The Young Backups (Javonte Williams, AJ Dillon, Tony Pollard, and Khalil Herbert)
Each of the backups are not the same even if each are in very similar situations. Let's start at the bottom and work our way up. Kalil Herbert is on this list for two reasons, the first is how well he filled in for Montgomery when he was out. But that can't be the only reason or he would just be a Mattison comp. Herbert is also behind a RB that is nearing the end of his current contract, and with inconsistency and an injury history, I cannot see the Bears shelling out big money for him. This could leave Herbert as the workhorse back in 2023 so maybe take the risk and trade for him a year early at a much cheaper price.
Next on my list is actually Tony Pollard and he is a very interesting case. Out of all the handcuff RBs, he is by far the most explosive, and could be a star with the star on his helmet if Zeke wasn't there. Trading for him is probably a bigger risk than the Herbert move since it will definitely cost more to get him. But Elliot could be gone after next year. If the Cowboys wanted to do that, his dead-cap hit is only $11 million after next year. If the Cowboys wanted an out on a player who's been getting hurt more and is much more expensive than Pollard or any rookie RB, they could do it then.
To finish up the first two guys in this list I am not giving up a ton for them, but I definitely want them on my team if I can get them.
The next two guys could be fantasy superstars in this league. Williams is going to have a lot more guaranteed touches than Dillon though. The Packers, like the Cowboys, have an out after 2022, but I do not see them letting Jones go early. They love that 1-2 punch combo at RB, especially with Dillon being the thunder and Jones being the lightning. Either way AJ Dillon is going to be used in this offense, and eventually he could take over as the #1 with Jones being more of a third down back. In this offense, Dillon could easily put up a season like James Connor did this year running a massive TD volume in a timeshare.
The last guy on this last has breakout superstar written all over himself for next year. If Melvin Gordon is gone, then this will be Javonte William's backfield entirely. We've seen what he can do in just the one or two games Gordon has missed. He is going to fly up draft boards in re-draft next year, and probably going to be a first-round pick in some dynasty start-up drafts. You are going to have to pay-up for this kid if you want to trade for him, but he'll be a lot less expensive now than in August. Plus, playoff teams might be looking for a more consistent player going into the playoffs. If you could get a deal together around one of the aging breakouts this year like Patterson, Connor, Fournette, or even Deebo Samuel, I would do any of those deals for Williams straight up. But I would start by asking for a 2 for 1 in any offer that involves Deebo.
The Young Gunners (Michael Pittman, Jaylen Waddle, Elijah Moore, Darnell Mooney)
The young guns - these guys are not the names of players being talked about in the future superstar category but should be. Elijah Moore was a top 5 wide receiver the last 4 weeks before getting injured, but not many people know that (other than Jets fans). Make no mistake, this kid is a future star in this league. The biggest names out of these young gunners are Michael Pittman and Jaylen Waddle. Pittman was a top 20 WR in fantasy this past year very quietly on the Colts with Wentz as his QB. Now he has a real QB throwing him the ball who has pumped up top 10 WR seasons for Jones and Ridley. Even Gage was a top WR for a strech in PPR leagues last year. No one talks about Pittman's season; I would do the same thing here as with Elijah Moore. Send over some offers and see if they haven't been paying attention until now.
In Waddle's case, I would say he is easily going to catch over 100 balls this year and it seems like no one is talking about him either. Waddle with Tua at QB could be a "PPR Fantasy Rockstar" for the next 5-10 years. He is a must have for any dynasty team in a PPR league.
Last but not least on this list is Darnell Mooney. No - I was not sold on Fields at first, and I still don't know if he is going to be a superstar, but he does love throwing over Mooney's way. With a new HC and A-Rob being a LA Ram, Mooney could be the #1 on this team with not much competition for targets.
All 4 of these guys could be huge breakout candidates next year and jump into the top 10 of fantasy WRs. I would be selling my aging players or some of the sell high candidates that are going to be in the article later.
Old Guys Breaking Out (Cordarrelle Patterson, James Connor, and Leonard Fournette)
Fantasy managers everywhere - I know how it feels to sell a guy high off a breakout. Especially when you find a gem like Patterson, Connor or Fournette. Fournette being the most likely to repeat this performance next year of the three with youth and the offense on his side. But let's be real, none of these guys will probably be as good as they are this year, next season. A lot of touchdown regression in this group, with Connor, Fournette and Patterson having 10+ touchdowns this year. All three of these guys probably don't touch those kind of touchdown numbers or this kind of volume.
Leonard Fournette is the toughest one to figure out since he is only 26, but he has had a ton of carries every year since his freshman year of college. Honestly, he touched the ball a ton in high school as well. His age may be 26 but his body has probably taken the number of shots as a 30-year-old back. In dynasty that won't bode well 2-3 years from now. Take advantage of your league mates by using this season and his 26-year-old age as points for him in a trade and reap the benefits.
I think we can all see Cordarrelle Patterson is a one hit wonder. We don't have many examples of 30-year-old players going from a great kick returner/special teams' guy to a superstar RB/WR and then go on to sustain that success for years after. It just doesn't happen, and Cordarrelle will not be the exception. Trade him now while his value is in the stratosphere and get a player that you can use for the next 5 years.
Last guy on the list - James Connor is one of my favorite players in the leagues and has one of the best stories to a career as well. But let's be real, he is getting older, his body is breaking down and we just saw him get hurt on MNF vs the Rams. I don't see him getting more durable the more his career goes on, and I see the Cardinals trying to get dynamic playmaker at RB in the draft this year to put next to Murray.
The Old Guard of RB's (Elliott, Henry, CMC, and Barkley) (If you can get a decent deal)
Oh boy, this is going to be a quicker reasoning on why these guys are "Sell Now!". Two should've been sold before last season and another two should've been sold before this season. Now obviously if we're going by trade value, it goes Derrick Henry, CMC, Elliot, and then Barkley. Henry is still an absolute monster, but he isn't invincible. He is probably going to dominate the league for the next two years, but in Dynasty we gotta be more Belichick. Trade them a year too early and not a year too late. Henry might be more of a sell when we get closer to the season when the injury isn't in as many peoples minds. We'll see him back on the Titans in the playoffs so his stock should shoot right back up. But you should still be able to get great value from him.
Christian McCaffrey is next and his value definitely took more of a hit than Henry's. CMC is getting close to having the injury prone label tossed on him. After not missing a practice for his entire career, these last two years he has been missing games left and right. We do still get to see his dominance when he is healthy and on the field, so he still does have some value. Plus, we know his potential is the best RB in fantasy football if he can just stay healthy. Get rid of him now though before we see another injury prone season, and if it is another bad season next year, we could see a whole regime change in Carolina again.
I'm going to lump the next two guys together in Zeke and Barkley. Zeke has shown in games this year that he can still dominate, but you can see a clear difference in him and Pollard on the field. I wouldn't wait another year to trade him, he could lose all value by next year. Barkley at least shows he's still got it on the field. He is just on a team that is never near the red zone and he just can't seem to shake the injury bug. My advice is to trade all of these guys. Their value isn't going up anymore than it is right now.