In Quick Hits, we ask our writers to weigh in on a topic relevant to the dynasty landscape. This week’s question:
What player are you looking to sell before the NFL draft?
Eric Hardter (@EDH_27)
Though the release of fantasy stalwart Jamaal Charles may have lulled his owners into a false sense of security, I’m still looking to dump Chiefs ball carrier Spencer Ware. While he had a solid 2016, finishing as the PPR RB16, it was truly a tale of two seasons for the former sixth round selection. He started out of the gates hot with 57% of his total yards in the first six weeks of the season, including his only four 100 total yards performances, to go with three of his five scores. He didn’t crack the 70-yard barrier a single time the rest of the season despite receiving at least 13 carries in every game. Despite his size, it’s entirely possible he simply isn’t built to be a bell-cow back, and apart from Week 1 he never accrued more than three receptions in any other game. As such, both his floor and ceiling remain limited. With only Charcandrick West around to battle for touches, it’s imperative the Chiefs add talent via the draft, and it could come sooner rather than later. Even though his ADP has fallen in recent months from a peak of the dynasty RB12, I firmly believe it will fall even more. Get out while you can.
Jacob Gehl (@_JacobGehl)
While I tend not to put too much weight in what beat reporters say their team may do in the draft, the Denver Broncos’ offseason featuring a multitude of reports of drafting challengers to C.J. Anderson is concerning. Whether it’s Joe Mixon visiting Denver, the continued linking of John Elway to Christian McCaffrey, or another rookie running back in a 2017 class deep with them, it’s become near consensus among the media that the Broncos are looking to add a running back via the draft. Despite his at times successful play, it’s clear that the Broncos are not enamored with Anderson. During the 2016 offseason, Denver tendered him as a restricted free agent at the lowest possible value before begrudgingly choosing to re-sign him, all the while re-signing Ronnie Hillman and drafting Devontae Booker in the fourth round. This was the same Hillman who out-touched and outgained Anderson in 2015, acting as the primary option in the Denver backfield until the 2015 playoffs. The rumors this offseason are even more smoke to what is quickly becoming a fire.
Even if the Broncos do not add a premier running back prospect in the 2017 draft, the lack of faith shown in Anderson by Denver thus far could still be felt down the road. His 2016 contract provides an out during the 2018 offseason without a hit to Broncos’ salary cap, an easy way for the Broncos to move on from him should he get injured again or underperform. Outside of his run in 2014 that won fantasy championships, Anderson has not looked a feature back for any extended period. While Denver did make improvements to their offensive line, the prospect of either Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch under center leaves little hope for Anderson to justify his contract and remain the featured running back. Should he struggle – whether due to his talent or the team around him – the Broncos will again show him a quick hook, this time for Booker. Currently the RB19 in Dynasty League Football’s March ADP, his value will plummet should the Broncos draft backfield competition. Sell him now while he’s still valued as a feature back, as the draft is the first of many touch points that could result in Anderson’s value dropping.
Karl Safchick (@KarlSafchick)
When determining which player is a quality “sell,” they must not only be at risk of losing value but also have a current value which can be perceived at an all time high. Carlos Hyde’s current price of an early to mid fourth (according to DLF ADP) has stayed relatively steady most of his career, but he was going two rounds later this time last year. One thing we’ve noticed with Kyle Shanahan is his ability to surprise the fantasy community with which running back he decides to give carries in his offense. In 2012, Washington Redskins then fourth string running back Alfred Morris finished the season as the league’s second-leading rusher. In 2015, the forgotten Devonta Freeman (11th round startup pick in May of 2015) finished the season as the PPR RB1. The soon to be 26 year old Hyde could have a decent season as the 49ers lead tailback, but if history is any indicator, there could be a dark horse to emerge as the future star ball carrier. With such a talented running back class in the 2017 draft, said dark horse could be joining the team sooner rather than later.
Jesse Patterson (@BullyBooger)
In 2016, the Rams moved from St. Louis to Los Angeles and wanted to make a big splash in the draft, establishing a team leader and face of the franchise for their first season in LA. The result was a massive trade, giving up a bounty of picks to select quarterback Jared Goff first overall. The goal was to have Goff be the face of the franchise for many years in the future and ensure the new fans in Los Angeles would have something to cheer for. While Goff has yet to pan out the way the Rams had hoped, the intention was clear: new city, new franchise, new franchise quarterback. Now that the Chargers are making the move to Los Angeles as well, could they be in the market for a fresh face at the most important position on the team? Reports have already surfaced that the Chargers are in the market for a young signal caller to develop behind Philip Rivers, possibly taking one draft weekend. New coach Anthony Lynn backed up these reports during recent spring meetings. If they are enamored with one of 2017’s top young quarterback prospects and have the opportunity to select one early, I suspect they will jump on it.
Rivers has three years remaining on his current contract, but it includes an out clause prior to the 2019 season which the Chargers could use and be left with only a $6 million cap penalty. Should the team fail to make improvements towards the postseason in 2017, it would not be out of the realm of possibility that they look to get a young drafted quarterback some playing time with an eye towards the future. Rivers is still considered a dynasty starting quarterback and has finished as the QB15 or better in each of the past four seasons, but has only once finished as the QB10 or better during that time. I would sell him at dynasty starting quarterback value before the draft, knowing that his future may be a bit cloudier in a few weeks’ time.