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Dynasty Veterans to Move Before Decline (Fantasy Football)

by Kyle Richardson | @krich1532 | Featured Writer
Mar 26, 2018

One of the best attributes you can have as a dynasty fantasy football owner is the ability to move on from players before it is too late. Some of this is considered luck, but you also need to have the ability to let go. Far too many owners have players they hold onto through the years but cannot make the move before it’s too late. Maybe this player helps you to a championship or two? Maybe it was one of the first players you traded for after joining the league or taking over a team? There are good types of nostalgia, but dynasty football is not one of them.

We are reaching a crucial level with these veterans. It may not be time to give up right now. 2018 could be a big year for them. Remember, though, we need to find out the best time to make that deal. Waiting too long decreases the value or diminishes all value. Moving a player too early means missing out on production. Make the move at just the right time, and you have maximized value and won’t need to worry about future risk.

This is the 2018 edition of dynasty veterans to move before decline. Start fielding offers this offseason while value is still at a max level. Be careful, though, one size does not fit all. Do you have the unquestioned front-runner and are poised to win a title? Trading these guys may not be in your best interest unless you get a package of equal talent that can help you win now. If you are in full rebuild mode, then take a look at a mixture of draft picks and young players with upside. Whatever the case may be, always make sure you get maximum value.

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Le’Veon Bell (RB – PIT)
Let me just get this one out of the way right now. Some of you will agree and some of you will think this is a ridiculous way to start an article about selling players. Either way, stick with me for a minute. Le’Veon Bell has been one of the best fantasy players, unquestioned, since 2014. If it weren’t for half a season lost to injury and another four games due to a suspension, his numbers would be even better. But right now is the absolute best time to move on from Bell.

Luck would have it, I was able to make a trade recently with the first two players in this article. I decided to move Bell and, let’s just say a veteran receiver so I don’t give away the surprise, for Odell Beckham Jr. and Tarik Cohen. If you are a frequent visitor to my work, this could be shocking as you know I am a huge fan of holding bell cow running backs. Like I said, though, value for Bell will never be higher. It is actually slipping day by day in the dynasty community.

Bell was the RB2 in PPR leagues this past season with 341.6 points. You typically don’t trade players like this, but the dynasty community has shifted towards an infatuation with young running backs (younger than Bell) that do the same thing. Right now the dynasty community wants Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, Christian McCaffrey and that doesn’t even include Todd Gurley, who has two fewer seasons than Bell, and the plethora of talented backs in the 2018 draft.

Let’s also take into consideration that Bell will be playing 2018 on another franchise tag unless the Steelers can step up and make a deal happen. If the Steelers are not willing to pay Bell, how many other teams will be willing to do it? The RB talent in the NFL is so deep right now that even if Bell hits free agency in 2019, there is no guarantee he will find a job that gives him all the workload he currently gets or puts him in a better situation than the team he is currently with.

You have to ask this question of Bell. Is he Adrian Peterson or Emmitt Smith, playing into their 30s? Or is he Jamal Anderson or Terrell Davis? Anderson and Davis had All-Pro seasons when they were 26 years old, but then only had one 1,000-yard season between the two of them the rest of their careers. Remember, this whole article is about selling before their value crashes, not when it does crash.

Michael Crabtree (WR – BAL)
Having someone come in and take your job puts a sour taste in your mouth. Being replaced by a guy who was just cut by his former team? Michael Crabtree cannot be too happy about the events in Oakland this past week. After Jordy Nelson was released by Green Bay, Oakland decided to jump in and sign him while also cutting Crabtree. After three seasons of averaging 77 catches for 847 and just over eight TDs each year, it doesn’t sound like Crabtree got the fair end of the deal. But whoever does in the NFL? That is not a shot at you Ryan Grant.

Crabtree is now off to Baltimore to try and pair up with Joe Flacco. Some fantasy owners are pretty excited for Crabtree this year. Reports are saying Mike Wallace is off to Philadelphia, which leaves Crabtree and John Brown to compete for targets. Well, if that excites you, it means you are buying into Joe Flacco and a Baltimore offense that led the league in pass attempts two seasons ago. However, this is not the same Baltimore offense from two seasons ago.

