By Mikey Ostrowski

It’s never easy saying goodbye to your fantasy studs, but eventually, that day comes for all of our favorite players. However, you can do it in one of two ways… you could either trade them or hold on to them until they no longer have any value. In my experience, the smart option is to always trade them while you still can and capitalize on as much value as possible. It’s not always easy to predict a player’s decline, but ideally, you’ll want to sell them before it gets to that point.

In this article, I will highlight a handful of players that I believe will see massive decreases in fantasy value between now and the end of the 2022 NFL season. Whether it be through declining play, or failing to live up to expectations, these guys are some of my biggest must-sell candidates for this off-season.

Mac Jones, QB (New England)

Jones may sound like a weird one to sell after having a very solid rookie year, but ask yourself: was he solid for fantasy production? As a rookie, he finished as the overall QB19, but was only the QB28 in points per game. Sure, we can expect some improvement as he continues his NFL career, but I’m not going to bank on a big enough improvement that’ll make him fantasy-relevant over the next two or three years. When it comes to quarterbacks, my motto is to either have a young quarterback with upside, or a reliable vet. I’ll never want to lean on those rushing quarterbacks as they get older… likewise, I will not want to lean on the “stereotypical quarterback” until he’s had enough time to develop in the league (which could take quite a bit of time). There are many people excited about Mac after his rookie year, but there’s nothing to love about his fantasy situation and there’s not much to love about him as a player. Jones’ current value in SuperFlex leagues is around a mid-1st or future 1st and that’s an offer I personally wouldn’t say no to.

Alvin Kamara, RB (New Orleans)

It’s 2022, Kamara is coming off of a 1,300 scrimmage yard season with 9 touchdowns and has been one of fantasy’s top options over the last 5 years… so why sell him? Well, there’s a few different answers to this question. The first reason why we’re selling him is because of the potential legal issues he may run into. During Pro Bowl weekend, Kamara got himself into some trouble in Vegas and was arrested on felony battery charges. This is something that has kind of been “swept under the rug” so far but is a very real concern that should be coming up again as we get closer to his April 25th court date. Despite what happens in court, it may be safe to assume that some sort of suspension will be coming for Kamara (at the very least). On the field, Kamara’s play isn’t a concern at the moment, but the team around him certainly is. 

Jameis Winston (while good enough) is a downgrade from Drew Brees and an entirely new coaching staff isn’t exactly going to be a beacon of light for the Saints’ offense in 2022. Kamara gets a lot of his appeal from being a pass-catching back, but there could be less opportunity for him to do that moving forward. It’s also worth noting that 27 is the age of decline for running backs, which just so happens to be Kamara’s age in July of this year. Between his legal situation, his age and the team around him in general, Kamara’s value is decreasing as each day passes by. If you can come away with an earlyish pick in this year’s draft or even a 2023 1st round pick for him, it honestly may be well-worth it. Kamara’s fantasy value could plummet at any time and even if he somehow dodges suspension, I can’t imagine his stat line will do his value much justice in 2022. There are not many future scenarios where he is worth more than he’s worth right now in dynasty leagues.

Ronald Jones, RB (Kansas City)

I’ll keep this one short: people are over-hyping RoJo to the Chiefs. He’s on a one-year deal in one of the most pass-happy offenses in the NFL. Sure, he should be able to take a decent chunk of early down work away from Clyde Edwards-Helaire, but he’s got brick hands and will never have a role in that passing attack. This means we’ll have to rely on him to have a big workload on the ground and that’s not something that I expect to happen. In 2021, the leading rusher in Kansas City had 144 attempts. In 2020, the leader had 181 attempts (it was CEH, who averaged 4.4 yards per carry) and in 2019 the leading rusher had only 111 attempts. I’m not saying that a Chief can’t surpass the 200-attempt mark, but I am saying that that person won’t be Ronald Jones. He hasn’t been anything special for fantasy purposes over his first four years in the league, and there is no reason to expect that he’ll magically become a good football player in his 5th season. Sell him now while the hype is there.

Saquon Barkley, RB (New York Giants)

We’ve been chasing Barkley’s rookie season for the last three years and it’s become clear and obvious that we’re not likely to get that guy back. In 2018, Barkley burst onto the scene with 2,000 scrimmage yards, 15 touchdowns and 91 receptions as a rookie. That season was absolutely insane and anyone that had drafted Barkley thought that they were in for a very fun few years with Saquon on their roster. However, that happiness quickly turned sour, as they really only got one solid season from him over his next three years. After finishing as the RB1 overall in 2018, he followed it up with an RB10 showing in 2019 which was still pretty damn good. It definitely left something to be desired, but he did miss a few games so no one could complain too much. In 2020, Barkley’s season was cut short when he went down with a season-ending injury in week two and then in 2021, despite playing in 13 games, he only put together a little over 850 scrimmage yards and 4 touchdowns.

Missing time has been a concern, but not as big of a concern as his on-field play. Ever since his slew of injuries, he has not looked like the same running back that we had seen in 2018. Sure, we’ve seen glimpses of it, but he hasn’t been able to string together any consistency. You could blame the team around him (as the Giants’ offense is far from the best), but you could also argue that “worse” running backs have made it work on even worse offenses. It’s tough to admit it, but I think it’s safe to say that we were robbed of Barkley’s full potential.

