April is the quiet before the storm, with the NFL Draft looming at the end of the month. Active owners can use the final few weeks prior to the draft to try to get ahead of the curve on some players whose value has increased after free agency. It is also a good time to try to limit draft risk, especially if you can get full value for running backs who are at risk of added competition from rookies. Otherwise, this is a great time to really get to know the 2019 rookie class prior to rookie drafts next month. Check out Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio (out April 1st) if you want to do a deep dive to really understand the strengths and weaknesses of all of the prospects entering the NFL.
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 values for Superflex leagues. 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.
Rate your dynasty team
An even more robust spreadsheet or application is on my to-do list for the summer. However, in the meantime please check out this great tool that one of my dynasty league mates, Andy Estridge, made:
The Google sheet automatically imports every roster from your league (from MFL) when you enter the 5-digit address for your league and calculates the total dynasty trade values for each team. In addition to being an interesting snap shot of how your team stacks up against your competition, it can also be a useful tool when assessing the trade value of future rookie picks. Teams with a lot of trade capital can always flip the switch from building to competing much easier than teams without a lot of coveted assets. In addition to this cool spreadsheet, Andy also makes MFL custom banners at a great price. Check him out on twitter here.
|Pick||Player, Position, and School||Trade Value|
|1.01||Josh Jacobs, RB Alabama||20|
|1.02||D.K. Metcalf, WR Mississippi||19|
|1.03||A.J. Brown, WR Mississippi||18|
|1.04||Hakeem Butler, WR Iowa State||17|
|1.05||N'Keal Harry, WR Arizona State||16|
|1.06||Miles Sanders, RB Penn State||14|
|1.07||David Montgomery, RB Iowa State||13|
|1.08||TJ Hockenson, TE Iowa||12|
|1.09||Noah Fant, TE Iowa||11|
|1.1||Kelvin Harmon, WR North Carolina State||10|
|1.11||Marquise Brown, WR Oklahoma||9|
|1.12||Parris Campbell, WR Ohio State||8|
|2.01||Darrell Henderson, RB Memphis||7|
|2.02||Deebo Samuel, WR South Carolina||7|
|2.03||Rodney Anderson, RB Oklahoma||7|
|2.04||Kyler Murray, QB Oklahoma||6|
|2.05||Miles Boykin, WR Notre Dame||6|
|2.06||Damien Harris, RB Alabama||6|
|2.07||Irv Smith Jr., TE Alabama||5|
|2.08||Trayveon Williams, RB Texas A&M||5|
|2.09||Emanuel Hall, WR Missouri||5|
|2.1||Devin Singletary, RB Florida Atlantic||5|
|2.11||JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR Stanford||5|
|2.12||Riley Ridley, WR Georgia||5|
The Rookie pick market.
With pro days mostly complete, we remain in the peculiar state of not having any real heavy favorite to be the 1.01 pick. Josh Jacobs ran slower than expected and many of the teams that once had running back needs have already made additions via trade or free agency. There is also no consensus whatsoever about who the top receiver is. D.K. Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Hakeem Butler, and N’Keal Harry each have their fans in the dynasty community. As such, there is a much smaller value gap between 1.01 and 1.05 than we typically see.
Looking ahead to 2020
It is possible the 2020 rookie class is being slightly over-hyped at this point. The top of the class — guys like Jerry Jeudy, D’Andre Swift, and Travis Etienne — is fantastic. Each of those three look better than anyone in the current class. Thus, 2020 picks with a good chance of ending up in the Top 3 should be valued at a real premium. However, beyond the few elite prospects, the 2019 class stacks up well against the 2020 group. In fact, the depth of the 2019 wide receiver and tight end classes may make the late 1st round picks this year more valuable than late 2020 picks.
From a trading strategy perspective, you can go either direction. If you aren’t in love with any of the options still available while you’re on the clock in the mid-1st this year, it makes sense to target a 2020 pick if you think it is likely to land near the top of the round. There also shouldn’t be a huge fear of trading your 2020 1st as long as you are confident you will make the playoffs. The early hype regarding 2020 makes those future picks more valuable than normal.
|1||Patrick Mahomes II II||25||57|
Patrick Mahomes II without Tyreek Hill.
