10 Players to Sell in Dynasty
I don't know about you, but I have a lot more trouble finding players I want to sell than targets to buy.
I mean, unless they bear obvious warts -- age, declining production, outlier seasons -- my roster is full of my babies. These are guys that have produced for me or flowers just waiting to blossom.
But we can't buy without selling anything. And we can't sell only old dudes or we won't get good stuff in return.
Still, there are some common factors we can look for in potential "sell" candidates. Advancing age is an obvious one, but many times you'll need to make the move when you know the guy probably still has at least 1-2 good seasons left in him. Otherwise, your league mate will share your concern. Expiring player contracts create obvious uncertainty. That can mean either a "buy" opportunity on someone you think could break out with another team, or a "sell" when you think his situation is much more likely to get worse. You'll find some such players listed below.
Obviously, many other deals will grow out of your own areas of roster weakness or strength as well as what's available in your particular league. As always, you can check our up-to-date dynasty rankings to see where we stand on a given player and feel free to email us for insight on a particular offer or scenario. You can also check out this week's podcast for more players that Jared and I are looking to buy or sell in dynasty this offseason.
Here, though, are 10 "sell" candidates we agreed on as a staff ...
Leonard Fournette, RB, Jaguars
Fournette just enjoyed easily his best season for total fantasy points … which is a big part of why you should look into selling him.
What was different for Fournette in 2019? He stayed healthy and caught a ton of passes.
After missing 10 full games and parts of others with injuries (plus another on suspension) over his 1st 2 seasons, Fournette lost only Week 17 to an illness this past season. He still fell 3 carries short of the 13-game total from his rookie season, but Fournette more than doubled his previous high for targets. His 76 receptions ranked 5th at the position and beat his previous best by 40.
What didn’t change for Fournette in 2019? Meager efficiency.
Among 36 RBs with 40+ targets for the season, Fournette ranked 27th in yards per catch, 30th in yards per target, 25th in yards per route run. Despite a career-best 4.3 yards per rush, Football Outsiders rated Fournette just 34th among 45 qualifying RBs in both main rushing-efficiency metrics -- below average/replacement-level performance in each category. Pro Football Focus similarly graded Fournette just 41st in rushing among the 45 RBs with 100+ attempts in 2019.
Over his 3 seasons in the league, Fournette has touched the ball a lot when healthy. He ranks 4th in that span in carries per game and 3rd in touches per game. But among the top 100 RBs in total carries since the start of 2017, Fournette ranks just 66th in non-PPR points per touch and 63rd in PPR points per touch.
In short, he has feasted totally on touch volume.
Fournette now enters the final year of his Jacksonville contract. That should mean another year of strong touch volume (assuming the Jaguars don’t select another RB early in the draft). But will any team invest next spring in a 26-year-old, inefficient RB with a history of lower-body injuries? Even a good 2020 isn’t likely to land Fournette in a workhorse role for the start of his next contract. And should he suffer another injury in the coming season, your “sell” window might close altogether.
Beyond Fournette himself, there are factors that could bring about backfield change in the coming year. Jaguars HC Doug Marrone is likely on his last chance in 2020. He recently changed OCs (to Jay Gruden). And Fournette’s expiring contract at the fore of a shallow backfield could motivate Jacksoville to address the position early this April.
All told, it’s tough to see Fournette’s value outlook improving over what it is right now. Don’t dump him just for the sake of dumping him, as we’d still bet on the veteran back helping fantasy teams as long as he’s healthy in 2020. But we’d also recommend seeing how good a package he might command in your dynasty league.
Marlon Mack, RB, Colts
Like Fournette, Mack heads into the final year of his rookie contract in 2020. That alone adds long-term uncertainty and makes Mack a potential sell.
Also like Fournette, Mack drags along durability questions. He lost another 2 games to injury in 2019, bringing his career total to 8 games missed through 3 seasons. Frankly, we’re not even too worried about that aspect, though. Mack missed 2 weeks with a broken right hand in 2019. The season before, it was a recurring hamstring issue. As a 2017 rookie, Mack lost 2 games to a shoulder injury that required surgery. Obviously, none of those were related and none has spurred lingering effects.
