News & Analysis

Trade value, Week 13: Dynasty approaches to QBs

ARLINGTON, TX - DECEMBER 26: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys points at the line of scrimmage as the Cowboys play the Detroit Lions during the second half at AT&T Stadium on December 26, 2016 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

For most season-long fantasy football leagues, the trade deadline has come and gone, so the usual focus of this piece — 2017 trade values — is no longer really applicable.

Instead, we’ll shift our focus to dynasty trade strategies for each major position, starting here with quarterbacks.

We won’t necessarily go through specific quarterbacks you should be looking to trade for or trade away (although I will mention a few). Rather, we’ll overview the strategy of dealing quarterbacks in dynasty leagues.

I’ll also use some real-life examples from the PFF Fantasy current and former staff members’ dynasty league.

Dynasty quarterbacks: The opposite of season-long

In season-long leagues, the notion of “waiting on a quarterback” has been beaten to death. If you’re starting a dynasty league, however, good quarterbacks can go in Rounds 1 and 2 and it’s not that big of a deal.

Why? Because quarterbacks last forever when compared to other positions. If you traded for Russell Wilson in 2012, you have received six good seasons from him already, with theoretically another 6-8 (or more) still go to.

The top fantasy running backs in 2012 were Adrian Peterson, Doug Martin, Arian Foster, Marshawn Lynch, Alfred Morris, Ray Rice, C.J. Spiller, Jamaal Charles, and, well, you get the picture. The quarterback position doesn’t change nearly as fast, which means getting a younger star can lock you into value at that position for a decade or more.

The takeaway here: You shouldn’t be afraid to pay a good price for a young quarterback in dynasty leagues. It’s difficult to get out of the mindset that quarterbacks don’t matter in fantasy, but in dynasty leagues, they do.

Some real-life trades

Here are a couple of trades involving quarterbacks that went down in the PFF Fantasy Friends and Family League this year:

These are two interesting trades to analyze. Note that in both instances, the team receiving the quarterback also gives up the higher rookie draft pick — even though they are also giving up some decent veterans in the process (Riddick in the first trade, Moncrief in the second).

My team in that league has Cam Newton and Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Both are nearing age 30, which doesn’t mean a whole lot from a quarterback perspective, but it does means they are in the second half of their careers.

I tried to trade away Cousins for a Round 1 rookie pick to a quarterback-needy team. The deal never went through, although it wasn’t too far from becoming reality (the other team wanted a Round 2 pick). But I had no need to trade away one of my two strong quarterbacks for what was probably a fair price. Given the long career paths of quarterbacks, you can typically wait on trading one away until you feel like you get the best deal possible.

For example, I still fully intend to trade one of Cousins or Newton away for a Round 1 rookie pick at some point in the next three years; their value will likely be retained. There’s no need to rush when trading quarterbacks in dynasty.

Be a few years early

One of the most important things to remember when trading quarterbacks in dynasty leagues is that starting quarterbacks change all the time in the NFL. Even if you already have a stud quarterback or two on your roster doesn’t mean you can’t “gamble” on a third (depending on how deep your benches are).

For example, my team has had Cousins since his rookie season, when he was just a fourth-round backup to Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. I also drafted Jimmy Garoppolo and flipped him a few years later for more than I bought him for. I’m considering doing the same with Patrick Mahomes.

The takeaway: You can really afford to play the long game with quarterbacks in dynasty leagues, especially if they are your backups. They are usually dirt cheap and they can rapidly turn into stars or extremely valuable trade chips. For example, Dak Prescott was a Round 7 rookie pick in our league in 2016, and now just one year later Tony Romo is no longer in the league and Prescott is a fantasy star (recent weeks notwithstanding).

Always be looking 2-3 years ahead with dynasty quarterbacks. They might be the backup now, but how secure is their team’s current starter? Might they retire in a few years, or is their contract about to expire? These answers to these questions that can help you buy low and sell high on dynasty quarterbacks.

You never want to overpay — especially with QBs

If you can avoid it, don’t overpay for a quarterback in dynasty. A new batch of quarterbacks come into the league every year, and they are never, ever expensive on (fantasy) draft day. Unless your team has been decimated by injuries, you’re probably better off waiting to grab a rookie or two in next year’s draft.

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