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.
Atlanta Falcons - Julio Jones, WR
Julio Jones is one of the very best wide receivers in the NFL. He’s an athletic freak who is bigger, faster, and stronger than almost anyone else he competes against. This athleticism shows, as he’s finished in the top-3 in receiving yards the last five years. During this time, he’s eclipsed 1,400 yards receiving in each season, including 1,677 yards last year (first in the NFL). He plays on a team ranked in the top eight in passing every year for the last five years (fourth best in 2018), and he’s the top receiving threat. The knock against Jones has always been his inability to score very many touchdowns. During his five years of dominance, he’s recorded 6 (2014), 8 (2015), 6 (2016), 3 (2017), and 8 (2018) touchdowns. Based on his target share and yardage total during this time, he’s expected to have significantly higher touchdown totals each of those years. According to Football Outsiders, Atlanta ranked 14th in pass protection as an offensive line in 2018. In response, they spent two first-round draft picks on offensive linemen in Chris Lindstrom and Kaleb McGeary. These additions should help improve the offensive line and help Atlanta continue to improve their passing game. All of this lends to Jones having another year of success for the Falcons.
Carolina Panthers - Christian McCaffrey, RB
Christian McCaffrey exploded onto the scene last year and catapulted himself into elite running back status. In his second season, he became a workhorse back and made the best of his opportunities, finishing as the RB1. He played 91.3% of the offensive snaps, almost doubled his rushing attempts from 2017, and improved his yards per carry from 3.7 to 5.0. He got significant work in the passing game, posting receiving numbers of 124 targets, 107 catches, and 867 yards, which rivals most wide receivers. He totaled 1965 yards from scrimmage and 13 touchdowns as the focal point of the team’s offense. Carolina’s plan to limit Cam Newton’s rushing attempts translated to additional carries and receptions for McCaffrey, as he became only the third player in NFL history to rush for over 1000 yards and catch 100 passes. The team has stated they don’t plan on limiting his touches, so there’s not much to suggest his usage to change. He’s only 23 and as long as he stays healthy, he should continue to be elite at his position.
New Orleans Saints - Alvin Kamara, RB
In his first year entering the league, Alvin Kamara was absolutely insane. He was initially buried on the depth chart behind Mark Ingram and Adrian Peterson, but rose to prominence when Peterson was traded to Arizona. Kamara averaged 6.07 yards per carry, 10.2 yards per reception, led the league in both yards after contact per attempt and missed tackles forced per touch, and scored 13 touchdowns. While it was borderline impossible for him to maintain his insane efficiency metrics he achieved as a rookie, his sophomore season saw an increased workload without much lost efficiency:
Now entering his third year, Mark Ingram has departed for the Ravens in free agency and been replaced by Latavius Murray. While Murray should serve as a change of pace, Kamara will still dominate touches as a runner and receiver. While Drew Brees can’t play forever, Kamara remains a fantasy stud as the focal point of one of the most high-powered, potent offenses in the NFL.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Mike Evans, WR
People sometimes fail to realize just how good Mike Evans is as a receiver. From the time he first entered the NFL in 2014 until now, he’s missed a total of three games (never more than one in a season) and recorded five consecutive 1,000 yard seasons. He’s amassed 40 touchdowns during this span, all while catching most of his passes from Jameis Winston, Mike Glennon, and Josh McCown. Winston gets a bad rap as being “one of the most inaccurate quarterbacks in the NFL”, which isn’t necessarily true. In truth, he’s average in respect to his accuracy. Football Outsiders has a metric called Passing Plus-Minus, which takes into account the context of completion percentage. In 2018, Winston finished 18th out of 35 qualifying quarterbacks, ahead of Ben Roethlisberger, Baker Mayfield, Andrew Luck, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers. Still, this is not to say Evans is successful because of his quarterback. Football Outsiders also evaluates receivers using Defense-adjusted Yards Above Replacement (DYAR) and Defense-adjusted Value Over Average (DVOA), which compares different receivers to each other in various situations. Evans ranks fourth in DYAR and third in DVOA out of 84 receivers ranked. This offseason his fellow pass catcher Though the offseason has been full of Chris Godwin hype pieces, Mike Evans is the player who has done it across from a number of different receivers as long as he's been in the NFL. A Godwin ascendance - even if it comes - would likely also take defensive attention away from Evans. In short, Evans is a dominant player, and Godwin is not an impediment to his success.