In dynasty football, the offseason is a time to target players and go after them. I will give you a couple of rules I go by and some players you might want to target for the 2018 season.
The Golden Rule
Almost always get younger in the offseason.
Getting veterans for young players or draft picks in the offseason is like taking a car off the lot. The value constantly goes down while the young players and picks value will continue to go up all the way until the draft and into the beginning of the season. It’s a timing thing. Trading for veterans makes more sense when preparing for a playoff run, but that will be another piece for another time.
There are of course exceptions depending on where your team is. Maybe you have a great young team already and trading away picks for a player could solidify your roster. If the trade is heavily one-sided or suits a dire positional need by all means weigh your options. The takeaway of the golden rule is to not get suckered into taking other teams big name veterans so that they can replenish their own teams with an injection of youth.
Target players you see as up and coming.
When making offseason trades, big name veterans might help your trades look better. The idea is to get the players that are about to breakout. For example, offering A.J.Green for Juju Smith-Schuster might not look like the smartest trade, but could turn out to be a steal if during the season Schuster puts up comparable numbers and is eight years younger.
If you really want a top player this is your chance to get him.
So yes, it’s going to cost you, but if you want a top dynasty player this is the time to overpay. Why? Because you have draft picks. If you want Todd Gurley, offer Kareem Hunt and a top 5 pick. I’m not saying that is the right move, but if you want a player that bad, sacrificing a top pick and a player is probably the only way. Top 10 picks are like getting a pack of basketball cards in middle school or buying a scratch ticket. You want that shot at getting something special; it clouds rational thought.
Pay attention to the value of draft picks in your league and be careful.
Don’t overpay for draft picks. Draft picks can have a lot of value in certain leagues. Younger leagues usually don’t value picks as much. Know where your league or specific league owners are at placing value on picks. If your league puts too high of an emphasis on early picks, then stay where you are or move back. Package your pick with a veteran to get a player in his prime. For example, you have the 6th pick and you just can’t move up. Try to package that pick with Julio Jones to get Odell Beckham or Michael Thomas.
Players to Target Now
- Andrew Luck (IND)
Still my #1QB. Not even 29 years old. His value may never be lower. His owners still love him so don’t expect he will be cheap.
- Jimmy Garoppolo (SFO)
He’s a young player with high upside. If Garoppolo and his coaching staff stay together, they could be a winning force to be reckoned with for years to come. He still has question marks and his owners might be tempted to capitalize on his hype.
- Mitchell Trubisky (CHI)
I’m assuming he’s cheaper than Patrick Mahomes. He is not Carson Wentz, but he could break out this year with a more explosive supportive cast and creative offensive coaching staff.
- Dalvin Cook (MIN)
My man love for Dalvin Cook has never wavered. Watch his college highlight reel a dozen times and tell me he wasn’t born to be a hall of fame running back. His owners will not give him away, but I would take him over Alvin Kamara, Kareem Hunt, and Melvin Gordon; just saying!
- Joe Mixon (CIN)
I’m not the biggest Mixon fan and his owners may be dug in, but if you can get him relatively cheap, take a shot. Marvin Lewis is all about pecking order. On the bright side, Mixon will have a lead back role this year. The negative is he might save Lewis’s job. Regardless, Mixon has a good chance to break out despite his coaching staff.
- Derrick Henry (TEN)
Henry owners have waited this long they probably can’t quit him now. If the chance that reports of a committee backfield have lowered his value enough for him to be available, then go get him. Think Jordan Howard with a higher pedigree and a possible better situation.
- Tevin Coleman (ATL)
Do you remember Michael Turner? Turner was Ladainian Tomlinson’s backup. He was signed by the Atlanta Falcons and had a great fantasy career. I believe Coleman has the ability to be an impressive starter for another team. After this year, his contract is up, so you’re taking the chance he doesn’t resign with Atlanta.
- Jamaal Williams (GBP)
Aaron Jones is suspended, and Ty Montgomery is not consistent enough at the position. I’m not saying that Williams is the real deal. I’m saying that if he gets the job, he might not let it go. For the right price, he could be a good buy medium candidate.
- Amari Cooper (OAK)
Is he the elite wide receiver we all thought he would be or the inconsistent performer we’ve seen? My guess is he is elite. This could be make or break, but I’m still willing to bet that Cooper will breakout this year. His owners are probably looking for an out. He’s not a buy low, but a creative deal will most likely get it done. Go get him!
