issues during his down 2016 season were dropped passes, the collapsing Jaguars offensive line, and the quarterback play of Blake Bortles. Jacksonville has managed to fix the latter two issues without him, and even if Bortles regresses during the stretch run, they will be in great shape then to upgrade at quarterback this offseason with someone like Eli Manning or Alex Smith. As for the dropped passes, they were not a major issue during Robinson’s breakout season, and they tend to be the most overrated stat used to project future fantasy success at the wide receiver position.
We got a sneak peek at just how important Woods is to the Rams offense in Week 15 before the team jumped out to a massive lead and took the air out of the ball. Woods returned from injury and racked up 45 of the team’s 120 passing yards plus a touchdown. Wood’s midseason blowup games were not random chance, but they were the workings of a wide receiver and quarterback coming into their own as a duo. Wood is Jared Goff’s No. 1 target, and judging by Goff’s rapid year-two progression, that’s a great thing to be. Woods is still just 25 years old and Sammy Watkins is an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Anyone who watched Howard play in college at Indiana immediately understood why the Bears drafted him in 2016. During his final year at Indiana, after transferring, he broke out while playing in the Hoosiers’ predominantly inside-zone blocking scheme. The Bears used more inside-zone blocking than nearly any team in 2016 and that has carried over in the same offensive scheme in 2017. How much of Howard’s success can be attributed to this perfect fit is up to your interpretation, but it’s highly unlikely that he will be running behind a similar scheme in 2018 as the Bears are nearly mortal locks to have a brand-new coaching staff. Couple this with the possibility that the new staff wants to get Tarik Cohen more work and you have a situation that could lead a massive drop off in Howard’s stock. Get out ahead of this one before the coaching change.
Carlos Hyde, RB, San Francisco 49ers
The original narrative this offseason was that Hyde is not a fit for Kyle Shanahan’s blocking scheme. We still don’t know if he fits the scheme, as this has been one of Hyde’s least effective seasons from a pure rushing efficiency standpoint — judging off his ability to create yards independent from his blocking (forced missed tackles and yards after contact per attempt). However, Hyde’s value in 2017 was saved by his increased usage in the passing game. In 2018, Hyde will more than likely join a new franchise and that may once again pigeon-hole him into run-only role. If you couple this with Hyde’s troubling concussion history and you’ve got a player who belongs on the trade market.
Mack garnered hype earlier this season for his ability to force missed tackles, and that’s something we saw him do consistent at the collegiate level, but he hasn’t supplanted Frank Gore yet as the lead back even in a lost season where the Colts have all the incentive to play a rookie. This says a lot about how the Colts feel about Mack as a potential lead back, and until he learns how to be effective without bouncing every run to the outside, it’s unlikely that he changes their mind. The Colts will have a top-five pick in the 2018 NFL Draft and that puts them in prime position to target top running back prospect Saquon Barkley with Andrew Luck already in place (and well invested in) at the quarterback position.
Marquise Goodwin, WR, San Francisco 49ers
Goodwin has developed an exceptional rapport with Garoppolo so far, and that makes him an excellent 2017 redraft waive wire hero, but that doesn’t guarantee his value in dynasty leagues. As we discussed earlier, the 49ers will be allocating their spacious salary cap room and premium draft picks on the offensive side of the ball this offseason. Goodwin’s supporting cast should look a lot different in 2018 and the competition could ultimately make him more of a Taylor Gabriel-in-2016-type player in Shanahan’s 2018 offense.
In just a couple weeks, the dynasty value of all Redskins players has started to turn as the team’s collapse has led to speculation that a coaching reboot is near. If Jay Gruden is out, Reed’s dynasty value will take a drastic hit. Gruden’s offensive scheme is a major reason for Reed’s success, and without it, he becomes a much riskier asset. Reed’s history of concussion and lower body injuries should already make you nervous, but as of now, you can still play off his past success when healthy as the main reason your opponent should “buy low” on him now.