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Dynasty Players To Sell (2021 Fantasy Football)

by Brendan Tuma | @toomuchtuma | Featured Writer
Jan 15, 2021

Aaron Jones is a volatile dynasty league asset entering free agency

The best part about playing in dynasty fantasy football leagues is that there is no offseason. The moment the NFL regular season came to an end was just the beginning for those of us sick enough to participate in “fake football” year-round.

Undoubtedly, the most fun part of dynasty leagues is trading. Perhaps there’s a team in your league trying to go all out to win next season. Maybe there’s another team dealing away veterans, looking rebuild. Context is important, but when talking generally, here are four players to consider selling sooner rather than later.

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Aaron Jones (RB – GB)

Entering the 2020-21 offseason, Jones is what we like to call a volatile fantasy asset. The 26-year-old is an impending free agent, which means there are a lot of paths his value can take over the next few months. While not as dominant as his 19-touchdown 2019 campaign, Jones was still a major fantasy factor this year, scoring 11 times in 14 games to go along with nearly 1,500 total yards.

It might seem strange to recommend trading a star RB in his prime. Yet you might recall that the Packers drafted AJ Dillon in the second round of the NFL Draft last year. In the one game Dillon saw more than five carries he totaled 22 touches, 129 yards, and two scores. It became clear that wintery night in Lambeau that Dillon could be “a thing” if the Packers move on from Jones.

Of course, Jones could also remain in Green Bay, which is why we don’t want to “sell low” on him. Remember, Jones being a volatile asset doesn’t mean his value will definitely plummet. Perhaps there’s a free agent landing spot where he becomes even more valuable. We know the Packers are a good fit, though, and there’s a chance his value could take a hit soon. Therefore, we just want to mitigate risk by trying to trade him for proper value before free agency.

Oh yeah, and buy Dillon stock now while you still can.

Tyler Lockett (WR – SEA)

Like most players on the Seahawks, Lockett looked like a home run fantasy selection through Week 7. He had a couple of down games early on, but the 28-year-old was fresh off a 20-target, 200-yard, 3-TD performance against the Cardinals. Incredibly, this was already his second three-score game of the season. Russ was cooking and Seattle stacks were becoming a “print fest” for DFS purposes.

Then the bottom dropped out. In his final nine fantasy relevant games from that point on (through Week 16), Lockett totaled double digit PPR points just four times. He scored once during that stretch and lacked any semblance of a fantasy ceiling.

Perhaps this was mostly due to Seattle reverting to a run-first offense in the second half, but second-year phenom DK Metcalf was still able to produce for fantasy managers. Metcalf is clearly the No. 1 moving forward, and judging by Pete Carroll’s comments below, it doesn’t sound as if that run-first approach is going to change next year. Entering his age-29 season, Lockett’s overall finish of WR11 masks how rough his season truly was. Fantasy managers should use those early-season blowup games to sell before its too late.

Marquise Brown (WR – BAL)

Following a three-target, zero-catch game in Week 11, “Hollywood” Brown was downright droppable in standard 12-team fantasy leagues. The diminutive speedster had yet to evolve into a reliable fantasy option midway through his sophomore campaign. Additionally, Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore offense were struggling as a whole.

From then on Brown was the WR23 in PPR scoring. Managers who kept rostering him were ultimately rewarded. A closer look at the numbers reveals how TD-reliant he was during this stretch, as Brown found the end zone six times over his remaining six games. He topped four receptions and 50 yards just twice each during this time.

So while his end-of-year stats appear very serviceable on paper, Brown’s profile doesn’t exactly scream “TD machine.” There’s a real chance that the Ravens bring in receiver depth this offseason, possibly even a true No. 1 wideout. Brown has been living off his hefty target share in the Baltimore offense. Expected competition, combined with negative touchdown regression on a run-first offense, make Brown an easy sell entering year three.

Robert Tonyan (TE – GB)

The 26-year-old was a savior for fantasy managers who were streaming tight ends early on. In Week 4 against the Falcons Tonyan broke out for a three-score game on national television. While he likely wasn’t started by many that night, the performance led to him being a popular add via the waiver wire. Tonyan was then held out of the end zone for the next few games but closed the season by scoring six times over his final seven games.

In total he hauled in 52-of-59 targets for 586 yards and 11 TDs, finishing as the TE3 behind only Travis Kelce and Darren Waller. Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Many will view that efficiency and red-zone prowess as a positive for his outlook moving forward, but without a massive gain in targets Tonyan is destined to see negative touchdown regression in 2021.

Despite finishing as the TE3 overall, Tonyan ranked 24th (!!) in targets among tight ends. For comparison, George Kittle saw four more targets in eight fewer games. Non-factors such as Tyler Eifert and Gerald Everett each drew more looks than him.

Lastly, a major part of Tonyan’s 2020 success came from a career-best 9.1% TD rate from Aaron Rodgers* (career average 6.3%). The underlying numbers didn’t match his lofty fantasy output, and his value will never be higher than it is right now.

*Note: Tonyan is a restricted free agent this offseason, though we expect him to remain in Green Bay. Even if he heads elsewhere most all of the above analysis still applies.

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Brendan Tuma is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Brendan, check out his archive and follow him @toomuchtuma.

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