Mahomes should be an elite fantasy quarterback for a very long time, no matter who his receivers are. However, it will be much tougher for him to put up massive production (50+ touchdowns) without Hill on the field. Hill’s speed helps open things up for everyone else. The uncertainty regarding Hill’s future doesn’t have a significant impact on Mahomes’ dynasty value but it is at least worth considering as a tie-breaker if you are struggling to decide between Mahomes and an elite running back at the top of a Superflex draft. If the worst comes to pass with Hill and he is finished in Kansas City, Mahomes would fall from #2 in my Superflex rankings to #5.
###Baker Mayfield’s value post-Beckham trade.
Mayfield was already a 2nd-round pick in early startup drafts (2.03-2.10 range), so I didn’t think his ADP had much room to go up after the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. I was wrong. In post-trade drafts, Mayfield has consistently been the QB2 and is going in the 1.03-1.09 range of Superflex startups. This is probably a little bit of an overreaction but it is also easy to understand the excitement. Mayfield set the rookie record with 27 touchdown passes despite not opening the season as the starter and lacking a true #1 option. With the typical second-year improvement and better weapons, it is easy to imagine Mayfield emerging as a consistent 35-40 touchdown per season producer. If he does, he will be worth his newly crowned status as one of the most valuable players in Superflex. Speaking of the Superflex format, the interesting debate for those enamored with the Cleveland offense could be Mayfield versus Beckham in the mid-1st of a startup draft.
Excitement over Kyler Murray.
Everything seems to be pointing to Murray as the #1 pick. When the head coach of comes out and says that a prospect is “one of the best dual threat players to ever play the game,” the cards are pretty much on the table. The mere fact Arizona feels strongly enough about Murray that they are willing to give up on top pick Josh Rosen less than one year after moving up in the draft to select him should factor into how we view Murray. Arguably, Murray is being undervalued in Superflex leagues right now. He is regularly available as a QB2 in the mid-late 4th round of startups and there doesn’t seem to be much of a premium on the 1.01 rookie pick.
Murray’s fantasy ceiling is through the roof. His skillset is a dream for fantasy scoring, with a big arm, the ability to extend plays, and elite athleticism that allows him to break off big chunk gains as a runner. There is no guarantee he hits and his risk has to be factored into his valuation. However, he is going to have a long leash in Arizona so at least from a fantasy perspective, the risk isn’t overwhelming. If Murray is on the field, he is going to put up at least QB2 numbers. We have also seen Baker Mayfield emerge as a 1st round super flex startup pick one year after being drafted 1st overall and it wouldn’t be the least bit surprising to see Murray join him in the first round at this time next season.
No fear of missing out in Superflex startups.
With the infusion of talent from the past couple draft classes and the top aging veterans showing no real signs of slowing down, the quarterback position is deeper than ever. From a dynasty perspective, it makes “late-round quarterback” a viable strategy, even in the Superflex format. Delaying the selection of a QB2 merely means you probably end up with one of the older quarterbacks instead of someone you can feel confident relying on for longer. Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, and Tom Brady each have slid out of the Top-20 in most recent startups. Drafting one of them means you will need to be aggressive either with this rookie class or in a future rookie draft to find their eventual successor, which is a cost to consider but not a major one worth being overly stressed. In the alternative, riskier young passers like Andy Dalton, Nick Foles, Marcus Mariota, and Derek Carr are also available late. Having a pair of long-term starters locked in is a nice goal in Superflex but there is no reason to panic and overpay to trade up or reach for a quarterback over a top positional player when the QB2 run inevitably starts in the 4th and 5th round of startups.
Exciting draft landing spots drying up.
It is a weak rookie class and the dynasty values of the top rookies aren’t likely to see big post-draft boost due simply to landing spot. The Jets signed Le’Veon Bell, the Ravens signed Mark Ingram II, and the Eagles traded for Jordan Howard. With the possible exception of Oakland (who did sign Isaiah Crowell) and Tampa Bay (who still has Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones), there simply aren’t many teams in need of a three-down running back.
Running back roulette.
