There is no right or wrong way to way to win in dynasty. If the season ends in a championship then every move up to that point can be justified. However, there are strategies which significantly increase your chances at sustained success, and each of these strategies involves maximizing value in different situations. Trading is one of the most important ways of upgrading a roster in dynasty. However, knowing when to hold a player and when to trade a player can be challenging, even for the most diehard owners. The best time to trade a player is when they’re at their maximum value. The next eight articles are going to focus on the Most Valuable Dynasty Asset (MVDA) on each team. For the purposes of the discussion, the values will be based on superflex leagues, where quarterbacks are more important. I’ll take into account consensus rankings as well as average draft position (ADP) data. Identifying these players can help you extract maximum value out of other owners in your league via trades.
Denver Broncos - Courtland Sutton, WR / Phillip Lindsay, RB
We have another discrepancy between ranking and startup ADP! Denver has struggled with its identity since Peyton Manning retired. They went from having an elite offense with a Hall-of-Fame quarterback and a defense which ranked in the top five in most major categories to the 19th ranked offense and 22nd ranked defense in 2018. Aside from veteran Emmanuel Sanders at wide receiver, they’re invested draft picks to inject youth into every major skill position. They traded for veteran Joe Flacco, and drafted rookie Drew Lock. Despite general manager John Elway claiming Flacco is “in the prime of his career”, he’ll likely only start to bridge the gap between when the rookie gunslinger is ready to take the field. The wide receiver room features Emmanuel Sanders,and sophomores Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton. At tight end, they just selected Noah Fant in the first round of the NFL Draft. At running back, they have two sophomores who should split time in undrafted free agent Phillip Lindsay and third round pick Royce Freeman. In 2018, Lindsay became the first undrafted offensive player to make a Pro-Bowl in their rookie season. Rushing for 1037 yards to go with 35 catches for 241 yards and 10 total touchdowns. Ordinarily, Lindsay projects as one of the best dynasty assets on the Broncos, but in the offseason Denver has replaced its head coach and failed to commit to Lindsay as the starter. Instead, they signed a running back with a similar skill-set in Theo Riddick, who’s best known for his pass-catching abilities. While Riddick did get hurt and thus won’t steal touches away from Lindsay this year, it’s hardly a vote of confidence from the front office in Lindsay. The MVDA on the Broncos is actually sophomore receiver Courtland Sutton. In his first season, he had 84 targets, 42 catches, 704 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He had the third most yards of any rookie receiver in 2018, the most catches of 20 or more yards (16), and was 7th in the NFL in yards per reception (16.8). What’s more impressive is that he’s done it all while catching passes from journeyman Case Keenum after being thrust into a prominent role as a rookie after starters Demaryius Thomas (trade) and Sanders (injury) left the lineup. His new quarterback Flacco is an upgrade over Keenum, albeit a small one. Football Outsiders and Next Gen Stats has some advanced metrics, which show Flacco to be not only a more accurate passer, but also more likely to throw deep, where Sutton excels.
Kansas City Chiefs - Patrick Mahomes, QB
In his first season as a starter, Patrick Mahomes lit the NFL on fire. Andy Reid sat Mahomes for all but one game as a rookie before unleashing him on the league in 2018. He exploded en route to an MVP award, throwing 5097 yards and 50 touchdowns to go along with 272 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Mahomes used Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, and Kareem Hunt to exploit opposing defenses. Although Hunt has departed for Cleveland and Tyreek Hill went down with a shoulder injury in Week 1, Mahomes still showed why he’s one of the single most valuable superflex assets. In Week 1, he went off on the Jaguars for 378 yards passing and 3 touchdowns, most of which was done without Hill. His did all this damage despite only passing on 56.7% of plays (10th fewest in the NFL). In 2018, the Chiefs passed on 61.5% of their plays (9th highest in the NFL). Mahomes combination of skill, age (will turn 24 next week), and play calling have him poised to continue his dominance this year and long into the future.
Los Angeles Chargers - Keenan Allen, WR / Melvin Gordon, RB
Prior to this offseason, Melvin Gordon may have been the undisputed MVDA on the Chargers. However, this circus of a summer involved public negotiating, threats of sitting out, contract rejections, requests to be traded, and eventually a holdout which many project to continue well into November. If you have him on your team you’re likely hoping to have him return prior to the fantasy playoffs and help you compete for a championship. However, beyond this year, his future and value as a fantasy asset is completely unpredictable. The best case scenario may be staying with the Chargers and signing a long-term deal, but that’s hardly assured. Los Angeles has stated publicly that they are postponing negotiations until after the season, which is mighty convenient when you realize the offseason brings the NFL Draft where the Chargers could select Gordon’s replacement. There is a non-zero chance he could be traded to a preferred destination, but that’s even less likely to happen with so few teams wanting to surrender draft capital to take on an oft-injured running back expecting to be paid top dollar after you trade for him. All of this points to the Chargers’ number one wide receiver, Keenan Allen, as being the MVDA. While banged up earlier in his career, Allen has played back-to-back 16-game seasons with consistent production. His last two seasons are eerily similar:
In the Chargers’ Week 1 win over the Colts, Keenan showed just how effective he could be: 8 catches, 123 yards and 1 touchdown. With Mike Williams dealing with injury and Melvin Gordon sitting out, expect Allen to continue to be the focus of the offense.
Oakland Raiders – Josh Jacobs, RB
A week ago, this player would have been Antonio Brown. That’s how fast things can change in the NFL and in dynasty. Now, the MVDA is a rookie running back who’s played a single game in the NFL. There is reason for optimism with Jacobs though. He was the first running back selected in the NFL Draft and the Raiders stand to use him quite a bit, in a variety of situations. In 2018, these were the Raiders’ two leading rushers:
|Doug Martin||Marshawn Lynch||Combined|
Martin and Lynch are no longer with the Raiders and Jacobs stands to inherit their workload. If you were to combine their touches into one singular player, they would have finished in the top 15 of running backs last year. Now consider the Raiders also spent the off-season upgrading their offensive line by adding Trent Brown and Richie Incognito in free agency. Although not a top unit in the NFL, these additions are an improvement over last year’s group. Jacobs didn’t disappoint in his first game either. He became the first player since LaDainian Tomlinson (2001) to have at least 100 scrimmage yards and 2 touchdowns in their NFL debut. Jacobs rushed 23 times for 85 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns while adding a reception for 28 yards. Simply put, the Raiders invested a first round draft pick in Josh Jacobs. With the surprising loss of Antonio Brown, they’ll look to run the offense through him.