The fantasy season just ended, and this is the best time to start sending out trades and putting players on the trading block. Many teams just missed cashing in on a championship and could be a player or two away from being legitimate title contenders. Because of this, these fantasy managers will be looking to trade fantasy assets for established veterans to make another championship run. Now is the time to target assets in the form of young ascending players and draft picks.
Dynasty is playing the long game while also balancing success in the short game. Aging players on your roster are constantly depreciating. Staying on top of the best time to trade them is key. Here are the top IDP players to trade early in the off-season to get the best return on investment without falling victim to player depreciation.
Linebacker Jordan Hicks - Minnesota Vikings
Why He still Holds Value
After dealing with multiple health issues to start his career, Hicks has been surprisingly healthy over the past four seasons. Hicks missed 21 of a potential 64 games during his first four seasons. He has not missed a single game over the last four. I think we can get rid of the injury-prone tag. Hicks is finishing up his fourth consecutive season over 100 tackles, racking up 511 over that span (not including Week 18 of 2022-23).
The play-making ability of Hicks has never been in question, and he continues to produce. This season he is one pass defended short of a career-high (11) while also adding three sacks and his fourth consecutive season with 12 or more pressures. All of this in his year 30 season, which also brings us to my next point.
Why He Should Be Traded
As good as Hicks has been throughout his career, a production decline is almost inevitable. He is 30 years old and has been virtually an every-down player for four seasons now. Needless to say, he has some miles on his body. Hicks has also quietly ceded work to rookie Brian Asamoah over the past four games. Hicks' snap percentage has dropped from 88.83% over the first 12 games to just 64.75% over the last four. Asamoah played just 32 snaps total in the first 12 games. That has jumped to 86 snaps over the past four.
Asamoah is seeing an increased run with Hicks both healthy and on the field. Hicks is also only under contract for the end of the 2023-24 season and has an out after this season. If the Viking choose to cut bait and run with Asamoah, Hicks may be looking at a reduced role elsewhere. He will not be in high demand as a 30-year-old linebacker with potential decline, no matter how good he has been.
Linebacker Zaire Franklin - Indianapolis Colts
Why He Still Holds Value
Franklin easily had a career year in 2022-23. He burst onto the scene, taking over for Shaq Leonard. Franklin was a tackle hog this season with 160 total tackles (before Week 18), good enough for 4th in the entire NFL. He showed solid dependability all season, playing every single defensive snap for the Colts. So why should you trade Franklin after such a good season?
Why He Should Be Traded
The Colts still have their linebackers of the future in Bobby Okereke and Shaq Leonard. Okereke saw some bench time mid-season, though finished incredibly strong, including a 17-tackle effort in Week 17. Leonard has been a top-three linebacker since he entered the league, doing something no other linebacker on this team can do - create turnovers. Though Franklin was an IDP darling this year, he graded out poorly. His overall defensive grade was a mere 56.9 per PFF, less than desirable.
Franklin is signed through 2024, though the Colts have an out after this season. This should not be reassuring for his production, though; more or less a curse in disguise. The Colts likely hold Franklin with worries over Shaq Leonard's health. He is an elite backup, but if both Okereke and Leonard are healthy in 2023, they will be the starters. Franklin likely does not get released either due to his cheap roster price tag and value to run the defense in the wake of an unhealthy Leonard. There is a good chance Franklin becomes the best bench rider in recent history.
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