Dynasty leagues are often won and lost on the trades managers make during the offseason. Every year there are a handful of managers who always have a shot at winning the title, regardless of what the teams look like on paper. Things move a lot faster than many Dynasty managers realize, and even a total juggernaut can be brought down by a midfield team if they make the right preseason decisions. Much like the stock market, it’s obviously ideal for trading people at their lowest possible value and eating up people who don’t have much more room to run. Chances, contract situations, and offensive projections are key indicators for identifying breakouts at the running back position, while athleticism and quarterback play usually fuel the funnel at the receiver position. Here are three players you can trade into your Dynasty League today.
As painful as it is to turn away from my OG fantasy man crush, Diontae Johnson, the time has come. The real value in the Steelers’ fantasy wide receiver group is the same guy who was drafted far too early last year. Chase Claypool showed all-world talent at times in his rookie campaign, and last season he was intercepting passes from a quarterback whose arm could barely jump a stone over a kiddy pool. Those of you who have chosen not to watch the Steelers closely are in luck. To put it mildly, Big Ben was atrocious and probably should have respected the Steelers fan base and retired mid-year. Most of what Chase Claypool is doing effectively was in direct contradiction to what Big Ben was planning to do in 2021. Downfield playmaking was all but absent on the Steelers offense, and Claypool is a pinnacle, competitive catch-style receiver who excels beyond the first-down marks.
From a usability standpoint, Claypool has consistently come off the page badly in my weekly Snap Count articles for never seeming to be a full-time player despite his obvious talent. The main explanation has to be his quarterback’s lack of arm strength and the need for more sophisticated routerunners in space. Claypool still has room to grow in this area, but the Steelers have done a phenomenal job with their pass catchers in this part of their game in the past. George Pickens is a clear threat to Claypool in the short term, but Diontae Johnson’s new deal is far from complete. Claypool could be the frontrunner in this receiving corps as early as 2023, and by that time it will be too expensive to acquire in Dynasty Leagues.
With Kenny Pickett in the middle, the Claypool downfield playmaker’s ability can only improve, even if Pickett isn’t exactly Josh Allen. Claypool has slipped way down the Dynasty draft board, although everything has improved around his situation outside of the Pickens Amendment. I don’t expect Pickens to jeopardize his freshman season, so this season will determine what the future holds for the Steel City. Put simply, things can only get better for Claypool from here. Remember to trade for him as if you are acquiring bitcoin now. It is possible that you will quickly lose your investment, but it is also very possible that it will never get cheaper. His potential for a third-year jump, improved quarterback talent tied to a rookie deal, Diontae Johnson’s looming contract drama and the need to lighten the load on Najee Harris should all add up to an improvement for Claypool to lead. The short memory found in dynasty circles can be exploited, and in this case it’s a clear overreaction to a quarterback’s one-season retirement tour that concluded years ago.
This may be the “chalk” pick, and it’s very likely that Pittman’s price tag is too high in many dynasty leagues, but his current ADP cost and long-term potential keep him in “still undervalued” territory for me. Pittman had a healthy triple-digit total goal of 129 in 2021 and broke the 1,000-yard mark in the final game of the season. He was able to produce an impressive second season in a run-first offense with Carson Wentz behind center. He had to be efficient and win in space in obvious passing situations. Check and check. Pittman was excellent, and I’m willing to bet his journey to stardom has only just begun.
Matt Ryan has been one of football’s more consistent pitchers over the past decade, and his accuracy and decision-making are a perfect match for someone like Pittman. We’ve seen Calvin Ridley thrive alongside Ryan and Pittman has improved in every facet of his game every week. His trajectory suits someone ready to take the plunge into true alpha for his team, and he’s a real threat in the fantasy of landing near WR1 tier when things are in his touchdown column take the right path. Passing volume at Indianapolis should increase with Matt Ryan and Jonathan Taylor’s epic 2021 season is difficult to replicate. It is worth the cost of trading for its upside potential alone, but its bottom should be safe going forward. Simply put, the guy was a guy, and it’s pretty clear he’s just… a guy. The guy stays. If you don’t get this reference, please google it. Then watch the movie.
The Patriots running back room should be a goal for every single Dynasty manager, regardless of which one you pick. That might sound ridiculous, but the way the Patriots use their running backs is occasionally ridiculous. Damien Harris was excellent last season and he didn’t necessarily do anything to earn a spot on the bench. I don’t project Stevenson will leapfrog Harris right away, but his potential long-term value in a run-heavy offense like the one the Patriots are using reflects the Ravens’ offensive plans over the past few years with Gus Edwards and co. Stevenson was the 10th-highest running back per PFF, and anyone who saw Stevenson play saw him disappear from the screen quite a few times during his rookie campaign. The Patriots will always use more than one back, and Stevenson showed some standalone value during certain game scripts in 2021. He’s obviously a primary replacement in newly drafted leagues, but his dynasty value would skyrocket if Harris fights or goes down for an extended period of time.
New England’s Evil Empire has never shied away from giving the boys a chance to win a seed, and the goal-line role is always up for grabs at training camp. There are multiple avenues for any running back at any given time, and Rhamondre Stevenson has already shown the coaching staff that he can do the prime jobs. He’s probably priced similar to Alexander Mattison in the Dynasty leagues right now, but his advantage without serious injury is quietly tempting. Grab him now before people realize his value on this offense as the season progresses.
Looking for even more dynastic trade goals? Be sure to check out Mike’s “Fantasy Hitman’s Dynasty Trade Targets” and our Dynasty Startup Rankings in Dynasty Pass.