I’m sure some of you may blame it on the injury and may be thinking “well, if we’re knocking/selling Barkley, shouldn’t we be doing the same with Christian McCaffrey?” And the answer to that is simple: no. Unlike Barkley, McCaffrey has shown that the injuries haven’t affected his ability to be an unstoppable force on the field. When he’s healthy and on the field, he’s one of the best players to have in fantasy. Barkley, on the other hand, has shown that the injuries have hindered him. Either the Giants threw him back in before he was fully healthy, or he has some lingering effects from the ailments he’s had over the last few seasons. Barkley is still highly sought-after in the dynasty community and is someone that I have strongly urged people to sell over the last two seasons. His value is not what it once was as you’re not going to be getting multiple 1st round picks and a handful of prospects, but you can still get a half-decent return for him. In the poll below, you can see that roughly 28% of people still value him at a high level, which means that there’s still a decent chunk that would pay big money to grab Barkley for their team.

Even if you don’t have someone in your league willing to send you a top-3 pick for him, I’d still strongly consider a mid-pick or even a package focused around a 2023 1st. If he flops again in 2022, you’ll be lucky to get anything more than a 2nd round pick for him. I’d highly recommend selling him before it gets to that point.

Robert Woods, WR (Tennessee)

I will always be a fan of Bobby Trees, but it’s time to part ways with him. Sure, he’s going to have plenty of opportunities in Tennessee, but I don’t know if his knee is going to hold up at this point in his career. Woods will be 30 by the start of the season which is the typical age of decline for wide receivers. Even if he makes a full recovery, I’m still fine with selling him off. Ryan Tannehill is not capable of supporting two solid fantasy receivers and I’d be willing to bet my life’s savings that Woods will never take priority over AJ Brown. We’ve had a good run, Mr. Trees, but it’s time to be moving on. Woods’ current value is a mid-2nd or future 2nd and at this point, I’d take the pick side with ease.

Jerry Jeudy, WR (Denver)

This one is all about selling the hype. Jeudy was selected as early as 1.05 in 1QB drafts in 2020 and was considered as one of the top-two receivers of that class. He was a “sure-thing” and was going to be the next Stefon Diggs, but after a disappointing rookie season and an injury-riddled sophomore season, we haven’t seen much from him. Despite having very little to go off of, Jeudy is currently valued around the 1.05 in this year’s draft class, which means that despite not doing much in his first two years, his value has not declined at all. People are holding on to the dream with Jeudy and now that Russell Wilson will be throwing him the ball, that dream seems to be closer than ever to becoming a reality.

Maybe I’m just trying to shatter some dreams, but I don’t think we’re going to get what we want from Jeudy. I think he is a good receiver, but I can’t imagine him emerging as a top-15 fantasy option at the position this year, and I will gladly sell him off at his current price. Jeudy is only 22 years old (23 in April) and I will be the first to admit that he was an incredibly exciting prospect. I still remember drafting him at 1.06 in my rookie draft and I was incredibly excited about it. Fast Forward to today and he’s not even on my roster anymore (I sold him and CEH for Cooper Kupp and a 2nd at the start of last season) and I’m telling everyone to go out and sell him.

I don’t foresee Jeudy being much more than a 1,000-yard receiver in 2022 and I certainly don’t see him having more than four or five touchdowns. A stat line like this, especially after a year with Wilson, would bring his fantasy value back to Earth. If you don’t believe me, an 80-1,000-5 stat line in 2021 would’ve only been good enough to finish as the WR26 in PPR leagues… and it’s tough to justify spending a mid-1st round pick on a WR3. There is no reason why he should still be valued at the 1.05, but the excitement of Russell Wilson is helping with that. I’d easily accept a top-5 pick this year or even a 23’ 1st for him.

George Kittle, TE (San Francisco)

Selling Kittle is tough. Not because you’ll have a hard time with finding a buyer, but because he’s so damn good that you just don’t want to lose him. However, I think now could be the best time to part ways with him. Kittle will be turning 29 during the 2022 season, and while that’s far from the cliff for tight ends, it’s still worth noting. 

When it comes to Kittle, there’s a gamble. Over the last three seasons, he’s only played in 36 games and seems to always have some sort of “minor” injury when he’s on the field. But even when he’s not fully healthy, he’s an absolute force to be reckoned with on the football field. Despite an injury-riddled 2020, Kittle rebounded nicely in 2021 with 910 yards and 6 touchdowns. Then again, he did miss three games which does further the argument that Kittle is a bit injury prone.

Kittle is simultaneously one of fantasy’s biggest assets as well as one of fantasy’s biggest headaches. He’s an amazing tight end and has a very hard-nosed style of play, but you almost always seem to hold your breath whenever you see him on the field because you’re conditioned to think that he could get hurt at any given time. 

For what it’s worth, I probably wouldn’t recommend selling Kittle if you’re a legitimate contender. He’s a risky option, but if you’re genuinely competing in 2022 for a championship, he could be the difference between you winning and losing. However, if you find yourself as a fringe-contender or even in a rebuild, you’ve gotta get rid of him. Kittle can be sold for a top-4 pick or a package containing multiple picks/prospects. If you stick him on the trade block, I can almost guarantee that you’ll get a handful of offers for him. 

Don’t sell him too low but be aware that his value could decline rapidly if he has another one of those injuries this year. Kittle is a risk/reward player whether you’re buying or selling… but I’d favor the seller in most scenarios.

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