- Davante Adams (GBP)
His value is rising, maybe too much by now. Jordy Nelson is gone. If Adams can do it with Hundley he can do it with Rodgers. I wouldn’t trade Mike Evans for him, but A.J.Green or Julio Jones, maybe?
- Allen Robinson (CHI)
His owners have waited, they know how valuable he can be in this offense, and he’s 24 years old. You’re taking a chance because he had a down year followed by a season ending injury. I say take the chance.
- Juju Smith-Schuster (PIT)
I really like Smith-Schuster. He’s not the biggest or the fastest. He’s just a straight up football player. I love his game and I’m not worried about the other mouths to feed. A great player is a great player and I think Juju is a great player.
- Jamison Crowder (WAS)
Coming off a more down year after a nice 2016 season, Crowder is not exactly a surefire fantasy starter. As a buy low candidate or a throw in, I think he can be a really good flex option.
- Chris Godwin (TBB)
As a prospect, Godwin is a great stash. He has the potential to take a big leap this year opposite Mike Evans.
- Cameron Meredith (NOS)
This is a risk/reward move. He probably can be got on the cheap. I’d like to see Meredith in the New Orleans offense. If he’s right, he could be a good flex option or at least gain value on your bench for a future trade.
- O.J. Howard (TBB)
His value may not be low, but it may never be lower. If you need a TE and you’re willing to slightly overpay, this is the guy to get. His measurable and his pedigree are second to none and tight ends usually take more time to develop. Howard had a few big games last year and I’m not worried about Cameron Brate. Go get him!
- Hunter Henry (LAC)
I know, he’s on IR. You’re probably not going to get him, but if you can, he’s 23 year’s old and has the potential to be elite at the position.
- David Njoku (CLE)
Njoku is a great athlete. The Browns have been horrible of late, but I believe there are better days to come and that Njoku has a chance to be a big part of the rebuild.
- Deion Jones (ATL)
This is my favorite dynasty IDP. He’s young, he tackles, and he covers ground. When he gets the ball, he has a nose for the endzone. If you can trade Luke Keuchly for him you should, but you probably cannot. His value is high, and his owner might not have him ranked #1, but I do.
- Blake Martinez (GBP)
Blake had a breakout sophomore season roaming the middle of the defense for the Packers last year. He’s a big-time tackle guy. As far as linebackers go, consistent tackle numbers are key and Martinez seems like a machine in that category. He might be a little obvious, but he’s only done it for one year and he doesn’t have a ton of name recognition yet.
- Joey Bosa (LAC)
I know, I know, I know, obviously he is a big name that his owners will not want to move. He’s on this target list because I think he will be the best fantasy defensive lineman for years to come and at a thin position. Possibly you can swap out another strong IDP and downgrade at an offensive position to do it. This is an example of going and getting a top player if you think he is worth overpaying for.
- Derek Barnett (PHI)
I went obvious with Bosa, so now I will go a little deeper with Barnett, depending on how deep your league is. He is going into his second year with the Eagles, who are stacked at the position. If you can get him cheap and have the luxury to stash him, I think it could pay off. I believe he is the real deal.
- Jamal Adams (NYJ)
If you can get Landon Collins (NYG) or Keanu Neal (ATL), then by all means those guys are gold standard for dynasty defensive backs. Adams was the 6th pick in last year’s draft and did not put together a huge year by fantasy standards. His owners are most likely still believers. If not, and you can get him at a good cost I think it’s worth it. He has the pedigree and the love for the game that should eventually translate to fantasy greatness.
- Budda Baker (ARZ)
Baker owners are pretty proud of themselves for their midseason pickup. That will make him harder to get. With Tyrann Mathieu headed to HOU, Baker will have even more of a chance to be the man roaming the back end of the defense. With limited snaps last year, Baker put together some nice numbers making himself a candidate to make a big leap in 2018.
The Bottom Line
Good offseason trading is what separates the good dynasty owners from the less engaged ones. The value of players and draft positions fluctuate from the beginning of NFL free agency to the final seconds of the Super Bowl. If you want to stay ahead of the competition, target the players you want early and get them when the timing is right. Remember the golden rule. Start the season by getting younger. You’re in-season strategy will depend on the performance of your team and injuries. The best team owners will build in the offseason and tweak in the regular season.