Dynasty Players to Sell High: Pre-NFL Draft (2020 Fantasy Football)
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The offseason is a time for dynasty owners to collect their thoughts and evaluate fantasy team needs. It also presents unique opportunities for multiple buy and sell windows without any games actually being played. Perceived values are constantly changing, and whether or not they actually should be is a different conversation.
When it comes to veteran players, free agency is the first offseason event in which values begin to fluctuate from the previous season. This is followed by the NFL Draft, which can ultimately destroy a player’s value as a result of the influx of talent coming into the league. In this article, we are going to look at a few players who dynasty owners should look to move prior to the NFL Draft. For reference, here are the dynasty players to buy low prior to the NFL Draft.
Tyrod Taylor (QB – LAC)
There are multiple reasons why a player could be labeled as a dynasty sell. They could be a sell-high candidate after recently outperforming future expectations, their perceived value outweighing actual production, or the possibility of something changing in that player’s situation to affect their future performance or usage.
That is exactly what we have with Tyrod Taylor — something changing in his situation to impact future usage. I know what you are thinking: nobody is willing to pay for what many believe to be a bridge quarterback. This also isn’t a sexy sell that’s going to net you lucrative value, but this is a move that current owners make to get a return from who will soon be an obsolete asset.
The expectation, and the right move, is that the Los Angeles Chargers will pick a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft. After various rumors of the Chargers pursuing one of the free-agent quarterbacks that hit the market this offseason, it certainly seems likely that this is now the route they go.
The Chargers are currently sitting with the sixth overall pick in this April’s draft. Whether they stay in place or ultimately move up, it seems like Tua Tagovailoa or Justin Herbert should be ready to pack their bags for Los Angeles.
I like Tyrod Taylor, and I believe he is a more than serviceable quarterback in the NFL. But is he a franchise quarterback? The answer is no.
With that said, Tyrod Taylor would be a great trade target to move to any superflex dynasty team looking for additional depth at the quarterback position. In a 12-team superflex league, I would look to move Taylor for a mid-to-late second-round rookie pick in the 2020 draft.
Leonard Fournette (RB – JAC)
This was a tough one for me to include in this article, and it has absolutely nothing to do with talent, but Leonard Fournette is certainly teetering on that line of weighing expected 2020 production versus future value.
The Jacksonville Jaguars came into this offseason with one of the worst salary cap situations in the league and recently have attempted to remedy that. The Jaguars have managed to put themselves in a respectable cap situation moving forward and still have $16M available heading into 2020, which ranks as the 15th most in the NFL. They managed to work down their total spending with the trades of Calais Campbell, A.J. Bouye, and Nick Foles, among other moves.
In what looks to be a complete overhaul of the current roster, a much-needed rebuild certainly looks to be looming. It only makes sense that Leonard Fournette is next on that list to move on. I am not necessarily saying they look to trade him prior to the start of the 2020 season, but I don’t expect the Jaguars to extend him, or even to exercise his fifth-year option for 2021, which would be approximately $10.2M per overthecap.com.
The Jaguars are rolling into the draft with three top-50 picks (ninth, 20th, and 42nd overall). There are several holes that the Jaguars need to fill, but with the current depth chart behind Fournette (Armstead, Ozigbo, McNichols, McGowan), the 42nd overall pick could certainly be a running back. With the infusion of talent coming into the league over the next few years, this is the perfect opportunity for the Jaguars to hit the reset button and start over on several levels.
As we have seen throughout this entire offseason due to the increased excitement as the NFL Draft approaches, it’s challenging to pry 2020 rookie draft picks away from their current owners. While I see Leonard Fournette still having a productive 2020 (hopefully slightly more efficient than 2019), I would be looking to get something of similar value to the 2020 1.07 in return in superflex leagues.
Derrick Henry (RB – TEN)
Many of the points mentioned above for Leonard Fournette could be copy and pasted for Derrick Henry. Some might see that as lazy, so I opted against that. While he’s somebody I am looking to sell from a dynasty perspective, I still love Henry’s 2020 outlook with him officially signing the franchise tender.
Two major differences between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans are the cap space that both teams came into the 2020 offseason with, as well as the franchise status of rebuild versus contender. The Titans are still in a great situation and currently sit at ninth, with $23M in cap space available one year removed from making the playoffs.
The differences between the Jaguars and Titans really stop there. You have a workhorse running back essentially on the last year of his deal playing on the franchise tag, and you have limited options behind each starter on the depth chart. With the release of Dion Lewis earlier in the offseason, the Titans would be wise to either bring in one of the remaining free agents (Devonta Freeman) or look to attack the running back position in the draft, especially if no longer-term deal can be reached.
The Titans don’t have as much early draft capital available as the Jaguars, but they are still in a good situation with the 29th, 61st, and 93rd overall picks. This is another situation where I would be surprised based on Derrick Henry’s contract situation and the depth behind him if the Titans did not look to make some type of move during the remainder of this offseason and the NFL Draft.
Similarly to Leonard Fournette, I like Derrick Henry plenty as a fantasy asset, but with the current state of the running back landscape and the way they are valued in the NFL, now is the time to look to capitalize on his value. In a typical 12-team superflex league, I would be looking to get something in the 2020 1.05-1.06 range in return.
Of course, every veteran player does not need to be traded for strictly upcoming rookie picks, but as a barometer, those are the overall values I would be looking to acquire if I have Tyrod Taylor, Leonard Fournette, or Derrick Henry rostered on any of my dynasty teams. You are inevitably going to run into some situations where the value just is not there, or where a league is not looking to acquire these specific players. In that case, it is best to ride it out and benefit from the expected production as opposed to taking a severe hit in value. With just a few weeks left prior to the NFL Draft, continue to stay active in your leagues and look to get ahead of any changing values.