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Dynasty Veterans to Trade Away (2020 Fantasy Football)

by Mike Tagliere | @MikeTagliereNFL | Featured Writer
Feb 27, 2020

It’d be wise to trade Melvin Gordon away before he hits free agency

Before getting started in this article, you need to understand that I’m someone who prefers guaranteed production over the unknown of a draft pick most of the time. Are there exceptions? Sure, but it’d better be a high draft pick that I’m getting in return, because, well, draft picks outside the top-12 aren’t worth very much. You can highlight outliers all you want, but I’ve shown readers what the average outcome is for dynasty draft picks right here.

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However, there are times where you need to move on from a veteran that’s produced, as he could be at the height of his popularity and you want to cash-in on your rebuilding team before the value starts to fall. That makes sense. There are others who are simply not producing nearly as much as they should be, which will lead to them finding their way into reduced roles moving forward. With free agency and the NFL Draft rapidly approaching, their situations can change dramatically. While trying to predict what will happen in the coming months, here are veterans you should considered trading away.

Quarterbacks

Jameis Winston (TB)
Not only will Winston not have a team in a few weeks (as a pending free agent), no one has suggested the Bucs are willing to break the bank on him as their franchise quarterback. He’s the type of quarterback some may write off as extremely gifted physically, but never developed mentally. Think about a quarterback like Jay Cutler, who was arguably more talented than Winston. He went from a top-10 dynasty asset to one who was out of the league. Winston’s current ADP is the 13th quarterback off the board in startups, though he goes as a top-10 quarterback in some drafts. This might be the highest his value ever gets.

Cam Newton (CAR)
Do you know how many quarterbacks threw more than 24 touchdowns last year? 12 of them. Do you know how many times Newton has thrown more than 24 touchdowns during his nine-year career? Once. How many times do you think Newton has surpassed 3,869 passing yards? Once, back in his rookie year. Again, there were 12 quarterbacks who hit that mark in 2019. Newton’s fantasy value is/was tied to his legs. Over his last 13 games, he’s rushed for 350 yards and one touchdown. He is going to be 31 years old when the season starts, and his legs aren’t going to magically rejuvenate themselves. His days of being an every-week QB1 are likely over.

Running Backs

Melvin Gordon (LAC)
This is a move you need to do right away, as Gordon’s value is going to do nothing but head south once free agency begins. Some may want to wait to see where he lands, but the demand for running backs has never been lower. We’ve watched the Rams, Jets, and Cowboys all give mega-deals to running backs and it hasn’t panned out like they’d hoped. The best-case scenario for Gordon is returning to the Chargers, though that’s extremely unlikely. No matter which way you slice it, Gordon is going to be part of a timeshare in 2020 and won’t return anywhere close to his current ADP of the 13th running back off the board in dynasty startups.

Devonta Freeman (ATL)
The rumors are swirling that Freeman may be released by the Falcons very soon, and it makes sense considering he’s been unable to stay healthy the last few years and his performance has been declining. They can save $3.5 million against the cap by releasing him. With a talented running back class entering the draft, the Falcons are likely able to snag one of them at a fraction of Freeman’s cost, and likely more effective at this point of their career. Freeman would likely find a job somewhere, but it would be part of a timeshare, and on an offense that isn’t as high-powered as the Falcons.

Mark Ingram (BAL)
It was surprising to see Ingram finish as the No. 8 running back last year in half-PPR formats, especially when you consider Lamar Jackson‘s domination on the ground. Touchdowns had a lot to do with that, as Ingram scored 15 total touchdowns on just 228 touches. The only running back who had fewer touches than him who finished top-15 was Austin Ekeler, who had a historical season through the air, with an insane touchdown rate that’s unsustainable. The only other running back who finished better than RB21 with as many or fewer touches than Ingram was Kenyan Drake. Knowing that Ingram will be 31 years old at the end of the year, he’s someone who’s only going to lose value moving forward, especially when you consider the Ravens would like to get Justice Hill more involved.

