Dynasty Trades is going written in week 12. The normal pod is off this week, because a stomach bug.
But I’ve got some written dynasty trade content with a focus on some running backs. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving.
Running back is generally thought of as a difficult fix in dynasty fantasy football. The position has short longevity and be subject to a lot of injuries.
There is risk at the running back position, but there is a lot of upside and payoff to the running back position. Blending the upside and the risk is key.
There are two critical ways to fix the position: First, make sure your a roster has a lot of running backs on their roster. Second, buy discount profiles at a discount.
RUNNING BACK VOLUME
Increasing the volume of your running backs on your roster is a key strategy to fixing your running back position. Rostering a lot of running backs, particularly ones that are an injury away from a starting job, is an advantage in your dynasty league. These running backs can be as cheap as a roster spot and only require you to spend waiver wire priority or FAAB and a roster spot on the running back to acquire.
Higher-end, non-rookie, injury-away running backs include:
- Samaje Perine
- Alexander Mattison
- Tony Pollard
- Damien Harris
- Khalil Herbert (when healthy)
Additional cheaper injury-away running backs include:
- Matt Breida
- Jaylen Warren
- Raheem Mostert
- Rex Burkhead
- JaMycal Hasty
- Deon Jackson
- Dontrell Hilliard
- Jerick McKinnon,
- Marlon Mack
- Trestan Ebner
- David Johnson
- Chuba Hubbard
- Travis Homer
Making sure to optimize the back end of your roster is critical. If you are rostering wide receivers that you are not starting, ask yourself two questions. First, are you comfortable playing this person in your lineup? Second, are you a lot more comfortable playing this person in your lineup than someone on your bench? If the answer is no to both questions, it is time to move on from him, cut him, and add a running back in his place.
The running backs you are rostering may not be helpful each week. What you are attempting to do is find spot starts from running backs that are higher upside than any wide receivers you are playing in your flex position. Making a lot of bets on injury-away running backs turns the odds in your favor and enhances your upside.
The other way to buy low is trading for depressed player prices. Buying lowing on running backs has the benefit of the ceiling of high-priced profiles without the risk. Three examples of depressed price profiles include Najee Harris, James Cook, and DAndre Swift.
Najee Harris is in a deep discount. He has fallen well into the RB2 value and has been the subject of recent criticism from his head coach. Yet, Harris’s profile is really strong. He is a first-round NFL draft pick, and he hit for a top-24 season in his rookie season. The combination is a very good bet historically, with more than a third of such players hitting for three consecutive top 24 seasons.
Recent Superflex trades include:
- Tyler Allgeier, Avery Williams, 2023 1st and 2023 2nd for Najee Harris, Brandin Cooks, Taysom Hill
- Dameon Pierce for Najee Harris and 2024 2nd
- 2024 1st for Najee Harris
- Miles Sanders for Najee Harris
James Cook is a Round 2 NFL Draft pick and is the only running back with guaranteed money in the Buffalo backfield in 2023. Cook has begun playing more recently and has running and receiving combination that can be highly lucrative in dynasty fantasy football.
Trade a second-round valuation for Cook in the form of something other than a second-round pick, and you should find a profit. Recent trades include:
- D’Onta Foreman for James Cook
- Kenneth Gainwell for James Cook
DAndre Swift is confounding. He had a really good profile coming out of Georgia and has been successful in the NFL. Swift was performing well to start the season, then was hurt, and is now third on his depth chart behind both Jamaal Williams and Justin Jackson the past two weeks. There is a lot of uncertainty about why Swift is not playing a leading role in the offense. Swift is a profile buy, but you need to buy Swift as a discount for it to make sense. Buying Swift low is a prime upside play, with the intent to buy him low, with less certain assets. However, if you can sell Swift for a strong profile, it makes a lot of sense to do so and then backfill the position with cheaper, less risky options.
Recent trade examples include:
- Kenneth Walker for DAndre Swift and a 2023 1st
- Derrick Henry and 2023 3rd for DAndre Swift and Chris Olave
- JuJu Smith-Schuster and J.K. Dobbins for DAndre Swift and Michael Bandy
Where there is uncertainty at the position, look to make a move that is either lateral or up for more certainty. Good pivots from Swift to more certainty include:
- DAndre Swift and a 2023 1st for Kenneth Walker
- DAndre Swift Deshaun Watson
- DAndre Swift and 2023 2nd for Christian McCaffrey
Fixing the running back position should be done in a high-upside manner where the cost you pay is less than the running back you are acquiring. When curating your waiver wire, do so in the form of cutting lower-end wide receivers to create room for running backs from waivers. When trading, trade players with lower levels of certainty for players with players who are discounted.