Playing the style of dynasty fantasy football allows you the potential to have a player for the entirety of their NFL career. When certain players enter the league via the NFL Draft, they have a very high ceiling attached to them – but they don’t always live up to it.
So, how do you handle a young player on your dynasty roster who has so far struggled during his first few years in the league? Is it the right thing to panic sell and rid yourself of the issue, ride the storm out to see if they become a solid asset for your roster or something in between?
Identify these players
Before you can even begin to formulate a plan, you need to identify which players fit this bill. For the sake of this article, we will look at players 25 and younger who have been relative disappointments so far in their NFL careers.
The following players seem to fit this bill:
- Justin Fields
- Cam Akers
- Trey Lance
- Kadarius Toney
- Zach Wilson
- Kyle Pitts
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire
You could even go back a bit further to guys like John Ross III, Sam Darnold, Johnny Manziel, Kevin White, Justin Blackmon, Robert Griffin III, Marcus Mariota, Jalen Reagor, Rashaad Penny, and a slew of other guys.
This eight-player list is just a small look at players that were talked up during the NFL Draft cycle, ultimately putting them high in your dynasty mock drafts when adding rookies to your roster. So, since you know which players can fall into this category, what can you do about them?
Case for: Bailing
The easiest way to address these players is to cut bait and move on from them. To do that, you must be comfortable getting pennies on the dollar. What makes things tougher is that you held onto these options for this long, so why move on now? Well, roster construction and emotion can help answer that.
First, you always want to ensure you have the optimal roster build for whatever stage your team is in. And if that means moving on from a player for lottery tickets or picks, then that could be best.
With the recent trade of Akers to Minnesota, there is a lot of muddiness in that backfield. Alexander Mattison or Akers could be the guy on a weekly basis, making it tough to pick. This could represent a sell situation, especially if you can talk up the ‘impact’ Akers could have going back to an offense he succeeded in. It certainly isn’t a given, but it at least does give you a bargaining chip.
Rapid Reaction: Cam Akers to the Vikings— DFF ⚙️ (@DFF_Dynasty) September 21, 2023
The running back market in Dynasty has experienced another shakeup. The Los Angeles Rams have traded Cam Akers to the Minnesota Vikings. We knew on Sunday there was a real possibility of him being traded this week…
Emotion is tricky in dynasty football – you may have drafted one of these guys on the above list, and he was one of the first players you drafted. Or maybe he was one of the pieces that helped you pull through on an upset to get into the playoffs.
Emotion can factor into these decisions in two ways – how you feel about a player and how the rest of your league feels about them. For instance, if you have a competitor who is a Bears fan and still has a soft spot (somehow) for Fields, maybe that team allegiance is enough to get you decent value in return for your maligned young QB.
Case for: Holding
There is a chance that each of these players that made it into this article somehow turn things around – Akers could flourish in a change of scenery in Minnesota, Fields could find himself on a new team next year that takes advantage of his rushing abilities, and another down year for the Falcons could see Pitts getting a new head coach who will actually THROW HIM THE BALL.
But playing the long game has some obvious cons attached to it – namely, roster construction.
In the ‘Bailing’ section above, it was noted that moving on from one of these players for whatever value they have left is a decent decision. Through this move, you can clean up your roster and move towards that next step in your competitive/rebuild window. But in this case, sometimes holding onto a player can be the right path to take. Let’s take a look at Fields once again.
Matt Eberflus is on the hot seat 1.5 years in, and rumors are floating around about Eberflus, and his QB. Patience is growing quite thin for Chicago, which could lead to a changing of the guard for this Bears roster.
If you have enough confidence that new coaching could help turn Fields around, or you think Chicago bails on their QB and drafts a new one next April, then it is justifiable to want to hold onto Fields. There have been plenty of glimpses of his true potential, but if your roster is built where you don’t need to count on Fields this season, then doing nothing works, too.
There is no one ‘right’ way to handle some of these young but depreciated dynasty assets. While the heart can lean one way, your gut may favor cutting bait and moving on from this player.
This article isn’t meant to convince you one way or the other but to lay out both sides. Every dynasty roster and competition window are different, making it hard to provide any sure-fire declarations.