Football is finally back after a long offseason. Prepare yourself for the fire hose of incoming player news. For the first time, I now have an easy way to regularly update the quickly changing dynasty values in the month of August: the Dynasty Trade Value Chart app and the Trade Calculator (links below). Look for the values there to be updated weekly (plus soon after any major news breaks).
In this month’s dynasty trade value article we will go deeper on:
- What to do with Jalen Hurts
- The Cam Akers and Michael Thomas injury fallout
- Early returns on rookie wide receivers
The dynasty trade value chart is tailored to 12-team PPR leagues a starting lineup of one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, and one flex. It now also includes trade values for Superflex leagues in a separate column. The chart is meant to serve primarily as a guide for trades but can also be a great resource during startup drafts. If the players and picks on each side of the trade offer add up to approximately the same number, the trade would be considered even. If you receive a trade offer that sends you players with a higher total number value than the players you are giving up, the offer is worth strongly considering. Each league is different, so pay close attention to the scoring and starting roster requirements specific to your league.
Dynasty Web Apps
We recently introduced a customizable dynasty trade value chart that adjusts the player values to fit your league size, starting lineup requirements, and scoring. Thank you to all who provided feedback. The newest version is available here:
We also made a simple dynasty trade value calculator that allows you to analyze potential deals by entering the players and picks involved. It is available here:
Again, these are still in the early stages so any and all feedback is appreciated (firstname.lastname@example.org or @hindery on twitter).
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From a dynasty value perspective, the news surrounding the extent of the Eagles interest in Deshaun Watson moved the dial most in terms of players moving up and down. It was already priced in that 2021 would be a “prove-it year” for Hurts. Based on some of the buzz putting Philadelphia as the heavy favorite to land Watson, Hurts may not even get a fair shake. At the very least, the bar is likely even higher in terms of what Hurts has to achieve to cement his status as the Eagles franchise passer.
There is some cognitive dissonance when it comes to ranking Hurts. He is over a year younger than Joe Burrow and going earlier than Burrow in 2021 redraft leagues. Typically when a very young player like Hurts is more highly valued in redraft than in dynasty, that is a sign he may be undervalued and a nice trade target. However, looks can be deceiving in this case. If you were setting odds of whether Burrow is the starter in Cincinnati in 2022, you would put them at nearly 100%. For Hurts, the odds of him being the Eagles starter in 2022 may be less than 50%. Hurts’ value is fragile and if you are able to swap him for a quarterback with a safer long-term outlook, even if it requires adding extra pieces to do so, that is the recommended move. If Hurts is one season and done as a starter, we will look back on this summer as the time we should have tried to sell high in dynasty.
The torn Achilles was brutal news for Cam Akers. Not great for those counting on him as their fantasy RB1 the next half a decade either. As far as his future, this will be a fascinating medical case study to see how much the science of surgery and rehab has come. Dr. Jene Bramel seems quite skeptical of the prospect of Akers ever fully regaining his burst and he is the best in the business, so that is my default mindset as well. In terms of trade value, this is one of those times where it comes down to both your gut feeling and some back-of-the-envelope math. Akers was worth 30+ before the injury. Do you think there’s a 25% chance he gets back close to what he was? A 10% chance? Figure out where you land on the confidence scale in his recovery and value him accordingly.
This is one of those times where at least having the mental framework in place that allows you to combine potential value numbers in a specific scenario (full recovery or close to it) with your personal feelings about his chances of recovery to quickly adjust how you value the player. Your valuation will only be as good as your assumptions but it should make the process much easier.
Let us assume that the trade value of Akers settles in at a future second-round pick. Is he a buy or sell? This is where understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your roster is key. Are you deep enough to swing for the fences by trading for a player who may provide you nothing? If so, acquiring Akers at a reasonable price is probably a risk worth considering.
Darrell Henderson makes for a solid trade target at this juncture. If you are going to assume Akers only has a 25% chance of recovering his starting-caliber athleticism before next year, then all of a sudden Henderson’s odds of having value beyond this season look pretty strong. Combine that with his value for 2021 (I view him as a nice 4th or 5th-round redraft target) and there is some real value there.
Michael Thomas and updating priors
Let’s start with a quick refresher on the general logic behind the numbers you see in the dynasty trade value chart. Each season a player provides fantasy value to your team and the dynasty values are meant to be a mean of the drange of outcomes for a player’s remaining career. The back of the napkin math is based upon points scored per game minus replacement value at the position each season. Call this PPGAR for short (points per game above replacement.
This is a relevant consideration because sometimes adjusting dynasty values based upon new information for the current season can be very straightforward. Michael Thomas was being valued as a mid-to-low WR1 prior to the injury news. In numerical terms, the projection was approximately 6 PPGAR for 2021. Thomas is now expected to miss approximately half the season and may not be 100% when he does return. Let’s estimate that his PPGAR drops from 6 to 2 for 2021. So Thomas would see his dynasty value decrease by 4 based upon the injury news (from 27 last month to 23 now).
However, in this case, it probably makes sense to update our prior conceptions about the remainder of Thomas’ career above and beyond a simple recalculation of his 2021 value. There is a misconception amongst some film-centric fantasy analysts that those using probabilities, analytics, or other data-based insights use only those methods. For most, things are not so black and white. There is plenty of room for subjectively judging talent and using gut feel even when viewing things through a probabilistic lens. In this specific case, the gut feeling is that we should also feel less confident about the career projection for Thomas beyond 2021 based upon recent news. Why did it take so long for Thomas to get his surgery? What is going on with him mentally? Ia he wearing out his welcome in New Orleans? Prime Michael Thomas was far better than prime Alshon Jeffery but factoring in the possibility of a Jeffery-like post-prime career arc for Thomas pushes his future value down a bit more than just the value adjustment for 2021.
PSA: Last August, Justin Jefferson was reportedly having a mediocre training camp while Henry Ruggs III and Bryan Edwards were earning heavy praise from Raiders beat writers. Take preseason hype with a major grain of salt.
Keeping in mind that we do not want to make drastic changes in the way we value players based merely off of August hype, we can still make some minor adjustments up and down based upon camp reports and the deluge of news we are about to receive.
Here are some very early returns on rookie wide receivers:
- Ja'Marr Chase seems to be who the Bengals thought he was when they selected him with the 5th-pick overall.
- DeVonta Smith looks like the clear WR1 for the Eagles already. On a related note, the vibes around Jalen Reagor do not feel great. If we do not start seeing signs of major growth in the next couple months, the bust label could start being attached to his name.
- Terrace Marshall Jr has not been slowed by a lingering injury that seemed to impact his draft stock and is off to a hot start in training camp.
- Rashod Bateman is making plays in Baltimore camp. But there have also been positive reports about Mark Andrews, Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, and even J.K. Dobbins as a pass catcher. There are only so many balls to go around in a run-first offense. Feels like status quo: Bateman is good but may not make a major fantasy impact anytime soon.
- Kadarius Toney has gotten his career off on the wrong foot. First it was shoes that didn’t fit and barefoot practices. Then it was conditioning issues. Then an inexplicable absence from OTAs. The latest is a delayed start to his preseason due to COVID. Let’s not overreact too drastically, however. As Allen Iverson said, “We talking about practice. Not a game.”
PSA2: The four Footballguys preseason training camp reports, the first of which will be out the week of August 9th, do an incredible job of distilling all of this information into an easily digestible format. It is a highly-recommended resource for all serious dynasty enthusiasts.
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