Dynasty Moves to Make: Embracing Risk to WIN IT ALL and Riding With Justin Fields

by Joel Ybarra · Dynasty Leagues
Dynasty trade values

You know you are making a dynasty trade that matters when your leaguemates get all riled up. Some of the best fantasy football trades I have made caused some people in my leagues to become very unhappy. And it was not because I won the trades. It was because my leaguemates thought I was giving up too much for too little in return. My great grandfather called it “playing crazy” when he was playing cards. He would make what appeared to be questionable moves. The goal of which was to test the market – to draw people out and gain some information about the landscape of the game. Big dynasty moves get your leaguemates thinking and wondering, and you learn about their mentality toward the game. You also tilt the market in your league and gain some valuable information about the tendencies in your specific dynasty micro-market.

Keep in mind there is a lot of pressure on dynasty fantasy content producers and trade value charts to play it safe. If they’re wrong, people hold them responsible. However, if you like to play like I do, you like to get things moving on your teams and in your leagues. If you are willing to take some risks, you can remake a dynasty team in a short amount of time – like a one-year makeover as opposed to a two-year (or longer) rebuild.

Leaning Into Uncertainty

In a 16-team Superflex TEP Best Ball Dynasty startup last season, I drafted Jalen Hurts and Justin Fields near the one-two turn. At the time, remember, they were both volatile assets. People were unsure if Hurts would be able to keep the starting job in Philadelphia. Now he is one of the most stable assets available – a top-3 dynasty quarterback. We all know the volatility still associated with Fields. This past offseason, I leaned further into the uncertainty by trading away Hurts. It wasn’t a risky trade – I got Ja’Marr Chase, Derek Carr and a 2024 first-rounder back. The uncertain part was relying on Fields as my QB1 (that continues to feel risky). Keep in mind, though, it’s a very deep league – 16-team, start 13 – so the multiplying of assets is crucial. I since traded Chase (and Luke Musgrave) for Travis Kelce, Cooper Kupp and James Conner in a win-now situation.

So basically I turned the stable asset (Hurts) into four high-end, usable assets that, admittedly, could fall off very quickly. (I also included the first I got for Hurts in a trade for Christian McCaffrey). One of the keys to “playing crazy” is capitalizing on other managers’ desire for certainty. People covet premium assets like Hurts, Chase, and Justin Jefferson, and you can usually get a haul for them.

Selling Your Most Coveted Assets

It feels risky to sell an asset like Hurts, but if you are really looking to make a measurable difference on your teams, you can get pretty far with assets like Hurts, Chase, Jefferson, Patrick Mahomes, and Josh Allen. Those are the top assets according to dynasty trade evaluators and people will pay a lot to get them. That gives you leverage and assets you can invest elsewhere to win now or rebuild. You are selling certainty, and if you are willing to take on more risk than your leaguemates, you can make hay and remake a dynasty roster into a contender at a faster pace.

I would argue that taking on the uncertainty of Fields is a risk that is worth it. As questionable as Fields’ future seems to be, he is QB9 in fantasy this season, despite a few poor performances. Fantasy gamers are questioning whether Fields is even going to be a starting QB in the league the rest of this season, especially since his recent wrist injury.

That is to say nothing about the uncertainty of Fields’ future in the league beyond this season, but he is a first round NFL Draft pick who has demonstrated elite rushing and passing ability (four touchdowns and 280-plus yards passing in Weeks 4 and 5). Fields also rushed for 1,100-plus yards last season. Fields did all of that in a pretty rough situation. With the lack of high-end QB talent available, another NFL team is going to take a chance on him if it’s not the Bears. Fields needs to be in the right situation to flourish.

Chum the Waters/Move the Market

Another reason to step into risk in dynasty trades is because it greases the wheels on the trade market in your league. People have literally left leagues because of trades I have made. I traded Mack Hollins and A.J. Dillon for Zay Jones and Jake Ferguson last season in the same 16-team league referenced above. That is a trade I won (at least thus far), but the league consensus was that it was a bad trade for me, and another manager left the league because I didn’t give enough for Dillon (he was also trying to trade for Dillon). At the time, the Green Bay back was seen as a more stable asset than both Jones and Ferguson. Now it could be argued in reverse.

Trades not only help you shift your team structure, they also help get what can be a static market in your league moving. If people think you are willing to lose a trade, they might believe they could get a good deal trading with you. That helps you get deals done. When you make a trade that is at least interesting to other managers, you also put pressure on them to think about their own teams and moves they can make to get in a better position. It introduces volatility into the market of your league. You want a dynasty league with a dynamic trade market. Below we outline some moves you can make in your dynasty leagues to get your team and your league moving.

Selling Coveted Assets to Contend or Rebuild

The big five – Allen, Hurts, Mahomes, Chase and Jefferson – are the most coveted assets in Superflex Dynasty. If you need to make a move to get to the bottom or the top of your league, consider trading them, but get a haul in return. We’re talking three or more assets, including first-round picks, assets with high potential like A.J. Brown, Bijan Robinson and/or stable QBs, especially if you are giving up Allen, Hurts or Mahomes.

If another manager is willing to pay up for a high-end running back like Robinson or Breece Hall, you should also consider that. Those two are difficult to replace, but are far more volatile assets because of the injury risk to running backs. If there is another manager who is willing to give up multiple assets and/or high-potential, stable assets like A.J. Brown, Garrett Wilson and/or another tier two QB, you should consider it. Bijan and Breece are pretty irreplaceable assets, so make sure you get top dollar.

Time to Buy Jets

There is currently a buying window for one of the most coveted dynasty assets – Justin Jefferson– because of the uncertainty created by his injury. He has been placed on IR and the Vikings’ season outlook is dim. There is talk about Jefferson being shut down rest of season.

It was nearly impossible to acquire Jefferson last season. Now he is gettable from teams who believe they have a chance to compete this season and need “guaranteed” production. If you are needing to break things down and rebuild, offer the win-now Jefferson manager assets like Amari Cooper, Cooper Kupp, Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, etc. (or multiple).

Buying Win-Now Pieces

If you are playing for the championship this season, you can do the opposite: embrace risk by buying some aging win-now pieces. Cooper Kupp is the obvious example. Fantasy managers are scared off of assets like Kupp and Kelce because they have the potential to fall off the age cliff quickly. Because of that mindset, dynasty managers will let go of high-end assets too soon. Think about all the dynasty managers who have sold Christian McCaffrey before this season. I am one of them.

You can potentially get Kupp for a first- and second-rounder. If he produces at a high level this season and next, you got a steal. Even if he just helps you win your league this season, you could argue the trade was worth it. It’s the same with Kelce. It is not unheard of to get Kelce straight up for a younger tight end like Dalton Kincaid. It seems like a no-brainer to get Kelce that way if you are pushing for a league title this season. Kincaid still has some shine from his draft prospect profile, but is yet to prove himself at the NFL level.

Sell Out for The Ship

With all the analysis about dynasty trade values, it is easy to be too tentative in dynasty acquisitions. That makes us far too conservative as dynasty managers. In dynasty especially, we don’t want to be caught in the middle – in no man’s land. We want to sell out to try to win the championship, or tear down and rebuild. Getting to the bottom or the top is going to require making some big moves – selling off elite assets and buying into other high-end options that are perceived as risky because of age and vulnerability to injury. Your dynasty destiny depends on your ability to move into risk and make some unconventional moves while other managers stay on the sidelines and watch.