There’s a Time to Make Dynasty Trades. It’s in January.

It’s cliche as all hell to say “Buy Low and Sell High.” That doesn’t make it any less true. The constant fluctuation of a player’s perceived value amongst the masses, depending on the week they’ve had is what most players think of when they consider buying low or selling high. I’m a person that lives and dies by the trade. I’ve made some terrible trades that have hurt me throughout 2018. But you need not dwell on those moments and make the next move that needs to be made. No player on your team should be untradeable. That just limits the roster you’re able to build. It’s not just the fluctuation of a player’s short-term up and downs you need to consider in trading. It’s the time of the year that you do it.

Everybody loves trading right before the rookie draft. You’ve got the guys you’ve been scouting that you want on your roster and now it’s a reality to have them on your team. Everybody also loves trading during the season. You see the production, or lack of production, from the team you’ve built and you shift that mode toward finishing off a championship roster or selling your assets towards a future dynasty.

But it’s the uncommon times to trade on the dynasty calendar that you can do your best work. Champions are riding high, and the rookies who showed some glimpses is buried on their roster. They’re at the top of the mountain and feel untouchable. Besides, those rookies didn’t do them any good on a stacked roster anyway; he won’t be missed…get him for yourself.

The other playoff teams probably feel the same way, they just didn’t get lucky like Joe Blow their champ, because they lost Todd Gurley or Melvin Gordon in the playoffs. Go after them while that pain is still in their gut. Convince them you’ve got the piece that gets them there, but helps you long term. How about the boys at the bottom of the barrel? They had a bad team in 2017 and drafted Rashaad Penny or Ronald Jones and thought they’d have a better year. Try and buy while they still have hate in their heart from those draft picks.

We’re at the time of the year when the metaphorical trading pot is as cold as the Michigan winter air that stings my lungs with every breath as I walk outside first thing in the morning. In April and May, NFL and rookie draft time, the pot is going to be boiling over, and you’re not going to want to touch it. Everything in that pot will be too hot. You won’t be able to get your hands on any of it without harming yourself in the short and long term.

The same thing applies in August. Everyone will be set in their ways and just waiting for the season to start. Owners will have the lid on, just simmering those delectable dynasty assets until kick off, leaving you standing there starving for glory. Make your moves now while their guard is down and the water is cool enough to scurry away to the living room with your prize before they’ve realized the error of their ways.

A Few Guys to Shoot for Early in 2019

Devonta Freeman– Freeman, has been trending down in the eyes of the dynasty community ever since he exploded onto the league it seems. Everyone wanted to see Tevin Coleman, well you got what you wanted, and it wasn’t impressive. He topped 100 yards in week two and not again until week 15. Coleman also only had two games over 30 yards receiving. Not precisely dynamic in all facets. He’s got 1,022 all-purpose yards in 14 games this season as a workhorse. In Devonta Freeman’s worst season of 2017, he had 1,182 all-purpose in the 14 games he played, and that was WITH Tevin Coleman also in the backfield. Freeman’s other seasons? Over 1,500 yards and 13 TDs in 2016 and over 1,600 yards and 14 TDs in 2015.

I recently saw a poll on twitter that was 65% in favor of two 2nd round rookie picks over Devonta Freeman. That’s absurd. 2nd round rookie picks are dart throws at best, and Freeman is a stud. Freeman is the 2nd highest paid running back in the NFL, and Tevin Coleman’s contract runs out following week 17 of 2018. Coleman is going to be a free agent, not a chance Atlanta ties that much money up in the backfield.

Freeman injured his groin and was placed on IR early in 2018 and if the Falcons were playoff contenders, would likely be back and playing right now. His injury will not affect anything except the decline in his fantasy value in the earlier part of 2019, take advantage. When the draft season rolls around, and Tevin Coleman signs elsewhere, this perennial RB1’s value is going to start heating up to the point you might burn yourself if you decided to wait too long to buy in. Reach in now, the water is nice.

Cooper Kupp– As my co-host on the Dynasty Warzone podcast, @DFFMemphis would tell you, Kupp is the heartbeat of the Rams passing attack. Going into 2018, Los Angeles traded a first round pick for Brandin Cooks, and I thought the value of Cooper Kupp would slip towards irrelevance. Wrong. So Wrong. Once the reliable slot receiver went down in week 10, Jared Goff wasn’t the same. In the shootout with Kansas City in week 11, Goff threw four touchdowns and it looked like Kupp was just a cog in a well-oiled machine.

