Dynasty Buys for a competing team

Constructing a Championship winning roster can be complex. If you’ve come up just short in recent seasons you may only be 1 or 2 players away from Championship glory. Below I’ve listed some players you can trade for who’s production in 2021 will outweigh their trade cost.

Austin Ekeler

PPR running back rankings
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The year is 2021 and Austin Ekeler is no longer the hyped up running back he once was, it’s all about Swift, Taylor, Dobbins, Akers, Gibson etc. Do you want a slightly older version at about half the cost? Sign me up! Ekeler only played 10 games in an injury plagued 2020 but still saw 65 targets which was 8th most despite missing the best part of 6 and a half games.

Ekeler remains the guy for the Chargers and I don’t see them making a splash in free agency at the running back position nor drafting one early. If I’m competing in a PPR league in 2021 I want Ekeler on all my teams as that RB2/3 and I’m doing all I can to acquire him. The cost? A mid 1st round pick could tempt the owner to sell when the price was almost double this time last season.

Kareem Hunt

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A guy I see traded so many times around my leagues is Kareem Hunt. He’s not the guy people are trading for though but always seems to be tacked onto deals ready to be used as trade bait for the next move. It seems the consensus is low on Hunt and to me it’s fairly unjustified.

Hunt finished as the RB10 in 2020 but his season certainly seemed to go under the radar. Chubb is still the No.1 RB in Cleveland which I guess is why the public are low on Hunt but his PPR value is being overlooked as he is producing these numbers with Chubb in the lineup. He’s that perfect RB3 for me and someone I can slot in and out of flex spots and be that covering RB when I have bye weeks or injuries. I’ve recently traded for Hunt for a mid 2nd round pick and I feel happy with the deal as he can help push me over the edge in search of the Championship.

Ronald Jones

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Rojo is a better running back than he gets credit for. This doesn’t always correlate to fantasy points though which has been the problem for fantasy owners. I do see a big opportunity for Ronald Jones this coming season though and he’s a great cheap add if you’re looking for running back depth with upside.

Leonard Fournette (Lombardi Lenny!), the star of the playoffs and Super Bowl is looking likely to leave the Bucs while they try to sign their more important pending free agents. Fournette looking for one last payday could cost himself out of returning to the Buccaneers meaning Ronald Jones thrust into being the lead back role.

The most likely scenario is the Bucs drafting a RB or bringing in a 3rd down passing back specialist like James White, either way it’s pointing to a nice workload for Jones who would have topped 1,000 in 2020 had he not missed games due to covid and a broken finger.

Melvin Gordon

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Melvin Gordon continues to produce fine fantasy numbers. Another 1000+ total scrimmage yard season with 9 TDs good enough for the RB14, Gordon is a forgotten man in the industry. I think there’s a nice opportunity here for a team ready to compete to trade for a back with guaranteed carries at such a low price it seems a no brainer.

Rushing at a fairly healthy 4.59 yards a carry in 2020 the Broncos must be pleased with Gordon’s progress in year 1 on the team. I can’t see them looking at signing a big free agent running back and at the same time they should improve a ton on offense with the return of Courtland Sutton and a possible upgrade at QB.

Pencil Gordon in for another RB2 finish with 200+ carries and 50 targets. I would look to trade away a late 2nd/early 3rd right now for Gordon who, at 27 years old, his owner will probably be looking to recoup what they can for him. He could be that RB3 who has a high floor and gives you vital depth at the position ready for a Championship run.

Adam Thielen

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One of my favourite wide receiver targets for a team competing right now is Adam Thielen. The 30 year old receiver continues to produce with Kirk Cousins and recorded a career best 14 TD grabs in 2020. With all the talk of the new stud receivers coming into the NFL this draft season and fantasy owners trying to rebuild with younger guys, I think there’s a perfect opportunity to grab the veteran for less than what his value should be.

I recently saw a trade go down where Thielen was moved for a mid 2nd round pick which I think is about the target price I would be happy to pay. Thielen and Jefferson both finished in the top 10 last season and I don’t see much drop off entering 2021. Yes the 14 TDs can’t be expected but Thielen is a red zone monster and along with Minnesota’s below average defense I think we will continue to see Cousins having to turn to the pass game to keep them in games.

Tyler Lockett

Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Another receiver who’s falling out of favour with fantasy players is Tyler Lockett. DK Metcalf arrived with a bang in Seattle and is now a consensus top 5 dynasty receiver. Much the same scenario with Adam Thielen, owners are looking to recoup what they can for their veteran wide receiver. The only difference is Lockett is 2 years younger so may come at a slightly higher cost price.

Lockett recorded his best season to date in 2020 although his performances were very inconsistent. He would be a great WR3 filling up your flex spot offering that huge ceiling when he has a boom week but also you’re not relying on him as a WR1/WR2 to produce every single week. He’s the type of receiver that can win you a fantasy matchup in any given week which is so crucial when it comes to fantasy playoffs (Lockett had 3 weeks with 33+ fantasy points in 2020).

Julio Jones

non-PPR wide receiver rankings
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Oh how the mighty have fallen. Julio Jones; once a fantasy cheat code, now a late round sleeper. Amazing to think Julio has only 1 season where he caught double digit touchdowns. That’s incredible when you consider he’s had seasons of 1871 yards, 1677 yards and 1593. His 2020 season was very forgettable though and he only managed to play in 9 games, hauling in a disappointing 3 TDs in an awful season for the Falcons.

Dynasty owners will be assessing their rosters this time of the season and trying to sell their aging guys. Calvin Ridley is the receiver everybody wants from this team and quite rightly so as he enters his peak (26) while Julio is now 32 years old and in dynasty terms that’s ancient! This isn’t an ordinary receiver though and I believe he still has a couple of really good seasons left in him. If I’ve fallen just short of the championship and I’m ready to compete again in 2021 I’m approaching the Julio owner and seeing if I can grab him as my WR3/4.

Wildcard - Tom Brady

Week 3 Best bets
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Who would have thought that trading for the recent Super Bowl winning QB would be this cheap? Well when you take into consideration the guy will be 44 years old when the season rolls around you have you’re answer but you’re left wondering why you’d want a 44 year old in a dynasty league? The answer is simple (and I promise to give an unbiased but educated answer) Tom Brady will be as good if not better in 2021. Drop Mic.

Brady has just taken the all time most losing franchise and turned them into Super Bowl champs with no offseason! The guy literally was learning the playbook throughout the season and we saw the results down the stretch where Brady was incredible. 12 TDs to 1 Interception in just 4 games following their late bye, the team just got better and better. Brady averaged north of 25 points per game to close the regular season out which will help anyone win their league championships.

Give Brady a full offseason with the team scheming up new plays and getting even more familiar with his receivers and Brady is a top 10 QB again in 2021 there’s no doubt in my mind. The best part of all is if you are competing in 2021 and you don’t have two elite QBs then why not trade for Brady who may play 2 more years? The cost is minimal and the production for those 1-2 years will be elite.

alastair cook

fantasy football analyst