5 Players to Trade For in Dynasty Fantasy Football
Dynasty leagues don't stop, so even though the 2021 season just ended, now isn't the time to rest.
With free agency right around the corner and the NFL Draft not too far down the road, situations are about to change for a lot of guys around the league. That makes this an interesting time to make moves in dynasty.
With that in mind, here are some players I'm targeting right now in my dynasty leagues.
All average draft position (ADP) data comes from DynastyLeagueFootball.com.
DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Cardinals
ADP: 58th Overall (WR29)
DeAndre Hopkins' first year with the Arizona Cardinals went a lot better than his second season did.
Even when you look at his per-game numbers to account for Hopkins missing seven contests due to injury, his 2021 was pretty ugly (outside of a flukey-high touchdown total).
|Year||Targets/Game||Catches/Game||Rec Yards/Game||Receiving TDs||PPR WR
That's caused his dynasty stock to plummet. A year ago, Hopkins had an ADP of 21st overall and was the WR9. He's now the WR29 and is going 58th overall.
I get it. Whenever an older wideout has a bad year, it feels like it might be the beginning of the end. And maybe it is for Hopkins, who is entering his age-30 campaign next fall. Hopkins was overvalued going into last year, but it's swung a tad too far the other way.
I'm interested in him for three reasons -- his falling ADP, his potential volume, and Kyler Murray.
Hopkins' volume definitely took a step back in 2021 but was still pretty good. In the 10 games in which he played, he accounted for a 30% air yards share and 21% target share. Things could be even better for him in 2022 if one or both of Christian Kirk and A.J. Green -- a pair of free agents -- go elsewhere. Kirk and Green each had a 16% target share in the games Hopkins played last season.
As for Murray, there have been plenty of headlines about a rift between him and the Cards, but NFL teams just don't part with young franchise signal-callers who are good, so it's hard to imagine that Kyler won't be the quarterback throwing passes to Hopkins in 2022.
And we shouldn't overlook Murray's progression as a passer. He set career-best clips in adjusted yards per attempt (7.9), passing yards per game (270.5), and yards per completion (11.4). That's obviously a good thing for Nuk.
Between Kirk and Green entering free agency and Murray's situation, there are a lot of moving parts with Hopkins' outlook, but I'm willing to take a chance on one of the best wideouts of the past decade has more left in the tank, and he bounces back as Murray's number-one weapon.
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Chiefs
ADP: 62nd Overall (RB23)
I'm not a Clyde Edwards-Helaire truther; I just like him at his current value.
Ever since his dynasty stock exploded after the Kansas City Chiefs took him in the first round two years ago, CEH has failed to live up to the billing. Going into his 2020 season, Edwards-Helaire was being taken fifth overall in startup drafts. Whoo boy.
That slipped to 19th overall (RB11) after his rookie year, and now after Year 2, he's going outside the top-50 players. But I think there are reasons for optimism heading into 2022.
CEH actually came out of the gates pretty well this past year prior to getting hurt. He notched at least 13 carries in each of the first four weeks and had outputs of 100 and 102 rushing yards in that span.
|Week||Snap Rate||Carries||Rushing Yards||Targets||Receiving Yards||Total TDs|
He got hurt in Week 5 and returned in Week 11 but saw more than 12 carries in a game just once until getting dinged up again in Week 16 and missing the final two regular-season games plus the Wild Card Round. And then he played behind Jerick McKinnon -- a free agent this offseason -- in the Divisional Round and AFC Championship. Not ideal.
But the reasons people were so high on CEH coming into his rookie season -- his pass-game skills, the draft capital, KC's high-octane offense, and so on -- all still apply if Edwards-Helaire can just take over the lead-back role for the Chiefs, something he appeared to be doing at the start of 2021.
In fact, you could argue some things about his situation are better now. Kansas City's offensive line ranked eighth in adjusted line yards last year, per Football Outsiders, and Travis Kelce dropped off a bit in 2021, which could open up more underneath work in the passing game for CEH.
All in all, I think now is a nice time to jump on board with CEH, who is still just 22 and is at his lowest ADP since the 2020 NFL Draft.
Michael Carter, RB, Jets
ADP: 67th Overall (RB24)
Michael Carter showed enough as a rookie to have me pretty interested, and unlike most running backs who perform well as rookies, Carter's stock isn't crazy-high.
