Always, Always, Always Do This One Simple Thing in Your Dynasty Leagues, but Also, Maybe Not Every Time
Image Credit: Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: David Johnson.

In dynasty, each player has two values: a production value — how much that player earns for your lineup this game this season for this championship — and a market value: how much a player could yield in a transaction. Those values don’t always match. Market values weigh potential heavily, and in football, potential exists in the young. Hope exists in the unseen. Excitement looms in being the person in your league who unearthed the right treasure at the right moment.

But what of the treasures of the past? Football players waste their batteries by their own motion, a violent game tears them down, and Father Time constantly checks his watch. We expend our dynasty resources on lit sticks of dynamite, and eventually, they will expire, either in our own hands or the hands of a rival. The tension always exists with aging dynasty assets: could I let go too early and watch my league-mate hoist hardware using my superstar, or could I hold on too long and sentence myself to bottom-dwelling purgatory?

RBs magnify that tension. The elite among them have long been the most valuable assets in single-QB formats but also have the shortest careers. The influx of analytics in football economics has shortened these windows even more. RBs, even the good ones, often don’t last into their 30s anymore.

An overall RB1 season holds dynasty value up, especially those seasons that have crane-kicked everyone in your league to the consolation bracket. Seasons like those require some relatively good luck: health, of course, and finishing at the top end of variance in multiple statistical categories like TDs, receptions, and explosive plays.

This makes the question plain: If the player has played at the top end of their range of outcomes and is at the top of their remaining value, should probability demand we trade them in that exact time window? That is the question I’m looking to explore. I’m going all the way back . . . to the year 2000 (my Gen-Xers get it).

If you’re looking to replenish your dynasty roster with explosive RB picks from the 2024 rookie class, the RotoViz Rookie Guide has you covered!

A COMPREHENSIVE LOOK AT EVERY RUNNING BACK THAT HAS CRUSHED SOULS SINCE 2000

MARSHALL FAULK (2000-2001)*

*The RotoViz Stat Explorer goes back to 2000, but Faulk was the RB1 in 1999 as well.

Marshall Faulk’s 2000 season as RB1 overall was followed by two top-12 seasons, one of which was another RB1 overall finish. That was Faulk’s 2001, followed by one top-12 season in 2002. He was 27 in 2000 and 28 in 2001. Despite a respectable finish, Faulk drastically declined in fantasy production after an ankle injury suffered in Week 10, dropping almost 150 PPR fantasy points on the year, and he never again regained the dominance he was known for.

 

PPR Points (N) Ensuing Year PPR Points Ensuing Year PPR Rank Highest post-N PPR Points Total Highest Post-N Rank Total Post-N RB1 Overall Seasons Total Post-N Top 12 Finishes
2000 459.9 425.7 1 425.7 1 1 2
2001 425.7 289 10 289 10 0 1

 

PRIEST HOLMES (2002-2003)

Finishing second to Faulk in 2001 in PPR scoring, Holmes followed with two straight RB1 seasons at 29 and 30, adding 100 or more carries per year and an entire pass-catching element that had never been seen while he was with the Ravens. Holmes was already off to a slightly slower start in 2004 when he injured his knee in Week 8. Injuries again claimed Holmes in 2005, and he yielded to a surging Larry Johnson.

PPR Points (N) Ensuing Year PPR Points Ensuing Year PPR Rank Highest post-N PPR Points Total Highest Post-N Rank Total Post-N RB1 Overall Seasons Total Post-N Top 12 Finishes
2002 442.7 447 1 447 1 1 1
2003 447 216.9 18 216.9 18 0 0

 

TIKI BARBER (2004)

Despite second-round draft capital, Barber had been used as a complimentary piece to bigger backs before the Giants turned it over to him in 2004. Barber was in his eighth season in the league when he was finally entrusted with a featured workload. He was never again the RB1 overall after 2004. However, he scored more fantasy points in 2005 and had over 300 PPR fantasy points in both successive seasons until he retired after 2006 at 31, never showing any natural decline.

PPR Points (N) Ensuing Year PPR Points Ensuing Year PPR Rank Highest post-N PPR Points Total Highest Post-N Rank Total Post-N RB1 Overall Seasons Total Post-N Top 12 Finishes
2004 351.6 361 4 361 4 0 2

 

SHAUN ALEXANDER (2005)

Shaun Alexander almost represents the end of the old guard. Once we get past him, the burly power back takes a back seat to a versatile pass-catcher at the top of the charts in near unanimous perpetuity, with Adrian Peterson serving as a homecoming of sorts at a later appointment. Alexander spiraled after his monster season in 2005, completing just 10 games for fewer than half the fantasy points in 2006. He had only three seasons in his career with negative FPOE, and they were all played after 2005. Alexander retired in 2008 after a four-game season of 4.3 PPR fantasy points total.

PPR Points (N) Ensuing Year PPR Points Ensuing Year PPR Rank Highest post-N PPR Points Total Highest Post-N Rank Total Post-N RB1 Overall Seasons Total Post-N Top 12 Finishes
2005 378.8 148.4 33 148.4 33 0 0

 

LADAINIAN TOMLINSON (2006)

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Mat Irby

RotoViz contributor since 2023, fantasy player since 1991, and someone who occasionally dabbles in full-time film work when no one's looking - even on a thing or two you've seen. Atlanta is for sleeping, but Dallas will always be home.

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