by Coach Emerson: (@dynasty_analyst)
It has been a wild NFL off-season as more high profile players have changed teams than any other year in league history. The excitement doesn’t stop however as the draft is right around the corner. The incoming flood of young talent will drastically alter the fantasy football landscape as depth charts begin to change. Players that are expected to be starters will all of the sudden find themselves battling a talented rookie for playing time. Players will also increase in value as their offensive situation improves around them. ADP changes significantly because of this between now and the beginning of week one. As a result, you’ll want to be careful in your start up drafts in the early off-season. The last thing you want is to draft a player whose role is going to significantly decrease due to added competition. In this article I will be examining some players who I’m buying and selling before the draft based on how I believe the rookie class will change their value.
Mitchell Trubisky: Sell
After spending a year on the sideline backing up Josh Allen, Trubisky signed a two year contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. With only Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins to compete with on the current roster, Trubisky is expected to be the starter come week 1. After taking a steep decline in dynasty value over the last couple of seasons, Trubisky is beginning to rebound, being treated as an upside QB3 according to most outlets. He admittedly likely only has value in Superflex leagues so those in 1 QB leagues can skip along. Trades for Trubisky involving an early to mid 2nd in SF formats have been common over the last month. The dual threat upside in the Pittsburgh offense is tantalizing for fantasy managers, and this would be a great price to cash out on if you’ve been stashing him over the past year.
The Steelers are one of the most heavily linked teams to this rookie class of quarterbacks. There is a good chance the Steelers select a high profile signal caller on day one or two of the draft that will come in to compete with Trubisky. He still has a chance to win the job, but he will be on a very short leash. If he begins to struggle, which he has in the past, the Steelers won’t hesitate to turn to a rookie. If I’m not desperate at QB, I’d much rather take an upside wide receiver or running back in the second round of rookie drafts that has more upside.
Trevor Lawrence: Buy
Lawrence has been a player I’ve been pursuing all off-season as I think his situation has improved dramatically since the end of last season. Gone is the disaster Urban Meyer, and in is a Super Bowl winning coach with an offensive mind. Doug Pederson fizzled out in Philadelphia, but he knows how to run an NFL franchise which is much more than can be said for Urban Meyer. He is part of the Andy Reid coaching tree as well, and should provide some creativity to the play calling for the Jaguars. Jacksonville also brought in Christian Kirk, Evan Engram, and Zay Jones as additional weapons for Lawrence. With James Robinson, Travis Etienne, and Laviska Shenault in the fold already, the Jaguars have a good array of skill players for Lawrence to work with.
He is a good buy for me before the draft because the Jaguars are likely to use picks to add to their offensive line and/or wide receiving room. I think media outlets will then begin seeing Lawrence’s improving situation, and give him a bump in the rankings soon after the draft. If Lawrence is currently being drafted behind Trey Lance and Justin Fields, I would be buying aggressively. Nothing in Trey Lance’s prospect profile suggests he should be a better NFL quarterback than Lawrence. Fields is now arguably in a worse offensive situation than him now also. I think this is the lowest his value will be for a long time, and I have no problem still spending QB1 value to acquire him.
Marcus Mariota: Sell
This has been a quarterback-heavy article, but it’s easiest to project which teams are going to draft quarterbacks this April than any other position. The Falcons have been one of the most frequently in contact teams with some of the higher rated quarterbacks in this class. Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett have been particularly connected to them in recent mock drafts. It’s not a certainty, but I would say it is more likely than not the Falcons leave this draft with a top 6 QB in the class. Guys like Willis or Pickett could likely beat Mariota in a Summer quarterback competition. Even the other quarterbacks in the class would push Mariota for the job, and like Trubisky, could be pulled quickly if he begins to struggle.
Mariota is a placeholder quarterback for the Falcons. At best, the Falcons forgo taking a quarterback and will look to acquire one with their likely early 2023 first round pick. Even then, Mariota is in one of the worst offenses in the league and would be hard pressed to even push QB2 numbers. He simply isn’t the electric player he was when he came in the NFL, and it is unlikely he will be able to lift the little amount of talent he has around him. I’d be looking to sell for any second round pick to a quarterback needy team who pictures him as a low end Superflex starter.
Chase Edmonds: Buy
Edmonds is very intriguing to me this off-season. Many running backs improved their situations and got a bump in fantasy value, but he may be the least discussed. Edmonds joined the Miami Dolphins backfield and figures to split work with Raheem Mostert and Myles Gaskin. However neither is as talented of a back as James Conner. Mostert is about to turn 30, and hasn’t been productive outside of his breakout 2019 season. Gaskins is no threat either as he’s just been marginally productive in his career, only fantasy relevant due to volume. Edmonds should have no problem pacing this backfield in touches in what should be a high powered offense. His value seems depressed right now for fear of the Dolphins adding another running back this off-season. After the Hill trade this seems highly unlikely. They used a lot of cap room as well as draft capital, and it is unlikely they add further running backs with other holes on the team. Starting running backs in great offenses are gold in fantasy football, and Edmonds should have high RB2 upside at a low RB3 price in dynasty leagues.
Elijah Moore: Sell
I was a big Elijah Moore fan when he came out of college last year from Ole Miss. He was electric in his final collegiate season and, landed in New York with an exciting young quarterback. His season was derailed by injury, but he had a strong mid-season stretch scoring over 20 fantasy points in three of five games. He has a bright future but I’m beginning to think his high end WR2 rank according to some is a bit high. The Jets were a mess on offense last season, and they are dead set on adding more playmakers in 2022. They are a likely landing spot for one of the best receivers in the class. This will open up the offense, but the Jets figure to be a low volume passing attack again. With another highly touted WR, I question if Moore will get enough targets to live up to his lofty ranking. I much prefer similarly ranked players such as Devonta Smith or Chris Godwin who are in better offensive situations.
D.J Moore- Buy
The Panthers are another team that is closely linked to the highly ranked rookie quarterbacks. The Panthers have been looking extensively at Willis and Pickett, and it is looking more likely that they will use their early first round pick on a signal caller. Although this is a down quarterback class, this will be the best quarterback he has played with since his rookie year and the 2018 version of Cam Newton. The quarterbacks he has played with have been below average since, and the offenses as a whole have struggled to score points. D.J Moore is top 7 in receiving yards in the NFL over the course of the last 3 seasons. The problem is he has only totaled 12 touchdowns over that span as well. Because of this, he has slowly dropped in dynasty value as he’s now seen as a low end WR1/ high end WR2. A new quarterback will not have to be great to be a mass improvement over what Moore has played with over the last few seasons. If the offense can stay on the field longer and get Moore more red zone looks, he will be a great buy at his current price. Considering how poor they’ve been in these areas the last couple seasons, it’s hard to see the Panthers offense not improving this season.