Playing in a putrid New York Jets offense, Carter had a lot of things working against him last year, but he still put up decent numbers, finishing the year as the PPR RB29 (RB35 by points per game).
What's really got my attention is Carter's work in the passing game. He had outings of eight and nine receptions and totaled 55 targets on the season, which tied for 15th among all running backs -- pretty impressive considering he missed three games. That's going to be important in a Jets offense that doesn't figure to see many positive game scripts in the near future.
For the most part, the Jets leaned on him as their lead back when he was available as he paced the team in snap rate in 11 of his 14 active games, playing at least 50% of the snaps in eight of his last 11 games of the season.
Carter should be a safe bet for a lead-back role in 2022, and his pass-game chops will keep him on the field in negative game scripts. There's also a chance there's more of a ceiling here than what he showed as a rookie, particularly if the offense improves in Zach Wilson's second season.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Giants
ADP: 115th Overall (WR53)
I think there are a few enticing pieces on the New York Giants. While you can make a case for targeting Kadarius Toney (84th overall, WR41) and Saquon Barkley (21st, RB10), I'm into Kenny Golladay.
In early 2020, after his second straight 1,000-yard season, Kenny G's dynasty stock was soaring. He was valued at 25th overall and as the WR13.
It's been a steep fall from there.
Golladay played only five games in 2020 due to injury and then caught just 48.7% of his targets last season in a miserable showing on a brutal Giants offense -- ending up with a line of 37 catches for 521 yards and zero touchdowns on 76 targets. Big yikes.
While I could spill some digital ink on new coach Brian Daboll possibly getting the best out of Daniel Jones -- and that would be lovely if it happened -- my interest in Golladay mostly comes down to this: I think he's good at football, and it's not going to take much to acquire him.
Golladay was a sneaky-good prospect coming out of college and looked like an up-and-coming stud through three seasons. I have a hard time believing he's just lost it.
There's plenty of blame to go around for how Big Blue's offense performed in 2021 -- and Golladay deserves his share of it -- but even if Daboll is unable to work wonders with Jones, things just can't be as bad as they were last year.
Six of Golladay's 14 games a season ago were quarterbacked by either Mike Glennon or Jake Fromm. Just 66.2% of his targets were deemed catchable, according to PlayerProfiler, which ranked 98th. A lot of guys would've had a hard time in his position.
With Golladay being valued outside the top-50 receivers, I'll be taking a shot on him this offseason.
Dan Arnold, TE, Jaguars
ADP: 275th Overall (TE44)
No one likes mediocre tight ends as much as I do. I joke that Jack Doyle is my favorite player, but it's not a joke.
Jokes (that aren't jokes) aside, I usually find myself trying to scrape by at tight end, so I'm always interested in easy-to-land options who might be able to produce serviceable numbers.
Enter Dan Arnold.
Arnold came to the Jacksonville Jaguars via a trade that sent 2020 first-round corner C.J. Henderson to the Carolina Panthers. Henderson's stock had fallen, but that's still a pretty penny to pay to trade for Arnold. The Jaguars clearly see something in him.
In an injury-shortened season last year, Arnold played eight games for the Jags and amassed 28 catches and 324 scoreless yards on 41 looks. He debuted in Week 4 on a short week for a Thursday night game and played every game through Week 10 before getting banged up and suiting up just once more (Week 11).
I want to zero in on a five-game stretch from Week 5 to Week 10 (Jacksonville had their bye in Week 7). In that span, Arnold put up pretty legit numbers. He played between 57% and 73% of the snaps in every game, paced Jacksonville with a 21% target share, and he had at least four catches for 60 yards in four of the games.
While small-sample caveats apply, over those six weeks, Arnold ranked as the PPR TE11 among tight ends who played at least three games in that time.
With Doug Pederson taking over, Trevor Lawrence and the Jags' offense should look better in 2022, and Arnold is capable of being a solid TE2-type with a chance for more if things break his way. Arnold is a fine lottery ticket, and if it's a swing and miss, it basically doesn't matter given his market value.
Also have my eye(s?) on: Rhamondre Stevenson (80th overall, RB28), Trevor Lawrence (111th, QB13), Josh Palmer (118th, WR55), Nico Collins (132nd, WR61), Khalil Herbert (137th overall, RB46).