Chris Carson (SEA)
It’s fair to say that Carson just had an amazing season, right? Well, that amazing season netted him the No. 11 finish in half-PPR formats. That’s his ceiling. When you see that his current ADP in startup drafts is as the RB17, there’s not much room for equity. You also can’t forget about his fumbling issues, which led to former first-round pick Rashaad Penny getting much more playing time as the year went on. In Week 12, Carson totaled 12 touches to 14 for Penny. In Week 13, Carson totaled 24 touches to 19 for Penny. Those were the two games leading up to Penny’s ACL tear. This was a full-blown timeshare. While some may worry about that ACL injury, Carson’s hip fracture that he suffered in Week 16 is much more worrisome. The cost of Penny (RB44) is ridiculously low, and the argument can be made that he’s worth just as much as Carson, if not more.

Belongs on the list but too obvious: David Johnson (ARI)

Wide Receivers

Julio Jones (ATL)
Julio Jones might be my favorite football player of all-time, but there is no other receiver who’s 30 years old and inside the top-30 wide receiver dynasty rankings. But look, I’m not telling you to treat Jones like a low-end WR2 or anything. He still belongs inside the top-12 wide receiver rankings in dynasty, as he’s a sure thing. However, the decline is imminent. If you’re not in-it-to-win-it in 2020, you should be selling. Jones just turned 31 years old and according to my research, this is typically around the age we start to see them lose their high-end appeal (you can read that article here). Combine that with Calvin Ridley‘s emergence into a superstar himself, and it amounts to someone you should consider trading away.

Mike Evans (TB)
This one is all about cost and opportunity in dynasty. It’s never easy to give up an asset who holds value inside the top two rounds of a dynasty startup, but we must factor in the emergence of Chris Godwin. It’s extremely unlikely that a team produces two top-10 wide receivers, let alone two top-six receivers, which is where both are being drafted right now (Godwin WR5, Evans WR6). Sure, they both finished top-six in 2019, but the Bucs also had one of the worst defenses and threw the ball 630 times. They may also have a rookie quarterback in 2020. While Evans is still an asset, there must be a teeter-totter effect with him and Godwin in the ADP, and to this point, that hasn’t happened.

T.Y. Hilton (IND)
Some will blame Hilton’s struggles in 2019 on injuries, while others will blame quarterback-play. While both may have contributed to his issues, he’s also going to be 31 years old this season. Did you know Hilton saw just four fewer targets than Zach Pascal, yet finished with 105 fewer yards and the same number of touchdowns? Unlike Melvin Gordon, you should wait until the Colts sort out the quarterback situation before trading Hilton away, as Jacoby Brissett‘s replacement will increase Hilton’s value. The first year with a new quarterback may be troublesome, and the Colts did draft Parris Campbell to be his eventual replacement. Knowing Hilton’s contract expires at the end of the 2020 season, there are simply too many question marks and warning signs.

John Brown (BUF)
The value of Brown has been a bouncy ball throughout his career, but this may be your last chance to cash in on the high point. The Bills are not going to be a high passing volume team under Sean McDermott, and though Brown overcame that to finish as a top-20 receiver in 2019, it was much easier as the only show in town. Despite that, Brown posted top-24-type numbers in just 26.7 percent of his games in 2019. That’s right, the average top-24 performance in 2019 was 14.5 PPR points, a number Brown hit in just 4-of-15 games. The Bills don’t have a lot of glaring holes on their team, but they do figure to bring in a prototypical No. 1 receiver who can play more of a possession role.

Tight Ends

Jared Cook (NO)
There are many who’ve started to value Cook different after his 2018 and 2019 seasons. The good news is that he finished as the No. 7 tight end in 2019. The bad news is that he saw just 65 targets. Going back through the last 11 years, how many tight ends do you think finished top-10 with fewer than 73 targets? Five of them. That’s over a span of 11 years. Cook is also one of those tight ends who’s more of a big wide receiver, and they tend to hit the age curve faster than tight ends like Antonio Gates or Jason Witten. Cook will be 33 years old in April, so the end is near. You should sell him while Drew Brees is still playing.

Eric Ebron (IND)
It appears as if Ebron will have a new team in 2020, though it’s unsure where he’ll land. There are some teams out there who are in need of a tight end, but not many who use a lot of 2TE sets, which is what Ebron is best-suited for, as he’s not a blocker. Truth be told, he’s not really a great receiver, either. He’s athletic and can be a size mismatch, but the Colts knew what they were doing when they had Jack Doyle on the field the majority of time.


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Mike Tagliere is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Mike, check out his archive and follow him @MikeTagliereNFL.

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