Instead, the main concern with Mack is that Indy doesn’t want to throw him the ball. He drew just 17 targets in his 3rd season, in an offense that saw WR Zach Pascal and TE Jack Doyle tie for the team lead in that category (72 apiece). Six other Colts also beat Mack in targets, including RB Nyheim Hines (for the 2nd straight year) and a pair of young wideouts who each played no more than half the team’s games: Marcus Johnson (33 targets in 8 games) and Parris Campbell (24 in 7 games).
A 2-down back on an expiring contract in an offense that sank to 25th in the league in total yards last season after losing Andrew Luck? Blech.
Shop Mack before the incoming rookie RBs arrive to push him out of everyone’s top 24 dynasty RBs.
Sony Michel, RB, Patriots
This one could be tricky, because there probably aren’t too many fantasy owners who are truly high on Michel at the moment. He did, however, just make it through a full 16 games in his 2nd season. Michel did finish 25th among RBs in non-PPR points for the 2nd straight season. And he’s just 25.
But Michel also seems to be walking on a virtual tightrope. His left knee issues date back to high school, when he tore the ACL. Michel hurt the same knee in college and then needed a procedure to relieve swelling in August 2018. That wound up costing him the regular-season opener. Michel then had arthroscopic knee surgery last offseason, though I have yet to see a report that actually tells which knee it was.
As I mentioned, the 25-year-old did play a full 16 games after his latest knee treatment. He also dominated Patriots carries for the 2nd straight season. But Michel saw inconsistent rushing workloads and no meaningful increase in his receiving (0.5 receptions per game in 2018 to 0.8 in 2019). His yards per rush fell from 4.5 to 3.7, and Football Outsiders found dips in rushing DVOA, rushing DYAR and success rate vs. Michel’s 2018 performance.
Michel remains in a crowded backfield, with James White, Rex Burkhead and Brandon Bolden all still under contract. Damien Harris -- a 3rd-round pick in 2019 -- could also pose more of a challenge in 2020.
It’s worth shopping Michel to see what you can get because we see little downside in moving him. Unless his knee(s?) just stops getting in the way and the Patriots suddenly actually start throwing him the ball, the ceiling just doesn’t look that high.
On the other hand, the knee history and backfield crowd could bring forth a shockingly low floor at any time.
Tevin Coleman, RB, 49ers
We picked out Coleman for this list after his big game against the Vikings and before his shoulder injury against the Packers. Really, though, you could just consider this spot “Niners RB.”
Coleman’s production and usage were all over the place after San Francisco quickly signed him in free agency last spring. He returned from an early-season injury to claim the lead-runner role, but then the Niners abruptly shifted to Raheem Mostert over the final third of the season. They more abruptly went back to Coleman in the Divisional Round of the playoffs, only to then watch him leave the NFC title game early with a shoulder injury. Mostert, of course, went on to blow up for 220 yards and 4 TDs.
For the season, Mostert averaged 5.6 yards per rush to Coleman’s 4.0, looking -- surprisingly -- like the more explosive back. Mostert also has 1 more year on his 49ers contract. Coleman does as well, but his will cost about $1.5 million more than Mostert’s and carries no dead money should the 49ers cut Coleman.
What will the team do with a backfield that also still has Jerick McKinnon under contract through 2021 and Matt Breida as a restricted free agent? We’ll see. Ultimately, though, we wouldn’t bet on clarity heading into 2020.
It’s frustrating for us fantasy owners, but HC Kyle Shanahan would be wise to continue running out his unpredictable committee. Whoever’s on hand should clearly benefit from running in Shanahan’s proven system. And guessing where the production will come from figures to remain challenging. So be on the lookout for sell-high opportunities after big individual performances.
Jamaal Williams, RB, Packers
Williams isn’t likely to bring big payout on dynasty’s open market. But he also isn’t likely to enjoy the good luck that delivered a fantasy-boosting 5 TD receptions in 2019.
