In dynasty leagues, it is critical to keep in touch with the value
changes that players experience. Whether those moves in value are
real or perceived, a savvy owner remains well aware of the changing
tide in order to capitalize on the opportunities that develop. Tracking
shifts in player value carefully and making roster adjustments accordingly
are key components to your team’s long-term success. Consistent
contenders in dynasty leagues don’t separate from the pack
merely by chance or simply by getting “lucky” on a few
rookie draft picks. These are the owners that put in the work and
find ways to improve their team all year round.
Below, I provide in-depth analysis on two players that have recently
experienced a real or perceived value change in dynasty formats.
Soak it in, give it some real consideration, and if it rings true
for you, use this information to help improve your team.
Ingram - When the Saints traded up in the first round of last
yearís draft to select Ingram, many in the world of fantasy football
got very excited. A potential bell-cow running back in the New
Orleans offense could post crazy-awesome numbers. Even serving
only as the lead back in the Saints' running-back-by-committee
system, a talented runner could put up some serious numbers. Most
dynasty owners saw the potential for fantasy gold when they gazed
upon the freshly drafted running back out of Alabama. But after
only one season in the league, is Ingram now considered foolís
Iíll admit it, I was quite high on Ingram at this time last year.
I was well aware that Sean Payton had employed a committee system
in recent years in New Orleans, but I felt that Ingram had the
talent to transcend that typical scenario and would produce strong
numbers right out of the gate. He had the look of a perennial
1000-yard rusher with double-digit touchdowns. I knew his receiving
production might be limited, but that didnít concern me too much
because of the numbers I thought he would amass on the ground.
Well, as we all know, Ingram failed to live up to the lofty expectations
some of us had for him.
Ingram wrapped up his disappointing rookie season with only 474
rushing yards and five touchdowns. While some may be quick to
write him off as a bust after his poor start, there are some legitimate
reasons as to why he struggled. The lockout-shortened offseason
didnít allow him as much time as he likely needed to get the proper
feel for the complex Saints offense. A full offseason would have
greatly helped. Also, Ingram battled injuries much of his rookie
season, missing a total of six games. If he can manage to stay
healthier in coming seasons, he should be more effective than
what weíve seen thus far.
There are some good reasons to like Ingram as a dynasty prospect
- The Saints invested a first-round pick in Ingram and still
seem dedicated to making him their primary runner between the
- The New Orleans offense puts a lot of points on the board
and Ingram could see a lot of carries near the goal line.
- Ingram is only 22 years old and, if his health cooperates,
has a lot of football left in him.
- In nine of the ten games he played in last season, he logged
double-digit touches (rushes + receptions). Even if he continues
to lose some touches to other running backs, Ingram can still
get his hands on the rock quite a bit and be an effective fantasy
option in the high-powered Saints offense.
Yet despite some of the reasons to be an Ingram supporter, there
are a few significant reasons to be leery of him:
- The knee. I donít pretend to be a doctor, but the several
minor procedures he has had should at least raise an eyebrow
for any that may be relying on him this season (or in the future).
- Ingram averaged only 3.9 yards per carry in the Saints offense
while Sproles was able to post 6.9, Thomas was at 5.1, and even
Ivory was at 4.7. Ingram and Sproles were used in very different
manners, so they probably arenít a good comparison, but the
fact that Thomas and Ivory averaged significantly more yards
per carry is worrisome.
- Sproles and Thomas are both under contract with the Saints
through 2014. With the running back by committee seemingly in
full-effect (barring injury), both of these players should have
a significant role in the next few years.
If you currently own Ingram, you should be looking to hold onto
him. He still has decent upside, particularly in non-PPR leagues,
and if you tried to ship him away, youíd probably be taking a
considerable loss. Youíre better served being patient with him
to see if he blossoms this season, possibly benefiting from a
full offseason with the team and improved health.
If you are still an Ingram believer and are looking to trade
for him, I recommend having a frank discussion with his current
owner and only making a move to acquire the second-year RB if
his owner has reasonable demands. Ingram could still be a productive
fantasy RB, but his red flags lower his value. If the asking price
is anything near that of an RB1, move along. Opinions on Ingram
probably vary wildly these days, but I think a mid-range RB2 price
tag is about as high as you should consider paying.
Palmer should be a "hold" for
most dynasty owners.
Palmer - After the injury to Jason Campbell last season, the
Raiders made a big move to acquire Palmer and reconnect him with
then-head coach Hue Jackson. While most feel Oakland overpaid
for the services of the veteran quarterback, the team was in the
playoff mix at the time and knew they needed to quickly address
the position in order to stay in the hunt. Unfortunately, it took
Palmer a couple of weeks to get acclimated to his new surroundings
and the Raiders weren’t able to fight their way into the
Finally out of Cincinnati, Palmer now finds himself playing for
another team that is working through a prolonged rough patch.
On the plus side, Oakland seems to be amassing some talented,
young players on offense. However, it remains to be seen how all
of that talent will come together for Palmer and the Raiders.
In his earlier days with the Bengals, with the right tools around
him, Palmer was able to post some impressive numbers. Is there
any chance he can recapture some of the magic he had during his
first few seasons in Cincinnati?
There are some key factors to examine closely in order to answer
this question and determine Palmer’s value for your dynasty
- Age: At 32 years old, Palmer is not a young player.
However, some quarterbacks have played at a high level deep
into their thirties. Tom Brady is 34 and Peyton Manning is 36.
Kurt Warner and Brett Favre are also great examples. It is possible
that Palmer could have three or more big years left in him?
- Lack of a stud wide receiver: Unfortunately for
Palmer, the Raiders lack an established superstar wideout. The
team has a very young receiving corps with great upside, but
despite having the potential to be electrifying, the trio of
Heyward-Bey, Moore, and Ford really need to develop.
- Darren McFadden: If he can stay healthy, McFadden
should help take pressure off of Palmer and open up passing
lanes. This young man is an undeniably special talent and is
critical to the overall success of the offense.
- 2011 fantasy points per game: Using
FFToday scoring, Carson Palmer was the 12th highest-scoring
QB in points per game in 2011. If you look at only the final
five weeks of the season, he comes in at 11th. Having a full
offseason to work with his new team, he could build upon a surprisingly
- Coaching: Hue Jackson is out as head coach and Dennis
Allen is in (with Greg Knapp as offensive coordinator). With
the ninth-ranked offense in total yards per game in 2011, Jackson
had the Oakland offensive unit performing well. Making the shift
to Knapp as offensive coordinator—his second stint as
such in Oakland—is likely a slight downgrade, from a fantasy
You don't want Palmer serving as the clear-cut QB1 for your dynasty
team if you can avoid it, but don’t make the mistake of
writing him off as a mere low-end QB2. Despite his high interception
count, the way Palmer produced in 2011 showed that he is still
capable of posting numbers in the right situation. He isn’t
a top-five fantasy QB as he was in his early years, but Palmer
can still be a valuable contributor to your team. Not only would
he be a productive backup for your squad, but he could be effective
in a quarterback-by-committee approach or possibly even as your
lead QB in the short term, while you wait for a youngster like
Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III to develop.
If you can use him in one of those ways, then Palmer is a nice
value player to have on your roster. Many dynasty owners have
pigeonholed him as a QB2, and some may even see him as crossing
into QB3 territory, so you could probably acquire him at a very
reasonable price. However, if you already own Palmer and are looking
to move him, it might be difficult getting much in return. The
Bengals found a team willing to pay a pretty penny for him, but
it’s not likely you’ll be able to as well. Palmer
should be a “hold” for most of his current owners.