The NFL Draft is often a rough time for the dynasty trade value of veteran running backs. Last April, Carlos Hyde and Rex Burkhead were big losers when their NFL teams drafted Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, respectively. Beyond the very top running backs, dynasty value is very fragile and the NFL draft can be a minefield.
Here are some of the running backs whose dynasty trade value could see the biggest change come May:
Marlon Mack Mack was the RB11 over the final seven games of last season (ahead of bigger names like David Johnson and Nick Chubb). In three key late-season wins (Dallas in Week 15, Tennessee in Week 17, and Houston in the first round of the playoffs), Mack averaged 25.3 carries, 135.3 rushing yards, and 1.3 rushing touchdowns. With an elite offensive line and Andrew Luck to keep opposing defenses honest, the starting running back job in Indianapolis is a plum assignment and if Mack can hold onto it for another year, he will be a hot dynasty commodity. However, few view Mack as an elite talent. Indianapolis has sniffed around some free agent running backs (Jay Ajayi) and is rumored to have some interest in using a Day 2 pick in the draft on a rookie. In May, we are probably going to see some big movement in Mack’s dynasty value—one way or the other.
Mark Ingram II Ingram was one of the biggest free agent winners. Baltimore was one of the few teams with a clear open path to the starting job. The Ravens are also a run-heavy team and Lamar Jackson’s athleticism helps open up holes for the running backs. Baltimore may wait a year to really address the running position long-term and hand the job to Ingram for 2019. However, it also wouldn’t be a surprise if the Ravens drafted a running back in the first few rounds. If so, Ingram’s dynasty value will take a big hit.
Dalvin Cook Over a year removed from ACL surgery and with Latavius Murray leaving for New Orleans, Cook is alone atop the Minnesota depth chart with almost no competition for touches. Expect that to change after the NFL Draft, where the Vikings are almost a guarantee to select at least one running back. The big question is how early. If Minnesota waits until the 4th or 5th round and adds a back without a lot of upside to fill out the depth chart, Cook’s dynasty value should rise slightly. However, if Minnesota snags one of the top backs in the class on Day 2 (David Montgomery, Miles Sanders, Damien Harris, etc.) to pair with Cook, his value could take a hit.
Mike Davis and Tarik Cohen Rumors of the Bears moving on from Jordan Howard finally came to fruition with a trade to Philadelphia, which leaves a two-man committee in Chicago. Cohen’s receiving ability gives him the more valuable role for PPR leagues but both are intriguing. The Bears don’t pick until the late-3rd round and that pick at #87 overall will be worth watching. It wouldn’t be a surprise for a rookie to be added there. However, if the Bears wait until Day 3, it is easier to get excited about both Cohen and Davis.
Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones Barber and Jones are priced almost as if it is a guarantee the Buccaneers will draft a running back early, which makes them solid speculative adds pre-draft. If things break right, each could see a solid bump in value between now and September.
Todd Gurley Gurley has gone from the consensus dynasty 1.01 last offseason to a player who is now available late in the 1st round (and even the 2nd round in Superflex). His value could fall a bit more if the Rams use a3rd or 4th round rookie pick on a top back, which would further cement the idea he won’t be a 20+ touch per game back going forward.
Half-Price Tyreek Hill.
Trades returns for Hill look to be all over the board. In some cases, he is being traded at just a slight discount compared to his previous value. In other cases, he is being moved for mere pennies on the dollar. Based upon recent startups, the emerging consensus has him as a 4th-round pick in Superflex and 3rd-round pick in non-Superflex. He is going off the board anywhere in the WR12 to WR16 range. This feels about right based upon the balance of risk and reward given what little we know about his off-field issues. The one positive for those looking to move Hill is that it only takes one league mate who values Hill on the high end to pull off a favorable trade. In these situations where there is little consensus on a player’s value, finding the one guy who is highest on him should be the goal.
Dynasty goodness in Carolina.
