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Avoiding Derailment by Selling When the Camp Hype Train is At Full Speed

With training camp around the corner, @timbmartens reminds us that camp hype is coming and you should be ready to sell and never believe a word you hear.

The calendar is in mid-July, which means we are stuck in the doldrums of the dynasty season. And with that comes the overreactions and illusions of grandeur that come out of every camp, NFL, or fantasy team. Every time a player or coach steps in front of a microphone, some player values will rise.

If the fantasy realm had a stock market, the dips and spikes in player stocks would all be considered volatile this time of the year. CNBC analysts would be screaming at you not to buy anything and to be prepared to sell at any point, especially if you are rebuilding.

Let me throw on my shirt and tie and pull my best Jim Cramer impression for you. Let’s dig into why this may seem like a boring time of year in dynasty, but it is actually a time when you should be quite active. And, if you play it right, how you can turn low-end assets into future capital?

The (Over)hype Train

As voluntary and mandatory minicamps end and training camp is on the horizon, we have already started to see the train chugging:

“Over 77 carries last year, [Jaylen] Warren flashed a bit of young Austin Ekeler… It wouldn’t surprise me to see Warren’s workload increase.”

-Conor Orr, Sports Illustrated

“Yeah, I mean, the talent is through the roof,” Mahomes said of [Justyn] Ross. “I think anyone can see that. He’s getting better and better…I’m excited for him, man.”

-Charles Goldman, ChiefsWire

“‘I’ve been so impressed from [Terrace Marshall] off the field as well as on-field; he’s got a lot of talent,’ Thielen said. ‘Not only does he have a lot of talent…but he’s a great guy that comes to work every single day with a smile on his face… there’s a lot of potential there.’”

-Augusta Stone,

Pittsburgh running back Jaylen Warren, Chiefs wide receiver Justyn Ross, and Panthers third-year wide receiver Terrace Marshall are three early examples of players already getting hype in the early offseason. And, as expected, this has forced some soon-to-be-regrettable trades.

If you are like me, you look at these deals and question the reasoning. Why spend a lottery ticket on a guy that has already shown he isn’t close to the jackpot numbers? But if you are buying Ross, Warren, or Marshall, it must be because you believe, at least a little bit, in this hype.

And maybe one of them hits. They could have an RB2 or WR2 year. Maybe their value boosts to a first next offseason. Maybe.

But let’s come back to reality. Those odds are incredibly low. It is far more likely you will be stuck with a dead asset you are cutting in a year or two. And now you wasted draft stock or sold an aging asset so you could just cut what you got back later.

The great Mitch Hedberg once said, “When someone hands you a flyer, it’s like they’re saying ‘here…you throw this away.’” That’s every owner that is selling you these types of assets. “Here…you cut this guy in a year.”

Past Examples

The reality of the situation is that this happens every offseason. A year ago, Marshall was still one of these names. But I can go on for days about guys that got training camp hype and started being sold for much more than they would ever be worth.

Romeo Doubs. Isaiah McKenzie. Parris Campbell. Nico Collins. Joshua Kelley. Marquez Callaway. Bryan Edwards. Josh Palmer. Foster Moreau. Devin Asiasi. Adam Trautman. Anthony Miller. Michael Gallup.

If you do a search for “camp hype” and a given year, you can find blurbs on all of these names. If you read those articles fully, you will notice that most up-and-coming names mentioned have something in common: most never have a major impact in fantasy.

Yet every year, we do the same thing. We believe we have the next golden ticket—the next diamond in the rough. But the reality is, we likely have another hyped player that never makes it.

In one of my leagues’ 2020 rookie draft, I took Antonio Gibson with the 2.12 pick. Gibson has had a decent career and isn’t a total bust by any means. But going into his rookie year, quotes started being thrown around, like Head Coach Ron Rivera (fresh to Washington from Carolina) comparing Gibson to Christian McCaffrey.

LANDOVER, MD – SEPTEMBER 11: Washington Commanders running back Antonio Gibson (24) runs against Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Devin Lloyd (33) during the NFL game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Washington Commanders on September 11, 2022 at Fed Ex Field in Landover, MD. (Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire)

“That’s fair,” Washington head coach Ron Rivera said excitedly on draft night. “He’s a little bit bigger than Christian, but he’s got a skill set like Christian.”

-Ben Standig, The Athletic

And I bought it. He was my future. Somehow, I drafted the next CMC with the 24th pick in my rookie draft. And when offers came in, I said no right away. I turned down offers for rookies that had been picked much higher than Gibson. Michael Pittman. Brandon Aiyuk. Even Justin Jefferson. That’s right, a flat “no” to Antonio Gibson for Justin Jefferson (who had been taken at 1.12) before either ever touched an NFL field.

Lessons Learned

I will never fall for the camp hype again. I won’t allow these illusions of grandeur to creep in again. Camp hype is exactly that: hype. It’s worth as much as a Hollywood rumor and will likely be lost in time, like tears in the rain.

But not everyone has learned these lessons yet. Clearly, by the trades we have seen accepted for Ross, Warren, and Marshall. And, at all times this camp season, you should be ready to strike when a deal comes your way.

Most players on the typical fantasy team bench are just that: bench players. If someone is going to give you draft picks (the most valuable currency in dynasty football) for players you likely will never play, slam accept. Every time.

Maybe one time out of ten, the guy you trade away turns into a player that can break into the starting lineup. But if you collected nine other second-rounders in the nine times out of ten for guys you would have cut, you are ahead of the game.

Don’t fall in love with your players. Don’t believe they are all superstars. And don’t fall for the camp hype. When every football team is 0-0 and starting camp, hope isn’t asked for in organizations. It’s demanded. To say anything but positive things would be bad for any team. These are just words. What we need to see is actual talent on the gridiron.

Until your players are actually producing, you should always be ready to sell them for higher than what they are worth.

Am I way off-base? Should you hold players being hyped in camp? Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @timbmartens, and let me know what you think!

If you want even more tools to have a leg-up in your league, join the NerdHerd today for access to our DynastyGM tools! Join today and use code “martens” for a 15% discount on your subscription! 

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