Dynasty Roster Renovation: Let’s Talk About Trading (Fantasy Football 2021)
For this dynasty roster renovation article, I want to talk a bit about trades and rookie picks. With more teams getting knocked out of contention with each passing week, I think it’s important to review what all dynasty managers should focus on as the season progresses.
Let’s Talk About Trading
Injuries will happen
As we learned this week, injuries will always be a factor in this game we play. The loss of Derrick Henry (RB – TEN) will change the landscape of many dynasty leagues. Many of the top teams had him on their roster and were leaning on him to bring home a title. That’s not as likely to happen now with Henry potentially missing the rest of the year.
Injuries will happen. We can’t avoid them. If you’re contending, this can be soul-crushing. If you’re rebuilding, however, injuries can present a potential buying opportunity. Injured players are depressed assets, meaning they might have their value dip a little. This means they might be cheaper to acquire via trade than a week before.
If you’re contending and you just lost your stud RB, it’s probably time to make a trade. Most leagues have a trade deadline that’s set between Week 10 and 13. Some don’t have a deadline at all. Whatever it is, make sure you know what it is. Then, do what you can before that deadline to bolster your depth for a title run. Add more running backs than you need. Upgrade your starting lineup but don’t ignore your bench. You’re going to need both to go the distance.
On the other hand, if you’re rebuilding, look at what players on your roster don’t have much use for you in the future. Then, try to craft a trade to send those players to the top teams for their rookie picks and younger players. You can also try to target newly injured players like Henry if you feel daring. He’ll still cost a lot, but if he comes back at 100%, you’ll be set for next year.
Picks are insulated but have a limited ceiling
When trading, fantasy managers are somewhat split on rookie pick values. Some managers don’t value picks at all and send them away without a second thought. Some managers horde picks, and it’ll take a massive offer to pry them away. If you haven’t already, start poking around your league to see who values picks lower than others, or at least lower than you do. You might be able to send a bench player for a pick and gain some value.
A lot of people value picks highly because they’re the safest asset to have in fantasy. Rookie draft picks seldom go down in value throughout the year, except when teams need to add a player to make a title run, and at that time, they might devalue their rookie pick slightly. On the whole, rookie picks are like cash. They don’t accrue much value over the long term, but they don’t lose much either.
On the flip side, think of players like stocks. We already do this in general, but it makes more sense when talking about how they relate to picks. If I cash out stock for $100 and that stock goes down, I made the right move. If that stock goes up, perhaps I regret it, but I still have my $100, so I’m not left with zero. It’s all about your risk profile, which I’ve written about before.
While picks are insulated from value loss, they also lose that high ceiling valuation as well. Picks are worth the most when they are on the clock at your rookie draft. As soon as the pick is turned into a player, it becomes a stock again. If you’re rebuilding, it might make sense to collect as many rookie picks as possible and wait for them to grow in value, even if slightly. But not every trade should be for picks.
Sometimes a risk is a good idea though
When I rebuild a dynasty roster, I like trading for other depressed assets in addition to trading for picks. Players like Allen Robinson (WR – CHI) and Odell Beckham, Jr. (WR – CLE) are perfect examples of this. These two stud wide receivers are painfully underperforming at the moment. However, you might be able to add them to your roster for their future boom at a discount.
From my experience, the best risky investments for the long term are wide receivers. This is due mainly to the fact that a receiver can have a down year one season and dramatically turn things around the very next season. Running backs tend to rely on their opportunity, but receivers tend to rely on their talent. If a receiver is talented but not seeing the right opportunity, perhaps a change of scenery or a coaching shift can improve their position.
You need to take risks if your team is at the bottom, but you need to take risks if your team is at the top too. The whole point of dynasty leagues is to grow your team into a monster over time. This means the best plan of attack is to take calculated risks where you can to benefit your team in the long run.
Trading doesn’t always make sense
To that point, don’t trade to trade. Make sure you’re looking at the big picture and doing what you think is best for your team at that moment. Trades don’t always make sense, and if they don’t, then don’t make them. You don’t only gain value through trading, but it can be one of the fastest ways to do so.
If you invest in many rookie players for cheap, you can sit and wait for their value to increase over time. Players that come to mind here are guys like Michael Carter (RB – NYJ) and Kadarius Toney (WR – NYG). These two have already seen their value go up in just eight weeks of their rookie years. So if you got them cheap at the draft or in trades before the season, you’re sitting pretty now.
If you’re not the best at trading or feel uncomfortable sending offers, there are a lot of tools out there to help. Trade calculators are a great starting spot, and FantasyPros has one of the best included in their MyPlaybook feature. But don’t rely solely on calculators to make a trade. Each league is unique, and there’s no way to know precisely how your league values players until you send an actual offer.
In the end, don’t be afraid to take risks. Just make them intelligent risks. Trade for picks when you get good value but don’t overpay. Trade for depressed assets but don’t send the house in return. Make sure the trades make sense for you, and in the long run, your dynasty team will thank you!
If you want to dive deeper into fantasy football, be sure to check out our award-winning slate of Fantasy Football Tools as you navigate your season. From our Start/Sit Assistant – which provides your optimal lineup, based on accurate consensus projections – to our Trade Analyzer – that allows you to instantly find out if a trade offer benefits you or your opponent – we’ve got you covered this fantasy football season.