Alex Collins came out of nowhere in 2017 to give Baltimore the pounding back that can carry the ball whenever called upon. Add in Javorius Allen to change up the pace, and Baltimore looks well positioned to continue building the offense around the run. Don’t believe that? Jeremy Maclin came to Baltimore last season at only 29 years old and only managed 40 receptions for 440 yards and three touchdowns. Crabtree will be 31 this season and won’t have Amari Cooper to help draw coverage off him.

My biggest concern is Joe Flacco, though. The debate over whether Flacco is elite continues to rage on, and probably will until he retires, and then just go a little longer. I could care less if he is elite, but the fact is Flacco hasn’t supported very many worthy fantasy wide receivers in his career. Since coming into the league in 2008, Flacco has only had five receivers with 1,000 yards in a season.

The trade I mentioned above? Crabtree was the other player I gave up and it was about two hours before Nelson visited with the Raiders and Crabtree was cut. I was already trying to sell on Crabtree, but it was almost too late. You may already be late, but try your best to move on now before Flacco closes your window.

Golden Tate (WR – DET)
Now this one may surprise you a little bit. Golden Tate has been very good since joining the Lions in 2014. He has averaged 93 receptions and 1,056 yards per season with the Lions. In PPR leagues, he has finished as the WR13, WR17, WR24 and WR11. The only thing holding him back from true WR1 status is more touchdowns.

The touchdowns are not coming in 2018. Marvin Jones has affixed himself as the deep threat and true WR1 in Detroit. Kenny Golladay should make a bigger impact in 2018 and the signing of LeGarrette Blount should also affect the TD numbers for receivers. Matt Stafford will actually have a running back he can hand the ball off to within the five-yard line. Tate will still be a top WR2 option in PPR leagues, though, because those catches and yards won’t go anywhere. He still holds a ton of value, but maybe not much longer.

Tate will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2018 season. There have been some rumblings that Detroit could re-sign him, but next year’s free agent class of WRs could be very deep. Is it better to test the market and see if he can earn top dollar? If Golladay takes a huge step forward this year, Detroit could decide to move forward without Tate next season and put the money towards more pressing issues. Tate will still have a good season in 2018, but it could be time to move on now while he comes off a WR13 season.

Travis Kelce (TE – KC)
This one is going to be a little riskier in my opinion, but after thinking about it and looking at the information, I think a conversation needs to be had about Travis Kelce. Now, do not run out and trade Kelce right after reading this for the first offer you get. Let me make it very clear, I am not advocating that. But think about where the Kansas City offense is headed.

Patrick Mahomes will take over as starting QB for the Chiefs in 2018. I personally love the potential Mahomes has. He is very talented and I was a big fan of his coming out of the draft. Sitting last year and learning did him a lot of good, and I expect a good season from him. How much will Kelce be a part of it, though? Let me first argue why Kelce will have a good 2018.

The Chiefs may be one of the fastest teams in the NFL now. Sammy Watkins and Tyreek Hill will both take the top off defenses and Kelce could just wander around in the middle of the field and clean up on mid-range targets. He is probably in for the TE1 season again. I think this happens and love Kelce for 2018. But as I have reminded you a couple of times already, this is about selling before it’s too late.

Maybe it will take a year for Mahomes to really settle in and develop a relationship with his receivers. If he becomes more comfortable with the offense after 2018, Kelce could see his value dip as Mahomes starts to target Hill and Watkins more. We also cannot forget Kareem Hunt in the backfield. He will continue to be a big part of the game plan. Kelce is signed with Kansas City through 2021, so he will continue to be a part of a dynamic offense for a few years. Kelce will also be 29 this season. Year 30 may not be as kind to him.

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Kyle Richardson is a correspondent for FantasyPros. For more from Kyle, check out his archive and follow him @krich1532.

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