The positive prognosis on Cam Newton’s throwing shoulder makes both D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel very intriguing dynasty targets this offseason. Even with Newton playing at far less than full strength, Moore (WR28) and Samuel (WR19) were fantasy relevant over the second-half of the season. Samuel doesn’t turn 23 until August and Moore will turn 22 this month, so both have real upside. Plus, if either makes a big leap in 2019, their trade value will soar due to how young they are. There are a lot of targets open with Devin Funchess moving on to Indianapolis and Greg Olsen contemplating retirement. Both Moore and Samuel could have breakout seasons in what is one of the league's more intriguing offenses heading into 2019.
Dynasty goodness in Tampa Bay.
Carolina’s NFC South rival Buccaneers also have a dynamic duo at wide receiver in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, both of whom look like strong trade targets as well. Unlike Moore, Samuel, and Godwin, Evans is priced well above the more speculative tier and is typically going off of the board in the mid-early 2nd round in startup drafts. He could present a real bargain even at that relatively high valuation. It feels Evans has been around a long time and he is no longer the “shiny new toy.” However, he is still just 25-years old and already has five 1,000-yard seasons under his belt. With Bruce Arians at the helm and two of Tampa’s top four receivers (DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries) leaving in free agency, Evans is poised for a big year and could easily see his dynasty value increase in the process.
The biggest winner in Tampa should be Chris Godwin, though. Godwin just turned 23-years old in February (over a year younger than Calvin Ridley) and is coming off of a strong second season (59-842-7). He should see a big boost in targets with Jackson and Humphries gone. Bruce Arians, who revived the career of Larry Fitzgerald with a move to the slot, should provide a big boost to Godwin. "I think Chris Godwin is going to be close to a 100-catch guy, especially because I think he can play in the slot," said Arians. "He's never coming off the field."
Participating in dynasty startups instead of just writing about them is often clarifying. Sitting on the clock and trying to decide between Godwin, A.J. Green, and T.Y. Hilton was one of those moments for me. Godwin ended up being my choice. He is already going off the board as a top-50 pick in early 2019 best ball drafts, which is only a round or so behind Green and Hilton. Given the age difference (8 years with Green and 6 years with Hilton), if Godwin comes anywhere close to matching their production, he is going to zoom past them in dynasty trade value. It is always a risk to gamble on relatively unproven youth but more times than not it pays to try to get out ahead of the crowd on emerging young talents. I’ve bumped Godwin all the way up to WR18 in my dynasty wide receiver rankings.
NFL Draft Watch.
The NFL draft doesn’t have as big an impact on veteran receiver value as it does at the running back position but there are still some players who could see a solid boost or reduction post-draft. One to watch is Devin Funchess. Still just 24-years old, Funchess received a $10M contract from the Colts and is currently the WR2 in Indianapolis. If he exits the draft without any serious competition added, Funchess should move all the way up to Top 40 WR status and be a strong trade target during rookie drafts. However, he could just as easily fall back to relative irrelevance if the Colts use one of their early draft choices on a top wide receiver. Corey Davis, Dante Pettis, Christian Kirk, and Geronimo Allison are some other wide receivers who could see their dynasty value impacted by the NFL Draft.
Tier 1 Separation
With Travis Kelce, Zach Ertz, and George Kittle each coming off of historically productive 2018 seasons, the gap between the top tier and the next group is bigger than ever. Especially so since many of the recent personnel developments haven’t boosted the value of the second tier. David Njoku’s target volume takes a real hit with the addition of Odell Beckham Jr. The Chargers coaching staff continues to talk up Mike Williams, who provides stiff competition for targets (especially in the red zone) for Hunter Henry. O.J. Howard may not make a big leap with Bruce Arians as the head man in Tampa Bay. Evan Engram looked in line for a bit of a value boost after Beckham left but the addition of Golden Tate and continued uncertainty around the Giants quarterback plan limits his upside.
What about the rookies?
The next elite tight end might emerge from this loaded rookie class. T.J. Hockenson, Noah Fant, and Irv Smith Jr. each profile as top prospects. We could see one of this trio quickly emerge as a top-tier dynasty asset at the position with a great draft landing spot. There’s also a deep second tier with players like Jace Sternberger, Dawson Knox, and others lurking as solid sleepers. In tight end premium leagues, trying to land a mid-1st round rookie pick over the next few weeks is a high-upside strategy to try to land one of the top rookies before their stock shoots up even further.