In the four weeks since that offensive explosion of historical proportions? Goff has thrown two touchdowns, has turned the ball over NINE times, and looks like a wandering lost puppy, whimpering in the cold. Kupp caught six touchdowns in the seven games he played in 2018 and was a bonafide WR1 before going down with a torn ACL.

Will you have to sweat the start of 2019 with Kupp? You sure will, which is exactly what you should be using to acquire Kupp in trade talks. If you try trading for Kupp as the season creeps closer, you’re going to end up paying full price, which would have easily been avoided had you just offered in January when the words “Torn ACL” were in the title of every article your opponents will inevitably read about Cooper Kupp.

Cam Newton– You know what Cam Newton is, as a fantasy QB. He’s going to get you around 3,500 yards passing and 22 touchdowns while adding 500 yards on the ground with five or six touchdowns there. He’s been that his whole career aside from his MVP campaign of 2015. That’s not his perception at the dawn of 2019 however.

In Week 13 he threw two touchdowns and four interceptions. Week 14 and 15 he didn’t throw any touchdowns and threw an interception in each game before getting shut down and sitting out week 16 and 17. That’s the taste left in a Cam Newton owners mouth right now. Not exactly that of a delicious steak. Or like a quinoa kale wrap if that’s your style. I’m from Ann Arbor, give me a break.

Newton’s ability to run the ball isn’t going anywhere, and between Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore, his wide receiver core has some promise for the first time in his career. Not that Kelvin Benjamin wasn’t a large target of course, but let’s be real, he needed more quinoa kale wraps in his life. You need to strike now while Cam’s owner is bitter about likely losing in the playoffs with his poor showings. Once you get to August of 2019, the Cam owner will come to their senses, and you’ll have missed an easy shot at a player that can win you a week with a few goalline runs.

Rashaad Penny– Maybe I’m just stubborn. Hell, maybe I’m just downright stupid. I loved watching Penny out of San Diego State, and I loved watching him dominate the Senior Bowl. I was shocked when he was the 2nd running back drafted and went in the first round to Seattle, but I felt justified in my love for him when it happened. Then Chris Carson was the starter in the season opener..and every other game he played in. Pete Carroll? You’re going to do me like that?

Here’s the thing, Chris Carson has looked good, and I’m a fan, but no matter what this season has shown me, you’ll not convince me Rashaad Penny isn’t the future of the Seahawks backfield. They took him IN THE FIRST ROUND. “Well, Carson did miss one game, Jerry, how did Penny do?” 12 carries for 108 yards against a team that has Ndamukong Suh and Aaron Donald on the interior of the defensive line. They’re decent players from what I’ve heard.

Carson had 4.5 yards per carry in 2018. Penny’s yards per carry, you ask? 5.1 yards. Carson had 19 receptions for 156 yards. Penny caught nine passes for 75 yards and only started ONE game. The efficiency is there for Penny. The draft capital is there for Penny. The workload is certainly alive and well in Seattle with Chris Carson getting 71 carries in the last three weeks, which makes acquiring Penny at his current price a dream. They won’t pick an RB in the first round and then never give him the opportunity. We’ve seen the efficiency in his game when given the opportunity, and it’s been better than Carson’s.

Derrius Guice is another option, but he was injured so the vibe around him is different than that of Rashaad Penny, which would certainly make Guice more expensive. The narrative around Penny is that he’s a bust, but I’m not buying it. He’s going to get that shot and when he does..woah. Get him now while he has a disappointed owner who’s been holding on to him because when September rolls around and Carroll says he’s getting the starting nod, the fantasy community is going to jump on that bandwagon faster than when Jerick McKinnon flew to San Francisco.

I just gave a few guys I’m going after in my leagues, but there are so many more, don’t limit yourself. Don’t wait, take advantage of the excited champion and sell them on going back to back. Run to the folks who lost in the playoffs and pitch them an asset to get them over the top in 2019. Try and buy low on struggling young players from the rebuilding teams by offering them draft picks.

As Michael Goins, the founder of the Dynasty Football Factory, says so eloquently, “Always be Building.” Everyone trades picks in April. Everyone overpays for trades in August. It’s the January trades that get you that highway robbery of a deal that will have you drinking champagne out of your championship chalice in December of 2019.

Thank you for reading. Who are you targeting in January? Let me know in the comments, or you let me know on Twitter  . I also co-host the Dynasty War Zone podcast, make sure you’ve subscribed!


Writer and Ranker for @DFF_Fantasy while also dabbling in @DFF_Dynasty. Born and Raised in Michigan. Detroit v. Everybody. If we're arguing, there's a good chance I'll reply to you with a Golden Girls quote.

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