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Dynasty Keep or Cut? How to Make the Choice With Young Players

Saying bye is never easy. Saying bye is even harder when you have to do it to someone you had faith in, but they let you down.1 Choosing who to keep or cut in dynasty will bring up these feelings every year.

Each offseason, you are inevitably forced to say goodbye to players every year to make room for new roster hopefuls. But how do you know when it’s time to cut your losses with relatively young players?

So far, our dynasty series has reviewed startup draft strategies and ways to prevent your dynasty team from getting old. Now it’s time to learn how to be a general manager.

RotoViz Screener ‘Similarity Search’ will help you know who to keep or cut in dynasty

First of all, the RotoViz Screener is absurdly easy to use.

To find recent comparisons, I set my seasons variable to 2010-2018, set my display variables as PPR points and reFPOE2, and set “Year in NFL” to whatever player I wanted to comp.3

I wanted to see how much better (or worse) than expectation my three players performed so far in their careers — and who else was in the same ballpark.4 When evaluating your dynasty keeps or cuts, feel free to use whatever variable(s) you want, but reFPOE gives a good holistic measure of how effective a player has been with their opportunities, and there’s some evidence it tends to persist from one year to the next.

I had to make a few decisions this offseason about who to keep and who to move on from. The most interesting decisions I had to make revolved around three wide receivers: Kenny Golladay, Antonio Callaway, and Quincy Enunwa. Let’s use them as examples.

Kenny Golladay: Keep

Tyler Lockett2015-2016279.548.8
Hakeem Nicks2010-2010250.239
Marvin Jones2012-2013237.537.4
Jeremy Maclin2010-2010229.136.8
DeAndre Hopkins2013-2014377.235.5
T.Y. Hilton2012-2013401.934.1
Alshon Jeffery2012-2013362.331.7
Kenny Golladay2017-2018301.730.6
Stefon Diggs2015-2016342.630.2
John Brown2014-2015356.528.9

Golladay is an obvious keep,5 but there was still a thought process here on how long I wanted to keep him for.

Needless to say, his comps are impressive. DeAndre Hopkins, T.Y. Hilton, and Stefon Diggs are three of the nine receivers most like Golladay in terms of reFPOE in their first two years. And, while not elite, the other similar players are good.

This gives me tremendous confidence in keeping Golladay for the next five seasons.

Quincy Enunwa: Cut

Danny Amendola2010-2012338.5-60.6
Chris Givens2012-2015319.1-55.8
Mohamed Massaquoi2010-2012225.25-53.6
Zay Jones2017-2018239.8-49.6
Corey Coleman2016-2018171.4-46.1
Marqise Lee2014-2017449.9-45.2
Donald Jones2010-2012207-43.8
Quincy Enunwa2015-2018311.3-42.7
Legedu Naanee2010-2011163.95-41.8
T.J. Graham2012-2015166.3-41.4

Enunwa’s comps6 are much less impressive. So is the fact that Enunwa has produced -42.7 reFPOE so far in his career.

I’m not willing to bank on an age-27 breakout — and neither are the RotoViz projections, which have him forecasted as the No. 90 receiver this year — so I’m cutting ties with Enunwa. These comps are atrocious.

Antonio Callaway: Toss-up (but I cut him)

Tyler Boyd2016126.1-11.5
Michael Crabtree2009122.5-8.2
John Brown2014147-7.8
Robby Anderson2016116.9-6.9
Aaron Dobson2013112.9-6.9
Matt Jones2005114.9-6.7
Rod Streater2012115.4-6.5
Marquez Valdes-Scantling2018111-5.1
Antonio Callaway2018132.3-4.7
Tavon Austin2013126.9-3.8

Choosing to keep or cut Callaway in dynasty leading into 2019 isn’t an easy choice, but when it came time to make my roster moves, I cut him because news had just broken that Callaway is out of shape and taking snaps with the second team.

But keeping him for another year is certainly a viable move; he has some extremely enticing comps. It makes him a truly interesting case study.

Rookie-year WR breakouts are not common, but his negative Year 1 comps, coupled with his questionable work ethic and the explosion of talent around him in Cleveland, are enough for me to move on.

Image Credit: Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Antonio Callaway.

  1. Jeff Janis, I’m looking at you.  (back)
  2. Receiving fantasy points over expectation.  (back)
  3. For example, Kenny Golladay has been in the league for two years, so I set “Year in NFL” to 1 and 2 for him before running the screener.  (back)
  4. You can set whatever variable for comparison you want.  (back)
  5. This particular league I’m in requires me to give contracts for X numbers of years, so I still had to decide how long of a contract to give Golladay. I went with 5 years.  (back)
  6. set to players in their first five years, just like Enunwa.  (back)

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