Williams drew 3 total red-zone targets over his first 2 seasons, both of which preceded Aaron Jones’ breakthrough. He caught all 3 -- 2 from inside the 10-yard line -- but scored nary a TD. In 2019, Williams racked up 7 red-zone catches on 7 targets and scored on 5 of them. Four of those TDs came from inside the 10-yard line.
Williams did flash some impressive receiving skills, but he also benefited from situation. Three of those 4 TDs from inside the 10 came in games that WR Davante Adams missed. (The 4th came in Adams’ 1st game back.) Five of his 7 total red-zone catches came in weeks 6-9. (Adams returned from a 4-game injury in Week 9.)
We also watched 1st-year HC Matt LaFleur’s staff go from spreading the work between Williams and Jones through the middle of the year to committing to Jones as the lead back late. Williams played just 29 snaps and garnered only 7 touches in Green Bay’s 2 playoff games, vs. 95 snaps and 39 touches for Jones.
Heading into the final year of his rookie contract, Williams likely stands a better chance of tumbling further down the depth chart than continuing his upward trend in receptions. Even if you can only get a mid-round rookie pick, Williams will be worth trading.
Julio Jones, WR, Falcons
Over the past 10 years, the #12 WR in PPR has averaged 248.2 fantasy points. In NFL history, we’ve had 70 player seasons of WRs topping 248 PPR points at age 30 or older. That includes Jones’ 2019. We’ve had just 22 such seasons from WRs older than 32, and 5 of those came from Jerry Rice.
Julio Jones turns 31 on Feb. 8. He has rebounded well from early-career foot injuries to miss just 4 total regular-season games over his past 6 years. But he does come with the history of lower-body stuff, issues that commonly limit his training-camp and regular-season practice time.
Jones remained a highly productive player in his age-30 season, but he did post a career-low 8.9 yards per target and a 7-year low in Pro Football Focus’ yards per route run. Jones still ranked 5th among all wideouts in that category, but that followed 4 straight years of leading the position.
That’s the point here. We’re not including Jones because he’s washed up. He clearly has plenty left. But for how much longer. And even if Jones plays for 5-7 more years, could he possibly keep producing at the elite level he’s delivered for most of his career? Don’t forget that his QB -- for his entire career to date -- is heading into his own age-35 season.
Should you feverishly sell off Jones for the best offer you can find? Nah. But this looks like a good time to start shopping the veteran, before his value takes a significant dip.
Cooper Kupp, WR, Rams
I have to admit something: Before I started working on this article and this week’s podcast, I hadn’t even realized that Kupp had managed to finish the year 4th among WRs across fantasy formats.
That’s because I spent the 2nd half of the season watching his playing time and targets fall off. Kupp averaged 10.9 looks per game through the first 8 weeks. After the Week 9 bye, that dipped to 5.9 targets per contest the rest of the way. His yards per catch also fell from 13.7 in the 1st half to 10.3 after the break. Kupp’s fantasy standing didn’t reflect the shift, because he still managed to catch 5 TD passes in each half of the season.
That 10.6% TD rate stayed right in line with Kupp’s 1st 2 seasons, when he scored on 10.8% of his catches. Even so, Kupp enjoyed a bit of luck in 2019. He scored on 40% of his red-zone catches through the 1st 2 seasons, according to Pro Football Reference; 50% of those from inside the 10-yard line. In 2019, he scored on 53.8% of red-zone receptions; 75% of those inside the 10.
Still, Kupp could regress in that area and remain a strong fantasy producer (even if not still in WR1 territory). The bigger “if” lies in his contract.
Kupp heads into the final year of his rookie deal in 2020. The Rams would probably love to keep him around beyond that. But can they? The franchise has already given out large recent contracts to QB Jared Goff, DL Aaron Donald and RB Todd Gurley. WR Brandin Cooks still has 4 more years on his $85 million pact. WR Robert Woods is signed through 2021, at $9.2 million cap hits each of the next 2 years. And the Rams must decide whether to keep EDGE Dante Fowler and/or ILB Cory Littleton as they head toward unrestricted free agency this March.
