Dynasty Hot Routes: Philosophy and Fitz

The mission of this article is to make our in-house experts sizzle and bristle over the hot button issues that face dynasty owners. Our experts make the entire route tree HOT as they address topics from the world of IDP, Devy, Start/Sit, Non-PPR (standard scoring), PPR, and everything in between. Try not to get burned by all the fiery YAC below! This is Dynasty Hot Routes!

What is your philosophy on trading for players between the combine and the NFL draft?

Joshua Johnson @DFF_ Cog – I have been burned by doing this seemingly every year. Yet, I continue to gamble because eventually, I may strike gold. In the past, I have acquired Tre Mason (the Todd Gurley happened), Jay Ajayi, Mike Wallace, Zay Jones, Kamar Aiken, Kevin Minter, Zac Stacy, etc. I have lived and learned. I am also a better researcher today.

This year, I just traded the 2.03 for Antonio Callaway and David Moore. At the time of the trade, Cleveland seemed to be major players in the Odell Beckham trade talks, but it was highly unlikely. Then it did happen. I cursed a little, on the inside because I am a gentleman. Was I duped again? However, this move should improve Callaway’s depth of target and catch rate. Granted, Callaway’s off-field mishaps make him a risky player to roster. Getting Moore as a throw-in on the deal just seemed like a smart idea as a Tyler Lockett owner. Two years from now I may regret this trade. However, what kind of gamble would I take with that 2.03. Just for some clarity, here are some recent 2.03 picks from my similar 12-team leagues (Christian Kirk, Nyheim Hines, Anthony Miller, Michael Gallup, Mike Gesicki, D’Onta Foreman, Alvin Kamara, Juju Smith-Schuster, Jordan Howard, Will Fuller, Darren Lee, Paul Perkins, Kenyan Drake, Keith Marshall, Myles Jack, Leonte Carroo, Ameer Abdullah, T.J. Yeldon, Breshad Perriman, David Johnson, Marcus Mariota, Duke Johnson, Eric Kendricks).

Matt Walker @DFF_Walk – CAPITALIZE ON THE UNKNOWN! Players with uncertain fantasy futures can likely be had at a discount. One year ago, Jerick McKinnon was commanding RB1 trade compensation when he signed with the 49ers. Now he can probably be had for a mid-second. Rashaad Penny experienced a similar boon in his value when the Seahawks reached for him in the first round of the NFL Draft. I would gladly trade a late first to speculate on a player who flashed at times last season and is an injury or great camp away from being the lead dog in Seattle.

I also look to target situations where the landscape has or will change for a player. Devante Parker, Trey Quinn, Ryan Switzer, and Justin Watson are all players I am looking to acquire on the cheap before their situations become clearer.

Kyle Francis @FranchiseKF – If it means I will improve my team, then I’m all for it. As much time as I spend on rookie evaluations, I also recognize advantageous windows to flip a player around this time of year. If it’s a devy league with most of the top rookies already rostered, now is a great time to buy low on a player that didn’t have a great combine. For example, if I had DK Metcalf and a league mate had Kelvin Harmon, I would personally be looking to make that trade, and get some gravy on top (Perhaps a 2019 3rd). This is a great time to flip guys like Parris Campbell and Justice Hill, as both just crushed the combine, but may be destined to be role players versus the leading acts they are being forecasted to be.

Scott Osterloh @FF_EvilEmpire – Rarely do I make a trade for flyer players at this point in the season, as I’m typically focused on accruing draft assets. If I do make a deal, many times it’s for devy/rookie picks in the upcoming draft.

John DiBari @dibari22 – I’m skeptical this time of year. If I know a player has a solid role on their team and is not in danger of losing snaps or touches to a potential incoming free agent or rookie, I’ll be glad to add them to my team. However, if there are any questions or possibilities of a player being negatively impacted, I need them at a significant discount. I have a particularly hard time in IDP leagues as so much can change with the addition of a surprise trade… or signing… or draft pick.

