2 Older Wide Receivers You’re Better Off Trading

I love the RotoViz Trade Calculator.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s the best approximation of dynasty value you’ll find anywhere. Charles Kleinheksel recently wrote a great piece utilizing the Calculator, suggesting that it might be time to move away from a certain 30-year-old RB with over 2,000 career carries. I definitely agree with him. Adrian Peterson still has real trade value despite his age and mileage.

Using the Calculator, I came up with a list of players that you should consider replacing. These players are no longer increasing in value, but still command the price tag commensurate with their big names or recent productivity. For now, I’ll be focusing on two wide receivers who you need to sell while you can. But first, a cautionary tale:

Brandon Marshall’s Incredible Disappearing Dynasty Value

One of the sexiest features of the Calculator is its ability to let you look at dynasty values from previous months and seasons. Join me in stepping through a portal to the past as we examine Brandon Marshall’s value in January of 2014:

marshall value jan 2014

Wowza! Back then, Marshall was worth 50 Trade Calculator Points (“TCP”). To put this in perspective, rising star Jordan Matthews is worth only 47 TCP today. What was going on in January 2014?

  • Marshall had just finished 2013 as PPR’s WR6
  • It was Marshall’s third season in a row as a top-12 PPR WR (WR2 in 2012 and WR11 in 2011)
  • Marc “Hail of Bullets” Trestman proved that his offense could support two separate top-12 WRs in Marshall and Alshon Jeffery

At the time, nobody cared that Marshall was about to turn 30. He and Jeffery looked unstoppable. It didn’t matter whether their quarterback was Smokin’ Jay Cutler or Broken Josh McCown, Marshall and Jeffery were here to eat and they were here to stay. Fast-forward to February 2015:

marshall value feb 2015

2014 was a messy season for Marshall. Long before his disastrous Week 14 left him with broken ribs and a punctured lung, the 30-year-old receiver was playing through multiple ankle sprains. Marshall’s 2014 Dynasty Startup ADP was WR8; he would finish the season as the PPR WR20. Disappointed drafters realized that age and injury were taking their toll on the beloved wideout and his dynasty stock fell by 13 TCP. Again, for perspective, exciting rookie Chris Conley has a TCP of 11 and RBZero candidate Josh Robinson is worth 10 TCP.

Things would only get worse for Marshall after he was traded to the Jets in March of 2015; this is his TCP value today:

marshall value today

How did Marshall lose nearly half of his dynasty value in one season?

Marshall owners everywhere wish that they had traded their stud WR in the offseason before 2014 began. I’d encourage you to trade the following receivers so you can maximize your dynasty value now and in the future.

Calvin Johnson

Despite being hampered by injuries in 2014, Calvin Johnson finished as PPR WR16. Megatron is a living legend and his TCP reflects his superhuman reputation. Even if Johnson breaks into the top-12 again in 2015, I do not believe his TCP will ever be higher than it is now. The current TCP already reflects the expectation that Johnson will return to his elite WR1 ways; this is the only explanation for his cost today.

PlayerTCP2015 Age
Calvin Johnson6230
Alshon Jeffery6025
Randall Cobb5925
DeAndre Hopkins5823
Brandin Cooks5022
Jordan Matthews4723
Breshad Perriman3222
Dorial Green-Beckham3222

(Note:  Ages are from the middle of the 2015 season; Johnson and Cooks share September 25 as their birthday.)

Of all the receivers I have listed, only Johnson is depreciating. It would not surprise me at all if every other receiver on this list saw their TCP increase over the next three years. There are three “types” of receiver you can trade Calvin for:

  • Alshon Jeffery, DeAndre Hopkins, and Randall Cobb could reasonably outperform Johnson this season, and might be worth more than Johnson next season. I would rather have any of these receivers on my team whether I wanted to win-now or win-later.
  • Brandin Cooks and Jordan Matthews are both poised to become the WR1 on their respective high-volume offenses. Either receiver could possibly outperform Johnson this season. Both receivers will likely see their values increase over time. And, the difference between these receivers’ TCP and Johnson’s is significant enough to represent another promising flier of your choice.
  • Breshad Perriman and Dorial Green-Beckham are unproven, but both have landed in great positions to increase their dynasty value. You could probably get both of them together for Johnson alone. The 2015 preseason is likely the final time you will be able to execute a trade like this.

Even if Calvin finishes as fantasy’s WR1 this year, his value is at its peak. Take this opportunity to replace him with similarly effective WRs who are still appreciating in value.

Jordy Nelson

The arguments for Jordy Nelson are largely the same, with some additional red flags related to his offseason hip surgery. Ty Miller thinks Jordy has more left in the tank, but recommends seeking top-dollar for him. Nelson’s TCP of 53 means you could get Cooks or Matthews straight-across with the possibility of a mid-round future pick as a bonus. You could also trade him for Devin Funchess (22 TCP) and have enough left over for Eric Decker (19 TCP) and Chris Conley (11 TCP). Jordy will probably outperform all of those guys this season, but the trio could be worth more next season, and a player like Decker may be a decent points-replacement while Funchess and Conley (or their equivalents) ripen.

If you think Nelson is going to repeat his 2014 performance, he could be the type of league-winner you want to hold onto. If you are suspicious of a WR who had his best season at age 29, and think 2014 was an aberration based on unrepeatable volume, now is probably the time to sell.

Out With the Old

Unless your dynasty league has been around for a decade, it is likely that Johnson and Nelson were very expensive when you initially drafted them. There are other older WRs who are worth swapping, but these two stand out as having the most extreme combination of age and high TCP. I recommend moving away from both of them while you can still get some value back on your investment.

In the next segment of Cashing Out, we’ll be discussing some soon-to-be old-and-busted RBs who will still fetch you top dollar!  Stay tuned!

John Solis is an attorney in California.  He wants the Chargers to stay in San Diego and the Clippers to come back. Please check out John’s work on PlayerProfiler.com, and follow him @thelawyerboy.