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The New Reality, No.79: Trade Deadline Tips, 2017 Free Agent Quarterbacks

Navigating the ever-changing landscape of dynasty fantasy football

 In most dynasty leagues, the trade deadline is either Week 11 or Week 12. Here are some tips for final moves:

Create win-win deals

The most natural trading fits are deals between teams moving in opposite directions (contending and looking ahead to 2017). As a contender, look at the teams out of playoff contention and short-term producers to find the best deal. Offering rookie capital or yet-to-produce young players is a common trade construction. As a non-contender, shedding current year points can offer multiple benefits. First, acquiring picks stabilizes those assets and allows for an additional stash player heading into the offseason. Second, shedding production can improve draft position by a spot or two, creating a cascading trade up in the rookie draft.

Peddle Handcuffs

While stashing marginally-talented primary backup running backs (or even a choice quarterback or two in premium formats) is ideal for contenders, I recommend shopping them to the starter's owner if they are contending as you fall out of the race. Independently, these backups have no standalone value, but can offer peace of mind and injury insulation down the stretch. In the offseason, they will have no market value and are likely back on the waiver wire as you prepare for rookie drafts and the new reality of 2017 depth charts around the NFL. Even a later round rookie pick upgrade is worthwhile as after the trade deadline they will be locked on your roster outside of dropping them. Make an owner pay, even a small price, for their handcuff before the deadline.

Seek Rookie Pick Upgrades

When the rookie fever starts in the offseason, it can be near impossible to strike reasonable deals to trade up in the draft. The 2017 class has been hyped for nearly a year already, only fueling the flame for top picks. However, the picks are still projected at this point. Using lower-level producers or upside players to work up the draft board (say from later second round to early or mid, or Round 4 to Round 3) now is optimal. Once the pick order is assigned and the draft process begins, trades tighten involving rookie picks. Seek package-up trades before the deadline as an owner can always trade down and be a seller by draft day if the value is not present.

Think Ahead

Whether a contender or not, projecting to the offseason and the next season climate is key to maximizing roster spots on the back-end of a dynasty roster. Over the next month, I will outline the key 2017 NFL free agents at each offensive skill position. Here is a look at the quarterback position:

Quarterbacks

This is a better crop of quarterbacks than usual with Cousins betting on himself instead of taking Washington's lower-range long-term option this past offseason. The depth of receiving options is appealing in Washington but both DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon are 2017 free agents as well, taking some of the shine off Cousins situationally if he stays. Of course, Josh Doctson returning to the lineup would help his cause. I view Cousins only as good as his situation, which is ideal with a strong collection of weapons and Jay Gruden as coach. Leaving Washington would be a loss of dynasty value and future production in most simulations.

Glennon is the big underrated name of the group. He was solid in his starting time before Jameis Winston was drafted in Tampa and earmarked for at least competing for a starting job outside of the Bucs when changing locations next year. I was surprised a team did not trade for Glennon in the summer or before the in-season deadline.

Gabbert is underrated as well with his recent turnaround as a functional quarterback and rushing element. The weapons cannot be worse than San Francisco's this year if he changes teams. However, expect Gabbert to begin as the backup elsewhere and be one of the better (for fantasy) backups in the 30-40 overall range around the NFL.

I have more interest in where Brian Hoyer lands than Ryan Fitzpatrick. Hoyer has been functional the last two landing spots, where Fitzpatrick has eroded from a passable distributor of fantasy production in New York to complete anchor, weighing down an offense. Both should have primary backup duties available to them in 2017, one step away from playing time for superflex formats with roster space for more than four quarterbacks.

Case Keenum has underwhelmed for most of the season before his benching heading into Week 11 for Jared Goff. Keenum is a lower-level option in line for No.2/3 duties on another depth chart next season. Outside of a sporadic start or two along the way, expect Keenum to be a depth quarterback in the NFL beyond this season.

Nassib as dropped off my radar for superflex purposes (outside of a current Eli Manning handcuff) with a poor preseason and showing rough traits still despite being in the NFL for years now. I doubt he gets a legit crack at being an NFL starter outside of injuries in front of him on a depth chart going forward.