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Pride Comes Before a Fall (In Value)

We’ve all been there.  “This is my guy.  There’s no way he flops.”  You’ve made your love of said player well known, in all formats.  Twitter, GroupMe, whatever social media and group chat your league uses.  You’re invested. Well, I’m here to tell you, all investments have a selling point.  A, “get out while there’s still some getting out” point.  Let’s think of dynasty assets as real-life assets.  Who better to listen to than Warren Buffet, when it comes to investing? 

“If past history was all that is needed to play the game of money, the richest people in the world would be librarians.”

A player can have all the promise in the world.  Good college production.  Size and athleticism, and combine testing to match.  (See, Trent Richardson).  Sometimes, these things just don’t translate to the NFL.  It’s a painful realization, to see your guy stumbling and flailing throughout the league.  Jumping from one practice squad to another.  Deep down, you know, as soon as he gets the opportunity, he’s going to take the league by storm.  The unfortunate truth is, the chances of that happening are slim to none. 

Let’s take a step back, and consider some basic realities. 

  •  Your team has a finite amount of roster spots.  Most dynasty leagues require you to pull players off the taxi squad after a certain amount of time.  For the sake of brevity, let’s call it 2 years.  The average NFL career is less than 4 years.  If that back-end taxi squad player you’re pinning your hopes and dreams on hasn’t carved out a role before it’s time to rotate him to your active roster, your time may be running short.  A personal example of this would be me and my affinity for Elijah Hood.  I was certain I was getting incredible value on him in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of rookie drafts.  Before the beginning of this season, I’ll need to either add him to my rosters or cut bait.  There is little to no trade market since he’s done nothing in the league.  There really haven’t been any opportunities to sell, but it is a great example of unrealized potential, floundering in the abyss.
  • Like driving a new car off the lot, your player’s value decreases exponentially, until he does something on the field.    Much like the actual NFL, most dynasty leagues adhere to a “what have you done for me lately” mentality.  We need to be able to recognize when to get out from under an investment.  I can’t think of a better example of cratered value than Laquon Treadwell.  Being drafted around the 1.02 in 2016, to being worth less than the crust of a ham sandwich is the worst case scenario, and more common than we care to acknowledge.  What are the signs and signals that our investments may not live up to our hopes?  Well, all the standard analytics are great guideposts for potential. An early breakout age provides a great buffer for borderline players in the league.  You know that their talent has blossomed and just needs a fan to the flame.  A great college dominator rating can also provide some comfort to owners of yet-to-breakout youngsters.  This metric needs to be taken in context though since a player that dominated in D3 is not as impressive as a great D1 rating. If your guy is lacking in these fields, it goes without saying that his chance for success in the league is greatly diminished.  That, combined with a lack of on-field production are a death knell for mediocre performers.  In short, if you think you’re sitting on a timebomb, get out at your first opportunity. 
  • Even fantasy studs have a shelf life.  It goes without saying that certain positions are more susceptible to injury-shortened careers than others.  We cannot pretend that this isn’t the case when evaluating our teams and their future viability.  Owners of Jay Ajayi had a massive sell window during his success with the Eagles, especially with the knowledge of his knee issues.  If you neglected to sell during that window, you left figurative dynasty money on the table.  Are Todd Gurley owners about to face a similar decision?  If I were making a decision as an owner, I would say the time is now.  Perpetuating shots at success with house money is a winning formula.  Don’t dismiss it. 

“Every once in a while, the market does something so stupid, it takes your breath away”

-Jim Cramer

You can be on one side or the other when the market does something stupid, but which side is which may be difficult to discern.  What is easier to discern is when to get out of poor decisions.  Don’t let your pride get in the way of moving players before their value falls through the floor.  It’s almost always better to be too early than too late in terms of dynasty.  I think we can all agree that something is better than nothing!

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