At this time of year, you should clarity in your dynasty leagues about where your team is headed. If you are a contender, take assets from your future to supplement the present. If your team is not playoff material, you’re selling short term for long term. If you’re not sure, start looking towards next year.
LeSean McCoy, RB, BUF - McCoy is playing outstanding football as the Rex Ryan culture re-ignited his game. He will 29 next year and the bottom could drop out because he has a very high mileage due to his young start, but Buffalo has a manageable schedule with four home games in the last six weeks.
Demarco Murray, RB, TEN - Murray continues to manufacture elite weeks and his quarterback is growing with him. The mentality and game plan of the team has fit him like a glove. Wear down is a real risk with the workload he has endured and the Titans still have a Week 13 bye, but he’s the clearest “win now” back out there with a good ratio of current production to trade cost because of his age and lower expectations for 2017 because of Derrick Henry’s presence.
Frank Gore, RB, IND - Gore has delivered a strong RB2 season and he’s coming off of a well-timed late bye. He is scoring as a receiver and surprisingly effective as a runner behind a rough offensive line. He’s a safe, easy target if you want a high floor RB2 instead of a matchup merry-go-round.
Matt Forte, RB, NYJ - Far from a sexy pickup, Forte should come cheaper than Gore since he’s on a bye and the Jets are in quarterback hell right now.
Steve Smith, Mike Wallace, WR, BAL - Smith might choose to put off retirement again, but even as a six-week rental, he’s worth a look. He had back-to-back eight catch games before getting hurt earlier this year. Wallace might only get a late pick, but he is likely to fall off more as Breshad Perriman emerges.
Martellus Bennett, TE, NE - Bennett should be a top three tight end play this week with Rob Gronkowski likely out, and there’s always the chance that this is a multi-week issue, or that the Patriots play it safe with Gronkowski once they lock up the division. Bennett already has three 100-yard games and a three touchdown game, so few tight ends offer his weekly ceiling, Gronk or Gronk, and that’s what leads to titles.
Tom Brady, QB, NE - The obvious win now quarterback with an offense that just can’t be answered completely by an NFL defense. The schedule isn’t perfect, but Brady is coming off of a down game and should destroy the 49ers this weekend.
Drew Brees, QB, NO - Brees should be as obvious as Brady, but he might come significantly cheaper because he doesn’t have Brady’s name value. After last week, Brees is actually outproducing Brady on the year, and the toughest part of his schedule is behind him.
Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI - The best PPR win now receiver, Fitzgerald is on pace to set a career high in receptions for the second straight year. The Cardinals have a good schedule vs. the pass Weeks 12-15.
Greg Olsen, TE, CAR - Olsen is 31 but showing no signs of slowing down. Dynasty owners in rebuilding mode shouldn’t be too eager to sell him because his TE1 window will likely extend 2-3 more years, but sometimes they pull the ripcord too early.
Jordy Nelson, WR, GB - Unlike Olsen, Nelson doesn’t look like he did at his peak. Nelson is still producing big numbers because of the game scripts the Packers find themselves in these days. He might not come cheap as reputation and quarterback association value is big here, but that rebuilding owner mentality could also make him cheaper than you expect Nelson to be in a trade.
Wait Til Next Year
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU, Todd Gurley, RB, LA - You are embracing uncertainty and probably attempting to acquire an untouchable player, but both have become lukewarm lineup options and don’t appear to be ready to help us win titles this year. The conditions that have sapped them of fantasy utility might not go away soon, but their talent is proven and eventually they will reign again. Never hurts to ask.
Travis Kelce, TE, KC - The Chiefs have never seemed committed to feeding Kelce to his talent level, and they are about to enter a period of quarterback chaos. Anyone but Alex Smith would be an upgrade for Kelce. He should be cheaper than he was at the beginning of the season with another disappointing season that falls short of expectations created by his Gronk-like skillset.
Josh Doctson, WR, WAS, Breshad Perriman, WR, BAL, Kevin White, WR, CHI, Laquon Treadwell, WR, MIN - These are the prizes to pursue from teams that are making a push for a title. Doctson is an incredible talent who should have a clear path to start next year. Just hope that this achilles issue isn’t a long term deal. Perriman is starting to look like the acrobatic deep threat the Ravens thought they were getting last year. White was just starting to break out before his leg injury. The Bears don’t have a quarterback, so there could be a wait for a breakout. Treadwell has an uphill battle on a conservative team with Stefon Diggs getting entrenched as the #1, but his talent could pop on the screen even in a limited role and restore a lot of his value.
Derrick Henry, RB, TEN - The no brainer running back target, although his price might unattainable. Demarco Murray is due 6.25 million next year and Henry has looked like the ideal fit in exotic smashmouth that Murray has turned into elite RB1 numbers.
Isaiah Crowell, Duke Johnson Jr, RB, CLE - Both of these backs are only 23 years old and both have flashed enough talent to expect bigger things in the future. Johnson should be one of the better pass-catching backs in the league at his prime, and Crowell was Jay Ajayi before Ajayi got a chance to be Ajayi this year. Sure, the Browns might continue to flounder, but Crowell will be a free agent in 2018 and Johnson in 2019. We can wait.
Jerick McKinnon, RB, MIN - McKinnon has done almost nothing with his golden opportunity, but we shouldn’t give up on the 24-year-old yet. The Vikings offensive line is abysmal and Adrian Peterson might not be back next year. It’s possible McKinnon isn’t going to translate or that he’ll perpetually be on the injury report if a team tries to make use of him, but his raw physical talent and best moments on the field to date make him worth pursuing.
Sammie Coates Jr, Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT - Coates was modestly successful as a deep receiver until he mangled his hand. In fact, he mangled his hand during his breakout game. He has been quiet since then, but the 23-year-old still has a line on the #2 and deep target role in a Roethlisberger/Brown offense unless Martavis Bryant gets reinstated. The Josh Gordon outcome (at this moment at least) seems to indicate that Coates is the better receiver to acquire, although Bryant is clearly the better and more natural receiver. Both represent a high ceiling in the current Steelers offense.
Kenneth Dixon, RB, BAL - The Terrance West era in Baltimore has been a pleasant surprise for West, a player we had collectively moved on from, but it will last only a little bit longer than the Christine Michael era in Seattle. Dixon is coming and he already looks like the best runner on the roster, in addition to being an explosive and highly competent player as a receiver out of the backfield. His time is coming soon and he could end up being a stealth win now play too.
Terrelle Pryor, WR, CLE - Pryor is only 27 and his quarterback situation can’t get any worse. He is still new to his position and receiver with his physical profile have very high ceilings if they can marry skill to rare athletic ability. He isn’t as fetishized as White/Perriman/Doctson/Treadwell, but he has arguably demonstrated a higher likelihood of being a difference maker in fantasy leagues.