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Deconstruction (Not a Tebow tale Part 2)


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A follow-up to “Resurrection (Not a Tim Tebow tale),” this is the other side of the coin. Here a few guys who have performed well in dynasty football either last year or for the past few years that you might consider moving now before their value starts to slide. These are mostly veteran players and one up-and-comer that other general managers would definitely want on their squad but also players that might not continue at their current pace. I am not speculating that these players are done and should be shipped out for pennies on the dollar but you always want to max your return on any trade.

Marshawn Lynch

Lynch was highly sought after coming out of college and landed with Buffalo, where his career was up-and-down following off the field issues and never became the stud most of us hoped he would be. At one point the Bills rostered Lynch, a healthy Fred Jackson and then drafted C.J. Spiller. Lynch was traded to Seattle, and most thought he was on the decline, but since then he has rattled off 2.5 great seasons there. His beast mode touchdown run in the first-round playoff win against New Orleans set off some incredible running over the past two seasons. The factors I saw that turned Lynch into a sell now or in the near future guy are adding up the closer we get to the season.

First is age and workload. Both are getting high, and you never want to sit on a guy until he is past his prime and you're unable to get a decent return. Off the field issues are still a concern as he has a pending DUI case in California stemming from an offseason incident before the 2012 season which could possibly turn into a suspension.

The offseason acquisition of Percy Harvin will take some touches away from Lynch. Harvin, when healthy, is scary on the field and can line up anywhere, and this will make the Seahawks passing game more potent. Also, Harvin has lined up in the backfield for Minnesota, which hurts Lynch as well.

I think the final sell factor is the talent waiting behind him. Second year back Robert Turbin, in the limited action he saw last year, was a productive running back, and the drafting of Christine Michael puts some question marks on whether Lynch will be the guy for the foreseeable future. It is already being floated that he will be a cap causality in the next season or two, and after that there is no telling where he lands. I believe he will have another good season this year, and, if you do decide to sell, you might not win initially in the trade, but in the long run I think it will work out. He is still a top-10 back, and in dynasty football that is hard to land when every roster is thin at running back.

Stevan Ridley

First and foremost, I like most people, have a commitment problem with any New England running back. Ridley carried the ball 290 times last year, the most carries by one Patriots running back since Corey Dillion in 2006. Even though the departure of Danny Woodhead would open up Ridley for more carries, I expect his yards-per-carry to go down and I expect Shane Vereen to steal carries as well. Vereen is a superior pass catching back compared to Ridley and I fully expect him to take most of the passes that would have been thrown to Woodhead this season.

The additions of LeGarrette Blount and Leon Washington, I don’t believe, will play much of a role in the running game. Blount has done nothing right since his 2010 semi-breakout campaign. In the few chances he had last year in Tampa Bay, he either fumbled or was just not effective. I see the addition of  Leon Washington as more to help in the return game and maybe occasional third down work but nothing much.

The other factor in my non-commitment to Ridley is his being in-and-out of the doghouse for fumbling, which, in some instances, caused him to disappear completely from game plans. Right now, I think he is being drafted too high with an average draft position of 46 right now according to DLF. I believe right now owners can get a pretty hefty return on Ridley and would benefit in the long term from doing so. As much as this is a sell Ridley blurt, it is also a buy low on Vereen blurt as well.

Brandon Marshall

As Marshall sneaks up on the dreaded age of 30 years old for a receiver in the NFL, he recorded the most targets and catches of his career in the 2012 season after being reunited with his binky, Jay Cutler. He finished as a top-5 receiver and should still have a very productive year in 2013. In the past, a team with Brandon Marshall as their No. 1 receiver have the second-highest catch total about half of Marshall’s. The only exceptions were, of all receivers, Eddie Royal, who had 91 catches to Marshall’s 104 in 2008, and Davone Bess, who had 79 to Marshall’s 86 in 2010. I believe that a healthy Alshon Jeffery will take away targets and catches from Marshall this season, and going forward. Jeffery couldn’t stay healthy in his rookie season (only appearing in 10 games) but averaged close to three catches and five targets a game, which both should increase this season.

The addition of Martellus Bennett will also bring down his targets. After giving up on Greg Olsen, the Bears haven’t had much talent in the tight end department. The play of Jay Cutler is the No. 1 concern in my book, as his accuracy and touchdowns have decreased in Chicago and his interceptions are on the rise. At the end of the day, Marshall will have a good/great year but he will be 30 years old next season and most receivers start to decline shortly thereafter. He should net owners a great return now and is definitely worth floating trade offers out there.

Tom Brady

I preface this by saying I am a New England Patriots fan and have been for a long time. Brady is one of the top quarterbacks in the league and has been a great fantasy option for years. That being said, I feel like if you can move him now and get a solid return I think it’s time. This could be difficult in 10- or 12-team formats that are one quaeterback leagues, but if you can manage to do it, I think it’s beneficial.

Age, the common factor in this article, is a concern with Brady. Only Peyton Manning is older than Brady and still starting in the league, and most would have to think that when Brady’s deal ends after 2017 he will retire. If he doesn’t, he will not play at this level for much longer after that. In the past Brady has made mediocre-to-bad receiving corps look pretty good, and when blessed with a good corps he has looked amazing.

Last season Brady completed 401 passes, tied for the most in his career. The alarming stat that jumps out is that of all the receivers that caught those passes, most are off the team and around 370 of the passes caught went with them. This does take into account that Rob Gronkowski will miss some time and that Aaron Hernandez has been cut. The receivers that caught 90 percent of the balls last year are either not on the team or could miss significant time this year.

The Patriots did not waste time replacing Welker with Danny Amendola, but his health is an obvious concern. The Patriots have drafted two rookie receivers, but the team has a bad track record with drafting receivers in recent years. Also, the Patriots did bring in the scraps from the trash heap to see if they could make something out of nothing like they have in the past. I do think Brady still plays at a high level, but for how long? With the cast this year, he could have a down year. I wouldn’t sell him for change on the dollar but I think he can still get you a good return if an owner is in trouble at the quarterback situation.

At the end of the day, I would advise not to trade these players if you can’t afford to, but, if you have depth, I would give these moves some real consideration. I would not trade these players if it means you will not have a chance at a championship now, but, if you can afford to make the moves, make them sooner rather than later.