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Dynasty Values Of Second Contract RBs

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Breaking up with Aaron Jones? Making up with Christian McCaffrey? Fantasy football can be heartbreaking. So can second contract RBs — unless you find the right match.


Being ahead of the curve is the key to success in fantasy football. Selling high, buying low is the currency of the trade, and it could not be more true of second contract RBs. It’s like the perfect date — sometimes it’s too good to be true.

The juggernauts of fantasy tend to be fan favorites, but knowing when to move on is crucial toward staying on top of your league mates. Todd Gurley, Devonta Freeman, and David Johnson all received huge, then-justifiable contracts. Each faded tremendously, peaking in value the minute the pen inked the page. Who knew a fat contract could be a warning sign?

The stars of fantasy past have inked those deals. Which ones are worth putting on the block before becoming fantasy heartbreakers? In this article, we are going to take a look at Christian McCaffery, Aaron Jones, Derrick Henry, and Alvin Kamara.

Each running back will receive a 1-10 grade based on how pressing the player’s trade prospects are. Those prospects are based on current trade value, past production, and situation. They will also receive a special Valentine’s Day grade.

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Christian McCaffrey

The Panthers star was the uncontested dynasty 1.01 after the highest-scoring fantasy finish in history in 2019. Averaging almost 30 fantasy points a game, McCaffrey took the term “league-winner” to a new level.

Unfortunately, injuries happen, particularly to RBs. McCaffrey suffered a high ankle sprain and a shoulder injury in 2020 and a pretty rough ankle injury in 2021. As a result, he has played just 10 games in the last two years. This is very much a make-or-break season for the 2017 first-round pick, and McCaffrey is not breaking just yet.

It’s important to note that McCaffrey hasn’t lost a step. He ranked fifth among RBs in yards per touch and averaged 18.2 fantasy points per game, better than Najee Harris, D’Andre Swift, and Dalvin Cook. For those who care about the eye test, McCaffrey looked no different than the phenom who ruled the RB rankings just a couple of years prior.

Yes, the best ability is availability, but this is not the time to sell McCaffrey, whose value is sure to rise with each month removed from injury.

Urgency to Sell: 3/10

Valentine’s Day Comparison: A candy heart that says “You Complete Me.”

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Alvin Kamara

There aren’t many game-breaking talents in the NFL. You can count Kamara as one of them. His three-year streak of 81+ receptions may have come to a close, but in turn, he saw a career-high in carries (240). Unfortunately, it didn’t equate to a boost in value.

The Saints superstar ran for his lowest yards-per-carry of his career (3.74) after never dipping below 4.5. He recorded other career lows in rushing touchdowns (4), targets (67), and receptions (47). Yet Kamara was an RB1 in 13 games, and the RB6 in PPG.

He still holds a respected first-round value in startups, but the fears of what the 2022 Saints might look like are real in many circles. Head coach Sean Payton is stepping away after coaching the Saints for 16 seasons, the team is $76 million over the salary cap and no one can be sure of who is under center in Week 1.

It won’t matter.

It’s not ideal, but pass-catching RBs like Kamara can age much better on their second contract than the bulldozers of the world. LeSean McCoy and Matt Forte disguised their age with receptions and targets, and while it’s not true of everyone, Kamara fits the outlier category.

His aforementioned four rushing touchdowns will likely rise as he averages over nine a year, and his offensive line featured 13 different linemen this season, finishing as PFF’s 18th-ranked unit. There’s a real-world where 2021 was close to Kamara’s floor.

It would be irresponsible to not acknowledge Kamara’s legal troubles with his recent battery charge following the Pro Bowl. It would be equally irresponsible to speculate on any possible suspension, but the Saints RB is likely locked onto rosters as a result. With legal situations like this it’s important to stay water and follow the news.

If you can sell him for startup value for an A.J. Brown or another top-12 dynasty WR, go for it. Otherwise, stay on the Kamara train a bit longer.

Urgency to Sell: 4/10

Valentine’s Day Comparison: A heart-shaped locket with a picture of Drew Brees and Sean Payton.

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Derrick Henry

Henry is a monster. If he didn’t get hurt in Week 8 he would have been a candidate for Offensive Player of the Year. Maybe even MVP.

Unfortunately, Henry did get hurt. And that injury shattered the illusion of an indestructible two-down RB. The Titans star recently turned 28, ending the season with almost 1,500 career touches. He’s the engine of the offense and of fantasy rosters, emphasized by a whopping 24.2 points per game.

You’re waiting for a “but.” There is one, but it may not be what you think. Henry is still going to be a fantastic asset in 2022. His volume and talent are undeniable, and “The King” should be on winning rosters again.

However, dynasty fantasy football is about capitalizing at the right times. You can run the risk of injury during the season while Henry produces great value, or you can sell now while he carries second-round startup value. Henry’s physical play opens him up to injuries — like most RBs — which is amplified by a workload that saw him carry the ball over 27 times a game on average this season.

Selling a year early is better than selling a year late. In January 2023, Henry will be a 29-year-old RB who cannot catch passes with an “out” in his contract — the Titans can save $12.5 million by releasing him. At the very least the team has leverage to restructure his deal.

Ask yourself this: will his value be higher next year than it is right now?

Urgency to Sell: 6/10

Valentine’s Day Comparison: A half-eaten box of chocolates and a lit candle titled “Live in the moment.”

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Aaron Jones

Times are tough in Green Bay as the team heads into the offseason after yet another disappointing playoff exit. It’s not getting any better in Wisconsin, as Aaron Rodgers mulls his future as a Packer.

Jones is a good player in his own right, someone who is a skilled pass catcher capable of chunk runs. Over his five-year career, touchdowns have accounted for about 31% of his fantasy production. Compare this to other RBs from his draft class, which is a strong group.

Leonard Fournette: 21%
Christian McCaffrey: 22%
Dalvin Cook: 24%
Joe Mixon: 25%
Chris Carson: 26%
Kareem Hunt: 28%
James Conner: 31%

Touchdowns matter to Jones more than most, and Rodgers will take a lot out of town with him. The time to sell Jones is fleeting, as his value is already dipping, particularly with AJ Dillon taking a bigger share of the pie.

Hunt, whose value also was more touchdown-dependent, had a strong 2020 season as the RB10. His inconsistencies as the RB20 in PPG (min. 100 touches) hurt those who played him, which is what should be expected of Jones in 2022. Something similar could be said of Conner, as his value fluctuated by year based on health and touchdowns scored.

Jones should be viewed as an RB2 on a team that should emphasize the run-game, but he will be limited by his circumstances. At age 27, that’s not a good combination for dynasty owners. Sell him while his value is still high, as this offseason won’t be kind toward Jones’ value.

Urgency to Sell: 8/10

Valentine’s Day Comparison: A gold ring, sans the central diamond.

These second contract RBs Aaron Jones, Christian McCaffery, Derrick Henry, and Alvin Kamara are all quietly becoming risky dynasty fantasy football options to hold on to.


Thank you for checking out my article! You can read all of my articles on my IDP Guys’ author page. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @Michael__Sicoli and @IDPGuys (we have offense too) and please check out our website at idpguys.org.

Michael Sicoli

A dynasty enthusiast and fantasy football addict, there's not much more I'd prefer to write about. I'm a New Yorker at a Connecticut university -- Quinnipiac -- who's a firm believer that the NFL doesn't have an offseason.

Discussion

  1. […] you are a year into your second contract as an RB it’s very uncommon to have sustained success. Only two RBs have been in the top-24 every […]

  2. […] Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry might be popular names you expect to read below. However, I already wrote about them a few weeks ago – check that out here! […]

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