Tom Burroughs @DFF_Tom – I tend to spend this time taking stock of what I believe was real and what was noise in the past season to find discrepancies in value. Players who are being written off as flukes tend to be great buys in this window (e.g. Tyler Boyd). If I am using rookie picks, I may try to wait if possible, to let rookie fever take over and maximize player value. Otherwise, I am keeping a close eye on team activity, salary caps, and potential players to be cut (be sure to listen to @Capology101 for this information!). This helps inform which players will be given a deserved opportunity in the upcoming season and are worth targeting.

What would you advise a Larry Fitzgerald owner to do in dynasty? Trade him while value still exists or ride him off into the sunset (hopefully with championship glory)?

Joshua Johnson @DFF_ Cog – It is incredibly hard to sell a historically awesome player as Fitz. He represents everything that is good and wholesome about the NFL. Unfortunately, none of that matters when it comes to fantasy… Those aren’t stats. According to my handsome friends at the @Capology101 podcast in dynasty, it is strongly suggested to trade players a year early rather than a year late. So, I guess that means you should have traded Fitz last year? Or does Kliff Kingsbury’s scheme boost his value? I for one am not drinking the Kyler Murray to Arizona Kool-Aid as a good idea. And, while all that seems like a fine and dandy fit, I don’t  believe it will work. If I am right, Fitz’s value will dwindle into a pit nothingness. Trade him now! Surely some sucker will give you a late first him?

Matt Walker @DFF_Walk – I’ve penned an article the last two offseasons titled Ever The Ageist where I identify players to move before their inevitable demise. Larry Fitzgerald appeared back in the 2017 edition where I suggested the following: If you have him on your roster enjoy the ride. Next stop Canton.

His dynasty value has only further diminished over the past two seasons and it’s unlikely you can get more than a late 2nd/ early 3rd at this point. Given that valuation, I likely hold him as a decent flex in PPR (I would actively attempt to sell him mid-season to a team trying to make a playoff push).

Kyle Francis @FranchiseKF – I have only played dynasty football for a few years. The way Arizona players are being collectively valued right now is dreadful. Without getting too far into the weeds, Kliff Kingsbury’s offenses have ranked 2nd, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 7th, and 3rd nationally in pass attempts over the past six seasons. Oh, I forgot to mention: That is also in a pool that includes 128 or more teams! The slot receiver averages five catches per game in a bad year. In a good year, we’ve seen his slot catch roughly seven balls and average almost a receiving touchdown per game. Taking a higher-level view, his WR1 (X WR, not slot*) managed 88-1410-9 in 12 games last season. (Side note: that player was Antoine Wesley, a 2019 rookie that will be available in the middle-late rounds of both the NFL and Rookie Drafts and could be gloriously reunited with KK). Unless you are in a total rebuild, I would say buy Fitz, don’t sell.

Scott Osterloh @FF_EvilEmpire – I made a Larry Fitzgerald trade toward the end of last season. My team was going to miss the playoffs, so I traded Larry for two 3rds and was happy to get some value for him before he retired. However, if my team were a contender, I would lean towards keeping him for a title run.

John DiBari @dibari22 – It all depends on the team in question. If you’re a playoff-caliber team, keep Larry and try to ride him to a championship in the next year or two. But if you’re in no position to win now, move him for whatever you can get for him. Ideally, for some future draft picks.

Tom Burroughs @DFF_Tom – I am not sure how much trade value Fitz has as he comes off his most disappointing season since 2014 (112 targets, 69 receptions, 734 yards, 6 TDs). But there is an opportunity for his value to rebound early in the 2019 season if he can return to production closer to 2017. His role in the offense remained dominant this season, with him ranking 5th in snaps, 19th in targets, 17th in target share (23.6%), and 8th in red zone target share (31%) league-wide. The Cardinals used him early and often, but his production did not translate because of low target accuracy (89th) on short passes (76th depth of target). If the offense improves, he may start off hot and can be sold to a contender wanting veteran contributors. Or if you have faith in your own chances, hold on for depth in a championship run knowing this is probably the concluding chapter of a hall of fame career.

Royce Freeman or Jordan Wilkins? Who would you rather roster in dynasty? You can answer “neither” if you can make a compelling case against both.

