Dynasty Sell-High Players (2019 Fantasy Football)

by Shane Manila | @DFF_Shane | Featured Writer
Apr 11, 2019

Dynasty managers can receive a massive return for Patrick Mahomes following his MVP campaign.

It’s hard to know when the exact right moment is to sell high on a player. If you sell too early, you could miss out on the additional value that player can earn. Sell too late, and you run the risk of that player crashing back to earth and losing significant worth. No one ever said dynasty fantasy football was easy, though, but I am here to help. I just so happen to have two players I know you should sell high on today.

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Sony Michel (RB – NE)
I am not a fan of Sony Michel. I should rephrase that. I am not a fan of how New England utilized him, and I worry that his usage won’t change anytime soon.

Before getting there, I have another concern with Michel. Before the 2018 NFL Draft, it was reported that he had a bone on bone condition similar to Jay Ajayi. He then missed the entire preseason as well as the Patriots’ first regular season game because his knee needed to be drained based on an issue stemming from his meniscus. He missed two more games during the season with a knee injury. I get it. Injuries happen, it’s football. A running back with these many knee injuries in such a short period, however, causes a lot of concern.

Michel played a considerable part in the Patriots winning another Super Bowl last season. Averaging 23 rushing attempts, 112 yards, and two touchdowns in three playoff games was undoubtedly impressive, but there were still red flags from his stellar run. Namely his lack of work in the passing attack. He saw a total of three targets and had one lonesome reception in those three playoff games. If this was an outlier that occurred only during the postseason, we could easily dismiss the lack of receiving work. It was not though. Below are Michel’s per-game averages in 2018. He caught just seven of 11 targets for 50 yards on the season.

Targets Receptions Receiving Yards Touchdowns
0.85 0.54 3.84 0

This lack of passing usage manifested itself in his week-to-week volatility. In 13 games, he scored eight points or fewer on eight occasions. In those eight weeks, he averaged 13 rushing attempts, 46 rushing yards, and 5.2 fantasy points. That’s a floor that can kill you in any given week. Providing no value as a receiving weapon, Michel is more bust than boom in PPR leagues. The Patriots appear to have pigeonholed him into a two-down power-back role and only throw to him in break-the-glass emergencies.

The Patriots are adept at using players to their strengths, and with James White on the roster through at least 2020, it’s hard to see Michel ever getting much of an uptick in targets. White has averaged 5.58 targets, 4.05 receptions, and 35.68 receiving yards per game going back to the 2015 season (his first as a significant piece of New England’s offense). The Patriots will continue to utilize White in the receiving-back role while limiting Michel to a power-back role. Michel nevertheless went off the board as the RB13 in Dynasty Football Factory’s March ADP and RB15 in Dynasty League Football’s March ADP. I’m not willing to pay those prices for him. In one of my many leagues, I was able to sell him for O.J. Howard, the rookie 1.10 pick, and a 2020 second-round rookie pick after months of trying to unload him. If you can make a deal like that to move Michel, I strongly suggest you hit accept on that offer.

Patrick Mahomes (QB – KC)
This may seem blasphemous, but I am selling Patrick Mahomes. I understand that he’s coming off a QB1 finish after averaging 26.1 points per game in 2018. It’s easy to look at his situation and assume he’ll be the QB1 for the next six seasons, but that’s not how life works in the NFL. From 2013-2018, six straight seasons ended without any quarterback having consecutive QB1 finishes. This includes future first-ballot Hall of Famers Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers. Is Mahomes better than any of those three quarterbacks, or is his situation any better than theirs appeared to be during their QB1 seasons? My answer to both questions is no.

As seen below, in the season after finishing as the QB1, every quarterback except Brees saw a decrease in their fantasy scoring. If Mahomes were able to repeat as a QB1, he would be an outlier, and I tend to bet against outliers. None of this is to suggest that he isn’t a superb quarterback in real life or fantasy. You can find reasons that each of the quarterbacks below were unable to follow up with another QB1 season, but that proves my overall point. Situations change, players regress, game plans grows stale, multiple things can happen. Mahomes is a top-tier quarterback, just not the infinite QB1 as some believe.

Year Player  PPG Next Year Rank PPG PPG +/-
2012 Drew Brees 21.6 2 22.4 0.8
2013 Peyton Manning 25.6 4 19.5 -6.1
2014 Aaron Rodgers 22.1 10 18.8 -3.3
2015 Cam Newton 24.3 14 17.0 -7.3
2016 Aaron Rodgers 23.8 7 18.5 -5.3
2017 Deshaun Watson 24.1 4 20.7 -3.4
Averages 23.6 6.8 19.5 -4.1

I suggest you take advantage of the market and turn a profit by trading him away. Using the DLF Trade Finder Tool, we can find trades that show just how high his value is right now. Below are two trades recently made in superflex leagues involving Maholmes.

The first trade (pictured above) is the type of deal I’ve advocated making for months. Deshaun Watson is in the same tier as Mahomes. Lapping every quarterback –including Watson — in 2018, Mahomes outscored the Houston signal-caller by a robust 5.4 fantasy points per game, Watson’s 24.1 points per game in 2017, however, were just two points per game fewer than Mahomes’ stellar 2018 production. This trade allowed the owner to move within the same tier at quarterback while upgrading (massively) at running back. Melvin Gordon has outscored Derrick Henry by a full 10 fantasy points per game in both 2017 and 2018. The jury may be out on Derrius Guice due to him missing his rookie campaign, but with a March ADP of  33, you can flip him if you don’t believe in his talent. The picks and wide receivers in this trade might be a wash, with a slight edge towards the owner who acquired the 1.09 rookie pick. Overall, this trade is a clear win for the Watson side.

Let’s look at another deal:

Trading away Mahomes — and players who likely won’t start for you barring some horrendous string of bad luck — for Russell Wilson and Keenan Allen is a slam dunk.

Mahomes’ No. 24 overall ADP in one-quarterback startup drafts is just mind-boggling. Instead of drafting a quarterback there, take a tight end like George Kittle. You could even draft a WR1 like Allen or T.Y. Hilton, but please do not draft a quarterback with one of your first two draft picks in one-quarterback leagues. As I said earlier, he is in my top tier of quarterbacks. But based on his startup ADP and the value you can add by trading him away, I feel compelled to advise you to sell high now.

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Shane Manila is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Shane, check out his archive and follow him @DFF_Shane.

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