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.
Hold Turner if you're a dynasty playoff
Turner - I know Iíve said it before, but the closer
a RB gets to 30 years old, the more heartburn they give me. Once
they actually cross beyond that threshold, I typically have major
doubts about what they have left to contribute to my dynasty team.
RBs in their 30ís have one foot in their fantasy football grave
and the other on a banana peel. This is the crux of the issue
with Michael Turner currently, as he is entering this season at
30 years of age and can be found slipping significantly down dynasty
A thirty-something stud RB might be phased out gracefully or their
production might fall off the proverbial cliff. Either way, their
days of being an elite fantasy performer are numbered. Unfortunately
for them, as well as their dynasty owners, the end is nigh. In
Turnerís case, when you factor in his age along with his
limited role in the Falcons burgeoning passing game, you probably
come away with a rather grim outlook for the veteran RB. Raising
the level of concern further is the fact that the Falcons have
openly talked about cutting down Turnerís touches this season.
From a long-term perspective, Turner is absolutely a guy that
worries me. However, there are some legitimate reasons to like
him in the near term.
If youíre a playoff-caliber team and need help at RB in order to
make a deep run this season, then Turner might be a good player
to target, particularly in non-PPR formats. The ideal seller is
an owner that has a struggling team or simply has a roster focused
primarily on youth. Teams in these situations should be more willing
to heavily discount the aging RB. However, I should caution that
if you decide to try to acquire Turner, you should only view him
as a one-year solution, and not a low risk one, given his age. While
Turnerís perceived value has dropped markedly in the last year or
so, it could slip to virtually nothing in no-time flat. Most Turner
owners are well aware of this. If they are motivated, you might
be able to land him at bargain-bin pricing.
- He is one of the most proven and consistent RBs in the
league and his numbers have yet to show any real signs of fading.
Turner has rushed for over 1,300 yards in 3 of the last four seasons
and reached double-digit TDs in all four of those years.
- Not only were Turnerís totals strong from last
season, but he was efficient with his opportunities, averaging
4.5 yards per carry, up noticeably from his 2010 average of 4.1.
Further, he posted a career-high 168 receiving yards in 2011.
- His heir apparent may not be on the team currently. I
do believe that Jacquizz Rodgers is talented and will carve out
a bigger role going forward, but I think Rodgers might be better
suited as a committee back and not a lead RB that can carry the
bulk of the load. Only time will tell.
- While the team ran the ball only 28.3 times per game
in 2011 vs. 31.1 in 2010, their rushing yardage per game was minimally
impacted and rushing TDs remained unchanged. The increased focus
on the air attack might help a small amount in opening up running
lanes for Turner and others. There is a high likelihood that Turnerís
touches will dip this season, but he doesnít need 300+ touches
to remain fantasy-relevant if he continues to average over 4 yards
per carry and retains goal line duties.
If you currently own Turner, he is almost certainly a ďholdĒ
if you are a contender. Keep going to the Turner well until it
dries up. Selling low makes no sense for you. On the other hand,
if you are not a playoff-caliber team and are instead trying to
rebuild or simply shake things up, then selling Turner would probably
be a wise thing to consider. Admittedly, getting much in return
for him might prove difficult, so youíll need to be patient.
Turner may have increased appeal several weeks into the season,
once teams are dealing with byes and injuries. Timing your sale
just right could be critical in order for you to maximize your
Cutler - During his three seasons as the Bears starting
QB, Jay Cutler has definitely had his ups and downs. In 2009 he
posted a league-high 26 interceptions thrown and was unable to
get Chicago into the playoffs. The very next season, Cutler cut
his INTs down to 16 and he was a critical factor in leading the
Bears all the way to the NFC Championship Game. Last season, Cutler
was playing well and had the team pointed in the direction of
the playoffs once again, until a thumb injury derailed his season
after 10 weeks. Ultimately, that injury largely derailed the season
for the entire Bears franchise.
Now 29 years old, Cutler should be in a sweet spot for his career
arc; experienced enough to have a thorough understanding of what
it takes to succeed at QB in the NFL and not so advanced in age
where his physical prowess has begun to erode. Frankly, there
are more-than-adequate grounds for being excited about Cutler
going forward. Here are a few key points working in his favor:
On the flipside, there are legitimate reasons such as these to temper
your expectations for Jay Cutler:
- Brandon Marshall was added to the Bears roster. This
is the first upper-tier receiving option Cutler has had during
his tenure in Chicago. Marshall is a big-bodied playmaker that
Cutler can rely on, something the veteran QB has openly lobbied
- Alshon Jeffery was selected in the second round of the
draft. There have been concerns about his work ethic, but his
talent and size is undeniable. Jeffery offers Cutler the possibility
of another quality, big-bodied WR for the long term.
- Mike Martz, and his system that relied heavily upon deep
drops for QBs, is gone. The Bears offensive line has been ineffective
at pass blocking, so the implementation of shorter drops and rollouts
might assist in keeping Cutler upright more frequently and seems
to be a better match with his skill set.
Overall, Cutlerís situation has noticeably improved in Chicago.
He now has better playmakers surrounding him and is in a new offensive
scheme that appears to be a better fit for his skill set. Cutler
has the makings of a strong QB2 for a dynasty team, serving as a
high-end backup or possibly in a quarterback-by-committee situation.
However, I would be hesitant to rely upon the gunslinger in Chicago
as my outright starter. Now reunited with Marshall, some may be
expecting him to put up numbers on par with what he was posting
in his Denver days, but I think that may be wishful thinking.
- As mentioned previously, the Bears offensive line has not
protected the QB very well in recent years. It seems likely
that this could continue to be an issue going forward, but Iíd
expect to see some improvement now that Martz is gone. Further,
the return of a healthy Gabe Carimi should help as well.
- While the additions of Marshall and Jeffery may lead some
to think that the team is looking to open up the passing game
in 2012 and beyond, the Bears have two effective RBs in Matt
Forte and Michael
Bush. Both of these players are expected to be significantly
utilized in the offense. I think it is probable that the Bears
will employ a balanced attack on offense. This would effectively
limit Cutlerís upside.
- Cutler has a propensity to make questionable throws into tight
coverage. He has a big arm and confidence in his abilities,
great qualities for a QB, yet a combo that can get him into
trouble at times. His INT count will possibly always be elevated,
and even more so if the Bears actually do transition into a
Cutlerís asking price has probably edged upward in recent
months due to the changes Chicago has made on offense. These changes
have generated some buzz, and rightly so, yet I am not so sure
that they will translate into much more than a small-to-moderate
increase in production. Unless the Cutler owner in your league
is very reasonable in their trade negotiations, you may need to
look for QB help elsewhere, assuming you are in the market. Make
sure you donít end up paying an inflated price that is artificially
held up by the aforementioned buzz.