Joshua Johnson @DFF_ Cog – This seems like a rather specific question. If you believe in draft pedigree (because you should) Freeman is the obvious choice. The 5’8″/ 190-pound Phillip Lindsay was a jolt to the Broncos offense last year. However, history tells us that his frame cannot withstand 200 annual touches for very long. Believe it or not, Lindsay is currently questionable for the start of 2019 with the same wrist injury that prematurely ended his rookie season. The Freeman conundrum is a tale of 1,170 college and professional touches. So, there’s that and it stinks. By contrast here are some his 2018 RB class counterparts and their college/ pro combined touches:

Saquon Barkley 1,125

Derrius Guice 503

Sony Michel 870

Nick Chubb 1,001

Rashaad Penny 624

Ronald Jones 653

Kerryon Johnson 724

Jordan Wilkins 387

So where do we draw the line on how many touches are too many? It is possible that Jordan Wilkins is too inexperienced. Is it an age thing? Wilkins will turn 25 this July. Freeman just turned 23 in February. So, flip a coin? Pick your poison? Add your not-so-ironic cliche here.

Wilkins is a one dimensional back on a depth chart with a couple of multidimensional backs in Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. Read between the lines people and ”Free” my man Royce! My apologies for the awful wordplay.

Matt Walker @DFF_Walk – It’s Royce Freeman for me and honestly, it’s not particularly close. Philip Lindsay suffered a significant wrist injury at the end of the 2018 season and there have been top-down changes to the Broncos coaching staff (I’m actively trying to acquire Freeman this offseason). Wilkins was decent in limited opportunities but would split the Colts backfield with Nyheim Hines in the event of a Marlon Mack injury.

Kyle Francis @FranchiseKF – I have a hard time trusting Phillip Lindsay’s profile. It’s easy for me to buy Royce’s. As such, I think a compelling argument can be made that Freeman is the back to own in Denver. While I like Wilkins and love the idea of getting backs that play behind that nasty OL, I see Wilkins as a role player that is unlikely to see feature back touches. I prefer Mack and Nyheim Hines in that backfield, in any format but especially PPR. Freeman is an instant accept for me if I owned Wilkins and got that in my inbox.

Scott Osterloh @FF_EvilEmpire – I lean to Royce Freeman here. The Colts have Mack, Hines, and continue to search for more at RB. This makes Wilkins expendable since the Colts don’t view Wilkins as a long-term piece. Freeman is one Lindsay injury away from a large role in the Denver offense.

John DiBari @dibari22 – The Colts have Marlon Mack primed to be the lead ball carrier, and I’m guessing Nyheim Hines has an inside track on the change-of-pace role. That doesn’t leave much work for Wilkins. Freeman, on the other hand, seems to be second fiddle to Phillip Lindsay. Lindsay was a revelation last year as an undrafted free agent, but at 5’7” and 185 pounds, it’s hard to imagine him holding up to the rigors of lead-back life in the NFL. Freeman was a 3rd round draft pick and if draft capital is a thing, you’d imagine Denver wants to see Freeman succeed.

Tom Burroughs @DFF_Tom – Royce Freeman for me. Jordan Wilkins has less draft capital invested in him and is deeper on the depth chart behind Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. Neither player has particularly impressive advanced metrics, but I prefer Freeman’s situation considerably. Rich Scangarello is the new offensive coordinator for the Broncos, coming from Shanahan’s coaching tree in San Francisco. Shanahan used two running backs on 50% of his plays in 2018 (only two other teams used this personnel on more than 20%). If Scangarello plans to implement a similar system, there will be a massive increase in rushing and target opportunities for both Broncos running backs. Phillip Lindsay is also a small back and is recovering from a Week 16 wrist injury. Freeman’s role may increase further if Lindsay misses time or is beat out in training camp.


I am searching for the meaning of every bump on the pigskin. From leather helmets to a league with no point after attempts, I am researching with a wide shovel. -married/father/music fan/Raider Nation baby/deli meat enthusiast/three-cone extremist

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