Why Contracts Matter - Gaining Dynasty Value by Paying Attention to Contracts
Running back is the toughest position to nail year in, year out for dynasty owners. The easy way to build your team is around the wide receiver position. However, the best way to build a dynasty team that reaps the most rewards is to consistently have a stream of talented running backs on your roster. At that point, you then have many options on how to continue building your dynasty roster.
Take someone like Jerick McKinnon, for example. Are you selling high or riding him through the season? By paying attention to contracts, last year you could have easily targeted McKinnon and picked him up on the waiver wire or for a third-round rookie pick. The best dynasty owners will capitalize on players such as McKinnon and trade them when their value is highest, even before playing a down as the number one running back on a team. In years past, think of Michael Turner or Larry Johnson. Both were backup running backs whose value shot up at a specific point in time related to contracts on their team. With each of them, you could have potentially picked them up on the waiver wire, or at a minimum picked them up at a suppressed value on the trade market.
The point is that there is an abundance of up-and-coming running backs in the next year that will either be catapulted into a starting role when an existing contract on their team expires or will be highly sought as a starter when their own contract expires. Keep an eye out for these players, if you can get them and stash them on your roster for 2018, it may pay off in 2019 in a big way.
Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals: This is not talked about as much as it will be going into the regular season. David Johnson will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season. Edmonds has shown in preseason he can be the back to take over if Johnson does walk in free agency. I would anticipate he will at least explore options outside of Arizona. Edmonds is just a David Johnson injury away from being a major fantasy contributor this year and will have a much higher ceiling going into next year. His value is at its lowest point right now.
Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons: If you don’t follow running backs contracts closely, you may have missed out on a guy like Jerick McKinnon. Much like McKinnon this year, Coleman will likely step into a starting role next year. You would be able trade him before the season even starts for high value or ride him into 2019 as a very likely RB1. Honorable mention from the same team is Ito Smith who will likely be stepping into a Coleman-type role in 2019 and will be a Devonta Freeman injury away from contributing.
Javorius Allen, Baltimore Ravens: Allen showed receiving upside last year, and as a rookie in 2015. As an unrestricted free agent, he is very likely to step into a pass catching back role in an offense that will spotlight his talents. For a running back with two fully-healthy seasons including 94 receptions and nine touchdowns, he will be highly sought after in free agency. This makes him undervalued at the current time.
Rod Smith, Dallas Cowboys: Smith will be an unrestricted free agent going into 2019. He showed flashes of brilliance last year and has shown he is a very capable back this preseason. This is no knock on the NFC East, but he may be the third-best running back in the division. Dallas will likely not be able to re-sign him, catapulting his value into RB2 category in 2019.
Spencer Ware, Kansas City Chiefs: Ware may end up being a dynasty steal this year going into next. For those that kept him through his injury, it may pay off. He will be playing behind Kareem Hunt this year but will be a free agent going into 2019. Going into last year, he was set to be the feature back in Kansas City, so it is highly likely he will find himself in a featured role in 2019.
Chris Warren, Oakland Raiders: The Raiders have three running backs likely leaving in free agency next year. It is likely that Marshawn Lynch will be retiring, while Doug Martin and Jalen Richard are set to be free agents. I would guess that the preseason usage is an indication of future value for Chris Warren. Warren is leading the team with 46 carries this preseason. Due to his solid performance in three preseason games, his value at this point may be inflated. But, if you can pick him up at any point within the season, it will be worth it moving into 2019.
Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles: Surely if you are a dedicated dynasty owner, you know of Corey Clement. With Jay Ajayi going into free agency in 2019, it is likely that Clement will be stepping into a role as a lead back. He has shown in flashes throughout his career that he can be an impact back in the NFL. If you can get him now at a low cost, it will be worth it going into 2019.
All of these players do provide a certain level of risk. If you want to be dominating your dynasty league from 2019 on, it is worth it to have the value of these players as either trading chips, or viable fantasy options going into the future.
Dynasty and DFS Specialist