Dynasty Running Backs and Tight Ends to Sell

With the NFL offseason upon us, it’s the perfect time to review your dynasty team, make roster moves, and approach other owners with trade offers to take your squad to the next level.

Sometimes, this process requires an owner to consider giving up proven talent to improve other areas of need or gather assets for the future.

Veterans can be difficult to part with, but sometimes the long term gains outweigh the short term losses. With that in mind, let’s analyze candidates who fit in the category of “dynasty RBs and TEs to sell”.

James Conner:

James Conner rolled out of bed one day last September and found out he was the starting running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Conner was given the role after it became clear Le’Veon Bell would not participate in the 2018 season and excelled in the role averaging 4.5 yards per attempt. While he experienced immediate success, it should be noted he was playing alongside Antonio Brown who is no longer with the team. Brown diverted attention away from the backfield demanding respect from defenders due to sheer talent. There’s also no question Conner benefitted from a star-studded offensive line that will not always be there to support him.

Conner has a substantial injury history missing time last year with both ankle and head (concussion) injuries. Though he will likely enter the 2019 campaign healthy, there is a significant reason to worry about his ability to stay on the field. There is no question about his on the field abilities, he is an RB1 as it stands, but he hasn’t played a full 16-game season yet. It could be the perfect time to sell while he holds peak value.

Damien Williams:

All I see on twitter is “Damien Williams will be a top 10 fantasy running back”, and I just can’t get behind it. As good as he looked at the end of last season for the Chiefs he still hasn’t proven he can handle the lead role. He’s never eclipsed 300 yards rushing or started more than four games since he entered the league. Williams has the size and skill set needed to be an every down back, but has been inconsistent and struggled with injuries in the past while playing for the Dolphins.

Not only are there concerns about whether he can stay on the field or not, but Carlos Hyde is also breathing down his neck. Hyde is a proven back with a career average of four yards per carry and rushed for over 900 yards his last full season. Hyde also caught 59 passes in 2017 proving he’s every bit of the dual-threat running back Andy Reid looks for. Damien Williams is currently being drafted at 33rd overall around Devonta Freeman and Leonard Fournette.

His value is at an all-time high yet there are questions about his ability to handle the starting role, health concerns, and the threat of Carlos Hyde his job. This whole situation screams SELL, SELL, SELL! Someone who thinks he will be a top 10 back may be willing to part with a late 2020 first plus other assets.

Kareem Hunt:

Ironically, the former Kansas City Chiefs star Kareem Hunt makes the list. Hunt was recently signed to the Cleveland Browns after being suspended eight games for violating the league’s personal conduct policy (A.K.A pushing and kicking a woman). He will likely have a limited role when he returns with Nick Chubb leading the way. Chubb started only nine games as a rookie in 2018 and accumulated 996 yards on the ground with an additional 149 yards on 20 receptions.

Hunt is certainly not a threat to overtake Chubb as the starting back in his return, he was signed as a cheap insurance policy. Duke Johnson also remains on the team and will demand play time and touches while in the mix. Hunt’s ADP is currently 81st falling around players like Rashaad Penny and Corey Davis. He won’t be back until the second half of the season and there is no proof he will have an impact in Cleveland. The hype is real and if he is currently on your roster you could turn him into early round picks for the future or a contributor for your team this year.

Derrick Henry:

Ok, the Derrick Henry love has become too much to handle. It’s driving me crazy because we saw this play at the end of the season and decided he was the second coming of Marshawn Lynch.

He is currently being drafted as the RB17 before Sony Michel and Marlon Mack! Please take Henry and let these guys fall to me. I can’t discount his ability completely, he amounted over 1,000 yards and scored 12 touchdowns, but much of that was compiled in the final four games of the season. seven of his 12 touchdowns were scored in those final four games and he didn’t surpass 60 yards rushing in any game prior. Looking at it objectively, he was actually pretty bad.

Part of the problem is that he is somewhat game scripted. If they get a lead he is going to get plenty of touches, but if the team is behind he probably won’t see much work. Henry averages only 13 catches a season offering little help in any PPR format so upside is limited. Regardless of the numbers, his value is through the roof. I’m honestly upset I don’t have any shares because I would be selling him left and right.

I wish all you Henry truthers the best but I’m not buying what you’re selling.

Leonard Fournette:

Leonard Fournette’s rookie campaign was a sign of hope for many fantasy owners. He amassed 1,342 total yards and 10 touchdowns in 13 games. There are countless reasons why Fournette is everything you want in a three-down back. His size, speed, power, and vision make him a threat on every play. He doesn’t just run, he is dangerous in the passing game too. In 2017 he led his teams running backs in targets, receiving yards, receptions, and routes run.

Fournette’s ability isn’t in question, what is concerning is even in his most productive season he missed games due to an ankle injury and in 2018 he injured his hamstring in the season opener against the Giants. He was held out another six games due to the hamstring injury and only played eight games the entire season.

He wasn’t very productive even when active only averaging 3.3 yards per carry, down from 3.9 in 2017. That said, Fournette averaged 15.1 fantasy points per game last year and there is no denying that value. I would look to sell while he is still productive and the value is high otherwise you are betting on an injury-prone running back with declining yards per carrying average. That’s never a good sign.

Saquon Barkley:

Saquon Barkley’s fantasy value will never be as high as it is now after coming off of a historic rookie season. He rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns even with a shaky offensive line (21st ranked O-line per PFF). Barkley carried the team on his back in 2018 adding 91 catches for 721 yards and four touchdowns. He is considered one of the top two running backs in the NFL and he is fantasy gold right now. You look at those numbers and say “why would I ever sell that”, but everybody has a price, right?

What if an owner offered you four or five 2020/2021 first round picks? Three or four 2020/2021 first round picks plus another top 10 running back? I have seen a few of these trades go down where owners overpay, and yes, you can overpay for Barkley. The point here isn’t that you SHOULD sell him, it’s that you should put the feelers out there and see what others are willing to pay. You can always hit the reject button, but you may be sent an offer you can’t refuse.

Jimmy Graham:

The tight end position has been a nightmare in recent years which is why you won’t find too many on the “sell” list, but I have one here for you. I’m sure like me when you think of Graham, you think of his days of dominance in New Orleans and Seattle. He scored 16 touchdowns and racked up 1215 yards receiving with the Saints in 2013. But it’s not 2013 anymore and many of us forget Jimmy Graham is 32 years old. Eight years in the league is a long time for a tight end and tough on the body (Exhibit A: Rob Gronkowski).

His first year with the Packers didn’t go as planned. He only caught 55 passes for 635 yards and two touchdowns. TWO. His average receptions per game has dropped every single year since 2011 from 6.2 to 3.4. At that rate, he will be somewhere in the range of 2.8 and 3.1 receptions per game next year, and I can’t say I have much good news from here on out.

Davante Adams had a higher red zone touchdown rate (36%) than Graham (22%), and Jimmy had more targets inside the five-yard line than Adams. That’s awful. He was useless in the red zone last year. Plus Green Bay felt the need to invest a third-round pick in tight end, Jace Sternberger. Sternberger is a pass catcher out of Texas A&M, and he spells bad news for Graham’s longevity in Titletown. Sell him to whoever you can for whatever you can. Rookie picks are your best bet.

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