Dynasty Players Buy/Sell on NFL Playoff Bias
As the buildup to Super Bowl LIII continues, now is the perfect time for dynasty owners to take advantage of what’s occurred in the playoffs leading up to the big game. Recency bias can be a dangerous thing in fantasy football, and there’s no better time to take advantage of it than Super Bowl week. Playoff performances, good and bad, are fresh in everyone’s memory, but may not be the best indicator of future success. Plenty of dynasty owners likely overpaid for Corey Davis after his impressive performance in the 2017 divisional round, while you could have probably gotten Adam Thielen for a steal after teammate Stefon Diggs overshadowed him in the 2017 playoffs. Let’s take a look at some players from the 2018 playoffs that you should target in dynasty leagues right now, as well as a few that you should look to move as quickly as possible.
Dak Prescott (QB – DAL)
Prescott’s playoff numbers were respectable, 42.8 fantasy points in two games, but he remains an afterthought when it comes to top fantasy quarterbacks. Dak Prescott is consistently left out of the conversation when it comes to fantasy quarterbacks, even though he’s finished no worse than QB11 in each of his first three seasons. The only other quarterback that can make that claim is Drew Brees. At 25 years old, Prescott is just entering the prime of his career. He’s surrounded by offensive talent in Dallas with All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott, who showed off his receiving chops with a career-high 77 receptions, Amari Cooper, who looked like a first-round talent again, and Michael Gallup, who will only get better in his second year. Mix in the Cowboys talented offensive line, and you’ve got a recipe for Prescott to lead a high-powered offense for the foreseeable future. Right now is the perfect time to take a shot at obtaining a long-term dynasty quarterback at a bargain rate.
Doug Baldwin (WR – SEA)
Baldwin will be turning 31 during the 2019 season and is coming off of one of the worst seasons of his eight-year career. Despite coming on strong in Weeks 15 and 16, he was disappointing in Seattle’s playoff loss to Dallas, catching three of six targets for 32 yards. The Baldwin owner in most dynasty leagues is probably ready to move on from him after his inconsistent season. In the dynasty landscape, an aging player coming off of an injury-plagued season like Baldwin can often be had at a sizeable discount. This is where you can swoop in and get him for a steal. Don’t let his age scare you, as Mike Tagliere found in his article exploring age and receiver decline last summer, wideouts can still have plenty of fantasy value well into their thirties. Baldwin is exactly the type of receiver that can bounce back in 2019 and should have enough gas left in the tank for a few more productive fantasy seasons.
Zach Pascal (WR – IND)
Pascal is a name that may not be on your radar right now, but he should be. He only hauled in 27 catches in the regular season for 268 yards and two touchdowns. He didn’t make much of an impact in the Colts two playoff games either, catching just two of six targets for 13 yards. He saw 43% of the Colts offensive snaps in 2018 but was overshadowed by the likes of T.Y Hilton, Chester Rogers, Dontrelle Inman, and Ryan Grant. Hilton isn’t going anywhere, but the other three will be free agents this offseason, potentially giving Pascal the number two receiver job across from Hilton in Indianapolis. While that won’t make him a top-tier fantasy wideout in 2019, he could be a productive asset in Andrew Luck’s high-powered Colts offense and is young enough to be worth the investment.
Dan Arnold (TE – NO)
Arnold isn’t a player you’re going to go out of your way to make a trade for but would make a great toss-in when targeting someone else. He wasn’t even active for the Saints divisional round game against the Eagles and failed to come down with either of his two targets in the conference championship against the Rams, barely dropping what would have been an impressive touchdown early in the game. The appeal with Arnold is tied to the retirement of Benjamin Watson opening the door for him to potentially be Drew Brees’ top receiving tight end in 2019. Given the state of tight ends in fantasy football, acquiring Arnold at a bare minimum price could be a small investment with a huge payoff if he can win the job next season.
Nick Foles (QB – PHI)
Foles has been a late-season savior for the Eagles the past two seasons, and will likely leave Philadelphia for a chance to start elsewhere in 2019. He may not have led the Eagles back to the Super Bowl this season, but there’s enough hype surrounding his impending free agency that you should be able to get a significant haul for him. It’s far from a sure-thing that Foles will succeed with a new team. Just look at Case Keenum from a year ago. After a modest playoff run with the Vikings and landing in a seemingly good situation with the Broncos, Keenum was a massive disappointment. Kirk Cousins and Alex Smith add to the list of recent discouraging free agent quarterback performances. Sell Foles high while you can.
Damien Williams (RB – KC)
Anybody that owned Damien Williams in the fantasy playoffs or bought into him in NFL playoff DFS knows exactly how great he’s been in recent weeks. Since Week 14 Williams has scored 10 total touchdowns in just six games, including his three trips to the end zone in the AFC Championship game. Running backs have a long history of success under Andy Reid, and there’s a good chance that Williams sees continued success next season, but not likely at the same ridiculous clip. Then there’s the uncertainty of the pending offseason, where nothing is stopping the Chiefs from acquiring or drafting a back to compete for the top running back spot. Even if Williams retains the role of lead back in Kansas City, his value is never going to be any higher than it is now, making it the perfect time to trade him away for a hefty price.
C.J. Anderson (RB – LAR)
Combine the reasoning for both Damien Williams and Nick Foles above, and you get C.J. Anderson. He’s arguably been the biggest surprise of the NFL playoffs, outperforming a healthy Todd Gurley in both the divisional and championship rounds. Like Williams, he stepped in for an injured running back at the end of the season and immediately began putting up impressive numbers. Like Foles, he’ll probably be playing for another team next season. If you can find a trade partner that buys into Anderson’s rebirth and believes he’ll be a useful starting running back in 2019 don’t hesitate to send him packing.
Every New England Patriot not named Sony Michel
The Patriots are once again riding high and about to play in yet another Super Bowl, but how many of their offensive weapons do you want as part of your dynasty team? Sony Michel is the one piece from New England I’m willing to buy, but with his playoff performances, he’ll likely cost more than I’m willing to give up. Rob Gronkowski is a shell of what he used to be and is reportedly seriously considering retirement after the Super Bowl. Julian Edelman will be 33 when next season starts. James White is uber-dependent on his pass-catching ability and may have reached his ceiling in 2018. Then, of course, there’s Tom Brady. GOAT or not, he finished 2018 as the QB14 and is trending the wrong direction in the fantasy world. I’m not betting against New England as an NFL team anytime soon, but in true Patriot spirit, it’s probably better to move them a year too early than a year too late.