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Dynasty Football: Cousins, Cousins, There’s Too Many of You Buying

Always follow the money. There are few smarter ways to track out value in this world than seeing what someone paid.

So when Kirk Cousins gets signed for four years and $180M, with $100M fully guaranteed, most observers will safely assume that is what he is worth.

General Managers certainly have more access to information than your average pundit. And they’re paid professionally to know things. They’re unlikely to simply throw a dart and pick a number.

But here’s the thing with free agency. Signing a free agent invokes what’s referred to as the winner’s curse. After all, making the signing likely means you were willing to pay the most. This runs the highest risk of overpaying.

Yes, the Atlanta Falcons ponied up for Kirk Cousins. But it’s a calculated risk made by teams placed in complicated situations. Let’s take a look at some recent signings and ask ourselves: Does the contract match our expected return?

What!? Your fantasy football league wasn’t hosted on Fantrax last season!? Once you see how Fantrax stacks up to the competition, we think you’ll be singing a different tune in the 2024 season.

Three Players to Sell in Dynasty Football Leagues

Kirk Cousins, QB, ATL (Four Years, $180M, $100M Guaranteed)

Playoff wins and Achilles injury be damned, Cousins now owns a top-7 contract by AAV (average annual value). His past production certainly warrants the deal. A couple of years younger or a healthier leg would have ballooned his deal even further.

And say whatever you want about his ability in high-pressure situations, a small sample size driven criticism that has no statistical basis in predicting future outcomes. Fantasy football takes place in the regular season. Any discussion there is moot for our purposes.

In other words, there’s many reasons to have confidence in Kirk Cousins. In recent weeks, I outlined offenses to buy and offenses to sell simply based on whether Cousins would be coming or going.

But take a look at where the Atlanta Falcons are. They’ve suffered back-to-back years from subpar quarterback play. They have three top-10 draft picks on the roster who are getting closer to free agency. They hired a head coach in Raheem Morris who, with all due respect, likely has a short leash based on his lack of pedigree entering the role.

The Falcons are hungry and built to win right now or blow up spectacularly. This is dynasty football. You are not the Atlanta Falcons who need to win right now or die trying. Don’t ignore the Achilles and sell Kirk Cousins to someone who’s buying the hype.

Mike Evans, WR, TB (Two Years, $41M, $37M Guaranteed)

While this isn’t the initial $52M Mike Evans’ agent told us he got, it’s still quite a chunk of a change for a wide receiver entering his age 31 season. And, while most are unlikely to be conveyed, the escalators in his contract aren’t unattainable.

Being in the top 10 of catches, receiving yards, and touchdowns isn’t completely out of the cards for Evans. That would bank him an additional $2M per season.

But given that the list of 32-year-old receivers with 1,000+ receiving yards in the last decade includes just Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Smith, and Anquan Boldin, I wouldn’t call it very likely outside of this year.

To some managers, it may seem Evans can’t possibly be at the end of his career when he has improved his production each of the past three seasons. Yet most receivers tend to peak late in their 20s before suddenly falling off a cliff.

This is all before even discussing whether Baker Mayfield has truly made a comeback. As Geno Smith truthers might tell you, the road is bumpier than it is straight.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, IND (Three Years, $42M, $26.5M Guaranteed)

While this signing was actually made during the 2023 season, getting peak value for Taylor is probably a year late anyway. If you subscribe to the notion that running backs should be traded before their second contract, we’re in dangerous territory already.

Of course, the holdout last year is what made trading Taylor impossible and also what brought him into second-contract territory early. So there are still plenty of ways to spin this.

He’s got a little less tread unrelated to an injury. He was on pace for 1,500 yards all-purpose last season. He’s only 25.

Those are all fantastic selling points that should help you move Taylor. Why not hold on? Well, beyond the aging curve for running backs, Taylor doesn’t excel at catching the ball.

That’s a major problem when Anthony Richardson returns. Taylor will likely see goal-line opportunities vultured away as well as rushing attempts in general. We didn’t get to see that this past year, so managers might have forgotten this was a major concern last season.

If you’ve got folks in your league who aren’t thinking about Richardson’s impact as a runner on the Colts’ backfield, now is likely your last chance to get peak value on this soon to be old running back.

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