Perhaps Kupp lands nicely somewhere else. But how likely would he be to bring his TD efficiency along? And perhaps the next landing spot reveals that the Rams boosted him more than he did them.
That uncertainty coming off what’s likely to remain the highest fantasy finish of his career combine to make Kupp and interesting “sell” candidate this offseason.
Tyler Lockett, WR, Seahawks
Lockett should have taken over the Seattle receiving corps in 2018. Instead, Doug Baldwin beat him by 3 targets despite playing 3 fewer games on 2 bad knees in his final season.
Lockett should have dominated Seahawks targets in 2019, and his team-high 82 receptions make it look like he did. But the veteran beat 2nd-round rookie D.K. Metcalf by just 10 looks and 1 TD for the season, while losing 4.2 yards per target off his 2018 rate. After the Week 11 bye, Metcalf actually edged Lockett by 2 targets. (Though Lockett won 18-14 in the playoffs.)
I’m not saying Lockett isn’t good. He is. He still ranked 19th in the league in yards per target last season. And since Lockett entered the league in 2015, only A.J. Brown, O.J. Howard, Rob Gronkowski and Chris Godwin have delivered more yards per target.
The issue is that Lockett resides in a low-volume passing offense, and this rookie beast just showed up to likely keep the veteran from ever turning into Seattle’s true lead wideout.
Lockett can still help fantasy teams. He has finished 16th and 13th among PPR receivers the past 2 seasons. How likely do we believe he is to stay in that range, though? Well, we have Lockett 23rd in our dynasty WR rankings right now. It’s also worth noting that his contract runs out at the end of 2021.
If you can find the right offer, go ahead and get out in front of that free-agency uncertainty and a potential 2020 step back by dealing Lockett this offseason.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Buccaneers
Perriman caught 17 passes over the season’s final 3 games, as injuries befell first Mike Evans and then Chris Godwin. He failed to reach 17 receptions in either of his previous 2 seasons. Perriman’s 25 catches over the final 5 games of this past season have boosted his career rate to a whopping 1.9 receptions per game. His 6 TDs in his 1st Buccaneers campaign more than doubled his career total in that category.
Look, Perriman combines terrific size -- 6’2, 215 pounds -- with tremendous speed (4.24-second 40) and a 1st-round draft pedigree. But he has also cycled through 3 teams in 4 seasons. Even through his 1st 12 weeks with the Bucs, Perriman averaged just 1.2 catches (while missing 2 weeks with a hamstring injury) and never cracked 50 yards in a game.
Perhaps he’s just a late-bloomer and is finally ready to deliver. If you can’t find someone willing to overpay for those final 5 games, then you have nothing to lose in hanging on to see what happens. You likely didn’t pay much to get what Perriman gave you late in the season. But be on the lookout for that overpay opportunity -- even if you have to wait until after he signs in free agency.
Darren Waller, TE, Raiders
Waller’s first run at starting TE for the Raiders could have gone much better. He ranked 3rd in the league at the position in targets, 2nd in receptions and 2nd in yards. He dominated the Raiders in each of those categories and earned a mid-October contract extension that runs through 2023.
Waller should be well set up to remain a solid PPR producer. But his target share is bound to come down. Tyrell Williams enters his 2nd season after arriving in free agency after playing through plantar fasciitis for about three-quarters of 2019. Slot WR Hunter Renfrow enters his 2nd season after trailing only Waller in Raider targets as a rookie and growing his role over the 2nd half of the year. Renfrow tallied 41 targets over his final 6 games, beating Waller by 7 over that stretch.
Rookie TE Foster Moreau adds another challenge. The 4th-round rookie actually scored 2 more TDs than Waller and matched Waller’s 7 red-zone targets -- according to Pro Football Reference -- despite missing the season’s final 3 games. And we’d bet on the Raiders adding another significant wideout in either the draft or free agency.
Don’t expect Waller to disappear, but we’ll be pretty surprised if he manages another 22+% share of Raiders targets in 2020. It’s also worth noting that the slow-starter with a checkered past off the field will already turn 28 in September.